Tag Archives: tennessee

we are moving to tacoma (and six months i’ve forgotten)

5 Apr

hello everyone! so my favorite english/american bestie has officially started her blog (after being unable to due to studying for her law exams), and it has reminded me that i haven’t posted anything in six months.

biggest life point: we are moving to tacoma, washington in may! christopher will begin his journey as a doctor at madigan hospital in june. i am so proud of him! and i am SO EXCITED to move to the pacific north west (please see one of my many posts about how i am eager to leave the south). and also in may, i leave the army!

to fast forward through the months i have missed i will post just two photos from each month:


nov 1

the first important point of november 2016 was that i proudly cast my vote for hillary clinton is this solid red state of tennessee. i cast that vote as a very disillusioned american. to be honest, i also haven’t written much because i have felt so many intense emotions (mostly negative) about the election and i didn’t want to announce them here. needless to say: i am not happy. but i have been buoyed by the women’s march and the activists fighting for what is just and kind and i have began a journey towards helping our country in the small way i think i can handle. but more on that soon.
nov 2chris and i took our yearly photos for our new years card at my family’s home in virginia. it was beautiful and dad has some awesome photo ideas haha.


dec 1
daddy drove over to tennessee for a quick weekend to help me buy a new car! my jetta was affected by the vw diesel scandal – but my buy back gave me a hefty down payment on my new car. also, we spent christmas in houston with the wallaces, which was also great!
dec 2
for new years, our friends kristen, lisa, and becca came to stay with us for a couple of days of fun to ring in 2017! here is a photo of lisa and i before we went downtown. in exciting news, lisa is my brother’s girlfriend! (!!!) it’s awesome because she is a strong, independent woman who is also a veterinarian and also a super cool person and awesome and was became part of our lives because her and chris were friends in BOLC! and then my brother found out she liked the pixies too and the rest was history lol. talk about excellent small world situations.


jan 1
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS POST. last may, i bought chris and i tickets to see hamilton in new york city for my birthday in january. when i say “it was the most amazing experience of my life, i cried almost the whole time, and it even managed to exceeded my incredibly high expectations,” i mean it very honestly. we love new york city, and hamilton, and snow, and singing songs while walking down the streets. experiencing the musical in its whole form (not just audio like on the cast recording) was a magical situation. wow. i get chills just thinking about it.

jan 2
my baby brother came home!! he spent four-ish months in the middle east doing great things for his brigade and his country. i’m so proud of the high praise he received – but i am even more proud of him for being accepted to the army’s lawyer program! he will be beginning law school at UNC in the fall!! i am surrounded by geniuses!


feb 1
my favorite framily is pictured here via a hastily taken selfie at a four way intersection in atlanta. we all went to see christopher’s favorite band, AFI, and had a great time! i love spending time with these people – so much joy! my heart is already crying for all of our moves. we will live 2,907 apart – i just did the google search. :(

feb 2i was invited to interview at seattle pacific university for their clinical psychology phd program! it was my first time in seattle, and my first time interviewing for an academic program. i ended up being accepted (!), and although i rejected the offer, i absolutely loved the experience and faculty and THE CITY. the mountains and water and love and equality were palpable in all ways. i can’t wait to spend much more time in seattle (which is about 30 miles north of where we are moving).


mar 1
KITTY AND GREG GOT MARRIED IN CANCUN! chris and i took a mini vacation to spend a long weekend with some of our favorite people in the world. we had limitless drinks and food and sunshine. and also, kitty is my pff and i will follow her around the world forever and ever <3

mar 2
CADAVER BALL 2017!!! oh my goodness, world, chris is graduating medical school next month. i’ve loved all four (!) of the cadaver balls i have attended with chris as his girlfriend, then fiance, then wife – but this one was the most magical. i will miss these friends we have in nashville, but they are all going to soar to great medical/life heights.

and as for me, i have accepted my offer to attend the university of washington for their community planning masters program. one our way home from our christmas break in houston, i tried to imagine the perfect degree program for me. i wanted something that would teach me how to help the people of our country at the lowest level – at the community level – how to make their lives better and more healthy and for them to rise to great heights. so that one day i can work in local government, and then hopefully move my way up. and in an amazing turn of events, i found the program that would show me how to do that! and it was in the town we are moving to!

because if i have learned one thing this political season, it is that i am no longer going to sit by and let things happen. i want to help change this country to be more kind. i want to make people’s lives better. i want to advocate for all people, and for the equality of all.

“i am no longer accepting the things i can’t change. i am changing the things i can’t accept.” -angela y. davis



a few anecdotes

9 Mar

hello everyone!
i am excited to say that there is only a week left on my diet! it’s much easier now that i’m on the tail end. i’ve gotten good at resisting random temptations and haven’t had any killer cravings. actually, i had my first intense craving yesterday before lunch. i wanted a big bowl of boxed macaroni and cheese with ketchup on top. basically hits all of the food groups i can’t eat haha – pasta, cheese, and sugar. but then i ate my lunch and the craving dissipated.

anyway, i wanted to share a few little anecdotes from last week:
1) so last week i pulled jumpmaster duties for the first time (for those that don’t know what that is: as part of my job, i jump out of airplanes. well, i’ve passed the course where i can inspect parachutists before they jump (JMPI) and also make sure everything is safe in the airplane, inspect the airplane, and actually run and orchestrate the jumps and drop zone, etc). i walked up to a group of people who had just donned their parachutes and yelled out, “does anyone need to be JMPI-ed?” a small soldier, a private actually, tentatively raised his hand. i looked beside him where his NCO was standing who quietly said, “he’s a cherry” (army term for “it’s his first jump at the unit”) so, i walked up to him and told him a little bit about how we jump here (off of the tailgate instead of out of the airplane’s side door) and asked him how he was feeling. he said fine, and i started to inspect his parachute and harness. i noticed he was watching my hand motions very closey (which isn’t common among experienced jumpers) and i said to him, “i’m going to explain to you why i’m doing what i’m doing and why it’s important” because he seemed nervous and unsure of all of the tugging and swiping i was doing on his equipment. it took a little longer than a usual JMPI, but when i walked away, i heard him saying to his buddy, “i’ve never had a nicer JMPI experience” and it made me feel so proud!

2) i voted on super tuesday!! i’ve never voted in a primary at all, and the last time i voted was for president Obama the first time around. and this election season was really the first time i’ve ever followed any of it. i wasn’t even planning on being so invested, until ages ago when my brother sent me some quiz you can take to see which candidate you align most with. i was assuming i’d align most with hillary, but i matched like 95% with bernie. i had never heard of him. but once i started researching his platforms on different areas (this was back when he only had four listed on his website and he was polling in the single digits), i knew he was my man. my brother got me a bernie shirt, and i ordered two stickers for my car. he values the things i value: the environment, women’s autonomy over their body and decisions, equality, caring for everyone in the country not only the ones with money, getting money out of politics, and generally being a stellar human being. so this is all fine and good, but imagine my day to day life being in the army and living in a very country town – it’s an uphill battle ALL THE TIME. but, this is a very easy exchange to win at work:
person: “ma’am, i saw the bernie stickers on your car…”
me: “that’s right!”
person: “but didn’t you graduate from west point?”
me: “uh, yeah??”
person: “how could you want a ‘socialist’ to be president?”
me: “well, i’d much rather have that then a racist, bigot, sexist, or racist!”
(then i walk away, since there isn’t much to say to that. also, everyone assumes everyone in the army/from west point is super conservative – which discounts the like 5% of us who aren’t)

ANYWAY, so i was so excited to go vote in my tiny town of pleasant view’s city hall (which really is just a super sized trailer home). i went on my way to work, right after it opened at 0700 in my uniform. i was surprised to see the number of cars there! i had to park in the grass (it’s in the country, remember)! i also had to drive around and dodge trump yard signs, like 10 of them (in hindsight, i wish i had taken them down).  i excitedly walked into the city hall where there was a line (!!!!!) and there were also young people (!!!!!!!), in fact, the guy in front of me in line checked the “democrat” block on his sign in sheet (!!!!!!! yes i realize that is nosy and bad). when i signed in, the kind older woman at the desk saw my uniform and first thanked me for my service (i still don’t know how to respond to that, especially because i don’t feel like i’ve really done anything worth thanking) and then she went to say “i wanted to be in the army when i was younger, but it was harder back then…” and i told her that the women of today have her back. i’m unsure if she was surprised when i checked “democrat” but i also like to break down stereotypes, so i’m glad of it. anyway, the voting machines were super old, i voted for bernie* and i got two “i voted” stickers which was a highlight for me haha. unfortunately, Hillary won for democrats in Tennessee, but unlike everyone who didn’t vote and is whining, i at least did my part.

3) last anecdote: i was driving home last week and was stuck in some strange traffic in oak grove. a man drove around to pass me, after he had been stuck behind me for a little bit. it was an older gentleman, and as he drove around he stuck his thumb out his window giving me a thumbs up! i’m going to assume he liked my bernie stickers in this staunchly republican area.

that’s about all i have to say for now.
i hope everyone is having a great day!


*me voting for bernie sanders does not represent the views of the united states army, only my personal views (this is apparently something required by army law to include… don’t want to get in trouble lol)

month three and a link to ariel’s blog post

24 Sep

Hello everyone! I haven’t been writing on here as often as I’d like, but I am here now and that’s all that matters.

Before I begin, here is the lovely blog the talented and beautiful (and our) wedding photographer, Ariel Renae posted of our wedding! Every day I’m so happy that we chose (and were accepted) by Ariel to photograph our wedding. These pictures really tell a story and capture the emotions of this amazing day that we will have forever. I am and will be forever grateful to her for these photographs! So enjoy!

Secondly, on Sunday, Christopher and I will have been married for a ripe old three months. I realized the other day that I’ve been posting on our monthly anniversaries, so maybe I’ll keep it up for our first year of marriage. OR FOREVERRRRR (but probably not because I think there will be some point in my life where counting months of marriage isn’t looked on favorably haha)!! Anyway, so here I am again to recap this month.

Weekend 1 of September: we went to Torch Lake in Michigan to hang out with one of our close friend’s parent’s lake house! We all had a lovely time and ate delicious food and did lots of water sports.

Anastasia Kristina on Instagram. “paradise found in Michigan #nofilter #laborday #torchlake” Google Chrome, Today at 6.45.24 PM

Weekend 2: Christopher’s mommy visited! We toured around Nashville on what was possibly the first weekend of cool weather here, which was especially nice since she was visiting from Texas! We did the “southern artisan cheese festival” and it was excellent.



Weekend 3: I threw Chris a birthday party! He turned 25 that week. Also, we attended a big family weekend my work was throwing and put some time in on our obstacle course because of that!


(here i am vaulting over an obstacle and chris putting on my backpack because i didn’t want to wear it anymore lol)

Weekend 4 (happening soon): is college cup for Vanderbilt School of Medicine is about to happen and Christopher is part of the group of people running it. I’ve probably explained the college system at VSM a few times, but basically all of the med students are divided into one of four colleges kind of like Hogwarts, and every year they have this big spirit rally/field day thing where we all compete at sports. It’s quite fun. You’re even allowed to compete for your significant other’s team if you want! This year I’m swimming in the relays, playing Mario Kart, and running in the 5k (just competing it gets you points). But mostly I’m supporting Chris since he’s put a lot into it. Last years was awesome and his college (Batson) won, so I’m hoping for a repeat title haha. GO BATSON!

ANYWAY my takeaway from the third month of marriage is: life moves very fast. Too fast. I feel like the wedding was yesterday and I don’t want our whole lives to run away in front of us because we’re constantly looking to the next big event to tackle. It’s a hard balance to strike because I love to plan. I like to look out over the next year, plug in events for long weekends/holidays, and be able to confidently be able to answer the “where do you see yourself in five years” question. But with all of these events, I feel like it’s so easy to become so wrapped up in planning and preparing for the things, we might forget to focus on each other! So I’ve began focusing on each day and what it has to offer, instead of looking so far out. For me, it’s paid dividends. And it’s easy when I have something to look forward to every day (my husband).


some of my favorite wedding photos (if that’s even possible)

13 Sep

dear readers,

hello!! so about a week or so ago, our wonderful photographer sent us a little box full of prints and vodka and a zip drive full of thousands of wedding photos!! we love you ariel!! so, i am here to share about thirty photos from the wedding which are my favorites, i think. my favorites change just about every day because there are so many that are just lovely.

ok! so we are going to start with some of our portraits – most of all with me being super sassy and channeling my inner model:


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(i love how ariel made sure to take many photos with the beautiful magnolia blooms in the background, which was one of my original inspirations for our wedding and helped our decision making process for the venue. the vanderbilt chapel!)


my gorgeous photos were done by the incredibly talented and recently made mommy tricia from violet floral design! she’s such a sweetheart and we love her endlessly!


(rocking the usma class ring and my wedding rings!)


handsome christopher had his tux custom made at stitch it & co, a local nashville alterations and custom shop!


my gown was purchased and found at BHLDN in houston, where i went shopping with my mommy and mommy in law! my dress was a light blush pink and so perfect!



my bridesmaids were/are amazing and came from all corners from the world! emma from england, christa from greece, kitty from savannah, and dev and irene from north carolina! ranging from friends met in 9th grade to college it meant so much to me for them all to be by my side on my special day!


MY DADDY was animate about holding my hand, he’s the sweetest.


to include both of our younger brothers, we had each of them read a reading during the wedding, as i talked about last blog post! here’s chris and i sharing loving glances while his younger bro, zach, read from les miserables.


after chris and i shared the traditional vows (chris was a sucker for the “to death do us part” part), we had prepared unique and individual vows to share on the alter. we hadn’t shared them beforehand (only the word count so one of us didn’t go on for 15 minutes and the other for 2), and it was so special and perfect, so glad we did that!


my little bro making me laugh after the ceremony lol

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we had our own little sweetheart table! chris and i made/painted the table numbers and signs, and also made menus and little tea bags for everyone!

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our invitation suite was done by rifle paper co!! so dreamy!

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the beautiful detail work/magnificent wedding planning was due TOTALLY to the caring and thoughtful amber housely. she’s since moved away from wedding planning, but we feel so honored to have been her last!

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the newly minted cale-wallace family!!


my mommy helping me into my dress! (what a beauty, right???!)


showing my bridesmaids my dress for the first time, and taking a twirl :)


our entrance song to the reception venue was “nananana” by my chemical romance and we immediately jumped around and sang along for quite a while before we transitioned to our actual first dance song lol (“summertime” also by my chemical romance) lol

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and below are some of my favorites from our after shoot in the forests of franklin, tennessee!


i hope you all enjoyed some of my photos! and don’t worry, i’ll continue posting more photos on instagram lol.

if any nashville brides have any questions about any of our vendors, please let me know and i’ll help you out!

love always,

on why i hate the confederate flag

7 Aug


It is time for me to take a quick break from only posting pretty pictures of my life and actually try to explain my opinion on a hot button topic in our country currently (which interestingly enough was only mentioned once in the first round of GOP debates, and was fielded to the only black candidate, Dr. Ben Carson…) – race equality. More specifically, it’s ties to the confederate flag.

To preface my stance on the confederate flag, let me first frame my initial argument that began my research into the issue. My friend and west point classmate Shalela was wearing a “#black lives matter” shirt in her free time while deployed downrange. A complaint email was filed on her and she was banned from expressing her opinion and wearing that shirt. Although, as a friend, I am filled with rage and hurt for her being told to not wear that shirt and being robbed of the little freedom she has to speak out – I can understand why the military has a problem with it on the installation. In the military we aren’t really allowed to show political favor or opinion, which is why I came to this thought process:

If my friend can’t wear her shirt, then why are people allowed to fly over-sized confederate flags from their trucks while they’re driving around on a military installation (a three or four times a day occurrence on my post)? And is it a matter of coincidence that I only started to notice these huge flags after the court decision in South Carolina to take down the confederate flag that was flying off of their capital building after 8 Americans were massacred? Regardless of the answer to my second question, I do believe that with the confederate flag being as politicized as it is now it doesn’t have any place on a military base.


A confederate flying on a United States Military Base where I work

I made the mistake of asking one of my coworkers for a number/email address to the garrison commander so I could address my issue and feel like I was doing my part to create a safer and more equal post. He first asked what my complaint was, and I tried not to tell him, since I work with a pretty right leaning group. But I eventually did and we got into a heated debate. I hold the stance that that the confederate flag is treasonous and also racist. I know that a lot of flag wielders claim to disagree with the racist claim, but I definitely don’t think you can argue that flying the flag isn’t treasonous (was flown to fight against the Union etc and lost), but I want to explain my logic showing that the flag is racist.

So here we go! A man named Alexander Stephens was chosen as the Vice President of the Confederate States of America. In a famous speech he gave, now referred to as the “Cornerstone Speech,” which explained why they were seceding from the Union and the goals of their new constitution. He basically said their new government was “founded on the idea that blacks were inferior to whites” with such quotes as:

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.

What’s that again about the Civil War not being about slavery? Oh? The proper place of slaves is what caused the secession? That’s what I thought.

You may ask, “but what about state’s rights?? That’s the real reason for the civil war – not slavery.” I will ask you to take a look at South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession. True, the whole first part of the speech references the Declaration of Independence and how the Union had gotten away from all of the states being free and independent. But after they finish explaining the importance of being free and independent, they go on to explain their reason why: slavery. And more specifically, the damage being done by the non-slave holding states having “encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.” Mississippi’s Declaration of Secession is along the same lines stating that their position is only slavery based, defining it as the “greatest material interest in the world” and going on to say: “none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.” If that isn’t racist, I don’t know what is.

The only reasons deemed important enough to quantify for preaching about free and independent states are all slave based. That they count for 3/5ths of a person in numbers of citizens, that they can’t bring them up North, and that a President that aligns with the non-slave holding states was elected to the United States. There are no other mentions of agricultural differences or other reasons we are taught for the Civil War – just that the Union is becoming anti-slave and they don’t want to be part of it – that it was inconvenient and unfair to them.

I say all of this to point to the fact that the Civil War was fought because of the southern states wanted to keep slavery alive and legal. This is why when I see a Confederate Flag I assume the person driving in that car or flying that flag is racist.

a few trucks a mile down the street from where I live, looking particularly foolish

A few trucks a mile down the street from where I live, looking particularly foolish

Also, here is an interesting article about how people in South Carolina have been vying for the confederate Flag that hung over the State House since 1962. And here is an article titled “Rejection of Flag Exposes Larger Truths About the Confederacy” which includes some points I don’t have the energy to make, but is a good quick read.

If you really think flying a confederate flag means “I love my states rights! I love the south!” Then please just do us all a favor and fly your state flag. If you want to honor those who fought in the Civil War/you’re a legacy of some Civil War general think to yourself: do the children of Nazi soldiers fly Swastika flags? No, because that symbol is still so charged with hate and violence. Well the same still goes for the confederate flag. Fly your country’s flag instead, because at the end of the day they were all still American (or fly a flag with their face on it).