valentine's day

Till we are old and gray


Yes.. it's the Notebook but last night was beyond the all-time famous love movie.

Last night my husband and 2 guys surprised the wives with one of the most thoughtful acts of love. They set up an outdoor screening, a fire pit, a table with take-out food, a section for making smores, and surrounded the fire pit with pillows and blankets with the sounds of Sam Cooke filling the backyard.

It all started when he came home from work and he started packing things into a duffel bag. I wasn't allowed downstairs. He yelled upstairs for me to grab some gloves, dress very warm, and bring my kindle if I wanted. I was SO confused.  I will admit I am pretty perceptive so I can sometimes get an idea of what my husband is up to. I was completely stumped at that moment.

THEN we got on the road and we were driving so far! He kept saying "I shouldn't have made our reservations so early!" but the funny thing is that I completely noticed he was wearing his work shirt (polo shirt with the company logo). I knew there was no way we could be going to a restaurant so I was like "what is he up to?!?!"

As we pull up on a street in Chandler, I quickly recognize that we are going to a friend's house. I get out of the car, he hands me a bottle of wine, knocks on the door -- my friend Allison answers -- then he waves and says "you girls have a good time.. I'll see you later!"

Wait. WHAT?!

Allison is laughing and all smiles, so I think she MUST know what's going on. Then she proceeds to tell me that her husband is meeting up with Jose and it dawns on me that this is no longer just Jose and I. YES!! I am one of those people that loves to celebrate things with friends ... not necessarily a very large group, but I'm definitely a person that loves to include others. After 30 minutes of chatting and drinking wine (on an empty stomach which is another story of its own!), our friend Janean rings the doorbell. Her face says it all - utter confusion.

After about an hour, we finally get a text that says we should hit the road and Allison knows our "destination." Uh-huh, way to keep it on the DL Allison! So we get on the road and arrive at Janean's house. I see a huge extension cord plugged near the front door leading to the backyard.  We get inside and our husbands hand us a wine glass and despite my already slight lack of coordination from the earlier 2 glasses, I take it. They escort us outside and my jaw DROPS. The fire is roaring, a huge screen is staring back at us, and the music completely sets the mood.

Dang, guys. Slow dance to Sam Cooke? WHY NOT?! Ryan Gosling who?! I mean, get out of here. This is where I would insert one of those memes that says "LIKE A BOSS." But I'll try and keep it classy around here. I don't know what we did to deserve that much thoughtfulness, but I will sing his praises. I'm beyond blessed to get to wake up looking forward to the life I get to live with Jose at my side. When I'm tangled in his arms and we see the old Ryan Gosling and the old Rachel McAdams' characters on their hospital bed on the screen, he squeezes my hand, and I just know that is exactly where I'm supposed to be. One day those hands will be wrinkly and weathered with time, but they will be together, holding on to a life that we were blessed to share.

Outfit Chronicles: Classic and Feminine



pants + belt: Zara, top: thrifted, necklace: F21, shoes: F21, watch: Hello Somebody

There are days when I ask Jose to do an Outfit Chronicles shoot of me and he will ask me: "well, what's special about this outfit?"  And I used to feel bad about it until I remembered that he's not a female.  He won't notice the leopard heels I coordinated with my brown belt, the chunky white watch, and how I tucked my shirt in.  "Special" in man's mind is ... well, I don't really know. 

But let's not hate on my hubs right now because we had the sweetest Valentine's date yesterday.  After giving me this beautiful card (I'm telling you, the man has a way with words)....


He proceeded to gift me a coupon book!!  And now, I remember reading about those in the magazines or articles that talked about "Ideas for your Sweetheart" and laughing at the idea. BUT.  Hold the teasing, cause guess who already used one of her coupons?!


We got home from dinner last night and as he said "babe, don't forget to prep the box to return your shoes."  For whatever reason I had no energy to do it and I slowly smiled and said "orrrr... how about you prep it?"  And pulled out my coupon book!!  People, he literally gifted me the book 3 hours earlier and this girl is CASHING IN!  To which Jose said, "what?? you want to use it on this?? are you SURE?"  And you see, that's the difference between Jose and I.  I didn't have to meditate on the value of using my coupon now, if I should save it for later, or if I should just do it myself.  I didn't over think it, I simply handed him my coupon.

I have to say, those magazines were right.  Genius idea on the coupon book!  I'm excited to cash in "coffee date" and the "home-made dessert" one :)

Anyway, I'm leaving for Vegas in 2 days!  This will be my first trip to WPPI -- the largest Wedding and Portrait convention in the States.  I'll be driving up solo on Saturday but meeting with my Texas friend Brittany Oswald and girls that I've never met before too!  The lovely Denise will be riding back to Phoenix with me.  It's going to be quite an adventure.  I'm definitely nervous, but mostly just super excited ;)

Sweetest Valentine



I mentioned last week that the husbands from our bible study group sent out a surprise evite to their wives for a Valentine's dinner. I also mentioned that it was addressed from "Your Incredible Husband."

Incredible THEY WERE!

You guys. Seriously. *shakes head* I truly don't have the words, so I'll let the photos take over...


First, they set the mood with beautifully decorated tables, and tons of candles....



Hustling and bustling in the kitchen, these guys would not let us touch a thing! They constantly checked our drinks for refills and made sure we were attended to.


Then these babies made their appearance:


Prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe, hummus, fig+brie+apple croutons, and caprese tomato bites. Y-U-M. No, you can't lick the screen.

The girls hung out while the guys got started on dinner...


How savory does this look?!


Let me tell you, those carrots were on point!!

Everyone was feeling the love ;)


How could you not when they all played such wonderful roles?!


Then it got out of control...


The desserts. Y'all. I'm about to get Paula Dean on you again. This dessert cannot even be justified with photos!!!


The only potential for a fight this night would've been having to SHARE this -- homemade cheesecake with raspberry sauce and a homemade molten chocolate cake.


But we all managed to share. Right, Kristin?! ;)

Then we ended the night with the most hilariously complicated game of Newlyweds...


Some answers had to be explained...


and most were just lost in laughter :)


How sweet it is to be loved by you -Marvin Gaye.

It was sweet indeed. A huge, huge, thank you to the men of our bible study for absolutely every detail you put into this night and making us feel so special.

Day 8: It's the Love Day

Happy Valentine's!

My contacts are dry and I should probably get off this computer, but I'm over a week old with my challenge! Yay! Plus, I heard on the news that there may be a couple of inches of additional snow tonight -- and while this probably won't cancel work, I'm crossing my fingers there is hope!

Valentine's day... when a single, taken, or confused girl can eat candy off her lap because Valentine's is the best excuse to eat tons of sugar.



"I hate flowers. I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move." -Georgia O'Keefe, production painter into her nineties

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To participate in my 100 day challenge, submit your photo representing your interpretation of "feminine" and about a paragraph describing your interpretation to alejandra@imaginaledesign.com -- Read more about it here.