7 Things You Learn in Your First Year of Marriage


Clare Brown Mills Jewelry GeodesHappy Honeymoon, Neely! I’m so thankful Neely is letting me guest post here on things you learn from your first year of marriage. I’m Heather and I blog and do social media consulting at My Life Well Loved. My Life Well Loved empowers women to be their best in healthy living, southern style, recipes, faith, beauty and finding balance. Join me on the journey!

Since we’re celebrating Neely’s marriage this week and I’ve been married to my amazing husband for 6 years last month, I thought I’d share some of the things that I had to learn the first year of our marriage.

7 things you learn your first year of marriageThe first year of marriage isn’t easy, but it is so rewarding and exciting. Here’s 7 things I learned during the first year of our marriage:

1. I’m selfish. Sadly enough I realized just how selfish I was during the first year of our marriage. It is so natural to look out for #1. I constantly find myself having to re-learn that I have to give everything I have got to our marriage. It’s not 50/50, it’s 100/100. Just because I’m tired doesn’t mean I should treat my husband any less than how I feel at 100%. It’s hard to remember that in the moment, but I have to remember he can be tired too and everyone wins if we treat the other person like they are the most important person in the world.

2. Compromise is everything. This seems like a “duh” answer until you’re in the thick of an argument, or “discussion” as we like to call it. We have found that normally when we disagree, both parties are at least a little bit right. Being the first to say I’m sorry can be very hard. And yet, it opens up the flood gates for reconciliation. Sometimes, it’s nice just to feel heard or just to remind each other during tough times that “I still love you, I just want to work through this together.”

3. Space is needed. I thought when we first got married that it would be just like when we dated. When we were both home, we would both be cuddled up on the couch, or talking constantly, or holding hands, etc. I quickly learned for my husband’s internal well-being he needed alone time, just as much as I needed interaction. I try to plan one night a week at least where I go out with girlfriends or family and let him have his alone time while I get to catch up with others that I love.

4. Baseline. Set yourself up for success! What is important to you as the foundation of what the two of you hold dear or believe in? For Eric and I, it was very important that we set our baseline solidly plugged into a church to set that foundation for our marriage. We really wanted to invest in a small group to get to know and do life with other like-minded Christian couples. That way we started our marriage out with new couple friends that have proved to be life-long friends so far with similar values to us.

6. Date nights. Date nights are critical to stay plugged in as a power couple. Even though we don’t have kids yet, we find that with multiple jobs and school, it can be hard to get in the quality time that we crave. I’m so thankful for a husband who initiates date nights usually once a week to make sure we are communicating and taking a moment away from home or in our home to be “just the two of us.” No phones, no distractions. I can’t imagine how much more imperative these nights will be once we have kids!

7. Praise is important. Your opinion matters to your spouse more than anyone else in this world; that’s why he picked you to spend the rest of his life with! So, when you think your husband looks cute, does a great job cleaning the house, notices things that make you smile, or makes a smarty pants move at work, TELL HIM! Men love to feel respected by their wives just as much as we adore being loved and doted on. We have found in our marriage that the times it’s hardest to take the time to notice things and give praise are sometimes when it is needed most. When your spouse is stressed, they need to hear affirmation. Give it lovingly and lavishly and I promise you it will be appreciated.

These are just a few of the things I have learned in my 6 years of marriage. I think there are many more things that could be added to this list, so I’d love to hear what the biggest things you learned in your first year of marriage were in the comments below. Please share & then make sure to hop on over and join me in this marriage and life journey!

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Fall TV Show Favorites

So we are a few weeks into Fall TV and I thought I would share my Fall TV Show Favorites of the new shows this year. Hopefully none of them have been canceled yet.


1. Red Band Society: Oh this is a Fall TV show favorite FOR SURE. I was hooked from a few minutes in and each episode has gotten better IMO. The hot doctor who hales from one of my favorite TV shows, Brothers and Sisters mixed with Octavia Spencer and a cast of young teens that are so convincing with their diseases just boils down to a perfect show. The acting is fantastic just like the story lines. I almost feel it should be on the CW because I wonder if the target audience which is probably teens who loved The Fault in Our Stars is watching Fox. But I know a lot my adult friends who love it too.


2. How To Get Away With Murder: The question here is what can Shonda Rhymes do wrong? The answer here is nothing. Some people may be turned off by the flashback and flash-forward theme but I personally love it. I think it’s very interesting how all of these people are so intertwined. Every week I am honestly disappointed when the show is over. I am impatient I do not want to wait!!!

3. Manhattan Love Story: Love the premise of hearing these two peoples inner thoughts while they are out on their dates and interacting with each other. It’s such a fun premise. I worry it will get canceled as the first few episodes had super low ratings but I am hoping the network gives it a chance. I need a cute fun show to fill my HIMYM void.

4. A to Z: So maybe this one will do it? A to Z has THE MOTHER from HIMYM and some awkwardly cute guy that reminds me of the main character in 500 days of Summer. It’s adorable and I loved that they released it so we could watch it even before it premiered on TV. I think this one is a fun premise too because it tells you upfront what is going to happen. PLEASE STAY ON!

5 Madam Secretary: The lack of Tea Leoni in my life has now been fixed and Tim Daly(who should have never been killed off Private Practice) plus the wonderfully talented Bebe Neworth. Great cast, great writing and about politics. I was hooked immediately. If you haven’t tried this one out you really should. Thankfully they paired it with the Good Wife so hopefully there is a good audience there.


What Fall TV Show Favorites are you loving? 

Fall Fashion Musts: In The Office

Today my friend Lynn is taking over the blog. We live in the same city…sorta. We both live in the DFW. Lynn is a newly engaged gal with a Winter wedding around the corner. So I am so thrilled to have her take over. OK back to my mai tai’s.



Hi ya’ll! I’m Lynn, and I used to blog over at Illegally Blonde, but now I have a new blog, Dispositive Motion, where I write about all the newest experiences in my life. I’m a 30ish lawyer who practices in Big Law, lives in Fort Worth, works in Dallas, and did I mention I am planning a wedding too? Neely and I met a couple years ago, and its been so exciting to watch her relationship with A from start to finish. I am so excited to see what is next for the happy couple. So, while they are catching some rays on the beaches of Hawaii, I thought I would share with you my tips for office appropriate fall attire.

I love Fall. Fall Fashion is amazing. I am fall for Fall. Sweaters, leggings, and boots, oh boots how I adore thee! But how do you incorporate all these fabulous things into the office? Well, for one, pretty sure the leggings are out for the normal Monday thru Thursday. Now, if you office has casual Friday, here is your chance. The key is the right pair of leggings and how you pair them.


Go for a structured legging. Think more leather or ponte rather than cotton, Lululemon comfy lounge leggings. I grabbed a couple of pairs from White House Black Market and they work perfectly for casual Friday. Pair them with a classic white button down and structured blazer, add some cute booties and you have casual Friday made for Fall!


My next obstacle is the sweater. And now I don’t mean the easy angora, cotton, cashmere type that pair perfectly with nice slacks, I mean the chunky cable-knit type. I live for these. They keep me warm in an over-cold office, and just scream Fall. I try to pair them with simple, sleep, more form-fitting pencil skirts. The key is proportion. If you do over-sized on top, them keep is slim on the bottom. Add some tights with your heels and call it a day! I’ll often add a cute belt to draw in my waist and add some flare to the outfit.


Lastly, the boot/bootie. I was hesitant to add these into my office wardrobe last Fall, but I found it worked wonderful. I loved wearing my suede tall boots with longer skirts and dresses. I just wore them with tights to avoid the awkward pale leg and to deemphasize the gap between hemline and boot line. I also wore them with longer dresses and skirts so as to avoid the Julia Roberts, a la, Pretty Woman look. As for booties, I wore them just like I did my heels. I have two pairs of peep-toe bootie pumps that became staples for my office attire.


Marriage Advice with Meghan

Today I have one of my dearest friends Meghan to talk a little about marriage advice while I am sipping a mai tai and reading probably my 9th book of the week. Meghan and her husband are two of the most amazing people I have ever met and I adore them so!!


Hi there! I’m Meghan, and I blog (very infrequently now that I am a mother!) over at The Perfect Compilation Tape.  Neely and I met many, many moons ago, and have traveled quite a bit together.  Fun fact?  Whenever we travel, we find a barre class to take together – even if it means getting up at 5:00 a.m. while on vacation.  Anywho, I am so thrilled for her and her new HUSBAND! Congrats, Neely and A!

Since she’s off honeymooning in one of my favorite places in the world, I am excited to guest post for her and share my “Top 5″ pieces of marriage advice.

#TBT to about one month ago when the husband & I went to a wedding. I'd give my left arm for a date night right about now. Life is incredibly hectic for both of us right now, & we're operating on opposite schedules, but there's an end in sight!
(This is Mike, my bearded husband of almost six years.  We just had our first baby – a girl – last fall, and it’s been a wild ride moving into the next chapter of our marriage!)
I am certainly no expert, but here are a few tips that I have learned myself over the years, and I try to keep these in mind each day.
5.)  Keep things in perspective.
From wedding planning to buying a home to having a baby, life can be stressful and chaotic.  But honestly?  I don’t remember what type of flowers I carried down the aisle.  I feel silly that I got so mad at Mike when he forgot his driver’s license at our closing.  And the 3am argument over what to do with the screaming baby?  It’s a total blur.  But I do remember how I felt when I saw Mike for the first time on our wedding day.  And I remember that first night in our new home and how excited we were.  And I will always remember how Mike looked at me while I was in labor.  And it’s those moments I try and focus on when life gets crazy.
4.) Date each other.
This is easier said than done, in my opinion, but so necessary.  Now that Mike and I have a baby, this is a little harder for us to schedule.  But it’s so important to have time alone.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I knew we needed to work on this when we were at a funeral a few weeks ago, and I realized that the funeral was the most time we spent together alone in weeks.  Crazy, right?  As a result, we’re in the process of finding a baby-sitter so we can get out of the house and have dinner without worrying about our daughter throwing food on the floor:)
3.) Choose your battles.
Mike and I are polar opposites in a lot of ways.  I would rather travel / he would rather stay home.  I am a neat freak / he’s messy.  And despite the fact that he leaves his crap everywhere, I’ve come to realize that it’s not worth making a federal case over it.
2.) Learn your spouse’s communication style – and respect it.
See #3.  We’re polar opposites.  Therefore, if we get into an argument, I am the type who wants to resolve it immediately.  Mike needs time to cool off.  So, as hard as it is, I’ve learned that I need to respect his space when he asks for it.
1.)  Laugh.  At yourself.  At each other.  A lot.
If there is one thing we know how to do, it’s laugh.  Marriage doesn’t always need to be so serious.  Have a little fun.  Relax.

Honeymoon Beauty Essentials

Today I have my dear dear friend Meg sharing some Honeymoon Beauty Essentials for you guys. If you need me i’ll be drinking a mai tai on the beach….


Hey everyone! My name is Meg and I run a family-friendly beauty and lifestyle blog over at Meg O. on the Go. If you like makeup, pretty babies, and fun videos, come and give me a look!

First of all, a HUGE congratulations to Neely and A! You guys are a fantastic couple and I’m so happy for you! While the newlyweds are off honeymooning in Hawaii (can we say jealous?!), I’m filling in today to talk about my favorite travel beauty essentials.

If I were going on my honeymoon again (side note: I can’t believe my honeymoon was over five years ago!), these are my absolute honeymoon beauty essentials. I mean, aside from all the other makeup I would pack…


1. CC Cream

Being out in the sun and sand all day calls for sunscreen, but if you want a little more coverage, I highly suggest a CC Cream. The It Cosmetics CC Cream is one of my absolute favorites because it gives me natural, yet flawless looking coverage and it’s easy to apply and forget about it. Perfect for me while I’ve got a newborn in the home and need to escape the house for a target run. But this isn’t for newborn mom purposes…this is for a gloriously glowing bride on the beach. And it totally works for that, too.

2. Bronzer

Nothing will make you look like a gloriously glowing bride like a little bit of bronzer. I love using a matte bronzer like the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil because it gives an even warmth to the skin without making me look like a glittery vampire. I even like to apply this to the neck and chest to give even more of a beachy glow during the summer. This product is also super simple to use and is great for beach days or if you want to do a little more heavy contouring for those date nights.

3. Waterproof Mascara

I have no shame in admitting that I will put on waterproof mascara before any outdoor or water activity. I just can’t live without mascara in general. I highly recommend my old favorite L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara in Waterproof. Gives great volume and length and stays put!

4. Bold Lipstick

I know Neely loves her lipstick, and I am right there with her! Nothing spices up an outfit for date night like an amazing, bold lipstick. It’s so easy to do because the rest of your makeup can be super minimal. One of my favorite bold lipsticks of all time is MAC’s Candy Yum Yum. It’s so much fun and I always get compliments on it!

5. Sea Salt Spray

Let’s face it, I know you won’t want to spend a ton of time on your hair during the day when you are relaxing. There’s no use in heat styling your hair. This is where a wave spray comes in handy! You literally just spray it in your hair, scrunch, and go. I’ve loved the Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray for days like these (although I haven’t even been to Hawaii… yeah, still super jealous). It gives the right amount of texture without making your hair feel crunchy.

So there you have it! All my married ladies out there – what would you recommend bringing on your honeymoon? Any “must-not-forgets”?

If you’ve liked what you read today, be sure to come by and say hi to me on my blog, and you can also follow me on facebook, instagram, or twitter. Thanks again, Neely, for having me and have an absolute blast in Hawaii!!

Take Time to De-Stress

​Hey guys I’m honeymooning away but today I have Ali here to talk about meditation, stress and how to calm down!

Life can be so unpredictable….with jobs, significant others, friends, family obligations, weddings (Neely!), that sometimes we don’t even know which way is up. It is easy to get overwhelmed, and that is when stress starts to take over.

As a meditation teacher, one of my goals is to help people figure out how to hit “the pause button” during stressful situations and handle them with more ease and grace. Meditation takes you from a reactive place to a more responsive one, and we all know what can happen when we react and fly off the handle instead of responding to something thoughtfully. That is when we take things personally, make assumptions and loose our cool. Let’s not even go there right now! Instead let’s talk about a better way to handle stress.

Taking even just three long, slow, deep breaths can reset your nervous system and take you from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest.” When you feel anxiety setting in, the first thing you should do is stop and breathe.

You can also have a mantra or affirmation that you say when you start to feel stressed. An example of one to use when your to do list feels overwhelming is, “I have time to complete all my tasks with ease.” Say that five or six times out loud and tackling your list will feel much more doable. One of my favorite mantras from Gabby Bernstein is “peace begins with me,” and I use that one often. Just be sure to use a positive statement and the present tense.

Taking a 4-7-8 breath is another great way to combat stress. To do this breathe in for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 8. Doing this 3 times will do wonders for your nervous system and your anxiety!

If you would like to find out more about meditation and mindfulness, visit my website at www.atozenmeditation.com  The 5 Essentials of Meditation is my gift to you when you sign up for my newsletter, and it is incredibly helpful in getting you started with meditation. I also offer Intro to Meditation classes in Houston or via Skype, so don’t let anything get in your way of learning how to meditate. Meditation changed my life, and I would love to inspire you to incorporate it into yours as well.

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Ozarka Texas Traditions and a Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Ozarka promoting Texas Traditions. I am compensated for this post however all opinions are my own. 

Growing up in Texas the actual Friday Night Lights were a big deal. Football games, tailgating, becoming a cheerleader etc. I can remember going to my first Cowboys game as a young child and also being at local high school football games before I could see the field without needing to be held up.


Yep me as a high school cheerleader circa 1998…let’s not judge the bad hair and braces


I knew I wanted to be a cheerleader when I got into high school to have my own “Texas Tradition” of high school cheerleading. I loved being a cheerleader. I loved those Friday nights at football games and homecoming. I also loved going back for my 10 year reunion and tailgating for the homecoming game and enjoying time with friends and reminiscing about our high school.

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With friends at my 10 year high school reunion football game

When I was a cheerleader water was super important during practice, games and competition. So of course we always had Ozarka. I also grew up in a house where if I brought home another brand of water my mom looked at me like I was an alien. She was an Ozarka lifer…still is. In our home now we also only have Ozarka water. Ozarka has always been a part of my own Texas Traditions. So I am beyond thrilled to take part in this campaign.  Ozarka, the 100% natural spring water from Texas, is proud to support the Southlake Carroll High School football program as the official bottled water of their Dragon Stadium. With the start of the high school football season, Ozarka has launched the “Taste the Texas Tradition” campaign celebrating the many football traditions, from tailgating to victory celebrations. Share your favorite football traditions with us on Twitter or Facebook using #TexasTradition and #H2Ozarka. Visit www.facebook.com/ozarkawater or follow @OzarkaSpringWtr to find out more.

Here is a fun little bonus:

One of my readers will get to win a YEAR supply of Ozarka water!!! Yes thats right a whole year of Ozarka delivered to you!


Use Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



This post is sponsored by Ozarka promoting Texas Traditions. I am compensated for this post however all opinions are my own. 

Depression: A View

Hey Guys while I am off on my honeymoon I have a few awesome guest bloggers taking over. I will have a few of my own posts too but lets spice things up with some new perspectives. First up is Beth. I have known Beth since she was in Kindergarten. I was a few years older but we went to the same elementary school, junior high and high school. Once she started blogging we reconnected and have become great friends. You will love her!


Hi ‘Yall! I am so jealous …why you are reading this Neely and A are enjoying fun in the sun (and other stuff) in Hawaii! I thought I would blog about a hush hush topic: Depression…and even more of a hush hush topic: ECT.

Do you ever feel like staying in bed all day with the covers over you head and the lights dimmed down? For some it’s a blue funk, but for others Depression is a day-to-day struggle.

I’m blessed in that although medicine does not work for me, something did…..ECT.

I usually don’t talk about the fact that I’ve had ECT multiple times, but this is all part of ending the stigma.

ECT stands for Electroconvulsive Therapy. I’m no doctor, but basically they put you to sleep and shock your brain in order to create seizures. By the grace of God this healed me! I still take meds for maintenance, because I tried going off meds one time, and that was a no-go.

If you are taking anti-depressant meds and they aren’t working, know that there are other methods to help you live a functional life. I want to raise awareness and end the stigma that ECT is NOT like the movie One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest.

Jack Nicholson

Kitty Dukakis, wife of former Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis wrote a great book called Shock, detailing her experience with ECT. Other celebrities receiving ECT include Judy Garland and Ernest Hemingway.

Feel free to ask me any questions at my blog Everything Is Comin’ Up Roses