Posts filed under "Kiss"

Six Years Down.

Today marks six years of marital bliss for us.

{Editor's Note: Yes, I just said "marital bliss."}


love story

started out pretty heavy

and the excitement hasn't slowed down yet.

There have been some hard times on this road, 

but we're lucky enough to be each other's best friend


so somehow, even the tough times seem kinda sweet

when you look back on them and see that we grew closer.

{Sorry, did I just hear you gag?}

Tyler always keeps me on my toes

by making it a point to celebrate our anniversary

someway... and somewhere special.

January 6, 2007

Our wedding...

with a honeymoon in Prague to follow

that took Tyler overseas for the first time...


Tyler surprised me with a trip to NYC for our first anniversary...

we had so little money

but had the best time together

walking around the city, eating pizza & hot dogs

and feeling so cool and grown up.


For our second anniversary,

it was off to Victoria, BC for a cozy weekend

somewhere random & exciting.

We felt


swanky because our Luxury Link package

gave us free massages & dinner at our hotel.


Back to NYC for our 3rd anniversary,

but this time- we brought our friends, Anthony & Kellee

to join along in the festivities

kicking off the first of many trips together.


This was our first year living in England

and we celebrated our fourth anniversary

by wandering lonely canals in Venice

and windy hillside towns in Tuscany.

PS. January is a great month to have an anniversary

because traveling to cool places is


much cheaper.


Last year was our fifth...

and somehow, NYC seemed to be the right decision

officially making it our "every other anniversary" destination.

I'm so thankful we had pictures taken to celebrate,

thank you Victoria for capturing this special day in our marriage.

And this year?

With two babies on the way

and an abdomen quickly nearing the size of a glacier?

Well, tonight we are headed to pizza & a movie.

So would we call this the end of an era?


Tyler's taking me to Venice

later this month to celebrate

with our friends, Tyler & Amber.

It's a combined Christmas/Anniversary/Babymoon present

since we are exceptionally poor this year...

but we couldn't miss the chance to squeeze in

another adventure before these girls arrive.

So if you happen to be in Venice

and notice a slow-moving gondola

chugging down a canal at an angle that eerily resembles the sinking Titanic,

just wave to this 8-mth pregnant woman

sitting in the back with the giant cone of gelato in hand.

I really can't wait...

and I can't wait to see where this adventurous life

takes the two (four?) of us next.

Happy Anniversary, Love.

Posted on January 6, 2013 and filed under "Italy", "Kiss", "TK", "love", "venice", "wedding", marriage.

2012- An (Aspiring) Year in Review

Only a few more hours left here in England

until 2013 makes its way into our lives

and 2012 is gone for good.

{Except for our facebook timeline & Instagram feeds.}

Isn't it funny how certain years stand out in our minds as good, solid years...

while some years are just so miserable

you can't wait to lock them up and forget about them completely?

I hope that 2012 hasn't been one of those years for you,

but if it has- have hope!

Life is good

and better days will be back soon.

I love using this blog to record what is going on in our lives.

In the midst of chaos,

it helps to have an outlet to journal what all we do & what we see...

and it also helps me remember what all happened.

{Sometimes I'm fairly certain I have the memory of a golden retriever.}

So here we go...

the highlights of 2012-

a year that I am happy to pack away

with good thoughts and fond memories.


Tyler & I celebrated our 5th anniversary in New York with a photo shoot.

We moved from London to Paris for my a short-term stint for my job.


We toured Southern France in it's coldest weather in over 100 years.

I was a brat on Valentine's Day and blew a perfectly good holiday in Paris.

Life in Paris started to draw me in and I started taking notes on how to tour the city.


We ventured out on a MYSTERY TRIP (planned by moi) to Amsterdam, Germany & Austria.

The Swiss Alps brought us out for work and we weren't sad to ski & eat through our week there.


Tyler & I drove around Normandy exploring the WWII beaches & Mont St Michel.

It was Tyler's turn to surprise me with a second MYSTERY TRIP.... to the Italian Lakes!

We spent a week relaxing in a manoir in the Loire Valleywith our best friends.

My sweet grandmother, Viola, passed away.


We moved back to London just in time for me to help with Helena's home shoot.

Tyler turned 30 and I did my best to treat him like a man.

Tyler's sister gave birth to sweet baby, Grey.

I spent the first part of my summer in a heat wave in Scotland.


Tyler & I lounged at the beach and swung on a porch swing with family for a week in Florida.

Work brought me through Milan & Paris for a week that was one of the highlights of the summer.

I finally found the perfect purse for traveling- thanks GiGi NY!


I made my first (and only?) VLOG... where I swore off any babies in the near future.

We found out we had a baby headed our way... though I waited a bit to make it public on the blog.

I met up with girlfriends from Oxford for a sunny weekend in Rome.


We struck gold and scored tickets to the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics... for £20!

We cashed in our miles and flew first-class to Tyler's sister's wedding.

We found out we had ANOTHER baby headed our way- twins! 

Getting stranded on a layover in Chicago left us feeling a bit Bueller-esque.


We moved into a permanent place in Notting Hill.

My parents treated us to a week in Scotland.

European ex-Pat bloggers united in a Tuscan villa to celebrate Megan & Stephan's engagement.


We ventured to Iceland for a 10 day adventure of waterfalls, ponies & icebergs. (I love my job.)

I offered my two-cents on finding your place in the blogging community.


We found out we had two baby girls headed our way.

I wrapped up my work year with ten days exploring Scotland & Ireland.

Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews.


I found out Kate Middleton is pregnant... and I'm still recovering.

I flew to Texas & OKC for babies' showers.

My family came to spend Christmas with us in London.

Our 2012 Christmas Card.


That line up makes me tired just reading.

When I see it in writing, I realize just how much traveling we actually do...

which works out well, since we love it & my job requires it.

Who knows what 2013 will bring for us,

but I know that regardless of it is the same or different,

it's going to be good.

Happy New Years Eve!

I'll catch you on the flip side... but until then,

what's been a highlight of 2012 for you?

Posted on December 31, 2012 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "holiday", "life", everyday living, marriage, holiday.

Just Your Average {Aspiring Kennedy's} Day

I think in blogging

its easy to make this space

a haven for venting.

We use the term "keeping it real"

to gripe and complain

about things...

and honestly, I try to not do that here.

You guys have enough going on in your own life...

you don't need to hear about my own drama

and honestly, it's a good mental exercise

for me to find a nice element of life

and savour it a little here.

I really believe that almost every single day has those moments.

In the midst of what has been a really hectic and not-so-awesome week

mixed with getting sick, work junk and spending last night in the hospital with a student,

I was starting to get dragged down into Snarkyville.

But all it took was spending

 the afternoon with people who are happy

and a surprise run-in with

 Tyler at the grocery store to get me back in stride.

Suddenly, life seems okay again.

Actually, it's better than okay.

It's really good.

Our Christmas Card after moving into our first home, 2008.

I'm sitting here with a giant belly

half-full of babies & half-

full of chinese food

while I watch 30 Rock

 and nurse a bloody nose.

{Editor's note: Now that is keeping it real, folks.}

Life isn't always perfect...

but man, most days are pretty good, aren't they?

Here's to good normal days...

and the occasional glorious ones

captured in the moments below.

5th Anniversary- NY, NY (Photo by: Victoria Wall Harris)

2nd Anniversary- Victoria, B.C.

4th Anniversary- Cortona, Italy

Iceland, 2012

*all images original to aspiring kennedy

Posted on November 8, 2012 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "life", "love", marriage.

An Aspiring Kennedy's Postcard Collection

I don't buy a lot of souvenirs when we travel.

My husband is too cheap to let me shop at will,

and I've gotten tired of lugging it home.

But one thing I always snag

is a kissing picture.

My sisters are so over them,

but I can't help it.

I was inspired by a picture on our honeymoon

and then a few months later,

lucked out with having this moment snapped

on our first trip to Italy

feeding the birds in St. Mark's Square in Venice.

Venice, Italy 2007

Almost six years later,

and it's my favorite picture.

Here are some others

that I think are pretty great.

Stonehenge 2011

Gimmelwald, Switzerland 2012

Lanzarote, Canary Islands 2010

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 2012

Olympia, Greece 2011

I might have to do another round of these soon.

I have quite the archive of these silly moments.

{It's easy to tell which ones are iPhone & which ones aren't, isn't it?}

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 18, 2012 and filed under "Jet Setting", "Kiss", "TK", "love", marriage, travel.

Homesick Texan

Most days, I find it pretty awesome that I get to live in Europe.

I mean with a constant backdrop of such stunning sites,

it's hard not to feel lucky.

But there are certain days when I just want to be back in Texas,

sitting on a patio with friends in the warm evening air,

a giant Mexican feast sprawled out before me

and hot sunshine beating down on my exposed shoulders.

Cinco De Mayo is definitely one of those days.

images via

I can hear what you're all saying to yourself:

"But Lauren, think on the bright side:

living in England gives you the chance

of becoming best friends with Kate Middleton..."

And you're right.

 Obviously, it is inevitable that, someday in the near future, 

the two of us will be giggling on her 15x15ft Kensington Palace bed,

comparing shades of our brunette hair,

& asking the MI6 man guarding the door to order us in a pizza.

However in today's vulnerable state,

I might be willing to go all "Esau" and trade my future plans

for a chicken chile relleno, tortilla chips, & a


 quart of hot queso.

Instead, Tyler & I will rally,

 head out to the best Tex-Mex we can find...

and celebrate the 6th anniversary of our first kiss.

Even though I have no sunset happy-hour at Gloria's with friends,

at least I have this guy...

and I wouldn't trade that for anything!

{If you haven't read

our love story

- click through & get cozy.}

*PS. This blog is titled after one of my favorite blogs as an ex-pat: Homesick Texan.

Posted on May 5, 2012 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "holiday", marriage, holiday.

Blogbuster Video- Switzerland!

A few weeks back, 

we went to Switzerland.

You might remember my pictures

from when we went

skiing in the Alps


exploring Gimmelwald.

But you haven't seen this, my friends...

the video I made from our trip!

Yes, I do like making videos...

At the end of each year, 

it is so fun to make a DVD of all our adventures from the year,

sit down, and force our families to watch them with us.

I like it a lot.

I also like 

the awkward accident at the end of the movie

from me thinking I was setting the self-timer.... only to find it was starting the camera.

PS. I started reading the Hunger Games.

Late to the mix, I know... but I'm loving it. 

Does that make me the last person alive to do this?

 If that's the case, I'd be winning in Panem.

Posted on April 5, 2012 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "movies", "switzerland", switzerland, travel.

It's Christmas!

Merry Christmas, friends!

I'd just hug each of right now if I could.

My heart's bursting with love this morning...
because while I don't normally talk about it,
I feel like the need to say it because it's Christmas.

{"And at Christmas, you tell the truth."}

Christ has come!

"Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
                                                    - O Holy Night, Adolphe Adam

Our Christmas Card, 2011.

Regardless of what you believe,
I hope you enjoy the day...
to have time to be with your families,
to eat lots of cinnamon-dusted treats,
or to plot after-Christmas shopping plans.

Enjoy the day!

*image original to Aspiring Kennedy
Posted on December 25, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "holiday".

US: The Final Chapter

A promise is a promise...
and while I might be tripping out on cold meds
with a head so congested it might explode...
I've got to finish this saga.

I just re-read the last portion and it is like a soap opera...
and I'm realizing,
it's time to bring it to a fairy tale ending.

(Spoiler alert? Nah, you already knew that.)

May 13, 2006

Lauren slips out of the dress
her friend, Laura, had leant her for the day.

After an entire morning, lunch, breakup
and the mattress-sob scene...
it's starting to look less like silk & more like crepe paper.

She changes into a t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie
looks in the mirror and realizes that her squinty eyes 
have practically disappeared into swollen oblivion.

To an outside observer,
she might as well have no eyeballs...
just giant, puffy skin flaps that overcrowded her sockets.

Lauren grabs her biggest pair of sunglasses
and heads downstairs 
just in time to hear Tyler pull up.

Before he has put the car in park,
she is sulking out the door 
and collapses in the passenger seat.



And they drive.

Lauren pulls her legs up to her chest,
crosses her arms around her legs,
and looks out the window.

Tyler drives aimlessly,
waits for her to speak,
and does his best not to notice her new ring.

He just enjoys the last few minutes 
of something that he thought was really special.

After a while, he pulls into Sonic 
and parks in a parking space 
on the back side of the lot.

He turns the car off 
and adjusts himself to face her...

"So... what happened?"

He waits to hear what he predicts 
will be the end of their story...
but as Lauren begins to recount the afternoon's events,
Tyler realizes it's not their relationship that ends today. 

She just couldn't do it, she explains.

Her boyfriend had started to hug her...
and when he did,
she just decided she couldn't wait all summer 
to make up her mind.

She already had.

It was obvious... 
and it's over,
and her (now, ex)boyfriend was so sad.

For all she knew, 
her (ex)boyfriend was somewhere on a highway
dragging his roller-suitcase behind him.

And she feels terrible.

And she cries again.

Tyler rubs her back
and doesn't say much 
as he digests the news.

Eventually, they realize how long they've been parked there
and decide to move along.

They drive around for a while...
and slowly, the conversation begins to shift 
from her old relationship 
to what lies in store for theirs.

And while there are some fresh wounds-
it's immediately as if a weight's been lifted off Lauren's shoulders.

It feels as if her life just started over.

It's just the two of them- 
together at last!

It's the beginning!

As they work their way past the city limits...
the late spring sun pours through the window
and, for the first time,
they're free to be who they've been wanting to be.

 By the time they reach the country hills,
there's an electric pulse running through them.

Editor's note: I'll never forget that car ride for as long as I live.

That night they go out with their friends one last time.

And when they arrive, 
no one has to explain a thing.

It was like everyone had known all along...
maybe even before they had known themselves.

note: residual puffy eye 
And everything felt right.

May 14, 2006

Editor's Note: This section is here just for your enjoyment...
and for a warning that, indeed, karma is real.

The next day,
Lauren says goodbye to Tyler...
though she knows she'll see him again soon.

Her brother & her head to Dallas 
 for Mother's Day brunch,
 are leaving later than they should have.

As they drive, she spills the big news.

She tells her brother everything & guilt washes over her again.

Her brother tells her it's okay...
 she made the right choice,
but she still feels awful.

As they cross the state line,
Her brother gets pulled over for pushing 90.

The country cop yanks her brother out of the driver's seat
 forces her brother to "spread 'em" against the car hood,
and gives him a Texas-sized frisking.

Lauren just stares blankly at the scene.
At this moment, she is so emotionally drained,
that nothing is registering.

As they arrive at lunch,
she tells her family the news:
she broke up with her boyfriend...
and now she's dating Tyler.

As gifts begin to parade across the table, 
Lauren continues to sob.

my four year old nephew took this picture at lunch. from the lens of babes, the truth speaks.
 In the midst of the chaos,
her mom opens a card from Lauren's older sister:

She's pregnant!

Everyone chokes back their words of comfort 
and expresses their excitement at the news.

A baby!

surprise! we're pregnant! not the atmosphere they had in mind...
As the conversation shifts to due dates & gestational stages,
the sound of Lauren's grandmother slapping her grandfather's back
turns the focus of the conversation across the table once more.

Her grandfather is choking.

He has had a stroke 
and is confined to a wheelchair
which proves to be a tough predicament 
when administering the Heimlich.

In an effort to not traumatize the entire restaurant, 
full of families gathered for Mother's Day, 
Lauren's grandfather ("Papa") is quickly wheeled
 out the front door of the restaurant
and into the flower beds by the parking lot.

Immediately, her dad, brother, and a startled bus boy 
work to hoist her grandfather up,
hold him upright,
& dislodge food from his throat.

Editor's Note: I am not making this up. What kind of person could?

Her grandmother stands on the sidewalk
next to Lauren, with tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Well, you're not that bad of a person," her grandmother says.

"I wasn't crying because of (my boyfriend)... I'm crying because of Papa!"

As the first signs of her grandfather pulling through...
 Lauren's dad pulls rank and reroutes the chaos.

He tells Lauren's younger sister to take Lauren home,
he tells her brother to go pay the bill & have valet pull up the cars,
and he tells her older sister to go find her mom...

...who at this point, 
is sitting alone at a table for 11, on Mother's Day 
with everyone's purses &  abandoned food.

Editor's Note: Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

The Weeks To Follow
(as told by myself)

I eventually stopped crying,
but I felt bad for a really long time.

Tyler came in town a few days after Mother's Day...
and my family got to meet him as more than just a friend.

They liked what they saw.

Three months later,
we booked a honeymoon,
I got fit for a custom wedding dress,
& ordered a wedding cake for 750 guests.

Three and half months later,
Tyler proposed.

And four months after the engagement,
we got married.

January 6, 2007.

I've been thankful every single day since.

Some people were really mean after all of this happened.

And honestly,
it's okay.

Well, no.

It's actually not okay to be mean to anyone.

But ultimately, it never mattered,
because I am with the right person.

It was worth every bit of worry,
every tear (of the millions) that I shed that week,
and every judgmental remark ever made about us.

Yup, it was worth it because every day I get to be with Tyler.

It might sound cheesy,
but it's true....
a little tribulation is nothing
when two people who are perfect for each other get to share their lives together...
it's worth working and fighting for. 

No matter how hard I knew it would be to amputate a part of my heart
and walk completely away from someone I cared for...
I knew it wouldn't be as difficult 
as living the rest of my life knowing I had settled.

And how will you know when it's the right person?

I can't tell you...
but I don't need to.

When you meet the right person
-and it really is the right person-
you'll know.

Posted on December 4, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".

US: Chapter 4

You might start to think I'm a liar 
as you read through each section of this story.

You'll think I'm embellishing the truth
to make everything sound heavier or more dramatic.

You might even think I went a little too far
and got a little cuckoo.

But the truth is, 
this is how it happened.

All the good & all the bad.

If I can be accused of any editorial rights 
in the creation of this story...
it's of not mentioning everything.

I'm having to leave out some chunks of detail...
but hopefully, the broad strokes will paint the big picture.

And hopefully, when you step back from the messy details,
you'll be able to see a big lovely picture about following your heart...
just like Tyler & I do.

where were we?

May 13, 2006

The only reaction Lauren can muster is
to feel her body go slack.

Her head drops,
her shoulders sag,
and, more or less, she becomes a rag doll 
in her boyfriend's arms.

As he senses the (slightly massive) shift of weight 
he pulls back and looks at her face.

Was everything alright?

She shakes her head no.

Baby, what's the matter?

As he cradles her head to his shoulder,
she starts to cry and slightly pushes herself away.

As he moves back to look at her face,
he suddenly realizes this isn't the emotions of graduation day.

This is about something else.

Was this is about... him?

And so he asks her,
"Is everything alright between us?"

Lauren keeps her eyes focused 
on the tiny buttons on his shirt 
and nods her head yes.

Was there something wrong?

Does she need space?

Was graduating & getting married 
too much to think about?

Or... does she even want to get married?

Lauren breaks the stare with the button on his shirt collar
and, slowly, as she shakes her head no... looks up at him.

She doesn't want to marry him.

He drops his arms from around her,
steps back, and stares at her.


She says she doesn't want to.

There's a long pause...
Lauren's cry moves from a stream of tears
to audible crying...
as her sobbing picks up to a louder pitch,
a parade of snot joins the scene.

She wipes her nose with her... arm (?)
and looks up at him.

She's sorry,
but it's just not going to work.

He tells her she is just stressed,
that he loves her so much,
and that they can take a break if that's what she needs.

But the important thing to remember
is how much they love each other.

Lauren shakes her head no.
It's bigger than that.

"You're not it for me."

Her boyfriend pulls her back into his arms,
she continues to cry.

He grabs her hand, 
leads her up the dim stairwell to her empty room.

The room is empty.

Everything else is headed to Dallas in the back of her parent's car.

The only remnants that remain are
 her twin mattress, which lies randomly on the floor,
and two laundry baskets piled with odd-shaped items
like perfume bottles, an alarm clock and a bedside lamp.

He goes and sits on the mattress in the middle of the room.

He suggests that they lay there together.

Let him hold her.
She looks terrified,
but obliges.

As they lay there, 
the emotional chasm becomes tangible.

Lauren is curled tightly in a fetal position,
sobbing into the crook of her arm.

As he tries to be close to her,
she continues to shrink into her snail-like position even more.

While he may have hoped for this to be a moment of reconnection...
her boyfriend is now left to feel like a pervert
as his hugs and kisses only conjure flinches & sobs.

"Ok. This isn't working."

Lauren nods in agreement and sits up.

They go back downstairs,
and as they descend into the living room...
the conversation takes a fateful turn.

Her boyfriend has now transitioned from confused to mad.

What is her deal?
Where is this coming from?
Why is she doing this now?

Lauren pretty much answers his questions
with damning answers:

She doesn't want to marry him.
He isn't the kind of guy she's wants.
She's sorry, but she's made up her mind.

No matter where the conversation went,
the answer was always the same:

There is no way this can continue.
She doesn't love him... 
not like that anyway.

And with that- 
her boyfriend calls his parents,
who at this point are 45 minutes down the road,
tells them to come back and pick him up.

He grabs his suitcase,
wheels it out of the apartment, 
and slams the door behind him.

She stands at the window and cries
as she seems him walk through the parking lot of the apartment complex
and continue down the street.

Within 15 minutes of arriving back at her apartment,
three years of them being together is finished.

Just like that. 

Lauren has never broken up with someone before,
because the truth is, she had never really dated anyone that seriously before.

She feels terrible.

She returns to that lonely mattress on her floor, 
cries, and realizes...
she needs her friends.

Within minutes, 
they have selflessly abandoned their own graduation festivities
and are at her side.

Editor's note: Apparently, I'm a hoe bag and a selfish friend. 
Thank you, dear friends, for putting up with me.
I will make it up to you, I promise.

As they sit on the carpet of her bedroom,
Lauren sobs out the sordid events of the past week.

Everything spills out and they stare at her slack-jawed
in silence at the end of Lauren's testimony...
except for her friend, Kyla,
who begins to cry.

They all stop and look at her with confusion.

Kyla is so relieved that Lauren is no longer dating her boyfriend
and she is so happy for Tyler & Lauren.

Editor's note: When you have a friend who cries over your love life,
you've found yourself a really good friend.

Her other friends agree that the new arrangement 
is a much better fit...
and as much as they shouldn't be surprised 
that Lauren & Tyler are together-
they are in shock of everything that has been transpired.

Eventually, her friends hug her and leave to go back to their families,
and Lauren is alone again at her apartment.

She texts Tyler...
she wants to see him.

But she decides that she first 
needs to mourn the death 
of her three year relationship 
with her (now) ex-boyfriend alone.

Editor's note: Total Drama Queen.

She feels like she owes some reverence 
to the end of their relationship
before immediately flocking to Tyler.

So she texts him.

Can he come over in 4 hours?

Editor's note: Four hours was an arbitrary number with no meaning
except for that, in Lauren's mind, 
it's an appropriate time period for being sad.

Tyler replies yes,
and Lauren returns to sob alone on the mattress.

She feels like a jerk.

She feels awful.

She hates to think of all he had done
to live his life near her.

But after she repeats this cycle of thoughts about 10 times,
she realizes it doesn't really matter how she dissects things...
at this point, they are what they are.

And she'd rather just be with Tyler.

"Actually, can you just come over now?"

Tyler looks at his phone,
and looks at his parents...

He shakes his head 
and tells him he needs to leave.

And Tyler heads out to see her,
as he predicts,
to have her end things with him.

Because obviously,
 the graduation weekend was a perfect setting for a proposal, 
and she had gotten engaged while both of their families were together.

*and because the response was, overwhelmingly, for two parts... more tomorrow!
**but i promise to be finished by the end of the weekend.

Posted on December 3, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".

US: Chapter 3

Earlier in the week,
I mentioned that this story
would be woven in four parts.

So in theory,
this part should be the final installment to our story.

I also said that this section would be shorter...
but it's actually pretty lengthy.

But if there's anything you should have learned by now...
it's that I'm someone who breaks the rules.

Gird your loins, friends...
because this story just took a turn
and we dove headfirst into the uncharted land of love triangles.

May 5 - 12, 2006

For years to follow,
references to this week would make Lauren sick.

In a very literal way,
a knot would tightly wind itself up in the pit of her stomach
when her friends or family would question the timeline of events.

In so many ways, it was such an exciting time...
at last, they were finally together!

But in every other moment, 
it was obvious how terrible things really were.

Like the moments they would be laughing together in Tyler's car
interrupted by the beep of a text message from Dallas.

The phone calls with her parents 
to plan a luncheon after graduation
with her family... and her boyfriend's family.

Having to answer Tyler's sister's questions
about her boyfriend's plans for grad school 
over Tyler's birthday lunch.

Yes, it was all wonderful
until reality would remind them
that Lauren was still another guy's girlfriend.

Tyler was doing his best to stay calm and play it cool.

He wouldn't talk bad about Lauren's boyfriend,
because this wasn't about trying to make someone look bad 
and him look better.

Tyler knew the only way she could really let go
was if she could see how good they could have it...
and trust it would be worth untying the promises she'd made.

Editor's note: And as a chronic over-committer, 
there had been some big promises made.

And he tried to remind her that in the grand scheme of things...
stories like this really aren't that uncommon.

In fact, it makes for great material for grandparents to tell their grandkids.

For as calm and together Tyler may have appeared,
Lauren was a complete wreck.

Beyond the normal stress of graduating college 
and moving into the real world,
she was now an adulterer.

Well, not really...
but you wouldn't have been able to convince her otherwise.

She had cheated on someone...
and as wonderful as it felt to be with Tyler,
it felt really crappy to do so with such guilt.

Because the truth was,
Lauren actually really loved her boyfriend.

No, she didn't want to marry him.

She actually hadn't really wanted to date him for a while.

But after you invest so much time into a person...
you get the privilege of learning who they really are.

And most people, 
regardless of their compatibility for marriage, 
have really good things about them.

And Lauren's boyfriend was no exception.

He wasn't a schmuck.
He was a really nice guy.

She wanted him to have the best...
he deserved it,
but at that time, 
what he wanted most in life was her.

Up to this point, Lauren had happily obliged.

She wanted him to be happy...
and even if that didn't feel like a fairy tale to her,
she enjoyed the idea of letting him live one.

And while she loved her boyfriend for many reasons, 
Lauren had never been able to see him the way she saw Tyler.

So what did Lauren do?

She did what any girl would do in this scenario...

She made out with Tyler like it was her last week on earth
and then wept for the remainder of her waking hours.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The day before graduation arrives,
and Lauren needs to drop off her car at the airport
so that her boyfriend can use it when he lands later that night.

She's coordinated with her parents to meet at the airport
as they pass by on their drive in for graduation.

And, naturally, Tyler comes along.

Even though her parents have never met Tyler.

In fact, they've just assumed he's a dorky fellow who follows her around...
because why else would she spend so much time with another guy?

The drive back from the airport is loud and busy.

Lauren's sisters are harassing Tyler in a way that only sisters can do,
her dad pecks away at his Treo while peppering in random jokes,
her grandmother begins an inquisition on the religious history of his family tree,
and as Lauren laughs at one of Tyler's responses...
she catches her mother's eye in the rear view mirror.

Her mom just glances up, raises one eyebrow, and looks back to the road ahead.

And while nothing is said,
Lauren can feel her neck and face start to burn red.

Editor's Notes: Moms know everything. 
It saves a lot of time to just tell them the truth up front. 

Her boyfriend arrives in town late that evening,
comes by her apartment to say "Hi,"
and then heads to the house where he is staying with her parents.

After he leaves,
she calls Tyler 
and he comes to pick her up.

As they sit at a red light
and Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble" plays,
Lauren realizes how ridiculous this has all become.

By this time tomorrow, she will be back in Dallas
and might not see Tyler again...

As the light turns green, he squeezes her hand
and, for the hundredth time,
 she feels tears fill her eyes.

May 13, 2011

It's graduation day.

This day has been dreaded for a long time.

Lauren is not ready for the real world...
 not ready to leave college...
 not ready to leave her friends...
 not ready to leave Tyler...
and not ready to get engaged to her boyfriend.

This mark on her life's timeline has been one
she has desperately tried to resist for a long time.

But it arrives...

... and it passes.

And before she knows it,
Lauren is cutting into a spongey sheet cake 
from the grocery store up the street
 in front of her and her boyfriend's families.

Their families have finally met after three years of dating.

It's all going really well
... except for her brother violently spilling a venti drip 
down the graduation bleachers
and destroying her boyfriend's mom's white dress.

Normally something like that would stress a girl out...
but when you've been cheating on her son all week,
your guilt level is so far beyond a coffee spill-
 you most likely won't even flinch when you hear about it.

As the chatter buzzes around her
 all Lauren can do is sink into the couch 
and stare down at the phone in her lap
After lunch, goodbyes are said...

plans are made to meet for Mother's Day brunch tomorrow in Dallas,

and Lauren and her boyfriend head to her apartment one last time.

The apartment is already packed up and cleaned out.
All they need to do is pick up the last bits, head out,
 and start their life together.

For three years, they've been waiting to get here...
this day marks the beginning of what they had always talked about.

And as Lauren has explained to Tyler,
she owed her boyfriend this time...

He had, after all, moved his life to be with her.

In spite of everything that had happened in the past week, 
it was the only solution she could resolve that was fair.

But as he closes the front door of her empty apartment 
and wraps his arms around her...
something inside snaps.

She watches in terror as her boyfriend leans into kiss her
and is suddenly disgusted at the idea of kissing anyone other than Tyler.

* Do you feel awkward yet? Like you are witnessing a train wreck? 
Or watching a woman walk around with her skirt tucked in her pantyhose?
** I can finish this story in one or two more posts. Put your preference below!

Posted on December 2, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".

US: Chapter 2

This is the point in our story where things start to get tense.

Looking back, it was a weird time
with a lot of emotions moving quickly.

There were some awkward confrontations
and some ugly moments...
both from others & my own.

I try to keep the drama excluded as much as I can here,
because it really is a good story...
it was just really difficult to live through.

But knowing what I know now, 
man, it was worth it.

Fall 2005

Lauren has returned from spending my summer in London & traveling Italy
and is gearing up to start her senior year of college.

She is feeling refreshed after an amazing summer
 filled with lazy days on the Italian coast,
dining and playing with her family in France,
and enjoying the fruits of a difficult long-distance relationship:
quality time in an awesome setting.

Lauren is also feeling really relaxed-
at last, her boyfriend is moving back to the states
and is going to start the next chapter of his life.

After a year and a half of late-night phone calls,
tearful near-break ups over the strain of living in different worlds,
and awkwardly explaining the situation to people at school...
the "real" them can finally get started.

Well, sort of, since her boyfriend will actually live six hours away in Dallas...
where Lauren will, eventually, move when she graduates in a year.

All she needs to do is get through 20 hours of awful classes 
with names like "Managerial Accounting" & "Business Law"  
and the rest is smooth sailing.

Tyler, on the other hand, is whipped.

Apparently, he's "fraternizing with the ladies" is starting to catch up to him.

Editor's note: Dem hoes will get ya.

His fling from the summer is starting to go psycho on him,
he has a co-worker that won't stop calling,
and he is starting to enjoy hiding out from the social scene.

He decides to focus on his semester ahead
and start making plans to move to NYC after graduation.

The first week of classes, 
Tyler finds himself on the back row 
of a night section of Business Law.

In front of him are two girls.

The first is a bubbly girl named Meredith 
who took him to her formal in the spring
but now is dating some older guy from Dallas.

The other girl is her roommate who never turns around to join the conversation.

Tyler and Meredith chat throughout the first weeks of class...
while Lauren, her roommate, ignores Tyler.

Because the last time they had crossed paths (literally)
he was too cool...
and, as every 21 year-old knows, two can play that game.

This continues on for weeks through the semester until Halloween rolls around.

Sometime in that three hour class, 
Tyler writes the two girls a letter.

He even draws a pumpkin at the top of the page.

When he slides it down for them to read,
Lauren finds it be hilarious
 and decides he must not be as bad of a human as she thought.

In fact, he reminds her of her brother-in-law.

As Lauren climbs in her car that night after class,
she calls her sister, Brooke, to tell him about this guy, Tyler.

She's giggling so much the words aren't coming out right
there's drool sliding down her chin as she laughs.

Her sister replies that if he is so much like her husband, 
why didn't she just marry him?

The conversation immediately downshifts from fun to awkward.

The drool is wiped off Lauren's chin
and she snaps back a defensive reply 
involving her love for her boyfriend
and how sick she was of everyone suggesting that she date someone else.

Why didn't anyone like her boyfriend?

The semester continued down a normal track,
but from that point on...
Lauren & Tyler were friends.

Spring 2006

The next months are really cloudy in retrospect.

No one from the outside really knows what is going on
except Lauren Bryan & Tyler Knight are inseparable
and that she is in a really serious relationship... 
with someone else.

Like, isn't her boyfriend about to propose?
Didn't he accept a scholarship for law school in Dallas 
so they can be close to each other?

Every day Tyler & Lauren spend time together.

On campus.

Off campus.

Each afternoon starts with a text that says:

"What are the plans?"

And plans would be made to go out to dinner,
to go out dancing with friends,
to cook dinner at some one's house,
to attend a speaker on campus...
and every time they were together,
it was really easy.

No drama. No awkwardness. Nothing was forced.

Just a good natural fit...
one that could only start as friends.

One weekend "the plans" involved a trip to stay with Tyler's family
to go see Coldplay's concert...
and to have Lauren's boyfriend there.

So they did.

And it was super awkward.

Like, this awkward.
After that weekend,
Lauren realizes she saw Tyler more than just a friend
 decides it's time to suppress those feelings,
and be a better girlfriend to her man in Dallas.

 Tyler begins to try to find every fault in Lauren
to stop him from feeling this way 
about another guy's girlfriend.

Editor's note: This is a very short list.

But they still continue to hang out together every day.

 One night at Lauren's apartment in late April
as she hugs Tyler farewell, 
Lauren awkwardly bemoans that she's attracted to him.

He just looks at her and replies
"It makes things complicated,  doesn't it?


A few more weeks pass
and suddenly, it's
 weekend before graduation.

This falls on a holiday celebrated south of the border
 under the name of Cinco De Mayo...
and it deserves to be celebrated with honor.

Lauren's brother comes in town to see her room mate, Meredith...
and naturally, Lauren & Tyler are there, too.

The night is full of hilarious moments.

Her brother picked up the tab for a table of Hondurans,
ridiculous scenes involving mechanical bulls & a sticky dance floor,
a visit to Taco Bell at 2 am,
and eventually getting stranded at Tyler's house afterwards without a car.

As they lay talking on his couch,
 Tyler quietly tells her he thinks
if they ever dated, they would get married.

And that if they got married,
it would be really, really good.

Lauren starts to cry,
because, the truth is: 
she agrees.

She often looks at her boyfriend and feels trapped...
but with Tyler, 
she knows life would be different.

Being with Tyler would be what she had always wanted...
what she had always imagined love should be when she was a little girl...
and while these are all great thoughts,
she cries because it's impossible to have that with him 
now that she was supposed to marry someone else.

And then, for the first time, they kiss.

*ahhhhhhhhh!!! i am sweating after writing this... 
and the next installment is worse, albeit shorter.
Posted on December 1, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".

US: Chapter 1

Before delving into the next two chapters, I would like to say something:

This is the story of Tyler & me.

It's our love story,
but unfortunately-
I can't talk about it
without mentioning other people.

Their names are dropped...
but people who "knew" me
at this point of my life
will be able to fill the gaps.

To the rest of you,
your reactions remind me how much I love blogging.

Consider this portion of our story the "adolescent stage."
There are going to be some awkward features appearing,
and it's not easy to see how they will all settle...
but they somehow do.

You'll just have to trust me.


Lauren goes to West Africa for the summer.

Spending nights in huts,
endless hours of driving through the desert,
wearing long skirts in the relentless heat,
and not speaking French fluently
combine to make this a really challenging summer.

At night, she lays in bed and dreams of Italy.

The occasional emails she receives over Togolese dial-up
from her newly-titled "boyfriend" back in Italy
brings her back to her happy place.

But after returning home in August and spending a week rafting with friends,
Lauren decides one night to end this, in her opinion, stale relationship
and move on with college life as it existed before...

The next morning she checks her email to learn that a plane ticket has been purchased
and in a few weeks, her boyfriend would be coming to visit her.

Lauren quickly logs off her email,
stares out the window into the early morning sunshine 
and passively resolves to play this one by ear.

FALL 2004

Tyler is back for his second semester.

He knows his way around,
and he is now living in his own house
with several of his new friends.

He also has, what I like to call, his band of hoes.

Editors note: Who, in reality, are all nice, functional females of society...
but, as his wife, I feel entitled to lump this stage of his life under such terms.

Lauren is back to dorm-life with her friends...
all of whom are in relationships,
including Lauren.

All of them except for one...
but, fear not, this girl has scoped out her soul mate
and she can't stop talking about him.

His name is Tyler Knight, 
he transferred in while I was in Italy,
and she's taking him to a party at a Pumpkin Patch...

But after a few weeks,
her roommate regretfully starts to suspect 
that he may not feel the same.

And so she introduces our suite into a revolutionary book that just been on Oprah.

It's telling girls how it really is when it comes to men,
and it's abruptly titled:

He's Just Not That Into You.

We reference this book when Tyler doesn't call her
to see, what in fact, this could possibly mean.

When we see Tyler out with another girl at dinner
we scan through its pages and look for guidance.

We flip through the chapters when Tyler gives her a side-hug
to diagnose the real status of their "relationship."

But all it seems to say is
that there isn't really a relationship...
and he doesn't really like her back.

In the meantime,
Lauren's Italian Stallion comes to the US for two weeks,
he passionately loves on her and says how much he misses her,
they spend the weekends with each other's families...

The night before he returns to Italy,
he looks into her eyes and tells her that he loves her,
that this relationship will work because he cares so much for her.

Lauren feels her heart swell that someone cares for her so much.

She assumes that this is what love must be...
and happily returns the sentiment.

As Lauren drives back to school that night, 
her giddiness begins to turn into a unsettling feeling in her stomach
and realizes that she may have just gotten in over her head.

The following week her roommate convinces her to go to a concert with her.

It's a band called the Drive by Truckers 
and, regardless of what kind of music it is,
 Tyler is going to be there.

It's the perfect place for Lauren to meet him and tell her friend what she observes.

The concert is at a classy place called Juanita's,
and that night, Lauren endures a brutal assault to her ears.

She hates this music and finds "the scene" to be far too cool for her.

As she stands against the back wall playing snake on her phone,
a friend introduces Lauren to a guy named Tyler.


She quickly assumes the role of "laid-back roommate" 
to help validate the eligibility of her friend.

As she talks over the loud music,
she's excited to learn that Tyler grew up knowing her cousins.

As it turns out, they have more in common than she could have guessed.

After the concert is over,
they say goodbye and return to their respective groups.

Lauren feels quite satisfied with her interaction,
she had never expected to make a new friend that night.

Tyler is ready to leave this awful concert
and wonders what that random girl was saying for the past hour.

All he knows is it he couldn't hear a thing, she wouldn't stop talking,
and the lighting was so weird he has no idea who she is.

Lauren & Tyler pass each other on campus the next week.

She excitedly waves hello to her new friend,
stops along the sidewalk,
and adjusts her Quicksilver messenger bag to a conversational position.

Tyler looks at the giddy stranger standing in his path,
 politely smiles and nods,
and walks straight past her.

If you were expecting a story involving love at first sight...
you might have come to the wrong place.

*I wish I had more pictures of this stage of our life, but facebook wouldn't open up to our college until Fall 05...
so I'm a bit limited to what I can scrounge up.

Posted on November 30, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".

US: The Prologue

A note to all the non-commentors who voted yesterday,
can I just say:

You all are really cute.

Apparently, people get a kick out of love stories,
(including myself)
and so now I'm sticking to my promise 
and figuring out how to articulate 
what is actually a rather complex story 
into four blog posts. 

And the easiest way to do this is, of course, 
to give you some background
on the two main characters of this story.

Are you ready for this?
Like, are you sitting on a train...
on the couch with a cup of tea...

Because this is a bit longer than my normal post length.

Fall of 2002

Tyler is a sophomore in college. 

After starting his college career off to the tune of
fraternity life & skipping class for PS2 (gross),
his parent's made him transfer into a smaller, local school...
where he lived at home, worked at a the nearby Home Depot,
and slowly began to wish away his college years.

Far away in another state,
Lauren is a college freshman at this point-
and her life could not be more different than Tyler's.

It's her first fall in college,
and she is busting at the seams.

She is making so many friends, 
getting to wear real clothes to class instead of uniforms,
connecting with great professors & administrators...
and for the first time in her life- 
boys are noticing her!

With this new found "talent,"
Lauren quite quickly scales up her previous kissing record 
of, ahem, one to a rather fun total of six boys by April...

Including one hilarious of make-out with a guy (Number 5)
surrounded by her friends, 
who were sleeping next to & around her
while at an acquaintance's house.

It could be said by an observer, 
that Lauren was soaking up all the fun she could on campus
before she left to study in Italy next year...
but also in the way every parent hopes for their child.

(She's incredibly innocent, naive, & prude.)

Christmas 2003

Tyler goes to visit his relatives for Christmas...
who happen to live across the street from the college Lauren attends.

His cousin is currently a freshman there at the same college,
and over the course of the weekend-
his cousins sell this college to him as a good place to finish school.

Tyler, being beat down with life, decides to give it a try.

He goes over to the school, fills out paperwork, enrolls, 
and decides that regardless of how this move ends up....
nothing could be worse than what he is doing now.

He also gets a Boxer puppy out of this decision from his parents,
which his sisters name Leia.

Meanwhile in Dallas, Lauren is packing up a giant suitcase
with Juicy Couture sweats, a Baby G watch, 
& a rainbow of solid tee's from GAP
to leave for the adventures that await her in Italy.

While she expects this time to be an adventure of a lifetime,
neither could she have guessed what actually is in store for her.

Lauren also makes out with a guy who is 2 inches shorter 
than her (Number 7) over the break.

Spring 2004

Tyler packs his F-150, 
sits his new puppy on the front seat,
and drives out of his drive way to start over.

He has an awesome job set up for him on-campus,
and he even has a free room to stay in at his Aunt & Uncles 
in the house across the street from the school...

 The same room, in fact, which Lauren had kissed #5 in just a few months earlier.

Upon arrival to campus,
Tyler quickly finds himself hanging out with the "cool crowd."

And to be honest, the girls love him.

He is nice, he's smart, he's got a backbone...
and with all the attention he receives,
Tyler soon decides that this might not have been a bad decision.

Lauren has no sooner touched down in Italy and drank her first cappuccino
than meets an (older) American boy who just moved to Italy.

She decides this is a great way to experience Italy-
getting to travel all over Italy
and fulfilling a dream of 
a Meg Ryan-induced romance in a European setting.

(Yes, I was ridiculous. I was 19.)

This semester in Italy ignites something in Lauren.

She loves living overseas, loves learning a new language,
loves the food, loves to go out with friends,
and loves having a boyfriend for all the romantic moments 
that she would have otherwise moaned to her friend:
"Man, I really wish I had a boyfriend right now."

Dates along the Arno river,
kissing on a bridge,
talking in cafes...
it was all perfect.

So perfect in fact, 
that it covered up all the awkward incompatibility
that would have been revealed
if they had met in a real-life setting.

At the end of the semester,
Lauren is heartbroken to leave Italy
and all the fun she has had there.

Her new boy-toy is heartbroken for her to leave.

They decide to keep this thing going...
which keeps her time in Italy alive
& allows her (non-confrontational) self
the option of avoiding a break-up & hurting feelings.

Va bene.

.... And I'll stop it here for now....

So what do you think...
should I keep going?

Posted on November 29, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".

Would you even care?

... to know about how Tyler & I got together?

You know,
to hear "our story?"

I always love reading about other bloggers.

Like Bridget...
or Elizabeth...

When I see these stories offered up,
I will dig back in the archived posts of days-gone-by 
to read each word of every post
 of these couples' love stories.

But for some reason-
I've never wanted to share our story...
publicly, at least.

Though seeing as how you put up with 
 obnoxious pictures of us kissing all around the world...
it might only be fair at this point
to give you some background on how this party started.

Our second kissing picture of a hundred... but my favorite.
So what do you think?

Yes, yes, yes!


Nah, just keep showing us pictures of England
and sugar-drenched pastries & pretty drinks.

Leave your vote below...
and I'll go with which side wins.

Posted on November 28, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "love".

Twas the flight before Christmas...

We've been stranded in England
during this crazy snow...

and are desperately trying to make it home for Christmas!

{Our Christmas card has more meaning today than I originally thought...}

This morning, we are hopping on a flight 
in hopes of making it home
just in time for Christmas Eve...
{for a bit of a Christmas miracle!}

Until then,
we will be getting cozy this Christmas Eve
 on our 11-hour flight, jam-packed, flight home 
with these in-flight essentials...

{Are than any great items I'm missing from my line-up?}

I hope you're getting cozy wherever you may be
 with the ones you love most!

Posted on December 24, 2010 and filed under "Jet Setting", "Kiss", "TK", "holiday".