High Five for Friday.

Helloooo bloggies. It's Friday, how grand! I love "staying-put" weekends--When we stay in Durham and rest and enjoy our town and our friends and our church. Lately, staying-put weekends have been few and far between for us. Our life is full of fun things going on...in other places! But, how grateful I am when one of these weekends rolls around. As the weekend begins, I like to link up with Lauren to share five good things from the week. What are yours? You can link up too! Here are mine:


A fun family wedding last weekend in Georgia. Lots of good cousin time, oh and Mamma time! Thanks Jen for letting me borrow your lovely dress.
Me and my man...a little windblown.
Cousin row!
So happy to see this girl!
All cousins, although you wouldn't know from looking at us.

These cookies that my sweeeeet friend Nikki brought to me on Wednesday. The perfect hump-day remedy. My word, were they good. 

Being creative with end-of-the-month meals. Do you know what I mean? Whenever we get close to the end of the month and our food budget is spent, I try to make random dishes out of anything that we have left. Tuesday: Fried rice with broccoli, peas, egg, green onions, and brown basmati rice. Wednesday: Pasta with pea shoots, broccoli (cooked with lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper), avocado, cheese, and olive oil. It was a random bowl of green goodness. Here's to next week's slightly more traditional dishes. 

I had several great runs with Adam this week. The lighter-out-for-longer trend is making it possible to run together even when Adam doesn't get home till 6:30-7:00. It's so much better than running alone. 

Pulling out my bin of summer clothes. Emptying it. Re-filling it with sweaters, coats, and thermals. And pushing it back under the guest bed until September...at least! I heart warm weather. 

Happiest of weekends to you all! I hope you've got some fun things planned for it. 

And, once again, thanks for reading--Friends, family, and strangers: it just tickles me that you follow this blog of mine. 



Comments on Being Married, Month 5

Five months ago today was my favorite. 

I still relive it all the time. Every time Adam and I watch our wedding video, we conclude that we could relive the whole day about 15 times and still not be tired of it. But, while the wedding was fun, marriage is even better. And we do get to live it over and over, every day. Here are some comments on being married, after month five:

-How did I ever live before I had someone to get things off of the really high shelf for me?

-Going to weddings as a married couple is great. You get to relive your day in little ways, and be gushing with love and smooches and googley eyes at one another, if you want.

-We JUST started doing our laundry together. It took us awhile to plunge into the combining of loads, but now we're there. And it feels a lot more natural. And water efficient.

-Even if you don't own your home, there are always projects to be done around the house.

-After being around each other enough, you start having really weird debates. Like who makes who weirder (He makes me weirder). And whether the correct abbreviation for husband is hubs or husb (Obviously hubs). Or whether clean sheets make the bed hotter or not (Mm, I think he's right, they do).

-Pillow talk is the best and sometimes where the most honest stuff comes out.

-Praying together is most important.

-When your husband elbows you in the eye or head butts you so hard that you feel your brain rattle around while he's sleeping, just forgive him. But remind him of it in the morning for some sympathy. And maybe also consider wearing a helmet to bed.

-It's okay to not be in the same room entertaining one another with your company 100% of the time. It's okay to be in the same room and not entertaining each other too. You'll be together the rest of your life, and if this is an expectation, you might get exhausted.

-Learning to make decisions together is one of the best things to figure out early on. Also, one of the hardest to learn.

-Even when your funds are combined, and you know how much the other is spending on you, it's good to still go on nice dates every once in awhile without stressing about money. And to let yourselves buy each other surprise birthday/Christmas gifts without trying to figure out how it will fit in the budget. 

-It is good to embrace the pruning that God does during the beginning of marriage and to appreciate the opportunity to be made more holy, rather than resenting it.

-In the prayer that my dad prayed over us at our wedding ceremony he said, 

"And for all the years ahead, may they look back on this wedding day and recognize with wonder and awe that of all their married days, this was the one on which they loved each other the least."

I don't think I stopped smiling on my wedding day. And when I stood at the alter, beaming ear to ear, and listened to my dad praying those words, I didn't understand how I could ever love Adam more. But you know what, I already love him so much more deeply than I did then. And I bet by month six, it will somehow be truer still, 

because marriage is beautifully mysterious like that.

What are you other married folks learning these days?


Watermelon, Watermelon

This weekend Adam and I were in Georgia for a family wedding. Neal family weddings are always kind of crazy and always incredibly fun. This weekend was no exception. There are 11 cousins on my Neal side and we have always been real fond of one another. Like extended brothers and sisters. When we were little, we'd always visit each other in the summers and eat lots of watermelon. The parents would send us outside, each with our own wedge and we'd make a hot mess out of ourselves. Our parents liked to line us up in height order and take photos of us eating our melon, like this.

On second thought, they liked any excuse to line us up in height order.

So somehow the tradition began that at every Neal cousin wedding we would take a picture, in height order, of us eating watermelon. Of course, the wedding watermelons are imaginary. Here are some examples.

My sister's wedding:
By Sarah Cramer Photography
By Sarah Cramer Photography

Cousin Chris' wedding:

Our wedding:

By Eric Kelley Photography

By Eric Kelley Photography

And Judson's wedding 4 days ago:

The height order has changed a bit. Paul, who used to be on the far-short side has now established himself as the far-tall side man. I used to be somewhere in the middle and now I am stuck second from the end on the short side. We aren't always all there, but those missing are there in spirit. 

Do y'all have a lot of cousins? What funny family traditions do y'all have?

It's fun to think about my sister, brother, and me all having children one day and making them do silly things that eventually stick with them. Matching PJs on family vacations? Silly annual pictures? Endless possibilities. I just hope that they love one another as much our cousins always have!


High Five! It's Friday!

Happy Friday Friends! Weekends just seem to get closer and closer together all the time. Can't complain. That means it's time to link up with Lauren again. There were lots of good things this week to share. But here are just 5 of them: 

Getting my hair cut for the first time this year. Much needed. Couldn't love my stylist more! Check her blog out here.

A weekend full of Girl Time. Pedis included. And Cherry Blossoms.

This beautiful bush that is blooming in front of our house. I love looking at it out my kitchen window. And, all the pretty pansies.

This new hand soap from Trader's. I go into the downstairs bathroom all the time now just to wash my hands with this soap

Headed to Atlanta today (road tripping with my brother and husband) for one of my cousin's wedding. There is nothing like a Neal family wedding! Can't wait to see lots of people I love, dancing like maniacs. And also to lay in the sunshine with my Mamma.

What were the top five things from your week? Want to link up with Lauren too? Just click the button below and find out how!


I hope that your weeks were great and your weekends are even better!


Wear for Fun

Yesterday evening I was hanging with some good girl friends, eating ice cream, soaking in the sun, you know--the works.  And my friend Jenny brought up the topic of those pieces of clothing/accessories, that make you feel like your life would automatically be more fun if you wore them. Sounds ridiculous right? Guess this hot weather is getting the best of us. But just play along for a second. 

For instance, I saw these shorts the other day and imagined how fun my spring/summer would be in them:

Maybe with a cute stripey top like this?

My sister and I would love to sport these together this summer and be twins. Her in the skirt, me in that dress. Both completely adorbs.

Oh, and these Kate Spade flats...yes please!

And perhaps a few of these Bangles?

Ok, I must control myself now (and none of these things are in my budget). What are the things you dream of playing in this spring/summer? It's fun to play dress up in your mind right!

But just for the record, 

in the end, I'm pretty sure if I've got this cute blonde,

my prescription sun-glasses, and a comfy pair of flip-flops, my summer will be pretty perfecto, bubble gum shorts, 

or none.


Spring and Nif are Similar.

Last year on March 20th I posted about my sister. Today is her birthday. And also, the first day of Spring.

But what I didn't post about last year is the fact that today is also one of my best friends in the whole world's birthday too, Jen. Or as we sometimes like to call her Nif. 

I think it's utterly appropriate she was born on the first day of Spring. Spring finds us cold and worn down from winter (ahem, this year being the exception because we had no winter) and renews our spirits. Jen embodies this sweet characteristic of Spring. Spring also brings yummy flowers and smells. And Jen, bless her, provided me with the best flowery, yummy-smelling candle of my entire life (And I ration its burn time as if my life depended on it. Still going, after 2+ years.) This is what a home should smell like.

Another thing that Jen has in common with Spring: They let you wear fun springy dresses and skirts. Jen gave me one of my favorite Spring dresses and skirts. And she just loaned me a pretty dress for the Spring wedding we're going to this weekend. 

Spring and Jen both make you comfortable and optimistic. Spring and Jen both make you warm and very much at peace when you're around them. 

See what I mean? So similar.

But maybe the reason why Jen and Spring sharing a birthday is so appropriate is the way that they both bring beauty out of things that were gloomy. Jen has this crazy-beautiful faith. And her faith has a crazy-beautiful story to accompany it. And her faithfulness inspires those around her to be more faithful. The way she loves God encourages those around her to love God. The way she loves others (especially her friends) inspires those around her to love others better. Jen's walk with God and her love for both friends and strangers challenges and encourages me to emulate Christ's love in the same way she does. And allow Christ to make me more beautiful in spirit through the example of the beautiful-in-spirits that he gives me as friends.

So, happy Spring Jen! And Happy Birthday too. Thanks for being beautiful both in spirit and in flesh. Love you, and love that you brought Spring our way!



I texted Adam a picture of the cherry blossoms I was seeing in DC this weekend. I wish he could have been there to see them too. He responded: 

"Woah, those are blawesome." 
(Meet my husband.)

What do you think?

Isn't she lovely?

Hope your weekends were filled with lovely signs of Spring/Summer too. And, if you live anywhere remotely close to DC, go see the cherries! They're splendid, and totally blawesome.


High Five For Friday

Friday is here again! Is anyone else as happy as I am about that? It's so good to be here (linking up with Lauren) sharing the top five things from my week.


Saturday night Ad and I got to have dinner and hang out with some of our best friends from high school before heading back to NC on Sunday.
This couple:

And the awesome folks behind this business!

Ah, hanging out with them takes us back to those early days of our romance. This is Shaz and Jamie and me back in high school, playing in Disneyworld! Love these girls and enjoyed seeing them so much!

The start of march madness. Great games already after night one. But was anyone else as offended by the color of Baylor's uniforms as I was? I could hardly look at them. Why, Baylor?

This yummy dinner that we ate: 
Turkey-arugula-feta burgers with avocado and baby potatoes. And lots of Katsup! The best part, Adam made them. I bought this (pretty) bottle of wine as a treat to enjoy with them. Yes, I bought it because there were polka dots on the label. Turned out to be a good decision though.

Turned in the second draft of my thesis yesterday to my committee. My word, this means I'm almost done! Let's just hope they don't have quite as many comments this time around.

I leave today for a girl's weekend in Northern Virginia. I get to see 3 (maybe 4) of my bridesmaids, at least 6 of my sorority sisters, and one of my other besties too! I think I'm going to wear this dress for our girls night out tonight!

What are your plans for the weekend? Watching a lot of basketball? I hope that amidst all the girl time I can at least get my eyes on two Duke wins! And some DC cherry blossoms. :) 
Lots of love friends! Happy Weekend!


I Break For: Spring

It seems as though taking a week off of school/thesis/email/life near the beginning of March (aka Spring Break) results in the arrival of 80 degree weather and daffodils. What a pleasant finding for the Nelsons. We left the home state (Washington) on a rainy/snowy/mushy Sunday to return to our home in Durham where Spring was not waiting on us to arrive. It had come and seems to be planning to stay this time.

Bumble Bees
Pink Trees
White Trees
Budding bushes everywhere
Short sleeves
Sunny glasses
Rolled Down Windows
Beautiful Things
Sweet Smells 
Running Outdoors

Warm and Fuzzies

This is some of what Spring to me.

And I'm loving the start of the warm, light-for-longer, sun-shiny months here in good old North Cackalacky.

Is Spring arriving where you are? What are your favorite things about it?



We got home this morning after taking the red-eye out of Seattle last night. Red-eye flights make me think of my little (big) brother, Paul. Once, when he was really young, we were taking a red-eye to come East and visit the family. We got on the plane and the first thing he did was turn to my mom and say, 

"Mom! Are my eyes red yet?"

He was the cutest little boy. Now he's huge and still pretty cute. 

Speaking for Paul, Adam, and myself, our eyes certainly were red by the time we landed in Atlanta at 6:20 am this morning. Or was it 3:20 am? Well, the night before that it was 2:20 am. Time change + daylight savings + nope, no coffee yet = no clue what is going on in the world. 

I feel like I am losing my focus now. It's probably a result of everything above. Aaaaand anyway...

As we travelled home from a super awesome week of vacation I was reminded about how stressy of a flyer I am. Remember this post about "little-knowns"? Remember how I mentioned that I hate flying? No I don't hate traveling. I adore it. I just hate flying. These are some of the things that stress me out when I'm flying (we'll stick to domestic flights for now):

-Uncertainty about whether there is going to be a line the size of eternity at both the desk and security, or, whether I'll be able to walk right through both. Just how early should I get there? There's no telling! So the answer; really early. 

-Having to spend money on airport food if I get hungry. The prices are like 3x what they are everywhere else. Especially at coffee shops. 

-When people have to open up their suitcases in the airport. I can't even watch. Whether it is too heavy and they have to shift stuff around, or whether they are taking something out of their roller-board at security. Seeing people scramble around inside of their (messy) suitcases and wondering how they'll get it all back together neatly. Or even just zipped! Eeeks. And the thought of having to do it myself. Stress-indcucing. (Am I alone on this one?)

-The way Adam folds up his boarding pass until it's all wrinkly and puts it in his pocket. I can't explain this one. It just stresses me out. That's why I act like I'm his mother and make him give it to me to take care of/ensure it stays nice and crease-free till we board.

-Everyone crowding around to board the plane before their zone is called. 

-The air vents on the plane that feel like they are blowing dirty air on me.

-Wondering how annoyed the person behind me will be if I lean my seat back. 

-That feeling just before the wheels hit the ground and I get thrown all about.

-Checking the pocket in front of me 10x as I get off the plane to make sure I didn't leave any of the things that I (never) put in there, in there.

-Insufficient lay-over time/close connections/people taking forever to de-board when I'm trying to make a close connection/being seated near the back of the plane when said people are taking forever to de-board when I'm trying to make a close connection.

-Wondering whether my bag is going to pop up at the carousal or be lost for the 100th time. Also, wondering if when I get it back it will have a little notice that they looked through all my stuff underwear. 

Gosh, it is fun to go. And it's always great to come home. But, it's all that stressy stuff in-between that I really need to get over. I probably have red-eyes at the end of every trip, with this list of stressors!

Am I alone? What stresses you out when you fly? 
Or are you way more chill about it like my husband and most normal people?


High Five For Whistler.

Usually I always know when Friday rolls around because I'm ready and excited for the weekend and excited to link up with Lauren. This morning, my mom had to remind me that it was Friday and time to post my "high-fives." I guess that is the sign of being on a great vacation...and being in denial that it's Friday, my last day in Whistler. Naturally, there are a lot of high fives from this week in my favorite place:

Spending a day and night with my in-laws at Emily and Bobby's house on the way North. Bananagrams, Skip-bo, put-put, baked potatoes, and gelato. Couldn't get enough!

Adam learning to ski and killing a black diamond by his third morning. So impressed with the hubs this week. He deserves a kiss.

Heated bathroom floors in our condo. It would be hard to put a picture of this here without it just looking like a floor. But trust me, it's luxurious.

Every restaurant in Whistler has Gluten Free options on the menu. Even on the mountain during lunch they had gluten free buns for all their burgers and sandwhiches. Gosh, I'm getting spoiled.

The Dubh Linn Gate. It's our favorite place for Apres Ski. Live Irish music, Guinness, Cider, Baked cheesy things, and sore muscles. It's a very happy place to be. 

Happy Friday from Whistler my friends. Can't wait to tell you more about how our time here finishes up. Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are!  

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