11 Things We've Learned from How I Met Your Mother

Well, friends, it's the end of an era. 

How I Met Your Mother ends tonight and I've already bought a case of wine and 3 boxes of Kleenex. I feel like this is our generation's equivalent of FRIENDS going off the air. I can remember my mom and all of her friends having a finale party and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they were so attached to a TV show. 

Well, here I am, mourning the end of HIMYM. I'm that girl.

So, to pay tribute to one of the greatest shows of our time, I've come up with 11 things How I Met Your Mother has taught us.

(one) Nothing good ever happens after 2 am. But really, we all know it's true. Just go home.

(two) The "Naked Man" is proven to work two out of three times, but really guys, it's not necessary. Unless you're Adam Levine, just keep your clothes on. There are other ways to woo a girl.

(three) If someone challenges you, your answer should always be "challenge accepted." Not necessarily to win a girl, but to take a chance. Do something that isn't in your comfort zone. Live a little. After all, what if you miss out on the greatest adventure of your life?

(four) Interventions are a necessary part of friendships. When you become concerned over a friend's silly obsession with a particular fad, by all means, get yourself a banner, gather up the gang, and hold an intervention. Sometimes only our friends can save us from ourselves!

(five) Ladies, on the Hot/Crazy Scale, always stay above the Mendoza Diagonal. And if you don't know what that is, you better look that up and watch yourself!

(six) If HIMYM taught us anything, it's patience. As Barney says, "wait for it." While he only uses it to create suspense, Ted keeps on telling us that waiting for it--as in, waiting for the one--really is worth it in the end. Enjoy life as it comes, and just wait for it.

(seven) You'll never look at a yellow umbrella the same way again.

(eight) One of my favorites--live by Barney's mantra..."When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead." Barney may be an egotistical womanizer, but you gotta love that man.

(nine) 10 minutes is all you need for a good first date. Ah, Ted...the romantic at heart.

(ten) If you can't spot the "woo girl" in your group, it's probably you. And that's okay, refer to number 5, and you'll be alright. 

(eleven) And probably the most important, every friend in your life needs to pass the "porch test." Look at yourself sitting on your front porch with those friends in 50 years. Will you still want them around? If not, they're not worth your time now. You'll find the ones you will want around for the rest of your life.

Swarley, the pineapple, slutty pumpkin, slap bets, Robin Sparkles, Maclaren's, just to name a few...we'll miss you.

And yes, I get too attached to TV shows, I'll be the first to admit it. So, if you need me, I'll be binging on HIMYM episodes on Netflix until the finale tonight. 
Thanks for the memories, HIMYM. It's been legen-wait for it-dary. Legendary.

The Day I Became Mrs. Walker: Our Video Teaser

Y'all, I am so ready to share our wedding day with all of you. It was the best day of my life, and it is so overwhelming to try to put all of those feelings and emotions and memories into words, but I'm sure as heck going to try!

Until I get all of our photos from my fab photographer, I DO have a little teaser video from our incredible videographers, Tyler and Nicole Cole from 314 Productions

I cry every time I watch it, because it takes me right back to February 1st and my heart is so full. Full of joy, full of thankfulness, full of happiness. 

Nicole has been one of my favorite blogging besties turned IRL friend, so when she and her husband started a videography business, I knew I HAD to have her there for our wedding. I hadn't initially planned to have a videographer, but it is one of the best decisions I made and I am so thankful to have these memories through video. 

So, without further ado, here's a sneak peek of our wedding day, the day I became Mrs. Walker.

                                      Rachel + Andrew: Teaser from Nicole Cole on Vimeo.

Celebrating Katie and Mary Elliott

My little sister and her husband are expecting their first baby any day now! A few weeks ago, we had the joy of showering them with lots of love and baby stuff. It was the perfect morning celebrating my best friend and my soon-to-be niece, who is going to be more loved (and spoiled) than we ever knew was possible! 

 Whimsy cookies...the BEST sugar cookie you'll ever eat! 

One of my Etsy touches..."Wishes for Baby" cards and "Advice for the Mommy-to-Be." I loved this idea because it was very personal and was something Katie could look back on for years to come!

 Instead of a traditional "guest book," we had everyone sign the book "Guess How Much I Love You" for Katie to keep in Mary Elliott's nursery.

 Three generations!

 Doesn't she look phenomenal? She's gonna be a hot mama.

 Hostesses with the guest(s) of honor!

Dillard women

Y'all know me, and I have to be cheesy for a second--I am so proud of my sister. She has become one of the most incredible, loving, patient women I know. I am thankful for her friendship and for her support, and I know without a doubt she is going to be such a fantastic mother. Mary Elliott is a lucky little girl! I can't wait to see this journey unfold.

Hurry up, Mary Elliott! We are ready to meet you.
 (Your aunt is going to spoil you and give you everything you could ever want!)

Why Did I Come Back?

I got a text message yesterday that spawned the following post, when I wasn't really going to address any of these thoughts, but you see how far that attempt made it. 

One of my friends texted me during the day yesterday and all she said was this:
"Why did you start blogging again? I thought you were done with all of that."

I sat there for a few minutes and thought about it, puzzled. I wasn't sure how to respond initially, but after a while (and a glass of wine) here's my answer.

I'll be honest--I teetered back and forth lately on the edge of starting fresh with a blog or just staying in my blog retirement. So many days, I read through my blog list and am encouraged and uplifted...the creative fire starts to burn again and I can't wait to be back in this community. Then there are other days when I'm ashamed to be a part of the blog world; when I see girls taking sides on Twitter, silly posts that just seem to add drama, women talking bad about other people who just wanted to express their own opinions, posts mocking "lifestyle bloggers."

Why is there a stigma when it comes to blogging? Why is it okay to be mean girls? I think we should encourage and uplift instead--jealousy rears its ugly head and makes a mockery of this blog world. 

I got to thinking last night--there's good and bad with blogging, just like in life. You'll always come in contact with good things and bad things, it all comes down to which path you choose. Do I choose to overlook the bad, whatever it may be, and embrace the good? Or is the bad too overshadowing to even see the good? It's all in what I choose. I have the choice!

The thing about this community that pulled me back in is the friendship that it brings. (insert cheesiness...I know.) The girls I've "met" that I can genuinely call friends. The ones whose numbers I now have in my phone and could text them at a drop of a hat to ask anything from an opinion on which dress to wear to a serious prayer request, because I know they're there for me.

THAT is why I'm back. That is why I couldn't stay away from blogging for too long. I don't care if this blog has 12 followers or 20,000 followers; I just want to be genuine. I want to create a space that is my heart poured out, somewhere that I can write my life and continue to cultivate those friendships. The link-ups, the giveaways, and the awards...those things can be trivial when it comes down to it--that's not what this community is about. I hope to make this blog better and different than my last; how, I'm not sure yet, but I'll get there.

Bloggers, why do you choose to be a part of this community? Nonbloggers, why do you read? What draws you in? What do you want to hear to keep you reading? 

I'm all ears, because I believe life is full of second chances and new opportunities, and I'm going to make the most of this one. 


The Blinking Cursor

I've started writing and then stopped and hit the delete button 3 times now. I stare at the cursor on the screen. A few sentences spill out, then I reread it, and it just seems trite, impersonal. The same stuff you read every day. The stuff I used to write. 

That's not what I want this to be.

Let's start fresh. Hi, I'm Rachel. 

This is me.

I used to write over at {simple.little.joys} and it was a space that I loved and obsessed over for almost 3 years. It was a place of comfort, therapy, and support for me, until it wasn't, and I had to get away from it. It became a chore, a necessity...the thing I never wanted it to become. I fought against the pull of negativity, but eventually, it was too much.

I stopped writing and then I lost my sparkle. I'm a creative person at heart, and without an outlet, I start feeling like I may explode at any moment. I put a lot of the excess energy into house projects, wedding planning, party prep etc. And it worked. For a while. Then my life slowed down...but my head was still spinning with words and thoughts and ideas and my fingers itched to just write. 

That's when I decided to take the plunge back into the blog world, but on a new page. As much as I loved my old blog, I couldn't imagine just picking back up there. I'm such a different person now...so that called for a fresh place, a clean space. So I contacted Mrs. Kinch, who rocked my face off with how easy and perfect she was with designing. This page has been up and ready to go for probably 2 months now, I've just been waiting until my heart was ready to write.

As the days passed, and I kept searching for inspiration here, there, and everywhere, I realized that I'd never really be ready to write, I just had to close my eyes, jump, and see what happened. So here I am. As ready to write as I'm ever going to be. It's scary, I'm not going to lie.

It's vulnerable opening your life back up to the blog world. I was so hesitant to become transparent again, but I think I'm ready. I love this world and I miss being a part of it. I feel as if I've been on vacation for a long time, but here I am, back where I belong and feeling refreshed. So much has changed over the past few months, and yet so much is still the same. I'm never a huge fan of change, but everything that's happened over my absence has been welcomed with open arms. I'm growing and changing and evolving, and I love who I'm becoming, even if the process is slow. 

I can't wait to talk to y'all about life and what has happened and all the good and the bad--it thrills me so to open this page and have this outlet again. 

I promise now (to whoever may read) that I'm not going to fall into the same blog rut that I was once in. I'm also not going to take part in the "blog rules" that I once fell prey to. I may have a post that's all photos. Or all words. Or a little of both. And I may post every day of the week, or I may post only twice. And look at me--first post on a Tuesday! I'm living on the edge. I'm just going where my heart leads. 

I saw this quote a few months ago and have probably read it 100+ times since then. Something about it is so profound to me; each time I read it, I get something new out of it--so I wanted to share with y'all. 

I'm embracing. 

Oh, and let me leave you with a sneak peek of something that happened while I was away...

More on that later!