Category: Coffee and Confessions

Tom and I’s NFC and AFC Predictions…

Well, while my Carolina Panthers’ season ended weeks ago, four teams still remain. By the end of Sunday, we’ll know which two teams will contest Super Bowl LIII. The Kansas City Chiefs are set to host the New England Patriots for the right to represent the AFC. While the New Orleans Saints, will host the Los Angeles Rams for the right to represent the NFC.

Both games are rematches from the regular season, which both teams were evenly matched and should be wildly entertaining.

It’s got an E! True Hollywood Story vibe these 2019 edition of the conference championships. It’s a quarterback duel between a seasoned vet and a young stud with something to prove in each matchup. Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes will be phenomenal. I would love to see the young and humble Mahomes deflate the oversized ego of Cry Brady. On the other hand, I would also love to see my nemesis Drew Brees find his kryptonite in Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams’ defense. Whichever we get in the NFL’s final game is going to be exciting and yes slightly disappointing-I wish my Panthers were there again.

As I sit here and ponder exactly what the outcome of these games will be (in my 2015 NFC Conference Championship t-shirt thank you VERY much) here are my predictions of what will go down.

Game 1: Los Angeles Rams VS New Orleans Saints

Tom and I’s Prediction: 31-24 LA Rams

Keys to Rams success: Having Donald and Suh get pressure on Brees and being disruptive. Stopping both Kamara and Thomas. Limiting the big plays by the Saints and not turning the ball over, as a Panthers fan who sees the Saints twice a season I know more then anyone how they are known for converting turnovers to points and also swinging the moment quickly. Rams have to establish the run game with Gurley and Anderson early. By doing this they can have long drives and keep Brees on the sideline. The longer Brees is over there the better the Rams chances of winning are.

Game 2: New England Patriots VS Kansas City Chiefs

Tom and I’s Prediction: 38-35 KC Chiefs

Keys to Chiefs success: The play of Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has been the Chiefs rock all year with his dynamic play making ability and he needs to be is the best version of himself. The offensive line can help him out by protecting him and giving him time. They also can’t forget the run game, much like the Rams against the Saints, the Chiefs need to keep Tom Brady on the sidelines for as long as they can. Getting the run game going early will help this greatly. The Chiefs also need to make the most of their opportunities. If they force the Patriots to a 3 and out or get a turnover, they need to make something out of it and get points. Against Tom Brady those are far and few in between, and I wouldn’t want to go score for score with Brady and the Patriots. Lord knows if there’s 0:09 left on the clock in the 4th, Brady and the Patriots offense can and WILL send this game into victory or at the very least overtime.

Either way it’ll be a knock out, drag out between four contending teams, one I intend on getting a pint of Halo ice cream and enjoying as much-as a football fan who’s team is also watching from their couch-can.

What are your predictions? Leave a comment below and Keep Pounding!

Love you. Mean it.



Walking Your Way To A Healthier Life

Today I walked 12.07 miles, took 25,827 steps and hit another personal goal for the New Year. Two years ago, even four years ago I would’ve never dreamed that I could accomplish this goal. On a good day, if I walked 2-4 miles that was an accomplishment in and of itself but today to hit this milestone is both self-inspiring and amazing.

Those of you who’ve followed my blog since the beginning know I’ve struggled mightily on my anxiety, weight and stress. It’s a very real and very unglamorous part of life, however walking has helped me so much. I have even suffered from less panic attacks then I did since changing my diet. In addition to this, I can better maintain my weight and control how much extra calories/ carbs I burn that allow me to indulge here and there. Finally in addition to my job as a secretary which is so much less stressful then being a preschool teacher, I sleep so much better and through the night. Walking has transformed my body, mind, spirit and endurance so much so that I wanted to share three tips to help jumpstart you on your own journey of walking (if that’s what I’d like to do).

1. Start off small and don’t get discouraged

Beginning my journey I started to feel the burn after 3 miles. I set little goal for myself, my first month I agreed to walk 3 miles a day. As my endurance built I added one extra mile to each day a month. Before I had my treadmill, I was at the mercy of the weather and worked my endurance up to 6 miles a day but after I got that missing piece of the puzzle the sky has been my limit. Building endurance is important especially in the early phases of conditioning your muscles to avoid tears, start off small and at the next month add one extra mile to your routine. Before you know it you’ll be up to ten miles a day which brings me to my next point…

2. Alternate between high intensity days and low intensity days

Your muscles do need time to heal especially after a strenuous walk, jog or run. While walking is so much less strain on your muscles and joints, taking breaks are equally as important to give your body time to recover. If you walk 10-12 miles in one day, aim for 5-6 the next day. Alternating your routine will give your body time to recover between high intensity workouts. Sometimes it’s best to give yourself a full and honest break, if you’re like me and can’t sit still there are other options. For instance, if you have another hobby (like yoga) it’s good to do this on a low intensity day to keep you remaining active but not over exerting yourself, which brings me to my final point to make…

3. Stay hydrated

Drinking lots of water should be a part of any great and healthy workout regiment. As a staple I stop every 15-20 minutes to drink 16 ounces of water, not only does this keep my body hydrated it keeps my muscles from cramping up. If dehydration in athletes is a serious thing which leads to muscle injury imagine what it would do to any ordinary person with no to little conditioning. That’s why it’s always important to drink plenty of water to help your body heal.

If you follow these three tips you’ll be off to a great start and able to follow through with your New Years resolution of staying active and fit. You don’t need a local gym, all you really need is a treadmill or a nice day outdoors and the drive to push yourself.

Happy and Healthy New Year to all my readers!

Love you. Mean it.



2018 is coming to a close

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for your welfare, and not for calamity, to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Things In Which We Are Grateful For This Year:

Tom and I are grateful to be celebrating our 3rd year married and our 11th year together (it’ll be 11 years March of 2019) of being each other’s soulmates, best friends and greatest blessing in life. The fact we are surrounded by the unconditional love and support of our families and dearest friends will always mean the absolute world to us. We are grateful for our big boy five year old fur baby, Draco, who brings so much joy and sunshine to our lives each day. We’re grateful for our home which we’ve now lived in for four and half years and our jobs which allow us the opportunity to live comfortably and also have some extras to focus on our plans for the future (stay tuned with that). Most of all we’re grateful to every single one of you, who’ve touched and enriched our lives in some way, shape or form… In case Tom and I do not get to say it at Midnight, we pray that the LORD grant unto you (our family and dearest friends) a happy, healthy and successful 2019. We pray also for your families and friends whose paths we haven’t crossed yet that they too have a happy, healthy and successful 2019. We pray that your struggles and sorrows are so few, that it’s quadrupled by your laughter and happiness. We pray that may you live each day with trust in the LORD GOD that he will guide you where you are meant to be and we ask that you pray for us too.

Thank you to everyone who helped share, promote or read ‘Are You There Friday? It’s Me Brittany’

Happy New Year to each and every one of you! See you in 2019!!’

Love you. Mean it.



December 2018: Looking forward while reflecting back.

Hello my dearest fan friends!

Being that the Christmas weekend is upon us I just wanted to use this post for the week to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas from my family and I.

I really have so much to be grateful for as this blog has grown exponentially in the last seven months that I am really blessed with the direction that it is going in. 2019 is going to be a awesome year for this site I’m going to be opening up about very real issues that people sweep under the rug, reviewing some really awesome low-carb alcoholic alternatives, introducing some new DIY’s and showcasing some of my artwork. I will also be posting on Fridays and on Sundays during 2019 (with Sunday’s focus being on my NHL and NFL picks of the week). I really love sports and any of my friends who know me personally outside of this blog knows that I’m very passionate about hockey and football so I definitely do not want to neglect my love for sports and what better way to implement that then on Sundays?

November 28 I celebrated one year low carb and gluten free and I must say I am incredibly healthier and happier. I weigh less than I did my sophomore year of high school and I couldn’t be proud of how much more active I’ve become not only in exercising but in finding recipes to accommodate my new lifestyle so I can showcase them on this blog. Hearing about people trying them at home and not feeling like they’re missing out anymore is the whole reason I dedicated an entire section of this blog to low carb recipes. You can expect 2019 to have a lot more low carb recipes to share.

Being a writer in the age of the Internet where so many topics have already been explored is very tough and through it all I’ve had some really amazing people in my corner that had been really pushing me on this journey. I would like to also take this moment to give a very special shout out to my family both near and far especially: Tom, Draco-Sirius, Mom, Dad, Joseph, Joe, Mike, Sarah, Allison, Carol, Otto and my nieces and nephews (Elsie, Ben, Olivia and soon to be nephew number 4). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my Aunts Maureen and Katie, my awesome Uncle Louie and cousins John, Arlene, James, Monica, Marybeth, Keith, Kathleen, Shannon, and Lisa for always be interested in what I’m writing about and sharing my work often and relentlessly. Honorable mentions go out to: Michael, Sean, Jamesey, Luke and Katie who are technically my cousins’ children but they’re more like my first set of nieces and nephews and they’re brutally honest with me if they think a topic is good or trash. Supporting the family writer isn’t always cookies and cream but having a wonderful support system to bounce ideas off of and read back what I wrote to is really essential and I’m really blessed that I have that.

That said, I would be extremely remiss if I failed to mention the family that I chose and those are my friends who’ve relentlessly shared and liked my Facebook page. These people have really inspired me as a person and also helped me grow as a writer. I value them and their opinions as much as I value my blood family members. In all ways and for all intents and purposes the following people are my family whether we technically share blood or not so at this moment I’d like to give a special shout out to: Jen (down since day one), Alex C (please check out his podcast Sports Opinions Podcast it’s incredible and you won’t regret it), David, Nate, Nino B (an up and coming rapper), Alex TV, Sachi, James C, Andrew (my cousin), Jim S, Joey O, Angry Joe, Todd, Justin C, Jessica S, Marisa, Rob and Alice C, Bobbie, & last but never least Ashley (Who is also an amazing writer and spends a tremendous amount of time proofreading my side projects and I don’t know what I’d do without her).

I hope your Christmas is incredibly special, next Friday I will be counting down my top five favorite posts of 2018 which will definitely be hard but I hope you join me on this journey by commenting below and letting me know which posts you liked seeing best so that I can implement them more in 2019.

Love you. Mean it.



To Card OR Not to Card; That Is The Question!

Our Card on picture paper (L) and tan card stock (R)

Are you sending holiday greeting cards this year? I am, but not in the traditional sense. Holiday/Christmas cards from friends and relatives are always a bright spot in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Whether it be seeing how much our friends’ kids have grown, seeing relatives from out of state posing happily in dressy attire, or family/friends’ pets wearing Santa hats, I love receiving these cards. As tempted as I am to “return the favor” the cost of stamps is really a dampener in my getting in the holiday spirit. In the four years I’ve been “adulting” or living on my own with my husband though we haven’t actually mailed a holiday card. No, we’re not the Grinch family — really we’re not. In fact, Tom and I truly love the holiday season.

But coupled with the expenses with gifts during the holiday season we DO have a thing about spending time and money on holiday greeting cards. I’m totally aware that I’m in the minority. Hallmark reports Christmas is the largest card-sending holiday in the United States with approximately 1.5 billion cards sent every year! Find that hard to believe? Well, according to The U.S. Census Bureau roughly about 2 billion cards will be mailed and delivered during the holiday season, with the heaviest period occurring the week before Christmas.

Before you judge me in my protest of sending a card via the US Postal Service, let me explain my issue. Greeting cards can be expensive, and it takes a lot of time to sign and address each one. At 50 cents a stamp, if I were to send out 150 cards to friends and relatives that would be $75.00. Yep, $75.00 for a card that will end up tossed in a keepsake box and forgotten about OR thrown out. That’s a lot of money for an item that probably is barely read and then tossed in a holiday card holder.

Sure, it’s nice to open a card and realize someone was thoughtful enough to think of you this year. I particularly like the “let me catch you up” newsletters which are super interesting when you haven’t seen someone in a while. I get so many cards each year and didn’t want to seem like a stiff so began my holiday conundrum: how do I send a card without breaking bank to do so?

The answer came to me while at work, checking my email: why can’t we accomplish the same thing with an emailed holiday greeting? Service providers like Shutterfly offer multiple holiday templates that you can personalize with images, videos, and messages that will reflect your business or organization. If it’s appropriate, you can also link to photo albums that are hosted on sites like Flickr or the Kodak Gallery. I love seeing photos online. In fact, I’m more likely to keep digital photos than I am hard copies.

Finally, e-cards don’t kill trees. I’m not an avid environmentalist, but I do think it makes very little sense to use a natural resource for a card that has limited impact. Certainly, there are cards made from recycled products, but how many people choose to use them?

There are, of course, a few exceptions to my “no holiday card” sentiments, and that’s people who have not yet embraced technology. For example, I could never send an e-card to my Father-in-law, Otto, because he doesn’t have and is adamantly against getting email address. So, of course, he’ll be getting our card printed out on Kodak picture paper and handed to him by us this year.

I know what you’re thinking, sounds good but how do I do this? As mentioned above there are plenty of service providers online that could provide you with templates to use that will fit your own individual style for you and your family. I, however, took a very basic route:

Beginning with a blank Microsoft Word 2003 document, I carefully crafted a “Year In Review” style Christmas card. It was simply designed and to the point. I chose TWO of my favorite pictures from the year and added each of our ‘Top Moments of the Year’. The pictures I picked were of Draco and of us at our mutual Top Moment of the Year (which was attending a friend’s wedding). Then I broke it down into three sections: Draco’s, Tom’s and Myself’s top three moments of the year.

I’m one to keep things short, sweet, and to the point, no need to tell you ALL the details of my entire year it’s not necessary and it’s time consuming. The top three helps give friends and relatives a glimpse into your life without giving away TMI.

Next, I created a Facebook status explaining to friends and family that I’d like to e-mail them our holiday card from this point forward. Then, I emailed each person our card and explained to them in the body of the email that they can print out the card from the comfort of their home, which won’t cost them anything but ink which they already have on their computer. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!

Ultimately every family is different and what I did this year and every year going forward is ultimately what is best and most cost-efficient for my family. I will close this post with an open question to my readers: What do you think of Christmas Cards? Do you have plans to send one this year, either through regular mail or email?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below, I LOVE hearing from you!

Love you. Mean it.



How My Carolina Panthers Can Salvage Their Season

With only four games left in the regular season many Panthers fans are wondering if Santa will come early and save our season. When I think of this season I’m reminded of Key and Peele skit (You can check the skit itself out here) where Andre is chasing after his girlfriend saying “Meegan your jacket!!” Only instead of a jacket it’s me shouting out to my beloved team “Panthers your season!!!” and while for the last four games there seemed to be a resounding “No” on whether or not we’d pull out a win the chance of making the playoffs are not exactly out of the question, not yet. The Panthers can still manage to sneak into the playoffs if they work on the following things that are holding them back, of course.

The biggest issue with the Panthers is the turnover differential in losses is -10, while the turnover differential in wins is +11. What this all boils down to is the Panthers are needing to have better ball security on offense and needing to be more aggressive on defense to create more turnovers. On offense there is plenty of big play potential with the talented likes of Christian McCaffrey , Curtis Samuel, and DJ Moore, but they can’t force the ball in there especially when the play isn’t there. The room for improvement on the offensive line is evident in the need to give Cam more time to be able to survey and look for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th options. The Panthers don’t seem to have a problem moving the ball down the field, but once in the red zone the last few weeks they have either turned the ball over or had to settle for field goals, some of which were misses. If the Panthers want to win games they need to get the ball in the end zone whenever they enter the red zone.

On the other side of the ball the defense needs to again be more aggressive. Being able to blitz more, get more quarterback pressures, sacks, and cause general disruptions to make opposing quarterbacks make bad decisions is absolutely key in the long term success of this team. As far as coverages go, Bradberry playing man coverage with Reid on deep help is effective, as evidenced in holding the Buccaneers star wide-receiver Mike Evans to only having 6 catches for 54 yards in 2 games. Donte “Action” Jackson being present on the other side gives the Panthers the speed and play making ability to make up for any missteps in man coverage.

Recently in Panther nation there has been a wide range of calling for Coach Rivera’s job, the removal of defensive line coach Brady Hoke and cornerbacks coach Jeff Imamura are proof that Ron is trying to ruthlessly right ship. Brian Urlacher has recently gone on record saying that Ron is a very aggressive play caller on defense and I am inclined to agree so this seems to be the step in the right direction.

The Panthers are in a must win situation this Sunday as they take on the Cleveland Browns if they went to keep their playoff chances alive. The next three games afterwards will be no cakewalk as they take on the dominating Saints and demoralized Falcons who will no doubt jump at the shot to play spoiler to the Panthers post season hopes. The Panthers need to tighten up and take the reigns of their own destiny. Veteran players such as Julius Peppers, Thomas Davis, Mike Adams and Captain Munnerlyn aren’t getting any younger and with Greg Olsen now gone for the rest of the season after re-injuring his foot it’s time we get our act together to give this guys a proper send off into retirement (when they decide the time is right).

Whether or not the Panthers have what it takes to make the postseason , we’ll just have to stay tuned and see but I am desperately trying to remain the eternal optimistic.

Keep Pounding.

Love you. Mean it.



Everything Wrong With Trying To “Upgrade/ Trade-In” Our Friendships and Relationships

Featuring Guest Contributor Nino Brown aka. No Comparison

Today’s society is a hot mess. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we live in a world where we want the newest, the greatest, and best of the best. We live in a world where we don’t go anywhere without our cellphones and yet we’re happy to trade them in for the newest model every 4 to 5 years (or every year for the hardcore tech buffs). This is all well and good, but where do we draw the line? When we start treating friendships and relationships like dated technology, are we guilty of trying to trade in what we got for the illusion of something better?

The saying goes “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.” Whether it’s childhood, adulthood, casuals, best friends or “bros”, we all have people in our lives who we can choose to associate ourselves with. There are also times where we are chosen by others. When it comes to the topic of Friendship I’m reminded of Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me’ and Dionne Warwick’s ‘That’s What Friends Are For’. If you haven’t heard these songs, I highly recommend giving them a listen. These two songs perfectly describe how great true friendships can be. Friendships are supposed to be for better or for worse. Treating others how you’d like to be treated. In this Twitter-ran society however, the concept of Friends seems to be reduced to a simple click of a button. Verbal insults, and physical abuse aren’t as emotionally damaging as being Unfriended on Facebook. Being blocked by a longtime friend has the emotional value of losing a loved one in a tragic accident. When did this become the norm, that the value of friendships have been reduced to a mere status update?

Aristotle once described the relationship between friends as one soul dwelling in two bodies. He wrote often about the idea and the emphasis of true friendship as a true “meaningful” living.

Aristotle’s view on friendship is a far cry from what is depicted in the movie “The Social Network”. For those of you haven’t seen this movie, it’s about the founding of the Internet social networking giant called Facebook. With a tag line that reads, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies,” you have to wonder what the definition of “friends” is in this kind of social networking context. The relationships shown in the film, especially that between founder Mark Zuckerberg and his network of friends, definitely do not meet the standard of one soul in two bodies described by Aristotle that’s for sure.

Society spends so much time chatting/catching up with their social media “friends” that they do not put much effort in their real-life friends. What makes our friendships truly beautiful is real human contact, this is now being replaced by shallow friendships, that is, social connections rather than the kind of true friendships described and espoused by Aristotle. In our post-technologically obsessed society, there’s plenty of evidence that points to people having plenty of acquaintances, and very few individuals to whom they can turn to in sharing their authentic selves, and deeper intimacies with.

Friendships are not made to be perfect, they are made to whether storms. Nowadays, many people are so quick to throw away the very few individuals that they can turn to in order to share their authentic selves and deeper intimacies with the moment that person does not agree with something they say or believe in. Friendships are torn apart by political beliefs, relationships, families, and even by simple differences in opinion. The idea in society that we can find “more friends” if someone doesn’t fit into our square peg idea of what friendship should be is exactly why so many friendships fail in today’s world.

Aristotle‘s most famous work, Ethics, describes the desire to have friendship as instantaneous whereas the actually friendship itself takes time to develop. We share so much of ourselves on social media without even thinking, without even wondering if these people are worth expressing ourselves to, that we lose the opportunity to truly develop authentic friendships. While social media may gain someone new instant “friends”, they are not capable of providing society with genuine friendship which takes years of sharing your authentic self- close thoughts, intimate feelings, vulnerabilities and even fears to produce.

We are living in a world that is incredibly connected and yet intimately we are completely alone. Many Millennials have drifted away completely from true friendships and that profound sense of “community” and are simply existing in very reclusive lives. This reclusiveness spills into their romantic relationships where the need to resurrect the meaning and value of authentic relationships with others is absolutely dire.

Most of us can recall our first date with our significant other. The trivial things like how we met, where we went, and how the night itself went are obvious staples in any great memory, but there are some of us which even recall what our significant other and even ourselves wore that night. These things make for great stories to share the next generation whether they be children/grandchildren or nieces and nephews. One thing we never forget when we tell these stories is how our significant other made us feel. I remember asking my Grammy these things about my Poppy and watching her eyes light up as she recalled how he made her feel. As Nino and I share our stories of how we met and fell in love with our spouses, I invite you to read through them and share your own stories in the comments below:

Nino & Rebecca

The story of how I met my wife is a little funny. I had just gotten out of a pretty toxic relationship. I say it was toxic because by the end of it, I had lost hope in the concept of true love. I dated here and there but no one really changed my mind. I was doing my daily browsing on a dating site called Plenty Of Fish. Mind you, this was before the word ‘Catfish’ was becoming more than just a fish. I came across a rather interesting profile featuring a picture of a woman with the most amazing set of eyes I’d ever seen. Not long after reading her profile, I noticed that she and I had many of the same interests: Love of Tarantino movies, Golden Girls, quiet evenings at home, and a wide range of music just to name a few. We messaged each other back and forth, exchanged numbers, then finally met in person. She turned out to be exactly what was in her profile and more. Neither of us had our own place at the time, so many of our “dates” took place in a car. During this time, we shared our pasts, our fears, our secrets, and often even a pint of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Almond Swiss. Sure, we each have our flaws and insecurities but that makes us who we are. We love each other and all of our flaws. Up to the time we met each others families, I was convinced that she wasn’t an actual person…just a part of my imagination. Maybe I watched ‘Fight Club’ too many times, but we are so much alike and we truly completed each other. As our relationship progressed, we moved in together, and didn’t miss a beat. The relationship actually grew stronger by the day.

Like every relationship, ours too had bumps in the road brought about by a third party. My Ex, (who is also the mother to my two oldest children) often tried to ruin our relationship any change she got. What she didn’t seem to realize is that no amount of lies can stop true love. This experience brought us closer together. No matter what I know that she has my back and she knows that I have hers. We are a team. We are each other’s biggest fan. Soon after moving in together, we were married. During this time we grew and flourished as a couple sharing each other’s great times, not so great times and my last name. Just when we thought we couldn’t be any happier though, along came a baby boy, our son who’s the perfect blend of she and I. Eight years doesn’t seem like a long time when you’re having the time of your life with your soulmate. Our families get along great with each other, so there isn’t any dread when we speak of In-Laws but at the end of the day I can honestly say that Rebecca is the key to my happiness. I’m not sure where I would be without her in my life and I never want to find out.

Brittany & Thomas

My husband asked me out for two years before I gave him a chance. I met him through the long time friendship of my brother-in-law Mike and my cousin Ashley. We often would watch a hockey or football game together and bonded over our love of both sports and similar tastes in movies. It wasn’t long before Tom would ask to speak with me, if my cousin were to call his brother and he’d known I was there visiting. He’d often intercept the call and end every conversation with, “you know I’m going to marry you one day right?” And I would always laugh and reply, “whatever helps you sleep at night”. He was a year younger than me and I “only dated older guys” so I always rebuffed him but Tom never gave up. He’d always say, “you’ll see, one date and you’ll want to marry me too!”. This went on for years, and while I knew Tom had feelings for me and I definitely thought he was cute I was adamant in assuming because he was a year younger he wasn’t on my level of maturity.

Finally, after being fed up with my on again/ off again ‘friend’ that was never my boyfriend to begin with I agreed to one date with Tom. The weeks leading up to the date, however, a former friend of mine admitted to having feelings for Tom. People often get shocked when I tell them the date that was two years in the making almost didn’t happen because I wasn’t sure I could go through with it in good conscience knowing my friend liked him. I did promise her, though, that I’d find out what he thought of her and so as the weeks went on I got to know Tom on a deeper level then just my friend who I hang out with when my cousin wants to see her best friend.

I saw in Tom someone who shared similar values and morals as me. Also a love for family, dogs, music, and the Catholic faith. I began to develop much stronger and deeper feelings for Tom, feelings I wasn’t quite ready to admit to myself. When I confessed to him my friend’s feelings for him he explained to me that only one woman was for him: me and I was amazed. We ended up sharing our first kiss watching ‘ Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ and it was after the end of that movie he asked me to be his girl. I made him wait two days before I agreed, after making my friend aware that he and I had feelings only for each other.

The date itself, one I was almost loathe to keep, ended up being the single most defining moment in my life. The butterflies I felt, the smile on my face, the way conversation was so easy and natural I knew I was irreversibly in love with Tom. Two weeks later, in the basement of an old friend while shooting pool, he told me “I love you” and I said it back to him. The rest was history.

Tom and I were not without our flaws, a breakdown of communication led to a temporary split during which time I dated one other person for a short three months. It was during that time, I realized there was only one man for me. After a deep and honest discussion, which prompted me to dump the rebound guy I was with, we reunited and were engaged a year later. There was no one else for Tom during that time or since, and I then knew without a shadow of a doubt there was no one else for me too. Just like when we first began our journey, he knew before I did that it would begin and end with each other.

Five years later our families gathered together, happily, to watch us “finally get it done and be married”. We’ve long since felt a part of each other’s families but it was amazing to make it official. After the wedding was over, we when the real work began. During this time, we’ve had to grow and adjust to unexpected events like when I finally let go of my dream to teach and when he switched from day shift to night. We had to adapt and be resourceful when things in our house would brake and money was tight. We have confronted our own personal demons and came out on top together because we view ourselves as one unit, one team. Just like there is no I in team, there is also no one in this world that we would rather laugh with, cry with, grow with, share our dreams with and pray with. We renew the commitment of unconditional love and loyalty to each other every day and do so gratefully. Being together for 10 years and 8 months is work. Lots of hard work, compromising, laughing, crying, apologizing and just living. Tom’s thoughts on relationships are simple: he doesn’t judge others relationships simply because he or I can’t define anyone’s relationship except our own. Only the people in the relationship have that authority. That said, my husband Tom and I took the time to define our own. When I told him I would be writing this article we sat down and spoke candidly about our relationship, about how (after nearly 3 years married and 11 together)we would describe our relationship. The best way that Tom and I can describe this together is like this: Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes and saw absolutely no flaws at all? You feel that no matter what, (and I truly mean No Matter What,) nothing they ever do will ever make you love them any less or not at all?

Being a couple of deep faith we agree that true love makes you feel as though your significant other is the guardian angel the Lord assigns to you here on earth to walk with you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Someone who truly makes you want to be a better person, someone who loves you like God loves you, unconditionally. Relationships should exist because two people cannot imagine life without each other, not because of limitations, conditions or even because they tell you to be a better person. You strive to be a better person because you simply, in your own mind, want feel like you’re good enough for them. You also know that one day (it’s inevitable) you’ll experience true loss, which can only happen when you love someone more than you love yourself. Most people don’t seem to ever dare to love anyone that much. Like I said earlier, Tom and I don’t judge other relationships that’s just how we feel about our own relationship.

It’s not about always being right, it is not about it always being easy but I can promise you, if you dare to love someone more than your own self and commit to them without boundaries it’s always worth it. Being able to go to sleep and wake up next to our best friend and soulmate…

It’s ALWAYS worth it…

Our parents, grandparents, older aunts and uncles didn’t stay together because every moment was good, they stayed together because they remembered these good times, these joyful feelings when things got tough. As things did get tough, they leaned on each other for guidance and support. Could you imagine our parents or grandparents “trading up” for another spouse? If they did, more than likely none of us would be here. Bottom line is that loyalty was more concrete in those days. Isn’t ironic that technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today and yet people were way more satisfied with what they had rather than what they had not?

In today’s society, people feel like there’s so many options if their current relationship doesn’t work out they can just “trade up” instead of trying against all odds to work things out. See, this is a problem when people are already putting an expiration date on a relationship that they’re in when they think of the possibilities outside of it not working out. An ordinary person can set their perfectly healthy relationship up for failure when they put this mentality even in the back of their minds. As time goes on, and people become more comfortable, accustomed to, and even bored of their friendships and relationships they tend to take advantage of people sometimes without even realizing it.

The illusion of “having options” destroys more and more relationships each and every day. One thing that is important to mention was how back when our parents and grandparents were dating and married there was no social media to sabotage what they had. There were no old flames to message the older generations on Facebook. There was no feelings of boredom with one person which caused them to seek out likes and DMs on Instagram. As much as I loathe to admit it, the millennial mentality when it comes to relationships is: If this relationship isn’t serving me or my needs 24/7 then I’m onto the next. What this generation fails to realize is that with any relationship it’s about give AND take. For those of us who are Christians we are called by Christ to GIVE more than we take. In a society which thinks, “what have you done for me lately?” Having the illusion of an option is disastrous.

Sure, it’s easy to swipe left or right on dating apps such as Tinder or Match, that person only sees what it is you portray to the outside world. They haven’t seen you at your absolute worst and there’s no guarantee they’ll love you when you’re far from lovable. None of us are perfect, we’re all flawed in different ways, finding someone you connect with is so rare in this world that throwing a sure thing away should be the last thing we ever want to do.

Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t have filters. Marilyn Monroe was definitely onto something when she said “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”. If anyone is lucky enough to have met someone who loves you even at your absolute worst should hold onto them. Sure, the grass may seem a little greener on the other side. Take a moment to look a little closer and you’ll see that’s all that there is…grass. No home. No picket fence. No future.

One thing we must always remember as a society when thinking about testing the waters with someone else is to imagine your first fight with that person, your first family emergency, your first health crisis. The first time they see you sick or finances get tight. Most of us look at other people through rose gold colored filters, that we forget how wealthy we already are. One look at a celebrity Instagram account can make it easy to take things for granted. That’s the world we live in, but we must take ownership of our self worth as well as the worth of those who think through thick and thin that we’re already worthy enough of their loyalty and  love.

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany & Nino

Xoxo Xoxo