THOUGHTS

We Decided On Forever // Our Proposal Story

Three years ago I had no idea my entire life was about to change. I was fresh out of university and had recently moved to Dallas after commuting for years, made some huge positive changes in my personal life, and was finally starting to feel like I was headed in the right direction. For what may have been the first time, I could honestly say I loved myself, respected myself, and was confident in myself.

A few weeks later, Andy walked into my life. Looking back, I think this speaks volumes on our love story and our beliefs. I can admit I used to be the girl who was always desperately trying to fit in, and because of that I often found myself in social circles where I felt like a complete outsider. However, at the age of 22, I was finally being honest and open with myself and as a result I developed several close, true friendships that I know will last forever. I learned how to love myself first. After that, God rewarded me with the love of my life, the man who I believe with all my heart I was destined to love since the day I was born, my soulmate.

Our paths first crossed in 2013 at an animation studio in Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas. We were both in our first year of employment there, but we worked in different departments. As such, we didn’t officially meet until the middle of December. I was having a bit of a rough day, it was during the infamous Ice-pocalypse, so driving was a nightmare, and I had just been told to place a dinner order because my team was going to be working late. I glanced at the menu they had emailed to us, picked something at random, and put my headphones back on so I could keep working.

A little while later, my dinner was delivered to me by a production assistant whom I’d seen around but had never met, and who most alarmingly seemed to think what I ordered was hilarious for some reason. He was literally laughing as he walked up and asked if I “meant to order this”, waving my meal around in the air to demonstrate how lightweight the container was. Immediately horrified and with growing trepidation, I opened my little styrofoam to-go box to find three slices of tomatoes, a couple chunks of mozzarella, and two tiny pieces of lettuce. It definitely wasn’t what I’d ordered, and at the sight of it Andy burst into another bout of laughter. He kindly took a new order for me while my cheeks burned and went off to replace my weird salad thing.

To this day I still have no idea why my order was so messed up, or what I even meant to order in the first place. What I do know is that a week or so later, Andy added me on Facebook. After declining a few of his requests to come hang out with him and his friends (what the heck would I even do with myself in that situation? I didn’t know him!), and exchanging a few short, flirty office conversations (we seemed to bump into each other quite a lot after that), I asked him to accompany me to the dog park. Then he invited me to come out to his college band’s reunion show (another story entirely), a few days later we held hands for the first time, and after that we were inseparable.

We quickly learned that we both love to travel, to take road trips specifically. Our first trip was in 2014 during our first summer together. We spontaneously decided to drive eight hours down south to the beautiful island of Port Aransas for Fourth of July weekend. After learning all the hotels in the area were sold out for the holiday weekend, we researched how to camp in your car, threw an air mattress in the back of my Kia Soul, and took off! It was an amazingly chaotic sunburn and laughter filled weekend, and the beginning of our very special, shared fever for travel and adventure.

We’ve been on several incredible road trips across America since then, each one marking another chapter in our lives and relationship. On December 29th 2016, we embarked on the road trip that marked our third year together. Our anniversary is on Christmas Eve, so we usually take our anniversary trip during the first week of January after all the holidays. This year however, we for some reason decided to leave before New Year’s Eve and ring in 2017 together on a wild mountain somewhere. Our destination was the Santa Fe National Forest and our plan was to arrive, park, and chill.

Somewhere in our travel plans I came up with the brilliant idea of packing formal clothes and sparklers and doing a fun photoshoot in the snowy forest on New Year’s Eve. Andy agreed to the idea, but he didn’t actually seem all that interested. During the drive over he complained of being hot and kept trying to turn up the AC, to which I told him to just take off his coat instead. Yet strangely he outright refused to take off that coat, where unbeknownst to me an engagement ring was hidden, and which looking back on now is really hilarious.

On December 30th, we had arrived in the forest and were searching for a good area to park our travel trailer when we got stuck in a patch of ice. A cute snowshoeing couple and their two happy hounds arrived rather quickly and helped tug us out, but not before I had a minor slip in which I fell and landed on my left hand. Thinking nothing of it I brushed off the snow, hopped back in the car with Andy, and we eventually found a great camping spot.

Later that evening I began experiencing severe pain in my left thumb, and was shocked to discover it had swelled up more than twice its normal size! Trying not to panic, we established that it was not broken and began wondering if it was just sprained. We discovered a small puncture wound and concluded that a thorn of some sort must have broken off inside my thumb and caused it to swell and become irritated. We cleaned it as best we could and tried not to think about it, my mind racing over a million worst case scenarios not excluding impending amputation, his mind racing over whether the engagement ring would even fit over my now absurdly swollen left hand the following day.

Luckily, we woke up on New Year’s Eve in much better spirits and with a still very sore but less swollen hand (the swelling and pain would last another three weeks before finally subsiding, and I still have a small hard knot where the puncture wound occurred! We believe it was a thorn from a mesquite tree, which we learned are actually very poisonous and not to be messed around with!). The morning was so peaceful that I began musing aloud about skipping our planned photoshoot, considering pushing it back a day and calling it a New Year’s Day session instead so that we could spend the last day of 2016 lounging around our campground. Andy played it totally cool, sweetly assuring me that whatever I wanted to do was perfect, all the while with that ring burning a hole in his pocket. If he had started sweating yet, I didn’t notice.

We made a one skillet breakfast outside over our little propane stove, sipped coffee, wrapped ourselves in blankets, and just soaked in the weak sunlight and sweet calls of mountain birds. Eventually, after enough cups of coffee, I began feeling myself again and decided that dressing up and taking a scenic drive to scout for a pretty spot for photos would be a great way to spend the day after all! I seriously have no idea how he deals with me sometimes. He took it all in stride, like it made no difference to him, he was his happiest if I was happy! Looking back, I wonder how I didn’t see any tell-tale signs of relief and excitement in his eyes at that point! Sneaky boy.

The Sante Fe National Forest, as it turns out, is absolutely stunning. We detached our Nissan, loaded up our two dogs, and headed up the mountain. The landscape changed so dramatically in such a short span of time we couldn’t help but gasp and marvel aloud at the new sights that greeted us around every new turn. In less than 15 minutes we had left our completely snowless desert campground far behind and become immersed in a winter wonderland of impossibly tall trees, rushing icy creeks, and snow drifts piled high on the side of the road. This was the scenery we had been hoping for.

We drove around for hours, stopping here and there to take pictures, read historical signs, and take in a scenic overlook. Eventually, we pulled off on a random, unmarked snowy road, put the car in park, and hopped out. Something was different here, the trees were thicker and they seemed to silence the occasional vehicle on the main mountain road behind us. Something in the air made me tense with excitement, it seemed to whisper that we were the only two people for miles, that something magical had taken place, or would take place, in this forest. Andy and I walked for a bit, him with the tripod over his shoulder, me stomping along in green rubber boots that clashed wonderfully with my black dress and tights, my heels clutched in my hand, shivering from both the cold and the thrill of our surroundings. We looked here and there for the most photogenic spot, trying to find an area with tall trees but minimal brush poking up through the snow.

Suddenly, there it was. A small clearing made just for us. We laughed and skipped over to it, Andy began setting up the tripod while I struggled to switch from boots to heels without losing my balance.

We had taken photos of ourselves using our tripod on a number of occasions in the past, it was our way of documenting our travels to beautiful hidden places where there is no one to ask to snap our photo for us, and so nothing seemed out of the ordinary about this moment. Andy set the camera to take a timelapse of photos, and then joined me in the clearing.

My attention on the camera, I immediately began trying to strike some sweet poses with him, but something was off. He was being so awkward! I laughed uncertainly, finally turning to meet his eyes. I don’t know what made me ask it, but my heart seemed to falter in that moment.

“How do you want to pose?” I asked him. There was a smile on his face and his eyes were filling with tears.

“I have an idea,” he said, reaching into his pocket before he went down on one knee in that cold snow.

I forgot about the camera faithfully clicking away. I forgot about the dogs patiently waiting in our idling car. I forgot I was standing in the snow on a mountain in too-thin tights. All my mind could register was this incredible man, who knew me better than I even knew myself, was holding my hand, presenting an engagement ring, and asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. He had a really lovely speech about how I made him a better man and described how much he loved me, and I wish I could remember every word, but the truth is the only line I can confidently recite from it is “Will you marry me?”. I managed to get out a shaky “Yes!” before the ring slid perfectly onto my finger and my knees hit the snow right along with his.

For as much snow as there was piled up on that mountain, we only experienced one actual snowfall our entire trip, and it began right when Andy took a knee and pulled out that ring, and ended exactly when I said yes and joined him on the forest floor. It seems completely unreal when we say it, but our camera captured it all. We can’t help but believe it was a sign from God, blessing our engagement, assuring us this was only the beginning of an amazing journey to marriage and beyond (or perhaps just saying finally, sheesh!).

We managed to come down off that mountain eventually, all tears and laughter and “oh my gosh”’s and “we’re getting married”’s. The rest of our trip was pure bliss. We made campfires, went on more hikes, soaked in our first natural hot spring, played cards, had our first gleeful conversations about our future wedding.

Andy has helped me grow so much as a person. We lean on each other and guide each other and encourage each other. I couldn’t dream of a stronger, funnier, more creative and inspiring life partner. He has taught me many lessons, the most important of which I believe is to laugh at every opportunity, even those which could more easily and naturally be interpreted as negative or embarrassing. Like getting the wrong food order delivered by a stranger after a long day at work.

I can’t wait to marry him.

Lofty Mood Board

Moving is always simultaneously sooo fun and sooo not. When you add in the fact that our new space has no walls, closets, or counters, that feeling pretty much quadruples.

A blank canvas can often be intimidating and off-putting to an artist, and we are literally living in ours. “Where the heck do we start?” we asked ourselves. The answer was: air conditioning.

We spent a few days laying around in sweaty sadness before we got our air conditioner installed and our thermal curtains up, and life has improved dramatically. We’ve got all the bricks painted mostly white while still allowing the natural texture to show through, and we painted and gloss coated the entire floor a dark grey. We’ve got a fridge, a stove, some temporary fold-y tables popped up around the place, our mattress in the floor, our work computers hooked up in the corner, and Netflix set up on the tv. So pretty much, we’re good for awhile.

We are party people, however. And not the basic kind of party people. We like class, we like themes, we like classic etiquette, and we like style. If we are ever going to be able to play the host and hostess again, we need to get our booties in gear. Plus, we spend the majority of our time in our home. It’s not just our living space, but our play space, and our work space, our creative space and relaxation space. The walls need to reflect and embody a creatively stimulating yet intimate and inviting environment. As daunting as this task may be, it is also my faaaavorite favorite part. Making this beautiful space truly and uniquely ours.

Challenge accepted.

I’ve gathered here some of my favorite interiors as inspiration, as well as some dream pieces that I would love to replicate or showcase in my loft. I don’t think either one of us have ever bought actual real furniture, we are still rockin’ hand-me-downs and college era pieces (shame, shame, shame…). We’re going for a Cozy Cottage meets Industrial Warehouse, if that can be a thing. Let’s make it happen!

Go team!

loft-inspiration-collage-1

1. decoholic.org
2. mcdermottmanagement.com
3. cocolapinedesign.com

Armchair: amazon.com
Stool: target.com
End Table: target.com
Entry Bench: overstock.com
Sofa: target.com

Floating

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
-Rumi

Life is behaving in a curious way at the moment. We fell in love with a house, put an offer in on it, our landlord found a new tenant, and we moved out. And then our deal fell through with our new house. Just like that, our perfectly timed out scheme just pulled itself out from under our feet like a treacherous rug. One hour we were lined up for a smooth transition, the next we were literally homeless with no prospects. The spectrum of emotions that have followed after us these several days is vast, to say the least.

We have not quite landed just yet, but I know we will soon. For now, we are floating in a sort of strange suspension of reality.

Our friends are texting us asking why we won’t come hang out. Our clients are emailing us about our availability for taking on new projects. Our parents are pretending like us spontaneously crashing in their guest rooms for extended periods of time is totally normal. And our dogs are gleefully following us around, unquestioning, just happy to be near us. And that is the attitude Andy and I have chosen to take on our situation.

We don’t know where we are going to live, we don’t know if it’s this city or that state, we don’t know how long it will take to settle, we don’t know what we will do in the mean time, we don’t know what to tell our friends, and we don’t even know what we want the answers to those questions to ideally be. What we do know, is no matter what the journey, no matter what the outcome, we will be together. Come hell or high water, we will face the challenges and the joys and the ups and the downs as a team. And that is enough to make my heart peaceful. My brain keeps trying to freak me out and focus on questions that should have detailed, well thought out answers but instead have none. It tells me I should be panicking and in over-drive and spending every second trying to come up with an answer for life. But instead, I am filled with peace. I love Andy, and he loves me, and we may not have this life thing figured out quite yet, but that’s ok. We pray and we love and we trust in God that things will work themselves out and our purpose will soon become known.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
-Woody Allen

It is a cliché, over-used quote. But for good reason. Life is unpredictable and the more you try to bend and break it into shape the less you will enjoy it. It makes me think metaphorically of a raging river. Yes, it is possible to navigate and some effort and balance must be exerted in order to remain upright, but for the most part you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. There are calm sections, wild sections, beautiful sections and scary sections, and you must face each as bravely as you can because the only certainty is there’s no going back the way you came.

We aren’t sure to which white water rapid our lives are headed, but we are sure we are in for a crazy adventure, and going to love every second of it.

For now, we are floating.

Just Do It

“If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.”
-Mario Andretti

Andy and I have been talking for a long time about buying a house “one day”. We kept talking about it, and dreaming about it, Pinterest-ing the heck out of it, until one fateful day it hit us right smack in the face that we were being….

Big. Fat. Say-ers.

Now, this idea of “Say-ers” is something that Andy and I discovered very early on in our relationship and are very passionate about. How there is great danger in being a Say-er. A Say-er has awesome ideas, are super pumped about them, gets other people pumped about them (preferably everyone within arms reach who will listen), and spends a great deal of time say-ing how fantastic life will be once the idea/project/thing is accomplished.

But when it comes down to the do-ing, the Say-er falls short. They would rather go out for drinks, play a video game, take a nap, or any other number of excuses that just always get in the way of their do-ing, but fully support their say-ing. Unfortunately, I think most of us excited humans fall into the category of the Say-ers. I know I was, before I met Andy. Say-ing is easy and fun (so much potential!), Do-ing is hard and often overwhelming (it’s going to take how long? cost how much money?).

Since then, we strive to continually inspire and motivate each other and take pride in being self-proclaimed Do-ers. A Do-er, quite simply, does. They start out by say-ing, and then once an idea is decided upon, they do. They walk the walk. They put their money where their mouth is. They aren’t just all bark, they’re the bite, too. However you want to view it. Sometimes, we are sprinting together in the sunshine holding hands. Sometimes, one of us is dragging the other’s dead weight. Sometimes, we are shuffling terrified with shaking breath towards the vague and distant light at the end of the tunnel. But no matter the circumstance, we are always moving forward.

We are Do-ing.

And the more we Do, the easier it gets. The first time you cliff dive into a lake, it’s so scary and you don’t think you can do it but dang it you’ve already climbed all the way up here and can’t bear the thought of backing away from the edge and back into the familiar. So you leap. And when you hit that water all you can think about is getting back up there and jumping again. For the rush, for the risk, for the thrill. It’s not so scary that second, third, fourth time. Because you know how the water feels, and how long it will take to fall, and how it’s not quite so high up as you were making it out to be in your head.

And that’s how big life decisions are too, when you break them down. When Andy and I quit our safe secure jobs at the animation studio where we met, we really had no clear idea where we would go or what we do, and that was scary. But in the end, we landed on our feet. We threw ourselves into the middle of the ocean and learned how to swim. It wasn’t without struggle or doubt or fear. But we Did it. And now, over one year later, we find ourselves once again happy, secure, safe, content. In serious danger of settling. There’s nothing wrong with being secure and settling. But if the faintest whisper of “what if?” is tugging at your heart, as it seems to alway be with Andy and I, you need to follow it.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life and in change there is power.”
-Alan Cohen

And so we began Say-ing we need a change, and how it would be cool if we got out of our lease with our rent house and bought a fixer-upper house and renovated it. Having no idea where to start with that process, we contented ourselves with just Say-ing about it. For months.

Until this week, when our hearts sank and our eyes grew wide and our mouths dropped open and we called ourselves out for the dirty Say-ers we were. What the heck, Kandy? If you want to break your lease and buy a house, you better quit your Say-ing and just Do it. And if you don’t know how to Do it, you better start somewhere, anywhere, that you can think of.

So we called up our landlord and peaceably negotiated our way out of our contract and gave him our official 60-day notice.

“If you want to get something done, all you need is a plan, and not quite enough time.” -Andy Green

Well, we definitely don’t have quite enough time. Now all we need is a plan.

If you want to Do something, just freakin’ Do it.

xx

Weddings Are Rad & So Is Nashville

I don’t think that it needs to be written here, but guys Nashville is AWESOME. Andy and I have stayed in the city one other time: last summer to help our then-engaged friends make some vendor choices. We fell in love then and we were proved right to have done so this time. The food and the atmosphere are one thing, but what really make Music City is, duh, the music. Live music in literally every bar/pub/honkytonk/restaurant you come across. And all the musicians are good. Like, really good. We love music and dancing and karaoke, and so we love Nashville. It was a beautiful city for our friends to get married in, and everything was so strangely and wonderfully perfect. It was forecast to rain on the outdoor ceremony, and instead was sunny with just the right amount of cloud cover for spectacular photography. I wasn’t able to capture too much of the weekend, but am looking forward to some amazing photos from the photographer in the next several weeks to be able to share!

xo

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dance

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booth

The Maiden Voyage

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

I am to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding in Nashville, and so of course Andy and I decided to book a campground instead of a hotel and use that as motivation to sprint through the Roameo finish line. We made a timeline of checkpoints for the weeks leading up to the trip, and we hit every single one of them. The electricity works, the plumbing works, the exterior is all sealed up and waterproof, we put several interior walls up, some of our vinyl flooring laid down, and a clean coat of white paint on the outside. We hooked it up to our rad new-to-us 2004 Nissan Xterra that we purchased over the weekend, and after quite a bit of tinkering, got all the running and brake lights working. The horizon was looking bright, we threw a futon in the floor and hit the road singing and cheering.

2016-03-29 21.07.28-EDIT

We only got about 30 minutes down the road before our new car overheated and our trip came to an anticlimactic end. My parents had to come out in the middle of the night and save us, thank God for them. My dad brought his truck and towed Roameo back home. My mom brought Andy’s car and switched us for the Xterra. We re-embarked on our journey in our trusted Honda Accord. For the record, this mishap was at least not Roameo’s fault. He totally would have made it. Our new car flew in from left field and popped all the air out of our balloon.

I think this was a very crucial moment for us. We sat in our car for a long time that night without speaking, before we called my parents for help, unable to roll any further, just staring out the windshield and silently individually struggling with the “why” of the situation. Why did this happen? Why did we work so hard for so long, only to get so close, only to fail? We thought the stars had aligned for our trip, but instead at the very last minute the rug was pulled out from under us. It took us a long time to shake off this overwhelming sense of failure, and find a way to look on the bright side, but we did it. It wasn’t our place to know the “why”, even if there was one. It was our place to lift our hearts up and thank God nothing worse had happened. Although we will never know it, there was a reason we weren’t able to pull that trailer this weekend. And anyway, this wasn’t the end of our grand Roameo journey, just the end of his literal one to Tennessee. Our trip was about our friend’s wedding, not Roameo, and the next day we arrived in Nashville safe and sound in one piece. And that’s what really mattered.

We have no idea what Roameo or our car’s future is at the moment, but for now, we will not let the uncertainty of it all cast a shadow over our trip. We have confidence and faith that we will figure out the next steps when we get back to Dallas, and not before. For now, we have a wedding to celebrate.

xo

Begin

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect”-Alan Cohen

Hello.

My name is Karissa. I am an artist, and like most have struggled with finding a creative outlet that feels fulfilling and worthwhile. I tend to jump from thing to thing and project to project and idea to idea, not really sure of what I am looking for and consequently not finding it. This blog will be my source of accountability and exploration documentation, a place for me to write down my thoughts and display my projects, successful or otherwise. A creative journal in a sense, to document my journey and progress, whether it be in design, music, travel, videography, fitness, or some other path I inexplicably start down.

My dear partner Andy will be joining me in this journey, as our paths, dreams, and goals are entwined. He is on a creative journey as well, and neither of us would get much of anywhere without the other.

I hope to create something wonderful here that I can look back on and find inspiration, and inspire others as well.

 

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