Our Engagement Anniversary

9 Year Anniversary

I’m in love. Unequivocally, undeniably, in love.

Today marks the 9 year anniversary of the day Vitaliy asked me to marry him. I’ve never shared the story publicly and I’m not sure if I ever will. It was so unique, so detailed, and holds such a special place in my heart. But if we’re ever sitting over coffee, I’d be happy to tell my fairytale. Because that’s what it was, and to be quite honest, things haven’t changed much. I still feel like the luckiest girl in the entire world to have a man like Vitaliy choose to love me every day.

A few months ago, on one of our many road trips, Vitaliy was DJing, as is usual. He’s the best, by the way. Aretha Franklin’s, Son of a Preacher Man, came through the mix and I sang along as I usually do with any song I know. But this time, the lyrics hit me in a new way. This song was about me and Vitaliy.

The only one who could ever reach me
(Was the son of a preacher man)
The only boy who could ever teach me
(Was the son of a preacher man)
Yes he was, yeah he was, oh he was, hey
(Halleluiah, halleluiah, halleluiah)

Vitaliy actually is the son of a preacher man. And he’s been the only man who has had the love and patience to ever really reach me. Those dark hidden places that you hope the world never sees. And though he saw, he loved still. And bit by bit, those hardened walls I had put up began to break down. I softened under his love.

And every year that passes by between us, I’m more changed. His constant sacrifices teach me and mold me into a new woman. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m married to the kind of person I hope to grow up and be like some day. That is honestly how much I admire him.

Vitaliy, if you asked me to marry you again today, I would say yes. And if you asked me tomorrow, the answer would be the same. I’m so thankful to enjoy all the sweet blessings of a preacher man’s son. I love you.

BHLDN Pop Up Shop
San Francisco

I remember when BHLDN was released into the wedding world a few years ago.

My first thought was, why oh why couldn’t you have been available when I got married? However, since I had become a wedding photographer, my second thought was, I can’t wait to photograph a BHLDN dress on one of our brides. When I heard they were bringing their Pop Up Shop to San Francisco I jumped at the opportunity to go and support this beautiful brand. If I hadn’t been 9 months pregnant, I likely would have pretended to be a bride and tried on some of their stunning creations myself. Instead, I did what any 9 month preggie would do, I stuck close to the hors d’oeuvres, which were to-die-for, and observed the blushing brides as they searched for their dream dresses.

I have to say, the entire team put on a wonderful event! Rebecca Jean Catering did a top notch job and their staff took such great care of this mommy to be. I felt spoiled even! My other fellow wedding vendors helped bring the space to life and paired the most beautiful touches with BHLDN’s dresses to create a dreamlike atmosphere that definitely got your wedding inspiration juices flowing.

One True Love Vintage Rentals
Tulipina Floral Design
Pretty Please Bakeshop
Coco Tran Photography

And the good news for anyone reading this – the Pop Up Shop is here until February 1! But I secretly hope they come back for good. Our San Francisco brides need more BHLDN!

Don’t miss BHLDN’s Pop Up Shop! Firehouse 8 – 1648 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco

And one last thing before I go, something I must share…did you know that Anthropologie now has a gift registry? And I have to ask myself again, where were you when I got married?

BHLDN Pop Up Shop at Firehouse 8 in San FranciscoBeautiful BHLDN dresses hang on a garment rackSan Francisco BHLDN pop up shopSan Francisco hotst BHLDN pop up shop at Firehouse 8 Gold Teak Wood Table Numbers, cake and printed materials at BHLDNBHLDN at Firehouse 8 in San FranciscoBHLDN pop up shop in San FranciscoBHLDN wedding dresses on hanging on a garment rack in San Francisco Firehouse 8BHLDN pop up shop in San Francisco

A Look
Back At 2014

Wedding photographed at Stanford University. Bride and groom rejoicing.

Wow…Vitaliy and I are in full baby prep mode over here. Preparing for baby’s arrival in our home and also trying to tie up loose ends with the business so we’re able to take a break once baby arrives. Getting more and more excited with every day that passes!

One of the things we’re currently working on are our powersheets and goals for 2015. It feels odd for me to make goals for this year as I have no idea what to expect once baby arrives. But to be quite honest, when do we ever really know what to expect? Life is all about the unknown. I often like to think I’m in control, but none of us really know what tomorrow brings. So, I am still going to do the hard work of searching my heart, dreaming about the future, and putting goals to paper. But before I do, I thought I’d take a look back at 2014. Specifically in regards to this little blog of mine. If you’re new to this space, hopefully this will give you a fun introduction.

Make Marriage Happen. Last year I started a series on our blog called Make Marriage Happen. I picked a theme for each month to focus on and it really helped me navigate through ideas and organize my thoughts. I only made it through about half the year, but I’m so thankful to even have accomplished that much in this area as it’s near and dear to my heart. I think I’ll continue this going forward, but tweak it a bit where it’s not a monthly thing.

Powersheets. A tool we used in both our personal and business life in 2014. We didn’t use them as consistently as we’d like, but when we did, they were tremendously helpful. We’re using them again this year and hoping for even more consistency in order to make what matters most happen in 2015. I wrote how the powersheets work in our marriage too.

Date Ideas. This blog is rooted in encouraging young couples to build a strong foundation for their marriage. We believe that having a consistent date night can help foster growth as you continue making investments into your relationship. The table tennis date idea we shared last February was a favorite – so unique and fun. And the best part, you can enjoy it together at home!

Our hometowns. Vitaliy actually grew up in Ukraine and I’m from St. Louis. I event spent my middle and high school years in the now infamous town of Ferguson. Both of the places we called home growing up were both experiencing great turmoil this year. It was surreal at times as well as painful. I wrote a bit about Ukraine earlier in the year. But I never wrote about Ferguson. I usually write about things once I’ve processed them. And when it comes to the Ferguson story, I feel I still have a lot to learn.

Intimacy and writing. Two areas of growth I wanted to see in myself this year. I wanted to see intimacy grow in my marriage and I wanted to challenge myself to write the difficult things that need to be written in hopes of helping the person who happens upon my words. I’m thankful to see growth in both areas, and this post on intimacy was a game changer for me.

Pinterest. I do not invest much on Pinterest, as its another social media beast I haven’t found the time to tackle. But somehow some of our work makes it on there from time to time. And I’m pretty sure this wine and cheese date idea at home is the most pinned item of ours. I see many of these nights in our future!

Baby Making. Nothing was more celebrated in our lives or on this blog than the anticipation of baby Prokopets. We made the announcement in September and have received nothing but love and support from everyone since. It’s hard to believe that we’re only weeks away from holding our son or daughter in our arms. I can’t wait!

Oh, just wait. As I mentioned, writing helps me process. And pregnancy has been a process. So I wrote about my experience and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people and became one of our most popular posts last year.

That’s a little recap of our 2014 here on Pictilio! There is so much more to share, but I’m off to tackle my inbox and shop for my hospital bag. Have a great one!

Photo: This image was taken last year by Vitaliy while second shooting for the lovely Teresa Halton at Stanford.