Our Wedding

wedding

On November 1, 2009, in Little Bay, Jamaica, Ken and I “legalized it,” as the Jamaicans love to say. I couldn’t be happier that we chose to have a destination wedding with close family and friends. It was everything we had hoped it would be, and quite possibly the best family vacation the Pattersons or the Nichols have ever had.

We left with a thousand favorite memories, but here are just a few of the highlights (in no particular order):

  • While I was in my room preparing for the ceremony, just about to step into my dress, it suddenly started to downpour. I was losing it – this was the first time it had rained since we arrived, and it just happened to occur when I was supposed to be walking down the aisle!? Luckily, the rain stopped in time for us to get a handful of pre-ceremony pictures. And you know what? We ended up having two huge rainbows for our ceremony.
  • The night before the wedding was a blast! After the rehearsal dinner, our friend started playing Michael Jackson on his ipod at the resort’s bar, and everyone was doing the “Billie Jean” dance. Our parents even got up on the bar and started dancing. Now I’ve heard of them having that much fun before, but never have I actually seen it…
  • Our second day in Jamaica, our group went to the Blue Hole, which is a natural mineral springs where the only way to swim is to jump – 35 feet! We all did it, or course. The coolest part about it was that it was just us and the locals, who showed off their impressive cliff diving skills. It’s currently being developed into a major tourist attraction, so we are truly lucky we got to experience it beforehand.
  • On our last night of the honeymoon, Coral Cove prepared a private dinner for the two of us out on the cliff where we got married. They illuminuated the way with torches, and decorated our table with romantic candles and flower petals. I just can’t say enough about how great those people were!

I will stop gushing, but first I must insert a plug for both Coral Cove (where we all stayed) and Ray and Erica of 35 Atlanta, our photographers. Both helped to make our wedding unforgettable.

Here are some more of the first wedding pictures! The professional photos should be ready soon 🙂 

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I’m still alive.

party

I can’t believe it’s been this long since I’ve posted, especially with all of the exciting things happening right now. First and foremost, Ken and I got engaged on June 12! Even though we’d been dating for almost five years, it was a complete surprise. The date is November 1, 2009, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ve chosen to take the nontraditional route, and will have the ceremony in the tiny village of Little Bay, Jamaica at Coral Cove Resort. Our parents and friends are over the moon (especially those who are going 🙂 and it’s just been a really happy time in our lives.

After being unexpectedly laid off in December, Ken quickly found a new job with Ameripark and is very busy working and completing his last accounting class before he prepares to take the CPA exams. He is also training for his first half Ironman triathlon, which will be in September.

 Although it’s a challenging and demanding work environment, I’ve really enjoyed my job as a development staff member at GGC. Recently, I’ve been privileged to witness some huge milestones in the school’s short history. On May 29, Gen. David Petraeus (head of the U.S. Central Command) delivered the commencement speech at the third ceremony in GGC history, which went off without a hitch. I had the privilege of getting to know each of the 38 graduates through coordinating the Senior Gift Campaign, which also proved to be a huge success; 100% of the graduates contributed to the campaign!

GGC also received SACS accreditation on June 25, and is now a fully accredited institution of higher learning. Due to the hard work of all of the faculty, staff and many students, this accomplishment was completed in record time. We’re all thrilled, but bracing ourselves for the increased workload as enrollment is expected to increase exponentially.

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An update on grown-up life

I’ve had very little time to write lately because I’ve been busy transitioning to the real world. Yes, I am finally moved out of my parents’ basement and busy establishing myself as a professional.

In this economy, I am blessed to now have a job in the development office at Georgia Gwinnett College, where I started my new position as Assistant Director of Annual Giving on Feb. 2. As the first public, 4-year liberal arts college opened in the 21st century, GGC has enormous growth potential and I’m anxious to see what happens in the coming months. One of the most exciting recent developments is the news that Gen. David Petraeus will be speaking at the May 2009 commencement ceremony.

On a separate note, I’ve just moved to a new apartment in Suwanee, GA, about 15 minutes away from my job in Lawrenceville. Although moving in (and decorating) has been a very slow process, I’ve really enjoyed living by myself and am sure Ken is relieved that I won’t be moving quite as frequently now that I’m done with college.

I’m still adjusting to both living in a new city and working, so if any of you reading have any tips to share on fun things to do in Gwinnett or fundraising, I would greatly appreciate it. I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year so far!

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: UGA graduation 2008

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It was the day I’ve eagerly anticipated for the past four years: my graduation from UGA. As I sat with my fellow students at the Grady commencement ceremony in Hodgson Hall on Dec. 18, there was a mixed sentiment in the air of excitement and uncertainty.  The speakers’ words of praise and encouragement were dotted with reminders that we were entering one of the toughest job markets in recent history. I wanted nothing more than to forget that fact, at least for a while, but they were right to discuss it: it was the truth.

Keynote speaker Carolyn Tieger, borrowing a phrase from Dickens, captured the moment perfectly: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” She added, “When you tell people that you graduated in 2008, you will certainly get their attention!” She went on to discuss the importance of perserverance in the job search, offering several useful tidbits of advice. She even reassured us that it’s okay to live with parents for a little while, which came as a relief to me since that is where I am right now.

If anything, my time at college has taught me perserverance and humility. I’ve received bad grades on projects and papers I’ve poured my heart into. I’ve been turned down for internships, jobs and other opportunities. I’ve made mistakes. But I’ve also learned to turn these failures into learning opportunities and, in fact, not to think of them as failures, but necessary experiences on the road to success. It’s that old cliche: “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

Thanks to my wonderful family and friends, I had a great graduation week. My parents came up and took us to a wonderful dinner at Last Resort. My 12-year-old brother (and equally antsy boyfriend) sat patiently through the graduation ceremony. My friend Becky and I had a joint graduation party in our hometown, and were showered with gifts and kind words from our amazing family friends. Each time I was asked if I had a job lined up, I was able to smile and simply say, “Nope!” They believe in me, and that’s all that matters right now. (Click here for some more pictures from graduation).

Congratulations to all other recent graduates, and thank you to all of my wonderful supervisors, professors and colleagues who have encouraged me along the way.

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The kittens are alright

kitten

For two reasons: 1) More kitties get adopted during the holiday season, and 2) Great folks like the volunteers at RescueCats, Inc. are there to rescue the homeless cats in the community. I had the opportunity to volunteer there this afternoon, and have a feeling I may be going back in a few weeks for a companion when I finally have my own place 🙂

Talking with the volunteers at RescueCats was an eye-opening experience. Although many times humane societies and dog rescue agencies have a surplus of volunteers, cat rescues have a harder time recruiting and keeping volunteers and soliciting donations. Cat lovers: it’s time to step it up! I can tell you right now that cleaning out the cages wasn’t all that bad.

RescueCats volunteers also stressed the need for stricter statewide spay and neuter requirements. A female cat reaches sexual maturity as early as 6 months of age and give birth to several litters during her lifetime; males, well, you know. If you need even more reasons to spay/ neuter your pet, click here. RescueCats has current photos of all their adorable kitties up for adoption, so if you’re thinking about bringing one home this holiday season, be sure to check out the link above.

The service project was part of the Companion Animal Care class I’m taking as an elective. It’s been very interesting, and I’ll be a little sad when it’s over. Here are some of the interesting tidbits I’ve learned this semester:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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UGA vs. Auburn: a house divided

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This past Saturday, I was able to experience something I’ve been waiting for the whole time I’ve been in college: an Auburn/ GA football game with my dad, an Auburn graduate. My family finally made the journey to his old stomping ground, where my dad enjoyed reminiscing about the toilet paper tree, eating at Guthries, his old college apartment and, of course, how much he can’t stand Georgia fans (no offense taken, old man).

My mom enjoyed cheering for BOTH teams (well, whatever team was losing at the time). Robby, who wore red just so I wouldn’t be the only one, enjoyed the funnel cake, popcorn, Dip-n-Dots and pretzels from the concession stand. And I enjoyed viewing the game from row 13 of the Auburn alumni section. Who knew they actually sit down for some of the game in the alumni section!?

Now I know the Bulldogs were “supposed” to murder Auburn rather than play barely well enough to win, but I have to say it was much more exciting than watching a runaway game. I was pleasantly suprised at how pleasant the Auburn fans were – they were even good sports about it after they lost. In fact, UGA fans could definitely take some tips from them (there’s a reason for our bad reputation).

Maybe next year I can drag pops up to Athens for the game. Then he can listen to my stories about “back in the day, when I was in college…” Weird.

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my two cents

Opinionated as I can be, I’ve done a pretty good job  of keeping my mouth shut about this whole election business for the past few months, at least in public and online (unlike some people on Facebook, who’ve suddenly reverted back to the McCarthy era…) Truthfully, I was never crazy about either candidate and don’t feel the need to elaborate now who I sided with and why. But there were a few things about this campaign, and the media’s handling of it, that were extremely troubling to me. Here are a few:

  • Throughout their campaigns, BOTH candidates remained focused on society’s “victims” in their speeches. Whether it was “victims” of the economy and mortgage crisis or “victims” of our health care system, it was always victims! If either Obama or McCain spoke of a single successful man or woman who beat the odds, rose to the top and, say, started a business and created jobs, I didn’t see it. The more our leaders keep speaking of the American people as victims, the more people are going to believe it. Obviously, that’s not the type of attitude this country needs right now.
  • When are the media and its audiences going to realize that polls don’t mean squat? Especially months and months before the election, when they first started bombarding us with their nonsense predictions. I saw a lot more media coverage on who’s trailing who than what the actual issues were, and that’s a big problem.
  • I know they have freedom of speech rights too, but for ethical reasons, the vast majority of celebrities should just keep their mouths shut. Period. I don’t even want to know how many teens’ votes were influenced by some random pop/rap/ “reality” star who got on MTV, YouTube or MySpace and went on a power trip just because they felt like it. I’m willing to bet that most of them have never read an economics or political science book. Or any book.

All in all, I feel privileged to have witnessed such a historic milestone. Let’s pray that the good kind of change is coming soon.

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