Today marks the Summer Solstice.

Who wouldn’t love to welcome summer at Stonehenge?

This is the longest day of the year, and the start of summer. It’s funny—it’s always struck me that we should mark summer from the days getting longer, not the days reaching their longest and then starting to wane.

Summer is not my favorite season. I love tomatoes, yes, and green leaves and watermelons and fireworks and lightning bugs and the smell of fresh-cut grass and all the other things that come with summer. But I don’t like heat. I much prefer a crisp autumn evening or that first morning in spring when you realize the birds are singing again.

Still. It’s the halfway point in the year. How far have you come since the Winter Solstice last December? I, obviously, have gotten married. I’ve seen my friends welcome new life into the world. I’ve worked hard, played hard, and embraced new people in my life. Those are all good things.

And think: this is just the halfway point. What have you half-finished? I have querying and publication decisions ahead of me, and more life decisions, I’m sure. And this is just one year amid all the years. What else lies ahead?

But today isn’t the day to think about those things. Today, you should walk outside and feel the sun on your face. Look at the growing things around you: really look at them. Are there tomatoes in your garden? Is the grass by the highway turning brown? It’s time to notice the fullness of life. Have a cook-out with your friends. Watch the sunrise or the sunset. Relive your childhood and run through the sprinklers. Let the summer into your heart.

What does summer mean to you?

My Top 10 TV/Movie Weddings

Doesn’t this one make everyone’s list?

I’m sorry guys. I tried not to do it, but you guys are getting some wedding content this week.

I’m getting married in six days, give me a break! We’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming when I get back from sunny Mexico. In the mean time, we’ll have some guest posts, some goofy wedding posts, and some normal Kristin-content mixed in just for spice.

But today, it’s all about goofy weddings. About six weeks ago, after I went to see The Five-Year Engagement, and I came home slightly hysterical about the impromptu movie wedding, Drew gently suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t watch any more movie or TV weddings.

Now, I really love romantic comedies. And sit-coms. I have to admit it: I just do. And at this stage, I’m starting to go into withdrawal. So here are my ten fictional weddings, in no particular order: some of them I learned from, some of them I genuinely enjoyed, and some are just plain funny. So read, enjoy, and watch them for me so I can live vicariously through you.

1. Friends: Ross and Emily
This is one of those ultimate learning-experience TV weddings. First, the wedding hall is torn down. Then the bride briefly calls off the wedding. Then, once everything is all hugs and puppies again, the groom’s ex-girlfriend shoes up, and he says the wrong name in the ceremony.

Thanks to this episode, Drew knows that his job is pretty much just to show up and say the right name. But he also gets to hold my hand through any disasters and try to understand that little things like music and garland are more important to me than they might be to him.

And I’ve learned that I can roll with things, and that sometimes tiny alterations will make things more beautiful.

Um… oops?

2. Friends: Chandler and Monica
This wedding somewhat balances out Ross’s failed one. Yes, there are disasters, yes, the officiant shows up late, yes, everyone thinks the bride is pregnant, but otherwise, it goes off without a hitch.

Plus, the entire seventh season of Friends is all about Monica’s crazy wedding antics, which have made me feel much better over the last year.

3. How I Met Your Mother: Marshall and Lily
Another terrible sitcom wedding! (Are you starting to notice a pattern here?) No flowers, the musician giving birth, no photos, no veil, the groom shaves his head, and an ex is present yet again.

But Marshall and Lily love each other enough to have a pre-wedding before their wedding, one with all of the things they wanted originally and without all those things that don’t matter.

Lily is super-drunk.

4. Father of the Bride (1991)
One of my all-time favorite wedding movies. Everything is beautiful and goes smoothly, and I can’t count the number of times in the last year that I’ve wished I had a Franck to help me plan my wedding.

They almost look friendly, don’t they?

5. My Best Friend’s Wedding
This is another of my longtime favorite wedding movies. Watching Julia Roberts try to hate the sickeningly sweet Cameron Diaz and to destroy her posh wedding still fills my heart with joy. And, in the end, poor Julia gives up the ghost and lets her best friend marry the woman of his dreams. 

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Xander and Anya
This is one of those big-scary lesson weddings, one that shows just how mean people can be, and how sometimes the demons we bring on ourselves are far worse than the ones that come from hell dimensions.

Even if I weren’t banned from watching wedding episodes, I would not watch this one, because watching Xander leave Anya just about breaks my heart. 

7. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Ah, the classic blending of two wildly disparate families to create something new and special. This one’s all about learning to love yourself and your origins, too, and to find that one person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself you can be.

8. Little Women (1994 film version): Meg and John Brooke
I’ve always loved this telling of Little Women, and while I always thought Meg’s quiet love story with John Brooke was a little ho-hum, but it’s grown on me over the years. Plus, I love the cute, lush, rustic garden setting, and I’d love to have people wearing flower-crowns dance around us in a circle and sing “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

The bonnets would be optional, of course.

9. Mad About You: Paul and Jamie
I haven’t watched this one in ages, but I remember fondly Jamie eating chocolate to drown her sorrows and worrying that she wouldn’t fit into her dress. This is another couple who couldn’t take the stress of their planned wedding, and sneaked off to have a private one.

That’s sweet, and all, but I think it’s more a reminder that the wedding is about two people, and not about all the guests and glamour, and you shouldn’t have to avoid your friends and family to remember that.

10. Sex and the City: Charlotte and Harry (as compared to Charlotte and Trey)
Another wedding gone awry! Perhaps I should’ve just written a post about all the things that can go wrong in a wedding if you live in a television show. The nice moment here, though, is when Carrie points out to a distraught Charlotte that a perfect wedding does not equal a perfect marriage. While Charlotte’s earlier wedding was perfect (aside from a few sexual-function issues), the marriage was a disaster. And, as we see, despite the wedding mishaps, Charlotte’s marriage to Harry is a great one.

I do love her dress.

Bonus #11. Heartbreakers
This movie is so full of bizarre, conned weddings, it’s hard to overlook the love stories. I do love Jennifer Love Hewitt’s beach wedding, though, and the song “Oh My Love” from their wedding night will play a much happier part in my wedding than it did in theirs.

Small Blessings

I love where I live.

Southern Indiana may not sound glamorous, but Bloomington is special place. It’s a college town, and very near the hippy-dippy-country-town of Nashville. Our population just about doubles when the students arrive in August, but they bring an influx of culture and excitement. Some of my friends call Bloomington “the town of requirement” : if you want it or need it, Bloomington probably has it. Limestone carving lessons? Check. Tibetan monastery? Check. Nudist communes? Check. We’ve got it all.

The land itself is special, too. Most of Indiana is cornfields, sure, but we’re right at the edge of the native hardwood forests, which cover rolling hills and shelter little lakes and rivers. We’re on top of limestone karst, too, which means you can find some serious treasures in the dirt:


Naturally occurring geodes! I picked this up out of a creek bed yesterday — exactly like this.

It’s nice to know there are little pieces of beauty around every corner, just waiting to be discovered.

It’s a Green Thumb After All

Remember how I said that I can’t ever really succeed with gardening?

Well, it turns out I lied.


Here we have my the chives I recently mowed down, some chamomile, my potted lilac bush, a baby pepper plant, the basil, a tea-rose, lavender, and a LOT of mint.


The seed-pots contain borage, more chamomile, hollyhocks, poppies, some sort of climbing plant, and something else I’ve forgotten. You can catch a glimpse of the big pepper plant on the right.


This bottom photo is mostly of my tomato plant, which is HUGE. It’s tied to the stake with purple yarn, but still threatening to tomato-bomb anyone on the sidewalk below. Next to it is a teacup tomato plant (complete with gnome) that’s still a baby. (The tarp covered monstrosity is my bike.)

I’m completely infatuated with my little garden. I’d work and read out there, but a) it’s greenhouse-hot, and b) we live near the highway so it’s never really quiet. I do have a couple of houseplants by my desk, though.


Yes, that is a fairy garden in my jade plant pot.

So, the moral, dear readers, is never think you can’t do something.

How are your gardens doing?