Category Archives: marital bliss

a matron of honor speech for my sister’s wedding

For those of you I have not met, I am Anna, the bride’s older (and definitely wiser) sister. Just a warning: I make up in honesty for what I lack in brevity.

As your older sister, Laura, and while I have the time and your attention, I would like to first take this opportunity to remind you that while you are a smart, capable, driven young woman, you will never be as smart, capable, or driven as me. Just kidding (no, really, I am).

I thought it wise to include here insights from older generations of happily married couples in our family, but then I thought: No. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve been married for a few years now, so Robert and I are clearly the experts. Laura and Tripp, I’ll share with you some of my own marriage advice:

Tip One: Go to bed angry. It’s better to go to bed angry than stay up all night fighting – you’ll need your rest in order to win the fight the next morning. Never give up, never give in. Trust me, this is important. Laura’s competitive Camp genes will show through soon enough, Tripp. Just wait.

Tip Two: Always encourage each other to continue improving as people. For example, Laura, if Tripp comes home from a Saturday round of golf and flies through the door with his score, say, “I thought you were better than that.” It will encourage him to try harder next time. Laura’s confrontational Italian genes will show through soon too, Tripp. You’ll see.

Tip Three: Monograms are over-rated. No, seriously, they are. Some day, you will regret that your LBR’s are plastered on every dish, glass, blanket, doormat, and tray. And, Tripp, her obsession with monograms will seem a lot less charming in a few years. Giving in to her demands for that embroidery-covered, ruffled duvet will feel like a mistake soon enough … just wait. Remember, you heard it here. The older sister told you so!

But, seriously, though…

As a married couple, Let things go. When you share your life with someone, you see each other when you’re happy… but also when you’re sleepy, sick, stressed, when you have a bit of spinach in your teeth, when you’re unbearably sad, when your eyes are puffy from crying, mornings when a certain girl wakes up hungover from too many Kir Royales and just can’t deal with life in general… Basically, there will be times when you’re grumpy and snappy, and if your partner is going through something hard and snaps about something random, LET IT GO. Don’t escalate things, don’t take it personally.

Try new things together: move to new places, try new foods, travel when you can.

Say “I love you” during arguments and fights. Gently say those three words – “I love you” right in the middle of an argument. The secret to a long and happy marriage is not the idea that nothing bad is ever going to happen. But it’s that when something bad does, you know how to get through it together. One of the most important things is that when you’re having an argument, instead of ratcheting up the emotion, you diffuse it. It doesn’t make everything instantly better, but it helps.

And, finally, kiss each other in the kitchen.

Tripp, you are the luckiest man in the world to get to marry such a beautiful, driven, family-oriented girl, and if this incredible wedding weekend is any sign of what is to come for your future, you will both be truly blessed. Laura may shop too often or too much (and p.s. moving her to New York City is not likely to help this habit), BUT she is loyal, she is determined, and (while her political leanings have gone a bit off track in recent years) she has a strong moral compass. She will love you no matter what. While Laura may have been her high school AND college homecoming queen (you can’t make this stuff up), she’s still a girl with a gentle soul that is excited to embark on a new life with her new husband. Tripp, with the same enthusiasm that she displays toward her shopping sprees, monograms, and homecoming crowns, she will lavish on you ten-fold.

I see how happy you both make each other, and as Laura’s sister, that makes me so, so happy.

As Shakespeare wrote, “May you be merry and lack nothing.”

Let’s all raise a glass to the new Bailey monogram …

C H E E R S !


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dearest nonno

The image I have ingrained in my head is of his hands.

The last photo I took of my Nonno were of his strong yet gentle Italian hands, taken on Thanksgiving Day, the day before he left us. They were peacefully clasped on top the sheet over his sleeping body. I held his hands, they were warm and fidgety. But something told me it would not be long before I could no longer hold them.

Some of my warmest memories as a child involved these hands. They spoiled my sister, brother, cousins & me with homemade donuts, sugary candies, many a game of king’s corners & blackjack … & wrapped around us every time we would come to visit and before we would leave each other – Nonno loved giving big bear hugs.

Whenever I think of his hands, I am reminded of his occupation – the thing he diligently did with these hands for much of his life.

Nonno was quite simply the best kind of farmer: he truly respected and cared for the land. He cared for his land such that the soil is still rich and producing. Nonno may not have called himself a steward – he was not one to brag. But that’s exactly what he was.

Nonno loved tending his small garden. As kids, we got such a kick out of watching him pull up from the soil long carrots and cut from their stems enormous zucchini.

The depth of care he had for all living creatures has been unmatched by anyone I have ever known – and that means a lot, coming from this family of animal lovers! His hands cared deeply for and nurtured so many animals throughout his life. He fed baby animals with a bottle. My mom has warm memories of Nonno caring for her pet raccoon. He faithfully mixed and filled sugar water into feeders for hummingbirds. He worried himself sick when Sylvester, his adopted stray cat, would wander off for days at a time. He loved more dogs to their final days than we can count. Shortly before his passing, Nonno asked my mom who would feed the animals left at the ranch. We’re not sure which animals he was referring to, but it didn’t matter. His tenderness toward animals was heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

Nonno’s olive-hued hands told the story of his Italian roots, of which he was so proud. In true Italian fashion, he really did speak and sing with his hands. As a kid, I loved watching him raise his hand from the front seat while he sang along to some classic Italian crescendo playing in the car. Nonno loved showing us photos and telling stories about his Italian heritage. One day, I hope to visit the town in Italy where his family originated—Tassignano.

Man, those hands could cook! They kneaded dough and sliced salami. They stirred sauces and cooked meat. We never left Nonno’s house hungry. According to my mom, Nonno taught my Nonni how to cook when they were first married. By the time I came along, together they were an excellent aproned team in the kitchen.

Whenever I visit any of his favorite local restaurants – eating pasta on the checkered tablecloths at Luigi’s, at a long table (with a glass of red wine) in the back of Wool Grower’s, or on a barstool at the counter of Dewar’s, I will think of my Nonno.

His hands could really bake too! He baked dozens upon dozens of seriously delicious Italian cookies with family at Christmastime. Yesterday, we recreated this memory, but of course it was not the same without him. I loved watching Nonno pour more & more Amaretto into the pie dough, correcting my mom and uncle on their technique. The smell of biscotti and chess pies will forever remind us of his ability to bring people together with laughter in the kitchen. We promise to carry on this holiday tradition even though he his gone.

While my husband and I were visiting Nonno on Thanksgiving Day, Nonno called out for Nonni many times, raising his hands up, reaching & calling out for “Edna” and asking for her help. I personally find so much comfort knowing that my Nonno and Nonni are now back together again – holding hands, how they belong. That is how I will remember them.

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Two Years!!

After two years of marriage, I still can’t believe that Anna Corinne decided to spend her life with me.  She will never understand how much I love her, but I plan on spending my life trying to show her!

I love her creativity in all she does…







I love that she is a brainy beauty who loves a nerd such as moi…







I love buying her fro’ yo’ on a sizzling So’ Cal day and holding her hand…







But most of all I am forever thankful for the privilege, she has given me, of sharing in life with her.  Happy second anniversary, my love!

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playing catch up

things we’ve been up to this spring/summer:

celebrated ANNA’S BIRTHDAY … one year closer to thirty, & she’s feeling good about it.  while she may be twenty-nine now, bartenders still give double-takes when she passes them her license to order a drink (we think she’ll be carded until she’s forty).  :)

moved to a NEW LOFT APARTMENT (which we love).

anna is currently testing out her green thumb on the new patio.

although, there were a few tears as we packed up & left our first apartment we’ve lived in together… au revoir, holly street.

traveled to PARIS with anna’s family!  we ate buttery pastries every day, sipped lots of wine, people-watched in bistros, dined in fancy restaurants, walked the streets until our feet were blistery, traveled to the countryside for a few days, fell in love with rue montorgueil, spoke french with locals, & vowed to visit again.  (we’ll always have paris.)

anna attended her cousin caroline’s BABY SHOWER in virginia.   (update: baby belle is currently an adorable, healthy & happy three-&-a-half-week old!)

anna soaked up every second of time with her east coast cousins on this short trip.

celebrated the FOURTH OF JULY with our parents (it’s becoming a tradition ’round here).  we rode bikes to dinner, sat outside & ate lobster (which felt very festive), watched deuling country clubs’ fireworks shows from the patio, & had a delicious late-night cobbler at robby’s parents’.

took a DAYTRIP TO SANTA BARBARA (the place we were wed) to reminisce.  & reminisce we did.  we ate at the little cafe where we had breakfast every morning of our wedding week.  we visited the hotel where we stayed with our wedding party & friends.  we had a cocktail at the site of our reception & the place we spent our first married night.  we walked on the beach, getting sand between our toes.  ah, the memories.

& we’re currently getting ready for a trip with the smith clan to IDAHO (the place of bob’s birth, home to many lakes, long summer days, outdoor sports, & beautiful scenery).  it will be a blast, we’re sure of it.

(oh, we’re also getting POLITICAL & helping robby’s dad with his run for city council of our hometown.  go bicycle bob!!)

i guess we’ve been busy.  so sorry for the lack of smithlove updates.  we’ll be better, we promise!

xo, anna + robby

p.s. here’s a little reminder to be thankful (from the chalkboard in our kitchen). we thought you might like to see…

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thirty years young

happy almost thirtieth birthday to one of my favorite people in the whole world. the entire universe. the cosmos & beyond . . . oh, ok. i’m getting carried away. (i tend to do that when i talk about my mr.)

happiest of birthdays to the sweetest husband around.  i love you, robert austin.

thirty things i love about my almost thirty-year-old husband

(on the eve of his birthday):

#1 his big smile. have you seen it? i mean, he’s got an amazing grin that lights up a room.

#2 his ability to sing rap lyrics like no other white boy i know. this guy knows his rap, lemme tell you.

#3 his laugh. something about it just. well. it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

#4 his big blue eyes. seriously adorable.

#5 his hugs. they’re the best!

#6 his desire for us to be connected to a church.

#7 the curls that form when his hair gets a little long. i can’t bear to let him get them cut off. they’re so cute!

#8 the way he makes grilled cheese sandwiches. he hits just the right pickle:cheese ratio.

#9 his devotion to family. he loves & cherishes his family more than anyone i know. the boy would do anything to cheer up or lighten the load of one of his parents or siblings.

#10 his love for books. robby would love it if we had bookshelves covering every wall of our home. he dreams about his future “study” & loves trips to the library. i ♥ a man with his nose in a book.

#11 his love for “little people” … being around kids makes him feel like everything’s right with the world, he once said. i love that!

#12 his desire to give back to the community. so many people our age are not near as giving & generous as my robby.

#13 his ability to plan. i am so thankful that he loves to dream about & plan our future with me. such a blessing.

#14 his work ethic. robby is always learning new things, trying to take work to the next level.

#15 his ability to deal with stressful situations. let’s just say we balance each other out on this one. :)

#16 the fact that he’ll watch friends/you’ve got mail/when harry met sally with me as many times as i ask. he’s learned to appreciate them with me because they make me smile.

#17 his dedication to staying healthy. he craves bike rides on the weekends. he loves yoga. he flosses every day. he drinks green tea like it’s nobody’s business. give the man a vegetable (beet, turnip, carrot, sweet potato, yam), & he’s happy. feed him a stew filled with vegetables, and he’ll talk about it for a week!

#18 the fact that he gets up at 4:30 every morning to go for a run & make hot oatmeal before work. (i only wish i had his dedication that early!)

#19 the way he takes care of me when i’m sick or tired or cranky. so loving, even in the most stressful moments.

#20 his knowledge about history and art. he’s like a walking encyclopedia. it frightens me sometimes.

#21 sweet texts he sends throughout the day & the notes he leaves me around the apartment. (i save them all!)

#22 his love for traveling. wherever we go –  be it copenhagen, berlin, new york, rome, venice, or a new side of town – he loves to explore, visit museums, learn the history, eat like locals, take it all in.

#23 how he treats waiters & waitresses. he always goes out of his way to show appreciation & respect.  he almost always over-tips.

#24 the way he’ll stop on the way home from a morning run to grab me a fresh croissant & a coffee. he knows the way to my heart.

#25 his love of vintage traditions: formal extended family dinners, sipping vintage cocktails, dressing in a tux & bow tie, visiting the theatre, treating people with dignity, handwritten letters sent in the mail, vinyl jazz records, formal language, old men with thick moustaches, country clubs, classic black & white films … you see, he doesn’t worry about getting old. not one bit. he literally can’t wait to be able to embrace some of the traditions twentysomethings cannot so easily pull off.

{little robby with his aunt “tt”}

#26 how he likes to dress up.  he actually likes wearing ties to work.  he isn’t a fan of anything new that already looks ragged. holes in his jeans: he would never. tears in his shirts: not an option. he shines his own shoes. he irons his shirts.

#27 it is so cute that he feels it’s his job to always take out the trash. i think i’ve taken it out maybe three times the entire time we’ve been married. so sweet.

#28 the fact that he can always tell when i’m sad, even if i don’t say a word.  he always knows the right thing to say, the right mood to shift my spirits.

#29 the fact that he doesn’t mind washing dishes. i mean, what girl wouldn’t love that?!

#30 his love for our little family & desire for our marriage to be healthy & strong. he works every day to bring us closer together. i could not have asked for a better partner in this life.

 xoxoxoxo, wifey

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a day for love

happy saint valentine’s day!


to us, this day is a celebration of LOVE.  not roses, not candy, not fancy dinners, not heart-shaped balloons.  these things are nice but can seem so very unnecessary & contrived.  we like to spoil each other in surprising little ways.  i hope that our valentine gifts to one another show that.

the hubs got me all of my favorite little treats & arranged them sweetly on our table for when I woke up.

{a handwritten letter, tulips, black licorice, a manicure gift card, chocolates filled with peanut butter, a travel book, & an almond croissant}

I gave him some homemade chocolates in a vintage jello tin, a heart pin, a cross-stitch of a chevron arrow & hung a couple signs around the apartment.





i hope your day is filled with LOVE.

xo, anna


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love can last

{you should really watch this video.}

“april 14th will be our 68th wedding anniversary.  that’s right, you heard it!  friends ask me how i managed to get someone like jean.  so i have one expression.  i prayed well.”  

   -abe small, march 2, 2011

love ever after: a project about new yorkers who have been married for 50 years or more.  learn more about the photographer, lauren fleishman, here.

xo, anna


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i’m having fun with my newest iphone app: pocketbooth! it’s a portable photobooth in your pocket. :)

xo, anna

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by this fresh, flakey croissant delivered by the hubs.


i am one lucky girl. ♥

xo, anna

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one year ago

robby, i love you more than ever before (if that’s possible).

xxo, anna

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