I was doing a little searching online and came across this, the most hilarious article ever.  I love how, because I became a member of theknot.com to search for some vendors in my area, they chose to start sending me emails from their sister site, thenest.com, literally the day after the wedding!!

Thad and I had a good chuckle over this, and I never bothered to check out the site.  Too bad – looks like I missed out on even bigger laughs….

PS – we made it safely across the pond, and I’ve now re-entered the exciting world of job searching and writing cover letters.  I’ve found a few interesting positions, so keep your fingers crossed!

Wow, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted here!  Most of my spare time has been taken up with wedding stuff for the past several months.  Some of it has been wonderfully fun (like scoping out different venues, and cake tasting – yum!), but some of it has been incredibly tedious.

Don’t get me wrong – I am INCREDIBLY excited that Thad and I are getting hitched in less than two weeks!  But, let me just say that I’m glad we planned it really quickly (less than five months).  I can’t imagine dragging out the planning process for a year or more.

I’ve done a lot of it on my own, but I’ve had the help and support of many, many people.  You know people love you when they will spend hours cutting wedding programs so that they will be functional fans for your guests, who will probably be quite warm and sweaty before you even walk down the aisle (thanks mom!).

And, thinking back on my anthropological background, I think the whole wedding industry would make for some interesting research.  I loooove weddings, and I love going to them, and I’m so excited about my own, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the wedding itself and forget what it’s all about.  It’s not about flowers, cake, diamonds, or even the dress (although, I have to admit, I’m terribly excited about the dress).  It’s really just about celebrating your love with all the people you love most in the world.  And nothing can spoil that – not rain, not mismatched tablecloths or the wrong flowers.

So, lots of people are asking me if I’m worried about anything, but I’m not actually worried about much wedding stuff.  I’m more worried about getting my visa application approved so that, finally, after three and a half years of dating and living in different cities and countries, Thad and I can actually have a place of our own and wake up next to each other every day.

That, I am excited about!

Check it out at: www.jillthadwedding.wordpress.com

Feel free to investigate the site and leave comments if you wish!

We’re Engaged!


Yes, I know I haven’t posted in ages, but I have a semi good excuse – planning a wedding in four months is a tough job!  But, I’m getting ahead of myself, and leaving out all the juicy details…..

Last month I went to England to visit Thad, along with his mom, Maxine.   We had a pretty busy agenda – in less than two weeks we planned to visit Oxford, London, Brighton, Brussels, and Amsterdam.  The first few days were fairly relaxing, hanging out in the Oxford and London area.  And, I was completely clueless that Thad had found an engagement ring in the States that actually accompanied me on the flight over (it was in Maxine’s bag, of course).  I had a few hints: when we were in Harrods, Thad let it slip that he had been ‘looking at rings.’  I was so shocked and excited to hear that he’d been looking, that I didn’t even think about the possibility he already had one!

Anyway, our first evening and morning in Brussels were great.  We ate at a classic little Belgian restaurant in the Grande Place, turned in relatively early, and spent the next day browsing shops, museums, and just wandering around.  I also had my first truly Belgian waffle with cream and strawberries.  If you like chocolate, waffles, and beer, Brussels (and Belgium in general) is the place for you.

That afternoon we traveled to Amsterdam, checked into our hotel, and went out for a nice Dutch meal.  After walking Maxine back to the hotel, Thad and I decided to explore the city a bit on our own.  We spent several hours wandering around Amsterdam’s many canals, and I was amazed how beautiful everything was.  There are lights on the bridges at night, and it’s all very romantic….

Thad found a little bench on the side of a canal, and suggested we sit down for a bit.  Then, he told me to close my eyes, and that he was going to give me one of my surprises.  (As an aside, Thad knows that I love presents and surprises, but I want to know what they are right away!  He’d been torturing me, talking about multiple surprises he had for me and giving no hints, since I’d arrived). 

After a second, I realized that he was no longer on the bench beside me, and I was really confused as to what he was doing.  When he told me I could open my eyes, he was on his knees, opening a little black jewlery box, and I finally realized what was happening.  I was so excited that, after he asked me to marry him, the first few minutes were spent hugging, kissing, and me being a little teary-eyed.  Then, I finally remembered to say yes.

Of course, since we were traveling, it was hard to tell friends and family our good news.  The next day while we were at the Heineken Brewery, Thad and I recorded a video message that we sent to my mom.  You too can see the video, on Thad’s blog.

So, that’s pretty much the story.  The rest of the trip was wonderful, filled with punting in Oxford, having Easter dinner at Steph’s house with some of my favorite Oxfordians, playing with Phoenix, meeting up with good friends in Brighton, and having a little relaxing time with Thad.

So, why are we getting married in four months?

1. We’re really antsy to live in the same country again!

2. We want to get married outside, hence the late summer wedding.

3. We’re really tired of being apart!

4. Phoenix is having psychological issues, and trying to figure out why his ‘mom’ routinely disappears for months at a time.


If you want to see loads of photos from the trip, and me looking insanely happy after Thad proposed, check out my yahoo photos page.

PS – For anyone out there looking for a wedding dress, I highly recommend going to a charity gown sale.  The dresses are less expensive, and you don’t have to feel guilty spending all that money, because it all goes to charity.  Check out Making Memories – which is how I found my wedding dress!

Waxing Political

In 2004, just a few days before the presidential election, I attended a political rally in Raleigh, NC where John Edwards, the then-hopeful future vice-president, spoke. That night I felt optimistic, inspired, and excited about America’s political future. I remember shedding tears in my office while reading Kerry’s concession speech just a few days later.

Since then I haven’t felt inspired or hopeful about American politics. That changed a little when I watched Barack Obama’s speech announcing his candidacy for President. His speech was simple, made few grandiose claims, and focused on bridging divides. Yes, it’s true that he has little experience in national politics, but I think that’s a big reason why I like him. And, as much as I’d love to see a female US President, I think Hillary may be a little too jaded, a little too immersed in the political sphere, to be a good leader (in my book).

The race has only just begun, and I have more research to do, but right now I’m leaning heavily toward the ‘gangly, self-made, Springfield lawyer.’

Click here to see all the photos!


This year, Thad and I received a wonderful present from his mom, Maxine, and David: a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean! It was a bit of a whirlwind at first, since we flew into the States on December 14th, drove to Charleston on the 15th, and the cruise left on the 16th! We had two full days at sea before we stopped at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West. While at sea, we all had a great time enjoying the warm weather (particularly for Thad and I – it was a big change from winter in England)! Thad and I even took a couple’s massage class on the last day. I was a little worried about getting seasick, and though the last few days on the boat were a little rough, it turned out ok.


The first stop was Grand Cayman, where we spent most of the day wandering around shops, swimming, and lounging on Seven Mile Beach.  The next day in Cozumel we drove dune buggies around most of the island, which was probably the highlight of the cruise for me.  We drove around for several hours, had lunch on an amazing beach, did a little shopping at the Pee Pee Station (a little souvenir shop we stopped at along the way), and went snorkeling.  It was a very eventful day, though our tour lasted a little longer than expected, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time to explore the port area on our own.


After a week of having fun in the Caribbean, we arrived back in Charleston in time to get home for Christmas.  It was wonderful to see my family again, and to see how much the smallest family members have grown (Tyler is 9 months, and Sidda is now 13 monts!).  If you take a look at the photos, you’ll see they were the main source of entertainment for the whole family.


(Thad playing with Tyler)


(Mom and me, picking at the Turkey)


After Christmas, in Richmond, Thad and I went on the Tacky Lights Tour, which was quite interesting.  After spending New Year’s together, Thad had to head back across the Atlantic.  I’m going to be in the States indefinitely, and am looking for jobs at the moment.  Cross your fingers that I find something soon!

Founder’s Feast

 I know I’ve been horrible about posting, but here are some photos of Founder’s Feast!

(PS – Thad has Halloween photos here)


(Thad looking very dapper in his Fedora)


(House photo)


(the girls)


(Thad and me at dinner)


(fruit and port)


Yes, I know it’s been ages since I posted anything on here, but trust me, I have a good excuse.  Just after getting settled in Oxford I began my internship with Plan UK, and began working at Starbucks, and live has been pretty hectic ever since!  I had one week where I didn’t have a day off, and if you count the time I spent commuting to London, I worked a grand total of 64 hours!  For the next little while, you can probably check out Thad’s blog to find out more about what I’m doing 🙂
I have decided to cut back a bit though – both for my own sanity and so I have more time to look for a more permanent job.  I also want to have more time to work out, which I haven’t been able to do much of lately.  And I have a good reason to too – just before Christmas Thad and I are going on a cruise – wooohooo!

Anyway, after a long day of work and commuting the last thing I want to do is sit in front of my computer, so off to relax and play with Phoenix I go….


Loads more photos from the last few days in Brighton can be found here.

Life After ADST

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but a lot has happened in the past two weeks. I turned in my dissertation on time, and had several days to edit, so I’m completely done with all the work for my MA. That evening I celebrated with loads of people from Kings Road, my program, and my flatmates, and put a dent in the bottle of rum that Alvaro won for his pirate costume. The next day I had to move out of my flat, so of course things were pretty hectic. Emily and I moved all our stuff to Alvaro’s new flat, so that we had a few days to relax and hang out in Brighton without having to worry about academic work. There was lots of relaxing, watching tv and movies, wandering around town, and eating really good food. On one of the days, we took the bus and went walking around Beacy Head and the Seven Sisters. Though the day started out dreary and foggy, it turned out to be a sunny, gorgeous afternoon. Walking in some of England’s most beautiful countryside was quite a change from being cooped up in my room churning out my dissertation.



After having a mini-ADST reunion and saying ‘goodbye’ to many of my closest friends for the past year (many of whom I hope to see again in the near future!)…

Thad helped me move all my stuff to Oxford. The move actually went more smoothly than I expected, considering all the suitcases and bags (and my bike!) that we transported on the train. Since then I’ve been busy getting settled, and trying to find places to store and organize our stuff has taken up the majority of the past few days. Thad and I have still managed to enjoy the great weather lately though, between walking Phoenix, picking blackberries, and going punting.


Tomorrow is my first day working at Plan UK, and I hope it goes well! It will be interesting (and possibly exhausting) to commute to London three days per week in a row, but I’m hoping it will be a good experience. Then, on Friday, I begin my part-time job at Starbucks. The things that getting a master’s degree qualify you for….. 🙂