Everyone Has to Start Somewhere

Nine months ago I got married.  I really did think that that was the beginning of life for myself.  I know that sounds crazy, but I am a Southern girl through and through, and unless you have lived in the south for 99.6% of your life, you wouldn’t understand.  DSC_3675

Marriage, well, it’s all we think about.  We dream about it, we go to millions of weddings every year, because, in the South, if you aren’t married by 25, all the ladies at church start meddling in your life and sending random young men your number and email address.  Laugh all you want you blessed Northerners, but it’s the truth.  My brother-in-law, who is from Kentucky mind you, marvels at the whole getting married out of high school or college thing, it literally blows him away. He’s adjusting though.  We have taught him and journeyed through it all with him.


We got back from our honeymoon and my husband started his new job, and I was the wife who had an English Degree and was completely, one-hundred percent unemployed. Which is fun for literally 3 days, but my rate lasted 3 months.

Our cousin Kelsey was getting married and had hired a wedding planner looking for an assistant.  I received an email saying “just email him, I know it’s part time, but it could be something fun to do.  His name is Evan Cooper.”

So I did. 


I went to Starbucks expecting a 40-year-old man to walk in.  I had no idea who this guy was and I so desperately wanted to seem cool in front of a wedding planner.  Because in the South, every girl dreams of working for a wedding planner.  Much to my surprise, in walks a 23 year old guy who looked like he walked out of a GAP commercial.

“Hi, are you Laura?” He said timidly.

He sat down and we chatted.

I learned that he did decor for the State Capitol Building, The Governor’s Mansion, and literally planned weddings for every person I have known. EVER.


My little mind was blown. He was 23 and already has a full-fledged business? Very successful, very well known, and completely (inwardly offended) that I didn’t follow him on instagram.  I found out later that that was almost a deal breaker.  He also made sure that I understood his insane love for Diet Coke and that I was never allowed to tell him it was bad for him.

But, within the first 20 min of a meet and greet, he looked at me and said “SO, when can you start?” 

Two weeks later I had a job for a person who was super creative, very sarcastic, obsessed with diet coke and chicken fingers, and NOTHING LIKE ME.

I think the fact that we were the same age intimidated me more than if he had been my Dad’s age.  There was a confidence in him that I had never known before.  He was all over the place and every task he tackled was beautifully done.  The first job he put me to was to make gift baskets.  He basically showed me the stuff and said “Ok, go for it.” I put together the baskets, thinking I had done a good job, and presented them back to him.  He looked at me, with a sassy glare and said “good, you put them together, CONGRATS… now go make them cute.”


I looked at him and said  “Sorry, I really am not good at this kind of stuff.” 1239938_10153195070673032_7492806421829015360_n

Evan laughed and said “Listen Sweet Cheeks, anyone who has ever done anything great has to start somewhere.  Now, go get started.”

Evan ended up fixing everything I touched the first couple of weeks I worked for him.  I learned quickly not to get terribly offended when he did.  Honestly, he still fixes what I do, and now I appreciate it.


But one thing I have learned and love about my boss is that he really does believe in me. He believes in my husband too.  He loves that we are young and is always wanting to help us pursue our biggest dreams.  He doesn’t let us choose fear, instead he rejoices in all pieces of our lives. On top of all the events, weddings, and floral designs that he takes on, he manages to make time to shower us with endless gifts and kindness.

 One example could be our surprise day trip to six flags, where he included my better half and paid for EVERYTHING. The day was full of so much laughter, a few panic attacks on roller coasters, and IKEA.


I feel like instead of getting a job with a boss, I landed a job with a brother. He is sassy, sarcastic, we fight often, but we take up for each other.  He encourages me to pursue all that I am good at and lets me know when something is NOT my forte.

But more than anything…

The greatest thing Evan has taught my husband and I in the short time that I have worked for him is this: Everyone has to start somewhere. You must fearlessly be yourselves in all that you pursue. 

Thanks ‘Evan G. Coops’., you’re a dreamer and a do-er, you inspire us all.


*Be sure to check out this video.  It may or may not have been one the cutest videos I have ever seen, and perfectly portrays Evan’s vibrant personality.*

Bell Blend Chocolate Toffee

2 cups butter

2 cups sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Bell Blend coffee

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips


Boil butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until it turns into a dark amber color.

Pour onto a baking sheet, and immediately sprinkle ground Bell Blend over the toffee while it cools so that it will stick.

While it cools, melt the milk chocolate chips in a double boiler.

In a separate pan, melt the white chocolate chips.

Once the toffee is dried, pour the melted milk chocolate over the top of the toffee.

Scatter the melted white chocolate on top of the milk chocolate.

Set it in the freezer to harden.

LOVE is spelled 5 1 0 4

The day is creeping up.  You know, THE day. The day of the year where everyone “oo’s” and “ah’s” over teddy bears, everything red, boxes of chocolate, red roses, and fancy dinners. The day that some might even try to throw a parks and rec Galentine’s Day. It’s the day of the year that we go crazy and honestly, we can’t help it.  It is all about what WE are going to do.  We become OBSESSED with what I am going to do, how I am going to be celebrated, how many chocolates am I going to get?

Well, It makes me wonder about the real meaning behind Valentine’s Day.  NO, I am not about give you a history lesson about Cupid or his arrows.  I am a little curious though, how often we are thinking about each other and the people that we love most on Valentine’s day, let alone, every day.

Are we thinking about the people that mean most to us? Our closest friends, our family, even the cashier at Winn Dixie?

Last night I had a girls night with 2 out of my 3 college roommates.  We made homemade pizza, ate Bell Blend Chocolate Toffee   watched the latest episode of Scandal, and literally laughed so hard I had a sore throat and a tummy ache.  Those girls sure know how to make my life a little brighter.


In the midst of baking our pizza, the third roommate (who currently lives in Jacksonville, FL) called me.  We put her on speaker phone and it was just like the old days.  We were making jokes and making more memories.  When the four of us are together, it’s like nothing has changed.


It wasn’t even a year ago that those Ivories were my roommates in Apt 5104 at Faulkner University.  We were the loudest 4 girls on campus.  We ran together, we cried together, we drank ALOT of COFFEE together (so much that we broke our coffee pot.. twice.), we got frustrated and sometimes down right mad at one another, but all in all, we LOVED the snot out of each other.  Life was easier because of them.


It was like a hard ball of emotion on graduation day.  Packing up and moving out of Apt 5104 was devastating.  We watched it happen.  We watched as hour by hour furniture, clothes, and bedding were slowly making their way out of the apartment and into the vehicle that took us to the next season of life.


I remember cleaning off my desk in my bedroom, putting pictures of memories from that past 4 years into a box I mustered out of the cafeteria recycling bin, and tears started rolling down my face.  You know the heavy tears? The ones that make ugly cry? That was me, huddled up in the corner of Bedroom B.  Abbey, our current Jacksonville roomie, walked by and saw me.  She walked over, crouched down behind me and wrapped me up in a huge hug.  “I know, it sucks, but it has to happen, we have to keep going.”


We did. We had to keep going.  We had to step out into the unknown with our heads held high and our fingers crossed for greatness.  We had spent 4 years fighting to make it to this point and all of the sudden we were blinded by the reality that we had NO IDEA what we were going to do.  All of us had separate paths, and none of them made sense.


Here we are, 9 months later.  We are all finished with school, working jobs that we never pictured ourselves taking, and taking life one terrifying day at a time.  These chicks though, well they love me. They teach me.  They teach me how to fight for happiness in life, how to pursue greatness with Jesus, and how to love… they spell it out for me


Don’t lose sight of today.  Don’t misunderstand the month of February and all of the pressure that comes with the 14th day of it.  Think of how love is really spelled out for you.  Who in your life has more to offer you than a teddy bear and red roses?  Treasure them, then… share the love with those who don’t have that.

*stay tuned on how the Bell’s are spending Valentines week*

Be sure to check out the Recipe for Bell Blend Chocolate Toffee under the recipe tab!