Friday, August 31, 2012


leaving chicago was heartbreaking for me. as silly (and carrie bradshaw like) as it may sound, i consider chicago to be one of the loves of my life. and while there are a million and one reasons why i deep down adore that city, at the top of that list are the dearest friends we have, john and becky.

a little over five years ago, john interviewed me for city year. as he sat in chicago,  i sat on my patio in harrisonburg, va and marissa prepped 1 rolling rock and 1 bluemoon to "cheers" and drown our shared sorrow that we were one step closer to graduating. a few weeks later, i would get an email from one, patrick heckel, with a list of neighborhoods to start apartment hunting. we all worked together for a year, the three of us barely spoke, and i moved on to a new job. and then almost three years years after that, we would all find ourselves at a christmas party, on an incredibly snowy and cold december night, a girl i had never met would walk right up to me and say/slur, "HI! you're pat's girlfriend!" and i would give her a quick up and down and say "yes, i'm anna. and who are you?"

love rifle paper co.
...that lady was becky. she worked for city year, she adored my other half, and she was dating john. it didn't take long for us to become joined at the hip, shopping on our lunch break, meeting up at trader joe's, and hosting "dinner parties" twice a week, for just the four of us. the bond between us would only get stronger as the distance between our two apartments shrank. it's kind of hard to not fall in love with people who make you dinner on a weekly basis, who celebrate your accomplishments, who refuse to judge you when you fail, who take care of your dog when you have to go out of town last minute, who remain silent as your hands are covering your face and you ask the dreaded question that only you can answer, "what am i doing with my life?" friends who remind you by their very steadfastness, "that truth, beauty, and goodness exist in the world. and that no matter what, there are and always will be, people loving people through thick and thin." these two have seen us at our absolute worst, at our lowest low, both as individuals and as a couple. i cannot, and will not, imagine our life without them.

first time seeing, "mr. and mrs. patrick heckel"

so yes, we're excited too. that someday, two of our best friends will promise to be best friends to each other for the rest of their lives. and to celebrate, with you both, all there is to come, and support each other through our struggles.
john and b, we love you so much. 

& so does polly.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


October 12, 2013

church? check
venue? stevenson ridge, in my beautiful fredericksburg, virginia
and the above photos are courtesy of another thing on our list....
photographer? check

Monday, August 27, 2012

my nestmate

this is the story of how one midwestern pea, met a pea from virginia, and didn't talk to her for the entire year they worked together. and then 18 months after they first met, they were both crossing at state and lake, at 5pm on a very cold february evening, and they agreed to meet up and get a drink. a few days, turned into a few weeks, until finally dinner was had at duck walk. delicious thai food was eaten, a bottle of white wine was drank, and promises of a second date were made (even though he made far too many references to wedding crashers, in my most humble opinion)

a few days, turned into a few weeks, and date number 2 finally happened. same place. same two orders. same bottle of wine, but this time with a few 312s.

a few months later came the first big fight. nobody remembers what this first fight was about, but they will never forget the words that were spoken: "by the way, i f------ HATE thai food."

8 months after that, belongings were combined, and they settled into their very first apartment on ashland and berteau, a stone's throw away from their favorite bar in the entire city, the long room.

4 apartments and 30 months later, they are now living 1200 miles from where their story began, with an underlying promise that they will love, and cherish, and honor and respect each other, all the days of their lives. however the topic of thai food is still an extremely sensitive matter.

happy two and a half years of living together my sweet pea. building (all of ) our little nests together has been one of the greatest joys of my life. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

we made a list. we checked it twice.

ok, we probably checked it three or four times. and while i am still not fully committed to our list (spoiler alert: commitment issues don't go away just because you have a ring on your finger) here it is:

the lewis heckel nuptials will absolutely, positively, have the following: 

so now we just need a date.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

hallmark love

for the most part, patrick and i have only really been able to celebrate with ourselves, and my brother. all of our friends and family are much too far away to throw an engagement party and that's why the flood of engagement cards we've received has meant so much. here are three of our favorites:

from my sweet wisty woo

"i'm still hungry ya know!" - ashley mangano bishop

being called "aunt anna" after three years feels SO GOOD

a million thanks to everyone who has shared their love and congratulations. we are the luckiest.

Monday, August 20, 2012

homefries for my homeboy

Me: yayyy! that caterer got back to me!
Patrick: How much does an omelette bar cost? Sorry my mind is on breakfast right now
Me: omg pat. hahahha was that for the wedding? or for you personally
Patrick: Both. Imagine an omelette bar, waffle bar, bacon, I am starving

soulmates, table for 2

Sunday, August 19, 2012

top five

it is amazing the amount of advice that you receive once you're engaged. it's almost backwards, where was all this help when patrick and i were standing in an apartment we couldn't afford, in a city that we loved, with jobs we hated, screaming at the top of our lungs "i can't do this anymore!!" ok, i'll admit. i was the only one screaming, because my beloved is apparently incapable of raising his voice to me. 

thankfully, we were able to navigate those hurdles on our own, but this wedding stuff? it terrifies me. there seems to be an overwhelming amount to do - especially when between the two of us, there are four very beautiful states that could host our wedding. so for all of the advice that i have received from my closest friends to women who i haven't spoken to in years, thank you. your help has been so incredible and full of love and support. i hope you hear my gratitude. 

one of the best pieces of advice came from a sorority sister. she suggested sitting down as a couple, and agreeing on the five most important things we want at our wedding. we are taking that a step further, and making top 5 lists for everything that we are unsure of: the honeymoon, our first dance, wedding party gifts, etc. if there is one thing that heckels and i are good at, it's making lists.

i plan to share the original lists as this process unfolds; mostly because i will love to look back and see where we started, and treasure this sublime feeling of excitement and anticipation as we plan the day that we (finally) become husband and wife.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

& that's why we invited you!

five days into the wedding process and i still don't know if i will be married in 6 months, or a year. i don't know if said wedding will happen in my new home of winter park, fl or my beloved fredericksburg, va. and i haven't even begun to think about bridesmaids, or flowers, or what i will be wearing to this most wonderful occasion. but what i do know ladies and gentleman, is that i have a george banks on my hands.

i love ya dad, but i THINK your reasoning for having a florida wedding, so that "i don't have to redo the bathrooms" falls under the no vote column.

Monday, August 13, 2012

of course i will!

anna maria island, 8/11/12

i have been dying to go to anna maria island since i had found out about it a few years ago. as a matter of fact, i had told two little birds that go by sara and christine, that i would LOVE to get engaged there. and so when my family was visiting last weekend, and pat suggested we take a day trip there, i knew something was up. but alas, my two brothers decided they wanted to go to cocoa beach, i was out voted 2-1 for probably the one billionth time in my 27 year life, and was put in a terrible mood. when we got to cocoa beach, i jokingly told pat "do not propose to me here, i am in the worst mood right now."

fast forward to a week later, pat (on his own) booked a hotel for the three of us and made a dinner reservation at the best restaurant on the island for just us two, and off we went to anna maria island. we were there for about 15 minutes, before i said i wanted to go down to the beach to see the gulf of mexico. we sat down and started talking about chicago, and how different our surroundings are. patrick kept saying "you know i love you, right?" so often that i finally stopped saying "i love you too" and started saying "i know you do." he finally turned to me, on one knee, and with shaky hands asked me to marry him. i wanted to tell him to calm down, that he had nothing to be nervous about. but all that went out the window the second i saw the ring. i grabbed it out of his hands, put it on my finger, then asked "does my dad know?" and when he nodded his head, i threw my arms around his neck, nuzzled into his shoulder and said "of course, of course i will marry you!"

i wanted to wait until my mom was home from china to tell everyone, and so that's what we did. we spent the rest of the day just us; talking about where we want to get married, who we want to stand by our sides, we referred to each other as "fiance" so often that we now say it with a very exaggerated french accent, and i just stared at my hand as the most beautiful piece of jewelry sparkled back at me...
"of course!"

i love this man, and i cannot wait for him to be my husband.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

give me the most.

“Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.”

- spied here

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

the importance of being nice

eileen gallegos-lewis and polly lewis-heckel; august 2012
my parents and little brother traveled to the sunshine state to visit ross, patricio, polly, and me for the long weekend. we had so much fun eating out, and going to the beach, and relaxing and  i was reminded just how lucky i am to be best friends with my mom. 

if you have had the pleasure of meeting eileen, then you know what i mean. she is a gem. ever so stylish, so so beautiful, extremely well traveled, and hilarious as all get out. she also happens to be the nicest person on the face of this planet. she told me a little secret this weekend, one that i will share. every few months, she buys a handful of $5 gift cards: starbucks, i-tunes, whatever. and she hands them out to strangers who do something nice for her.  

it's things like that, that make me stop and think about my life and the things that i do, and say, and how i react to others. and i realize that however much energy i spend on the negative, is way too much. that's not how you make this world a better place. but you can do that by recognizing and celebrating random acts of kindness. these two feet have been all over the world, and i can honestly say, there isn't one town, city, country, or continent, that couldn't use more of that.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

the best kind of friends

"the agony of defeat"
last night, while watching our little ladies trounce the rest of the world in gymnastics, (i mean really, FIVE POINTS in a game that is scored in tenths? so proud!), we couldn't help but look at each other and think, "gosh, i kind of wish we were in chicago right now." and so when i received this picture via email, shortly after i took the below picture of patricio, i almost fell off the couch in a fit of giggles.

"olympic champions"
you couldn't dream of more different people than the four of us. patrick and i are pretty conservative, they're pretty liberal. ben loves the bears, pat loves the packers. jess has a heart of gold, i have been told ice runs through my veins. and yet somehow, the four of us just get along, even when we are all screaming over who is the worst person in the world, michael vick, or aaron, the bartender at goldies? meeting these two people, is one of the many wonderful things pat has brought to my life and i hold on to a little bit of hope that fate will work in our favor, and we will again share the same city with this lovely pair.

so cheers to the herman-prators. we absolutely, positively love you and cannot wait to see you. oh, and we'll take 2 manhattans, 1 gin and tonic, and a delirium. thanks.