Planning the Holidays is one of the hardest parts of marriage.


If you clicked on this hoping I had cracked the code on how to make the holidays stress free…. I haven’t. I have, however, given you a few paragraphs below that might make you feel less horrible about your own holiday hussle.

My husband and I have been together since October 2016. The first year of our relationship we didn’t celebrate any holidays together which I think is fair.

2017 we tried going to some family parties together but went to most without each other because we didn’t think it was worth the hassle of figuring it all out. We were engaged this year and still living at home.

Christmas 2017

2018 was the first year we lived together and were forced into making decisions about family parties and how to work through who gets when and for how long.

Now let me explain some back story. My husband grew up at the top of Illinois and I grew up at the top of Indiana. Both of our families still live in our hometowns so from one home to another it’s around 1 hour and 45 minutes if traffic is easy that day. Since we drive through Chicago to get back and forth you could understand how the traffic any given day can be hit or miss.

It’s also worth noting we currently live 20 minutes from my husbands hometown and 1 hour and 30 minutes from my hometown. We see my husbands family quite often since we live near by and most of my family I only see once a year at our now combined Thanksgiving/Christmas.

Oh yea and before I get too much farther, I have to note as well… my parents are divorced and both remarried. My brother is married with a newborn (first holidays) and my sister has a boyfriend. So I have roughly just in my immediate family… 5 families to consider (my step dads, my step moms, my sisters boyfriends, my brothers wife, my husband). Yup 5 other families to work around just to see my mom or dad. That doesn’t include one of my grandmas and aunt and uncle who live in my hometown either. So let’s count…. that makes 7 families total that my brain has to somehow figure out exactly how long to see everyone and when without hurting feelings or missing an event all together.

I’m exhausted just writing this y’all.

So you may be thinking “well you’ll get it right one of these years, why complain?” Because I’m 25… in my first year of marriage… and I have nothing better to do then hope and pray someone shows up in my comments section to bring me the magic code!!! Oh yea!!! Did I mention that on December 31st my husband and I are moving?

Yes — moving, moving. Like away from both families. Away to the point we won’t see our families unless we come to town.

So needless to say this year it seems important to see everyone and to be there for all the events.

Exciting news came in last night. Justin’s brother is graduating college the same Sunday my grandma planned our combined Thanksgiving/Christmas. What college holds graduation on a Sunday? I mean I wouldn’t know I didn’t finish college but a Sunday? Weird.

I realize writing this at 3:43 am because I woke up from my Aunt Flo coming to town at 2:30 am probably means I’ve gone crazy. But here I am writing the worlds longest complaint column you’ve ever seen!!

This is what my brain literally thinks at 3:00am — Hazaahhh!!!! I have all the powers and can say anything with noooo regret.

So to come full circle before I completely lose my sense of reality to the wee morning hours… I have an action packed day tomorrow of figuring out family parties and who I’m going to see Christmas morning.

If you have years of experience in marriage please help!! My husband and I used to fight about this time of year but now we just sigh and wish the holidays were filled with magic again. Getting older is hard.

For those who are newlyweds this season, may God give you the courage to take time for your spouse and yourself!!

For those of you single who can’t relate…. don’t judge me. Your day will come where you have to make these decisions.

For those of you with kids getting married who now have to navigate this new world, please be kind and patient. We mean well and just want some empathy.

For those of you who have it down and you find magic in your holidays…. bravo!!! I hope to one day hold this high honor myself.

Christmas 2018

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Remember always, “Your struggle is your strength”

 – Kaitlyn Ariel Corsiglia –

Dollar General Fall Decor

I’m all about a good bargain. That’s why when I shop for anything it’s always at discount stores, clearance sections, thrift stores, or antique shops.

Today after a couple days of feeling run down and sick, I got the bug to find some fall decorations after Marshall’s didn’t have anything too exciting.

Justin and I drove to the closest Dollar General and behold two full isles of seasonal decor!

My first find is this beautiful metal white pumpkin basket ($5) and a beautiful little hello fall wooden sign ($5). These two items are perfect for a front porch… mine are displayed next to my fireplace since we currently live in an apartment.

This next metal sign ($4) goes perfectly with my overall feel for decorations I keep out year round… being a pick up truck! I currently have a blue truck wax warmer that I keep out year round and this little blue truck wall sign goes perfectly with it.

My favorite buy from today is this pretty circle grateful sign ($4). It goes wonderfully with my mantle. Also pictures is two light bulbs I bought at Hobby Lobby, a thrift store cowboy boot salt shaker, and a recent figurine gift I got for releasing my children’s book!

Last but not least is a matching blue truck kitchen towel ($1) pictured with my blue truck wax warmer!

Overall I spend around $50 because I also bought a bunch of Christmas decor and a new planter for some sunflowers. I’m so happy I got some beautiful fall decorations from Dollar General because overall I think I ended up with items I love rather than getting items I sorta appreciate from other stores.

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Remember always, “Your struggle is your strength”

 – Kaitlyn Ariel Corsiglia –

March 2019

Wednesday March 27th, 2019 I saw my ophthalmologist in downtown Chicago.

In my vows to Justin I said that I would always make eye appointments fun by forcing us to get Stans Donuts. We stopped as I anticipated and I got a mango smoothie, he got an on tap cold brew, and we split a Bavarian cream chocolate dipped donut.

Justin sitting behind a table with a bag showing the Stan’s Donuts logo and two drinks.

Since Justin and I got married on March 9th, 2019 I knew that going into this eye doctor appointment meant I know could talk to Dr. G about the effects pregnancy would have on my body… but more importantly my eyes.

Thankfully I already knew that Pars Planitis wasn’t hereditary. But I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed to have babies since there is quite a bit of strain that a woman’s body goes throughout the pregnancy and birthing experience.

Mind you my doctor appointments in the city take hours. We arrived at 3:00 and we didn’t leave for home until 6:00! What I’m getting at is that I am so forgetful and of course when she left the room I went doooooh’ I needed to ask her about babies.

Graciously her fellow went and got her for me and we had a chat. To my surprise she said that I am 100% allowed to have a baby!! WAHOOOO!!!

But…. there are some catches.

She warned that during the first trimester my eye pressure will likely drop low. If you know anything about my eyes history I have been dealing with pressure spikes and drops like crazy the past two years. One minute my pressure is 32 the next its 5… healthy eye pressure is between 10-20 so given that I am still stable when a baby comes into the picture she will want to monitor my eye pressure very closely.

I currently take Alphagan (2x a day), Cosopt(2x a day), and Travatan(1x a day) which are all drops that help bring pressure to a stable place. So likely I’d probably see reduced drop usage in the first 3 months of pregnancy.

She reassured me that my pressure would stabilize during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. So WAHOO #2!!!! No crazy worries towards the middle and end of pregnancy.

The biggest but comes in during delivery…

Dr. G said since I have a history of retinal hemorrhaging she suggests that they do laser treatments and cryotherapy to help negate the effects natural child birth can bring. So I guess if Justin and I ever want to have babies we will be paying for minor eye surgery as well… which I can’t say I’m surprised.

This image is what the back of your eye looks like. The white part on the left hand side of the screen is my optic nerve, the black spot on the right part of the screen is my fovea. The blood vessels running up and down from my optic nerve, shows a hemorrhage I had in September of 2017. You can see my blood vessel was actively bleeding.

In the end, Justin and I aren’t 100% certain about having babies yet. I’m sure as our marriage progresses we will begin discussing further, but for now we are happy just being married and loving on our beautiful puppy, Peanut!

Other than that my eyes are stable and things are quieting down. I’m always worried about my eyes still, I think that just comes with the territory. I try my best to not let it bring me down or cloud my life… for the most part it works! It especially helps when I see my dr and know that things are looking good.

I am scheduled to see her again in 3 months. One of my longer time spans between visits, means shes happy with my eyes.

Until then, this has been another eye update 🙂

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Remember always, “Your struggle is your strength”

– Kaitlyn Ariel Corsiglia –

Our Wedding Day

Justin and I for almost 2 years had openly discussed our wedding plans. It took us that long to figure out what we really wanted because as many people know planning a wedding is not only stressful, but it is also very consuming having to consider making everyone happy. To make things harder, we had to pay for everything ourselves.

We went from venue to venue looking for the perfect place to say “I Do”. One was in downtown Chicago, another was his grandparents first home. We searched high and low for something perfect, but nothing seemed to appear. We thought about running away and eloping by ourselves, but I quickly learned I didn’t want to do the getting ready part alone. Not only that but I really didn’t want his side or my side of the family to be upset they weren’t included.

About 3 months ago, we decided to do a small family only ceremony at the place we had our first date… The Chain O’ Lakes State Park! We were hoping for a beautiful sunny day full of God’s light and a little more warmth than Chicago normally allows for at the end of winter. Everyday leading up to our wedding was blue skies and beautiful! As March 9th got closer the forecast showed rain and high winds… ya exactly what you want on your wedding day!!

The day before our wedding we went to The Chain to scoop out the different places we could say our vows. Birds were singing and not a cloud was in sight! The weather still showed rain in the forecast but we were hopeful.

The morning of our wedding arrived and as I’m anxiously watching the news and checking my phone constantly, we finally called it. Justin and I decided if we can get everyone to be there by 2:00 pm, we should be good to go!!! From my understanding the weather was going to turn sour by 3:00 pm. With our wedding originally being set for 4:00 pm I knew our window for no crazy weather was better at 2:00.

As we were approaching the park and getting set to start the wedding it began drizzling. I was praying praying praying as hard as I could!! Then my family all went to the seats and suddenly it started pouring right as I’m supposed to walk down the aisle!

It was cold, raining, and no one could sit since the chairs were wet hahaha, but at the end of the day Justin and I said our vows and we got married!! It was the most imperfect, perfect day I could’ve ever imagined. Shivering or not we are now Husband and Wife and I couldn’t be prouder to call him my Husband.

People don’t lie, your wedding day happens so fast! In the end I’m glad we didn’t spend $10,000 on decorations and things because it really does begin and end in a literal blink of an eye. I got to walk down the aisle with the song I always imagined, and Justin gave me his coat so I wouldn’t be cold. His phone died during his vows, which is a very Justin thing to happen! We were surrounded by our family and we all for a few minutes got to enjoy being in the presence of God.

Weddings, in my opinion, shouldn’t be perfect! If you think about it, life isn’t perfect nor is a marriage. Imagining and making a wedding perfect, I fear, makes people believe that’s how life will be everyday. I found that my heart was satisfied and overcome with joy after our wedding. Even though the day before and the day after our wedding was sunny and beautiful we will never forget the rainy windy weather we faced in the first moments of our new life together.

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Remember always, “Your struggle is your strength”

– Kaitlyn Ariel Vander Meer –

This isn’t a travel blog!

Shocking that my first Justin and Katie travel blog isn’t a travel related but instead…. marriage related!!!

That’s right!!!!!!!! AHHHH

Friday February 15th, 2019 we went to the Lake County Illinois court house to get our marriage license and boy oh boy was it a blast.

We started our journey at 5:00 pm. Thankfully since I have bad eyes and don’t drive Justin and I car pool everyday. I work in Lincolnshire and he works in Vernon Hills so for us it’s easy. Only 10-15 minutes away from each other!! Anyways Justin picks me up from work and we make the 20 minute drive from Lincolnshire to Waukegan.

As we’re exiting the interstate, your girl here gets a massive nose bleed! I have a pool of blood collecting in the palm of my hand, and a leaky blood faucet for a nose. Justin carefully maneuvers his long arms across my lap to get my purse and find my tissues.

I start sopping up the blood and at this point I now have dried blood all over my hands… great look going into a court house right! I try using hand sanitizer a couple times before leaving the car to go inside, but all it did was make my hands feel sticky and gross!!!

Right away we arrive and start filling out our paperwork. When we get moved to the next stage of paperwork I run to the bathroom and wash my hands thoroughly.

Overall the process for getting a marriage license in Illinois was easy. We filled out two sheets of paper, finished the second round of paperwork with someone…. then discovered something crazy.

Justin, his entire life, spelled his last name VanderMeer or Vandermeer. However, when his family came over from the dutch motherland, they spelled it Van Der Meer. BUT!!! His dad and mom decided to spell the last name Vander Meer….

Yea you see what I’m getting at! On Justin’s birth certificate it’s Vander Meer on all his personal documents it’s Vandermeer. Justin now has to decide to either change is name or get all his documents to reflect his birth certificate.

I never knew it could be that big of a deal to have your last named be considered not the right name just because of a space!!!!

Long story short, make sure you don’t mess with your name too much or you could get in trouble lol!

I’m excited to marry Justin in three weeks! It’s going to be a beautiful day and regardless of last name spellings or nose bleeds, he’s my person and I love him so much!!!!

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Remember always, “Your struggle is your strength”

 – Kaitlyn Ariel Corsiglia –

My Struggle with Publishing – Part 3

So far this week I have been feeling so great! All the fear I had last week somehow melted away and has begun disappearing into a new found confidence.

Not only have I had a break through with my publishing journey, but I also have had a personal break through!!!

So for those in the publishing world or venturing into it now, you know that the options are endless and overwhelming. Ideally I wanted to be with a Christian company, so my search was narrowed a little. Second thing I was looking for was that I found a company who wasn’t going to be running me into the dirt by giving me only penny’s to the dollar.

For the sake of not bashing any companies out there, I will only bring your attention to the company I am deciding to move forward with!

Drum roll please…….

Elm Hill Publishing – a subsidiary to Harper Collins!!

Ya I know, why didn’t I pick it sooner!?

Well it’s all because I wanted to be absolutely sure that this was the company for me.

Not only do they offer a great return on investment, but they also will be giving me the Harper Collins seal on my books to make me that much more official! Yea crazy right!?

I am working with Brian Martindale who is the Director of Marketing for Elm Hill, and let me tell you that he has been nothing but helpful! He answers all my questions and goes very in depth with everything is.

Any who, this week has felt like a huge success compared to last week! SO much of this journey is ups and downs and although it gets hard sometimes, I love it!!!

In my next post I will be highlighting the contract process and how working with Elm Hill is.

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Remember always, “Your struggle is your strength”

 – Kaitlyn Ariel Corsiglia –

A New Beginning

Hi! I’m Kaitlyn, everyone calls me Katie and quite frankly if you called out to me by saying Kaitlyn it wouldn’t even catch my attention. 

I am 24 years old and have a lot of thoughts and ideas that I want to remember and keep track of. I consider myself an entrepreneur and a future farmer.

I am currently living in Illinois with my fiance, Justin, and we’re set to be married in March. 

I am legally blind in my right eye and visually impaired in my left. Currently on the hunt for what makes me happy and whole. Since 2016 I’ve been working towards the publication of my first children’s book, more on that later. I have also just finishing up my first fundraiser for rare eye diseases… I helped raise $2,151!

Starting this blog means to me that I am going to help myself. I used to write constantly and in recent years writing escaped me. I am slowly climbing out of the hole I once lived in and trying to find myself again. The Katie I knew before life turned sour was giggly and optimistic. For the past 3 years I am still that girl but just very muted.

I will be talking about everything from my books journey, my vision and the struggle I face with my eyes, my love for antiques, my fiance and I’s wedding plans, and probably a lot about thrift stores and T.J. Maxx. Please be patient with me as I find my voice and direction.

As Christmas celebrations close out and the New Year approaches I am suddenly reminded of all those dreaded New Years resolutions that I set and didn’t accomplish. Isn’t it funny how one day a year everyone sets goals and then life goes back to the same old routine and that’s it? You never think about the resolutions again. They get dusted under the table until finally another year has passed and you realize that yet again you didn’t accomplish your goals…

But wait? I accomplished a lot this year and I feel really good about where I ended up. How can one day a year make me feel so bad about myself when in reality I have overcome so much!?

This year I decided I won’t be setting any resolutions nor do I think I ever will again. I set goals and accomplish them all the time throughout the year, in fact my goals are always fluid and changing.  New Year’s Eve for me is going to turn into a day of reflection and remembrance. Instead of forgetting all I’ve experienced I will choose to embrace it and feel it all one last time before releasing it out to make room for new.

If you have a hard time breaking down your own walls, there are a bunch of tips and tricks I want to share to make it easier to be self reflective.

First and foremost….

– Put your phone down and turn off the TV

(No one can ever think when they are distracted!)


– Find music that allows you to enter into a different time. 

(For me I listen to a lot of Mildred Bailey or soft jazz)


– Be in your comfiest clothes and set the scene where you are

(I enjoy wearing over sized sweaters and turning on my Christmas lights strung around the room)

Now that you’ve prepared your mind, body, and space, it’s time to allow yourself to remember.

It’s easy now a days to push pain or sadness away quickly. We have a lot distracting us, but when you’re still and opening the air up to let in emotion you’ll find that you suddenly become overwhelmed and want to shut it all off again.

My advice in that moment is to just breathe. Find a comfort, whether its a stuffed animal or a pillow, and let the emotion flow. Then when you feel the release and the pressure begins to slightly lift, ask yourself “why”. You’ll find that most of the time as you begin asking why the emotion will come back and that’s okay. Let it in, let it out, then think… why is this effecting me the way it is?

Soon enough you will feel the answer was with you all along, if you still feel like you have unanswered questions you can always talk it out with a friend. In my case I tend to always have a “light bulb” moment where everything clicks and I can release the energy I’ve been ignoring.

Be kind to yourself always. Allow yourself space and time to heal from the pain of life.

Show yourself love, remember to breathe, and never take defeat as an option. 

Self reflection and learning about the deeper you is hard at first. Over time you’ll understand more and more about how you work. The goal of reflection is to release negative energy and figure out your behaviors. My favorite thing about living is that I get to study myself everyday. Understanding how I work and what makes me tick only deepens my ability to share with others. Don’t be afraid of yourself, never stop searching for answers, and give your soul a break from carrying such heavy bags.

Remember always, “Your struggle is your strength”

 – Kaitlyn Ariel Corsiglia –