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Saturday, July 2, 2011

42 Days In

It has been a whole 42 days since Christopher and I tied to knot to officially become husband and wife!

I know that I haven't posted updates as I intended to, but I beg your pardon for that because we were ridiculously busy and exhausted with the whirlwind that came after the wedding! We went to Monterey for four days and enjoyed ourselves relaxing and just enjoying the peace of our mutual company.

When we got back, however, we had to dig in. We returned just before the end of May and we needed to be moved out of our apartment by the end of June and, similarly, moved into a new apartment in Los Angeles by that same time since my internship was scheduled to start on July 5th.

The first couple of weeks were spend packing, packing, and more packing until we took a trip to LA to search for our apartment. We did find the place, and more on that - with photos - soon, I hope.

Then, four weeks to the day after Chris and I married, my best friend - and one of my bridesmaids - was married herself, so that kept me busy for a good few days. (It was so lovely and I definitely cried lots!!!)

My little brother graduated high school, so we helped with a party for that - yay!


So, see, after the wedding we had a move, finding a place, managing Chris' injury, my bestie's wedding, and my brother's graduation.

We have been busy.

But this week, Chris and I - with the generous help of my family members - packed up two vehicles, drove to LA, and moved everything into the new apartment here. We arrived on Monday, Chris left early Wednesday morning, and I have spent the time since then both settling into the new place (I'm ALMOST there) and catching up on things that first had to get put off because of the wedding and then later because of the move.

In addition, I received the news this week that my internship will now be starting on August 15th instead of July 5th for some very frustrating reasons that I won't get into here and now. That means that I am here in LA without my husband for six weeks without my 40-hour-per-week job. There are upsides (finishing projects and taking a breather) and downsides (being ALL alone virtually all day, every day) but hopefully I'll be back in the bay for a visit soon and often.



It is going to be an interesting chapter, this first year of our marriage.
I suspect that, even with the challenges we're seeing ahead, it will be a good one...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

WE DID IT!!!!

So, as many of you know, last weekend we went ahead and did it:

WE GOT MARRIED!!!!


Thank you to EVERYONE who came out and celebrated with us, and to those of you who were there in spirit.




We also went to Monterey for a mini honeymoon.
Now we're back and enjoying being home and preparing for our move to Los Angeles!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lingerie and Karaoke

Last night, my maid of honor - with the help of other family members - threw an incredible bachelorette lingerie and karaoke party for me.

I just want to send out a HUGE thanks to everyone who came and especially to those who helped make it happen!  I had such a wonderful time and it really made me feel special.

Plus, you know, I got to take home some very pretty and sexy pieces that will be well-appreciated.

In the other part of the very large house, Chris had a poker-bachelor party, and I think he had some fun, too.


Oh yeah and they made me dress up a little silly...but the photo would not be safe for work, so I won't post it.
BUT I will post this picture of me and my adorable niece just before I donned my bachelorette gear:


Thanks, everyone!!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One Week!

So now there is just one scant week before the wedding.
It's amazing.

The wedding is so close now that I can taste it.  I am down to my last days before the wedding, and in good news I am completely finished both with my practicum and with my online coaching class!  This means that, for the next week, my attentions are entirely focused on the wedding and preparation, which is definitely a good thing.

With just one week left, most of the major wedding preparations are complete and now it is a matter of finalization and tying up of loose ends.  We had a conversation with the caterer yesterday to finalize rentals and numbers, we completed the placement of our cupcake order, we have a reasonably good seating chart done, my dress has been brought in from the shop, and lots of other checks on the list.

For me, getting the major things nailed down in a simple fashion is the easiest kind of thing to do; I am definitely more adept at creating the structure and skeleton for things....refinement and details are more difficult for me, I find that I get irritated and often bored if I over-focus on the details of something.  This is something I have a tendency to do.  I know that I do better on assignments if I either: (1) send in a first draft with only a cursory review and edit, OR (2) really, really, really spend a lot of time reviewing and re-reading and editing a paper.

For the wedding, it's tempting because there are so many details to potentially review and refine to go with door #1....which will be fine for something (e.g., the cupcakes) but not so much for other things (e.g., the seating chart).  There are so many moving parts to the wedding that I am still trying to strike the balance of paying enough attention to the details without feeling overwhelmed by them.

I just need to trust myself that it will all get done as much as it needs to and, if it doesn't by the time the wedding actually rolls around, then someone else will take care of it OR it wasn't that important in the first place.

After the other night, I haven't had any panicky feelings, but I definitely float between anxiety and calm, although the anxiety is often short-lived and easily allayed.

Wish me luck!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hot? Cold? Wet?

I have been obsessively checking the weather prediction for the wedding beginning two weeks prior because that is the farthest out the accuweather.com will post a prediction (other weather sites do not even go that far).

I had checked on the historical weather for the wedding date, but that only tells me so much.

So I have been checking and saving the results and the predictions thus far have me feeling pretty good.
Here is the latest prediction:


This is a great forecast, which essentially means that it may rain at the venue this weekend, but by the time the wedding day comes, it should be warm, bright, and dry!  
I am definitely excited about this because earlier predicions (AccuWeather.com does 14-day forecasts) were much less positive and reassuring.  See below:





As you can see, most of the previous forecasts predicted more rain for the week, and a variety of temperatures for the actual wedding day, with the high varying from 65 all the way up to 80 and one with rain on the actual wedding day.

Fear not, however, as I will likely post again for a weather prediction in the middle of next week so that we have an even better sense of how warm/cold/wet/dry the wedding day will be.

Fingers crossed!!!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Honeymooners

Among the many questions that people ask when we talk about the wedding is about the honeymoon that Christopher and I will take.




Unfortunately, I have rarely had a satisfactory answer.
That is because the plans, by necessity, have been flexible.

Because of his job, Chris is not able to take off much time in a reliable fashion.  That is, his schedule for the month of May has his working Wednesday-Sunday with his days off Monday and Tuesday.  He requested to use vacation days (the whole two that he gets to last him until October) for the day of the wedding and the day after (Saturday and Sunday).  He only got Saturday off via this request.  He also got an unpaid day off on the Wednesday after the wedding.

Thus, as of right now, Christopher is working the day before the wedding, the day after, has the day off for the wedding itself and has Mon-Tues-Weds off after the wedding.

He has requested that his coworkers agree to work his shifts for the 20th and 22nd (Friday and Sunday), and also for the full week+ following his days off.
He will be doing everything that he can to get all the time off that he can, but depending on the factor of time our honeymoon will be one of three options:

  1. A week or more using his uncle's vacation home in the Florida Keys
  2. A few days in San Diego
  3. A few days in Carmel-by-the-Sea/Monterey
Right now, though, I am less concerned about whether or not we're able to take the week+ in Florida, but more so that Chris not be scheduled to work at 5am the day after we get married....or be scheduled to work until 12pm on the day of our rehearsal.

Wish him luck!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Panic Update

I'm feeling better.

Let's hope that keeps up.

Boot Scootin' Boogie!

As you may or may not know, I am (along with Christopher) a country dancing enthusiast!  We go dancing at a local country bar pretty much as often as we can (which is not as often now as it used to be).   Christopher also says that the moment he realized that he was in love with me was when he was watching me while I was on the dance floor.

As such, we thought it only fitting if we did one line dance during the wedding.  Racking my brain, I carefully selected the line dance "Boot Scootin' Boogie" that is danced to the song of the same name by Brooks & Dunn.  We plan to teach the line dance at the rehearsal to our wedding party, but we thought it would be fun to give ALL of our guests the chance to learn the dance.

I scoured the YouTube for an example or instructional of the version of the dance that Chris and I know.  That took for-ev-er!!!  Apparently, the version that we do is not the most popular version so the video below is the best that I can find.  


These folks do the correct version for us, and it is altogether a pretty simple dance compared to many of the other line dances that I might have chosen.  We will be doing the dance after I change into my reception dress following the cake cutting.

So go ye forth and learn the dance so that you can have fun with us (even if you do feel a little silly while doing so)!!!!!!

Someone Must Be To Blame

Someone must be to blame for hitting my PANIC! button.

Because, remember when I was talking all about how I am totally calm?  Yeah.
Gone.
Like, poof, into thin air.

This blog post will probably be listed as "published" at something like 2:00 am PST.  I started writing just before 1:30 am PST.

Now, not to say that I am freaking out about details that need to get done or something tragical happening....mostly, I have sneaking feelings of impending doom and my thoughts are racing like they're in the final stretch going for Olympic Gold.

I jump topics like....well, all analogies coming to mind at this moment are a bit inappropriate...suffice to say it is a lot!  I am thinking about: the classwork that is due on Friday (four separate projects, each of which involve writing at minimum 5 double-spaced pages of pure text), what we are going to do for our honeymoon, how the apartment is a mess, the outstanding RSVP's, where we are going to find the apartment for LA, that maybe I should be working out more since the wedding is so close, how long am I going to have to stay at La Familia on Thursday to finish paperwork, when I am going to fit anything else in, how I have a party on Saturday, about coordinating flights for my officiant, my guilt over not having worked on my vows hardly at all, the upcoming move and the required organization, Chris' health, how little food we have in the apartment right now, how good Taco Bell sounds right now, that I should maybe lay off the salt until the wedding to avoid bloat, and how it would be nice to finish the dishes but that would probably be too loud and wake Chris...........
The list goes on.
And on.
And on.

You get the idea.
It's tremendous.

All with this sinking, nagging feeling that, even with every pot I have my finger in at the moment (because everything listed above will be done in time and at least adequately), I am missing something vital.

This rigamarole, this tirade in my mind is what has me up at 2:00am on a Monday night/Tuesday morning when I have scheduled myself for a 9:00am yoga class.

Now, before I click off here and hit the publish button, it would be unfair of me not to acknowledge that this is not the only time in my life where anxiety has taken sleep from my grasp.

Even as I prepare to finish this post, I took a look around the view of the apartment from my perch at my desk to see what other task I can tackle before attempting to sleep.

Monday, May 9, 2011

DIY: Children's Activity Bags

Following the advice and suggestions of many a bride-to-be, I decided early on in the planning process that I wanted to provide activity bags for the children who will be attending the wedding.  Since I happen to love silly toys and things, it was in short order that I purchased bags of small toys and such from Oriental Trading.  I got a couple of big mixed bags that included: bouncy balls, finger traps, mini-slinkys, kazoos, stress balls, erasers, noise-makers, and various other sundry.



I also separately bought a large-batch of crayons (which apparently decided to not include the colors yellow or red), activity sheets, and slow sticks.



I distributed these items across the 10 bags that I determined would be sufficient for the number of children attending for whom the bag would be appropriate.


I packed them up, boxed them together, so that they are ready for placement at the seats where the recipients will be seated.


 Now the strangely difficult part comes: which individuals get these bags...some ages are obviously just right for them (the 5-8 year olds, for example), but what of the younger children (I have a 3-month-old and a 12-month-old attending, among others) and the older children (11? 13? 15? 17?).  Finding the stopping points on either end without leaving anyone out should be an interesting endeavor.

Either way, I hope that the parents appreciate the bags and that the children do not get into too much trouble having fun!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

TWO WEEKS!

What?

I know.

So nuts.

Can't believe it.




Two weeks from right now, I'll be eating and dancing with our family and friends.
Two weeks from right now I will be married.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sidebar: Idealized

I have stumbled across yet another article that I find interesting which relates to the fact that I am getting married shortly: Want a Happier Marriage? Unrealistically Idealize Your Partner

This article reports on a recent study which drew the conclusion that unrealistically idealization of one's partner is correlated to higher marital satisfaction over the first three years of a first marriage.


They suggested that people may either distort their actual perception of their partner to more closely fit the concept of their ideal partner or they have adjust their concept of an ideal partner to match the qualities of their current partner.

Either of these possibilities are interesting.
But what is important here, as it always is, is that these data are correlations....so there is no determining the causation.  The authors state that one alternate possibility is that people who are simply in more stable and satisfying relationships tend to have an idealized perception of their partner; thus, the causation flips from the headline which suggest that, as long as you force yourself to idealize your partner you'll have a happier marriage.

As always, my critical thinking and curious mind asks: how does this differ, if at all, when taking into account length of courtship and/or whether or not the couple was living together prior to marriage.  I expect that the trajectory of Chris' and my was different when we first started living together versus what it will be following the wedding.

Very interesting.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Bridezilla Conundrum



So it seems now that the time has arrived wherein people are expecting that the Bride (that is, me) is going Crazy preparing for the wedding.  Which is understandable given that: (1) popular culture tells us that the Crazy of the Bride ramps up and up and up as the wedding gets closer and closer and closer, (2) the wedding is now 16 days away, (3) I am typically deal with stress by dipping into my deep well of anxiety, and (4) there have been a lot of stresses with the wedding previously.

I am, however, shockingly cool, calm, and collected.
Yes, there are a few is a lot is is still tons left to do before the big day, but I am feeling that all of this is well in-hand.  Partly, this may be because while, previously, there had been some...shall we say challenges?....with personalities involved in the wedding, those seem to have been sufficiently resolved.  Well, at least they have been resolved enough that I don't have to deal with them.

It also helps that we have a better head-count for the wedding (only 32 people have not yet RSVP'd - and yes that is only since two days ago that number was more like 50), and that I had my third and final dress fitting on Tuesday.

Another factor is that I am approaching my final days working at my practicum placement; I am going in later this morning and after that I have two days of practicum left, which will consist of training meetings and paperwork - no more client meetings.  That leaves me with the remainder of my time to work and to work on the wedding.  That's a full week with the wedding as my primary task.

I think also that because I did begin grappling with a lot of the emotions about the wedding well ahead of time, I am able to focus on the excitement.  I have butterflies of excitement, not of impending disaster.  I am feeling free and clear of so much of the nasty, heavy anxiety that generally plagues my world.

I am completely ready to be present and conscious for my wedding day, so that I can experience all the wonders and joys of the entire day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Licensed

On Monday, Christopher and I went down to the Alameda County Recorder's office to apply for and pick up our wedding license.  Like usual, I was excited about this big step; the license is the single most important item for the wedding....without it the actual wedding cannot happen.

So early on Monday morning, we hied ourselves to downtown Oakland (always charming) and located the Country Recorder's office.  It was surprisingly easy to find, and surprisingly easy to find street parking (albeit metered parking).

Neither of us having been married before, when we went into the offices, we were obviously stumbling around like idiots trying to figure out where to go first.  A computer lab looking room to our right, the welcome desk to the left, or the large room in front of us with workers at a U of desks lining the wall clearly used with patrons sitting across from the employees.  We started towards one of these desks with a worker seated there but who was not serving any patrons.  When we told her why we were there, she politely redirected us to the computer lab.  We followed the instructions to complete the information on the form - including our parents' full names and birth states - and proceeded to the welcome desk where they handed us a form to complete by hand.  Following that, we waited in the room with the U of desks for our number to be called and, when it was, made our way to the designated desk.

When we sat, the woman congratulated us heartily on our impending marriage and answered our questions easily and with apparent enthusiasm.  She asked about the wedding and how it was going to be while simultaneously processing our paperwork.

Then came the moment that felt pretty big to me: writing for her on a piece of blank white paper the name by which I will be known - legally, personally, and professionally - following the marriage.  I am keeping my first name the same, adding my current last name as a second middle name, and taking Christopher's last name.
I slid the paper back and waited for her to complete the data entry.

She told us the fee total, processed our payment, and handed over several pieces of paper for us to take with us, including: the marriage license that needs to be signed to certify the wedding, an instruction page for us regarding the paperwork, an instruction page for our officiant regarding the paperwork, a novelty certificate (what? weird, right?), and a booklet that includes information pertinent to married people.

She actually opened the last and showed us a page that listed the national domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines.  She was apologetic about having to show it to us, but I think we confused her when we both said that it was good that she did...we did not have time to tell her that we both work with BAWAR and are social justice advocates, so she seemed a bit perplexed.

Regardless, she congratulated us once again, handed me a large envelope with all the paperwork and sent us on our way.

When we got home, I showed Christopher and made him watch while I put the envelope in a safe and logical place so that we do not lose it.

And so we shall be married!!!

17 days.
Can't believe it!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chris Turns 26!

Today, May 1st, is Christopher's 26th birthday.



Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!


He's started the celebration by waking up for work at 4:30am having gotten home at 10:00pm from work.
When he gets home we will celebrate with dinner and a movie at home.

If you get a chance, send some Happy Birthdays his way, will ya?
He's pretty awesome.
I'm quite glad that he was born 26 years ago today.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Three Weeks

There are now three weeks until the wedding.

That's 21 days.

A visual interpretation:


That doesn't seem like a lot of days.

That time is getting close, and, fortunately, despite having many details to manage and verify, I am feeling very calm.  I have a strange sense that everything is in its place and that all will be okay.  At this time, I am mostly just excited and ready to marry my love and to spend that day with the people who we love the most.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Shoe Clips: They're In

Coming on the heels of the Royal Wedding, I have extreeeeeeeeeeeeeemely important and exciting news:
I ordered shoe clips, they have arrived, and I am very pleased.

I know.
Revolutionary.



Whatevs. 

Here are my non-princess shoes with the shoes with the shoe clips attached:



Yes, I went with the turquoise flowers, despite concerns that the colors wouldn't match - a concern shared by all many some three two people.  I was a hair apprehensive, but I decided ultimately that I was more concerned about how the others might look a little over-bridal and result in the dreaded not-ever-going-to-wear-it-again disease that plagues weddings the world over.


And I have my results.
And I am happy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bottles of Bubbly

I have to say that this was one of my favorite wedding tasks to date: champagne tasting!
My wedding wine provider/selector, who also happens to be my step-uncle, chose a selection of three champagnes for us to try at Easter dinner so that we could select one for the wedding. (Chris did not participate since, as many of you know, he does not drink at all.)



First, up an Asti: the flavor was sweet and bright, and my personal favorite - hello! sweet tooth!! - but ultimately we decided that it was too much to serve to the wedding attendees since many are not likely to share my preference for sweet.

Second, Prosecco: very dry.  Some of the family preferred this one and, while I liked it, it wasn't a stand-out for me.

Third: Louise d'Estree: balanced, and spicy.  The ultimate winner with a good amount of flavor variety.



Who knew I was such a connoisseur of champagnes and that I would have such strong opinions on it?

It was certainly quite fun trying the different bottles and discussing it like a fancy-pants grown-up with my family members.  I'd never had that much of an opinion about these things, and I'm used to the real grown-ups making decisions about wine and things since I'm generally pretty easy to please.

It is definitely nice to know, though, that I got to pick this one....plus the bottle is waaaaaaay pretty, right?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cupcaked!

After we decided that Frosting's in Walnut Creek would be our cupcake-provider for the wedding, the next step   was to go back and try as many of their cupcakes as we could so that we would know which ones we wanted.

So maybe we took a little bit of time to get to that step.
Whoops!

So we did it this week.


Chris graciously went to the bakery and ordered 9 cupcakes: 
  1. vanilla with buttercream frosting, 
  2. lemon, 
  3. chocolate with chocolate ganache, 
  4. chocolate with peanut butter frosting, 
  5. chocolate-espresso with espresso-caramel-chocolate frosting which they call a caramel macchiato
  6. black-bottom, 
  7. carrot cake, 
  8. red velvet, 
  9. and chocolate with cream cheese frosting
I provided the knife, napkins, and milk.

Over a grueling 45 minutes Chris and I (along with my wedding coordinator/boss and my dad - since, you know, we were doing the tasting at the office) tried all the flavors.

The results:

A few of them were rather disappointing (*ahem* vanilla and red velvet!!! *ahem*), but a few were super-delish.

The Winners:
  1. Black Bottom
  2. Caramel Macchiato
  3. Chocolate with Chocolate Ganache
  4. Carrot Cake
  5. Lemon
We figure that this will please various taste buds, as well as include our own personal favorites among the options.

There we have it!

I shot off an email to the owner of the shop and will place the custom order in the next few days.
Hopefully they'll be able to decorate with our colors and etc to add to the customization.

Now I have to rope someone into picking them up on the day of the wedding!

Any takers?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

THIRTY DAYS!



That's ONE MONTH.

That's how much time is left until the wedding.


How did that happen?

I may or may not be having mini-panics thinking about what's left to do.....or, you know, just worrying about what's left to do that I haven't even realized needs doing - because I'm like that.

Ack!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Article: Gender Difference among Couples in Conflict





I stumbled across the following article recently: "Women Have More Intense Emotions Than Men When Conflict Arises Within The Couple"


Yeah, this one has a little bit of a "duh" factor, I know.
I can't help but enjoy it though.  And it helps that this study was published in a peer-reviewed journal.  The author of the article about the actual study printing writes: 
"One could expect men to express more domineering or "powerful" emotions as wrath, anger or despise, and women to have more submissive attitudes guilt, sadness or fear. The results have proved that women feel more intense emotions, both powerful and non-powerful."


Again, not that surprising, but having a scientific study note this definitely makes me and my feminist heart happy and feeling justified.


Even more, the actual authors of the study write: 
"The socio-cultural context and gender-based roles assigned to men and women respectively might have a relevant influence on the generation of expectations concerning their role in relationships and in conflicts within the couple." 



Not that any of this necessarily applies to me, but I do definitely pay a lot of attention to the articles about couples and marriage these days.  I wonder why......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

What cures all ailments regarding DIY projects?

Ordering 80 pounds of candy!!

Last night, I ordered all the candy for the candy buffet (or at least I think I did) from Amazon.  I was planning to order from an online candy wholesaler, but it turns out that the shipping for that wholesaler would increase the overall price by 40%.  So, a $200 order would cost $280 to get to me.  Well, turns out that Amazon has some great candy deals that fall under the Free SuperSaver Shipping deal that they have (or are Amazon Prime eligible, if you have that- I have the one-year student trial :) ).

I got all the below for well under budget:















(my 100% favorite that I fell in love with when working at the Sweet Factory)
































I think I ended up with a good grouping of chocolate, gummi, nut, sour, and flavors.  I also needed to consider the color situation since I want the candy, when all set up, to look good and cohesive and in line with my overall color scheme.

It was more difficult to determine the line-up than I thought it would be; all the considerations (color, flavor, price) made things somewhat challenging to balance well.

You know what, though?
I'm definitely excited to eat all the candy....you know, to taste test it...in case it's....poisoned.