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Sunday, January 30, 2011

To-Do List

I mentioned in an earlier post that I made a big to-do list for me and Chris.
"To-do list" may be a misnomer.
This is the monstrosity that I created:

And this isn't even everything.
You're only seeing lines 22-47 (save for a few lines that have been "hidden" since they've been completed.
The to-do's start with line 2 and, at the moment, end at line 50.  And I don't feel even close to being done making it. It helps, of course, but this mostly reflects things that need to be done before the end of February.

Due dates help me, too.

Oh!  And several of the columns have conditional formatting (e.g., for the"Priority Level" column, when I type in the level in a new cell or change the status of an existing one, the sheet automatically changes to the font and background colors I've determined -- also for the due dates, the cells go to a red background if the item is overdue).  I love conditional formatting.

Incidentally, I am making the spreadsheet using Google Documents.  I also love Google Documents.  If you don't know about Google Docs, I highly recommend it.  In this case, it means that I can "share" the spreadsheet with Chris and we can both look at it, make changes/updates without needing to download anything or email a spreadsheet back and forth.

Organization soothes my frayed nerves.

And bless Christopher because he, too, loves conditional formatting and Google Docs.
(Though mostly he just puts up with the intense detail of my list).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Action Returns: Candy Buffet Bags

A lot has been going on in my life over the past month or two aside from the wedding planning piece.  I had a family member pass away, another get very close, I am *thisclose* to being finished with my dissertation, and I have been managing my internship application extravaganza.
This last piece is the most stressful because the quality, location, and type of internship I get for next year will make a very big impact on my future career as well as Chris' and my lives.  It's too complicated to try and explain here, really, but suffice to say, if things go the best they can (from what's possible now) either (1) we will be moving across the country to Miami OR (2) we won't be living together because I'll move to either Fresno or Merced for the duration of the internship year.  Plus, the nature of this stage of my program leave me feeling worthless, powerless, and downtrodden.

I have been having an extraordinary amount of feelings lately.

This has also resulted in my not-quite-panic-mode response: sluggishness. I'm also used to having so much more of a "to-do" list on my plate with exams and papers and applications and what-have-you that I got into the habit of only attacking things on that list that were emergencies. Notice that my blogging has been sporadic - that, too, is part and parcel.

Pour this all in a blender and you get the version of me who has been feeling crappy and stressed out but without the benefit of getting nearly as much done as I could or as I would like to.

But, in a positive development, today my motivational and action-oriented bone returned to me.
Now, that's not to say that I got tons done, but I got a respectably reasonable amount done.

Case in point, I did this today:



These are the bags that will be placed out for use in conjunction with the candy buffet at our wedding, which will be our favors.  I bought the small glassine bags quite a while ago (after much internal debate about size and color).  After their arrival, I began experimenting with how I wanted to personalize them.  I decided on stamping them, and then played around. Chris offered his preference that we use white ink (he thinks it looks classier than the other color options).
So, about two months ago (or not, I don't remember these things anymore), I stamped the fronts of the bags in waves with this stamp:

Then, just a week or so ago, I took them back out from their temporary storage placement (but were always in the front of my mind since it's such a simple, easily-completed task) and started stamping the back with our custom logo stamp. I did the first few dozen in waves.
This morning I decided that I would finish it,finish them all.
I did.

The sense of pride in completing this simple task was alarming.  All I did was finish stamping 250-ish bags, going back and forth with my hands in repetitive motions for something like an hour, maybe two, while watching television.

Placing those bags in Ziplocks and pressing the air out while sealing the containing bags, I had a rare sense of progress.  It gives me hope that, instead of just obsessing about everything left to do, I will actually do them and ultimately spend less time on each task.

Friday, January 28, 2011

News Flash

This just in:

We are now officially less than four months away from the wedding.

We are also now dangerously close to being in double-digits (i.e., 99 days or less away from the wedding).


AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

I'm excited and anxious both.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Check, Check, Check!

Far more than I have in the past few weeks, I got a lot of things done regarding the wedding, and I feel pretty good about it.

  • I ordered the bridesmaid dresses, and I cannot wait to have them come in (approximately 6 weeks from now).
  • I ordered all the postage for the invitations.
  • I folded some of the invitations together (I have petal holders, so the invites go in the middle and have to be folded in just so).
  • I made the list of places Chris and I will scope out to provide the cupcakes for the wedding.
  • Talked to my sister about the bachelorette trip.
  • Talked to other family members about various tasks and etc.
  • Completed the hotel reservations.
  • I created and worked on the very long and detailed to-do list for me and Chris, which has included scheduling out many wedding-related activities for the near future.
  • Chris and I decided that we're going to buy my wedding band tomorrow (yay!).

aaaaaaaand I think that's it.

It definitely feels good to be putting some checks in those boxes. Lately I've been having a lot of difficulty in getting things done, and not just for the wedding (as yet, my dissertation defense edits - which are relatively simple and straightforward - remain incomplete).

There are still plenty more details to handle, and, despite my earlier post, as the days pass and the timeline shortens, my pulse quickens to think about everything that I'm not doing. It's not that I expect the day to be perfect...I just don't want to miss out on having or doing something that I want simply because I'm not organized enough.  I don't want to let anything important slip through the cracks.

I'm certain that it doesn't help, either, that, school-wise this is a difficult time for me because I am soooooooclose to being done with my dissertation, and I'm still waiting to find out where I'll live and what I'll be doing next year. The earliest I'll know anything is February 25th, which is torturous for someone like me who would really rather know right now.

Hopefully, things will keep running as smoothly as they have been, and I'll feel even calmer and more accomplished as things happen.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sidebar: New Zodiac Signs

Sooooo...apparently, because of a change in the rotation of the Earth in relation to the stars, the correspondence between days of birth and one's Zodiac sign has now changed.

Now, I don't put much any stock in this sort of thing, but I do think they're fun and interesting.

Previously, I was deemed a Pisces (The Fish) and Chris a Taurus (The Bull)....now we are an Aquarius (The Waterbearer) and Aries (The Ram), respectively.

This website says the following about our compatibility based on the 'element' of our signs (with our names substituted with that of the 'elements'):

Chris's drive and energy burns brightly with Carolynn’s intelligent ideas. Meanwhile, Chris’s zest for life where combined with Carolynn’s playfulness can result in great times together.
This website had this to say, based on our specific signs:


You will feel a strong tie of friendship, whatever relationship you both share. There will be mutual trust and much care of communication back and forth. You are very different yet these differences will have little or no effect on your respect for each other. There could be sense of responsibility, some sort of inescapable duty that brings you together and strengthen the bond between you. You will find these individuals easy to share your feelings. You will constantly stimulate each other into changing habits and existing situation.

(They also caution that "checking your compatibilities by only sun sign pattern is not full proof system of match making.")

I'm not sure how I feel these summaries fit with our actual lives/relationship, but I do know that I didn't read these and change my mind about how important the Zodiac is to my life.

Just for fun....something I don't get enough of. :)


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Uh-Door-Uh-Bull

I just found a list of quotes from small children talking about love and marriage.
Made me smile so hard, I almost cried.  It also made me giggle to myself repeatedly in the airport.


A select few items:


Adult: When is it ok to kiss someone?
Child: You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, 'cause she'll want to have videos of the wedding.


Adult: Is it better to be single or married?
Child: It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I'm just a kid. I don't need that kind of trouble.


Adult: What is falling in love like?
Child: If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don't want to do it. It takes too long.


Adult: How important is being good-looking to falling in love?
Child: Beauty is skin deep. But, how rich you are can last a long time.




There are more, but I kind of want to save them!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bridesmaids Dresses

This the dress I'm having the girls get as their bridesmaid dresses.
I just lovelovelove the convertible dress and I cannot believe that it took me as long as it did to find one in so many, many colors and for a reasonable price ($99 for knee-length).  Lots of sellers on Etsy have similar dresses, but I like the attitude of the listing for this one...plus the fact that she sells color swatches (which I duly purchased to make my specific color selections).

I discovered this dress shortly after falling desperately in love with Etsy which, in case you didn't know, is a most delightful online retailer wherein folks sell handmade and/or vintage items of many varietals -- often at very reasonable prices.

Anywhoodle:
This is the dress that I picked for my BM's; I think they like it...but even if they don't, I'll be glad to purchase them back after the wedding for my own personal use (provided that any of them order a size that will fit me!).
I love that they can style it how they like, that it's potential flattering to basically everyone, that there will be no need for anyone to pay for tailoring, and that it should work for my sister-in-law who will be newly un-pregnantified by the time of the wedding (yay, new little niece who should be here in 5 weeks!!!).

I love how many colors this particular one comes in -- it's so tempting to order several -- especially the stripey ones!!

Two of the girls are going to wear a red color and two will wear a turquoise (the weight with which I determined that actual shade based on the aforementioned swatches is staggering and totally unnecessary, haha).

I also plan on purchasing a white version for myownself to possibly wear as a reception dress.  Have I mentioned that I'm having a reception dress?  I am.  I cannot dance-dance the way that Chris and I dance in my wedding dress and, you know what?, dancing is super-important to our relationship; I cannot imagine not dancing freely and fully at my own personal wedding. :)

I am definitely excited to order these and play with the styling with my sisters when they come in; I just know they'll all look exactly like themselves...and also like my BM's.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Article: Staying Married

I recently read and article titled: 7 Things I've Learned in 7 Years of Marriage which was posted through some of the news feeds I read related to psychology.

As I thought it was apropos, I thought I'd share the author's ideas. Here's what he said he learned was important to a good marriage:

1. Get Married For the Right Reasons.
2. Talk About Things That Matter.
3. It’s Okay to Be Wrong.
4. Compromise is a Sign of Strength, Not Weakness.
5. You Need Your Own Life.
6. Fun is Always Important.
7. Commitment Means Commitment.

In the article, the author elaborates on these points so if you're interested, I encourage you to read the whole thing.

As for me, I found it interesting to read a scientists' opinion column, essentially.  This author typically evaluates things from a scientific lens, so his decision to list these ideas about lessons for marriage - aside from any actual research, entirely based upon anecdote - was very interesting.

For me, although obviously we are not yet married, the biggest one of these that I have learned during my relationship with Chris thus far is #3.  Many of the other ideas I'd already known and I guess you could say I already knew [about] #3 prior to our relationship, but....there's something different about putting that into action, particularly when my own personal disposition is to try and be right as frequently and as vehemently as possible [I know, those who have known me for years are gasping with shock and epiphanies!].

That is definitely a lesson I have taken off the "Academic Knowledge" shelf and put into practice - slowly, with difficulty and a need for focus in the execution.  One of the things that disarmed me about Chris when we first started getting serious was his willingness to admit when was wrong and be completely ok with that...that it wasn't a devastating thing to admit.

What's more than just learning that "It's Ok to Be Wrong," is how disappointed I was to discover how difficult this was for me to put into practice.  My competitive nature and desire to be the smartest, most correct, and best were helpful in a learning environment and in the workplace but, when it comes to my personal relationships, I have had the unfortunate habit of putting "being right" above "doing what is right."

So I practice, every time Chris and I disagree about something, when we have a compromise to make or a bridge to build, I have to - very intentionally - examine myself to make sure I'm doing what is correct overall and in the best interests of our relationship rather than just trying to beat him, trying to be the winner.

Any other thoughts on these?

Also, although it wasn't one of the listed lessons, the author did put forth the opinion that couples should live together before marriage.  And, for the record, the scientific results of studies on this topic are mixed in regards to whether it is better to live together or not prior to nuptials.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Photos and Food

Chris and I recently had a very productive day a couple of weeks ago in terms of wedding-related items.
We met with our photographer, dropped off my ring for repairs, had our final tasting with the caterer, and discussed various other wedding topics during these other adventures in wedding-planning.

First up, the photographer.
I am in love with our photographer.  We are using Jade Studio Productions, based out of San Francisco.  It is one primary photographer and his wife who do most of the shooting.  We didn't really select them, that was pretty much decided for us.  Why?  Because this is who took the photos at my father and step-mother's wedding and then, more recently, at my brother's wedding.  They do such beautiful work and, it's pretty rockin' since not only am I comfortable with their work, I already actually know the photographers themselves -- enough to know first names and be comfortable with hugs.
So we sat down with Philippe, the main person, and looked through all the books he had and the possibilities.  It was incredible just how many options he had for what our book would ultimately look like; there were very traditional books, very non-traditional books, lots of interesting detail that is possible, and so much inspiration that it was intimidating and overwhelming.  Philippe, as always, was delightful and thrilled about his work -- the photos and the end product of the books were both overwhelming and incredible to see.  I cannot wait to see the photos he will have taken of us on our wedding day.

After that meeting, we rested for a bit, but had to make it out to Girasole again for a third meeting with the caterer to, finally!, try our actual main dishes...you know, the ones we custom-created with the help of the catering coordinator/owner, Skip. (If you don't remember, we had had a couple of unfortunate meetings with him previously).  Due to schedules, none of the parents were able to attend this time, so it was just me, Chris, and Skip.  While he was late arriving, again, we were able to taste a few of the dishes we had discussed.  One was just alright, one was super-delicious, and another was simply good.  When Skip arrived, we finished tasting things, made some adjustments and came up with our wedding menu:


Hors d’oeuvres

Smoked Salmon Tostado Almond Wood smoked salmon, herb chévre on a blue corn tostado, jalapeño mango & papaya salsa
Prosciutto & Melon Skewers cantaloupe & honey dew
Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushroom

Buffet

Marinated & Grilled Tri-Tip of Beef with a mushroom demi glace
BBQ Boneless Chicken Breasts & Thighscitrus BBQ sauce
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Rajas Poblanoswith fresh corn and cheese
Cumin Creamed Corn & Spinach
Roasted Vegetable Medleyred onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet red bell pepper & carrots with extra virgin olive oil and herbs
Insalata Santa Fe romaine & field greens mixed; jicama rubbed with fresh squeezed lime juice & cumin; blackberries, strawberries & orange sections; fresh asparagus; with a jalapeno mango vinaigrette,; tortilla confetti

Corn Bread with Honey


It's definitely got that southwestern, country, BBQ feel to it which is what we were going for.  The Rajas Poblanos was the super-delicious dish that we loveloveloved when we tasted it, and the salad is make-your-own essentially.  It's a little eclectic, to be sure, but so are we *and* we really like the dishes all around.  We made sure to have plenty of food available for those who aren't meat-eaters, as well -- even though there isn't strictly a "vegetarian entree".
It just sounds so yummy, I can't wait to eat it!  Even though everybody tells me that we won't really get to eat during the meal (the caterer already prepares for that and make take-home plates for the bride and groom :) ).
They also provide a coffee bar, included with the package, they'll cut and serve the wedding cake at no extra charge (no 'cutting fee' bullpucky), and we will be providing our own beverages (water, soda, juice, beer, & wine) for which, again, they don't charge (they only charge for the bartender's time, no corkage fee).

Even though we've had some issues with the caterer's timeliness and remembering who we are, the food and the deal are great and we already know from first-hand experience, that they really do a great job when it comes to the showdown.

I cannot wait!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hapy New Year!

As promised, with the new year's arrival, I am back in the saddle of wedding planning already.

And, this year, when the clock struck midnight, I had one thought:
This is the year I am getting married.

Although, because he had to work, Chris could not be with me on New Year's Eve, my thoughts were with him just the same as the 2011 was ushered in as the year when he and I will wed.

On that point, I find myself once again amazed to realize that there is/are
4 1/2 Months until the wedding
OR
128 days.

To me, this means that now, more than ever, it's buckle-down time on the planning.

Thankfully, we have nearly all of the major pieces nailed down.

  • Venue: Check!
  • Caterer & Menu: Check! (Yes, we had our *real* tasting, and it was de-lic-ious! I'll write a post on that later)
  • Hotel for Guests: Check!
  • Officiant: Check!
  • Photographer: Check! (Had a meeting that I still need to post about!)
  • Videographer: Check!
  • Florist: Check!
  • DJ: half-Check! (We're just waiting on some confirmation)
  • Invitations: Check! (They arrived...again, something I have failed to blog about yet!)
  • Wedding Dress: Check! (It's been ordered, and should be here soon!)
  • Groom's Clothes: Check! (Now it's just left to decide on the black suit or the grey suit.)
  • Bridesmaid's Dresses: Selected, will order soon!
  • Wedding Bands: Selected, will order soon!
  • Cake: Baker selected, just need to choose a cupcake bakery!
I'm sure there's more, but you get the idea.  The only major piece that we need to make sure we do is to rent all the tables, chairs, and etc.  That's the last big slice that absolutely, 100%, MUST happen or the wedding will be a disaster.

Anything else that isn't done can be done without.  Not that I have any intention of going without all the small things, and details, and everything; I'm just trying to lower my stress level by reminding myself that, yes, all the things that must be done are in process.