One Year Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us!!! It feels like forever ago that I was dealing with the stresses of planning a wedding and all that it entails (showers, rehearsal dinner, dress, etc). And man oh man I do not miss that stress! But marriage comes with it’s own stresses, obviously. I know this is still considered the honeymoon stage and it only gets harder (and, therefore, more wonderful?) from here, but I accepted that challenge August 16 of last year. Heck, I accepted that when he proposed!

I’ve learned a lot about Tom over the last year, and I’m sure he’s learned a lot about me too. Heck, I’ve learned a lot about me! I guess that happens when you share your life with someone else. I mean, I lived with my friend Becky in college, but we were so much alike that there were rarely issues about cleanliness, organization, sleep schedules, etc. I did learn that we are very weird people and sometimes the dumbest things entertain us. I miss you Becky!

I won’t get into gory details of what I’ve learned, because I’m sure they’re typical things that two people who come from different backgrounds encounter. And also this would quickly become the longest blog post ever. No thank you!

Anyways, as mentioned in previous blogs, we’re going to celebrate by going out to Montauk next weekend. We’re staying in the same B&B we had for our honeymoon because we really enjoyed our stay there. I can’t wait to enjoy the peace and tranquility of being so far away from the city before school starts and all the hecticness it brings. As it is, I’m coaching volleyball this fall and I have to be there the day after we come back. I also have a doctor’s appointment that morning. Okay, stress is returning.

Also as previously mentioned, I’m hoping my feet can handle some walking and some sand. Good news: I changed my own dressings! My mother-in-law offered to do it again after I showered and got them all wet on Saturday, but I decided to do it myself with her nearby in case I needed back-up. It wasn’t bad at all! I hit my right big toe (of course!) and it was weird but I was fine. See? It’s all in my head, and I know that! But I’m glad I was able to do it by myself because I know I’ll need to a lot more in the future until I no longer need bandages. I have an appointment tomorrow and I’m hoping the doctor takes x-rays to see if any bones have started to fuse together.

But for today, Tom is traveling out to Long Island from Brooklyn to spend our actual anniversary together, which is sweet of him. It’s a long train ride and I know he’s had a lot on his plate at work, so it’s nice to be put above that for the day. I’m not 100% sure what the plan is, but I’m thinking Schafer’s in Port Jefferson (where we ate dinner before he proposed) and then maybe watch the sunset at West Meadow Beach (where he proposed…after watching the sunset). Maybe we’ll reenact the proposal, just for fun!

We have some engagement “photo shoot” pictures; if you’re looking for a good laugh, you can look through the outtakes – there were more of these than “good” pictures that day. Although we took these almost 2 years ago, they still make me crack up. Here’s a preview:

love

That’s true love right there! We also have our wedding photos if you’re interested to see those.

So yeah, we’ll see what the day brings and hopefully my feet can withstand a little fun!

Wedding pictures!

All photo and editing credit goes to the amazing Jonathan Baek! As you can see, he did a fantastic job, so go check out his other work at jonathanbaek.com! At the moment he’s based in Queens, so if you’re in need of great photos, give him a call.

Tom, Jon, and I became friends back in college at SUNY Geneseo where we all met in InterVarsity. Since then, I have always admired his wonderful photography skills, from our IV powderpuff games to the amazing sunrise on Conesus Lake. Jon was my absolute first choice when Tom and I got engaged, especially since he has photographed a number of weddings of couples also from Geneseo.

So here’s a HUGE thank you to you, Jon – I’m so glad you were with us on our big day, not only as our photographer, but also as our friend.

Wedding DIY: Skeleton Key Escort/Place Card Display

So I’ve been meaning to make this post since…well, since we got married over a month ago.

But life has been crazy, I’ve been busy, yada yada, same excuses. So now that I have a spare second (and remembered that I had intentions to post these!), let’s get into my first DIY Wedding blog post!

>>Be warned that with the exception of this first photo (taken by my photographer at the wedding), all of the pictures were taken with my iPhone, so the quality is not the best.<<

My favorite DIY project for our wedding was by far the escort/place card display.

Skeleton key escort card display

I knew from the beginning I wanted to incorporate skeleton keys; I had seen something similar on Pinterest and instantly fell in love. I really didn’t want to just opt for the small, white,  folded cards with names and table numbers on them; I wanted to make them memorable by putting time and thought into them.

When I shared the idea with my (at the time, future-) mother- and sister-in-law, my MIL showed me that she had a whole box of old skeleton keys that her father had collected over decades of antique shows. So we would soak those in warm water and rinse the rust and dust off, easy-peasy.

Clean keys

I originally thought we would have the keys hanging on an old wooden door, but I decided to wait on getting the actually display piece until after we had an idea of how many cards we would need to fit on it. So once we figured out how many people we expected, I figured that a door would be too large (around 30% of total guests would be joining us at the upstate reception only) and that a large picture frame would better suit the amount of people.

My MIL knew my plan and, whilst at a local garage sale, she found a framed picture that she snagged for $3. Turns out, said picture with frame was originally from Home Goods or Marshalls or somewhere like that and was originally about $70. No joke! The price tag was still on the back!

Like, what?! The frame wasn’t anything fancy or heavy duty, and the picture was horrendous, as you can see below. But we didn’t need the picture, so whatever, and the frame was exactly what I wanted/needed, so I was happy.

Awful artwork

The next step was to remove the ugly picture and replace it with some wood for a more sturdy backing for the keys to hang on. We picked up a piece of plywood from Home Depot and had them cut it to the correct dimensions for the frame. I also picked up some nails for attaching the keys to the board.

My mother-in-law had a few rolls of burlap that she had picked up at Walmart during a Christmas sale or something, so we covered the plywood with the burlap and attached it with staples.

Burlapping

Burlap complete

We then attached the plywood to the frame with screws. And when I say “we”, I mostly mean my FIL because he’s handy with tools.

Frame done

So, things were coming together!

I purchased a tag template on Etsy (check it out here!) that provided me with a PDF file of the tag template that I was able to edit for only $7! The process of typing names took a little time because I wanted to perfect them (I ended up downloading about 5 extra cursive fonts and decided I liked Rochester the best…ironic?) and make sure that they would still be legible without looking really crowded and confusing.

Plus, I had to wait until I had all RSVPs (which I didn’t end up getting until about a week before the wedding…) so that I could make the seating chart so that I knew what table each person was going to sit at and include it on the tags. It’s all a process.

During one of my many Michaels runs (this was not the only DIY project I was taking on for the wedding) I bought textured, off-white cardstock to print the tags on. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I went to Staples and had them print off a test copy on their own off-white card stock to ensure that the writing was legible, see the size of the tags, test them out with the keys, etc. I decided that I liked the cardstock from Michaels better – it was sturdier and much better quality. I used those test-run tags and tried out a few different ways of tying them to the keys with different colored ribbons.

Skeleton key decisions

I decided that I wanted to use the white ribbon with looped edging because it went better with the theme of the display (bottom two keys in the picture). Instead of the keys hanging from a loop of ribbon on the nails (like the one on the right), I thought it looked better with the card and key flush together and then I would hang them by slipping the nail through the hole.

Three days before the wedding, the cards were finalized and saved on a USB drive. I took my Michaels cardstock and my USB drive to Staples so that they could print them off. I could have totally used a home printer but my in-laws’ printer tends to leave ink spots wherever it wants to, so I figured Staples would be a safer bet.

As you can see, they turned out awesome.

My SIL, Casey, helped me assemble the tags to the cleaned skeleton keys: I cut out the tags and punched holes where holes needed punching, then she chose a key and attached the two together with ribbon.Escort cards

The next step was to map out where the nails would go so that they were evenly spaced and so that all the cards would fit on the board in a neat fashion. This is where math came in handy! I figured out the configuration of nails/cards and then put the cards/keys in alphabetical order within that layout to make transferring them to the frame easier.

Alphabetical escort cards

While trying to hammer the nails in the designated spots, I realized that they were too long and would stick out way too much, so I went back to Home Depot and bought a pack of black carpet tacks. They worked phenomenally and looked much better than the nails, so that was a relief.

Nail battle

I had found two really cute heart-shaped keys in the collection and knew I wanted to do something with them. I made a couple special escort cards to use with those keys and to add as more of a decoration on the display. So I arranged those keys at the top of the frame with the special cards that read “Mrs. & Mrs. Thomas Harrigan” and “The key to love is inside us all” for a little something more. Awww, I know. Stop the mushy stuff already Holliday, jeez!

Heart keys

The only thing left was to hang all the other keys/cards on the frame. When I finished, I wanted to cry because it looked so good after all of the planning and hard work.

Finished display

It was so wonderful seeing such a beautiful display that I made (with much appreciated help from my future family!) and that the vision I had from the beginning came to life even more perfect than I imagined it would.

Rambly post: Update on life (in a neat list)

Wow it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything on here.

But I have some pretty stellar excuses:

  1. I got married (Aug. 16)
  2. I then honeymooned in Montauk for 4 days (Aug. 18 – Aug. 21)
  3. I turned 25 on our ‘leave Montauk, travel back to Brooklyn, and pack for upstate reception’ day (Aug. 21)
  4. We flew upstate for my second wedding reception (Aug. 22 – Aug. 24)
  5. I started my new teaching job (still in ‘meetings all day’ phase) the following week (Aug. 25 – Aug. 29)
  6. My friend flew down and stayed with us this past weekend (Aug. 29 – Sept. 1)
  7. We all went to our other friend’s wedding that Sunday (Aug. 31)

If you’re interested and not tired just from reading all of that, I’m going to address each point in a little more detail now! So come on, let the updating begin!

1.   Our wedding: Our rehearsal dinner and wedding days were both absolutely perfect; honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing…except for my mom’s ability to be there in person. Luckily, we got both the livestream to work as well as our GoPros, so she got to watch the livestream that day and I showed her the GoPro footage the following weekend! You can watch our vows here if you’re interested!

Everything was just fantastic – the weather was perfect, the girls looked beautiful, the guys looked dapper, our vows were wonderful (people clapped!?), the decorations were phenomenal, the food was delicious, seeing our friends and family was the highlight, as was dancing…I could go on and on.

I’ve already posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook that my father-in-law took that day and they’re great so I can’t wait to see our photographer’s pictures! (Update: Click here to see our photographer’s pictures!)

2.   Honeymoon: Between our ocean-view B&B suite (and hence the beach right across the street), the gorgeous weather, the amazing food (my first lobster roll!), our amazing sunset sail, seeing the Montauk lighthouse, and being able to call Tom my husband (eeeek!), I was sad when we had to leave. I think we should make this a yearly thing, maybe call it “Anniversaries at Montauk”?

Montauk collage

3.   Turning 25: It happened. I can now rent a car without any extra stupid fees. I also belong to a new category whenever I take surveys and have to state which age range I fall into. Cool?

4.   Upstate reception: The second reception was a much more low-key shindig, so it was great sitting and visiting with friends and family. Plus, my mom had such a great time visiting with everyone. I’m so glad she got to come and see her friends and family (and me, duh), but as much as I enjoyed it, I’m honestly much happier that she came and enjoyed it. It was good for her to get out of the nursing home, be in a pretty dress, have a glass of wine, eat great food, and talk to old friends. She was tired and her ankles were swollen the next day when we visited to say goodbye, but she seriously seemed brighter and happier.

Reception #2 Family shot

5.   Work: Since returning from wedding-palooza, I’ve been spending all my days at work, learning about technology, students, and emergency procedures, all while also trying to plan lessons, put in supply orders, get a bite to eat, meet with colleagues, and decorate and organize my room (and, let’s be honest, my life).

Phew. And that is why I am currently sitting on my couch with a glass of wine, just relaxing after a long day. And school hasn’t even begun yet.

Okay, it’s not that bad – I’m so glad I got this job because I already knew all of the teachers (except this year’s new-hires) and administration from last year, know most of the students (again, except for the new ones), and am genuinely happy to be a part of such a great team of human beings.

I definitely want to try to chronicle my first year as a full-time teacher, maybe writing once a week as a reflection of my teaching, things that happened, lessons that worked/didn’t work, classroom set-up/decor, etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I’m working with pretty much an empty slate at the moment! The room was mostly unused last year, only housing one English class and me while I sat on my computer doing grad school homework or watching YouTube.

All of the posters in these pictures have been taken down, I’ve ordered a few math posters, a number line, and also acquired a small bookshelf. Hopefully it’ll start looking nicer when the posters and student work get put up.

classroom

At this school there are no Mr. So-and-so’s or Ms. What’s-her-name’s; we all go by our first names. So it’s cool because changing my last name to Harrigan won’t be throwing anyone off (except me because I’m still getting used to signing documents and saying it out loud); I’ll still be Holliday and no one will have trouble finding me on the email list or phone directory.

I’ll admit this was a strange concept to me when I first encountered it last year as a student’s private aide. My main thought was ‘Doesn’t this create a lack of respect towards the teachers and staff?’ But now that I’ve been involved with the school for a year and have seen how much respect these students have, I honestly don’t mind that they’ll call me Holliday instead of Mrs. Harrigan.

6.   Friend visited: Our friend Courtney came down this weekend and stayed with us because we were all attending our other friend Erika’s wedding in Long Island. Courtney and I went to see Aladdin on Broadway and it was fantastic! We stayed after the show to meet and take pictures with some of the cast members! She also brought with her The Lego Movie, so Tom and Courtney and I watched it. I will forever have The Lego Movie theme song stuck in my head.

7.   Friend’s Wedding: Erika’s wedding was great – she was beautiful (obviously) and I had so much fun dining and dancing with so many college friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in quite awhile. It was also Tom and my first wedding together as a married couple!

Okay, I’m done talking now. Until next time, cheers!

3: Cuz it’s plain to see that you’re the only one for me

Did you notice the title is from Brian McKnight’s song ‘Back at One’? He really knows how to make a girl swoon; I’m not surprised if he has made guys swoon as well. Fun fact: Brian McKnight is originally from Buffalo!

I figured, since we are only 3 days away from getting married, it seemed fitting…? And because the song is just fantastic, so do yourself a favor and go have a listen. You’ll feel much better after listening once or twice. Heck, just throw it on repeat, grab some ice cream, and let’s all swoon together!

So what’s been happening this past week since I last updated you? Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Well, Long Islanders have been experiencing some crazy flooding today. I’m talking parking lots with water up to car windows. State parkways full of nearly submerged vehicles. Train delays anywhere from 20 to 90+ minutes. So I’ve been thanking God all morning that this didn’t happen Friday or Saturday. What a mess that would have made for everyone trying to get around!

I was supposed to go out there today but the train line I take has been suspended because of all the mayhem. Apparently they were providing buses for the part that was suspended, but I wasn’t sure whether I would be delayed and how long I would actually be traveling. 2 hours could turn into 4, and I didn’t much feel like dealing with that while lugging around a duffel bag.

So my (very) soon-to-be mother-in-law is going to pick up my dress for me today. And both of my (very) soon-to-be parents-in-law are going to take stuff to the venue tonight – escort card display, parts for the centerpieces, and other stuff like that.

And I guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to go get my spray tan on. It’s not a big deal, I just wanted to do it today to ensure that A) no tan would rub off on either of my dresses (rehearsal dinner or wedding) and B) that I wouldn’t look like a freakin Jersey Shore wannabe for any pictures. Can you say, “The pah-tee’s hee-yuh!”

SNL Snooki Jersey Shore gif dancing

I’m really excited that we’re getting closer – closer to marriage, closer to seeing friends and family, and closer to Montauk where I can finally stop worrying about wedding stuff. At least for a few days, since we have our second reception upstate the following weekend. It’s never-ending!

TEN FREAKING DAYS?!?!

10 FREAKING DAYS!!1!!! I can now count down the days on my fingers! Yay, math!

Also, don’t we look like a stock photo of a happy couple in that picture? It was taken at a rooftop party with a bunch of Tom’s former co-workers last month and I think it’s a great picture!

So the past 10 days (since my last update) have been very stressful on my end. Knowing that I have so many little details to remember and keep track of and accomplish in a short amount of time has been really getting to me. Plus, Tom’s been spending a lot more time at work because they have a huge deadline coming up. So on top of having a lot of things hanging over both of our heads, we really haven’t had much time to spend with each other. Bummer.

BUT! In 9 short days, Tom will begin his weeklong vacation from work for our rehearsal dinner, wedding (EEEEeeeEEe!!!1!!1!!), honeymoon out in Montauk, and then upstate reception. So we will get to spend a ton of time together…and spend it as husband and wife, no less!

PLUS! I’ve been slowly conquering those details and the to-do list has been growing increasingly shorter. And my stress levels have been a little more stable. Thank God!

Let’s see…I’m pretty sure both of us are all set on our bridal party gifts. If not, we still have a bit of time.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law Casey has helped me with a bunch of stuff, so thanks Case! We got welcome bags for out-of-towners staying at the hotel we’re working with and so she helped me decorate the bags. My soon-to-be mother-in-law has done everything else for the welcome bags, so thank you Mrs. Harrigan!

I finished the escort/seating card display!!!! You have no idea how happy that makes me – it allows me to check off a bunch of items from my to-do list and it looks great (if I do say so myself)! Casey and I were working on it last night, and I ended up finishing it up this morning.

I won’t be back out in Long Island until probably Wednesday morning/afternoon of next week, so I’m glad I got these big things out of the way. We have to drop all of our decorations and such at the venue on Wednesday evening, so it had to be done before I left today.

My next update probably won’t be until later next week, so until then, go outside and enjoy life! And eat cake – cake makes everything 10 times better!

We’re getting married in 3 weeks!

Oh my gosh, time is flying now. Mostly because I’ve been busy every single day – between wedding planning, trips back and forth to Long Island, and unpacking stuff in our apartment in Brooklyn, days have just been zipping by. And there’s still a bunch to do.

I’ve finally gotten all but maybe 2 RSVPs. It took a bunch of phone calls and messages, but I got them all…except for those 2.

I found a dress at Target for the rehearsal dinner! And it was on sale! And it’s really cute! Boom. Savvy.

Tom and I bought two GoPros this past week! We decided that they would be great to use for the wedding, honeymoon adventures, and just to record exciting things in our lives. We might just start our own YouTube channel(s). Any video requests – let us know. I’m going to our venue this weekend to test out the internet and cameras. Fingers crossed!

I figured out the seating chart (for the most part) and I did it with the posterboard and Post-it notes like I said in my last post. Great idea because there were plenty of changes and none of them needed an eraser! I texted Tom a picture of the seating chart when I finished and he said it looked like flowers. It is pretty, if I do say so myself. I ended up color-coding the sticky notes, keeping track of the different groupings of people attending (friends, family, parents’ work friends, etc).

Seating chart

Yesterday morning, Tom and I went to the City Clerk office in downtown Manhattan to get our marriage license! I didn’t realize how many people get married right at the Marriage Bureau; there were so many people dressed up, buying and holding flowers, and taking lots of pictures. One couple even had two little flower girls all dressed up with them – I think they were the couple’s daughters.

Meanwhile, Tom and I wore very casual, matching outfits. Not on purpose, I promise! I got dressed first, so he clearly saw my outfit, and therefore I cannot be blamed for this incident. I didn’t even realize until we were on the subway going to the City Clerk office that we were both donning a very similar color of blue top and khaki bottoms. Great.

We came to his parents house last night and both his sister and mom noticed our matchy-matchiness right away. “You look like you’re in Disney World right now,” said Tom’s sister. Yes, yes, we are well aware.

I got my hair colored today because my roots were coming in. I wanted to do it now instead of waiting until the week of the wedding and risking something awful happening with the color or something. Plus I have gray roots so I color my hair every couple months or so, and it was time to get those suckers done. I’m not 100% gray, but if I let my hair grow out, it would probably look salt and peppery…except I haven’t had my natural hair color 100% since I was about 16 years old. It sucks.

I’ve been finishing up filling in the escort card template and last weekend, Tom’s parents and I put together the display board. So once I get the escort cards all set, I can start figuring out how it will all go together. I am so incredibly excited about this escort card display.

Escort card display

I’ll probably go to Staples or something to print out the escort cards. They could be done on a regular at-home printer, but I guess Tom’s parents’ printer tends to leave ink lines down pages sometimes. I don’t want to take that chance, especially because we’re using card stock which costs much more per unit than regular white printer paper, so I’ll just take the template files to an office supply store to print them.

My final dress fitting is this Tuesday afternoon, so I’m not eating until then. And then I won’t eat again until the day of the wedding. At the reception.

Nah, who am I kidding. I ate pizza and chicken wings last night for dinner. The chicken wings were gross because they were from Dominos and were nothing like upstate wings which are the bomb-diggity.

It’s crazy every time I think about the fact that we will be married in 3 weeks. Like, it’s unreal! Yeah!