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!

Creating a Smashbook (a scrapbook for wimps with commitment issues!)

August 16 marks my paper anniversary with Tom, so I thought what better way to celebrate than to create a scrapbook? I mean, that’s, like, ALL paper!

Unlike a traditional scrapbook, however, I want to make something a little less perfect. I have a fear of commitment when it comes to such artistic feats, so I tend to get discouraged in the planning process and never follow through. Or even start it…

Which is why I have not actually attached anything to our wedding scrapbook.

Oh, I figured out what I wanted on each page.

I even gathered special details like an extra save-the-date, invitation, a balloon from one of my bridal showers, etc.

And believe me, I got pictures developed.

But I got spooked because I didn’t have any other decorative scrapbook doodads and didn’t want to screw it up forever. Pinterest sets the bar way high.

I have a fear of commitment to attach things to paper, but I vowed my life to another human being. Go figure.

I also don’t want to spend a fortune on this. Scrapbooking gets freaking expensive with all the excess crap you buy into. You want the extra pizzazz of colored paper. And, oh, won’t that lace detailed paper make the pictures pop and give the page texture? And you just need those gold letters in every font. But you might as well buy the silver ones too because what if you get sick of gold? And all the stickers!!!!!

The memories are priceless but putting them in a book is nightmarishly pricey.

Anyways, my first inspiration for this came from (surprise, surprise) a YouTube video. A couple that I watch (Colleen Ballinger AKA Miranda Sings and Joshua Evans) recently got married and, throughout their honeymoon, worked on a scrapbook. So instead of waiting until after they came home, they brought the journal, pens/markers, and a polaroid camera to fill the scrapbook as they went.

Here’s a video about it, if you’re interested to see little bits of their scrapbook. I’ve set the video to start from where she’s talking about the scrapbook. You’re welcome.

Brilliant and adorable!!! Except, we’re almost a year out from our honeymoon and documenting it as we go is out of the question.

But why not start now, catch up to the present, and then we can document as we go through the rest of our marriage?! In a perfect world, I will stick to this and fill up multiple journals/scrapbooks. I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to just focus on getting this one started!

Okay, so I bought a journal from Walgreens for about $10; nothing super fancy, but I like the gold accent. Unlike a full-size scrapbook, this journal causes me less anxiety when I think about filling it and possibly messing up. Cool!

Smashbook

While doing research on how to go about starting something like this, I found some Pinterest pins about smashbooks. According to The Realistic Mama, a smashbook is “a delightfully simplified way to chronicle life’s special moments without the time commitment usually required by scrapbooking.” Here’s her step-by-step guide on creating a smashbook. She made a travel smashbook in the post and I like how she used maps for backgrounds!

Perfect! I don’t like all the pressure that comes with planning out, arranging, rearranging, and finally settling on what could potentially be a horrible looking scrapbook spread. I’ll do all that for this journal-thing, but the pages are smaller and I just feel like it’s less of a commitment. There’s that word again.

This book is going to chronicle Tom’s and my relationship, from when we first met until more recent events. I have been journaling since middle school, so luckily I had the last 3 journals I’ve filled to help me map out important dates and events. Facebook was super helpful in keeping track of certain events too, giving me ideas on what pictures I could use if I wanted to include a certain day. So I started the process of mapping out the chronology of the smashbook in my current journal.

list 2

Some events don’t have pictures attached to them (the day we first met, our first kiss, first official “I Love You”, etc), but those will just be written out with blurbs about how, when, and where it happened. I hope Tom will also take part in filling in blurbs. I know he’s self-conscious about his handwriting, but he is just a much a part of this relationship as I am. Although his memory quite frankly sucks, so I’m not so sure how that will work out.

First date

Once I mapped out the timeline portion, I then went to Social Print Studio (formerly Prinstagram) to order mini prints. I have a bunch of full-size photos of special events, but I don’t want to fill up every single page with only one photo each. So I ordered 48 squares by selecting straight from my Instagram feed. Not all 48 are going into this book; some are for friends or just to remember other moments in time. Then I uploaded 116 from my computer to order mini-prints; this doesn’t limit you to stick with a certain set of dimensions, so it just takes your picture and shrinks it. Nothing is cut off haphazardly. Sounds great!

As of right now, that’s where I’m at. I just ordered the prints today, so they probably won’t arrive until next week. I also want to pop into Michaels while I’m in Long Island this coming week to check out stickers and maybe some pretty paper to give the pages some extra oomph. I don’t plan on going all out and spending a ton of money – that’s half of what I wanted to avoid in pursuing this less-fancy option!

Okay, so that’s it! Let me know if you’re a scrap/smashbooker and if you have any tips! And fingers crossed I get this project off the ground before I get cold feet!

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!

Wedding Update: 2 months left!

Okay, can time just speed up now?? It’s so cliche but where has the time gone?! We’ve been engaged for almost 10 months already?!

But at the same time, it feels like it was forever ago. Does that make sense? Probs nobs.

Does anyone else say that? I said that to Tom last night and he was like, “Who says that? And what does that even mean?”

I say it, and it means probably not. Only it’s more e-fish. Get it? Like, efficient? Anyone? No? Alright, let’s move on.

So the past week and a half was crazy insane.

Like seriously. This post includes not only wedding updates, but also life updates because, well, it’s my blog and I do what I want. Are you ready?

Last weekend, I wrote about my progress with invitations. I’m glad to say that I’m 99% done (there are a few stragglers that Tom needs to find addresses for) and have sent out any and all invitations that I could! I put the majority of them in the mail on Sunday the 8th (the day after I wrote my 10 week update post on our wedding website) and have already gotten a bunch of response cards back!

Instagram - invitations

I’m using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of responses as they come. I made a column of all the people we invited, and then made columns for the downstate and upstate festivities, under which I will write the names of people in relation to how they responded. So I’m keeping track of who has responded, how they responded to each event, and also how many are coming. Exciting stuff! Yeah!

The next day, Monday, I accepted a teaching job for next school year! I’ll be the newest addition to the math and science crew at Mary McDowell Friends Upper School here in Brooklyn and I couldn’t be more excited! I worked there this past year as a paraprofessional, employed by a family whose student attends the school. I’m ecstatic that I get to work with (almost) everyone again this year, only as a teacher this time! I’m sad to see people go, but wish them all the best in their amazing future endeavors (one guy is going to Malaysia to teach math!) and know they’ll kick butt wherever they are.

Tuesday was a ‘no school’ day so I spent the day cleaning and relaxing. Wednesday was the last official day of school for my student, and it was a half day, so I got to chill a bit that day too. I went and got a spray tan so that I wouldn’t blend in with my ivory colored bridal shower dress. Although they were two different dresses, both of my shower dresses were similarly pale and would not mesh well with my pastiness.

Shower Dresses

Thursday I got my hair colored and blown out. I’m telling you, I would love it if those girls would wash my hair and massage my scalp like that every other day. It feels amazing! And the stylist was able to get my hair straight and swishy! Please come home with me!

Friday was flight day, so I spent the morning packing and getting ready to fly upstate for the weekend. I hadn’t heard anything bad in weather reports, so I left for the airport around 2 so that I would arrive about 75 minutes before my scheduled flight time. Everything was going smoothly – the subway was on time and connection times weren’t long, and I got to the AirTrain in great time.

And that’s when Delta emailed me saying that my flight was delayed an hour. I texted my friend in Boston, Michelle, since we were originally flying in to Buffalo around the same time, and I also texted my friend in Buffalo, Courtney, to let her know since she was picking us up. Michelle said her flight was cancelled and wouldn’t be getting out until the next morning. We discussed what it could be due to – both of us were looking at fairly clear skies!

I got to JFK and my flight was still only delayed an hour which was good. I got my bag checked and, wouldn’t you know it, when I walk out of security and check the departures board, my flight was cancelled. Delta kindly sent me an email letting me know that everything was good and they rebooked me for a 4pm flight the following afternoon.

Oh hell no Felicia Day

Little did they know, that would not work seeing as my bridal shower was at 1pm the following afternoon. So I stood in line for over an hour and the agent was able to rebook me for the 8am flight the following morning. She was really kind and wished me congratulations and good luck on my bridal shower.

Back home I went, this time only with my small carry-on, which was convenient but also meant that all of my beauty products were somewhere in the airport instead of at my fingertips. This meant that I would look like a bag lady until I got said products and the use of someone’s bathroom mirror and outlets upstate. And I was worried that something would happen that would cause my luggage to be lost, and then I’d look like a bag lady all weekend. Nonetheless, back on the AirTrain and subway I went, annoyed but sure everything would work out fine.

Except it was lashing rain when I got out of the subway. Thunder, lightning, the whole shebang. Luckily, in said carry-on, I had my umbrella. Okay, I guess it was a good thing we didn’t try to fly.

The next morning, when I went to leave at 4:30am to go through the whole process again, my sneakers were still wet; not pleasant. Everything went fine and before I knew it, I was landing in Buffalo…where it was about 20 degrees colder than I had packed for. My checked bag made it there fine and, wouldn’t you know, Michelle’s flight was only about half an hour ahead of mine! So it all worked out perfectly!

We got to Batavia in record time, enjoying some TimBits and caffeine on the way, and I was (finally!) able to beautify myself. The entire day was party day – bridal shower, lingerie shopping (oh la la!), and bachelorette party. It was so great seeing all of my friends and family! I want to thank all the ladies who planned and attended my bridal shower this past weekend – it was a fabulous time and I can’t begin to tell you how special I felt. I’ll be writing a post about it soon so stay tuned!

Bridal party

Sunday was relax by the pool day with my friend Jenna whose family generously opened their home to me all weekend. I’m so glad we got a nice sunny day to enjoy! Monday was spent visiting my mom and Godmother before I had to take off once again. My friend Becky drove me to the airport and we got to talk like we used to in college, just shooting the breeze…figuratively and literally since the AC doesn’t work in her car and it was like 84 that day, so the windows were all down! My car was the same exact way a few years ago so it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

My flight home was very smooth and it was so nice to get home and finally not live out of a suitcase! And, of course, see and hug and talk to Tom! I am so grateful that I was able to see and spend time with so many wonderful people this weekend. I miss that so much and I know that it will probably only get harder as everyone gets married and starts having kids and whatnot, but I want to make a point to get together at least once or twice a year because those relationships are so important!

Wedding Update: Bridal Shower #1

This past weekend I was so blessed and honored by the beautiful bridal shower hosted by my future mother- and sister-in-law.

The day went off without a hitch. To start, the weather was absolutely amazing; leaving the house and being greeted by the sunshine was fantastic.

Pre-shower sunshine

Not only that, but the restaurant, the food, the staff, and of course all of the wonderful ladies that attended made for a perfect shower.

We arrived at The Country House in Stony Brook and everything was decorated beautifully. We had the largest of the 4 dining rooms and as we entered the room, a large punch bowl greeted us. It was filled with a champagne and fruit juice mix with blackberries and strawberry pieces floating in it. I immediately took a glass and was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t too bubbly but also wasn’t too juicy; I ended up having 3 glasses without feeling any effects, so it wasn’t strong.

Each table was set featuring lavender napkins and centered with a bouquet of flowers. I chose a seat more towards the middle of the room so that I could mingle with everyone instead of being set apart from them all. Mrs. Harrigan bought a huge balloon featuring wedding bells to tie to my chair, making it known who the bride-to-be was.

Big Bride Balloon

I met so many women that I had only heard stories about and sent save-the-dates to, so it was great finally putting faces to names. Meeting some of Mrs. Harrigan’s work friends was fun because I’ve heard hilarious work stories featuring them.

Once everyone had shown up, the staff served us salad to start before bringing out the entrees – a choice of chicken marsala or salmon with risotto. I went for the salmon and it was divine.

After the main course, they brought out the coffee, tea, and cake. This cake. Oh my goodness was it delicious. It was a vanilla cake with a chocolate mousse filling and buttercream frosting. The actual cake part was so moist (ugh, I hate that word), and the frosting was so soft. And to top it off, there was a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Let me tell you, it was Heaven on a plate.

Cake

Once all the place settings were cleared, it was time for presents. It was great because the staff members of the restaurant were at the ready so whenever I was finished opening a present they would come over and take it to another spot in the restaurant. This way I wasn’t accumulating a pile of stuff around me and it made the process of loading up the cars easier.

I could not believe just how many presents were filling up the present table. I (and Tom, by default) was way too spoiled, but I’m so excited about everything I (we) received. Thank you all so much for your kind and entertaining company, loving support, and well wishes.

As people left, they were reminded to take a favor, these adorable little mason jars wrapped with burlap and lace and filled with jelly beans. My sister-in-law found it on Pinterest – she finds the best stuff on there.

Tom went out to lunch with his friends and his dad while us ladies were at the shower, so they came at the end of the party to help with loading the cars and to mingle a bit with those who were still around.

Lovebirds

I have my second bridal shower in 2 weekends upstate where I will get to see my friends and family from home! I am beyond excited to see everyone and have a fun-filled (and hopefully cake-filled!) weekend.

As time continues to wind down and August 16 draws closer, I get more and more excited to be marrying my best friend and (officially) becoming part of the Harrigan family. I love you all and thank you for everything.

Wedding Update: Halfway There (6 months to go!)

We are halfway there folks! There are only 6 months left in this journey to the altar! And guess what…saturday night live so freaking excited kristen wiig

A lot of progress has been made this past month! We finalized the bridesmaids’ dresses so all my girls can put their orders in and I can’t wait until they receive their dresses so I can see them and have peace of mind in that department. The online company that the dresses are from is actually sending me a swatch of the dress color so I can use that to match the guys’ ties.

Speaking of, Tom and I agreed on the guys’ attire, so we just need to go somewhere like Men’s Wearhouse, find the tuxes we want, and get measurements and orders in. This one is a front-runner:

dumb and dumber orange tux dance gif

We sent out Save the Dates about 3 weeks ago, and it made me feel really good to hear that people thought they looked nice! The following week, I started looking into invitations; goodness, I just finished getting the STDs out, do I really need to start getting invitations already? I’ve let Tom look at a few that I personalized and we have an idea of what we both like, so that’s progress.

Since we sent out our Save the Dates, our wedding website is now public! If you want to go check it out, it’s right here; it includes not only the updates I’ve published here on my personal blog, but also has the proposal story and will continue to have new wedding-related posts that I might not post on here.

Also, we received our first engagement gift this month! One of Mrs. Harrigan’s co-workers/friends (who is invited to the wedding) gave us a set of BEAUTIFUL crystal champagne flutes. They are absolutely stunning, and surprisingly heavy!

Waterford Crystal Believe Flutes

We went to a florist last weekend, and I have to admit that this was one of the pieces of planning that had me kind of stressed. So far, everything has been fairly stressless – our venue, my dress, the bridal party attire – and yet I’m worried about flowers. Is that weird or what?

I had ideas about what I wanted, but there are just so many options when it comes to bouquets and centerpieces and other arrangements. I think most (if not, all) flowers are pretty, so it’s hard to narrow it down! I mean, you can start by figuring out the color(s) you want to use, but after that you still have so many options and combinations!Wedding flower collage

I figured it was time to start hammering out the flower situation, so I made an appointment with a florist in Melville, NY since they have worked with our venue before. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of meeting with multiple florists and having to go over the same layout multiple times and then have to choose which one to go with and then start doubting my ideas and decisions.

The lady we met with was very knowledgeable and thorough in all aspects of the typical wedding flower arrangements. She sat with us for about an hour and a half going over everything from bouquets and centerpieces to boutonnieres and corsages.

We decided that since she was so great and we would be getting everything we wanted/needed, we would just go with this florist instead of shlepping around to others and spending more time when we could just get it done and over with. I’m really thankful that Tom agreed to go with me because I know it’s not something he really wanted to spend a couple hours doing on a Saturday.

Not only did he come with me, but Tom actually contributed his ideas and opinions! I honestly don’t think he realizes how happy that made me. It may seem silly, especially to guys, but I’m sure that all engaged girls out there can appreciate those moments when our grooms participate in the planning process, no matter how small the task. Unless you’re a bride who wants no one else’s opinion but your own; that’s fine, carry on.

But seriously Tom, you’re amazing for picking out flowers. I love you!stefon aww gif saturday night live

Anyways, I guess we can step off the corny train now.

I really want to go cake-tasting. Like, bad. I don’t think that has to happen until about 2 months before the wedding, but I want to go now. I want 20 different flavors of cake, with buttercream frosting, all cut into bite-size pieces, so that I can pop those suckers in my mouth and savor each and every one of them. Except, then we have to decide on only one for the wedding. Bummer.wedding cake tasting

We’ve discussed the honeymoon situation and I think we’ve come to a decision. Since we’re getting married in the middle of August in Long Island, holding a separate reception upstate the next weekend, and I’ll (hopefully!) be starting a teaching job soon after, I don’t see us having time to go on a proper (i.e. week+ long) honeymoon for awhile after. So we’ll go on our honeymoon over winter break; not only would that give us a few months to settle into married life (living together and me starting a new job, for starters) but it’ll also get us out of the cold for a bit!

Alrighty, well, until next month: cheers!

Wedding Update: 9 Months to go!

Down to the nine month mark! This past month has been more thinking and visualizing rather than actually making concrete decisions and plans. I mean, we have our venue and I got my dress, the rest is a cake-walk, right?

One thing I can happily say is that I haven’t been a bridezilla.

Right, Tom? RIGHT?!?!

But seriously, if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t done any crazy complaining or stressing. I mean, I’ve watched some of those shows with crazy brides, and they totally stress me out. I can’t make it more than 2 minutes before I need to either change the channel or walk out of the room.

Like, these women are nuts. And it makes me question the sanity of the chump that asked them to spend the rest of their lives together. You really want to spend each and every day with her? And then there are her friends/bridesmaids whom she treats like total garbage. How have they not ended the friendship? Why did they agree to be in her wedding? And how on Earth do they restrain themselves from punching her in the face?!

Breathe, Holliday. Breathe.

But since I haven’t been stressing too much, I was so surprised when I had this crazy wedding dream/nightmare a couple weeks ago. I wrote about it here, so check out how strange it was.

I guess the one thing that hit home the most with that dream was the part about my mom not coming. I’ve been stressing about this the most and trying to figure out possible ways to get her down here. And then the guilt sets in.

Am I selfish for having my wedding down in Long Island instead of upstate? It has been less stressful planning it down here, and yet I feel like a horrible daughter in making it more difficult for my mom to come.

So I’ve been looking into finding resources in order to get mom down here:

  1. Her friend offered to pay for transportation down here – plane, train, whatever – so that’s one less thing to worry about. Realistically, a plane would be the best way because she can’t sit in her chair for more than a few hours.
  2. From there, we’d need to find transportation from the airport to Long Island (and vice versa when she goes home).
  3. We would need to have an aide with her to take care of anything she’d need that we can’t do.
  4. Along with the aide, the nursing home uses a Hoyer lift for these transports, so we’d probably need one of those.

Is there such a thing as renting a nursing home room or assisted living space for a night? That would be great!

On top of all this, the most important thing is keeping her stress level as low as possible. Stress exacerbates her condition, so we would need to make everything as easy on her as we could. This was actually one of the reasons we didn’t hold it upstate.

No matter what we plan, in the end, her MS will rule the day and decide how she feels. So even if we did hold it upstate, there’s always a chance that she may wake up that morning and feel like total garbage and be unable to attend anyways. See my dilemma?

Whew, okay, let’s move on. I’m becoming a stress-ball again.

On a lighter note, I’ve been designing our Save the Dates. In the wedding world, they call these STDs for short; I know, weird. Tom suggested skipping the STDs…wait…ahem, let’s just use Save the Dates. Come on Holliday, be mature.

You know you were thinking it too.

So Tom suggested just skipping Save the Dates and going straight to the invitations. Because we are having a wedding that has the potential for a lot of out-of-town guests, it would be a great idea to get a head count earlier than typical timelines suggest. This way we will have an idea of how many hotel rooms we might need to block, how many guests in general for ceremony and meal preparations, and how many would attend a separate reception if we held one upstate.

On top of that, we need to figure out a picture we both like to put on the Save the Dates and/or Invitations; we might need a few depending on what design we go with. Tom and I both like the Save the Date postcard idea, so if we do send STDs, we’ll probably go with something like this:Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.47.25 AM copy

Except Tom isn’t a fan of the front picture. Which brings me to finding a photographer…

So an appointment had been made to meet with the photography company that works closely with our venue. Except someone (I won’t name names) slept through said appointment. Normally I think this would stress me (or anyone) out, but to be honest I’m not too impressed with that company’s portfolio.

Since they are based in Long Island, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the original appointment anyways, since I have grad school and work during the week. I’ve had my eye on two other photographers whose work I find so much better, but obviously they’re a bit pricier. I want the photos to be amazing, so I really don’t want to skimp and end up with crummy pictures just to save a few bucks. But I also don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, either.

So I made an appointment with one of the other photography companies I liked better, and I’m hoping that things will go well and we can decide to go with them. I’d also like to set up an engagement session with them. This way we can become comfortable with our photographer and we can all get an idea of what we want for the big day.

A couple weeks ago, we asked Tom’s dad to take a few pictures at the beach where we got engaged since he has a pretty nice camera. We have this running joke about not wanting super awkward pictures, so I mentioned poses like the ‘peering around a tree at each other’ pose. So we made a point to take a picture like that for fun, knowing that it is something we want to avoid with actual engagement pictures.tree

Even with our desire not to get awkward pictures, we got plenty of them that day. Not because we were super pose-y or cheesey, but because it was super windy and sunny at the beach. We wanted candid, we got candid. All I have to say is watch what you wish for. Outtakes might be posted on our wedding website, so wear a diaper for that experience.

Speaking of, Tom and I got to sit down and work on the website together last weekend. Tom did most of the work while I sat next to him and made my suggestions for overall look and functions. I’m always so amazed when I watch him do stuff with computers!

How did you know what to do to fix that? How did you know to type that? Where did you learn all this stuff?!

I’ve learned a lot along the way because he knows how to break things down and explain them to someone who is not completely technology illiterate but is nowhere near his level of knowledge. It was a nice bonding time for us and hopefully the site will be up soon.

screenshot 1
October 2011

On top of all that, I realized that this year will be the first time we get to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together! Tomorrow, November 17, is the three year mark since we met, but we haven’t actually spent a major holiday together because of the whole 400-miles-between-us thing. We’ve talked over Skype on such days, but to actually be able to be with each other and share the joy that those days bring makes me really excited.

And (okay, let’s get cheesy for a second) kind of emotional. I mean, you have no idea how long I’ve waited to be able to spend special days – holidays, birthdays, even just going out on dates – with Tom. It’s crazy thinking about all the time we spent so far away, all the things we couldn’t do, all the experiences and memories we couldn’t share because of the distance between us.

September 2012
September 2012

Through the difficult times, the frustrations, the doubts, the short visits, the extreme loneliness following the short visits, and the inability to share all the good times without a screen between us. After 2 years of that, you can imagine how ecstatic I am knowing that Tom and I no longer have to endure these!

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. –Romans 5: 1-5

Yes, we will still have frustrating times; I understand that marriage does not magically take away problems. If anything, problems will be brought to light or created as a married couple spending a lot of time together. But we’ll be able to work through them face to face. God seriously tested our relationship, and now we’re going to be joined in marriage! And I’m pumped!

So I told Tom the other day that we might just need to get one of those cheesy “Our First Christmas” ornaments for the tree this year! And we can put one of our awkward beach photos on it. Like this one:IMG_0184 copy 2

Or maybe something more like this:

IMG_0192 copy 2

All I know is there are plenty of awkward pictures to choose from. And all I can say is that we’re a couple of awkward people. And we must embrace it.

So, to put a twist on Romans 5: 3-5,

We rejoice in our shared awkwardness because it produces our endurance to deal with each other’s awkward characters. Let us hope that we can get pictures a little less awkward. If not, we have no shame because God loves us no matter what.