Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On and on

I feel sad. I feel like its graduation and we are all getting married and then going our separate ways in blog land. I feel like I'm losing a wonderful little community that I was so happy to find! But I think its time.

Now that our wedding is done, I don't feel as drawn to wedding blog land. Those pretty pictures are not enticing but merely serve as a reminder to how glad I am to be done with it. Plus, they bring up the wouldas, couldas and shouldas and who needs that? not me!

I'll try to do some more recaping - especially since we should be getting our pictures really soon! yay! But I don't want to reminisce too much about our wedding.

It happened. It was a great day. But I'm too focused looking forward to many more great days.

Since I do love blog land, I am going to try to continue blogging in some way...I just have to figure out what that way is. I liked having the focus of 'wedding' to concentrate my thinking. If left wide open, I think my brain would just produce some word splatter worth nothing.

I'll keep you posted!


Friday, September 24, 2010


Happy Friday!

Here is a darling song for you, this Friday. This was a friend's first dance song, and I've loved it ever since! There are two versions...I like the "sentimental" version (the one posted below) but take your pick!

Swept Me Away by The Avett Brothers


Monday, September 20, 2010

My precious...

Want to see one of my favorite things ever? One of those small details that I loved and was so happy to have spent hours making just right?

Well, here it is! My handmade hair dodad!

Isn't she beautiful? This little lady is the result of HOURS of my time and much swearing, but damn...after all that, I'm in love!

I spent a long time looking on esty for a fascinator - and found many of them that were absolutely gorgeous! But I just couldn't bring myself to pay $80 bucks for some hair thing. No way. Plus, I knew what I wanted and I had my materials. I had fabric from cutting the train off my dress and some extra pretty green pearls from my necklace. So I went to it.

First, I searched for a good tutorial on how to make a fabric flower. Wow - so many out there! Its ridiculous! But of course, Martha came to the rescue with an easy and fabulous fabric flower how to. The how to is for a ring pillow but works just as easily for a hair fascinator.

It took me a while to get the flower to look right...somehow, depending on how you pinch the petals, it can come out completely different! One way makes really cupped petals, which make a super cute flower, but I didn't want this thing popping off my head. I wanted it to sit nice and smooth on my hair. So I worked and worked to get the petals to sit flat. Still not sure how I did it...but I did it!

Add the pearls in the center, some feathers, felt the back, super glue some bobby pins to the back and VOILA! What a beaut!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Choice and Trajectory

Now that I'm back to my regularly scheduled brain programming, I've got a bit to throw at you. I'm going to try to put it into words, but bear with me because sometimes this brain to fingers things doesn't work so well and I just spit out jibberish. But at least I know its jibberish that is trying to get somewhere and maybe will eventually! Jibberish with a purpose! (if I ever write a book...that's going to be the title!)

We had our wedding. It was great. It wasn't perfect. But it was great, and it was ours. Would I have done things differently? Yes, of course. But looking back... we did things the way we did for a reason. Some reason. Some of those reasons I can remember, some I can't. Some were stupid...some were very thoughtful.

All of this to point out the process. Planning a wedding, we are focused so much on that one day. Not even one day, usually, but a few hours in that one day. But when its all over, that one day is a bright flash and we realize that planning a wedding may be as much about the wedding as it is about the planning. That journey changes us as individuals, couples, families. And at the end of this journey, when you are done with the wedding, you are able to take a step back and look with wide open eyes at what happened.*

I want to run with two topics: choice and trajectory.


In my last post, I included a link to Barry Schwartz's talk about choice.** In one fateful comment section, Jenny posted this video. I watched it and it has since been continuing to blow my mind. Its a really simple talk and concept, but it has forced me to change the way I think about choice. Because I was that person! That paralyzed person in front of the salad dressings or the tooth paste going "WTF!? WHY ARE THERE SO MANY KINDS OF TOOTHPASTE!!!" and then I would read the labels, trying to make the best choice. Because there are so many! And one has to be the best, right!? And of course I want the best! AHH!!!


Phew. Ok, I'm back. Here is a quick summary of his talk (and by quick I kinda long...) in case you can't watch it.

So his talk basically says this: too many choices makes people unhappy. It does this in a few ways. First, with so many choices comes paralysis. When faced with that wall of toothpaste, I freeze! How to pick one tube out of that entire wall?!? Then, when you do choose that one tube, as Schwartz says, "We end up less satisfied than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from."..."The way in which we value things depends on what we compare them to"..."When there are lots of alternatives to consider, it is easy to imagine the attractive features of alternatives that you reject that make you less satisfied with the alternative that you've chosen."

Next, with all these choices, we end up expecting more. If there is one option available, you get what you get. But when so many choices are present, you immediately expect more. Out of all these options of salad dressing, toothpaste, jeans, etc. there better be one that is the perfect option for me! Of course nothing is perfect, but we build up our expectations when we have more choice and those expectations are always let down.

Schwartz says, "The reason everything was better back when everything was worse is that when everything was worse, it was actually possible for people to have experiences that were a pleasant surprise." Yes, yes, yes.

His final reason why choices make us miserable (#4 below) is self blame. When there is only one choice and that one choice isn't perfect for you, who do you put the blame on? Whatever company, institution, group or whatever that limited your choice to that one pair of jeans. But when there are many, many options and the one chosen isn't perfect for you, now who do you blame? Yourself. You should have chosen better, should have found the perfect one, should have X, Y, or Z.

This totally rings true in my life. I'm always looking for better. I'm always trying to make the best choice I can. But am realizing that all of this is setting myself up for failure. I can't possible win this game.

On our honeymoon we were traveling around California - a new place for both of us - and I noticed that, while we were having a great time, nothing was a surprise. Nothing was blowing us away. There was no room for "experiences that were a pleasant surprise." I've seen too much on TV or in movies or in magazine that I expect AMAZING. I expect mind blowing.

I've jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet and wasn't blown away. WTF!?

Ok, I'm going to stop here with choices before my head explodes. (even though that would be a mind blowing experience and a definite surprise!)

I had this friend, once upon a time, who was uber critical. Of the world, of himself, of everyone else. He was not very fun to be around at this time because he expected nothing less than saint-like behavior. If you weren't doing everything you possibly could to be a saint citizen, you fail. I got pretty upset with him and his expectations. Yes, people can do better, but no, you cannot expect then to make such sudden changes in their lives with just a little nudge.

We are all on our own paths. These paths are the cumulation of our choices and our past. And we will generally keep going in the same direction. That is our trajectory. It takes more than a little nudge, a little critical thought, to change this trajectory. It has to be a shift from one direction to another - not a jump to a whole new track.

Angie sent me a story the other night which is a perfect compliment to the thought about choice and a great example of trajectory. It describes how we naturally think about the story of our lives and are continually adjusting how we think the story is going to end.

We've reached a new chapter - marriage - and now I don't know what the end of the story is going to look like. There are so many choices and so many possibilities and I'm not sure how to proceed and where to go. I definitely have to let go and stop feeling responsible for making the 'perfect' choice. Its not about the destination, its about the journey, right?

But where do I want to journey to?

What story do I want my life to tell?

How do I make such big choices without freaking the F out!?!?

*note that I try to keep the wedding theme with this post but then never pull through with it! choice and trajectory would definitely be neat to explore in explicit wedding planning terms, but I'm going to go with the broad 'life choices' for this post. Now lets go tangent, shall we? **little plug for TED. With its hours of thought provoking videos, its like etsy for my brain.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Now what?

The wedding is over and my bride brain is slowly starting to fade away (Though I still have that knee jerk reaction a lot and keep thinking "oh! I could use that for x,y,z" or "That's a cute DIY project!" But alas, no more wedding projects for me.) So now comes the inevitable question around these parts... what next? What do I do here is bloggy world when I am no longer a bride to be?

Talk about married life as Me, Myself and Wife? Go back to being my normal, neurotic self and morph this space into randomville as Me, Myself and I? Or finish my bridal bit and than fade into the interwebs?

Do you care about my everyday biz? About the explosion of thoughts that go into my head and come out as incoherent messes? Should I end every sentence in this post with a question mark?

Well, we got some more time because I do have more recaps coming, but just putting the question out there. What are you interested in hearing about?

Here are a few of the things rattling around in my mind at the moment that may be making some post appearances:
  • We want to move west. Specifically to a place with a ski mountain.
  • What do I want to do with my career? Which direction to go, how to become something that sort of resembles a 'professional', goals, etc.
  • Health. I've been doing pretty good in the health realm and am looking at doing a lot of things. We'd like to do more climbing. I am addicted to spin class. I want to try yoga for the strength, balance, and spirituality. And I've been poking around at the possibility of a triathlon next spring/summer... (Me, Myself and the Tri?)
  • Books! My brain needs some new wrinkles. It has been full of white fluffy stuff for the last eight months! I need something more substantial to sink my gray matter into! (Any good recommendations?)
  • Making friends. This is way harder than I think it should be! But a lot of my friends have moved around or we've grown apart and I miss having those bonding times with the ladies! Where are my Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha?
  • Food! I loves it and I miss it and I want more! I'm specifically interested in baking. More specifically I'm on a quest to recreate this chocolate torte thingy that we had that totally blew my mind.
Way too many things going on in my head. All of them fighting. None of them getting processed appropriately. *sigh* Back to normal life!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unexpected things I learned from my wedding

There is one thing I've said so many times that it could possible be my wedding mantra, and it is that ''weddings are crazy!" And they are. In all sorts of good ways, bad ways, and just plain crazy ways.

I'm still trying to figure out what I think of our wedding. I can't contain it in any neat little statements. I can't say it was all one thing or another. Because it was pretty much everything. Perfect and disappointment together. And I think thats just the way weddings roll. (Did I mention that weddings are crazy? Because they really are.)

But I did learn a lot from planning and executing a wedding. Some of these things came as quite a surprise...ok, most of them!
  • I improved my decision making ability. Really, I was so indecisive at the beginning it was crazy! But at the end, I was all big bang BOOM, decided! One of my bridesmaids told me I was scary on the day of because she would come ask me a question, I'd stare at her for a second while I thought it out, and then say yes or no. Simple. Done. Next! (I may also have had a crazed look on my face that morning. I'm going to call it the 'determination face'.) I'm suspicious that a large part of this improvement in decision making has also come from the improvements I made in living with a decision once its done. Learning that sometimes you just gotta pick something and it does have to be perfect. (See Barry Schwartz on choices. One of my new favorite theories that I'm trying to apply heavily to my life.)
  • Some people, no matter what, won't dance. So don't try to make them. I learned how to host a party and not get all bothered about whether or not people are having a good time. I had a good time. I provided the opportunity for them to have a good time. If they didn't, I'm not going to let that rest on my shoulders.
  • I learned how to be bitchy and stand my ground and not back down and all that jazz. But I also learned to negotiate better (especially with certain difficult family members). And in the end, I think our relationships are better for it. Partially because we worked through some things and partially just because we can now go back to normal life and not have to deal with BIG issues anymore! Yay, avoidance!
  • I learned that large amounts of money are really tough to spend. But that once its gone...I can't say I miss it. Yeah, I could do lots of things with those thousands of dollars. But I spent it on a wedding. Money is money and that's all.
  • The wedding bought out the best in some and the mediocre in others (luckily we didn't have to deal with the worst of anybody!). It made me really grateful for those who really came through for us. (and I want to give an extra special should out to Ski Bum Bridesmaid! I know you're stalking! Hi!) It also put my tolerance for dramatic, pessimistic, insincere people at an all time low. Life is too short for that! I want to surround myself with people who are happy, positive, sincere and who make my life better.
  • It made me see what I want in my future. I want those friends and family in my life who mean the most. I want to be surrounded by happy, uplifting people who know how to have a good time. I want to be a happy and uplifting person for others. I want to create a community with all these good people! I want to commit to my choices and not look back! I want to lose stress, worry, anxiety, self esteem issues, and live life!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Day: Ceremony

Did I ever tell you about the dream I had where we were getting ready for the wedding and then all of a sudden everyone was congratulating me and apparently we had gotten married and I couldn't remember any of it? Yeah, that was an icky nightmare!

I kept hearing the line "You won't remember any of it anyway!" about the ceremony and I was terrified of that. That's the most important part of the day! I damn well would like to remember it! But I am extremely happy to report that I was present and in the moment and remember all of it. And here for you (and largely for my memory), is our ceremony recap.

I remember looking at Brett before we walked out to the ceremony. Nerves were flaring up like crazy, so we took a deep breath together, took each others arms, and out we went. There were so many faces looking at us that I didn't know where to look. I looked down, around, at a few people, at him - and I was so glad we were walking together. We hugged our parents and then took our place at the front.

As the ceremony started, I moved my feet to find a comfortable place to stand, took a few breaths and made sure I was present. I listened to our officiant read the words we put together, let the meaning of "create a new family" sink in, saw our photographers out of the corner of my eye, and enjoyed. Two of our close friends came up to read the selections we chose. I laughed a little. Their presentation was almost theatrical - but classical them! Through all of this, Brett wouldn't stop staring at me! I was watching who was speaking but then kept getting drawn back into his gaze. His eyes were happiness. (At one point I looked out into the crowd, but the only face I saw was my dad's with eyes full of tears and I had to immediately retreat! Bad place to look unless you definitely want to cry!)

Our officiant gave his talk (we didn't know what he was going to say before hand) and it was a great balance of humor and insight. He referenced the economy, our beliefs, and noted the very characteristic pause Brett has when asked a serious question. Then it was time for vows.

First, we had community vows. Everyone stood up and said "we do" after three community vows. Very simple, but it was great to see everyone standing in support of us and hearing a nice resounding "we do" each time!

Next, our vows. I went first. I didn't feel a single nerve at this point, but took a nice deep breath to steady myself. I grabbed the mic and my paper and let it all go. There was a little shaking in my voice due to emotion, but I didn't cry a single drop! (Not sure how that happened...every time before the wedding, heck, even now when I read my vows I cry!) Brett read his vows - no tears there either - and just smiles galore on my end! He included the story of when he fell in love with me, made me laugh, and made me smile.

I loved the simple feeling of sliding the ring on his finger, of mine getting stuck at the knuckle, and then, of course, that wonderful first kiss!

Mission accomplished: we were married!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Day: A few favorite moments

  • Smiling like an idiot during our ceremony
  • Looking out to the crowd and seeing my dad totally tearing up
  • All the toasts from our loved ones that made me smile, laugh and cry
  • Dancing with my hubby with everyone watching but feeling like we were the only people there
  • Dancing with my dad and him saying how proud he was of me
  • Seeing so many amazing people all in one place to celebrate with us
  • Staying out with friends till bar close and getting more precious moments with people I don't often see

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Better by the hour

There was the moment after the wedding where I asked myself the big question: Was it worth it?

And then I sat there baffled. I couldn't answer it! Part of me remembered the eight months of craziness, stress, crying, fights with the beau, anger, frustration, etc. Then there is the matter of spending eight months of my time planning for one day. Then there is the intense matter of spending thousands of dollars on said single day. Was it worth it!? How can all that be worth one day!?

But it was more than just that one day. All that time spent planning gave me more than just a wedding. It gave me those lessons learned about us as a couple, about me as an individual, about what family means to us, about how much I like spending time with my mom and wish I saw her more, about what great friends I have who are willing to go out of their way and spend many of their own hours on "just one day" for me, and so on. And I thought about how much the process has changed me and how much fun some of it was.

I still haven't quite worked out my answer to that question...but I'm working on it. And I have a feeling it may not be a simple yes or no answer. Me and simple just don't get along like that. But me and complicated? We're best buds.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that I definitely like the wedding best after its over. Specifically a week or two since its been over. The slight tinges of regret or disappointment that I felt right after are slowly fading away and starting to matter less and less. My love of our ceremony and the time spent up there holding his hands is starting to matter more and more.

The Day: Getting Ready

We had a lot to do on our wedding day. The day generally went something like this:
  • Wake up
  • Go to venue by 9 and decorate like mad!
  • Get hair done at noon
  • Back to venue to get dressed and perty
  • Photos
  • Ceremony!
  • Cocktail hour!
  • Dinner!
  • Dancing!
  • Break down
  • Afterparty!
So yes, like everyone says, the day did fly by. But I'm happy to say I was in the moment and present for most all of it! To start my recaps, I'm going to go with the first portion of the day and wait till my brain is done tumbling the rest of the day around.

Our morning was one of the only parts of the day where I actually felt stressed. Neither of us could eat much but we sat there trying anyway. I got through half my bowl of granola before I gave up. Neither of us could say much and probably both looked like deer in the headlights! Not the 'ease into the day' morning I had been hoping for...but whatever! We packed up all the boxes of crap and decoration that we had and chugged over to the venue.

My parents were already there unloading. My mom had checked in with the venue. And we jumped in to join the bustle! My dad is a genius and brought a hand truck, so all our boxes were inside in a snap! It was a little chaotic at first... everything was unloaded so fast that I spent the first while just finding things! I should have labeled boxes better with what was inside and where it was supposed to go - another 'oops' to add to the list! But we got it sorted and everyone had what they needed to do their task (as previously assigned on the task list) and got workin! It made me so grateful to see everyone helping out so much! It came together with lots of hands helping! We had given ourselves three hours to do all our decorating and that was just barely enough time. We snarfed some lunch and then the ladies ran to get our hair did!

It was really nice to go see my normal hair lady. She is a sweetheart and it made me feel better that she knew my hair and that we'd kinda done a trial run on my last visit. It was also great to just chat and feel relaxed in a familiar place.

The salon trip was mostly to control frizz and make sure my hair was behaving. And also to make sure that I smelled like the delicious Aveda products! mmmmmm Because after the salon we went back to the venue to do makeup and to do the minimal styling that was going to go into my hair. A friend of mine, with her glorious Clinique supplies, did makeup for me and then did a neato little twist to one part of my hair. Then in went my fabric flower that I'd made from leftover fabric from all my dress alterations!

I was so happy with this little flower! After lots of time and swearing, it turned out just like I had hoped! That is definitely one of the DIY projects and one of the details I'm glad I didn't give up on. It made me feel great to have that cute thing on my head! I don't actually have many photos from the wedding...but I do have this little one to share of me:

My hair was down, like always, but did have the little twist in it with the flower pinning it back. I felt just like I had hoped - like myself. Just a fancified version of myself! :)

Once dressed and perty, we did the photos! This was fun because the first batch was just of me and my love. We wandered around the beautiful park location, snapping photos. It was hard, though. The photographers kept making us kiss! But someones gotta make out with that cutie, so I took to it and hopefully my face isn't scrunched up in too much pain! ;)

We got a lot of photos in and had some time left to spare - perfect! Then all of a sudden, some guests started appearing! EEK! Before that, I was just kinda doing what needed to be done, but seeing people arrived made me remember all that was to follow. And some nerves started to resurface...

We had talked about mingling with our guests before the ceremony but that morning decided not to. We knew everyone would be asking the same question and we'd be saying the same thing. Plus, we both started getting that spaced out deer in the headlights look again! So we went back to our get ready room and waited. And waited.

We only had to wait maybe twenty minutes or so? But it seemed like forEVER! All I could do was pace and fiddle. I'm pretty sure I looked like this for those twenty minutes.

We hadn't quite figured out how everything was going to be timed as far as when our parents go out and then we go out and blah blah blah. Good thing to leave for the last minute, ya? It was a good jolt though, because it was just the bridal party left in the room...I was waiting for some cue that we were supposed to start and then I heard the music! Ahh! Time to go! We weren't lined up or ready but we flew into position and out when lady and dude 1! I got a kiss before lady and dude 2 went and then it was just us.

A few deep breaths, nervous glances, and out we went, too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

PS I'm Sorry

I was looking at my last blog post (since most of the time I type something up, post it, and don't actual read what I wrote until much later....hence the spelling issues that oftin occur) and I realized that it included the phrase "I can tell you that none of it was like I expected". And then I realized that my two weeks ago past self would have punched my current married self.

Because when planning a wedding you are trying to expect EVERYTHING! So WTF, Jen!? It was nothing like you expected!? NOT what a bride wants to hear!

I'm partially a liar...because a lot of it was like I expected. We did, after all, have a tasting with our caterer and that exact meal did show up at the wedding...so I was expecting the mushroom ravioli. There were some aspects that I had no expectations for...like the ceremony. I had no way to anticipate what that would be like. So it was not like expected.

And the other thing is that I might be kinda slow. Because I was surprised how nice some people were and how...not nice some people were. Not that anyone was mean, just that some people weren't particularly nice. Like I thought that since it was a wedding that meant everyone would be the bestest, smileyest version of themselves. So yeah, call me silli willi.

Anyway. just wanted to come say sorry for including that mean, mean phrase. If you are still planning, don't worry. It will all go according to plan and everything will be just like expected. If you have reached the other side...sshhhhh, don't tell!


Woah, kids, I'm married! Did you know that that is what happens at a wedding? Two people get married! And when its your own wedding, that means YOU get married! No joke!

I'm still kinda in shock that we are married. Its like I didn't see it coming or something. Or just that I have no idea what "married" means! Nothing has changed really... I have another little ring buddy and his hand is incredibly sexy with his little ring buddy, but other that that, anything different? Not that I've seen yet. But I'm sure things will show up in the future.

Anyway, I'm back from wedding and honeymoon madness!

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all the things that happened and what I feel about them, but I can tell you that none of it was like I expected. Here are some random thoughts and tidbits for you in no particular order.
  • The wedding went so well! Like so, so, so well! Everyone came through for us and helped us put on a wonderful event! It really showed me who would stick around and be there for us when we needed them. Some people just really, really make me so thankful!
  • I loved our ceremony and I'm so glad we wrote our own vows! I was totally present through all of it and remember it and cherish it! I wasn't nervous. Didn't mind speaking in front of all the people there. Just felt so happy! Oh, and neither of us cried. I just smiled like an idiot the whole time! In the receiving line, one relative asked me, "Were you born smiling!?"
  • Wow, its so hard to get around and talk to everyone. I totally tried and I totally failed.
  • It goes by in flash. I wish I had been able to talk more with everyone. I wish I had danced more with my hubby. But what can you do? Talk with them and dance with him another day, that's what. :)
  • I wish I had more room in my tummy to enjoy our awesome dessert spread! Family and friends baked pies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, brownies, marscapone bites, brownies, etc. We got a lot of compliments on the many awesome choices of desserts.
  • Honeymoons are awesome. Especially since I didn't do too much of the planning. It was kinda like a bonus that I kept forgetting about in my wedding stress but then BAM! I'm on a plane to Cali! WEE!!!
  • I like the wedding best once its over. Being here on the other side is so much better. So much easier. And now we aren't living in sin! Score!