Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of an Era and My Quarter-Life-Crisis: Reflections on the Past Decade

I can remember the New Year's Eve of the over-exaggerated 'Y2K.' Actually, that was one of my most favorite New Year's Eves. December 31st also happens to be my birthday, so if it is a great night, all the better. If NYE is a flop, when then, I lose two major events in one night. (Personally, I tend to think NYE is a bit over-rated).

Anyway, on the last day of 1999, I was house-sitting for my sister and we had this big bash at her house. We cleared out some of the rooms so we could dance on her hard-wood floors, friends just kept showing up - with friends of friends and food. By the last few moments of 1999, there were probably about 60 of us gathered around her big screen TV, watching Y2K around the world, waiting for the NYC ball to drop.

I just remember it was such an exciting moment...with so many friends and people around. Then, when the ball dropped, it was just hugging and kissing and toasting and celebrating. After, a bunch of us then decided to drive to Montauk Point (the eastern-most tip of Long Island) to catch the first sunrise of the new millennium.

We got our coffee and blankets and headed out...and to our surprise,
hundreds of other people had the same idea! What a great morning. A friend of mine even got quoted in the Newsday article that came out the next day.

So, the new millennium was off to a great start. But not long after that, I hit my 'quarter-life' crisis. And this is how it happened:

When I was starting my senior year of college in 1995, my roommates and I decided to write a time-capsule of where we thought we would be in the year 2000. True to our promise, we met at the Jersey Shore in the summer of 2000 to read them.

It was fun and sentimental...some of the girls were right for a few of their predictions. One of my friends was like 10 for 10, lol.

Me? Way off. I mean,
waaaaayyyyyy off. Not that my life was terrible - actually, at 26, it was a lot of fun. But, I suddenly realized that nothing, I mean nothing, had gone like I had thought. And that scared me. It hit me all at once how little control I really had in my own life.

And that sort of set me on this fearful, internal journey of the quarter-life crisis (which is actually a real term). I guess you graduate college with all of these hopes and dreams of how your life will turn out. Anything is possible.

And then, year after year, reality sets in more and the hopes of your dreams becomes just slightly less. Again, not that my life was bad. It was just different. And that was a little hard to deal with.

So, I guess the next decade was dealing with all of that. I mean, there were some wonderful moments along that next ten-year period:

  • I became a teacher at S. Christian School.
  • I have had some wonderful relationships with my students and co-workers.
  • My baby sister got married.
  • I saw the birth of three new nieces.
  • I had guardianship of my nephew (who was 15 at the time) for 2 and half years. Some of the best times of my life. Don't know how to express how much I love that kid.
  • I traveled to some amazing places on missions trips - Belize, Ukraine, Nigeria, Brazil, Morocco, Nicaragua, Trinidad.
  • I got my Master's Degree in Liberal Studies/English/Adolescent Education
  • I saw God heal a special friend from cancer.
  • I have been blessed with some of the greatest friendships in the world and had some great times with Becky, Jen, Ryan, Liz, Kelly, Laura, Liz, Jodi, Rhonda, Steph and many more.
  • I met J. and got engaged :)
  • I am planning a wedding and getting ready to buy a house.
  • I discovered Jesus in a way I never had before in my life and experienced true joy and healing.
But, there were some hard moments, too:
  • I had my first serious break-up that messed me up for a bit of time.
  • I struggled with being single into my thirties and all the sadness and hard stuff that comes with it.
  • I suffered from more than a few crushed dreams and disappointments in relationships.
  • I lost my grandma.
But you know, as I think about it, those probably were the worst times. And over the course of a decade, that is not half bad. Actually, it is pretty amazing. When I look at the weight of all the ways I have been blessed, compared to some of the hard things I've gone through, I had definitely made out well and have come out ahead.

My family is alive and well. And so am I. I live in America. I have a job - two, actually. I have an apartment I love and a house that I will be moving into. I found a godly man to marry.

And even though my life isn't what I thought it would be, I guess little by little I am learning to let go and be OK with so. So far, so good.

My devotional verse today was: '
Thus far has the Lord helped us.' (1 Samuel 7:12). And if His past track record is any indication of His future track record, I think I will be just fine.

Happy New Year and here is to all the best in the decade to come!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

Looking back, looking ahead. This actually is a yearly tradition of mine.

In my 'blog-stalking,' I've come across a kindred spirit in Jen from "After the Altar" - fellow Long-Islander and newly-wed (which I will shortly be joining the ranks of).

Anyway, she got the idea from another blogger, Scary Mommy (not quite there yet) of doing the year in review in a blog. I only started this blog in July or August, because that is when I got engaged. However, I started my other blog - the mother blog to this one, One Girl's Journey - October 2008 and posted sporadically; my year-in-review will pull from both.

So let's have at it:

Jan-March: Well, I started blogging in October 2008, was pretty good for the month, but didn't blog again til April 2009. Oops. At that point, James and I went to Fla to visit my grandparents, took the pre-covenant classes at church (before we were engaged), and then my blogging (therapy) began.

April: I guess being in the pre-covenant classes surfaced some 'inner issues', so I sort of began a personal recovery. "Detour on the Journey" sort of explains in a transparent way some of what was going on on the inside (it's a little messy), and "Relationships are Not Linear" was one of my epiphanies along the way.

May-June: -Ummm, took another break from blogging. Guess the therapy was getting too deep, lol. I did go to Morocco on a missions trip and I wish I had blogged about that. Maybe I'll reflect on that in a future date. Se la vie.

July: OK, engagement! And that was when the blog really came to life! Technically, I wrote this blog of our engagement story, in September, complete with pictures, but it tells of when we got engaged in July.

August: One Girl's Journey to the Altar is born! This post "How I Came to Meet the Border's Guy" tells the story of how we met at Border's (honestly, this is like a story from the movies!) and this post tells how God amazingly, Providentially, supernaturally brought us together.

September: I am a teacher, so this post contains some thoughts about getting back to school, "Back in the Saddle." I also had some lessons I was learning about relationships and marriage along the way: "We Marry Because...??" and "Eve's Curse".

October: A month of simple truths. It was me out of psycho-wedding-planning-world and back to some bottom lines, and oh, how I love a bottom line: "Words from a Recovering Perfectionist" and "God is My Treasure."

November: Can't say it is the most interesting post ever, but just some updates on the wedding planning: "Full Steam Ahead".

December: This was probably my most reflective month. The holidays do that to me. I love going over the year (it was a tradition I did for years in my journal), looking back and looking ahead. My birthday is December 31st, also, so I like it that when the calendar flips to a new year, it is also a new birth year for me, too. Keeps things nice and clean. So, before I look ahead, one more stop in December: "Taking A Breather" has helped me recenter myself again and "I Almost Missed It" again reminds me of what is the single most important thing in my life. And oh, how I need to be reminded again.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em: How I Became a Jets Fan

The long and short of it is this: James tricked me.

When we first met, he played it all suave and smooth - like he had all of these diverse interests (which happened to be what I was interested in), loved socializing, didn't mind going here and there - to festivals and plays and bookstores - but all along, he had this secret side he did not let me in on:

James is a sports addict. Oh, and he was good at hiding it. For months, he never let on.

We met in September, and I began to see a little of it in the spring, when Mets season started. [Now, I really like baseball and once upon a time (junior high, that is), I was a die-hard Mets fan, too. I sort of grew out of it a little, but I still really enjoy a good baseball game.] Our lives didn't completely revolve around the Mets schedule, but I began seeing that it was important to him - so, no problem. I could be the Mets-fan-girlfriend.

That was all well and good, but I admit, I was sort of looking forward to the end of baseball season - to when we could get on with our life.

Well, that was, until I realized that football season started in the fall.

You see, when we met in the previous fall, there was NO INDICATION WHATSOEVER that he liked football. So, OK, not too bad- I could deal. Football was only on Sundays and Mondays. I could handle the Jets 1 day of the week.

Well, NFL is only on Sundays and Mondays. College football is another story - Thursday, Friday and ALL DAY Saturday.

So, I found myself patiently waiting until the end of football season...until I realized... hockey season began somewhere in the middle of football season. You guessed it - James loves the NY Islanders. And ice hockey - go figure - doesn't end until JUNE! What the heck?!?!?

Oh, dear...I began to see where this was going. Basketball season starts - I don't know when - late fall, I think? - but then there is NBA, college basketball, March Madness - and that ends just in time for -right again - baseball season.

And, it's not just the Mets. James will watch ANY baseball game. And any football game. And any hockey game...yeah, you get the point.

So, yeah, he tricked me. Never let on that he was obsessed with sports. Until it was too late - I was already in love with him.

Needless to say, this has caused some minor rifts between us at moments. And in his defense, James does not (necessarily) arrange our life around all of these games (Not to say that he wouldn't if he had his way. But still, he gets it. And in fairness, he does have other interests, too).

And at times, I have gotten frustrated because - call me crazy - sometimes I would like to diversify our time together and - leave the house maybe???

But I realized that me resenting sports would not make him like them any less (actually, that reaction typically has the opposite effect). So I decided that my only sanity if I was going to be in a relationship with a guy who loved sports was to learn to love them too.

Thankfully, I do like them, for the most part. I really do enjoy a good game (just not games on end). I could manage most sports (I was even a 3-sport athlete in high school), but my issue was football. I just could never get into it. For whatever reason, it just did not make sense to looked messy, unorganized and just an excuse for guys to smash each other.
Football was only useful to me as an excuse to have a fun Super Bowl party (been to several and have never watched an actual game. Ever.)

But I started asking questions (note to self - don't ask too many questions while he is actually watching the game), and I am starting to get it.

And actually, I am starting to like it. Today, I made a concentrated effort to really try to pay attention and appreciate it...and I enjoyed it. For a while, I even forgot why I was trying to learn the game and actually asked him to please move a little to the left because he was blocking my view of the game.

This has been a good lesson for me. I got convicted a few months ago when I heard Andy Stanley do a teaching on marriage, and he used the verse in Philippians 2 that says something like, 'Each of you should not only look to your own interests, but also the interests of others.' And it hit me that I would never get James to stop watching sports or stop liking sports. That is just who he is. I could either let this make a wedge between us, or, if I were smart, I could get over myself, take an interest in what he is interested in, and let it be a bridge. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

And that is how I became a Jets fan. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Where We Come From and Who We Are

Yes, I mean families.

I've always heard, 'What you grow up with feels normal to you, but it doesn't mean that everyone else's family is like that.' Not wrong, just different.

I knew that but I don't think I really knew that. I think, deep down, I really believed that every family was like mine (or that every family should be like mine - or at least wanted to be like mine).

I come from a good size Italian family. It's not huge, but I
have 3 sisters with their families, plus a host of aunts and uncles and cousins (not that we see them so much anymore, but in the past, especially when my grandmother was still alive, our holidays involved them much more).

Our holidays were never the serene moments around the dinner...eating on fine china, drinking from crystal glass, with a warm glow of candlelight. No, not our house.

When my family celebrates the holidays, it is typica
lly chaotic. Not in a bad way, just in a ...well...loud way.

Our holidays usually involved a lot of
busyness - visiting different aunts and uncles, people popping over unexpectedly, a lot of noise and energy, a lot of food ...sort of a open-house-free-for-all. The more, the merrier. Most years, my parents invited people they knew had no where else to go, so we always had this random assortment of company.

There were usually kids running around,
dogs barking, loud talking to compete with the volume of the TV and other conversations, people coming and going. The table wasn't big enough for all of us, so it was usually pushed to one side and we ate buffet style, in different parts of the house. Usually just an informal celebration of sorts. The most formal thing we do is probably just say grace before the meal.

And I thought that was great - and that everyone wanted
their holidays to be like that.

This year, I spent Christmas Day (and Thanksgiving as well) with James' family. It was different in a few ways:

First, it was smaller - just us, his parents, his sister, niece, and nephew (and one close family friend for Christmas).

It was
quieter...the TV was on, but it was sort of just background. And for a while, it was just on the station that played Christmas music. A very serene atmosphere.

There was more
ceremony and formality - First, for both holidays, we all sat around the table together. I can only remember a few holidays that we have done that at my house.

For Thanksgiving, we all shared something that we were thankful for. Then, his mom (which I couldn't help thinking of her as this wise matriarch of the family) went around to each family member (me included) and expressed why she was thankful for that person and just spoke these amazing words of life and encouragement (almost prophetically, it felt like). There were some tears shed, and it was definitely very moving.

For Christmas, instead of gifts, she and Tony (
James' stepdad) wrote out these personalized prayers based on Scripture for each one of us, putting our names in the verse, and read them to us. It felt like she was passing on this spiritual legacy to us. (For James, it was Philippians 3:12-16; For me, it was Proverbs 31:10, 29-31). She included a picture of each of us and a Christmas card that she felt portrayed the verse. It was so special.
On the way home, James and I took the scenic route and just listened to Christmas music and took in all the Christmas lights. Then we just sat in his driveway quietly for a moment...sort of soaking in all the changes that will be taking place in the next few months.

It was fun to think about what the holidays will be for us ne
xt year. Being married. In our own home. The traditions we will start. Beginning a new branch of each of our family trees.

But it was bittersweet, too. I realized that this Christmas morning was the last time I would wake up in my parents' house and go upstairs and have breakfast with my sister and nephews. The realization hit me that next year, the holidays will be something different than what they have always been in the past. Not just how his family does it, not just how my family does it, but how WE will do it.

I'm sure it will include pieces of both...where we have come from has made us who we are. We bring that with us.

But as we two become one, something brand new will start as well. And we are both very aware of the magnitude of this new chapter we are beginning, the legacy we are creating - that is now in the making - the one we will pass on someday to our families.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Almost Missed It...

Christmas, that is. Because of all the wedding planning and the impending move, I didn't even bother to put up Christmas decorations. My classroom? It would have remained undecorated if some of the seniors on the "CCC" (Christmas Cheer Committee) hadn't volunteered to do it. I think I went Christmas shopping for the first time on Saturday. December 19th, that is.

But that isn't what I mean. I almost missed Christmas. What it really means.

My students have heard me often enough get on my soapbox about the commercialism of Christmas and the disgust over what our society has made it. It's like we have this month-long extravaganza celebration, with all the decorating, songs, shopping, parties, cantatas - all for what was supposed to be a commemoration of Jesus' birthday - and it is like we have forgotten to invite Him to all the festivities! And in some cases, not even forgotten, but He is not even allowed to come!

Did we forget it is called CHRISTmas for a reason???

But I digress (the soapbox again). I almost missed it. I think this morning is maybe the first time I had a chance to really reflect on why we are celebrating. I got up to do my quiet time and was ready to rush through it because I had to get to Stop N Shop, Costco, Ulta, Dollar Tree, Gap Outlet...

Then I felt this gentle nudge in my soul to just slow down. Stop. Reflect. I was becoming all of the people I get so angry with - the ones who are doing all the celebrating and not keeping the focus on why. Or I should say Who, really.


God's perfect gift to a humanity doomed to bondage. Sin. Evil. Themselves. He came...not just to stay a baby. That was only the start. He came to be a Savior. For a creation He loved dearly and who desperately needed saving. Not just for 'a creation' but for me. I was doomed to bondage. Sin. Evil. Myself. I desperately needed saving.

And He did it. He came. Gave up heaven and shrunk Himself to fit inside human skin. To die a horrific death so I could be free from bondage. Sin. Evil. Myself. To have friendship with God. So I could be a clean, pure daughter in right-standing before her Daddy. Forever.

That is the miracle we should be celebrating. What kind of God does this??? Not on a whim but as a result of an intricately, meticulously designed plan, one invented even before light appeared on the horizon of the universe and the first bite of the apple was taken.

Because He saw me. He saw you. And to Him, we were worth it.

"Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth..."

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn..

Oh, what an amazing day we are celebrating. What an amazing God. He came. "Immanuel." God with us. God with us still.

(Picture and lyric inspiration borrowed from Or So She Says)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Of Expectations...The Dream vs. Reality

The idea of dreams and expectations has come up a few times in the past day or two in some blogs/articles I've come across, and of course, it has gotten me thinking.

I think every girls grows up with some dreams about what her marriage will be like.

For me, getting married was always this elusive, 'out-there' experience that, in the back of my mind, I daydreamed what I thought it would be like. Or, maybe just what I wanted and hoped it would be like. Possibly the product of an overactive imagination or a glutton's diet of romance books and movies as a teen, I think I scripted line by line what I imagined it would be like and just sort of filled in the blanks myself.

How much that was in line with reality, I'm not sure. Actually- I'm pretty sure - not much at all.

I've read a few thoughts on this that have just brought me back down to earth, and honestly, has given me a more realistic look at married life and helped me appreciate what I have - which is a good, honest, loving, honorable man. has an 'engaged' page with some good articles. There was one entitled 'Managing Expectations' that had some good things to say:

"My dad once told me that learning to manage your expectations of others (and others' expectations of you) is what makes life, well, manageable. I've found, however, that I have expectations about life that don't seem unreasonable; they're just not God's plans....

"None of these expectations were particularly
wrong, but they haven't been what God has had in store for me. And, honestly, that's been disappointing for me. I've learned to throw out certain expectations and go with whatever God has in store for me, but I find I still carry certain expectations about life around...

"Managing expectations and dealing with the disappointment of unmet expectations is something I'll spend my whole life doing — in my marriage, with extended family relationships, at work, in church. I pray that I have the courage and faith to follow God's path wherever it leads, especially when things don't work out the way I plan

Those thoughts helped me. We all have expectations and dreams for our lives. And I don't think they are always wrong - just not necessarily accurate. It comes down to trusting God when those expectations aren't met the way we think they should be. And it has helped me to know that those expectations just may not be part of God's plan for me - nothing more, nothing less. At least for the moment. Letting go of control once again.

I also came across this article at This guy (Hudson Russell Davis) wrote about his experience being single and then waiting for God to bring his wife. He finally got married and he had this to say in his article:

"There is a danger in wanting something very badly; it can become, in our minds, more than reality could ever provide. What we want can become pure fantasy in which real people have no place. Our own fantasies and dreams can conjure for us what is impossible to hold in flesh and blood—what is impossible to find in a person. Life punishes such frivolity through disappointment...

"...I am glad that I did not have a list of "expectations" for marriage as it has allowed me to be surprised, pleasantly surprised and excited by "discoveries." I had not scripted for myself the details. I had not visualized how all things would be and so I was not disappointed...

"It is not that we cannot expect certain things but that our list or "expectations" should be short indeed, lest it become a script for failure."

I think there is a lot of wisdom in that. Not just as a girl, but even well into my single adult years, I had visualized relationships and marriage down to such great detail, that in some ways, it was inevitable that I was setting myself up for disappointment. Not to say that James is disappointing, but who can measure up to a fantasy?

This article has helped me renegotiate my expectations. Like Davis says, not that we cannot expect certain things but to keep the list short. In that way, you leave room for surprises. And, I also think, it makes you a lot more appreciative of all the things your partner does and is. Because it is just who he is - not a report-card pronouncing 'pass or fail' of an unrealistic ideal.

The dreams of a little girl transformed into the reality of an adult. I think there is still room for wonder and surprises and dreams becoming reality. We just do not get the luxury of scripting it ourselves. The pen still remains, sometimes much to my frustration, in the hands of a very brilliant Author.

Such is the journey on planet earth...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Taking a Breather

Stop the insanity!!! I have gotten into the nightly happen of checking on all the blogs I follow - which is a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, it helps me decompress a little. On the other hand, it sometimes adds to my stress by seeing all the things I 'should' be doing and 'should' have as a part of my wedding.

Ironically, I came across a post from one of the said blogs - weddingbee - this blog in particular. She discussed how easy it is to get sucked into all the expectations of a perfect day, which can completely suck the joy out of this amazing event. It was interesting - and refreshing to read this on a blog that sometimes contributes to the problem (inadvertently, of course!).

For the moment, I have taken a breather from all the plans - to just touch down to earth again and get out of the parallel universe of wedding planning. It's nice to just think about family and Christmas without worrying about what I should or shouldn't be having, planning, doing, etc.

That is one lesson I learned ( - well, am learning) through this process - and it is really applicable to anything: Stop trying for perfection. It will be good enough. I don't need the perfect dress, the perfect favors, the perfect invites, the perfect hair and make-up (well....if I could have the perfect something, I might put my energy here! Vanity! lol) is going to beautiful and beautiful is good enough. It does not have to be 'the best.' It does not have to be 'perfect.' It will be beautiful. Good enough is good enough.

Nothing is perfect and I think God is teaching me this lesson. That being said, I am taking a hiatus from all the planning, and it feels great. Instead of being ultra- stressed, I am choosing to take the chill approach, realizing that it will all come together in the end. Which, actually, is what James said in the beginning. {Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!}

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Day All Our Own

So now that most of the major vendor shopping is done, I have been able to just let my mind wander to think about what kind of day I want this to be. I feel pressured in a lot of ways from all these blogs and wedding websites. They sort of spell out for you what this day should look like. I guess I was just going with the flow for a while, but I've started to pull back a little bit. This day should be about US - me and James - and what we are all about as a couple.

That being said, I have been putting some thoughts into how we can make our wedding reflect us, not just a standard, plug-in-the-generic-wedding-items kind of wedding. Here are a few thoughts I came up with:

  • The invitation wording: This was one area I wanted James' input because he is so articulate and good with words. I went back and forth, but here is the text we may use because I feel like it expresses what our day is about:

Together with the Lord

Katherine M.


James David L.

have reached a decision

to unite their lives as one with Him.

They, joined with their parents,

invite you to worship with them and

celebrate their marriage covenant

I like it because it mentions:
  1. 'Together with the Lord' - we didn't get to this point apart from Him
  2. 'reached a decision' - it wasn't just a romantic, emotional decision (although that has been involved), but it is a prayer, rational, conscious choice we are making
  3. 'unite our lives as one with Him' - we are not only uniting with each other, but uniting ourselves and uniting with Him in the center of it
  4. 'joined with our parents' - we have their blessing and they are an important part of our lives
  5. 'worship with us' - because it is about worshiping God for us; He is the center and for His glory is why we want our marriage to exist - as a demonstration of worship; and finally
  6. 'celebrate our marriage covenant' - it is a celebration - we are grateful for God's hand in our lives and it is not just a wedding but a solemn, sacred, unbreakable covenant we are making before God Almighty. That is serious and deep and heavy - and wonderful.
  • The Reception: James and I aren't big dancers or party-people, for various reasons. We are just sort of low-key and don't really like to be the center of attention. I have been thinking of something to sort of 'fill the time' when, at most weddings, people are dancing. [People are welcome to dance if they want - it is going to be more of a 'cocktail party' type of atmosphere, though, so we aren't really pushing it]. I didn't want to do something just to 'do something.' But I was thinking about what might represent US as a couple. And I think I would like to have someone lead us in worship for a while. We want Jesus to be the center of attention that day, not us. It won't be a big stand-up worship service, but maybe someone just to lead us in a few of our favorite songs. I was worried it might be a little cheesy, but I don't care. It is our day and I think it would be a very sweet Presence of the Holy Spirit incorporated into atmosphere.
  • The Favors: I am not sure about this one yet. I had thought of making a donation in leiu of favors, since we are both mission-oriented. But I have to admit, I still like the aesthetics of having pretty favors on the table. So, instead of just doing candles or coasters or keychains -which are fine but maybe a little generic - I think I am going to do custom-made bookmarks. James and I met at Border's Bookstore, both of us looking at CS Lewis books. So literature and our love of the Lord was a big factor in bringing us together. I think that would sort of personalize it, but also giving them something useful. I don't want our face plastered on it, but maybe just a quote about love from CS Lewis on the front, in our wedding colors, and a small thank you on the back.
So, that is as far as I have gotten. I have a few thoughts for the ceremony and programs, but there will be time for that as we go on. But, I am seeing more and more that I want our day to reflect US, not the expectations society puts on us for this day. We have to feel good about this; it should reflect what is important to us, not the opinions of others.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great Give-Away Week at "Bride on a Budget"

I am becoming addicted to these give-aways! I've won only one, but I am persevering! You never know! I entered to win an e-gift certificate from Bride on a Budget blog! She is sponsoring this give-away from Very cute, original items! I really like the sea glass luminaries...they come in light blue and light green...2 of my 3 colors! I think they would be really nice on the tables!

Feel free to enter...This one is open til Dec. 16...

Another give-away she is sponsoring is from Design Alley, where you can win a free monogram. I was just talking with Diana (my sister and MOH) about that, telling her I would like to somehow incorporate a monogram into our wedding. So, that would be cool to win! This contest is open until December 19. The ones I liked (with a few slight modifications) are below. Wish me luck!

The next contest I entered this week is from Garter Lady - to win a free garter! How fun is that! You never know! My favorite one is shown below:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Inspiration Board

I entered a contest on Style Me Pretty (didn't win) but you can make fun inspiration boards! Had a good time doing it, may try it again....Here's what I came up with - it captures the essence of it my colors and themes (I think!)!

By the way, I have come across some really good wedding blogs. Check them out under 'Blogs I'm Following.'

Good Friends...

Just wanted to give some credit to some dear friends who are willing to help me out!

Eileen Kogut - she is a banquet manager at the Hamlet Wind Watch in Hauppauge and has been giving me ideas and the scoop on what brides are doing these days. She tipped me off to Dermablend, a great foundation that hides everything! And for centerpieces, she also has a ton of candles she said I can use and put together for my centerpieces. Much cheaper than flowers! She gave me a few phone numbers of vendors and possible 'wedding night' hotel packages for us. She even offered to go to Miller Place Inn with me to check out what might be the best way to decorate. She's awesome! Thank you!

Kari Haegeland - old high school friend who has amazing style and is also an events coordinator (I think that is her title?! Sorry, Kari, if I got it mixed up!). But she has a bunch of candelabras and centerpieces and candles that she has offered me as well - and her personal help if I need it. That is huge. I'm so grateful for people like this! Thank you!

Even two of my students - Sharon Clause and Ashley Steffens - have volunteered to help with whatever I need. They have been cutting clippings for weddings for a while now, lol, and they said they would be happy to help. How sweet! Actually, a few of my former students have volunteered that too - Shae Kogut, Lynea Jacobsen - very sweet of them!

Thanks to all who are helping! It's huge!


I forgot to say that I am going with a different vendor for flowers - Michelle from Hidden Essence. I liked her right away. She is my age, a cool, middle-class mom of two little kids working out of her home. She can give me the package for $100 less, including tax and delivery. So, for my bouquet, 3 bridesmaids bouquets, 6 bouts, and 3 corsages - a total of $350. And although I really liked Liz, I have to go with the cheaper package and I felt really good about giving someone like Michelle my business.

So, my bouquet will be sage green and white, something like these:

The bridemaids' bouquets will be sage green, white and periwinkle, something like this:

or like the one at the top (I couldn't get the picture to move down! lol) - maybe a combo of the one above right here and the one at the top. More hydrangeas, a little puffier, I think. I had some better pictures, but I can't get them to copy in here. Grrrr. I'll work on it.

She will send me a sample picture before the wedding, so I am excited for that. So, here are some ideas of what my flowers will look like - at least the general color families. I feel good about my choices...finally, lol.

The Hair Snafu

I went for a hair trial with someone that was recommended on In Nassau county. First of all, I was late leaving school because I had a guest speaker in my missions class (but it was totally worth it to have Stephen Zarlengo speak!). Then, killer traffic on the Southern State. Grrrr! Heading west. At 3:30! Tell me again why I am still on Long Island? Then, I get lost. I didn't have her phone number, and it took me about 3 stops until someone finally pointed me in the right direction. And I was just about out of gas to boot.

I finally get there, all flustered from being late, and then come to realize after my trial, that I had locked my keys in the ignition. And not to mention, I had to be back in Smithtown at 7:30 for our school's Christmas Concert.

All in all, it was a stressful, awkward experience. I didn't really sense a warm vibe from the lady. She said the right things, but I didn't feel any sincerity - 'Don't worry, it happens to everyone. It's OK.' But while saying it, she just stood and stared out the window her husband who was trying to get my keys out. For about 15 minutes. Without saying anything. Do you know how long 15 minutes is when you are standing in silence with a stranger staring out a window??? And you can't escape - because that is why she is staring out the window?!? I felt so uncomfortable. Finally, the neighbor 'knew a guy' and he came over, and this twenty-something year old kid opened it in about 30 seconds (wonder where he learned that). I wanted to tip him and only had a $20, so yup, there went my gas money.

It might have been OK if I loved my hair...but I didn't. I mean, it was pretty, but I just don't know if I want to look like that on my wedding day. So, I decided to eat my frustration with a Whopper Jr and French Fries in the BK parking lot.

The moral to this story? I dont know, but I do know I am getting frustrated paying for trials with people that I won't end up using. So, it looks like I might attempt doing my own hair. I have three and a half months to, we'll see how it goes.