Personal

There Is a Lot of Pressure When You Get Engaged

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After you say “Yes” to the question “Will you marry me?,” be prepared to answer a lot more questions. And I mean A LOT. The second you tell someone that you’re engaged they will immediately start asking a million questions.

Some are fun to answer: “How did he do it?” “Can I see the ring?” “Were you surprised?”

Some will fill you with immediate dread because holy hell you don’t even know the answer to them. No, I do not know when we’re getting married. No, I do not know where we’re getting married. No, I do not know what color dresses my bridesmaids will wear. I just got engaged Aunt Lucy, take it down a notch.

After the high of getting engaged wears off, it is time to start thinking about what you want to do. And you start to realize that what you want does not always align with everyone else. Many people in your life don’t want to hear that you’re not sure you want to have a wedding. You might as well spit in your mom’s face cause it’s basically just as disrespectful. People expect a wedding even though they are not the ones paying for it.

And even if you thought you didn’t want a wedding, it’s hard not to get caught up in it all. The venues, the dresses, the flowers. It is all very magical. But do you know what else it is? SO. FRIGGEN. EXPENSIVE!

We all know weddings are expensive. But I never realized quite how expensive everything can be until I started looking at venues/vendors. Even when you cut out some of the unnecessary stuff like save the dates (I think save the dates are so ridiculous. I won’t get into it now, we’ll save that rant for another post) and thousands of dollars on flower arrangements, things still add up quickly.

If you decide to have a wedding, there are certain things you can’t cheap out on. Sure guests are not going to notice if your flower arch at the altar doesn’t have the highest quality flowers, but they will notice if you run out of drinks. If I do have a wedding and invite people, the most important thing for me is that they have a good time. Have you ever gone to a cash bar wedding or even worse, a dry wedding? I haven’t because if I did, there would have been several posts on this blog written by me bitching about how horrible the wedding was. I probably would have convinced a few of my friends to guest blog so they could give their input about how horrible of a wedding it was. I want my wedding to be a party for everyone so I wouldn’t want to cheap out on food, alcohol, and music.

And speaking of everyone, deciding who to invite and who not to invite to a wedding is all sorts of stressful. My dad’s side of the family is big. He has three sisters and two brothers, and they all have children. All of those children are older and most of them have significant others. In my opinion, it seems pretty harsh to pick and choose between aunts/uncles and cousins. Either you invite them all or you invite none. You won’t realize how many distant relatives you have until you get engaged. Your parents will insist you have to invite your second cousin’s aunt once removed.

I know a few people in recent years who have opted out of a big wedding altogether and just went down to city hall to get married. And I don’t blame them. I’m starting to think they have the right idea. No fuss, just your closest friends and family there, and the focus is on you and your spouse committing to one another.

No matter where you are in the wedding planning process, just remember to take a step back and breathe. You’re going to get pressure from your friends, family and even yourself. Try not to let it stress you out too much. Focus on what the wedding really means: you marrying the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with.

*And yes this post does mean that yours truly has gotten engaged. It happened about a month ago and I couldn’t wait to share it with all my blogging friends! And whether we decide to go big or small, I’ll be sure to bring you all along with me every step of the way.

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Writing a Maid of Honor Speech

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One of my best friend’s is getting married this Sunday and I am the Maid of Honor. My thoughts about bridal parties haven’t really changed too much but when your best friend since PreK asks you to be her maid of honor, you’re not going to say no. Being asked to be in someone else’s bridal party is a curse and a privilege. If you say yes, then you know you’re agreeing to spend a shit ton of time and money but you’re also agreeing to stand by your friend during one of the best and most important days of her life.

Thankfully, my maid of honor duties are coming to an end. The bridal shower is done. We already partied it up for the bachelorette party. My dress is fitted and ready to go. The only thing left is to write a maid of honor speech. You would think someone who runs a blog where they write about their life and other random factoids would be able to put together a maid of honor speech. Well, you would be wrong.

I have known the bride-to-be since we were both 4-years-old. However, when I sat down to write the speech, I couldn’t come up with a single memory. Twenty eight years of knowing one another and apparently we’ve never done anything together. I stared at that blank screen as though I have never met my friend or her fiance before. I also forgot all the words I’ve ever known. Starting the speech was a struggle. Ending it is proving to be even harder. I want to say I’m about 80% done with the speech. Pray for me that the other 20% will come to me before Sunday afternoon. Either that or I get so drunk before the speech starts that I won’t care that none of the words coming out of my mouth make any sense.

If you haven’t figured this out already, let me say it. I should definitely be writing my friend’s speech instead of writing a new blog post. But procrastination is my game and that’s never gonna change. Instead of writing the speech that I need to, I am going to provide anyone else who may be struggling through writing a maid of honor speech with some solace.

No matter how long you’ve known the bride, you will forget everything you’ve ever done together. I mentioned this before but it’s worth saying again. This could be your sister who you’ve been attached to at the hip since birth and suddenly every memory of her will be erased from your mind.

And any memory you do think of will be highly inappropriate. “Omg, remember that time you got so drunk that you passed out in your own vomit.” While that story may be hilarious, it’s probably not wise to tell it at a wedding where parents and grandparents are present.

There will be no other way to describe love than with cliches. “She has truly found her better half.” “She has found her person who completes her.” “Blah, blah blah.” My God it is hard to describe love and two people getting married without sounding completely fake and corny. I do believe in love and I genuinely believe that my friend and her fiance are madly in love with one another. But for some reason expressing that sentiment in speech form screams of fake news.

You will suddenly think you’ve become Chris Rock. In the movies, wedding speeches are always hilarious. Only the funniest of speeches will become viral. I need to make guests pee from laughing so hard. Jokes are great if you can fit them in. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is worse than a forced joke.

And if you do think of some jokes, they will most likely be mean spirited. I think it’s OK to poke a little fun at the bride and groom, but you don’t want to turn this into a roast. An anecdote about your friend always being late and you being worried she wouldn’t make it to her own wedding on time can go over great in front of her friends and family who know her well. Going on and on about your friend’s selfishness without a story countering it is just mean. Making your friend cry cause of your speech isn’t a bad thing but you don’t want it to come from you relentlessly pointing out all her bad flaws.

Keep it short. Close friends and family may enjoy hearing you go on and on about the happy couple, but the majority of guests just want to go back to dancing and drinking. Five minutes tops. I am sure you don’t want to stand up there for hours talking and I can guarantee you that no one else wants you to stand up there for hours talking. Stick to the basics: your relationship with the bride, how she met the groom, their relationship, and their future.

To all those in the midst of writing a maid of honor speech, or those who need to write one in the future, I salute you. This shit is not easy. I am two seconds away from standing up there with a glass of champagne, shouting “cheers bitches,” and calling it a day.

Ways to De-Stress When Life Becomes Too Much

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Well I really let this blog get away from me. I am not sure how this happened. My last post was January 19th. It’s been almost a year since I’ve shared with everyone. I always had plans to write something. I even have a draft from May 30th titled Hopefully I am Back for Good. That post just has the title and a gif so clearly I didn’t even give coming back an honest try.

The second half of 2018 has been a stressful time for me. Some good stress and some bad stress. I almost moved in the summer. It fell through at the very last minute which resulted in the loss of my apartment. I’ve been living with my bf in his parent’s basement since July. I’ve spent the last several months applying for and interviewing for jobs outside of NYC. My mom was in the hospital last month for a little over a week. Thankfully she’s OK now. My best friend is getting married and I’m the maid of honor which has meant a lot of party planning, dress fittings, and other wedding events. Add a car accident into the mix and it’s safe to say that I am all ready to kiss 2018 goodbye.

I am an anxious and stressed out person naturally. I wish this wasn’t the case but it is who I am. So when things become hectic in my life they are amplified. I know that I am not alone with dealing with anxiety and I would be shocked if someone reading this claims they’ve never had to deal with stress. Stress is a part of life; it’s pretty hard to avoid.

While there’s no way to completely avoid stress, there are thankfully ways to deal with stress and make things a little bit easier.

Take a bubble bath – There is something about soaking in a suds-filled bath in a candlelit room with your favorite song playing that makes you feel like you’re on a vacation. This vacation may last only 30 mins but it’s a nice distraction from the world.

Don’t be afraid to talk to someone – This is something that I need to work on. When I am sad, I tend to like company but I don’t like to ask for company. Everyone else around you is going through their own stuff. They may not necessarily notice when you need a little extra TLC. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone you need them around.

Get lost in your favorite comedy – When I am feeling really down, nothing does the trick of putting me in a good mood quite like watching The Office. Something funny and familiar can help you to forget about the stresses of real life.

Get outside – And no, I am not advocating working out. You’re already stressed; the last thing you need is someone telling you about the wonders of working out. I am just letting you know about the wonders of fresh air. A simple walk around the block can be an amazing de-stresser.

Color or craft – I am not as creative as I’d like to be. I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to awesome things I can make for my apartment by hand. I haven’t made a single one. The thought of having to make my own spice rack fills me with dread which is the exact opposite of what this list should do. But if crafting is your thing, then by all means dig in when you’re feeling stressed. For the rest of you, I’d like to suggest coloring. Adult coloring pages are all the rage right now and it’s one trend I 100% support.

Don’t add extra stress if you don’t need to – I said this before and I’ll say it again, stress is impossible to avoid. It’s a part of life, but when things are already super stressful don’t add any unnecessary extra stress. Learn to say no to things you really do not want to do. Stay off social media if it adds to your stress. Avoid watching the news because that shit will make you miserable and depressed.

Here’s to 2019 and it being the least stressful year yet. Or at least all of us knowing how to manage that stress as best as possible!

My Uterus Is Not Your Business

The title of this post may seem a little crass but that is exactly what I have felt like shouting to several people the past year. Something interesting happened when I entered my 30s. It seems that I entered an age where people start to become really concerned with whether or not I am going to have children. And I am not just talking about family members. It turns out that coworkers are highly concerned with what’s going on inside my uterus.

I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact that I’m in a serious relationship; it’s probably both of these factors combined. But either way, my decision to have children or not has been a very hot topic for many people.

“So are you going to have children?” “Do you want to have children?” “When are you having children?” “You have to have children.” “Wait until you have your own children.”

Children, children, children. Look, I love children. My nephews are two of my favorite humans in this world. I work with children and I absolutely adore them. But having your own children is a completely different thing.

I am still not sure yet if I want my own child. And to be honest, that’s a decision that only I can make and the guy I’m with.

I think as a society we should all agree that asking the current status of a woman’s uterus is something that we should all just stop doing! If a woman has a baby in her belly or is trying to get one in there, then she will tell you if she chooses. If she doesn’t, then it’s her decision.

Asking someone who doesn’t want to have kids about this puts their back against the wall. “Do I just say no or say that I don’t want kids?” “If I say I don’t want, then I’ll probably have to explain why.”

But do you know what is even worse? Asking someone who is trying to get pregnant if they are pregnant or when they’re going to have kids. You have just reminded this woman that she still does not have a baby in her belly which is probably the last thing that she needs. Trying to conceive and having a hard time is an incredibly difficult thing for any woman to go through. She does not need a constant reminder from her nosy Aunt Sally.

So if you ever feel like asking a lady about what’s happening in her uterus, DON’T! Ask her how work is, about her next vacation, if she prefers pancakes over waffles. Anything else is better than baby talk!

New Year, New Me

I already let my feelings about New Year’s resolutions known last year. You’re not going to automatically change who you are as a person because we are entering a new year. People who talk nonsense about “New Year, New Me” are dumb. I know that may sound harsh but it’s true.

However, I am all for setting goals for yourself. Sort of like a New Year’s bucket list. Every year there are new things that I want to try/accomplish. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not so much. So this year I am going to hold myself accountable by putting it in writing. This means that you get to share this journey with me. (Aren’t you so lucky?)

This year I’ve decided to set several goals for myself. Some are things that I’ve started improving on this year and some are things that I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I am being realistic with these goals. That’s the problem with goals and resolutions. Many times people strive too high too fast. You’re not going to go from taking the elevator everywhere to running a mile. It just doesn’t work like that. I do not want to set myself up for failure. So you may scoff at some of these goals but they are big changes for me. (And if I happen to exceed any them then even better!)

  1. Hike at least 10 new trails.
  2. Go meatless at least 3 times a week.
  3. Walk 10,000 steps or more at least 4 times a week.
  4. Visit two places I’ve never been before.
  5. Successfully make a loaf of bread.
  6. Write at least 12 new blog posts.
  7. Try out 2 new recipes a month.
  8. Volunteer my time.
  9. Find a way to better manage my stress/anxiety.
  10. Unplug from my cellphone more often.

Now that this is written down and about to be broadcast to the world (AKA all five of you reading), I have to try my hardest to follow through. At the halfway mark, I’m going to follow up on the post and check on my progress. Wish me luck!

Happy New Year!

*Question: What are some goals you have for 2018?

If Your Year Isn’t Filled with Ups and Downs, Then You’re Not Really Living

This may be a little pretentious of me but I want to dedicate this post to someone. I know this isn’t a book. But it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want. I want to dedicate this post to my sister Keri who had one of the hardest Christmases ever. On Christmas Eve, we had to put down her chocolate lab. Elvis was a member of the family for almost 12 years so it was hard for all of us to say goodbye. But it hit my sister the hardest as Elvis was her dog. Her baby. She was a mommy to Elvis way before my nephews came along. So this post is for her and all the tears she shed this past week.

And there were a lot of tears. I cried a lot on Christmas Eve. It was probably the saddest I had been the whole year. Watching Elvis be put down was the hardest thing I had to do the entire year of 2017.

All the tears got me thinking about all the times I cried this year. I cried A LOT. I am a crier. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m angry. I cry at all those ridiculous car commercials that show the timeline of a baby turning into a teenager getting her parent’s car. (It’s capitalism and all marketing but they are tugging at my heartstrings!)

Elvis was the saddest moment of 2017. But while I was reflecting on the events of Christmas Eve, I started thinking about the best moments of 2017. My trip to Europe was the best part of my year, particularly the visit to Switzerland. This June, I went to Switzerland, Germany and England. Switzerland was by far the best part and the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. I went to the Alps of Switzerland and went to the top of a glacier for viewing. I was nearly 13,000 feet above sea level. The highest I’ve ever been. It’s sounds corny but when I stepped out to see the view it literally took my breath away. I felt like I was on top of the world. The view and wonder of it brought tears to my eyes.

Life is filled with ups and downs. It’s always going to be. Your life has to be filled with ups and downs if you want to really experience life. I cried so much over the death of Elvis because I allowed myself to love and feel. I also took a chance this year and booked a two-week vacation to visit places I’ve never been before. Life is about experiences and relationships. Sometimes the experiences and relationships will hurt you. Sometimes they will make you cry happy tears and sometimes it will be sad tears. But whether those tears are from joy or pain, they’re important.

I cried a ton of tears in 2017 and I plan to continue the tears onto 2018. Cause a year without any ups and downs hasn’t really been lived.

Let’s end this by giving a proper farewell to the craziest yet most lovable dog to have ever lived.

Thirty Things I’m Thankful For

I am going to admit right now that I am a hater. Or at least I used to be one. Every November my social media feeds would become flooded with everyone sharing all the things they’re thankful for. My snarky self would sit back and think, “Really Judy? You’re thankful for your kids and your home? How original!” However, something happened this year. The ice around my heart melted and I started to enjoy the posts about why people are happy and thankful.

We spend SO much time focusing on the bad stuff that we often forget what makes us happy. I know that I spend a lot of time complaining about the things I’m unhappy about instead of focusing on the things in my life I do enjoy. And I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the negativity. My life isn’t perfect but I still have a ton to be thankful for. So in honor of the month of November and Thanksgiving, I present to you thirty things I’m thankful for. (Please keep your snarky comments and eye rolling to a minimum. This post is about to get real cheesy.)

*Just so you know, this list is in no particular order.

  1. My sisters – I wasn’t kidding when I said they were the greatest gift my parents ever gave me. I have no idea what I would do without them.
  2. My nephews – While my sisters are the greatest gift my parents gave me, my nephews are by far the greatest gift my older sister gave me. Doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, if I hang out with my nephews, I’m happy.
  3. My job – I have done some complaining about my job but I actually finally found a new one. Still at a library and it’s closer to home. I am still not 100% where I want to be but I have a job I enjoy and it pays me enough to afford the bare minimum and some splurging every so often.
  4. Cupcakes – There are so many sweets that I could put on this list. But to avoid being a complete glutton, I am going to limit it to just one. Cupcakes are my one true love.
  5. My apartment – It’s small but it’s home. I love the little place my bf and I built.
  6. My car – My car is old and sounds like an airplane taking off if I go over 50 mph, but I love it. It was my grandmother’s car and I took it over when she passed away. It gave me the ability to go to school and work a far distance from home without having to rely on public transportation.
  7. My relationship – I have encountered enough dating disasters to know that I am incredibly lucky. I have a bf who cares about me and is genuinely interested in what I care about.
  8. Books – Reading is the most amazing thing in the world. Books allow me free entertainment when I have nothing else to do. I have survived plenty of plane and train rides with the help of books.
  9. My kitchen – Yes, I am listing my kitchen separately from my apartment. This year, I have become more and more excited about cooking. My kitchen is small but it gives me the freedom to try out new recipes.
  10. Wine – Through good times and bad, wine has always been by my side. Whether I’m enjoying a night in with my sisters or trying to get over a horrible day at work, there aren’t many cases where a glass of wine or two won’t help.
  11. Health Insurance – Living in the United States, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have health insurance. It’s nice to be able to go to the doctor without worrying that I’ll have to deplete my entire life’s savings.
  12. My health – While I do feel like every morning I wake up with a new muscle aching, I am relatively healthy. I am so thankful for my health and the freedom it allows me to pursue my dreams.
  13. Mountains – Whether they’re big or small, I love the mountains. When I am surrounded by mountains or hiking down one, I do not have a care in the world.
  14. Netflix – More nights than I can count, Netflix and reruns of The Office have saved me from boredom.
  15. Christmas Movies – The cheesier the better. I love my Hallmark Christmas movies no matter how predictable they are.
  16. My dad – My dad is the most selfless person I have ever known. I could call him at 3am in California and he would get up and drive cross country to come pick me up.
  17. This blog – I may not update this thing as much as I’d like but I am so happy I’ve stuck with it. When I first started this blog, I hadn’t even gone back to grad school yet. It’s awesome to have something I can look through and see how much things have changed.
  18. My friends – I do not have a lot of friends but the ones that I do have are amazing. We’ve been friends since before I can remember and I know I can count of them for anything.
  19. My family – This goes beyond just my sisters, nephews, and dad. I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing family.
  20. Education – I am fully aware of how lucky I am that I have had access to education since I was 4-years-old. Being able to go to grad school, allowed me the opportunity to get the job I really wanted. It may have stressed me out at times but I am incredibly indebted to school. (I swear that’s not a pun on student loans!)
  21. Cheese – There is a ton of food I can put on this list but once again I am avoiding being a glutton. So I have to go with my second greatest love: cheese. I have yet to meet a cheese I don’t like.
  22. Traveling – I am so happy that I have the ability and the means to travel. I haven’t been everywhere yet but it’s on my list.
  23. Growing up in NYC – As someone who lived in NYC my whole life, I look at it differently than those who have just visited or recently moved here. I don’t view it with rose tinted glasses. However, I realize I’m lucky to have grown up in such an amazing city surrounded by so much culture and diversity.
  24. Puppies – This includes puppies that are 13-years-old. They are all puppies and they are all adorable. I can’t see a puppy without excitedly pointing it out and smiling.
  25. Four seasons – I have a love/hate relationship with summer and winter. When the weather gets too extreme, I complain. However, I love the fact that I live in a place that experiences all four seasons.
  26. Inheriting my grandmother’s genes – Considering that cupcakes, wine, cheese, cooking, and my kitchen are all on this list, it’s safe to assume that I love food. I am incredibly thankful that I take after my grandmother and inherited her fast metabolism.
  27. Decorations – I’m not just talking about Christmas decorations. I love all decorations. Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day. If I had the time, I’d decorate for every holiday.
  28. My phone – Naysayers be damned! Smartphones do more good than harm. They can keep us connected to the world. They help direct me where I’m going. They let me know if I should pack an umbrella with me. There isn’t much my phone can’t help me with.
  29. Sleep – I like that no matter how dismal my day has been, I can sleep it away and wake up to a new day.
  30. You – I am beyond thankful for anyone who has ever read this blog (even if I forced you to). The comments, likes, shares, etc. mean so much to me and I couldn’t be more thankful.

*What are some things you are most thankful for?