Tuesday, February 28, 2012


What's that?

Oh, just awesome photos from our wedding.

Totally no big deal.

Except it totally is.

We got married!

This is the face of a happy lady, for so many reasons.

And oh yeah, it's up, folks
So go read Emily's post.

Thank you, Emily and Aaron. Thank you so much.

I have so much love for this woman.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Being Married Is Awesome (or We Had a Good Weekend)

Several times this weekend, we caught ourselves saying, "Being married is awesome." Really what we meant was, "It's awesome having a 4-day work week, having friends over to drink beer and do puzzles, sleeping 10 hours, relaxing all day, and watching Jorge and Harper win their Senior Game at Cal (basketball)."  But hey, let's just call that "being married", shall we?  Deal.

It doesn't look like much, but it's not
supposed to. Presenting...bedroom without
giant cardboard box (used to be on that empty
wall; it would be blocking your view of the
brown dresser right now)!
Anyway, it's been a great week (despite battling a gnarly cold), and a fantastic weekend. And today, I was actually productive. Go figure! Maybe I was riding the wave of awesome from the last couple of days, but I was on fire, you guys! I did four loads of laundry, made my bulletin board of "to-do projects", finally unpacked that box in the bedroom that I've been meaning to unpack since...uh...we moved in in August, and miracle of miracles, I actually cleaned the top of my dresser!

This was no ordinary "scoop things up into piles" dresser clean, either. I actually went through old jewelry and got rid of things. I rearranged how things are placed so it makes more sense. I hung my necklaces and headbands and pictures omg pictures on the walls yay. And now, because photos are more fun than just writing, I'll tell the rest of this story with visual aides.

This is one of those times when I'm kicking myself for not taking "before" photos. Someone remind me to do that next time I tackle a house project, mkay?

Oh hello dresser. You are so neat and tidy
and organized.

One of the things I'd been meaning to do is organize my dresser. Again, a "before" picture would be really handy here, but just imagine a pile about 6" high, that had been growing and shifting over the course of several months. I got this dresser sometime in December (I think?), so I suppose it hasn't been that long, but still. At least two months of clutter just piling up does not a lovely dresser make. It had gotten to the point where I had trouble finding things; necklaces were in a tangled pile and pairs of earrings were separated, and despite the fact that I have a bajillion bobby pins, I could never find one. 

Closeup on the left side of the dresser.
Framed photo: Goodnight Moon (card from my grandma)
Black pointe shoes from Nutcracker of years gone by
Clock was my grandpa's (doesn't work, but maybe it will)
Doily was crocheted by my great aunt, I believe (mom? help?)
Now, it's neat and tidy. I emptied every drawer of my plastic jewelry/hair stuff drawer-thing and made a sizable "donate" pile of earrings and necklaces I haven't worn since high school (I don't know why I still had them either). I re-organized my two "nicer jewelry" boxes (to the left of the drawers) so that it's easier to see what's inside. Next on the agenda will be making some sort of wire+frame device like this so that my dangly earrings are easily viewable. Maybe with some way to show off the posts too (stick them into foam, sans backs, perhaps?)

The mirror is actually leaning on the wall (secured with earthquake putty) because I somehow misplaced the bracket that you use to hang it. Oops. Hope it stays - it seems pretty secure, but you never know. Maybe the bracket will turn up. If not, I'll have to get creative at the hardware store (or with the earthquake putty, again).  :)

I hung my necklaces on a branch-looking key hook thing that I bought at Urban Outfitters while visiting my sister at UC Santa Cruz, so I've had it for at least a year. I lost it for a while, but found it again when we moved, so glory glory, I got to put it up! Sadly, it was not as easy to install as it looked...perhaps because it didn't come with screws (sale bin), and the screws I had weren't the right size. Perhaps because the walls are old and not super strong. I'm not really sure why it took so much work to get this thing up on the wall, but it seems sturdy enough for the light weight it's carrying. The headbands and such to the left are just hanging on a silver Command hook (love you, Command hooks!). Much easier to install. 

More on the photo to the left in a minute.

First, how about a nice little close-up of my "handiwork"?

Yeah, that's the stuff.
You'll notice an anchor that doesn't quite sit flush with the wall, a hole too wide for the anchor, a screw that's silver instead of gold, and if you look really carefully, you'll notice a little white putty-filled hole behind the necklaces. That's actually not actual putty and is in fact earthquake putty (previously mentioned...but you know, it's that stuff that you use to secure fancy glassware and crystal in your cabinets in case of an earthquake). Which reminds me, I need to do that in the hutch. In both hutches. Sigh. Anyway...it's staying on the wall, and it's nothing a little spackle won't fix when we (eventually) move out (some day, far away from this day).

And last but certainly not least, the photo. Apologies for the kind of awful picture of it, but I'm super glad to have found this such a great home in our house. This is a photo collage made by mom and aunt, given to each of my sisters, my cousin and me for Chanukkah this year. Clockwise from the top left is my cousin Talia, her mother (my aunt) Nancy, my sister Nicole (sorry I cut your head off in this picture!), me, my mom, and my sister Danielle. All wearing the same dress. It's been in our family since my mom was a little girl (I think she's just barely two in her picture), and we've all worn it (and been photographed in it) over the years. It's definitely one of those family traditions that will live on...as long as we have daughters :)

How cute are we, seriously?

I'm really glad to have gotten this one project (well, two if you count the cardboard box full of office crap that's no longer in the bedroom! yeah!) done. Not the most crazy of house-related projects, but they were things that needed to get done, and the bedroom is starting to look much better. I'm starting to see little glimmers of possibility for our house now...having an unpacked, lived-in-but-not-messy, homey house with our own touches is within reach! Now that I can devote evenings and weekends to setting up the house instead of planning the wedding, I'm excited to continue settling in. I'm a homebody at heart...but we all knew that, didn't we?

PS - I was just looking at old posts, and realized that not one single time during the wedding/reception did I even take notice of the chairs.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

One Week

I've been thinking about coming back with a little wedding recap post, a "hey everyone, I'm back!" post...but the truth is, I've been recovering all week. Weddings take it out of you, man. In the best possible way, of course, but even when you're about to explode with joy, a long weekend spent entertaining family and friends (not to mention celebrating until the wee hours of the morning several nights in a row) is bound to leave a girl reaching for the pillow.

A few nights with 10 hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep helps. A nasty head cold doesn't. But we're on the up and up over here now, and even had some friends over for our first (hopefully) semi-regular puzzle night last night. But I do want to share stories and photos, so I'll just ask you to be patient for a little while as I continue to settle back into life.

It's our one-week anniversary, life is starting to return to normal, and I am filled with a renewed sense of optimism when it comes to playing housewife. I want to use my new toys (waffle iron! juicer! ice cream attachment for KitchenAid!) and start on some of the home-projects I've had on my list since before the wedding, and some new ones too. My Pinterest boards are filling up with non-wedding ideas, and I even created a bulletin board on top of my craft dresser that I'm going to fill with projects. My goal is to do one per week, no matter how small (bags in closet? check! well, mostly).

So hello, folks. I'm back, and ready for action!

A little wedding photo sneak peek from our fabulous
photographer, Emily Scott (Gem Photo).
(via Instagram for iPhone)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Fog of War (Guest Post by Lyz Lenz)

While I'm out of town for a few days gettin' hitched, I've lined up some blog posts from some truly lovely bloggers and friends of mine.  The theme: love, marriage, relationships...or whatever they feel like writing about.  I hope you enjoy, and check out their blogs as well, because they're all awesome.  I'll be back next week as a married lady!

Today's super special guest post comes from Lyz, one of the most hilarious women I know.  She makes me laugh on a regular basis, and I'm proud that we went from internet-stalky-how-did-we-even-find-each-other friends to pen pals to Real Life Friends (this past year at BlogHer).  If you haven't already, please do go check out her blog at www.lyzlenz.com.

The Fog of War

It didn't take Dave and I long to find our dream home. Built in 1925, the house had newly refinished oak crown molding and floors, an antique crystal chandelier original to the house and it was tucked snugly away in a picturesque neighborhood. We both loved the same things about the house. "Oh, the stairs!" we both cried in our young-couple in love unison, holding hands and staring gooey-eyed at one another. The only things that needed fixing were the pastel rainbow painted over the front door and one of the bathrooms. It would be easy, we rationalized.

The Lenz home in the fall.
Ed note: I hate them.
Also see: jealousy.

On move-in day, Dave placed his hands on the dining room walls and declared them to be “crooked.” Dave is an engineer and “crooked” is probably the lowest insult and engineer can bequeath, well that and “illogical.” “Is that hard to fix?” I asked. “No, I’ll just do some replastering. Should be easy.” Four weeks later, Dave was still slapping plaster on the wall, letting it dry, sanding and then declaring the walls “still crooked.” Plaster dust is a fine material and has a way of making itself omnipresent. Despite sealing off the room, for four weeks, I’d been coughing plaster dust, spitting plaster dust, tasting plaster dust. I was finished.

“You have two more days,” I threatened. And on midnight of the second day, while Dave was still sanding, I ripped down the plastic barrier, picked up the tools and hauled in the shop-vac. This project was over. “You are just going to have to get used to the fact that nothing is going to be perfect,” I yelled and then flicked on the shop-vac. Whoosh! A huge cloud of plaster dust exploded throughout the house. Later investigation would show that I had the shop-vac set on “blow” instead of “suck” and boy, did it blow.

Coughing, I slapped blindly in the dust, trying to shut the vacuum off. When I finally hit the switch, it was too late, the billowing cloud of mess was disseminating through our house. I sat down on the floor and began to sob. “It’s everywhere! On our furniture. Our new couch. You did this!” “I just wanted our house to look nice,” he said. I sobbed harder. “It doesn’t! It’s worse!”

Through the haze, I saw Dave turn to me and smile through his plaster mask. "Do you know what this is?” He asked waving his hands in the air. “This is the fog of war!” He laughed, doubling over and grasping his sides. It was midnight, we’d been working since 6am and we were going crazy. I started laughing too. My eyes stung with dust, my throat hurt from breathing, but we couldn’t stop laughing.

Cleaning the house took months. And if we’re being honest it, actually, took five years, because the plaster dust wasn’t totally out of the cracks in the dining room floor until this fall, when Dave refinished them.

And when I walk through the dining room, I still think about those crooked walls and part of me wants to punch Dave and part of me wants to kiss him. But that is the daily story of our marriage, some days I wonder how I got into this mess and other days I can’t imagine anything else. But it’s always those moments of eye-burning frustration, when we find the redemption that we need.

In the end, our dining room still has crooked walls, but now, instead of fixing them, we just hang pictures over the dents and tell everyone about that time we tried to make everything perfect.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Wedding Budget Competition (guest post by Well Heeled Blog)

While I'm out of town for a few days gettin' hitched, I've lined up some blog posts from some truly lovely bloggers and friends of mine.  The theme: love, marriage, relationships...or whatever they feel like writing about.  I hope you enjoy, and check out their blogs as well, because they're all awesome.  I'll be back next week as a married lady!

Today's lovely guest post comes from Well Heeled Blog.  We've been blog buddies for a long time, and I'm so pleased that she took time out of her busy blogging (and wedding-planning! she's getting married in June!) schedule to write a guest post for me!  Check out her blog at http://wellheeledblog.com

The Wedding Budget Competition

As a personal finance blogger who is planning her wedding, I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. In the Real World (or certainly the Beautiful Wedding Blog World), there seems to be a competition on how pretty and meaningful and personalized your day is (all judged on the beauty of the photographs, of course). From the joyfulness of your photos, to the uniqueness of your reception, to the loving touches that perfectly captures "who you are as a couple," it's enough to make even the most confident and laid back of brides feel inadequate. Most of these efforts take a fair amount of time or money, or both!
I think most of us, especially personal finance bloggers, can agree that such a competition to Have The Most Perfect And Expensive Wedding Ever is pointless and maybe counter-productive. A wedding is about love and celebration, and a smaller budget doesn't mean there is any less of those two qualities. Your chances of staying married and in love isn't higher in a $2,000 dress than a $200 dress.

In the Personal Finance World, however, there seems to be another competition going on.

It's no surprise, personal finance bloggers can be a goal-driven, competitive bunch. This competition is about who can spend the LEAST on weddings, who can more loudly proclaim that The Wedding Is Just One Day, and that it's ridiculous to spend over $X or $Y. But a wedding is about love and celebration, and a bigger budget doesn't mean there is any less of those two qualities. It certainly doesn't mean, as I've read in some comments on other blogs, that an more expensive/elaborate wedding means the marriage will fail. And if a bride and groom (or bride/bride & groom/groom) want to rock a $2,000 dress or band or venue and it's important to them and fits their budget, they SHOULD!
It's funny, because there is such an emphasis on spending on experiences in among personal finance bloggers, and one could argue that a wedding is the biggest experience of them all. It's the day that two people pledge to love and honor each other, in view of friends and family. It's probably one of the biggest and most important events a couple will host. So why the disdain for an expensive wedding, when we cheer on folks who spend the same amount, or more, on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, or on a down payment for a bigger house? There is so much judgment surrounding weddings, when in fact it really shouldn't matter what people spend as long as its reasonable for their situation. Some people get more joy out of a beautiful wedding than travel or a bigger piece of real estate. I say, more power to them.
If a couple manage their wedding budget according to their priorities and resources, there is no wrong way to have a wedding, regardless of how much or how little they spend. The only three things I'd never do to pay for a wedding would be to (1) take money out of retirement accounts, (2) take on debt, or (3) ask guests to pay. After that? It's all personal. Just have the wedding you want with a budget you can afford. 

Well Heeled Blog | Personal finance blog at the intersection of life, money, and happiness

Read: http://wellheeledblog.com
Follow: http://twitter.com/wellheeledblog

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting Hitched!

I'll be offline for a few a few days, getting married in Tahoe :)

While I'm gone, there will be a couple of guest posts from some very fine ladies.  Enjoy, and I'll see ya on the other side!

Photo by Emily Scott (Gem Photo)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Less Than A Week...

This time next week, we'll be married. That's totally crazy, in that "it makes perfect sense, of course we're getting married, this is a huge deal, I'm not sure what it will feel like, will it even feel different, soon I'm going to call him 'husband' and he will call me 'wife' and it will be for real, forever, like adults or something" sort of way. Every so often, he looks at me, and says "soon we're going to be married," and I get that warm, fuzzy, happy feeling inside.

There is still a bit to be done (finalizing programs and table assignments, dress fitting/pick up, emailing some guests, ordering Top Dogs, picking our ceremony songs, and Reed's knitting one more tie and crocheting buttons for cowls and finishing boutonnieres, and Aly's picking up more jars and printing table assignment signs), but I'm confident in our ability to do it.   It sounds like a lot, considering we're leaving for Tahoe in three days. THREE DAYS. But we can do it. We can.

So what's a bride to do when she has so much happening?  Why, she throws a small Super Bowl party (because we needed to be home, taking care of business, and not out at someone else's house all day), complete with filet mignon and baked goat cheese ('cause we're fancy), and bagel bites and pigs in a blanket ('cause we're not that fancy).  A few friends, some football (and some Puppy Bowl), and some booze, of course. It turned out to be a lovely, un-stressful day, and I'm glad we took a little time to lay low and chill out a bit.

Ah, but in addition to the chilling out, there was also boutonniere-making, hairstyle-testing, house-cleaning, bouquet-fixing, and print-material-typing.  And just now, at 11:30pm, I decided to make myself a "toss bouquet". For those not familiar, a "toss bouquet" is a separate, sometimes smaller, bouquet that a bride throws during the bouquet toss if she doesn't want to throw her bouquet (usually because she wants to save it).  My bouquet, while totally awesome, is a little...not great for throwing, since it's a little heavy and a lot delicate, and I'd like to save it and not let it get ruined by being thrown through the air and probably landing on the floor and being grabbed at by crazy women :)

I was proud of myself, using the techniques I observed (learned? maybe?) from Reed during the bouquet-making. I think it turned out nicely! It's a decent weight for tossing, it should hold up well, and it looks pretty, too. I even used up all of the leftover flowers! Woo! I wonder who the lucky recipient will be...  ;)

Top view

Side view - the lighting is weird, so it's hard
to tell, but the stem is wrapped in silver
ribbon and yellow yarn, a slightly different
version of what my bouquet looks like.

Have you ever had one of those burst-of-inspiration moments, where even though you should maybe just go to bed, you decide to make or do something?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cleaning (or It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better)

I took the day off today, to take care of several things that had to get done in the middle of the day, on a weekday. Major thanks to my boss for letting me have this day I needed so very much. Thanks, bossman. 

Too bad I'm such an overachiever though, because I decided that instead of taking care of my appointments and then giving myself a mental health day to relax and recharge, I decided to take care of a bunch of cleaning/errands/more cleaning. To be fair, I needed to make some headway on this stuff in order to have a clear head. I just didn't think it would be 11pm and I'd be bone-tired. And that there would be so much left unfinished.

I tell myself that it has to get worse before it can get better, but that doesn't stop me from collapsing on the couch, multiple times, throughout the process. It doesn't help that after a practically non-stop, super busy day, there is still much to do.

What I did do:

  • Dermatology appointment
  • Dress fitting
  • Target 
  • Michael's
  • (mostly) Cleared dining room table (granted, a nice chunk of stuff just got put into a bag)
  • Started reorganizing closet (I swear, it looks different).
  • Sort mail
  • Remember to eat
  • Tested seating arrangement display printing for wedding
  • Figured out earrings for wedding
  • Unpacked suitcase from last weekend in LA (ok, so I exploded it on the bed. But it will get put away before I get in bed...oy)
What I didn't do (or what still needs to be done):
  • Finish clearing dining room table 
  • Go through backpacking storage box and put it in the closet
  • Figure out misc. loose storage items in the closet
  • Tackle pile o crap by the piano
  • Take 4 boxes out of the closet and put them in the living room 
  • Empty box in bedroom (stationary, etc.)
  • Clean dresser, hang mirror and jewelry hooks
  • Do sink full (and counter full) of dishes
  • Do laundry (delicates)
  • Clear coffee table, misc. surfaces around house
  • Look through pictures and choose some to display at wedding
  • Read mail 
  • Remember to eat healthy things

Some pictures of the closet, since it ate up the main portion of my "relaxation" time (seriously, I spent about 4-5 total hours working on this crap - and this is all I have to show for it? sigh).

The first thing I did was hang Command hooks
on the wall behind the coats and sweatshirts.
I've wanted to do this since we moved in.
In August.
Blurry, but you can see how there's (mostly) room for bags
and such behind the coats and sweatshirts.
View from the door: BEFORE
Not a lot of room to walk, lots of piles.
View from the door: AFTER
More floor space, but you can see how I
ended up throwing some things in haphazardly
towards the end. Need to find solutions for
some things still, clearly.
I spent a long time sorting our several boxes
off hardware/toolbox stuff into a 3-drawer
plastic cabinet thing (back right) that we
had on hand.
And reorganizing the camping gear.
Side wall: BEFORE
Piles upon piles
Side wall: AFTER
Piles upon piles
Ok, this hasn't changed much.
But I spent a long time on the other stuff,
so this will have to be for another day.

Ok, so it doesn't look like much. There's still a ways to go. But it is better, I swear (trying to convince myself too here). Now I just have to clear off a huge pile of stuff from the bed so I can go to sleep.  Jeez, it's been a busy day. At least it's almost the weekend! More of the same on Saturday!