Category Archives: Engaged Life

On communication

The transition from considering that you may want to spend the rest of your life with someone to deciding you are actually going to do it is an interesting one. Disagreements suddenly bear more weight, but at the same time there is an eagerness to resolve them – and quickly – as each occurrence proves a chance to show you’ve got this whole marriage thing in the bag. Granted my perspective is still as one who is embarking on marriage, and not quite there yet. I’m interested in seeing how it will change in 8 months and 18 days (not that anyone’s counting.)

Yesterday evening we experienced one of those occurrences. It was date night. Brian and I both have a tendency to get a bit hangry, and it was probably ill advised for us to venture out into the world without a plan for where we would be consuming our next meal. We thought we’d wing it. While driving along we saw a new addition to our neighborhood was ‘bumping’. Bakersfield, a new take on gourmet Mexican which overtook the short-lived Longboards, gave off a vibe of trendy popularity. With the warm lighting, windows open to the inviting fall air, and thrum of conversation – we wanted in. After circling the area for several minutes trying to find parking and being met with signs saying quite clearly ‘NO PARKING FOR BAKERSFIELD’ we found our enthusiasm dimming and our hangriness increasing exponentially. We luckily nabbed a street spot – some of our excitement restored – and ventured in. 45 minutes. Nope, no way were our stomachs going to endure. There were several other dining options in close proximity, so we ventured. I didn’t want bar food. Brian wasn’t that into the fancy dining scene.

Hunger and tension were mounting as we couldn’t agree on where to eat. What we didn’t know was that the type of cuisine wasn’t the issue at all. We were both feeling the financial pressures of saving for a wedding while still wanting to get out and live a little. Yes, we wanted date night, but no we didn’t really want to spend $150 on it. We were both feeling the exact same way, but we just weren’t communicating. Brian didn’t want to appear cheap. I didn’t want to bring up the dreaded ‘M’ word as I’d felt I’d been focusing on it way too much lately. I’d been analyzing spending trends, encouraging us to cut back on some of the things we loved and were dearly missing – can anyone say monthly massage? No way I wanted to be the one to suggest we needed to forego eating out. It is perhaps our single favorite activity.

In short we learned two valuable lessons. The first being that refraining from saying what’s on our minds gets us nowhere. I knew Brian well enough to know it wasn’t that he ‘just wasn’t that hungry,’ and he knew me well enough to know I didn’t really want to pitch a fit and leave. We stuck it out, talked it out, and ended up at Pio Pio where we enjoyed a cheap and delicious Peruvian rotisserie chicken dinner. As we’ve found is helpful with most things, we are turning date night into a competition. Now we’ll be trying to beat each other at coming up with fun (and cheap) dates each week. The second lesson was simpler, but just as valuable. We now know to always have a plan for where we are eating before we reach unbearable levels of hangry.

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On planning a wedding: The Dress

While some of you may have been laboring over a cold beer at the pool this weekend, I was laboring myself in and out of wedding gowns. No joke, it is serious work. My back was a little achey at the end of the day from hoisting up dresses which weighed nearly as much as I do. I can’t really complain though, it was every bit as fun as you’d think being a human doll would be. I’ll admit I love when I’m in the spotlight — combine that with lace, sparkly stuff and champagne, and I’m in absolute heaven. Figuratively of course.

Side Note: Thanks to The Bloggess, (if you don’t know who she is, then find out right now) I learned today that ‘they’ have actually changed the dictionary definition of literally because people kept  using it incorrectly. For example, had I used ‘literally’ in place of ‘figuratively’ in the above, I’d literally be wrong. I think it is still generally understood that to be in Heaven you must be dead or just about done dying. However; illiterates rejoice! We’ve once again dumbed down the English language for you and now you may use these words interchangeably. Congrats on contributing to the downfall of our entire culture.

But, I digress. Now back to sparkly stuff.

Unfortunately I can’t actually post any pictures, or really even tell you anything about the dress. A) Because I totally failed at posing and all of them looked terrible of my face and B) because I want it to be a surprise, duh! What I can tell you is I didn’t have to compromise one bit. After trying on a billion dresses and loving something about all of them, I finally found a dress that will have everything I want – no compromises. We are going to have to customize it a bit, but that will make it one-of-a-kind, like me 🙂

What I can tell you is I had the best day with the best people. They appropriately oohed and aahed, and, when I came out in something they found atrocious – fell deathly silent. I took the hint, and one thing I can tell you is I was quickly forced to nix the short dress idea. That’s just a tiny spoiler.

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On planning a wedding – Foodie bliss

After a two month hiatus from any sort of wedding planning, this weekend Brian and I jumped back into the game tackling flowers, decorations, entertainment, menu and wedding cake all in one Sunday outing. We are by no means done, but we’ve made pretty considerable progress and the fuzzy mental imaginings of my wedding day are starting to gain clarity. Let me start by absolutely raving over the staff at our venue. For anyone looking for a stress-free, warm, welcoming wedding planning experience, please look up Hidden River Events in Asheville, North Carolina. We absolutely love these people and their big, beautiful, friendly hearts. 

The highlight of our trip was of course the food. I can’t think of one single life activity Brian and I enjoy more than eating. Sometimes this shared love gets us in trouble (oh for the love of ice cream!) but more often than not we find limitless joy in trying a new restaurant or dish. Add in our appreciation for wine and craft beer, and well, let’s just say we wouldn’t be content with a pasta buffet line at our wedding. 

We were able to meet with two caterers on Sunday. For our first tasting we were treated to crab cakes, tomato and basil crostini and a Parmesan artichoke spread. For our second we devoured mini bacon and cheddar beef sliders on a delish pretzel roll, black bean and sweet potato sliders with avocado, mini BLTs, and crunchy tea-brined chicken.

After a first tasting, a BBQ lunch because we were still hungry, a pit stop for ice cream, and a second and markedly more robust tasting, we moved on to cake. I must say I was a bit disappointed I’d gotten so full up to this point, as this is what I’d most been looking forward to from the moment I said ‘Yes.’ I LOVE sweets. I have a second stomach dedicated to dessert. I don’t care if I can’t take one more bite of my delectable filet or my succulent salmon – I’m housing a whole chocolate brownie sundae or slice of key lime pie. When Anne set before us a tray full of cupcakes for tasting, I almost cried with joy. We sampled lemon, strawberry, almond, carrot, chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, red velvet, salted caramel, cream cheese with marshmallow fluff — it was ten kinds of heaven. I know everyone says their cake is going to be amazing, but then it ends up tasting like cardboard dust wrapped in a beautiful icing with has the texture of frozen Crisco and about the same flavor. In our case;however, our cake is going to be AWESOME. Really and truly.

And, because you know my tendency to completely change direction, we almost totally revamped our menu selections in preparation for our next tasting. So don’t worry, no spoilers here. Nothing about our wedding is traditional, and you can be sure the food most certainly won’t be either. 

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Belated Birthday Post

A little over a month ago it was my birthday. This is an extremely belated birthday post, but this story has been waiting patiently in the back of my mind while I sorted my life out enough to get back to writing. The past few months have been a trying period where – in my typical fashion – I quickly uprooted any sense of routine I had established in favor of my preferred state of utter chaos. I am simply unable to merely make one big life change and then be content for a bit. Nope, I need to layer changing careers with the addition of a side business which I’m working to grow into a substantial second income, to that add getting engaged and merging households into one tiny space while already formulating a plan to move again (I’ve been in my condo for less than one year), and to finish it off, I’ve decided I’m going to add yoga instructor to my skill set and I’ve already booked a course for this fall which will consume every weekend for a month. I will have no life from September to October. I’m learning this is how I thrive. There must be change, there must be excitement, there must be an absolutely terrifying sense that it will all fall apart. It is what keeps me awake and engaged – present and in the moment. But I digress. You wanted to hear about a birthday. 

For this past birthday Brian finally managed to surprise me, and I had my first ever surprise party. I’d always wanted a surprise party. Those people who say “I hate surprises,” well, I am NOT one of them. I love surprises. I’m infuriatingly difficult to surprise, but I love them.  Each time Brian has tried for a thoughtful surprise, the universe thwarts him. There was that time I went with a friend to get a massage and he secretly came into the spa and bought a gift card which he asked them to apply towards my service. They forgot. I called him on my way home and he kept waiting for a huge and well-deserved thank you. When it didn’t come, he finally asked, with more than a little irritation in his voice, if there had been anything waiting for me at check out. Surprise ruined. Then there was that time (at another spa mind you) he booked my surprise birthday massage and explicitly asked they not send me a confirmation email or text, but they did. Surprise ruined. Then there was that time he was going to propose, and his well-meaning buddy was on speaker phone in the car and made a comment which by itself wouldn’t have made me suspicious, but Brian’s reaction totally gave it away. The surprise wasn’t totally ruined, as he managed to play it so cool leading up to the proposal that I had talked myself out of being sure it was happening, but, you see the trend. 

This time, with a little help from my best friend Heather who kept me occupied with pedicures and wine (pause for an observation – apparently I spend a lot of time and money on massages and pedicures and it has just occurred to be I may be a bit high maintenance), he pulled it off. He gathered my favorite people for a little poolside grilling and by happenstance also made my favorite birthday meal of perfectly seasoned London broil. To top off the perfect day, we destroyed a cookie cake. Unfortunately the cake was consumed before I thought to snap a picture, but luckily my Uncle Chris made this beautiful cake for me later in the week when I visited my Charleston family for a second celebration. What can I say, I’m one lucky and loved girl. Happy belated birthday to me.


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A joining of households

So there was that time I got engaged. Now, we are starting the process of officially joining households. This naturally begins with Brian selling all his stuff. Okay, that sounded pretty terrible. Y’all probably just texted Brian to ‘run for the hills’ and ‘get out while he can’ but in all practicality, my stuff is just more aesthetically pleasing. I’ve got better taste, ok? Alright, that’s unfair too. Brian has nice taste, but mine is a bit more eclectic and I’ve already gathered a motely array of furnishings that 100% fill my one-bedroom condo, so there just isn’t room for his. That, and Brian is amazing and knows how to pick his battles. We are going to totally ace marriage.

Oh – you want me to go back to the one-bedroom condo bit? Yeah… about that. Brian has this great three-bedroom house, but we are in love with the Dilworth/Southend area. That means we are going to jam into my little condo for the next year. It will be close quarters for sure, but we’ve agreed it’s worth it. For one, it will be a wonderful pre-marital test. If we can survive on zero closet space for a whole year, I’m thinking we can easily clear a lifetime together. (Did I mention the two cats and two dogs? Did I mention we all sleep in the same queen bed?) And secondly, our neighborhood provides ample opportunity to venture outside, and that’s why we love it. From our runs around the ‘hood, to the neighborhood breweries, to our yoga studio, and nearby restaurants, we just can’t let go. So tiny home it is!

What does all this mean? It means garage sale! I love garage sales. I love the haggling. I love that odd combination of sadness and relief. Sad to let it go, but relieved to shed all the stuff you’ve accumulated. And above all else, I love the people watching. You meet all sorts at garage sales, and I’ve got a feeling I’m going to have no lack of material for my next posting…


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