Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009: Lesson, Gift, Aha!, and Social Web Moment

Best Learning Experience

A combination of things taught me this lesson: do what makes you happy, even if it means taking some risks (actual or perceived risks).

I've always been a people pleaser. I like harmony in my relationships and have always tried to make everyone around me happy. This is exhausting and sometimes (often) meant forgetting about my own needs or wants to make sure everyone else was taken care of. When it's little things that can make someone else's day, then it's just a good feeling. But when it meant forgetting my own goals, I realized it wasn't a good feeling.

Wedding planning really helped me figure out the difference between the important things and the things that could just make others happy too. My mom (love you Mom) was absolutely convinced that I NEEDED an aisle runner for the church. I didn't care or want one because they usually just get caught underneath the dress and pulled along down the aisle. But when the limo company offered to roll one out, we opted to do it and make my mom happy. A little thing that made someone's day.

But, the big discussion that we really struggled with was whether or not to get married in a church, and if we did, what denomination. Without going into details, we ended up in a church, in a denomination that Dane and I identify with, but not necessarily my family. This was important to us and we found what felt like our niche. Countless times I heard (especially from older more traditional relatives) why we shouldn't get married there. My first reaction was to make different plans and go to the church that they wanted. With Dane's help on this one, I held my ground and we ended up with exactly what we wanted. No compromise on that one and it made us happy. Everyone else had to keep their opinions to themselves. And the best part was that it worked out beautifully.

This summer (and I know I've only mentioned this a million times), when Sam and I opened our Etsy shop was another learning experience for me. When I found Etsy I was in awe of all the gorgeous creations that others were selling. I didn't think I could ever find my place among them. What if it wasn't good enough? What if we never got a sale? But we took a chance, and we're loving every second of it. Who would have thought I could sew for the first time in April and have a shop by July?

The point is, risks can be personal relationships, finances, self confidence, or beliefs. But that doesn't mean you should let them keep you from doing something that will make you happy.

Best Gift

Easy one. My sewing machine was a gift to myself and it's become something that I can no longer be without. I don't know how I went so long without it! I love being able to look through fabrics and find ones that suit different people perfectly, then be able to take them home and create beautiful items. Sewing has also given me a different perspectives on buying things, which has been good and bad. When I see a bag I like, instead of looking at the price tag, I now look at how it was constructed to try and figure out how I can do it myself. It's a good feeling to know what you can be capable of if you just try.

Aha! Moment

Though I'm not sure when this actually happened, it may have been one moment in time or a culmination of different things, my aha! moment came when I realized I have options in my career. And that just maybe, I would want to make some changes.

I guess between the wedding and working with the SnowBall, my interest in event planning really blossomed. At my current job I've planned all kinds of events and it's always the most rewarding feeling to see everything come together. These two big events this year let me focus just on the event planning process and made me think about making some changes.

Right now, I'm happy with what I'm doing, but I've realized there are options. And I can always make some changes.

Social Web Moment

This year I discovered Twitter. I never understood what the big deal was. I couldn't figure out what the draw was in following people's thoughts in 140 characters or less.

Now? Can't live without checking it at least a few times a day. I get my news and updates from Twitter, find out what friends are up to, get notified of new blog posts, and can waste hours of time. Twitter is what informed me of the death of Michael Jackson, the passing of Thornton's, and allowed me to be in contact with my KS when she moved. Thanks Twitter.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best of 2009: Person, Project, Startup, Web Tool

New Person of 2009

The best new people for me this year are my relatives in Ireland. On our honeymoon we finally had the chance to meet these people I'm related to and it was wonderful. They welcomed up with open arms. Going to another country and staying with people you've never met before may sound a little scary, but I knew from the first time I talked with my cousin that it was going to be great. We got to see what life is like for them in their little village and they showed us what it means to be family (no matter how distant or far apart).

Next up, seeking out my relatives in Italy.

Best Project of 2009

By far the project I'm most proud of is We Are Kindred Spirits. I know I talk about it all the time, but going from never having used a sewing machine to opening a shop on Etsy in a matter of a few months was really incredible for both me and Sam. I love every piece I make and find meaning in creating custom items for people. I hope our little project continues to grow so I can keep enjoying it!

Best Startup of 2009

This is just getting started, but I have to say my favorite startup goes to the photographer we used for the wedding, Jessi. She is incredible and had never done a wedding before, but is talented and was eager to try. After Dane and I met her back in July, we knew she had the perfect personality to work with us and had an amazing eye for finding moments that might pass other people by. We ended up with the most beautiful memories of our wedding day, and I truly hope that working with us will open doors for her.

Best Web Tool

The best tool is my iCal on my iPhone which can sync with my Google Calendar. I can't remember things to save my life, so having my schedule in the palm of my hand at any given time is great. Anything worth remembering goes straight into my iPhone, along with all the details, and if needed, a reminder (which is needed more often that not). With everything that I juggle in my life this simple way of keeping it all together is a life saver. Thank you Apple and Google. I love you both more than you know.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Best of 2009: Tea, Word, Shop, Car Ride

Tea of the Year

I'm a huge fan of tea. My mom has always been a tea drinker. As long as I can remember my grandparents have usually preferred tea over coffee. My grandma always yells at my mom for leaving her tea bag in for too long.

My favorite tea of this year is Rooibos from Ula Cafe in JP. I've enjoyed many conversations with friends over a cup of this tea and it's always delicious. The tea is actually very pretty dark reddish color and slightly sweet on it's own. Between the color, flavor, and aroma, rooibos is absolutely my favorite.

Word of the Year

At the beginning of the year I chose my "One Little Word" for 2009. Breathe. I don't know that I've paid enough attention to it this year, at least not consciously. My year was filled with so many changes and exciting things that I wanted a word to remind me to take a step back and appreciate it all, to let things happen, and to not sweat the small stuff.

Now looking back on the year, although I wasn't constantly thinking of my word, my word has great meaning to me. I've never been great with change and this year came with tons of change. I feel like I've been able to handle the unexpected with more grace than I can usually muster, and learned to roll with the punches. Having Dane in my life has helped me immeasurably. He has a calming effect on me and makes embracing my word much easier.

Shop of the Year

This goes to The Vintage Pearl. I discovered this amazing crafter through several other blogs and fell in love with her customized jewelry. My first purchase from her shop was for my Mom. It was the circle pendant with the names of my sisters, me, and my parents. I gave it to her for Mother's Day and she absolutely loved it.

Knowing how much I loved it, Dane bought me a pendant with our names on it later in the year. And a few months later, I entered and won a giveaway on her blog which got me another necklace! I love seeing the new things this talented woman comes up with and I'm sure I'll continue to spend money there next year.

Best Car Ride

There's actually a few that I can think of. First one that popped into my head was the car ride back to my parents' house after our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. My newest favorite song came on and my sisters and I blasted it and sang the whole way home. It was just one of those fun moments together that we could be silly and let loose before the craziness.

Next comes the trip to Penn State in October. It was a really long drive, but for me it was filled with so much anticipation. Besides going to a Penn State game, which would be my first college football game, I was going to get a chance to experience what Dane so often talks about. Penn State will always be a huge part of his life. All his closest friends are those he met in college. I wanted to see what it was all about. The drive down was really beautiful and filled with fall foliage to look at. At the end of the drive was an amazing trip.

Last, I have to add the recent drive to Vermont to visit my best friend. Dane and I went on a very impromptu trip to see them where they grew up despite the blizzard that was threatening and last minute planning. Driving through the snow covered mountains up to the northern kingdom of Vermont was gorgeous. It was almost hard to pay attention to the road when there was this amazing landscape in front of you the whole time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best of 2009: New Food, Change to where I live, Rush and Packaging

Best New Food

Pomegranates. I was always intrigued by this fruit, but not quite sure how to eat it. At the beginning of the year one of my roommates brought one home and I was hooked. Now having a pomegranate is huge treat for me. I don't eat them often and when I do it's heaven. Plus, it's kind of fun to eat and beautiful at the same time. The color of a pomegranate makes it feel decadent to me. I've also developed a love for anything with pomegranate in it (include pomegranate margaritas).

Best Change to the Place I Live

The biggest and best change to the place where I live came from moving out of an apartment with two roommates and into an apartment with my fiance. I absolutely loved my old apartments. My roommates were awesome, we were always entertaining people, and the neighborhood was constantly full of surprises. After being there for almost 2 years, plans began to change for all three of us and somehow at the same time we were all ready to move out and onto something new. This definitely came with some sadness when we said goodbye but also excitement for our new plans.

Dane and I moved into an apartment only about a 5 minute walk from my old place. It took us almost 2 months of apartment hunting to find the perfect place. We love it there and have done our best to make it our own. The apartment is still a work in progress even though we've been there since April. There's always new pictures to hang and rearranging to be done. (I definitely get this from my mom. She's a constant re-arranger. When I come home I often find couches in different places, new curtains hung, or a painting that wasn't there before.) It's our first place together, and it was the best change of the year for me.

Best Rush

This is probably not a typical answer. First I thought of when I got my tattoo, but that was in 2008. Then I thought of when I walked up 100 stairs to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland (only a rush because I thought I was going to have a panic attack). Then I thought of my wedding, which was a rush, but in a different way.

My best rush of this year came from talking with my Kindred Spirit, Sam, in the conversation where we decided to open our Etsy Shop. We've both always been crafty. We learned to sew together (still a work in progress, there's always something new to learn!). We finish each other's thoughts. I told her I was thinking about it and asked if she'd want to do it. She was ecstatic and our conversation was something like this:

Me: So I was thinking about opening an Etsy shop. And I think we should open one together.




We got a little rowdy. Pretty sure no one around us knew what on earth we were talking about because we went into crazy girl mode. Seeing it come together and getting our first few sales have been a huge rush for both of us. I can't wait to see it continue to grow!

Best Packaging

Again, this one goes out to Sam. For our engagement party, Sam and Jason bought us a bunch of fun things made even better by how it was wrapped. They found a bag with Darth Vader that talked when you pushed a button and it was incredible. Being the huge geeks that we are, they could probably have given us just the bag and we would have been very happy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best of 2009: Challenge, Album, and Place

I really love this best of challenge. I'm slacking a little bit, but here's the latest installment.

Best Challenge

I honestly can't pinpoint a specific challenge that I faced this year, but thinking back I feel like I've made a concerted effort to be much more conscious of my need to please everyone. The need to please is so natural to me that it's incredibly hard to control, but always ends up making me crazy in the end.

You hear all the time that "you just can't please everyone." For some reason, that's never stopped me from trying. What can I say? I like harmony in all my endeavors. However, I really felt this taking a toll on me. Why did I have to end up in tears because I felt like I wasn't making other people happy? And I'm not talking big things here like being there for family and friends or staying at work late to help out. I'm talking "Ohmygosh I'm out of candy for my desk. Need to get more for anyone who comes in to make sure they have access to sugar." Why do these things matter? I like to think it's because I'm a good person, but honestly it's exhausting to feel a need to cater to everyone else's whims.

Planning a huge event (wedding!) this past year helped me be able to say 'no'. When others told me I simply "had to have" a certain color or a blusher veil or my hair done a certain way I figured out how to assert myself and my own wants. This included me saying no to members of my family (ahem, mom and sisters, cough cough) which is incredibly hard to do for those people that I love. I won't say I'm cured of my insatiable need to please, but I can say I really feel like I can more easily figure out what is a priority and what is reasonable to worry about.

Album of the Year

Coldplay immediately pops into my head for this one. I realize Viva La Vida came out in 2008, and I got it immediately, but I still feel like it was my album of the year. That album took me through most of the year and no matter how many times I listen to it, I still love every song.

Best Place

The Sam Adams Brewery. I can't count how many times we've brought friends and family here when they come to visit. No matter how many times I go, it doesn't get boring. I could give the tour myself at this point but who can turn down a free tour with three free samples of Sam Adams at the end? This is by far the most requested place to go when we have guests. We've become a fan of the monthly open houses as well. We've been to a few and all feature free beer and a different theme. Being so close to where we live, Dane and I take full advantage of it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Best of 2009: Night Out, Workshop, Blog, Zen Moment

To continue the Best of 2009 posts. I was thinking maybe I'd keep up with one a day, but that's not going to happen, so they're going in bunches!

Best Night Out

The night that pops into my mind immediately is my birthday outing, complete with snails. I went out with Dane, my dearest Sam and Jason, and several other friends joined us along the way. The most memorable part of this evening? The snails we found on the way to the subway station. Why were there snails crawling around the city? This question got all the more fascinating after a few rounds with a few good friends.

Best Workshop of Conference

I'm going to go ahead and amend this one because I only attended one conference this past year, and I was presenting at it. Instead, my favorite professional development opportunity came in the form of becoming a member of the planning committee for a regional conference that will take place in March. This is my first time on a planning committee and I'm so thrilled that I've been able to start work on something like this!

Best Blog Find of the Year

2009 was a year of amazing blog finds. This year I got to meet some amazing blogettes, attend some fabulous gatherings, and enjoy new connections. My best blog find of the year has to go to We Are Not Martha. I started reading this blog early in the year, and in July got to meet the ladies behind all the recipes and fun. It was my moment to be a groupie, and I lived it up. After meeting them, they were kind enough to work with me and my Kindred Spirit to put together a giveaway for our Etsy shop. It was an amazing opportunity and they continue to be one of my go to blogs for yummy food and new ideas.

Moment of Peace

Get ready for me to be totally mushy. If you can't handle total lovey doveyness, then stop reading.

My moment of peace happened on my wedding day. The weeks and months leading up to it were filled with errands, get togethers, to-do lists, and decisions. I was sure I was going to be nervous the day of the wedding. After all, there was so much lead up to this day isn't that what's supposed to happen?

After getting my hair done, getting dressed with my maids of honor, taking pictures at the house, and eating lunch I still wasn't nervous. But then, the limo pulled up. And there were those nerves. Not bad, but the butterflies were definitely fluttering in my stomach. It was a short ride from the house where I grew up to the church. I sat in the limo as everyone else got out and got ready to walk inside. I had to be the last one in and hidden so no one could see me before the doors opened for the big entrance. I watched my new sister in law walk down the aisle with her son, our ring bearer, my sisters and maids of honor make their way to the front of the church, and then it was my turn. I took my dad's arm and when those doors opened and I saw my Dane those nerves were gone. Everyone was there to see us, and my wonderful husband was tearing up and all I could feel was happy.

Cheesy right? But true.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best of 09: First Four Days

I love ideas like this. Take the time to reflect on a year. For me, a really great year. First read about this Best of project here, and then found where it originated here. I'll combine some of these topics, but anything that gives me a chance to look back on some memories (i.e. my Project 365) I will sign up for!

So without further ado..

Best Trip of 2009

This one is too easy for me. Hands down the best trip this year was our honeymoon in Ireland. We left the day after our wedding and stayed for a week. We experienced Dublin, more Guinness than a person should consume, and met family who were so welcoming and kind.

The country is beautiful, everyone we met was friendly and talkative, and the food was fantastic. Don't let anyone tell you the Irish don't know how to eat. Beef stew, fish and chips, potatoes, bacon. Really, what else do you need?

Besides the wonderful country, it was a chance to spend plenty of quality time with my new husband. I loved getting to experience a new place with him. Having each other to enjoy this trip with made it perfect.

Best Restaurant Moment of 2009

The first thing that comes to mind for me is my Bachelorette dinner at The Melting Pot. I didn't want to do anything special for a Bachelorette party, it just wasn't that important to me. But my sisters, being the wonderful Maids of Honor that they were, made me pick something to do and I came up with a day at the spa for facials and dinner at The Melting Pot for fondue.

We ended up going out a few nights before the wedding with myself, my two sisters, and my mom. I was the only one who had been to the Melting Pot before and the concept of sharing and dipping food in cheese seemed to be beyond comprehension for my sisters. That was until the cheese came out. Then they were in heaven. Not to mention that it was Tini-Tuesday and all martinis were $5. I had the Blood Orange martini, and my sister the Yin-Yang martini.

I felt like this was one of the first times I sat and relaxed at a girls night out with just my mom and sisters. It was hysterical watching each other rescue lost pieces of food that fell into the cheese and trying each others cocktails. I can't think of a better way to have spent the time. And of course the food was fabulous, but for me it was all about the company.

Best Article of 2009

I don't know if I have one particular article in mind, but instead more of a news story. For me, the best stories came around the inauguration of Barack Obama. From watching his speech to seeing what Michelle would wear to the ball, the inauguration of our 44th president was historic and beautiful. Throughout all the coverage I can just remember thinking how amazing it was. It was the start to a new chapter of our history.

Best Book of 2009

This year actually marked a return to reading for pleasure for me. After graduate school, it took a while to get back into the habit of reading for myself. Those hours and hours spent pouring over textbooks and taking notes took their toll on me, and I wasn't very excited to spend my free time reading when I could be doing other things.

A huge perk in my current position is having the summer off, and I used that time to catch up on my reading. It was something I realized I had truly missed. In about two months I read The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Lovely Bones, My Sister's Keeper, Road to Perdition (a graphic novel, first one I've ever read) and re-read Angels and Demons.

I also listened to two books on tape, the first time I've done this. Both were Harry Potter books and my favorite book of 2009 would have to go to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, I read this book back when it originally came out, but I loved listening to it again. Dane and I would listen to it in pieces on our long drives from NY to PA to MA when we went to visit our families. It was the perfect thing to get absorbed in while on the road. It was fun for me too because Dane had never read any of the books, only seen the movies, and his reactions to the story line were so great. We are huge nerds, and this is right up our alley. Every one needs a little magic now and then.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

DIY's of the Big Day: Part 2

Promise there will be more wedding updates and pictures to come!

I'm just so happy with the way things came together and had the best time with all the little details for the wedding, I have to share some more of the DIY projects we did for our finishing touches.

I made my own hair combs from silk flowers and crystals. I took apart the white silk flowers, sewed some layers together, sewed a crystal in the middle, put it on some felt and attached it to a metal comb. My sisters saw these and decided they wanted them too. They were actually pretty easy to make, so I got what I needed and whipped up 4 combs for them in an evening while watching TV. They wanted orange flowers and crystals in the middle like mine. This was before I attached the flowers to the combs.

I also made the ring bearer pillow. I found this fabric that I love (which I also used to make my sisters' wedding day emergency kits) and bought a ton of it. Still have some left over actually. I made the buttons with one of those little kits you can get at Joann's for about $3. I just attached the ribbon around the button so we could tie the rings on. There was no way those were going to stay on there with Dane's 1 year old nephew holding it!

Then I had to make Abby's flower girl basket fancier. I bought the basket for $3 at a craft store, then decorated it with ribbon and some rhinestones. My little goddaughter had to have some sparkle when she walked down the aisle! She caught on pretty quick that she had to take the petals out and put them on the floor. In fact, she walked all over the house putting the fake flower petals in a trail.

We bought our unity candles at IKEA. Best prices for a pillar candle and two tapered candles that we found. But they were plain, so I jazzed it up. I used orange satin ribbon and the same rhinestones just to make it a little different.

And last, but not least, our cupcake tiers. We bought cardboard tiers online and they were perfect but they were plain white and made of corrugated cardboard. So I bought some pretty orange printed scrapbook paper and blue ribbon. I cut and attached the paper on the tiers and glued the blue ribbon around each tier to hide the cardboard. More pictures of the finished tiers to come!

All these little details may be something only we really noticed, but it was these little things that helped pull our day together. Each thing was fun to do and we worked on it together.

If anyone needs any help with wedding accessories let me know!

Monday, November 23, 2009

and she is married

hello friends, family, and blog lovies, it's becs covering for the lovely MRS. ZDUNOWSKI who got married this past weekend! I'll have a bunch of wedding-related updates coming while Dane and Kristen enjoy some Guiness and some leprechauns in Ireland. But for now, enjoy this beautiful photo (stolen from Scott and his iPhone) of the ceremony. Congratulations to the beautiful couple, it was an incredible and beautiful day. xoxo

Friday, November 13, 2009

The DIY's of the Big Day

I'm crafty. I love doing things myself. Why pay someone else to do things for you when you can have all the fun to yourself? For our wedding this has meant that we've taken on additional things all in the name of craftyness and fun. This past week things have really started to come together and we're in the process of all our final preparations. I'm in love with what has been created for our big day and wanted to share it with you all.

Our good friend designed all the paper items for the wedding. That included the invitations to the engagement party, save the date magnets, wedding invitations, table tents, kissing menus, ceremony programs, and reception seating assignment poster. He is amazing and is able to tolerate me. I just printed these off on Wednesday and LOVE the way they turned out! Our tables are named after streets in Boston, where we met and currently live. I bought the table tents at the Paper Source, wrote the description for each street, Scott designed them, and I printed them on my home printer.

Then, of course, are our Kissing Menus. I've loved this idea since the second I saw it on another blog. I'm really excited to finally have them done! I still want to mount them on another layer of dark blue cardstock. We'll see if I get to it.

The last thing I'll share in this post is the gifts I made for my sisters. They never read my blog, so I'm not worried about ruining the surprise. We talk too much and already know what's going on in each other's lives. I wanted something personal and since I love to sew, I knew that their gifts would definitely be unique. Part of the gift is a personalized makeup bag with their initial on the front and a heart on the back. Inside I included a wedding day emergency kit: Tide-to-go, Shout wipes, bobby pins, hairspray, Q-tips, bandaids, deodorant, Purell, and tissues. There are a few more goodies in there, including their real gifts from me. The emergency kit is really just a bonus. Oh, and I used the same material that is I used to make our ring bearer pillow!

Projects still on the to-do list: Programs for the ceremony, Seating assignment poster, centerpieces, Candy bar for favors.

I really love the personal touches this gives our wedding day. It's going to be so amazing when it all comes together!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


The wedding is coming up quickly! I could not be more excited. Almost all of our larger things are taken care of (caterer, florist, cake, dresses, tuxes, favors, photographer, DJ) so now it's down to little details. I'm making my sisters' gifts, finalizing programs, and getting favors together. Mom is in NY working on the centerpieces because she's awesome. We just finished the seating arrangements and will probably spend the day running errands.

I actually feel like we have this totally under control. The whole process has been really smooth and not stressful at all. I can't even count how many times I've been asked about the wedding. "Oh wow, it's coming up! You must be stressing out!" or "Have you started to freak out yet?". Not sure what experiences these people had with wedding planning, but this has not been difficult for us. Dane has been wonderful, so I'm not doing it alone. It probably helps that event planning is part of my everyday job, so I had a good feel for how to go about things.

If nothing else I've realized the wedding industry is crazy! There's so much pressure on brides to make everything "perfect". This is "your big day" and you'll never be able to do it again. I hate being told that this is my day and that the groom doesn't matter. Without my groom, there would be no wedding! I certainly think that counts for something. We've taken this on together from the beginning, which has made it fun to decide how to make this wedding our own.

Now that being said, I have had some weird dreams lately about the wedding, and last night Dane even had one. In every dream, something goes wildly wrong. Is this just stress manifesting itself in an unconscious way? Or is this my overactive imagination? Not sure, but here's some of the dreams so far...

I'm running errands the day of the wedding. It's early in the day. Suddenly it's 3:30 PM and the wedding is supposed to start at 4PM. I am not changed, my hair is not done, and am scrambling to make it all work. I end up late to the wedding. Dane is freaking out because he thought I wasn't going to come. Then I wake up.

I'm with my sisters and my mom. We've missed our hair appointments. It's 3PM when we get there and they are closing. Luckily my stylist is nice enough to stay and do my hair, but it's rushed and not at all what it's supposed to be. Then I wake up.

We are at the reception site the day before the wedding. We've brought over our favors and centerpieces, and are setting things up. The site was not our actual reception site, but in my dream it was. People start arriving. I'm confused because it's the day before the wedding and no one is supposed to come until the following afternoon. In the room where we are setting up there are now about 50 of our family members trying to help, but getting in the way, knocking things over and being loud. I run out of the room looking for Charlie (our catering manager) and beg him to make everyone leave. Thankfully he does, and start setting up again. Then I wake up.

Dane's dream: He's getting ready for the wedding with his two best men. After getting dressed and ready in their tuxes, the two best men start playing with eggs. They are throwing them around and catching them. Dane asks them to stop because he doesn't want to get egg on his tux. Then one of his friends throws an egg to him unexpectedly and he gets egg all over his tux. (During this one, he was actually talking in his sleep, and he said loudly "Oh my god!", which woke me up).

If this is the worst that will happen leading up to the wedding, then it's just fine with me. Things will get busy as we get closer, and especially over the next few weeks with everything going on for me at work and personally. I know there will be stress. It seems like an inescapable fact. But, I have an amazing future hubby to keep me calm and a wonderful supportive family and family-to-be to keep me centered.

Has anything like this happened to anyone else?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Creating our Kissing Menus!

I was looking at my stats the other day, and "kissing menu" is always the number one search term that brings people to my blog. This is all because of one post I did last year, right after we got engaged when I discovered what a kissing menu is and decided I absolutely had to have it at our wedding.

What I have now found over and over and over is the same examples of a kissing menu. Which are adorable and where I got my idea from in the first place, I thought it'd be nice to include what we are doing. Though very similar, we definitely put our own spin on it and I'm so happy with what we came up with. This consisted of a night where we actually looked up words that rhyme with "Dane" in order to make the first line work. I considered doing away with the first rhyming part, but I know some of my older relatives will have no idea what the kissing menu is all about unless I put directions. It's totally cheesy and I LOVE it.

For those of you who will be attending our wedding, consider yourself forewarned. You have about 26 days to think about what you'll do at the wedding!

To request a kiss from Kristen and Dane, you would usually clink your glass of champagne.
But here on our wedding day, we have thought of another way. We know that each one will help us all have more fun

The Kiss for a Kiss – Show us your best kiss and we’ll show you ours!

The “Frankly My Dear…” – Recite a movie quote about love to us

The Fred and Ginger – Show us your best dance moves

The Force – Try to stump us with a Star Wars trivia question!

Get thinking about what you'll do. It's coming up really quickly now and I can't wait!

Monday, October 26, 2009

John's Creative Juices of a Proposal

Please allow me to introduce John, my blog swap buddy! He'll be guest posting here today, check him out at his blog (where you can read my guest post too.) Let's give him a warm welcome!

The month of June for this year is over and February is still three months away. But the wedding bells ringing are not yet over. You see our friend here Kristen is tying the knot with Dane next month. At this time, I think everything is almost done for the big day. I really don’t have any idea of what’s the motif of their wedding yet or what’s the menu during the reception dinner but I’m having this hunch that it is usually the girl who has the upper hand for this occasion. Well, I don’t think Dane has any problems with Kristen minding the every detail of the ceremony. Besides, prior to this wedding preparation, Dane has had a fair share of planning for something that has lead to this event in their life. I mean the wedding would not push through if Dane didn’t propose to her. I haven’t checked yet the whole blog of how Dane proposed to Kristen but I am thinking that he is romantic enough to pop up the question creatively. I’ll check later of how he did it. As I was saying, the wedding proposal is usually the part where us guys try to be romantic as possible. It is when we try to squeeze our brain for our creative juices to come out. And I’m about to say something about it.

By the way, you might be thinking who the hell is blogging here in Kristen’s blog talking about proposals. I am John of Life Inc.and I am Kristen’s blog swap buddy for the “6th Blog Swap” going on at the 20-something bloggers community. I don’t usually write something about marriage, wedding or engagement proposals but I think that they are the most relevant topics I could work on as a contribution here.

So how about me and my thoughts about all these?

At 23, I still think I’m too young to get married and start a family. I’m still on my way to realizing my dream of becoming one of the richest bachelors here in my country. And so far, I’m still enjoying my freedom. But despite my carefree attitude, I do have a pocketful of cheesiness and romanticism here at my disposal that I’m keeping ‘til that day arrives when I finally realized that I’m ready to start the rest of my life with someone. And since I’m taking over this beautiful blog of Kristen for a day, I might as well share to you the ingenuity and sweetness I’m talking about.

Below you will read the three super romantic wedding/engagement proposals I’ve been keeping up my sleeves. I have never told anyone about it yet and you’re lucky enough to read them here first. So here it goes…

My first idea of a proposal is called “At the top of The Eye”. The idea came from the movie “If only”, the one that stars Jennifer Love Hewitt. By the way, this is the most expensive idea I listed here. The plot: I would take her for a ride at probably the most famous Ferris wheel in the world, in London’s The Eye, not knowing that our friends and families are nearby. I would also bring four mobile phones with me. As the ride starts to climb up to the top, I would play a romantic song with my phone while reading to her a poem. The rest of the mobile phones would be set into speakerphone with our friends and families in the other line listening to everything I am saying. As we reached the top of The Eye, our friends and families would start cheering for me (as scripted) to propose. Overlooking the majestic view of Thames River and the famous landmarks of London, I will ask her to stand while I kneel in front of her and ask her to marry me. Isn’t that romantic? It gets cheesier as I continue with the next one.

The second idea is called “Zorro on stage”. The setting: it has to be in a cozy restaurant with some live performance of soft ballads or jazz in the front or at the center. At the middle of our dinner, I would excuse myself to go to the toilet and don myself with a complete Zorro outfit- mask, sword and cape. I would then proceed to the stage while the light in the whole area is set into dim with the spotlight only on me. Though I don’t have the talent for singing, I would try my best to deliver the song “I want to spend my lifetime loving you” by Marc Anthony and Tina Arena which is by the way the soundtrack of the Zorro movie (the one with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones). I still consider lip synching or having a playback just in case I screw up. After the first chorus, I will go to her and bring her to the stage. I would kneel in front of her, show her the ring and ask her, “Will you spend the rest of our lifetime with me?” After she responded with complete agreement (I’ll make sure she agrees with me), the real singers can go on with the next stanzas of the song while we are dancing in the stage. If you think that’s already romantic for you, wait ‘til you read the last one.

The ultimate proposal idea I have, which is probably the most stupid and yet the most romantic stunt ever is called “A Knight in the park”. Obviously, it has to take place in a city park where they will allow a horse walking around and a sound system to be played or any public place that will accommodate a horse. The plot: in the middle of the day like during lunch hour, I would set a date to meet me at the park or connive with an officemate of her to convince her to go out to the park. Donned in my knight costume, I will ride a horse towards her. While I’m doing this, the sound system should play something from the medieval times like horns or trumpets and drums. Then a pre-recorded voice of mine will play saying something like “My dear princess, I want you to know that chivalry is not yet dead and that King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is still relevant.” Then proceed with a short poem still playing out loud and end it with the question, “Will you give me the honor my dear princess, to be my wife?”

Cheesy as it sounds but I am seriously considering the above stunts to propose to my future wife. I really intend to make a public proposal to let everyone know how I am damn proud of my girl that is why all the ideas I presented are to be exhibited in front of many people. I don’t mind spending a fortune in confessing my love and expressing my desire to spend the rest of my life with her. I don’t care how stupid I may look like in the process.

But at this moment, I will have to burst first those bubble thoughts you have and let those sighs of “aw” subside for it will not take place that soon. But who am I to say that I won’t fall in love anytime soon? Just in case I’ll marry that quickly, I would definitely go back here in this blog to tell all of you which among the three ideas materialize. For now, I hope you enjoy reading what I have for this blog. It was tough for me but I hope I deliver.

To Kristen and Dane, congratulations guys! Cheers for the coming years of happiness!


In case you want to apply as my girlfriend or be my future wife, click here to know if you are qualified. LOL!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm a Snowballer

A few months ago one of my good friend, Scott (aka Soctt, Scotty, or Scottish), came to me with a proposition. Kristen, he said, you're good at planning things (flattery will get you everywhere with me). Remember that organization I've been working with? Santa Claus Anonymous? I'm the Chair this year and I want you to be the Black Diamond Coordinator. To which I said, absolutely anything for you Soctt.

Then about a week later I wondered what I had gotten myself into when he took me to the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston to show me around. The hotel is beautiful, and of course has some name recognition. He gave me a tour of the rooms and ballroom, and then showed me where the Black Diamond would take place. It's really a blank canvas, which is exciting and daunting.

The SnowBall is now in its 23rd year, and is one of the largest all volunteer run events in Boston. Each year, Santa Claus Anonymous hosts the SnowBall, with the entire objective being to raise money for three beneficiary organizations. The SnowBall is really the only thing Santa Claus Anonymous focuses on every year, with the end result being a great party that raises money for children and families in Boston.

So, Black Diamond. Sounds fancy right? That's because it is. The Black Diamond is held before the SnowBall and is for the most generous donors. We are expecting between 150 and 200 people to purchase tickets for the Black Diamond, out of the approximately 1500 that will attend the SnowBall. Now I get to plan this thing, decorate, and assemble VIP gift bags, but here's the catch. NO BUDGET. It's all volunteer run, which means just about everything is donated. Now this is causing some issues for me. I have been contacting places in Boston for weeks now, and only managed to secure 2 donations to the gift bags. I'm really down to the wire for this, as it needs to be basically done before I leave Boston for the wedding in NY in mid November.

That means, blogger friends, that I need help! Who has some connections here that would be willing to donate to this very worthy cause? And better yet, who wants to come?!

I'm so honored to be able to serve as part of Santa Claus Anonymous' Leadership Team this year, and I really want this to be an amazing time. If you are in the Boston area and want to volunteer or attend, just let me know!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Penn State!

FINALLY, Dane and I went to Penn State! I have been asking him for 2 and a half years to take me there to see a football game. The campus was beautiful, Penn State kicked ass (52-3 was the final score), and I had ice cream for breakfast on Sunday morning. It does not get any more perfect than that.

The drive down took WAY longer than Google maps told me it would take. There was tons of traffic, but luckily we had Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on my iPod to take care of us. Plus, we saw the Jesus truck.

After we checked in, we headed downtown to eat dinner. I desperately wanted to go to The Diner. I'm not capitalizing that for emphasis, that's just want it's called. So we go, wait about 5 minutes for a table, then sit down. and wait. and wait. Then watch the people after us get seated 10 minutes later. and wait. and wait. Then see the people seated after us place their orders. The Diner clearly hated us, so we left, which was disappointing because I wanted one of these really bad.

Oh well. We went to The Corner Room instead and it was great. Then we headed over to one of the many stores carrying nothing but Penn State gear and I met a Penn State icon, Joe Pa.

Alright, so maybe it's a cardboard cutout of him. Whatever. I think we look cute together.

Afterwards Dane wanted to show me the HUB, basically the student center, where he used to spend all his time in college because he was a geek like that. We obviously decided to take advantage of the snacks that were there for the students and purchased two boxes of fresh popped popcorn for the low low price of $1. Greatest deal ever. And I LOVE popcorn. Then we headed upstairs and I met this guy.

This is the remains of Coaly the mule. He's a pretty big deal at PSU, so I was happy to meet him. Dane's actually told me his story before, weird, but true. It was raining and late, so we headed back to the hotel to sleep before the big day.

We got to campus early to park, and I could not believe how many people were all over the place. I had never been to a college football game, or to a college campus that has 40,000 students. It was amazing to see the school pride that students and alumni have for Penn State. We went to the pep rally before the game and got some tattoos on the way out.

Had to show my Penn State pride! Even if I was just a visitor in their midst. Dane likes to tell me I can be an honorary Penn Stater. Then we headed over to the stadium, which I learned is the second largest in the country. We had great seats about ten rows back right behind one of the field goals.

The game was great, even though it was a blow out. PSU won 52-3 against Eastern Illinois. I felt a little bad for them to be honest. At half time the Blue Band did the most amazing half time show I have ever seen. Using themes from different movies they did their formations. For the Batman theme, they formed the bat signal. For Rocky, they formed two boxers fighting. For Star Wars, they made Darth Vader! I was blown away at how great it was.

Oh, and I found the real Joe Pa. Do you see him?

After the game, we met up with one of Dane's roommates from college and his family for tailgating. Then he showed me around campus a bit more. We had to wait in line at the Lion Shrine to get a picture, but I was determined to get a photo with that Nittany Lion.

We were exhausted after our day, and both fell asleep. I woke up to Dane talking to himself in his sleep, but that's another story. The next morning we woke up, and went to the Berkey Creamery. Another legend on that campus for it's homemade ice cream produced on site. It was 10am, but we just needed some ice cream. It was fantastic. If you are ever in the area, get some. Or just go to their website and they'll send it to you. Totally worth it.

We headed down to Philly after that and spent the next day with Dane's family. It was a great weekend, I just didn't want to come back! I obviously want to work at Penn State now.

p.s. 38 days until we're married! So exciting!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Heard around State College

At The Diner (that's actually what it's called)

Guy: I am just, like, soooo happy. *leans in to girl*

Girl: Um, don't try to make out with me right now.

Guy: Why not? *sadly*

Girl: Because you're drunk and I'm sobering up and starting to see that it would definitely be a bad idea.

Oooooooooooh SNAP!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One Year Blogoversary!

Well, here it is. Today I have officially been blogging for one whole year. I remember thinking about starting a blog, and thinking I couldn't possibly have anything that interesting to write about and share. Turns out, I had a least a year's worth of stuff inside this head of mine, and it's all here for everyone to read.

I started this blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends. As much as I love living in Boston, moving here was not easy three years ago. I still miss my family and friends at home on a daily basis and I figured this would be a great way to keep them updated on my daily life and new things I was taking on. That idea has definitely worked, and I get messages from them all the time thanking me for the updates.

And it's become much more than that.

Who knew the world of blogging could open up doors? Or that I would actually get to meet some of those people behind my favorite musings on sites I've been reading forever? I'm really proud that I've stepped out from behind the computer monitor for some face time with some fabulous ladies, and I hope to keep meeting more of you as time goes on!

This site has let me see how much my life has changed in the past year. When I started this, I was one month into a brand new job. Now I'm starting my second year here, and things are insanely busy, but great. I had this amazing boyfriend. He's now my fiance and we're planning our life together. Sam talked me into starting a blog, and somehow because of that I've managed to take up sewing and open up an Etsy shop somewhere along the way. I can look back and see how my niece has grown over the past year. And I do, often.

Now I have a blog roll a million miles long, and I want to meet you all. There are some bloggettes that make me feel like they've just written a post straight out of my thoughts. And it makes me happy to know there are other women out there just like me. 20-something, professionals in their own way, navigating "adulthood" but always keeping the kid in them alive. I love feeling that connection, even if only for a few minutes. Some of you are what I aspire to be. Bold and passionate, yet humble and eloquent.

Thanks to anyone who reads here, for sharing in my daily life. And to those of you I've met, can't wait to see you again! For those of you I haven't, why haven't we met yet?

I'm feeling a blogger meetup soon. Let's make it happen.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fill in the Blanks

Thanks once again to Restaurant Refugee for giving me something fun to fill in with my own words. Refugee, if you read this, I'm waiting for part 2 of that story you started.

1. If I was on a first date with someone and he ordered a Strawberry Daiquiri, I would probably end the date early.

2. When I’m sick I really want someone to bring me something yummy to eat and rub my back.

3. I know that some people really love collective figurines and tchotchkes; but I don’t understand how they spend so much money on it.

4. I know that some people think I’m crazy for spending so much money on sewing and scrapbooking; but I really love it.

5. I’m so glad that I’ve out grown my picky eating habits since high school.

6. I am living proof that the stereotype about people who play online games isn’t always accurate.

7. I know that it is a made-up word; but scrumtrulescent is a permanent part of my vocabulary.

8. I can’t wait for our wedding in November.

9. The most common misconception about me is that I'm calm and put together all the time.

10. I wish I wouldn’t worry about things outside my control but sometimes I just can’t stop myself.

11. If I never heard the word (or phrase) neato again, it would still be too soon.

12. I have a hidden talent for hiding my feelings that no one would ever expect of me.

13. I am not a fan of extraordinary rendition; but if it were to take place for crimes against common sense, then thepeopleofwalmart should be the first person on the plane to Guantanamo.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bridal Shower Fun!

This past weekend was my bridal shower. Now, you should know that I was not a fan of this idea. The bridal showers I have been to have been long, boring, and no one ever looks forward to them. It's understandable. Who really wants to sit for two hours watching someone else open gifts, and be forced into playing mind numbing games. And the idea of having to wear a stupid hat made out of ribbons and bows was horrifying to me.

Enter my sisters, both my maids of honor. They have never planned a bridal shower before. They are both younger (and to be honest, cooler) than me. They know my general disdain for showers, and they are determined to make this one awesome. And they did.

It started with the theme. Yes, there was a theme for my bridal shower. Hollywood. It was perfect. I didn't actually get to see the invitations until after the party, but they were adorable. I didn't know what else was in store for me, but I got strict instructions to be ready to go by 2:15pm. I was also told I had to be red carpet worthy. This was nerve wracking for me, because my sisters by far have better skills at hair and makeup, and usually I'd ask one of them to do it for me, but they were both busy being hostesses. I think I did just fine though.

So 2:15pm rolls around. I am ready. I come downstairs, am told to look outside, and there is a town car waiting for me. Seriously. My sisters had a car come pick up me, my mom, and my grandmother to take us to the place where the shower was being held. We get there, walk the red carpet in, and I'm surprised by the amount of people who are here to celebrate with me. It was so wonderful to see my friends and family.

My sisters actually made all the food (and it was delicious) and some punch (which I must have had 5 or 6 glasses of), we played some games, but not the kind that makes you want to rip your hair out. They got me a director's chair to sit in for presents, complete with a sign that said "No Autographs Please".

Afterwards, we went back to my parents house. My friends Heather and Sam joined us, along with some family friends I've known almost my entire life. Sam and I finished off a bottle of red wine and chatted. It was a great day, and my sisters did the most amazing job. I love you both!

My grandmother, mother, and I in the car on our way to the event. Our driver saw us struggling to take a picture of ourselves, so he turned around and offered to take the photo for us. He was from Greece and had never heard of this whole bridal shower thing, so he was asking us all these questions about it. He was surprised to hear that men are not usually invited to bridal showers.

One of the games we played was matching yourself with your pair from a famous couple. To figure out who you were, you were allowed to ask yes or no questions to other guests. First three couples to correctly identify themselves and find a match got a prize. Everyone kept laughing at mine, so I thought about it, and was able to figure out who my couple was in two questions:

Q: "Am I me?"

A: "No."

Q: "Am I the soon to be other half of me?"

A: "Yes!"

My best friend from high school insisted on making "the hat" for me. Yes, I use quotation marks around this one, because it's like this evil thing that has be lurking. And I let her get away with making it for two reasons. First, her present to me for the shower was tickets to go see Jude Law in Hamlet on Broadway. Second, when she gets married she better know that I am making her the hat of all hats. And she will wear it. And she better like it. Love you Heather!
And last but not least, my fabulous sisters with me. This is our Hollywood pose. We were going for the over the shoulder look. I think we pulled it off pretty well. They threw me an amazing shower! Can't wait for the wedding.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fun Conversations with Family and Friends

I love getting emails from my mom. We email back and forth all the time, and she loves it. My mom is not very tech savvy, so I think besides the fact that she can communicate with me this way, she feels very accomplished when she sends and recieves an email. I get the best messages from her. Today she forwards me a page from with the definition of the word "tchotchke". This is the message she attached.

"I just love how you spell this. It’s right up there with bibelot. Well, actually I like how tchotchke is spelled but I like the meaning of bibelot. The spelling of bibelot is just ok."

I agree mom, the spelling of bibelot has nothing on the spelling of tchotchke.

Now for fun with Dane. He want to PA last weekend to celebrate the first birthday of his adorable nephew. I called him on Saturday, after he had been hanging out with munchkin all day.

Me: How JBear doing? He's probably already talking, walking, and dating. I bet he's breaking some hearts.

Dane: Yea, he likes the ladies. He's had to let a few go already.

Me: Oh, really? Who was the most recent?

Dane: Jennifer Aniston.

No words after that. I just cracked up. It's all in the delivery. He can just say things so seriously that it almost makes me believe him for about .5 seconds.

Then the other day I had a conversation with my life and business partner, Sam. We're working on getting another giveaway up on a blog that I love. I mentioned something about freebies, because really, doesn't everyone love a good freebie? But then I misspelled it, and the conversation about freebits was born.

Samantha: freebit is more fun to say

me: i wonder if a freebit is like a hobbit, except smaller and cuter, aww, i love freebits

Samantha: yes! me too!

Samantha: even though I just found out they exist, I love freebits too

Only we could get legitimately excited over a made up word that we've decided is an actual thing that is cute and friendly. This is why we're kindred spirits.


On another note, I am SO excited to venture back to NY this weekend for my bridal shower hosted by my sisters and maids of honor. They have been putting so much work into this day for me, it's unbelieveable and I am so thankful. I bought a fabulous new dress and am just counting down the seconds until I get to hop in the car and drive down. I'm going to need some serious playtime with Miss Abigail who is now talking up a storm and running everywhere. Can't wait!

And fall is finally here (even though it's kind of hot today) which makes me beyond happy. Here's to pumpkin ale, apple picking, and the first sweater day of the year!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thank You's

I'm feeling I have a lot to be thankful for lately. So here it goes.

Thank you nice lady at Joann's this morning that let me pay for my purchases in two separate transactions just so I could use two 40% off coupons. Thank you even more for even having that idea.

Thank you Jason and Sam for coming to work with me last night and finally getting to see my little world where I spend so much time. Hope you had fun!

Thank you TruTV for playing a Cops marathon tonight. Stupid criminals make me laugh.

Thank you to my friends who are sending back their RSVP cards to our wedding with the funniest comments on them. Not only is it fun to get them in the mail, I really look forward to seeing what people are writing to us!

Thank you whoever tried on dresses before me today in Macy's for leaving the perfect dress in my size in the room I chose to enter. It fit perfectly, was on sale for $34.50, and was originally $90. Score. I now have a dress to wear next weekend.

Thank you to my sisters for planning my bridal shower. I cannot wait to see everyone next weekend!

Thank you to my cupcake scented candle for making my apartment smell delicious.

Thank you Sam Adams, for creating Octoberfest.

Thank you my new found relatives in Ireland, for taking us in and letting us stay with you in November for our honeymoon!

Thank you Dane, for taking on the wedding planning while I've been at work late almost every night.

Thank you Cheesecake Factory, for having the most delicious Lemon Raspberry cheesecake.

There are probably a million more thank you's I'm missing.

Thank you all for reading this.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Meme

I saw this on Skrinkering Hearts posted by the lovely brookem. I love these questions, or statements, so I went to take a look at the blog where they originated. Another great find. I love the way Restaurant Refugee writes, and as someone who loves to eat and cook, I haven't been able to stop poking around his recipe blog. It probably doesn't help that it's right before lunch and I'm hungry. Now be patient with me as I try to tackle these questions.

  1. It’s not fall in Boston (or your city of origin) until I go apple picking. Even though I don't seem to have any free weekends to do that this year.
  2. Kelly Preston’s character in the movie For Love of the Game expresses her need to escape NYC because “Summer’s almost over, and I feel like I missed it.” What do you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete? After my birthday at the end of August, I am always ready to welcome the fall. The true start of fall for me over the past few years is always when the students move back to campus wherever I'm working, and the campus seems to come back to life.
  3. The person I know is wrong for me but about whom I frequently think after a break-up is ….. Well since I'm getting married in about 2 months, I haven't really thought about break ups in a while. My last awful breakup over two years ago made me think of my ex from high school that I dated for about 6 months who was way too old for me at the time. But he was one of the most kind people I had ever met, and helped me see what it's like to be treated like a lady.
  4. The US Tennis Open, one of four Grand Slam events in that sport, is currently in the quarterfinal round. If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be? It would absolutely be the winter Olympics. When the Olympics are on, I cannot get myself away from the TV. Give me some speed skating, skiing, and crazy snowboard moves and I am set.
  5. Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar? My blog is definitely not anonymous, but if it was, you'd probably be able to identify me by the way I talk. I definitely use the words"Seriously" and "Lovely" a ton.
  6. Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche? Sometimes I really wish I could blog about my life working at a college. There are so many funny/shocking/obnoxious/wonderful things that happen on this campus. I will never write in depth about all of that on my blog, out of respect to my co-workers and students. Although you will see the occasional post about why I love my job without going into much detail.
  7. If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you? Dear 13 year old me - stop freaking out about going to high school. These are the same people you have been with in junior high, it's just a different building. And those friends who sometimes make you cry? They will not be your friends forever. Take a step back from high school drama, and know that you really, truly will have amazing friends that will stick with you through it all. Dear 19 (almost 20) year old me - Just go to Italy. Forget about that boyfriend that you think you'll miss. He'll still be there when you get back, but maybe you should dump him. You are going to have the time of your life in Italy. Also, don't bother taking that job offer when you get back. You'll be much happier at school. Dear 21 year old me - take more time to enjoy Boston. Don't rush home after class. You have amazing classmates that will be your friends for life. Get to know then now! Also, that boyfriend of yours, you should have dumped him like 2 years ago.
  8. Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared? My sister. She is definitely the most honest, if not always politically correct, person that I know. Every time I talk to her and she tells me a story I'm totally into it either laughing, or sad, or angry, right along with her.
  9. If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? What would you miss the most, the least? I don't know if I could go more than a week or two. I really like that the interwebs allow me to be connected to others, to learn new things, and to do it all from the comfort of my couch. I would by far miss my blog roll the most. I love taking the time to read someone else's thoughts and stories and get away from my own for a moment. What I'd miss the least would probably be those awful email forwards.
  10. On September 11th of this year, I will be attending a couple of parties and am somewhat conflicted by the fact that this ignoble anniversary shall pass with it being just another day in the eyes of many (and in some ways my own eyes as well.) Thoughts? This has now passed, but I also went to a celebration on this day. The hosts were very aware of the significance of this day to so many and took the time for a moment of reflection, which I greatly appreciated.
  11. How high are your walls? Who was the last person to scale them? What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt? My walls are not very high or scary. The last person to scale them completely is my fiance. He definitely knows me better than I might know myself. But, I find that I'm very open to new people. I'm usually most likely to strike up a conversation with someone I've never met when I'm out and about. This has definitely prompted friends to ask "Do you know that person?". The answer is always, "Well, now I do."
  12. The sexiest thing a wo/man can say to you (or has said to you) is... Te amo.

Give it a shot yourself!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Things I learned in Safe Driver Training

I just finished part two of my Safe Driver Training course at work. Hopefully this will get me a discount on my insurance and I learned some fun facts. Most of the things I'm taking away from this course are probably not what the instructor intended. He had the personality of a brick, and was not exciting to listen to at all. Here is the knowledge I've gleaned from 4 hours of training:

  • You will probably die while driving. I saw enough videos about accidents to fill the rest of my life.
  • Here are some ways you might die while driving: a rock will hit your windshield and knock you unconscious, an aggressive driver will run you off the road, you or someone else will fall asleep at the wheel, a deer will run into your car (it was made very clear to us that if this ever happens you should tell your insurance company that the deer hit YOU, not the other way around), drag racers will run you over, loud music will make you feel aggressive and therefore more likely to get into an accident, your engine will ignite into flames and unless you have a fire extinguisher you're screwed, and if you drive a small car you will be crushed.
  • The yellow light in between green and red now signifies for drivers to slow down. It was originally put into place to help people who are colorblind see the difference between red and green. I find this fascinating
  • A wheelbarrow is a level 2 lever. He actually mentioned this to us, I still don't understand why.
  • If the instructor could have his dream job it would be one of two things: the guy at a construction site that picks up the orange cones OR the night watchman at a was museum. Weird.
  • If you pull into a parking lot and the space in front of you is open, you should pull up. This is apparently good because then you just have to drive forward in one motion to leave the space, instead of two motions to back up, then drive forward. After telling us this, my boss was asked to tell the group if he'd been in any accidents. He got into a car accident pulling straight out of a parking spot.

I bet you are totally jealous that you didn't get to come to this training session. As you should be.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Things you shouldn't say to a stranger

Ever since Dane and I got engaged, some people have taken it upon themselves to ask about personal things as though it's no biggie. Most of the time it isn't, to be honest. But really, if I meet you randomly on the street, chances are I'm not ready to share my inner most thoughts and beliefs. (Disclaimer: I realize I have a blog, and this basically means other people who I don't know or don't know well get to read about my life. But, it's what I put out there, and they aren't asking these things of me. Plus, I love my blogger homies.)

So for example, this past weekend we went to the mall. We just can't help ourselves, so we headed to the pet store. I saw the cutest cockapoo puppy. He was white and I couldn't help but want to play with him because I had the most loyal and lovable cockapoo growing up. We go to the little area where you can play with the puppies, and this woman in the little play area next to us looks over and says "Oh, this is the perfect practice for kids!" and before she leaves says "Good luck you two!" and winks at us. OK, so first, BARF. Secondly, I don't know you and you probably shouldn't assume my future goals. What if Dane was my brother and not my fiance? (Ew, that's gross. I'm kind of sorry I even thought of that.) What if I hate children? What if I was born without an ovary or something?

I'm not saying I never want children. I totally want a kid that I can laugh with like this one:

I can't watch that without cracking up. His laugh is AMAZING. In fact I'm going to watch it again right now....

OK, back. Next question I constantly get is: "Are you going to take his name?". I don't mind talking about this, but it's really a personal decision (in case you were wondering, I'm hyphenating, which means I'm going to have the longest last name ever). But if I don't know you I don't want to talk about the reasons for taking your husband's last name. You aren't going to change my mind. Leave us alone.

My sister told me about all the questions she got while she was pregnant. She pretty much had a script in her head that went like this: "I'm _______ months along. June 10. It's a girl. I haven't picked a name yet. My first. Yes, I'm excited." I didn't realize how annoying that must have been, but now I'm starting to get it. Granted no one has tried to grab my stomach yet. She was a serious trooper.

I vow not to ask uncomfortably personal questions of those whom I barely know, or don't know at all. Unless I've had a martini, or two. But then you can ask me one back. Promise.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cranky today

This is not going to be a happy post. Just some warning.

Last night while parallel parking, I got into an accident. I put my blinker on, pulled up to the car in front of the spot, checked my mirror to make sure I had room. I saw a car behind me, stopped and waiting for me to back into the spot. I started backing in, car behind me decided to go around me. No problem, I probably would have done the same, there was a whole left lane with plenty of room to get around my car with no problems. But no, this car is half in the right lane, half in the left lane which means while I'm sticking out diagonally into the street the side of their car scrapes down the front corner of my car. Luckily no damage to my car (other than what was already there, I've had it for 5 years). I ask the other driver if everyone in the car is ok, she says yes they are, but their car had a scrape down the side of their car where it impacted mine.

We exchange information. I'm told that the daughter of the other driver has called the police who have told her they won't come out to do a report unless someone has been hurt. Now if any of you know me, you would know that I've watched enough People's Court and Judge Judy to last me many lifetimes. This does not sound right to me, pretty sure the police will always come out to do a report. I go to ring the bell at Becca's apartment so she can come down to keep me company, when the daughter and driver come back over to me, now claiming that someone in the car who is 5 months pregnant is having stomach pains. I tell them, well now the police will have to come out and call them myself. The police come, take the girl away in an ambulance. I speak to an officer and tell him what happened. He tells me after hearing both stories he's finding the other drive at fault and issues her a citation. Just a warning, but lucky for me this means I can't be sued or found at fault for the accident. During this time Becca has brought me cookies. Thank god for that. While I'm waiting for the police officer to fill out the report I eat my cookies.

I have never been in any kind of accident before. I couldn't sleep last night because I just kept replaying this over and over in my head, even though I know it's over, I'm fine, my car is fine, and I'm not responsible. Now my throat hurts, I'm exhausted, and all I want to do is sleep.

At least it's Friday. I'm thinking I might need to just hibernate tonight to prepare for Nantucket tomorrow. And thinking good thoughts so Danny doesn't mess up those plans.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My mom says OMG

I love my mom a ton. I get my weird sense of humor from her, my love of all things nerdy, my need to constantly be in motion and never relax. So some of those things are better than others, but still, my mom and I have some crazy similarities. Oh, and we both love Blue Moon.

There are also ways that we are in no way alike. Like how she can watch Jurassic Park 3 over and over, and the way I'm a shopaholic when she waits for things to go on sale.

For my birthday, my mom bought me this dress. She saw it and decided it was "so Kristen". I have to say, she was right. I love this dress and wore it yesterday on my birthday. Mom was all nervous it wouldn't fit, and I told her when I wore it I'd send her a picture. So I did. And this is the email that I got back.

"OMG! You look amazing. That dress is so you...Who's your favorite Mom? Love you."

She's obviously my favorite mom. I'm just wondering where she learned OMG from. Gotta love how your mom always thinks you're the most beautiful, talented person on earth.

At least she hasn't figured out how to text message yet.

Love you mom!

*Update* I've been asked to show the dress in question. So here it is! And when I asked her if she learned OMG from Hannah Montana, her response was "No I learned it from Janice on Friends, it's the only abbreviation I know." Have to love her.

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