Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Staying Sane

Planning a wedding means one thing: you better be organized.

There are SO many minute details that can easily overwhelm you if you let them. So this Wedding Wednesday, I'm devoting a post to STAYING SANE. Whether you are currently a bride-to-be or have already gotten married, you know that being ahead of the curve in planning is the best way to stay calm. Here are some of the things that are helping me:

1. Get as much done before you have to. Dustin & I have devoted Memorial Day Weekend to a whole slew of wedding "To-Do's" in order to prevent July from being a massive, chaotic mess. Gather together your wedding party gifts months in advance, do your thank you notes as you get gifts, research your options before you have to get it done (hotel blocking, florist, decorations, etc.)

2. Use visual aids. I am such a visual person. Writing down lists, using little sticky notes to try out different table seating arrangements (check out The Knotty Bride where I found that idea). Mark out your To-Do list as you go to make you feel better about your progress. Check & Check!
3. Accept Help. This one can be tough for me. I always feel bad whenever someone offers to help because I'm scared of wasting their time. The thing I have to remind myself is that people wouldn't offer if they didn't mean it, PLUS these are people who love me & are trying to help take some of the load off. I am trying to get better at this one...key word, TRYING.

4. Let your Groom take on responsibility. I know some girls want to do it all themselves & that is fine. I, on the other hand, can easily get overwhelmed. The process of having Dustin help & be a big part of the planning, assembling, and decision-making has greatly reduced my stress. Next weekend, he will be helping spray paint centerpieces & paint wooden direction signs. I have also divided up some of the tasks & given him a "Honey-Do list" to take some off my plate. The best part is that he never complains & wants to be involved. 
5. STOP & Smell the Roses. This is something that I am genuinely trying to do (even though I'm not always the best at it). You only have one wedding...this process is supposed to be enjoyable & exciting. Try not to get caught up in the minutia of details & sit back/remind yourself:
"You are about to have one of the best days of your life. 
You get to marry your best friend."

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Hopeful, Not Helpless

Undoubtedly, unless you live in a cave, you have heard about the devastating tornados in Moore, Oklahoma. As many of you know, I'm a graduate from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK...Norman is a neighboring town to Moore. For those of you who don't know, the geography is from North to South on I-35, Oklahoma City, then Moore, then Norman.

Having been through Moore so many times with friends who live there or nearby, my heart immediately sunk when my boss told me the news of the tornado. Thankfully all my loved ones and friends are accounted for, but their lives have undoubtedly been turned upside down.

Times like this make your heart ache (especially when you look at the damage and recognize the area & what it used to be).
Times like this can make you feel helpless. Even though I'm not there to physically help with clean up, there are things that I can do...& you can too.

1. If you can give something financially, donate to a reputable organization. From $5 to $100, whatever you can give will help. Here are some options:
  • The Red Cross has multiple ways to donate, where you can specifically chose to donate to disaster relief or text REDCROSS to 90999.
  • Salvation Army (you can choose to donate right to Oklahoma Tornado Relief fund) or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts or make a donation via phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is another organization to directly donate funds where they can specifically designate the money depending on the needs. 
  • Feeding America, a group that works with food bands, offers lists of local food banks & contact information, allows you to search for food banks (if you have had a tornado near you that you'd like to donate to, go here).
((**make sure to give to a REPUTABLE organization. Unfortunately, people with bad intentions become opportunists during times like this to take advantage of good people. If it is a group you have never heard of, DO SOME RESEARCH**))

2. If you have a church group or work group, collectively gather items that these families will need in the wake of such devastation. People typically think of donating food & clothes, but other items that could be used include: work gloves, shovels, wheelbarrows, toiletries, toilet paper, towels, and garbage bags. 

3. Donate blood. Even though we are not physically there, times like this remind us all of the hospital needs of blood supply in case of events like this. Your hour of time spent giving blood can bring life to THREE people

4. Pray. These families will need all the prayers, love & support they can get.

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Summer "Must-Do's"

My Summer "Must-Do's":

1. Take more pictures...with a real camera. Ever since I got my iPhone, I have stopped utilizing my camera. This means the quality of my pictures aren't as good, plus I am missing out on some serious memories that I know I will want to look back on.

2. Go to Drive-in movie. Can you tell I'm really itching to do that?

3. Be adventurous for the day. I'm such a planned person & everyday I have some kind of schedule/plan. I want to wake up on a Saturday & do something unplanned/unexpected with Dustin. 

4. Spend time with my Dad. I feel like things have been so busy that I have barely gotten to spend some good 1-on-1 time with him. It's time to set up a Father/Daughter date & go ride on his motorcycle. Love that guy

5. Set up my first blogging link-up. Time to get out of the box & get creative. I already have some ideas brewing. 

6. Go to a Rangers Game. Try not to get sun-burnt.

7. Have my first "green" shake full of spinach lettuce & fruit. Trying to find a good/tasty recipe. I feel so skeptical about this. 

8. Get out that flute & play some duets with my sweet friend, Kim (read: be a band nerd).

9. Clean out old clothes & donate. If I haven't worn it in a year, then it needs to find a home that needs it more. 


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Truck Hunting

WHAT. A. WEEK!!! If this week is any indication of how nuts the month of the wedding is, then I could be in trouble! From just going to work each day plus premarital counseling, after hour work events, going out of town, family in town, etc., it has felt like the week has just flown by with no respite. 

The Highlights: Since I've been gone, Dustin & I went to a family wedding in Oklahoma at the horse racing track (so much fun!). First of all, I'm a sucker for a wedding :) Plus, it was neat because it was at a pretty horse racing track, so there was lots to look at all the time! For some reason, going to that wedding made me realize "HELLO, your wedding is in almost 2 months. Get busy!" More on that later.
The biggest thing that has happened this week? WE BOUGHT A TRUCK! It's official! 
Buying a truck came with a flurry of emotions: excitement, nervous, frustration, skepticism, get the idea. 

In the end, we found just what Dustin what looking for! While I'm NO expert on car buying, I think my biggest tip of advice for anyone would be to SLOW DOWN. While I was there, I felt that on occasion, they would ask a really huge question and just expect an answer (obviously we felt like to pressure us into a quick yes/no). On MULTIPLE occasions, I asked "for a minute" so that Dustin & I could discuss. For once, I didn't feel "sorry" for taking up so much of their time or "bad" for asking so many questions. Buying a car is a huge commitment and Dustin & I took our sweet time making that decision. 
Other piece of advice from a non-expert? RESEARCH HEAVILY beforehand. Luckily, Dustin has been obsessed with buying a truck, so he had done every in & out of research. Because we probably had "first-time car buyers" written on our faces (& credit history), we felt they probably thought they hit the jackpot. Dustin was ready when the first HIGH offer (plus lots of stuff on what a great price they're giving us for being first time car buyers) came back with his rebuttal of research...the salesman looked incredibly shocked & I accidentally smiled really big. 
 Thank goodness our SIX hours at the dealership are done.

What's next for us now? Time for that drive-in movie....and "to haul stuff."

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Special Kind of Mom

 With Mother's Day this weekend, I wanted to write a post about my "step-mom" (although I don't really consider her to be a "step" anything...she is my mom now.)

Becky "became" my Mom in June 2001 before I entered 7th grade. I didn't know it at the time, but she would end up being one of my best friends. Initially, having a "new mom" shocked me. 12-year-old me had certain ideas/routines in place and things obviously change when two families blend. I was worried how having this new mom would affect my relationship with my Mom who was unfortunately no longer around. Questions running through my head included "Will she make me forget my Mom? Is she going to come in and try to change everything my mom had in place? What would my Mom think if I really started to fact, LOVE, my "new Mom?"
Well, I did love my her... it would have been impossible not to. I truly believe God could not have found a more perfect wife/Mom to put in our lives. My Dad was able to share his life again with a new best friend and my sister & I had a mother-figure in our lives again.

Becky could not have been MORE gracious, patient, understanding, kind, loving, caring...every single positive adjective you can think of. Being an adult now, I realize how strange it would be to come into a home where someone else lived with all their things and all their pictures... but Becky didn't change a thing. All my Mom's pictures stayed up, all my Mom's decorations stayed up. MOST importantly? My Mom's memory remained all while developing a new mother/daughter relationship. Becky ALWAYS encouraged me (and still does) to talk about my Mom and never made me feel guilty for missing her or dealing with my grief.

The truth is I know that my Mom would be so grateful to Becky. I know my Mom must look down and be so appreciative to have someone love my sister & I the way that she would if she could have been here. Becky would do anything for me in a heartbeat and is always making me feel like I AM her daughter. Nothing "step" about it. My life wouldn't be the same without her and I will forever be grateful for everything she has done for our family. 
Becky is my best friend. She is my Mom.
Happy Mother's Day, Becky.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Savy Sponsoring: Meet Kayla

When I started blogging, I didn't realize how interactive the blogging community can be. That is, until I met Kayla. I loved her blog, her positive attitude, and how relatable she is. She TRULY inspired me to grow my blog and made me feel like I had something worth reading :)

Because of that, she is the first person I have ever reached out to sponsor. I'm SO glad I did. I'm her "Red Rose Sponsor" of the month and I highly suggest if you are looking for someone to sponsor, to talk to Kayla. She is so thoughtful and encouraging! Go check out Forever Newly Wedded!

We decided to get to know each other better with 5 questions. Here were my questions to Kayla and her responses- enjoy!

1. What's one thing none of your readers know about you? 

This is tough because I feel like I'm an open book and my readers should know everything about me!  Ha! But really, here is one thing.  I absolutely despise getting ready in the morning.  Some people think it's "relaxing" or it's taking "me time"... No.  I hate having to get up, shower, shave my legs, comb out my hair, dry it, style it, put makeup on, get dressed..  It's just too time consuming.  I'd rather, sleep in... and ... I don't know... have a cool little machine that just does everything for me under 60 seconds.  I'd be first in line to buy that little invention.

2. In honor of summer being around the corner, what has been your favorite vacation ever? 

My honeymoon!  Mostly because I've never been to Disney & if I had, I'd probably say, Disney.  Haha.  No, but really, my honeymoon was the best.  It was romantic, and relaxing... and... uhhh can I just go back to that week?  Puhhh-leaaase??

3. What was your favorite part of your wedding? 

Definitely the moment after we were "wed" and we had to hurry into the church basement to escape the guests who all wanted to see us and visit.  We wanted to save that for the reception.  So, the whole wedding party came with us and we hid in the basement.  It was so funny.  All of us in such a small space, and not one of us could stop smiling. It was such a surreal moment, and one I'll never forget.  

4. If you could live anywhere, where would you live & why?

Maine.  I just love it there.  Parts of Maine are so peaceful and quiet.  But, I've never really been out of the Northeast of the US, so there are probably dozens of other places I'd love and just haven't been to.  I think I'd like Texas! =)

5. What's the biggest advice you would give to a newlywed?

To not make a timeline of things you want to accomplish.  Once the ring goes on, I feel like a lot of women start making a timeline of when they are going to have a house, have kids, do this, do that.  I say... let life just unfold naturally.  Don't push things.  Don't rush.  Before you know it, years will have gone by and you'll look back and think... "If I had only enjoyed those years more, instead of spending my time planning out all the years ahead".  It all goes by too darn fast.

P.S- In response, to Kayla's answer to #4., COME ON DOWN TO TEXAS GIRL ;)

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Five Truths, No Lie

Hello to everyone who has stumbled upon SLP Sooner or Later through the Sunglasses & Starbucks Giveaway hosted by SimplyClarke, myself and friends :) Get even more entries below if you haven't done so already.

I wanted to provide even more of an introduction of myself, so here are my five truths, no lie ;)

1. I am SUPER double jointed. My elbows, arms and legs all look like they have been broken and barely put back together. This made for great "party" tricks and still continues to make my Grandmother gasp.

2. I have an extremely irrational fear of whales. Don't ask me why because I couldn't even tell you. I think it all started when my big sister told me that whales could come out of our pool light. For some reason, this started my GROWN-UP fear of whales. Don't worry, I know they don't live in pools. For some bizarre reason though, I am so overwhelmed by their massive size and the creepy, murky water they live in....I'm getting sweaty just typing this.
Needless to say, my poor children will have to live without gracing the Shamu exhibit at Seaworld (or atleast doing it without their Mom).

3. I broke my jaw during the last week of 6th grade. I haven't been through childbirth, so I bet I can't say this is the WORST pain I will ever feel in my life, but I have a feeling it will rank in the top 5. I was on a friend's motorized scooter and I was trying to be more adventurous (because I'm the biggest worry-wart that ever lived)....well, clearly that didn't pan out well for me.

To make matter worse? I split open my chin and, therefore, had to get stitches on my chin that hung down...and yes, it looked like I had a goatee. And yes, that was not fun in 6th grade.

4. My family and I like to pretend think that our dogs are little people with real thoughts. We like to imagine that they have opinions and little accents. My list is starting to make me think I have some problems....

5. Someday, I will have to share the story of how my sister and step-sister "set up" my step-mom and Dad...PARENT TRAP style. Stay tuned :) It's a story that starts out with a little heartbreak, but ends up to be a happy one.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Sunglasses & Starbucks Giveaway!!!

Lets face it, sometimes we just have rough days or even lazy days and just need a little extra something to cover up and a strong cup of coffee. Hence, the Sunglass & Starbucks giveaway from Simply Clarke & friends. My sunglasses are my go-to accessory when dashing out the door without make-up, looking a hot mess. 

They are also a MUST HAVE for summer...duh! :) Personally, I love my Ray-Bans, but have my eye on the Tory Burch ones in the pic below! 

Here are the ladies that are bringing you this awesome giveaway; make sure to go show them some love!

1. Marquis // 2. Kayln // 3. Danielle // 4. Laura // 5. Mikaela // 6. Lauren // 7. Rachel // 8. Sybil //

9. Gayle // 10. Brandi // 11. Sarah  // 12. Chania // 13. Sara // 14. Dara


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Friday, May 3, 2013

What the Truck?

 Oh the joys pain joys of car-buying. 

Dustin & I will be getting married in July; however, our "first big purchase" will happen in May. The lease on Dustin's car is up at the end of May and he really wanted to buy his next car. And what does he want? A truck.

Now, I completely think this is his decision, but what woman/almost wife wouldn't put her input in? My first comment was....but you're a tax accountant, what are you going to do with a truck
He looked at me and said what any guy would, "Haul stuff."
If he can guarantee this situation, no complaints here.
Ultimately, I think the truck will make a great car for him and I know he has been dying for one since he was in high school (someone is definitely living out their car dreams). 

So talk to me many of your husbands/fiances/boyfriends have a truck? Have you loved it?

I can't wait to break it in by filling it with blankets & pillows, then heading off to the drive-in movie theatre ;)

Yes, yes, & yes.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Groom's 1st Look

When I think of my wedding day, one of the first things I immediately think of is seeing Dustin for the first time. I often wonder what his reaction will be....

...will he cry?
...will he smile & cry?
...will he be completely overcome with emotion...or... so nervous to have all eyes on him that he will freeze like a deer in headlights?


In all sincerity, whatever his reaction will be, I know I will never forget the first time he saw his bride-to-be on her way down the aisle to him. This is one of the reasons that FOR US (everyone has their own personal opinion/best decision for their big day) that we will not do "first look pictures." I know this has become a huge trend (and I realize it's a huge time-saver for after the ceremony with pictures), but there is just something so enchanting about the first time seeing each other is during the ceremony.

If you want to see some pretty adorable groom 1st-looks, check out this. I died from the cuteness.
As Jane says in 27 Dresses, "You know how the bride makes her entrance and everybody turns to look at her? That's when I look at the groom. Cause his face says it all you know? The pure love there." 

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