Monday, July 30, 2012

A year ago today...

...Adam got down on one knee, gave me a beautiful diamond ring, and asked me to be his wife. And two months from yesterday, we'll take vows, exchange rings, and promise to love each other forever.
Happy engage-aversary, baby!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Last 5 Years

Today marks 5 years since Adam and I went on our first date.
Our first photo together as boyfriend and girlfriend
I can't believe it's been 5 years already! We've been through so much together through the years. 

Adam watched me graduate from college and law school...
...and move from South Bend to Indianapolis to Chicago.
We've traveled together...
...and in two months, we'll become husband and wife. Here's to 5 years together, and here's to 50 more.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back from the Bar

Sorry I've been MIA this week, but I have a good excuse; I was taking the bar exam!
Champagne toast with my classmates at the official Loyola alumni after-party last night
The past 2 months were a whirlwind, and the past 2 weeks were a nightmare, but now I'm done! One thing that got me through it was Adam. The other thing that got me through it was humor. The stress of everything gave me a bad case of "bar brain." Here are some highlights of the funny things that happened to me.
  • I walked into my bathroom one morning about a week before the exam and thought my overhead light was burned out. I showered in the dark, put on my makeup in the dark...and then turned on the light switch.
  • I woke up 4 days before the bar in the middle of a dream where I was dividing the assets of a divorcing couple. I was going through the house with the soon-to-be-ex-wife, marking which picture frames were wedding gifts, and explaining to her that wedding gifts are considered marital assets even if she received them before the wedding.
  • I yelled at Adam for coughing. (This was a low point. Sorry, Adam!)
  • This one's not really funny, but my laptop charger died 2 days before the bar exam. Thankfully, a classmate let me borrow his extra for a few days, but not before I had a few moments of sheer panic.
Thank you to everyone for the support! Now I can re-join the real world...and really focus on wedding planning!

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Second Honeymoon

I could really use a vacation after all this studying is over (5 more days!), but I'll have to wait until October when Adam and I will fly to Cape Cod for our honeymoon. I can't wait! It will be the first real vacation we will have taken together in 2 years, and I'm sure it will be so much fun. But it will be a quick trip because we have to get back to Chicago before the Notre Dame game at Soldier Field the next Saturday.

But this isn't stopping me from dreaming about a long, exotic honeymoon. Adam and I love to travel, but haven't done an international trip in the entire time we've been together. (Well, unless you count visiting his family in Canada.) I recently learned the German word "fernweh," literally meaning "farsickness," or an ache for far-away places. This perfectly describes the way I've been feeling lately. So for our one-year wedding anniversary, I want to take a trip that will satiate my fernweh and put a stamp in my new passport. But where to go? Well, I have a few ideas.

Japan
Fanpop
A visit to the Land of the Rising Sun is at the top of my list. Adam and I both studied abroad in Europe in college. I loved traveling around Europe, but the culture there isn't that different from American culture. Traveling to Asia would be a bit of a culture shock, and that's exactly what I want. Highlights in Japan would include taking in the architecture, taking a dip in the hot springs, and eating sushi and Kobe beef.
South America
Fodor's
More specifically either Argentina or Chile. I have heard amazing things about Buenos Aires and Santiago. Both cities are in the middle of world-class wine regions, and Adam and I love wine. It would be fun to swap seasons for a week or two and enjoy springtime in September. Highlights in South America would include going to a soccer match, eating delicious beef, and drinking glasses of yummy Malbec.

Thailand
tourist-destinations.com
Thailand has a great mix of bustling cities and gorgeous beach destinations. A good friend of ours has visited Thailand several times and raves about it. The flight is long and expensive, but once we're there, it would be pretty cheap. Highlights in Thailand would include visiting old Buddhist shrines, shopping in the Bangkok markets, swimming in the Gulf of Thailand, and eating all the curry I could handle.

China
US Green Chamber of Commerce
Can you tell I really want to go to Asia? China fascinates me because of the culture. China has really been sequestered away from the rest of the world due to the Communist government, so it's not as influenced by Western culture as many other Asian countries. I would love to see what life is like there. Adam is less convinced that going to China would be awesome, though. Highlights in China would include walking on the Great Wall (a bucket list item for me), visiting the Forbidden City, and seeing pandas.

Which destination would you pick? Is there anywhere in the world you're dying to visit?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Biggest Loser

I am a competitive person. I come from a big family, so I grew up competing with my siblings for everything. I was a swimmer until I graduated from high school. I was a nationally ranked debater in high school. Most telling of all, I went to law school. It's no secret that I have a competitive personality and I like to win.

But I read an article recently that made me question my love of winning. Dr. Kelly Flanagan, a clinical psychologist, wrote about how married couples fight with one another. He discusses three types of marriages: 1) both spouses compete to win, 2) one spouse always wins and the other spouse always loses, and 3) both spouses compete to lose. In the first type of marriage, the spouses destroy one another. The second type exemplifies an abusive marriage. And the third type of marriage seems strange. Who likes to lose? And who would want to lose? But it's these marriages that are the most successful because losing isn't a bad thing. In fact, losing is the best thing. Each spouse commits to lose everyday by loving the other so much that they are willing to sacrifice their own self.

Dr. Flanagan doesn't mean this in a bad way. The losing spouses don't lose their independence or sense of self; they lose their need to control. In losing, they win because they learn to let go of pettiness. Losing spouses listen to, care for, and accept their partners. They don't fight over the little things because they know it's not worth it, and when they do fight, they fight fairly and respectfully. To be a losing spouse is to be humble, open, available, forgiving, and to trust that your spouse will return the favor.

Dr. Flanagan says that "losing" marriages are revolutionary in that they challenge the social norm of winning. Everything in our culture is geared toward winning. You have to be the hardest-working employee, the most devoted parent, the smartest student, the highest, the strongest, and the fastest. Stepping out of the race to be the best is downright counter-cultural. But it's the best thing for our marriages.

I highly recommend that you all read the whole article. I found it eloquent, thought-provoking, and inspiring. I don't think anything will ever stop my competitive drive - I wouldn't be me without it - but I resolve to try to turn it off when I'm at home and be a loser.

Unless Adam wants to play Scrabble. Then all bets are off.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fling Before the Ring

There are lots of pre-wedding festivities nowadays. From engagement parties to multiple showers, it's a lot. But the one I'm most excited for is my bachelorette party.

Normally, I'm not a fan of bachelorette parties. It's nice to have a girls' night out, but I can do without the cheesy tiaras, pink feather boas, penis paraphernalia, and all the hooting and hollering.
Not my idea of a good time / Glamour Magazine
Thankfully, my lovely bridesmaid Lauren is 100% on the same page and has planned a classy evening on the town for me consisting of a private dinner at a trendy sushi place downtown and then drinks somewhere nearby. And I have the invitation to prove it!
Doesn't she have the best handwriting? I'm jealous.
 I love how she decorated the envelope with a stamp, pretty paper flower, and message on the back.
I kind of hate the color pink, but that seems to be the only color bachelorette party invitations come in. (They also all have pictures of stilettos and/or martini glasses on them.) Lauren found this Tiffany blue beauty, and I love it. I think Audrey herself would approve.

I am really looking forward to putting on a pretty dress and having a fun night out in my city with all of my girlfriends. I'm especially excited that my friend/bridesman Phil will be flying in from NYC to join the festivities! (My liver, on the other hand, is terrified.)
Can't wait to be reunited with these two!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Flipping Out

This post by Mrs. Snow Cone on Weddingbee made me nervous. In it, she discusses why she regrets not hiring a videographer for her wedding. Adam and I did not budget for a videographer, but I think it would be nice to have some video from the day. As I've discussed before, pictures can't fully paint a picture of a wedding. Enter:
Amazon
Instead of shelling out thousands of dollars for a traditional videographer, Adam and I are going with a semi-DIY option. With Wedit, we'll get 5 HD cameras to capture the wedding day. Afterward, we'll get access to editors and all the raw footage if we decide we'd rather edit everything ourselves.

Adam's a little concerned about the logistics of getting the cameras to people, getting them all back at the end of the night, and assigning people to record the things we want to be recorded (vows, toasts), but I'm confident we will be able to figure it out. Our video won't be professional quality, but it's certainly the best compromise between dropping thousands on a pro or having nothing at all.

Did anyone else do DIY videography? How did it work out for you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The other shower

I showed you the invitations to Adam's and my shower last week, but that's not the only shower we're having. Last week, Adam's family threw a small shower for us at their lake house.

But I wasn't there.

Because the bar exam is in less than three weeks, I was unable to make the trip to Michigan for the 4th of July, which is when Adam's parents scheduled the shower. They decided to have it anyway on a smaller scale. Thanks to the magic of technology, I was able to attend via iPad.
 Presents!
 Wine glasses from Adam's parents
Getting my picture taken with my groom-to-be
With Adam and his mom

I'm glad I was able to participate from a distance. I'm bummed I couldn't be there in person, but it was nice to be able to see everyone. Plus, who doesn't love a study break that involves getting gifts?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

He's gonna need a bigger boat.

So, this happened this weekend off Cape Cod, our honeymoon destination.
Good thing it will be too cold to swim in October!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our First Wedding Gift

 Adam and I got our first wedding gift! It's from all of my aunts and uncles, and it's a good one.

Hmmm...what could be in a box that big?
 Could it be? It's our Kitchenaid mixer!
It looks pretty great in its new home on our counter, don't you think?
My mom yelled at me when I told her we opened it. Apparently you're just supposed to keep your gifts wrapped up in a pile until after the wedding, but that just seems silly when you live in a 1-bedroom apartment in the city. Now we can bake cookies! And cakes! And we can make ice cream because we also got the ice cream maker attachment! So excited!

Did you unwrap your presents before your wedding?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You're Invited

The other day I came home, opened my mailbox and found this.

Hey, that's me! I wonder what's inside.
Our shower is going to be a bit non-traditional in that it's for both myself and Adam, and we've invited families instead of just my female relatives. It's going to be a very casual affair hosted by my sister, aunt/godmother, and two cousins. What I'm most looking forward to is swimming with my baby cousins and godson/ring bearer.
Teaching my cousin how to swim at my aunt's pool in 2006
Did you have a non-traditional shower?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My PWC

The PWC (or post-wedding chop) is a phenomenon that happens in the bridal world. Women get engaged, grow their hair out for the wedding, and then cut it off once they get back from the honeymoon.

When Adam and I met, I was a freshman in college. My hair was super long after years of growing it out because of an unfortunate experiment in layering in 8th grade.
Me and my bridesmaid Lauren (and Yoda) at a dorm party freshman year
That summer, I decided I needed new look. I finally got over my fear of layers and chopped off about 8 inches.
With Adam (before we started dating!) and our friend Tim at a ND pep rally in 2006
 It stayed at pretty much this length for the next 4 years when I got it cut really short.
With my friend (and our accompanist!) Nicholas in NYC

Right before we got engaged, I started to grow it back out. (Writing this blog post is making me realize that every 5 years or so, I get bored with either short or long and want to have the opposite.)
At a White Sox game a few weeks before we got engaged
 Then we got engaged and I was like, "Perfect! I want to make sure I have long hair for the wedding so I can get whatever I want done to it!" So I let my hair get nice and long.
Engagement picture by Andrew Collings Photography
But, the thing is, I hate having long hair. I don't know what to do with it, so it ends up either going in a ponytail or just hanging there. And when it just hangs there (which is most of the time), it gets stuck under my purse or backpack straps. The only thing I like about long hair is that I can braid it. For the past two months or so, I've been grumbling about how I can't wait to chop all my hair off after the wedding.

So, today, I decided to go from this:
Side note: How awesome is my shower curtain? Adam better not make me throw it away when I move in with him.

To this:

So much better! My hair looks bouncier, healthier, and - best of all - more like me. Sure, I may have limited my wedding hair options, but I decided it wasn't worth 3 more months of hating my hair for a single day. My PWC was a PRE-wedding chop, and I don't regret it for a second.

Besides, my awesome friend Kathleen horrified her mother when she chopped all her shoulder-length hair off a few months before her wedding, and she looked hot.

Did anyone else do a PWC (pre-wedding chop)?

Monday, July 2, 2012

3 Months

For my Ghostbusters-loving groom-to-be who really wants this to be a reality
We're well into double-digits now, and things are really starting to feel real. This month, we need to:
  • get invitations printed
  • mail out invitations
Oh, and:
  • take the Illinois bar exam
That, too.