Archive | February, 2012

I have a dilemma

29 Feb

I must blog more. I feel strongly that writing is what I need to do right now. I need to buckle down and post more frequently; I need to share more, acquire more readers and get more hits. Blogging makes me happy and it’s my main artistic outlet at the moment so I’ve got to give it all I’ve got! In my head I see these foggy goals and good intentions but I also see NO FREE TIME to blog. I am going to be the busiest I’ve been in looong time due to the planning of my ultra-fabulous wedding. In the 1.5 weeks since I got engaged it’s already become life-consuming, and I don’t mean this in a negative way. I get to plan one wedding and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it, I’m going squeeze every drop of fun out of the bottle and I’m going to smile even when I’m so tired I wanna I die because I get to marry the man of my dreams and this is the most exciting time in my life! Any free time I have goes to planning, car rides with the Scottish have become wedding updates and recaps, and I’ve already pushed my bedtime back an hour (which isn’t so terrible since I went to bed earlier than my grandma anyway).

Lucky for me, I have the bonus stress of planning a wedding in another state and the double bonus stress of marrying a non-US citizen and all the fun paperwork that comes along with that. I have searched the web and there doesn’t seem to be any brides-to-be out there blogging about either topic. I mean, a wedding in Minnesota, in late winter/early spring, are you a lunatic? I know people have done it, I’ve seen the pictures but where’s the juicy inside scoop? I want to know what happened when the snow prevented your cake from making it on time and how you had to serve your guests store-bought cookies after a frantic trip to the grocery store, or how your MOH slipped on ice and ended up in the hospital for a fractured ankle but the photographer followed you all there to get some beautiful pics anyway. And hello, I know I am not the only person marrying a foreigner but why isn’t anyone blogging (bitching) about all the stupid rules and steps you have to follow, and do they really quiz your family to see if you’re in love? I need to know these things! But most of all, I want to laugh.

When all of this gets so overwhelming that I can barely afford to get to Minnesota let alone pay for the caterer or the DJ, I want to be able to laugh. Or I want to cry, either one works. I know I have trouble going with the flow sometimes, but I never have trouble laughing. So that’s my plan. Plan, laugh, mistake, laugh, hiccup, laugh, fail, laugh (and then cry)… you get the idea.

And since I can’t find any blogs with topics that fit my fancy, I will just have to write about them myself. I will make myself laugh and it will be sort of weird but I will do it.

Do you see my dilemma in all of this? It’s hard to believe but not everyone wants to read about weddings all the time. *GASP* I’m already making the conscious effort to not be a one-note Nancy and only discuss wedding things with friends in person, but while it might seem excessive, this is the place where I should be able to let it all out. On the other hand, I hate to lose readers and I hate to write with such tunnel vision, but it’s only one year of my life and then I promise to talk about normal stuff again. Until I have kids. Haha, just kidding! Kind of.

I still want this to be a relationship-focused blog, it’s just going to be about one relationship in particular most of the time, but within that, I can examine my relationships with my mother, sister, friends, father, brother, future mother and father-in-laws, my relationship with myself, and more!

I’m also going to submit my blog to the wedding website known as Weddingbee in hopes of being chosen to have my posts featured on their website to reach thousands of women. But to do that I need to write solely about my wedding and write more frequently. And when the next Midwestern bride marrying a gentleman from the UK searches the web for insight, she’ll find me, and hopefully she’ll laugh. 🙂

Quote: From a bridal magazine, reminding brides to not over-tax their maids: “Are you planning a wedding or running a sweatshop?” It made me laugh.

My first DIY

26 Feb

No, you aren’t lost, this is Stephanie’s blog, but with a twist! Yesterday I hosted a bachelorette party and it was a great success but I am consequently too tired to write anything profound. I have noticed that a lot of people’s blogs feature the cute new items they’ve made and since I recently made a craft myself (ahh, thankyouverymuch), I thought I’d share it with my readers. It was quite an intensive project as you’ll see below.

I was looking for cute wine glasses for my friend to use at her bachelorette party, and I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I made them MYSELF. First, I bought the wine glasses, and then I bought the glitter glue pens. I went home, and after washing and drying the wine glasses, I wrote “Bride-to-be, Maid-of-Honor, and Bridesmaid” on them. Following that I let them dry. Surprisingly, they didn’t take that long to make!

And they were a big hit! I’m proud of myself and hopefully this is the first of many DIY projects in the future. My next project is my Wedding Collage.

Ummmmm, yeaaaaaa, I don’t know any quotes about crafting…….

Quote: “I don’t mind at all when people stare at me. In fact, I love it. There isn’t much point in being glamorous if nobody will appreciate it.” Jayne Mansfield

This is the story of how I thought I might get engaged this weekend and then it really happened.

22 Feb

If this is your first time reading my blog and you don’t know how crazy I am, or if you just want a refresher, click HERE to read all about my desire to get hitched. And now for the story…

The Scottish was very VERY aware of the fact that I wanted to have my family nearby after the proposal. If you’ll remember back to Christmas and the drama of how he “missed” the perfect opportunity, it would make sense that he would seize this past weekend when my Mother and Father were visiting us here in Chicago. I know it sounds sort of weird, why wouldn’t I want to be alone with The Scottish at such a special time? Well, why do I blog about my inner-most thoughts? Why do I like to be in front of people? Why do I share private details of my life with complete strangers? All of these are great questions. The answer is, I love people, and my good news is your good news and vice-versa. I wanted to be able to hug my mom afterwards and luckily I got to do just that!

So all day on Saturday after picking up my parents from Midway Airport, I was going back and forth wondering if this would be the day. It ended up being the day we stood in line for over three hours to see the top of Willis Tower and to walk out over the famous “ledge;” compared to when my sister and SBF (sister’s boyfriend) were here and it took us 15 minutes, it felt like quite the wait! I heard later that the Scottish said to my Dad, “I’d like to marry your daughter,” while we were at the top overlooking the city. My Dad, true to form answered with a fist pump in the air to show his excitement. Later that night, he passed the good news on to my Mom and her next step was to quiz my Scottish to make sure he was marrying me because he wanted to and not because I was forcing him into it like some wedding-Nazi. He confirmed what I already knew and told her this was something he really wanted to do (he bought the ring while I was in NYC a few weeks ago visiting friends). Awww! Then they thought up the terrible brilliant plan of my Dad pretending he wanted to see the top of Trump Tower the next day after church since we hadn’t made plans for the afternoon yet.

So on our way to church the very next morning my Dad suggests this idea (while I’m thinking to myself this is what the Scottish really wants to do) and my Mom agrees to it, solidifying my suspicions. I mean, my Dad NEVER gets to make decisions, and there is no way my mom was going to let him decide our next step, especially after we’d already been to the top of the Willis Tower the day before. This is when I started to get nervous. And not only that, but my mother decides that morning to “practice” with the video camera, another tell-tale sign of what’s to come… and she asks me what I’m going to do that day. I thought briefly about being a smart-ass and saying, “I’m going to get engaged today,” but then decided against that because it wouldn’t have been fair to my wonderful and nervous Scottish.

That afternoon, my Dad and the Scottish go back to the apartment to find that *Gasp* the Trump Tower bar or whatever is closed due to it being off-season. He then finds that most of his ideal spots are closed for that same reason and starts to panick. Eventually, they tell my mom that they will meet us at the John Hanock Building at 3 PM. Of course, it makes no sense for us to wait in more lines to go back to the top of yet another tall building to see yet another view UNLESS it is so the Scottish can propose.

Meanwhile, I’m shopping with my Mother and having to use the bathroom every 30 minutes to umm you know, poop, because I’m soooo nervous. Finally, we meet up with them and take the elevator to the Signature Lounge, essentially the Wine and Cocktail bar, of the John Hanock. We find a table and order drinks. I hold his hand under the table and squeeze it multiple times to let him know I love him. I later hear that the Scottish gives my mom a look of “I can’t do this in front of so many people!!!” She blatantly discreetly takes my camera from me and then heads over to the window to check out the view. I debate going to the bathroom or not before deciding to follow her to the window.

And then…. The Scottish comes up behind me, puts his hand on the small of my back and at that moment I entered what I like to call, the haze, the cloud, the shock… and I have yet to come out of it. He tells me he loves me and that he wants to continue loving me for the rest of his life. He gets down on one knee, opens the ring box, and says, “Will you marry me?”

Then I say weird things like, “Ohmigosh, I can’t believe it, and thank you!” All before saying “YES YES.” We hug and kiss, my Mom starts to get teary-eyed, and we take more pictures. My parents are literally beaming, the Scottish is shaking, and I’m dumb-founded by the fact that I’m not crying. I’m just floating in happiness but I’m not crying the tears of joy I had anticipated.

Then we check the camera only to find my Mom completely missed the entire thing and has literally two seconds of my boobs on video so we make a sort of reenactment right there by the windows and even though it’s not the real thing I’m excited to have that memory on film.

The Scottish explained that had all these words in his head but they went out the door as soon as he opened his mouth to talk. My Dad said that people all over the bar were watching us and while I was slightly disappointed in the lack of clapping, it was unreal to be proposed to in such a public way.

Afterwards we began the phone calls and stared at the stunning beauty of my ring. The picture I posted does it no justice, I am just as bad as my Mother at using a camera so I plan to get professional engagement shots done and at that point there will be some good pictures of my beautiful princess cut diamond in all it’s sparkly glory.

I know that my friends were worried I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t the grand gesture that I had built up in my head, but my engagement story is perfect, even in its non-perfection. My fiance did a FANTASTIC job and just because I knew it was coming does not make it any less special. Life works out the way it’s supposed to and I wasn’t meant to get engaged at the top of Trump Tower. The John Hanock, on the other hand, is the place he took me for dinner the first time we celebrated my birthday together. It’s place I go with my nanny kids all the time, and the Signature Lounge is one of my favorite spots in the whole city to take out-of-town guests. And now, when I take someone up to the 96th floor, I can walk over to the window that I got engaged in front of and relive the moment all over again.

I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels to be engaged. The Scottish and I are more in love than ever and we are both so excited to begin this journey together. I feel at ease and at peace. I am enamored by my ring (and hoping that all the scary nightmares I was having will stop now that I have it). Both of our families are overjoyed and supportive; we couldn’t ask for more. In the one day of planning and talking about a season and a city location my Mom has been absolutely amazing. I know she is going to be the biggest help ever.

I will keep you all posted on when reality sinks in and it hits me that my dream is coming true. And now I just want time to slow down, I want everything to go slowly, and I want to enjoy every second. This was the story of my engagement, thanks for reading.

Quote: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Dr. Seuss

note: Currently in the market for good wedding blog recommendations, specifically ones that deal with marrying someone who is NOT a US citizen, weddings set in Minnesota, and Scottish wedding traditions. I have not started looking yet, but would love to hear about your favorite wedding blogs!

My parents are in town!! I have no time to blog!!

19 Feb

Does this look familiar? We took my parents to the Willis Tower on Saturday and waited in line for a little over 3 hours. Wow.

Oh, and dreams really do come true. Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post…

Quote: “Celebrate we will for life is short but sweet for certain.” Dave Matthews Band

Sharing a bed with someone makes crying yourself to sleep nearly impossible

15 Feb

And I found this out the hard way on Monday night. I was watching the new show Smash, and if you are unfamiliar with this new drama, the short version is that it’s a show about show business. It’s a behind the scenes look at the producing, writing, auditioning, and directing of a Broadway musical. Can you say, “hits too close to home?” I mean, I really can’t pretend to relate to New York actresses who sing and dance and audition for high-profile productions about Marilyn Monroe, BUT I have felt those same feelings and I can only imagine how much harder it is to be a starving artist in NY. The blonde girl in the show has been back-up dancing in a musical for nearly a decade and is really talented but tries too hard, and the skinny brunette girl (Katharine McPhee) waits tables, has a very supportive boyfriend, and loads of talent but not enough drive or fierceness to land a big role. I relate to both of them, I try too hard AND I’m sort of the meek quiet girl when it comes to auditioning. Coupled with my hiatus from the stage and these intense feelings rushing back, I just needed a good theatrical cry.

The Scottish, and I’ll say men in general, do NOT enjoy it when women cry. They feel the need to “fix” it and they try to make suggestions and encourage you to try harder when all you want is them to say is, “It’s going to be OK.” That’s all that’s needed. But the Scottish in particular feels bad and doesn’t want me to be upset, and so I’m forced to get it together and end a good cry too early. It’s a real shame. Back in my single days I would be able to have a good meltdown by myself whenever I needed it. Sometimes I’d have two before bedtime. I am an equal-opportunity cry-er, I will cry about anything, about missing home and family, about being single and alone, about not getting the part I wanted, and most recently about back pain. And the best part (for me) is turning off all the lights, laying on my side, and letting the tears roll down my face. I imagine how cool this would look in a movie and for a moment I forget whatever it is I’m depressed about. Soon I remember why it is my life sucks in the first place, and then I yell at myself because I’m so lame I’m not even crying over real problems, and then I cry because I don’t like it when I’m forced to yell at myself. Finally, I fall asleep and then wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to tackle my “problem.” Suffice it to say, crying is a nice emotional release for me and it usually puts me in a way better mood.

But with the Scottish laying right next to me, I am feeling self-conscious and downright stupid. I know I have to quit the water works fast because he’s a light sleeper and I can’t very well be making sobbing noises when he has to get up for work the next day. Plus if he puts his arm around me he’s going to feel my shaking and that could be equally distracting. And then of course he’ll be worrying! He won’t be able to fall asleep knowing I’m so upset. I’ve tried in vain to explain to him that I’m not really that upset; I just enjoy a good cry everyday now and then.

BUT NO. I am forced to stifle my sniffles, blow my nose, and tell him that I’m OK so we can both get some sleep. Ahhhhh, sometimes I look back fondly on those dramatic nights, but when I really think about it, I have to say I prefer having someone laying next to me who cares enough to try and “fix” it. And there’s always the bathroom floor. 🙂

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! The Scottish bought me roses, a lovely card, and we had a wonderful dinner at this super cute wine bar in Wicker Park!

Quote: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Bible Psalms 30:5

All you need is Love (and possibly a sense of humor too)

12 Feb

Isn’t life just insanely busy right now? I feel like that’s the vibe on the street and among my friends and family. People are enjoying this mild winter we’ve been having and it feels like there is just so much to do as spring gets closer and closer. I’m excited! I love being busy, but I’m working on taking the time to relax and enjoy life when I find those rare moments of stillness in my schedule. I’m going to talk about LOVE now, for two reasons, 1) I had an AMAZING experience at my church’s Beatles Eucharist Sunday service and I’m feeling inspired, and 2) That dreaded Hallmark holiday is upon us, Valentine’s Day!!

Honestly, I don’t think there is anything better than love. And I’m not just talking about love between you and your partner, but also family love, the love you have for your children, your friends, your pets, your neighbor, your country, the poor, the rich, and of course your love-hate-love for Kim Kardashian. If I may be so bold, I would say that LOVE is my motto for life. I don’t always live this way but it is my goal. A few things such as my short temper, my OCD tendencies, my inability to handle change, and my need for control are all hindrances to this end but alas, I do the best I can.

I’m sort of addicted to LOVE. I constantly ask the Scottish how much he loves me or what his favorite part about me is, why, you ask? Because I’m a needy freak. My little Becca has told me before that she doesn’t love me anymore because I’ve made her angry for some reason, and she knows I’m sensitive to hearing that. Kids are wicked smart, they are. And way back when, while growing up in Minnesota, my mom was pondering the idea of fostering a child at our house and I selfishly responded with something about how will she love all of us enough and that I don’t want to share my mom anymore than I already have to. Maybe I have some weird thing about being the oldest child and feeling abandoned as the second and third kids came along. Maybe I just crave being the center of attention? And maybe I’m just a huge romantic who loves to be adored. This is getting out of hand…

OK, back to my life motto of LOVE. While I probably spend too much energy attempting to receive love, I also try to share love as much as possible. To me, being a loving person is easy. I like to give hugs. I thoroughly enjoy hearing people’s stories, and when someone talks to me I always strive to be non-judgmental and understanding. I love to cry and will cry because of you, for you, or with you. (To me, tears are not a sign of weakness, but simply a human reaction to both good and bad things.) I laugh… a lot. I think laughing is so close to loving because it means you are happy and feeling joyful. And joy = love. Spending time with people is loving them, attending their shows, going to their parties, dancing at their birthdays, eating meals with them, and everything else in between shows them you care. I really enjoy meeting new people too, which I know for most, can be a big fear. But I just love the idea of new possibilities and potential. It’s endings that frighten me. And being a good friend is a way to love someone. I joke about being self-centered quite a lot, but I do put other people first quite often.

Last year, I made the mistake of telling the Scottish I had no real need to celebrate this dumb holiday coming up, but then was shocked and appalled when he got me nothing! I guess I was a bit unclear… off the record, I actually LOVE receiving chocolates, romantic cards, flowers, balloons, jewelry, and other gifts on Valentine’s Day, but let the record show that I think it’s a stupid waste of money.

Doesn’t this make everything clear now? My obsession with weddings is not just about a white dress and a fabulous party, it’s about the celebration of two people and their love for each other. It’s the stunning performative quality of a wedding that is so beautiful. I hope the traditional wedding ceremony lives on forever! And my love of LOVE is directly related to romantic comedies too, even the most contrived love story is still fun to watch.

Go tell someone you love them. Someone you haven’t said it to in a while. And go listen to the Beatles.

With LOVE,
Stephanie

Quote: “Love is the only gold.” Lord Tennyson

Back from New York Baby

8 Feb

Yay, I’m back! And I’ve missed you all! NYC was a blast. I am going to pretend this was my first visit to the big apple because in all reality my first visit was on a high school band trip and the leash they had us on was so tight that we barely had 40 minutes to explore the city. So, to me, this felt like I was losing my NYC virginity and it was great. Although I have to say I was slightly nervous to travel there by myself. After two years of traveling with the Scottish I am embarrassed to say I was a little apprehensive to go alone. Feel free to judge. I mean, all through college I flew alone. I would drive 9 hours in a car to get home, all by myself. Now I’m either used to having company all the time or I’m getting even less adventurous in my old age- if that’s possible! What can I say, I like having him there so he can watch my luggage while I go to the bathroom. And he also listens to me whine and keeps me company… but not this time!

Arriving in NYC, I immediately strip off my coat because the weather is so WARM and BEAUTIFUL. The cab driver had his windows down and it’s the first day of February. Unbelievable. The first couple of days were spent with my friend who lives in Manhattan. We did everything. We walked through Central Park, we visited the famous toy store FAO Schwarz for candy, we had high tea at the Plaza, saw the 9/11 memorial, experienced Times Square, walked the High Line, went to Brooklyn, rode a carousel, took a water taxi, went shopping, and ate tons of amazing food. This friend and I share a love of indulgence. We ate whatever we wanted when we wanted and had a blast the whole time. I got to spend visit with her and her awesome boyfriend and since she knows a ton about the city, I learned a lot. She and I had a great time catching up and laughing at ourselves.

The second friend I visited lives in a beautiful part of Queens called Astoria. It was so fun to explore her neighborhood and she took me to Rockefeller Center, Chelsea Market, and perhaps the most beautiful place in the whole city, Kleinfelds. I did a good job of NOT remembering that if I had been engaged by this trip I would have made an appointment at Kleinfelds and that maybe my dream of being on a TLC wedding show would have come to true. It really didn’t cross my mind. 🙂 Anyway, this friend and I are kindred spirits as we like to say. We say the same things at the same time and laugh at the same stupid things. This is my frugal friend and I mean that in the nicest of ways. She kept me grounded and on my budget. Then another friend from the DC area met up with us and we had girly time the night before I left. This friend is getting married in October and I’m so honored to have been asked to be in her wedding! I was so lucky to be able to catch up with so many people!

So yes, New York City is amazing but I am such a Chicago-loving-freak. Here’s why:
1. They don’t have alleyways in NYC so all the trash bags go on the street in piles. It’s so gross. I can’t.
2. I can own a car in Chicago, but I could never own one in NYC. They have a great transit system but I love that I have the option of either here in Chi-town.
3. Going through Times Square was like being on crack, I couldn’t focus on one thing, I barely heard my friend talking, and I was just over-stimulated the whole time. (Sidebar: I don’t do drugs, therefore this analogy may not make any sense to those of you who do. For all I know, Times Square could be nothing like being on crack.)
4. They don’t do no-chip manicures in NYC!! Hello, what is the one princess-y thing I indulge in? It’s not my hair or my clothes, it’s my nails! NYC has to get it together cause my mani from there is awful.
5. I just love people from the Midwest and being close to my family.

So all in all, it was a successful trip and I can’t wait to go back! Just because I don’t want to live there doesn’t mean I don’t want to visit again! Next time though, I’ll bring the Scottish- not because I’m co-dependent, but because he’s never seen New York and damn it, he should.

I believe I previously mentioned that the Scottish and I were going to host a Superbowl Party. Well we did and it was a huge success! People came, people watched, people bet, people ate, and people won. It’s going to be an annual thing for us I think, I really want to be known as the couple that hosts the Superbowl Party, and next year everyone’s invited! Yay! Donations for extra-large TV begin now. 🙂 Anywho, my Scottish did so well buying the groceries and helping me get ready since I was off living it up with my girls, and I owe him a huge thank-you!

This blog is all over the place but I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY! My brain wants to explode after a week and a half without writing!

If you go to NYC, go to Momofuku Milk Bar- it’s amazing.
I only gained half a pound after four days of eating what I wanted and going over my points. I walked a ton and never ate so much that I felt sick. Now I’m back on the wagon and doing well.
The 9/11 memorial is so stunning, I highly recommend visiting it when you can. It’s a great tribute to those we lost.
Thank you to my awesome friends for hosting me and making my vacation so lovely!
I developed a minor crush on a man who worked with alligators, long story, but he had a wedding ring on so it’ll never work, and it just made me miss my Scottish even more.

OK phew, I think I’m done.

Quote: “It isn’t like the rest of the country- it is like a nation itself- more tolerant than the rest in a curious way. Littleness gets swallowed up here. All the viciousness that makes other cities vicious is sucked up and absorbed in New York.” John Steinbeck

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