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Why Do I Look so Fat in Pictures Part 2

2 May

As you may or may not know, when you are looking for a certain type of advice or information on the internet the easiest way to find it is to enter your inquiry into the search tab and click enter. If you are searching for a particular blog about a specific topic, the same situation applies. At WordPress.com they track the phrases people type in that brings them to your blog. I kid you not, the most searched for phrase that directs people to my blog is,

WHY DO I LOOK SO FAT IN PICTURES?

… (waiting for the laugher to subside) Color me surprised! My most commonly searched phrase has nothing to do with relationships or weddings or family or religion or even Kim Kardashian.

I can’t say that I’m shocked, since my previous post with that exact title was my way of sharing with you all that I had joined Weight Watchers. Well since then I have fallen off the WW wagon, but fortunately I am still down the 13 pounds I lost when I first started. The points system just became too dreary and stupid, plus after going to Scotland and ignoring my diet, I got lazy and indifferent.

Despite all that, I’m feeling pretty darn good about my body these days. I’m still watching what I eat and some days I enter my points (most days I don’t) and I’m still working out when I can. But the issue that haunted me back then is haunting me still, and I can’t help but ask, WHY DO I LOOK SO FAT IN PICTURES? Remember my friend who recently got married, and remember how I was the Maid of Honor? Well she sent us a link to some of the pictures that her photographers posted online. And I was literally taken aback, practically falling off my stool in fright! The first picture I’m in is one where I’m helping the bride put on her veil. My upper body looks like I’ve gained about 20 pounds, no joke. My arms are huge and floppy, my one boob is bulging out and I’m looking wider than ever. WHHHHYYYYY!!!!!

Talk about disappointing. I was feeling good and I thought I looked good. So I sent the link to the Scottish, my mother, and best friend, asking their unbiased honest opinions. They said maybe the cut of that dress wasn’t the best on you, and they thought that specific picture was a bit off but I looked great in the rest of them. Ahh, suspicions confirmed! Clearly I look like a curvy, gorgeous, model in REAL life but in pictures I’m the extra-large version of myself! Or is the camera adding ten pounds and a dose of reality?

In related news, I’ve come to the conclusion that I LOVE food more than I HATE working out. I’ve discovered that both an aversion to working out and an obsession with sweets is a deadly combination. Therefore, I’m going to amp up the calorie burning so I can maintain the joy I feel from eating. Mmmm food. Food.is.so.good.

Did I mention the one thing I’m splurging on for the wedding is photography? By splurging I don’t mean spending copious amounts of money, rather I won’t be penny-pinching my photographer or going with the cheapest option. I won’t be having my guests DIY the photos with disposable cameras, or limiting our photographers to a certain number of hours. I want the whole day captured and I want our story told.

Yes, I’m so cliché it hurts, right? I want to lose weight for my wedding like every other bride-to-be on the planet! BUT NO, that is not how I see it.

I love my curves and my shape, but I need to tone up. I want to get those prints back from my photographer and not utter a single complaint (which is hard because we are all our own biggest critics when it comes to our bodies). Instead of screaming, WHY DO I LOOK SO FAT IN PICTURES? I want to scream, WOW, I LOOK SO GOOD IN THESE PICTURES!!

Can I do it? Any tips out there??

Quote: “I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.” Marsha Doble

I was in a wedding this weekend!

23 Apr

On Saturday I was the Maid of Honor in my friend’s wedding. My friend, AKA the BRIDE, looked absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It was such a special day and I’m so glad I was there to see all the hard work come to fruition.

The days leading up to the wedding were kind of hectic, mostly for the bride and her mother (who did all her flowers and might do my flowers next March if I’m so lucky), but as MOH, I got to join in some of the hectic fun too! Two days before the wedding, the bride and I were meeting to get our nails done, and what happens? My friend got a flat tire and we have to call AAA. Luckily, they quickly put on a spare and we moved on to other errands and lunch. The day before that she had to drop her almost-husband off at work because HIS car broke down. They say it’s good luck to have bad luck before the wedding, right? Luckily, my friend was quite the pro at keeping her cool and just kept laughing stuff off. The night before the wedding the bride, myself, and her friend from out-of-town spent the night in a king-sized bed, trying to get sleep before THE BIG DAY.

And at the spunky hour of 6 AM, her designer/seamstress/friend arrived with her gorgeous wedding dress (having worked all night on some last minute hiccups). She tried it on and it fit! We rejoiced and started to get ready. Around 10 AM, she decided to look at all her wedding jewelry and noticed that her custom-made bracelet had broken. NOT GOOD. We had lunch/family/bouquets coming at 11 and the hair stylist coming at noon! The three of us made a mad dash to the mall and bought a few new strands, and after some jewelry surgery, she had a beautiful new bracelet to wear. 🙂

Then everyone started to arrive and her hotel room was bustling. We all got pretty, steamed our dresses, put on our jewels, and by 4:30 we were waiting in the lobby for our transportation to the church.

The ceremony was a Catholic mass and while that’s not my normal cup of tea, it was still very lovely and the priest was great. The aisle was quite long but I made it up the whole way without tripping! I did not, however, make it through the whole service without crying, but that was to be expected. 🙂

The reception was a blast because their families really know how to party and dance, and they had hired a fantastic band! I wish I could describe how beautiful my friend looked, but let’s just say she was stunning and leave it at that. (Her husband looked adorable too but no one outshines the bride!) The day went by just as they had imagined it, and I know they are still trying to let it sink in that they are officially married! I’m so excited for them and so relieved I made it through my toast (which got quite a few compliments I might add). The party went on well into the early morning and everyone had an amazing time! Plus, I totally maxed out the sweet table. Yum!

Soon it was Sunday. And exhaustion hits. After the Scottish and I left the hotel we stopped at Old Country Buffet. EPIC FAIL. I was in a daze, clearly, and the Scottish had never been to one. I guess I had these great memories of going there as a kid because you can get whatever you want and fill up your plate as many times as you’d like and there’s DESSERT, lots of DESSERT! As an adult, OCB is just sad and gross. I mean, the food is processed and weird, and it’s not the cleanest of restaurants, I mean, a Denny’s would have been 5 steps up but no, we had to go to the buffet. Sigh.

Sunday included a nap (I never nap), but it did not include a shower (I always shower). Crazy, right? Sometimes it’s good to take a break from life and do nothing. So that’s what I did. Even if it was hard. Yes, you heard that right, it’s DIFFICULT for me to relax. (Again, thank you mother.)

Anyway, want to see a picture of my bouquet… isn’t it lovely?? Her mom did an excellent job.

Quote: “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” David Viscott

It’s official, my Groom has something to wear!

11 Apr

BIG, VERY EXCITING NEWS… our tartan has been designed AND ordered.
(insert applause and sigh of relief here)

One of the main wedding-oriented tasks we wanted to accomplish on our trip to Scotland was the making of this tartan. After much encouragement from American family and friends, I was surprised when the Scottish’s friends were the ones who thought it was a little unnecessary and over-the-top. I guess it makes sense, their culture doesn’t buy into the crazy, big weddings that we do on this side of the pond and while they are all so excited to come to the wedding, they are just being practical and I totally understand that.

But since making a family tartan was deemed “top of the list important” to the Scottish and I, on the day after my arrival the Scottish and I sat down at a website that not only let us pick our colors but also arrange each color at different widths. We decided to follow a pattern we liked so that our tartan had a good chance of looking somewhat normal. Our colors were taken from the wedding theme and I’m thrilled with the result.

Once the kilt was designed, the Scottish went online to register it. We recently found out that we can’t use just the Scottish’s surname because your clan/family name would have to be registered by the the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh and that is usually reserved for historic family clans that already have tartans. And I totally get that, plus we can’t just make a kilt for every person with that last name, but we CAN make it specific to our branch of the Scottish’s last name. The woman at the Scottish Register of Tartans suggested we use both of our last names with a hyphen in between. So not only will my new last name be associated with the kilt but also my maiden name, pretty cool right?

We have to wait about a month and a half before it arrives but I can promise you there will be a follow-up post with more details.

For now, I am really excited and here’s why:
1) It’s the Scottish’s first kilt!! He’s never worn one before and I’m happy to announce that he’ll be wearing his personalized kilt for the first time on our wedding day.

2) We now have a family tartan!! For those of you who’ve read about my kilt woes then you understand how much I wanted this special element of his culture to be incorporated into the wedding. I picture us passing down the tartan from generation to generation, and it’s my way of embracing his country and it’s traditions (which isn’t always easy with us living in the US).

3) This is one more thing we can check off the wedding to-do list! Usually it’s the bride who orders her dress first because of the time it takes to get in and altered, but in our case, the Scottish got to join in the joys of formal-wear-ordering-fun.

Before I unveil the design, here are a few tartans we looked at for inspiration.

Rangers Tartan

Colhoun Tartan

Those are both lovely but it’s time for the big reveal and without further ado, HERE IS OUR NEW FAMILY TARTAN:

(insert last name here) Tartan

Unfortunately it’s a small photo and it’s nearly impossible to see all the different lines of color, but the majority of the tartan alternates between plum and a forest green. I’m sooo curious to see how the colors look in person!

Finally, I know it’s not good etiquette to talk about money and budget when pertaining to the wedding but I pride myself on the honesty of this blog and I like to express gratitude when it’s due. The Scottish and I are grateful to his parents for helping with the monetary expenses of buying a custom-designed kilt, and want them and everyone to know how special they are to us.

Quote: “KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.” Ambrose Bierce

Bye Bye Bridal Banter

21 Mar

After a LOT of thought, I have decided to go back to the way things were with “Drama Happens” and start a separate wedding blog. It just feels too overwhelming and too restrictive (all at the same time!) to write about my wedding on my Relationship/Life blog. Those interested in the wedding talk aren’t getting enough of the good stuff, and those uninterested in the wedding talk are getting too much. I don’t feel like I can write about one thing and one thing only for the next year and I really don’t want to lose all my regular readers while doing so.

The decision is partly due to the fact that I’m DYING to be a blogger for The Hive, and I really need to prep, revise, document, and photograph every single step of my wedding planning to be considered. I have to start taking a camera everywhere and the names and faces can’t be changed… WHICH MEANS, the identity of the Scottish will be revealed on said wedding blog. Can you feel the excitement? Not really? Me neither, because most people who read this either know the Scottish personally or are Facebook friends with us. HOWEVER, there are some people who follow my blog that I do not know (thank you WordPress) and perhaps they feel some excitement.

For now, I am not sure how public my wedding blog will be. It might be more of a private thing until I figure out where it’s headed, that said, if you just love everything wedding and can’t get enough of the decision-making, the stress, and the details- both large and small, then please shoot me a message on Facebook, email, or reply here and once it’s up and running I will pass on the info. What’s a blog for if not to share?

So while this means I can start blogging about other stuff again, it means the posts will be less frequent and my Wednesday/Sunday schedule will be lost. Because let’s be honest, planning a wedding, working full-time, AND writing for two blogs is a crazy person’s idea.

But never fear! I have great posts in my head waiting to get out! You can look forward to such entries as “Why I prefer Male Doctors Over Females” and of course we have yet to hear from my friend who is an open marriage! I promise that will happen at some point but probably not until end of April/early May.

So thank you friends, for being patient through this time of transition. And cheers to you and your own artistic outlet. If you don’t have one, go find one.
Much love,
Stephanie

Quote: “Success is like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired- you quit when the gorilla is tired.” Robert Strauss

Fat Bastard is my favorite fictional Scottish Character

18 Mar

“Get in mah belly!!!” I’m quite good at reciting this line from my all-time favorite movie series EVER, Austin Powers. I think Mike Meyers is a comedic genius and that trilogy has been making me laugh for as long as I can remember. My brother and I used to entertain the family with lines from the movies while we sat around a campfire roasting marshmallows. Good times. And while I can very succinctly replicate Fat Bastard’s accent, I am a big failure when it comes to copying my fiancé’s Scottish accent. I always seem to sound British cockney or Australian, Irish, or just plain mentally ill. However, my interpretation of his accent is always good for a laugh and last night while drinking beers with our friends who were in town from Minnesota, we came up with the moronic brilliant idea that at our wedding, the Scottish should thank everyone in an American accent, and I should thank everyone in a Scottish accent. That way our toasts will surely be memorable.

It got me thinking less about my venue stress and more about how I want to incorporate as much Scottish tradition into the wedding as possible. Thanks to Best Friend, I found a website called “Scottish Wedding Dream,” and finally have found some time to explore it and since I was exploring I thought I would share my findings with you, my readers. Below you’ll find a few gems that I figured were worth sharing in a segment called Traditions Part One.

All quotes are taken from here: I hope you like Tartans.

Traditions Part One
Handfasting. I love being engaged and I love that I get almost a year to prepare for marriage and to enjoy my final days of being legally single before I commit to the love of my life. Back in the medieval times in Scotland, they had a similar engagement period known as handfasting. It’s essential marks the start of a “trial-run” of the marriage and the bride and groom’s hands are tied together with a cord or cloth of tartan pledging themselves to each other. One year and one day later they decide to either stay together and have a wedding or to separate. And being very egalitarian about it, either party could decide not to go through with it. My favorite reason behind handfasting is this:
“There were practical reasons for this arrangement. Children were needed to work in the father’s trade. During this year, the bride’s fertility, or lack thereof, could be determined.” So basically it’s like the modern-day couple living together before getting married, but without birth control since the goal is procreation. OH how times have changed.

Surnames. The whole idea of taking the man’s last name is such a personal thing that I don’t think any woman should feel bad no matter what she chooses. Some feminists consider changing your name to be a step back for women everywhere, whereas some conservative brides consider it a disrespectful act to keep your maiden name. I don’t care what anyone else does, but I have decided to change my name. To me, it’s a symbolic act that outwardly shows the joining of my life with the Scottish. Plus, my mom took my dad’s name, and it makes me feel good to follow that tradition. Why should me taking my future husband’s name have anything to do with my views on gender equality? I still am who I am regardless of my last name, and I plan to become famous either way. 🙂
On a peculiar and interesting note, Scottish tradition states that it’s bad luck if couples share the same first letter of their last names. It is eloquently explained in this rhyme:
“To change the name
and not the letter
Is to change for the worst
and not the better.”

Umm, yea, doubtful… BUT I am going from an “L” to a “C” just to stay on the good side of my Scottish luck. 🙂

Stag and Hen Parties. Translation: Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties!! WHOO-HOOO!! Since I’ve known the Scottish he has always referred to his big event as a “Stag Do,” and it makes me feel inspired to call my upcoming girl fest a “Hen Do.” Why the heck not?? Apparently, embarrassing the groom goes back a looong time because tradition states that the groom had to carry a basket of stones on his back while walking through town (called Creelin’), unless his bride were to give him a kiss, then he could stop. What fun that sounds like… I suppose it’s not much different from the “Let’s get the groom so completely trashed and make him do stupid stuff” that happens these days. Pretty sure my Scottish would prefer to get drunk before being embarrassed.

They say the Hen Party started because people used to bring gifts for the bride-to-be’s upcoming wedding feast (sort of like a Bridal Shower?), and often times these gifts included hens. Then a few days before the wedding everyone helped pluck the hens and prepared them to be eaten. While I love the idea of having a “Hen Do,” I’m gonna go ahead and say right now that I prefer lingerie and kitchenware to poultry.

That’s it for now, but there are so many more traditions to discover. One tradition told to me by FMIL is to add a bit of white heather to your bouquet for good luck. I think that’s my favorite one so far!!

Is anyone else incorporating their heritage into their wedding planning? Or has anyone seen a cool wedding tradition in action? If so, what are they?

Quote: “The judicious bride saved these special feathers to stuff future pillows and comforters for her home.” Scottish Wedding Dreams Website

Eminem and the Spice Girls

14 Mar

Well, well, well, I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t do much on my day off. I shouldn’t feel this way because most people in my life ENCOURAGE me to relax now and again, to work less, to chill more. Alas, I hold myself to high standards and had great intentions to go to my Pilates class, sweep the floor, and do the laundry, but nothing really needed to be done. Nothing was urgent and I was just in a mood to sit on the couch (yes I know it’s beautiful but I am lucky enough to be able to walk around outside for my job almost everyday so it was OK to be inside). So sit on the couch I did.

But because I am who I am (and that is my mother’s daughter), I was productive. I still needed to make the bouquet for my friend’s rehearsal dinner, you know how you take the bows from bridal shower gifts and arrange them into something she can hold while doing her dress rehearsal of walking down the aisle? Well I made that today and I’m quite proud of it but because my lovely friend reads this blog, I don’t want to post any pictures of it so she can be surprised. 🙂

The other productive thing I did was start my wedding dance songs playlist. WHOO-HOOO! Why so early you ask? When there are engagement photo props to be made, Scottish wedding traditions to research, contract agreements to go over, and other things piling up? Well, again nothing was that urgent, and starting something that can be revised along the way seemed like way less commitment.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a loser when it comes to music. I’ve been to a total of two concerts in my life, I can never tell you who sings what, most of the music I listen to can also be found on the radio, and my IPOD is over 5 years old. I know, what a winner.

Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I’m one of those people who desires to have background music scoring their life, but I just don’t obsess about or collect or enjoy music in the same way other people do. That said, I am going to be very deliberate that every song on our list is totally and completely AWESOME. The songs will be awesome but also the most random collection of music possible. Basically I just love the most popular songs from the famous of artists. See how all that radio listening pays off! Our wedding will have fun and crazy bump and grind top 40 music, followed by The Beatles, followed by Mariah Carey, followed by Mumford and Sons, followed by Destiny’s Child, etc, etc. By now you’ve figured out that I also love both Eminem AND the Spice Girls. I mean, what’s not to love? I just want to have the time of our lives, and dance all night. Lucky for me, most of my girlfriends are sizzlin’ hot on the dance floor, all of my family knows how to kick up their heels, and most of the Scottish’s friends will be drunk enough to dance as well so I’m thinking it’s going to be one heck of a night! They say that your guests have a good time when they see YOU having a good time! So the Scottish and I will pick the songs that make US want to dance and I have no doubt it will be amazing and beautiful. And hopefully a little dirty.

And just to keep everyone on their toes (hahaha), they’ll be some authentic Scottish dancing known as a Ceilidh, and I literally can’t wait for that unique part of our evening!

Oh and I started crying when I thought of dancing with my dad. I love wedding planning!!!!!!

Quote: “Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.” Ronald Reagan

Never thought I’d do THIS

13 Mar

I think I will be booking my wedding venue sight unseen.

Now, before anyone freaks out, calls me crazy, (or just plain stupid), let me explain. Just because my fiance and I will not be viewing the venue does not mean that no one will have seen it. In fact, two very trusted people have seen said venue and have fallen in love with it. They are my mother and my sister, and I heard through the grapevine that one of them may have cried tears of joy. How is that for a confirmation? Besides that, who knows me better than my mom and little sis? They get my taste for fancy, they know my need for drama, and they understand how I want things to look more expensive than they really are… in short, they know how to think like a princess. 🙂

This isn’t an easy decision though and in all honesty, it’s not been officially made. I still have to have the final conversation with the Scottish about this and before that he and I are viewing a hotel (of the same chain) here in the Chicago area to see if this is the sort of place we can envision ourselves getting married. The other part of the plan is for my mother to check out an entirely different hotel option before any deposits are made, and then if we all agree that it is the right step, we might just go for it. Sight unseen.

The thing is, I can’t get back to Minnesota until early May! And if we go with our March idea for a wedding (more on that to come in a post called, “I’M HAVING A MARCH WEDDING IN MINNESOTA SO I MUST BE A LUNATIC EVEN THOUGH SO FAR THIS CURRENT MARCH HAS THE BEST EVER”) and it’s already less than 365 days til the BIG day, yikes but also how exciting is that!?!?! The venue needs to be booked so we can send out STD’s to everyone, so people from across the pond can start pricing flights, so other vendors can be booked, etc, etc, ETC.

That said, it’s quite frightening to commit to something you’ve never seen. But it helps that we have limited options to begin with:
1. We love the idea of one-stop wedding hopping, especially considering our percentage of OOTG. (Quiz time, do you remember what that means? Out-of-town guests, yay GO YOU!) We really want our guests to have the luxury of one space fits all! We want people to be able to flow easily from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception and finally to their comfy hotel beds. Speaking from experience, I’ve always enjoyed the option of switching my shoes, putting my purse away, or just using a private bathroom when I’ve stayed at the same hotel or lodge that the wedding reception was taking place in.
2. We save on transportation costs. The Chicagoans and Scottish folk will be able to avoid car rentals because the hotel we are looking at has free shuttles to and from the airport as well as shuttles to the MOA (Mall of America) and other places. The Minnesotans can drive if they so desire because the hotel is only 15 minutes from our Twin City suburb, and they will know the area. They’ll also know how to drive on the right side of the road. (Hehehe, Mr. Scottish isn’t going to find that as funny as I do!)
3. I am without a church to call my home. I grew up attending church in an elementary school cafeteria. We were big on faith and people but didn’t have much money so we rented our space every Sunday from a local school. When my church joined with another church in the area that had a nice sized building I was getting older and soon went off to college. It’s a nice building but it’s just not big enough to house all of our friends, families, and my princess dreams.

So ultimately, it made sense that we would have a religious-based ceremony but that it wasn’t going to be in a church. To be honest, I had always pictured myself walking down a beautiful aisle in a gorgeous church with stained glass windows, a commanding organ, and a familiar pulpit, but those kinds of churches don’t exist in my non-denominational faith anyway, so when discussing venue options with my parents that first night we were engaged, both the Scottish and I decided on a hotel with little hesitation.

I am ready! I am ready to commit to a date, a place, and a time. This wedding will be uniquely our own and it will happen where and when it should. It’s a practice of faith really, believing in something you can’t see, and trusting the ones you love. Not a bad thing to have to practice in my book.

Quote: “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.” Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)

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