Traffic

So the great thing about posting on my blog more regularly is that my readership is really starting to grow! I mean, I think this this could make me famous… Check out these awesome comments I’ve been receiving!

It’s like I’m finally getting through to people, you know? They just get it. 

Crochet

I almost started this post with a total lie. I was going to say, “The one craft that I’m actually proficient at is crochet.” But that’s not exactly true. 

What I should say is, “the one craft that I’m actually proficient at is crocheting scarves and throw blankets with straight lines.” 

I’ve done up maybe only a handful of granny squares, and I’ve made a couple hats (using an “in the round” technique”) and that’s virtually it, outside of what I mentioned before. 

Nonetheless, I have gotten decent at switching colors and I’m almost sure I have it in me to learn some zig zag techniques and possibly some granny square afghans! 

Anyway- the point of this post was to say that I’m working up a new scarf and it is totally getting me in the mood for this chilly weather! If you’re on my Christmas list there’s a good chance you’re getting a scarf this year! (Heads up, if you follow me on Pinterest, you can pretty much predict exactly what I’ve been up to cooking/crafting/making-wise) 

Unsolicited Advice for Brides to Be: Part Two

Back with the second half of my wedding reflections!

3. The Internet is your best friend and your worst enemy. 

Getting married in what I can only refer to as the “Pinterest Age” created a unique set of circumstances. Pinterest provides a wealth of resources and insurmountable challenges.

We’ll start with the bad news:
The fact is you can only have one wedding. So each time you visit a blog that features a beach wedding, a farm wedding, a blue and yellow wedding, a Hindu/Jewish fusion wedding, an urban wedding, and so on, you fall in love with it and you have to kill the other wedding you were already planning in your head.

Brett and I imagined the following weddings:
-A wedding at Red Barn Farm in Kansas City
-A rooftop wedding at the Kansas City Public Library
-A wedding in a loft in Downtown Kansas City
-A wedding on the beach in Dauphin Island, Alabama
-A wedding at my grandparent’s house

I also imagined decorations running the gamut from deep jewel-toned Moroccan flair to Dr. Seuss inspired bright colors and fantastically shaped centerpieces. The wedding we ended up with? One with a rustic, antique decor at my parent’s farm. But the cascade of ideas didn’t stop there! Hay bales for seating or chairs? Escort cards? Centerpieces? Altar?

A little inspiration is good. A lot is bad. Very bad. Your wedding won’t look as good as the gorgeous ones you see featured on blog after blog. It will look better, I promise. It will turn out better than you ever imagined. That’s the good news.

My advice regarding sites like Pinterest is to harness its energy in a controlled way. Limit your time just browsing for “inspo.” Let your style and good taste guide you. From there, use Pinterest and wedding blogs as a tool. Want to make your own invitations? Search “DIY Invites” and focus your time on that project. Too cheap to use a florist? (Me too.) Pinterest helped me find a tutorial for coffee-filter flowers that was easy and saved me a ton of money.

My final piece of advice is the most important. If you forget the rest of it, please remember this:

4. Plan a marriage, have a wedding. 

Note how this is remarkably different than planning a wedding and having a marriage. Your marriage is not a by-product of your wedding. It’s not a consequence. It’s is the foundation, the gas, the lifeblood. A wedding isn’t a party for you. It’s not a party for your soon-to-be spouse. Or your parents, or families, or friends. It’s a celebration of a lifetime commitment. If you spend the duration of your engagement focused on the wedding day without spending significant time considering what comes after, you’re doing it wrong.

In past incarnations of my life I have been a lot of things: bossy, demanding, dramatic, bitchy. I wanted my wedding to be an opportunity to be the best version of myself- focused, considerate, gracious. I consider my family and friends to be my A-Team. These are the people on whom I know I can call when things are not always as magical as our wedding day. When Brett and I inevitably experience the valleys of life, it is on this support group that I know we can lean.

Because I expect so much from them (we had our wedding guests make a vow of commitment to us during our ceremony…) I wanted to give them the best of me as well. Put your relationship(s) front and center during this process. Be a kinder, more patient, more forgiving person. Do this for your spouse, your friends, your parents, and yourself.

It isn’t about not being a “Bridezilla.” It’s about cultivating the blessings of deep, committed love. Dig into it. Invest in it. I already know how valuable the returns really are!

Unsolicited Advice for Brides to Be: Part One

Coming fresh off planning a wedding and better yet, getting married, I thought it might be prudent to write down a few of the nuggets I uncovered during my journey. I know a gal or two who are getting ready for their own weddings (I’m looking at you Sarah!) so I thought I’d share what I’ve come to know.

I read a lot of articles before I walked down the aisle, hoping to prepare myself for what was to come. Some of it helped, some of it didn’t, and there was still a lot that caught me off-guard.

Reading my tips won’t help you avoid mishaps any more than anything else, but perhaps it might offer some auxiliary guidance! I learned a little about planning the big day and some about experiencing it as well. I’ve narrowed it down to four thoughts, and I’ll share the first two today.

1. If it’s a detail no one will notice, don’t spend any emotional energy on it. 

I think this was the biggest lesson I learned during the planning process. There are a lot of details to be decided and each one offers opportunity for frustration- if you let it. 

I implemented this rule when we were printing our invitation envelopes. Knowing that we couldn’t afford professional calligraphy and not wanting to burden any of my friends with nice penmanship, I considered handwriting the address myself. Then, realizing that was an absolutely insane idea, I opted to download a pretty font and print them from our home printer.

For the life of me, I couldn’t get the addresses to align in the center of the envelope. I changed the page size, I printed from a pdf, I changed the font size- all useless attempts. When I called for back up and even Brett couldn’t figure it out, we decided, in so many words: “Screw It.” These envelopes are literally going in the trash.

And so our mantra was born: if no one will notice, we aren’t allowed to worry about it. Remember that no one else is in on the planning process (except those you chose to involve) so they won’t know that you really, really wanted brown gravy, but your caterer only offered white. They’ll never know they had any other choice.

2. Don’t underestimate your ability to forget. 

Even if you are a list maker, a reminder-setter, a Grade A organizational all-star, you’ll forget something  on your wedding day and you’ll forget something big. If it’s important and you want it to happen on your big day, tell someone else. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it. You’ll forget about that too, but no one else will notice anyway. This goes back to number 1.

I really wanted to stop as my dad was walking me down the aisle and give a big hug to my godfather. Knowing that I would already be a bundle of wild nerves, I made sure to tell my dad, our officiant, our usher, and the entire wedding party. I think just telling other people made me remember it.

However, I did end up forgetting our checkbook at the hotel, fabric markers for our guest quilt, forks for our cake- these things had to be brought to us later. We also completely forgot about the marriage license until our officiant had already left the reception! Our witnesses remembered to sign it only right as we were leaving the farm.

I would suggest not letting these things bug you, but there’s hardly a chance in the world that they will. You’ll probably be so over the moon seeing all your friends and family at once and trying your hardest to hug each and every one of them, that you won’t remember what you forgot until a week after your wedding. Then it won’t even matter. (Unless it’s your marriage license. That matters. Deal with that.)

Back tomorrow with more wedding tip goodness!

Moonin’: Friday

We’ve got noticeably less photos from Friday, but to be fair- by this point we were completely exhausted. We did only a handful of rides and left the park relatively early. When we go back (years and years from now!) I’d want to give this park lots more attention. We did snag a delicious dinner at a restaurant called Sanaa in the adjacent resort, Kidani Village on Friday night and it made a really nice end cap to our trip.

We left mid morning on Saturday and flew into a bit of a storm in Kansas City that made our landing a bit rough, but the trip home was relatively easy and painless. The settling in journey begins now!

In the lobby that morning 

The Finding Nemo Musical Show.. This and the Festival of the Lion King show were both amazeballs. 
Dino Ride!

Mickey at the Jungle Parade

Before Dinner

A giraffe right outside the restaurant 

My many colored cocktail! 

Farewell Animal Kingdom Lodge! 

Moonin’: Thursday

Thursday was probably one of my favorite days of the trip. I loved Epcot. Love Love Loved.

First of all, Smash Mouth was playing a concert there which was basically a comedy goldmine for Brett and I. We got our photos taken with lots of characters and rode a few rides in the morning, but it was the second half of the day that I enjoyed so much. Epcot was hosting the International Food and Wine Festival in its World Showcase portion of the park.

The pavilions for each country were just awesome. I loved all the shops and the staging and it really ignited my passion to travel to each of those places for real! We ended our night with a delicious Mexican meal and watched their light show- Illuminations from the restaurant. Too legit.

Good Morning!

Chip and Dale

The Mouse!

Pluto

Minnie!

Donald congratulating Brett…

He was appropriately impressed with the ring!

Canada Pavilion 

Brett in front of some United Kingdom scenery with his Guinness 

With a Belgian beer 
In front of some Moroccan Scenery 

Morocco was one of my favorite pavilions 

Going local

There’s a joke I wasn’t there for in this photo. 

A troll in Norway!
Brett the Red

Brett doing the “Here I Am” pose at the Mexican Pavilion 

Moonin’: Wednesday

Wednesday was Hollywood Studios day and probably the day I was most anticipating. I visited this park just once before in 2008 and the whole time I was thinking, “wow, I wish Brett were here.”

There was so much Star Wars-ing.

Our morning photo.. You’re getting how this works by now right?

Brett at Endor

Brett and C-3PO

C-3PO and R2-D2

Brett and a gizmo

Brett and an AT-AT

 Let’s get a round of applause for the wife making the accurate Star Wars references! (Except for “gizmo” but cut me a break, what is that thing?)

Muppet’s Fountain… Featuring My Spirit Animal Miss Piggy

In front of the Tower of Terror

Meeko and Max

Beauty and The Beast Musical 

A Missouri “sticker” on a souvenir stand 

Another gizmo 

Brett on a land speeder (Confession- I had to ask him what this one was called)

He made us take a bunch of these, just in case the first ones didn’t turn out

Walk this Way… 

Brett’s best Bill Cosby 

Me, as Mary Tyler Moore

Brett doing Indiana Jones

Pit Stop in San Francisco 

The Hollywood Tower Hotel (Spooky, Scary!) 

Fantasmic! 

And… back at the pool. 

Can you tell from our photos how much stuff we jam packed into each day? I think that because we are able bodied adults without children, we probably did twice as many activities in each park than most families get to. It was a blast, but our heads hit the pillows hard every night!

Moonin’: Tuesday

Almost in an effort to confuse myself, we decided to wait to visit any of the parks until Tuesday. So even though it was the second day of the week, it was the first day of parks. That sufficiently threw me off for the rest of the trip. Monday felt like Sunday, Tuesday felt like Monday….

Brett and I had to adjust our vacation style quite a bit for this trip. When we travel, we prioritize food and then play “See Where the Car Takes Us” in terms of itinerary. Food was definitely a huge focus this trip, but we had to make our dinner reservations about 3 months in advance! We are hyper-planners during our waking lives, but we prefer to be much more loosey-goosey when we travel. That just wasn’t an option this time!

Thinking back through the haze of lace and mason jars to the moment we made our final decisions about the honeymoon is kind of tricky. We got major pro-tips from Brett’s cousin Jess who was considerate enough to take her family on vacation there on a recon mission for us before we left. Disney offers a lot of options in terms of accommodations, travel, and what/how much you want to pay for before you arrive. It can be a little overwhelming, but thanks to help from Jess and a ton of crazy Disney mom forums, we had a basic idea of our trip several months before we ever left!

Magic Kingdom was on Tuesday and without question, it will be a memory we carry with us. This is “Disney World.”

We wore geeky matching shirts to commemorate.

Our Morning Photo!

On the bus!

First photo at the park

On Main Street USA!

Lovin the Chamber! 

Swiss Family Robinson Tree House

Jungle Cruise

Jessie!

Cinderella’s Castle

In line at Haunted Mansion- Brett’s MUST SEE attraction

A long lost relative…

Tea Cups!

We pretty much had our hearts set on Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bars from the time we planned our trip

You can learn a lot of things from the flowers!

Painting the roses red

A “true” monster of comedy 

 Late afternoon, we walked over to the Contemporary Resort to do a Clark Kent to Superman change of clothes and have dinner at the California Grill. Brett and I both agreed it was the absolute best place we’d ever dined, bar none.

The real highlight of our trip was this Sushi at California Grill.

Steak and Swordfish

A really breathtaking view… Magic Kingdom is just to the right of the photo

Our desserts came with a special message!

They had great fall decorations!

We walked back to the park to see one of my favorites- the Electrical Parade!

Cinderelly 

Me and a Vintage Space Mountain Poster

We had to snap a picture at the Space Mountain poster. I’ve been to Magic Kingdom before but never ridden Space Mountain. I was at the very front of the coaster and I’m pretty sure Brett had just as much fun hearing me scream as he did riding himself.

You might have also noticed the blue buttons we are wearing in each picture. Our resort gave us these when we checked in and they say “Happily Ever After.” We got congratulated by employees, waiters, other guests, little kids… It was really awesome. Normally Brett and I don’t like to call attention to ourselves but after the actual wedding day went by in such a blur, it was nice to be reminded how special it really was all week long. I think I’ll keep wearing mine for a while longer.

Over the Moon!

I can hardly believe it, but not only are Brett and I legally wed, we’ve honeymooned, unpacked, and even unwrapped our wedding presents! This whole thing has been a completely incredible experience and if it weren’t for the head-cold I’m fighting, I’d think it was all just a dream.

I’ll probably do a wedding post or two later on, but I thought it would be fun to share our honeymoon pictures! I took a jillion, so I’ll do a post per day to keep it all manageable. Ready to relive last Monday? I sure am!

Lightning! 

Our “We’ve Arrived!” Photo

Okay, technically these first photos are from Sunday when we flew in!

Room Service Breakfast!

Every morning, we took a picture before we started our day.. 

We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and really loved all the details!

Birdies, outside our resort

The lobby view. It was gorgeous!
Our rocking view!

Monday we went to Downtown Disney to ease into the week.

Ace Ventura Jeep, outside Planet Hollywood where we ate lunch
Brett’s “Shining” Face
Me, as close as I’ll ever be to Jack Dawson.. Swoon. 
Mickey Pumpkin!

Legos!

Wookie!
Cinderella Photo Bomb

He’s arrived. Build Your Own Light Saber Station

Satisfied with his creation…
Hiding out from the rain for a bit

Pretending to be at a serious business meeting with this mug…

Graffiti 

The candy store had the COOLEST candy apples, but we opted out for fear of mega cavities!
Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Ice Cream
And finally, waiting for the bus back to the resort.

Monday was a great way to kick off our Disney week. Of course we came home with souvenirs and we ate delicious food at House of Blues. Brett had some fried chicken that was so awesome. If you follow me on Instagram, then you also got a peek of our tasty cocktails

I’ve been to Downtown Disney several times, but one of the great things about Brett is that everything is better when he’s in tow! More honeymoon fun later!