Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Third Year

The end of the year always brings things into a new perspective for me.  Usually around Thanksgiving, I start reflecting on the past year's events.  For the past month or so, I've been floating on a cloud of total bliss and thankfulness.  This year has been amazing.

Austin and I celebrate our 3rd anniversary of dating on Sunday!  I can't believe it's been so long.  We've been through so much together since January of 2008...

Our first picture together

Here is a quote I found that I truly believe captures our relationship.  As we've been planning our wedding together, we've faced a few hard decisions - but in the end, the sacrifices we make are worth it.

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away. This is both an art and a fortunate accident to have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from the branches you realize that you are one tree and not two.”

-Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Locks of Love

On April 30th 2008, Austin shaved his head.  Then he swore he wouldn't to get a hair cut for a whole year.

A year went by...
Then two years... 
Almost three years later, he had still never gotten more than a trim.

We measured his hair a few nights ago and realized that his ponytail had surpassed the 10" minimum.  So last night, he finally got his hair cut to donate to Locks of Love!

Locks of Love is a wonderful non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
If you're interested in joining the cause, here are a few of the guidelines for donating hair:
  • Hair must be gathered in a ponytail
  • Minimum length of 10" from tip to tip
  • Colored or permed hair is accepted
  • Bleached or highlighted hair is not accepted
  • Dreadlocks are not accepted  
A very lucky recipient will be happy to wear his curly hair!

And I'm just happy he got a hair cut :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving 2010
Things I'm Thankful For...

  • My fiance & I got engaged this year!
  • My lasik eye surgery was succesful & I can now see 20-15 without glasses.
  • We went on awesome cruise to celebrate my Grandpa's 70th birthday.
  • My aunt & mom came to visit me and we had an awesome girl's weekend.
  • I transferred to Houston for my job & now I get to see my fiance everyday.
  • My fiance and I both have jobs we love.
  • Our families are happy & healthy - and we are fortunate enough to get to see them often.
  • We had the chance to travel many places this year, and we're planning a trip to Ireland next year!
  • We have the best dog ever!
  • Life is good.
"The most important moment is the one we are in right now"
-V. Frankl

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Seeing Through New Eyes

Tomorrow, I will be seeing through new eyes.  I'm getting Lasik surgery done, assuming that I pass the last test of candidacy tomorrow morning.

Without glasses, I cannot read anything smaller than the "E" on the eye chart.  And even it's a bit fuzzy.

To be honest, I'm nervous.  I have always been anxious around doctors, and my body reacts poorly.  I have vasovagal syncope, which means that I often faint in painful circumstances, such as getting a shot, slamming my finger in a car door, or banging my knee.

I also had a very bad experience at the dentist last year, which leaves me even more paranoid.  First, I fainted after the dentist gave me the numbing shots.  Then he and his assistant yelled at me for fainting.  The procedure itself was an even bigger nightmare.  My mouth was propped open for three hours, and I was fully awake while they yanked and hammered on my wisdom teeth.  I do believe Tom Hanks had a more pleasant experience knocking his tooth out with an ice skate when he was stuck on an island in Cast Away.

I literally thought my jaw was broken.  I was in intense pain for six months, had headaches and my teeth were incredibly sensitive to hot/cold temperatures.  When I returned to the dentist, they didn't have any recommendations for the pain.  So I proceeded to pick up my records, which they hesitated to give to me.  (Until I mentioned my HIPAA right to view my records).  The dentist called me the next day, yelling at me and saying that he didn't do anything wrong, and then he hung up on me.  Very unprofessional.

So here's hoping that tomorrow will be a much better experience. No one will be there to hold my hand, which reminds me of when I was 5 years old and my mom took me to the dentist.  She told me to put my animal-shaped erasers in my pocket, and squeeze them if I was scared or it hurt.  Of course, the erasers were demolished into tiny crumbs by the end of my appointment.  Maybe tomorrow I'll take something to squeeze that I don't mind if it gets ruined.  Or perhaps the valium will take care of all my concerns.

Keep me in your thoughts, and I'll see you on the other side :)

What's your method of staying calm when you're nervous?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Our wedding is still 7 months away - but I started working on our invitations this weekend.  What can I say, I'm an early-achiever.

If you're curious how I made the invitations, here's a quick summary of the process.  First, I created the invitation wording template and printed it on white cardstock.  I cut them into 3.5"x5" sections.

Next, I took a piece of 8"x6" purple cardstock and measured 2" on each side and folded them to meet in the middle. 

Then I made a 1" slit along the fold in the middle of the cardstock, and threaded a purple ribbon thru.

Next, I glued the white cardstock invitation on top of the ribbon and folded the side flaps closed.  Finally, I tied a bow with the ribbon.

Simple and homemade!  So far, I've spent $0.13/ea for ribbon + $0.14/ea for envelopes = $0.27/ea.  I haven't printed the maps or rehearsal dinner invites yet, but I'm guessing there won't be any additional cost for those since I already have cardstock on hand.  If my prediction is correct, I'll have my invitations done and only spent $20!
(The postage will be additional, of course.)

I'm still working on the ceremony invitation / maps / rehearsal dinner invitation.  Everyone's welcome to attend the rehearsal dinner, so it seems pointless to mail it separately.

Are you a procrastinator, or do you prefer to early-achieve?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Doggie Ring Bearer

We've all seen the pictures of pets in weddings.

The question in my mind is - how does this work with energetic, hyper dogs?  Namely, our 3 year old Jack Russell Terrier whose favorite pasttime is greeting people.

We would absolutely love for Dozer to be a part of our wedding ceremony.  Wouldn't he be so adorable in a little doggie tuxedo?

If we were having an outdoor ceremony, I would be a little less worried.  However, we're having a private (family-only) ceremony in a small chapel.  The chapel has agreed to allow him in the building if we pay an additional deposit.

So now the question is - will we regret having him there?  Will he be whimpering to go run around and greet people?  The last thing we need is a distraction from the ceremony.

But we LOVE our dog.  He is a huge part of our lives.  We've had him since our second month of dating!  And we're the silly couple who brings their dog everywhere.  So why wouldn't we include him in our wedding?

Besides, I have this great poem I want to read at the ceremony, that would fit perfectly if Dozer was present.

Falling in love is like owning a dog

First of all, it's a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you're walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain't no one going to mess with you.

Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.

Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love doesn't like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don't you ever do that again!

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you're all wound up and can't move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

So, what's your opinion?  Have you been to a wedding with dogs involved?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hobbies & Games

My brother and I always got along really well.  We played games together non-stop.


We invented our own board games, operated restaurants with extensive menus, managed grocery stores, designed apartment complex layouts, rehearsed roles as teacher and student, performed radio broadcasts of live basketball games and races, karaoked and recorded songs we wrote together, produced our own newspaper, as well as some other more typical childhood activities.

As I grew up, I found it difficult to escape into the fictional life of playing games.  There are so many real and serious things to focus your time on.  School, work, housework, wedding planning, etc.

Speaking of weddings - this brings me to my fiance.  He enjoys having a hobby to relax him in the evenings.  For the past three years of our relationship, he has played computer games and been involved in the on-line gaming community.  To be completely honest, I've resented his involvement in these activities because it took up so much of his time and energy.  But I wanted him to be happy, so I didn't truly wanted him to quit - I just wanted him to balance his time.  Plus, I never realistically thought he would quit - since he'd tried to quit numerous times before.

Then suddenly, he quit again.  This time for real.  At least, that was his intention, right?  Alas, he's a guy who needs to focus his attention on something.  It's how he deals with life's emotions - happiness, sadness, stress, or anger.

But you know what's awesome?  Instead of launching a new computer game, he researched an old hobby he thought I could participate in also.  Then he asked me to play with him!

Granted, it involves fantasy-land, which I obviously am not a huge fan of.  It can also be relatively expensive if you allow it to be.  And finally, it is a game - which cannot be classified in my mind as "productive".

That's okay though.  Not everything I do has to be 100% productive.  I only need to accomplish a certain number of tasks in a day, and then after that - I'm free to chill.  And what better use of my time than to show my fiance that I love him enough to go out of my comfort-zone and paint some action figure models with him?

The reason my brother and I had such a great friendship growing up is because we were willing to do something even though it wasn't our #1 favorite activity - because it was fun to do together.

So here's to our new hobby:  Warhammer.  But secretly - I'm just spending quality time with my guy ;)

What are your hobbies?  Does your significant other participate with you?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Honeymoon Destination

I am so excited about our honeymoon.  This will be our first trip overseas...and we'll be married!

We'll be crossing over the Atlantic ocean during an overnight flight.  This will be the longest amount of time I've ever spent on a plane.

We'll rent a car and drive on the left side of the road.  We will drive over 1,000 km during our trip, at an average speed of 40 mph.

We hope to stay a night in a castle, to heighten the romance.

We'll also stay in a few Bed & Breakfasts along the way.

We'll have a few drinks and visit the local pubs.

According to the weather reports, we'll experience a daily rain shower.

Did you figure out where we're going?!
What is your experience with overseas travel?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grown-Up Friendships

Due to a couple of recent kind-hearted comments, I realized that I've unintentionally neglected this blog.  It's not that I don't care about you guys, because I do.  In fact, the reason I started blogging is because I am lonely and searching for friendships.

I moved to Houston in February and have yet to find any good friends who I can hang out with and talk to.  My fiance and I would like to find another couple our age that we can hang out and go on double-date nights.

It was so much easier to connect with people who were my age when I was in college.  I've tried a gym membership, and while I do enjoy exercising, I haven't been successful at meeting anyone to hang out with outside of the fitness classes.

Austin and I have started going out on Friday nights to a local dancehall.  We really like it, but we haven't met any couples our age there either.

Do you guys have any ideas or suggestions for building grown-up friendships?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Having Fun

My Grandpa mailed me a bracelet last week that says "Have Fun".  It's to serve as a reminder during the whole wedding planning process that the main goal is for us to be happy.  I've been focusing on that a lot this week.

*Wedding update:  we've decided on the location for our ceremony and reception; so now we're ready to set our wedding date. We are moving it back three weeks to accomodate one of the groomsmen because he is having a baby in March and is flying in from Oregon. The extra few weeks will also benefit my bridesmaid who is having a baby in February. So - it looks like our wedding will be in April 2011!*

In the spirit of having fun, Austin and I fed some ducks last night.

These babies hatched a few weeks ago and have been living in the retention pond behind our apartment.

The momma duck sat back and let the babies eat the bread crumbs.

All the ducks lined up in a row!

We also went on a fun date on Friday night.  We browsed the selection of tuxedo rentals at Men's Warehouse, then we ate at Le Petite Paris, my new favorite restaurant.  I had the Boeuf Bourguignon, and Austin had Chicken Provencal.

For dessert, we had a PB&G - Peanut Butter & Ganache.  The waiter was so cute - he cut the dessert exactly in half - including the pecan!

We ate a fun breakfast this morning!  My fiance made us stewed bananas and waffles!  They were phenomenal, and reminded us of all the fun we had on our cruise!

"Follow your dreams. Just make sure to have fun too."
- Chris Brown

What's your favorite quote about having fun?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Girl Weekend

My mom, aunt and I had so much fun during our Girl Weekend.

We went to the spa for massages and pedicures. (*thanks Austin!*)

We went dress shopping and I BOUGHT MY WEDDING DRESS!!!  Plus my mom picked out her mother of the bride dress, too!

We ate at some fantastic restaurants.  We had brunch at the Rainbow Lodge.

We made a special toast to celebrate my birthday, my mom's birthday, and my engagement!  Mmm, mimosas!

I ordered the Cast Iron Seared Gulf Red Snapper, Early Summer Succotash and White Corn Griddle Cakes.  Simply delicious.

I would definitely recommend eating at the Rainbow Lodge.  The food is great and the decor is cool.  There is free valet parking for brunch and dinner - plus the outdoor patio is gorgeous.

We also ate at Pappasito's.  I had the Carne Asada with Black Beans, Mexican Rice, Guacamole, and Tortillas.

We ate at Le Petite Paris bakery for lunch.  My mom and aunt both ordered the Boeuf Bourguignon, inspired by the movie Julia & Julie that we watched together on Saturday night.

I had a Caesar Salad with French Onion Soup.

The pictures do not do this meal justice.  It was fantastic, and so girly.  To top it off, we ordered chocolatey desserts.

I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  The restaurant had such a unique atmosphere, and the entire place smelled wonderful.  Eating at a French Bakery = the best decision you will ever make.

My aunt and I went shopping for shoes to go with my wedding dress, and we actually found a pair for $20 at Sears that could do the trick!  However, I am not 100% confident that they'll be comfortable enough to wear all day.  So, I've been doing some browsing on CSN to find a different pair to try out.  I'll do a review of them when they arrive!  While I was on-line, I got distracted with their dinnerware selection and started dreaming.  Must focus on shoes...

I'm so sad our girl weekend is over!  My aunt needs to move back to Texas ;)

Have you ever eaten at a French restaurant or bakery?
If not, I suggest you do so very soon - you're missing out!