Marriage Mondays: Call for November Submissions

Would you like to submit a guest post for Marriage Mondays? If so, I'd love to read it! In exchange for your troubles, you get full linkage and some awesome promotional tweets. I get the honor of having a new voice chime in and share their perspective on marriage. : )

For November 2011, which is coming up oh, so soon, I'm still forgoing the traditional submission process and doing an open submission. In other words, you're not limited to what's posted on the calendar (though you are welcome to submit under those topics, too). Instead, I'm leaving the topic choice up to you. What have you experienced in marriage that you'd like to talk about? How has marriage changed you in good (and bad) ways? I want to hear it all!

Email me
. Can't wait!

Stay tuned! The real post is up in just an hour! : )

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Marriage Mondays: Opposites

One of my favorite movies is High Fidelity (it's also one of my favorite books). I love it for so many reasons, so much so that it might almost deserve a post completely to itself. However, one of my favorite lines is when John Cusack is talking about how he and his slacker record shop friends, Dick and Barry (played by Todd Louiso and Jack Black accordingly), decided that it wasn't what you were like that mattered, but rather what you like. Music, movies, books...that was the stuff that mattered. If that is true, then man are A.P. and I f*cked.

In so many ways, we couldn't be more alike. Our attitude towards money, children/animals, housework (in that we don't like doing it and don't get too down about a cluttered house), to name a few, are exactly the same. We both like music, movies, and books, too. However, our tastes couldn't be more different. I like all kinds of music from early blues/country to Bruno Mars. I love country, hip hop, rap, classical, etc. Some people say they love all kinds of music and it's not true, but I really do. A.P. likes rap/hip hop, indie music, and that's about it. He listens to current stuff, but isn't solid on the older stuff, which is kind of my bread and butter. I get sick of a lot of indie stuff because it's so clearly a rip off the old stuff. He likes it anyway because it reinterprets older sounds.

Our disagreement also exists with books. I read fiction, nonfiction, magazines, blogs, etc. He reads articles and blogs, and nonfiction books on occasion. He never reads fiction, my great love. We can't even talk about classics unless he read them years ago. It's kind of a bummer sometimes. Movies is more of the same. He likes documentaries and dramas. I like comedies. Luckily, I'm a film nut, so I'm way more open to watching anything and everything than he is.

You would think this wouldn't be such a big deal, but it is. It makes going to the movies or to concerts difficult. We have to find an artist or movie we can both agree on, which makes for slim pickings sometimes. Also, driving is problematic. We have a rule. When A.P. drives, he plays his music, when I drive, it's my music. It's nice we've taken to creating rules to not annoy the crap out of each other, but I long for the days when I could just blast music when I wanted and dance around the place.

Still, it makes me think...are we the only ones like this? Sometimes I wish we had this stuff in common. It makes for boring conversations. And we can never listen to music together. Or recommend books to each other. Sometimes, it gets sad around these parts. Do you have this stuff in common with your husband/wife? Or are you opposites, too?

Would you like to submit a Marriage Monday post? If so, check back later today for details!

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Dances with Wolves

Today is an easy day at work and I'm happy for that. As per usual, I'm exhausted. I think I was supposed to live a life of leisure. Where are my millions??? Where's my poolside iced tea?!? Why should those Real Housewives have all the fun while the rest of us are slaving away all day and night, five (or more) days a week?? Okay, wish I was rich rant over.

Since it is almost Halloween, I thought this gorgeous and oh so dramatic engagement shoot was PERFECT. I'm so used to sporadic seeming engagement shoots or styled ones, but I can honestly say I've never seen a themed, sort of performance art, engagement shoot. Kelli and Taylor opted for a Little Red Riding Hood engagement shoot that sort of blows my mind. It's enchanting and that cape is so ethereal! Plus, look closely at Taylor's eyes! Yikes! Photographed by Three Nails Photography (they also made that amazing cape!), the concept and photography is simply stunning. Enjoy!

Are you blown away or what? I kind of just want a cape like that to wear around the house. Or Chicago. You ask why, I say why not!

This weekend should be fun and relaxing. My friend from guitar class invited us over for drinks, food, and pumpkin carving fun at her place on Saturday. And I think we're going to do our movie marathon on Sunday. Maybe if I watch the scarier movies during the day I will be less scared by the time it's night and I have to sleep with the lights off. Maybe. We'll see. What are you up to this weekend?

In the mean time, here are your dance moves for the week:

What it's like to have backyard chickens

I wish I lived in NYC, I would totally go check out this rad exhibit!

I love that this delicious autumn flavored recipe is for just four cupcakes. Perfect for two!

I'm super psyched because my guitar teacher gave me the music for two Ryan Adams songs this week. If you don't know Ryan Adams, you should. He's amazing. I'm loving this song from his latest album.

Top 10 Topical Halloween Costumes for 2011 (my favorites are the Barack Obama approval rating and the Debt Ceiling!)

(Friday dance photo via here; Kelli & Taylor's Red Riding Hood Engagement Shoot photographed by Three Nails Photography via Green Wedding Shoes)

Do you subscribe to Not the Marrying Kind? If not, you should! It's free and fun and it means you automatically get new posts when the blog is updated. No having to check back! Click here for more details!



Halloween is right around the corner and I think we're going to weenie out and not dress up this year. We have a party invitation, but I'm not entirely convinced it's a costume party anyway. But honestly, I'm tired. Every day, I'm beat. I've been working hard and every weekend I crash like it's my job. Plus, last year I convinced A.P. to dress up (we went as Publisher's Clearing House...I wore a robe, he wore a douchey suit and presented me with a ginormous check, then I hooted and hollered). So, this year, I think we're going to take it easy and do a scary movie marathon!

Here's the thing: I am terrified of scary movies! The last one we saw together was Paranormal Activity, which we saw in the theaters. I practically peed myself and sat on edge the whole time, while A.P. was bored to death. So, yeah, we need to choose wisely. I didn't think it through enough to queue up any DVDs from Netflix, so our options have to be limited to Amazon OnDemand, cable, and Netflix Instant Watch. Here's my list so far:

1. Paranormal Activity 2 - Why not catch up on the franchise? The ad for this last year was sufficiently scary. Anything supernatural scares the crap out of me. I grew up Catholic. I believe in the devil, mmkay?

2. Case 39 - Even though I get so annoyed by Renee Zellweger's ridiculous squinty eyes and inability to move her face in any emotional way thanks to God knows how much Botox, this movie looks creepy. Let's face it. Anything with evil children is usually scary as hell (Omen, anyone??)!

3. Poltergeist II - Even though I've seen the original so many times it's not scary anymore, I've never seen the sequel. Might be worth a watch. Plus, the older stuff I can usually handle better since they're a little less scary.

4. House on Haunted Hill (original) - Never hurts to throw in a classic! I've always heard good things about this movie. Plus, I loves me some Vincent Price. Now there's a creepy creeperson, but you know, in a good way!

5. The Walking Dead - It's not a movie, but we started watching this great zombie series last year and couldn't keep up with the episodes on OnDemand. Now they're available on Netflix Instant Watch and I'm thinking a little zombie action might be Halloweenish enough, but you know, not kill me of a heart attack.

What are your Halloween plans? Are you dressing up? Or will you stay in this year, too?

(Photo via here)


Wedding Wednesday: Reader Q&A, Prt. 1

First of all, I *finally* got the video of my recital up on the blog. You can go check it out in yesterday's post by clicking here. Be kind.

Also, this week (and next) I have a special little something planned for you. A reader wrote in and asked me a ton of questions. I'm flattered anybody would want my opinion on anything (and not quite sure I'm the right person to be asking), so being the accommodating blogger that I am (seriously...you can always email me and ask me questions!), I've decided to answer them both this week and next.

1. What's the best way to handle it when out of a bridal party of four, two are indifferent to the bridesmaid dress, one loves it, says it's great to have a cute cocktail dress she can wear over and over again, and the other bridesmaid hates it, feels uncomfortable in it, and can't imagine any situation where she would wear it again? (This happened at a wedding I was in recently, and as an added issue, all of the bridesmaids were either unemployed or living hand-to-mouth. The dress cost $150 for the person who bought it cheapest, the bride didn't want everyone to order it from the same place because she wanted everyone to be able to order theirs when they had the money. They ended up going with the dress and the maid of honor, who hated it and felt really uncomfortable wearing a dress that she felt was both unflattering and at least a decade too young for her, put hers on eBay after the wedding to try to recover some of her costs.)

So, if you remember, I didn't have bridesmaids. There's a reason for that. Look at that question a bit more closely. Why in the world would you want to put your friends through that? I vowed that if I had bridesmaids, I would purchase their dresses for them OR if I couldn't afford that, I would not have bridesmaids. In the end, I decided against it, but had I had bridesmaids, I would have probably only had a couple of people stand up in my wedding. Buying two dresses is not that big of a deal, but if you have ten bridesmaids, you know, that's a lot of freaking people to buy dresses for! Which is exactly why nobody buys their wedding party's outfits.

Anyway, I digress. Honestly, this is a really tricky situation because it's the bride's big day, but these women are shelling out some serious cash to be a part of her big day. I don't think there's any solution to everyone being happy. I feel like someone is always going to be unhappy about something. But there are some solutions to trying to get as many people as happy as possible.

Solution One: Why not have mismatched, but color coordinated dresses? Honestly, this is my favorite. I love the idea of different cuts of a dress in the same material or different dresses altogether in the same color. My friend Southern K(elle) asked her friends to all wear black dresses and everyone looked so nice. You would never have known they didn't shop/buy together. Or here's a cool idea that I would think was so, so dope if I saw it at a wedding: ombre dresses. Not in that each dress is ombre, but rather that each dress is from a color palette that progressively gets lighter in hue (i.e. one girl wears a hot pink dress, another wears a soft pink dress, another wears a blush dress). This obviously works better with a larger party, but it's still cool with three. Please promise that if you do that, you'll submit your wedding. Pretty please?

Solution Two: If you're stuck in the situation described above and the bride is intent on the same dress that costs a good chunk of change and you're broke, so...why not bow out completely? Honestly, your money is better spent on bills or food anyway, so why not politely tell your friend that you're flattered but don't think it's within your financial capabilities right now. Ask if there is something else that you can contribute without having to shell out too much cash. If she's a good friend, she'll understand. Plus, there are so many roles to give people in a wedding. You could offer to do a reading instead or give a toast and lots of other ways to pay tribute to your friendship that don't cost you a penny.

Solution Three: If you're stuck in the situation described above and the bride is intent on a dress that you pretty much loathe and find completely unflattering, first, try solution number one. Find some cool weddings online that feature different types of dresses (or pitch my awesome ombre idea, which I'm sure somebody has done) and sell the shit out of that idea. But if she turns you down, then try this next idea.

Let's be honest, brides don't care about what you wear past the important photo opportunities. This really means through dinner and frankly, that's not even most of the wedding. Most people make the longest stretch of the wedding the reception/dance party, right? So, ask politely if the bride wouldn't mind if during the dancing portion of the reception, you switch into a more comfortable/flattering dress. Yes, you'll have to be photographed in the bridesmaid dress through the reception, but how many times have you taken a bad picture? Add these to the pile. Then figure you'll have some candids in the reception pictures wearing your bangin' dress. To me, this is a compromise, and one I would probably be open to were I the bride. I guess there's always bridezillas, but they're going to be unreasonable about everything anyway, so you'll never win. Ever. If your bride is reasonable, though, I think this is a good solution.

2. How much of your wedding came about as a result of things you saw at other weddings? (Both the good "oh, that's a great idea for centerpeices! I love that poem!" and the bad "Oh yuck, no way I'm going to have someone read that poem!" etc.)

This is a great question! And one I've talked about a little before. But here are some quick and dirty lists.

Here are the things that I feel came about directly from things I saw as DIY's on various websites or from other people's weddings: our cake topper, thrifting the china, our place cards, the chalkboard as program/menu, hanging the pictures of us as kids with yarn and paper hearts, my bouquet, the photobooth, the birdcage for cards, mustaches on sticks for the photobooth, using mason jars for favors.

Here are the things that I feel were inspired by things I saw, but did not replicate exactly: my dress, the moss covered escort card display, our ring pillow, the size of our invitations, A.P.'ss Grape Soda boutonniere, and some aspects of our centerpieces (e.g. the use of apothecary jars).

Here are the things that I feel were completely original: our photobooth display (we had a lot of old family photobooth pictures displayed), our "guestbook", our centerpieces/vintage salt and pepper shakers, our table names, the design of our invitations, the escort cards/way they were displayed (not the moss covered box, but rather the gold paperclip display I created), our favors, and the pet heads on a stick for the photobooth.

I know for a fact these are not all the details from our wedding. I'm almost certain I forgot a bunch of things, but for now, this is a fairly comprehensive list. : ) You can see pictures from our wedding here.

3. What are the advantages/disadvantages of a big wedding as opposed to a small one? A big one you get to invite more friends and family, have less chance of excluding anyone (and get more stuff!), but a small one gives you more opportunity to actually spend time with your guests, saves money, and allows you to do more with less. What do you think?

Obviously, a big wedding means more people to talk to all night long. And you kind of can't get out of that. You have to say hi to everybody at least once. You can do it in a receiving line, but people like the table talking. So if you have a 200 guest wedding, that means you're going to have to make the rounds to 200 people. Some families are large and you don't have a choice in the matter, but everyone I know who has gone small has loved it. I would characterize our wedding as smallish (64 people total, 75 invited) and that was still a lot of talking. Plus there were totally people there I talked to once for a few minutes.

Here's the other dirty truth nobody ever admits to: surprisingly a lot of people who you invite to your wedding won't really be a part of your life in the next 5-10 years (I would say there is at least a handful of people we either don't talk to very often, regret inviting at all, or don't talk to at all anymore). So not to be a bitch, but slash away, I say. I say invite the nearest and dearest, a few more for fun, and call it a day.

That's it for this week! Next week, I'll answer the remaining questions. Yay!

Do you have questions? Were you a bride who has answers? Consider submitting to Not the Marrying Kind!


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Strumming on My Guitar

Last Thursday was my second guitar recital. I think I can confidently say that it went much, much better than my first...for so many reasons. First of all, this time we picked ONE song that we knew we were going to perform. Second, more people showed up. Thirdly, I was really confident about all the chords in the song we chose for this recital.

The first time around, I showed up for the recital and one other guy was there. It was terrible. It ended up being us and our teacher. Plus, we had decided we'd practice three songs and call for an audience choice, an ambitious and terrible idea. Instead of practicing one song and learning to play it well, we practiced three and learned to play them only okay. And the song we chose (R.E.M.'s "The One I Love") had a C chord in it, which at the time, was my suck chord.

This time around, our class chose the song "Wagon Wheel" to play, which is a great Old Crow Medicine Show song that I'd never heard before the class (see video below). We also got to show off our capo skills, as you capo the 2nd fret to hit a higher pitch. (Jazz or classical guitarists will look down on you for using a capo, arguing that you should just know how to play the notes to achieve that pitch. But, I'm a FOLK guitarist, people. So I don't need no stinkin' snobbery. : ) )

Anyway, I practiced like hell before the recital and then before the actual show, I sat in the audience practicing changing chords for the whole song over and over again. That meant that this time I didn't make nearly so many mistakes. I'm not going to lie; I missed one chord. Still, I recovered fast and picked up right away again. And not only did I recover fast, but I also played well after. I didn't let it screw me up, which is what counts.

Okay. So, here's the thing. I got really brave. I made A.P. take a video of the performance. And I really wanted to post it here, alas, it would not upload. So, instead, I'm including the one photo he took of me. If I can mess around again later, I will try to upload the video again. Grrr...technology!

(I'm the one in the oranger sweater...second from the left.)


Here's the video! I was finally able to upload it on youtube and then embed it here because of course I can't use the upload video feature on Blogger. Shocker. Anyway, please:

1. Don't judge A.P.'s cinematography skills. It's a miracle he took any pictures/shot any video at all seeing as how I am the family photographer/videographer.

2. Don't judge me. I'm a beginner!! This was only my 20th lesson. There are whole chords and techniques I know nothing about. And I'm aware of that.

3. If you must judge me, please do it the high school way: behind my internet back. In other words, don't leave hateful messages in the comments.


(Photo by me!)


Marriage Mondays: How Did You Meet?

When A.P. and I first started dating, we were too embarrassed to tell people how we met, especially our families. In fact, when I first met A.P.'s family, I discovered none of them knew how we met. And I had the tough job of answering that question. Luckily, I'm a smart gal and I kept thinking of clever ways to hand it off to A.P. Poor A.P. He didn't know what to say either. I remember that A.P.'s late mother thought that we met on the El train, and I was too scared to correct her. So for two days, I kept answering questions about how we met on the El ("How did it happen?" and "Did you just see A.P. and want to talk to him?") until finally A.P. told his mother we didn't meet on the train. Looking back, we laugh about the fact that I kept lying.

Here's the great, big dirty secret: A.P. and I met online. GASP!! It's true. I used to be obsessed with Craigslist and when I worked in advertising, I would fool around on the site during lunch and down time. I was obsessed with the Missed Connections, and the Best Of section. I loved (and still do) looking for antiques or stuff for sale. Anyway, back then, I would post stuff for no other reason than to be funny or crack up my friends.

Anyway, one day, I posted on Craigslist, talking about this one band I love, Animal Collective. A ton of people responded, but A.P. was the only one who knew the band. We ended up emailing back and forth and then eventually talked on the phone. Then one day, we decided to meet. We talked about what to do on our first date a lot. We both agreed we wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Finally, as a joke, A.P. suggested baking a cake. I loved the idea. So, A.P. came over to my place and we made a vanilla cake with a chocolate frosting. We also lit sparklers on my back porch. And we talked...a lot. It was so much fun. And it was on the couch, when I was listening to him talk, and looking at his profile that I fell for him. I loved his mild, Southern twang and the slow way in which he spoke. I loved that he asked me tons of questions, too.

But the thing that made me fall for him hard was at the end of the night. He had a business trip the next week and I figured I wouldn't talk to him until he got back. As I was walking him out, I said as much and he immediately replied, "I'm going to call you before then." And he did. He called me the next day. It was great to date someone who didn't play games and did what he said he was going to do. A couple of months into our relationship, I wrote in my journal that I thought I was going to marry him. I had thought it but not written it before because I hadn't wanted to jinx it. Five years later, I couldn't have been more right.

Now, we openly tell people how we met. In fact, we've got our whole story down. We take turns telling it and A.P. even added a new dimension the other day when he asked someone we were telling to guess the site we met on. People seem to get a kick out of us meeting online, that it was random and fateful. But a few months into our relationship, we discovered the real fate in our relationship: A.P.'s ex-girlfriend knew my sister because they had worked together at a store where I had also worked.

One day, through a random conversation, we discovered that A.P's ex-girlfriend had worked at the same small, Uptown neighborhood home accessories/antique business where I had worked over my summer break during college. I quit to go back to school and my sister, who was also back in school, took my position. She ended up working there with A.P.'s ex-girlfriend. A.P. used to come visit her in Chicago while they were still dating long distance. I would also go back there during my breaks (until the guy tried to screw me over with my pay). I could have easily met A.P. or his ex, but never did. So weird, right?

I've always believed in fate and destiny. I don't as much any more. But I do believe that A.P. and I were meant to be together. I didn't used to think of him as a soulmate, because I think that word diminishes the work we put into our relationship. But that story always reminds me that there is a reason that A.P. and I met and that despite our story's randomness, it wasn't necessarily random.

How did you meet your significant other? Do you feel like you were meant to be together? Or do you feel it just worked out that way?

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(The Triumph of Death or The Three Fates via here)


I Will Dance With You

Another Friday dance, another week gone by! I've been overwhelmed with work (shocker) and never quite recovered from last weekend's craziness. So you all can imagine what I'm doing *this* weekend, right??? SLEEPING IN! What. Is. Up. It's going to be so kickass to not have to wake up early. Plus, on top of being exhausted, I had to wake up early a lot this week in order to take the bus to work since our car was in the shop. I'd forgotten how miserable public transportation was. What normally takes me 15-20 minutes by car, of course took me 30-40 minutes by bus. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I was so cranky every day I showed up to work after riding that miserable bus. Good thing we have Susan (our car) back now and she's purring like a kitten.

Anywho, in honor of my guitar recital last night (more on that next week!), I am pleased to show you one of the cooler weddings I've spotted in a while! It's so rad it kind of made my head explode a little. It's a Johnny Cash themed wedding! What the what???!!!??? Yes. That's right. It's not only pure awesomeness, it's also pure rockabilly (in the best possible sense of the word)! Karey and Zak both loved music and Zak especially has a deep love affair with The Man in Black, so they had themselves a Johnny Cash wedding. And I have to tell you, it's so cool that it makes me want to be friends with these people. It's chock full of amazing details. Have a look, won't you?

Um, are there bits of brain everywhere? Did your head explode a bit? Cuz we all know mine did the first time I saw this beautiful affair. It's definitely one of those weddings I wish I had attended. It was not only amazing but it felt really personal. That's something I'm big on, for sure.

So, the weekend is upon us again and A.P. and I are excited to do some fun stuff again. Tomorrow night we are taking Rev/Rach to dinner to celebrate her birthday, which was at the beginning of the month (yes, we're aware it's almost the end of the month...lol). Saturday, we're thinking about finally getting it together and going apple picking. And Sunday, my dad is turning 83, which is pretty crazy. So, we'll for sure be celebrating that. All in all, it's going to be another jam packed weekend, but hopefully with more naps. Or at least more down time. What are you fabulous peeps up to this weekend? Whatever it is, have a wonderful weekend!

In the mean time, here are your dance moves for the week:

Love every single look here.

I was dying laughing over many of these buttons (and wishing I could purchase, like, all of them).

Who gives a f*ck about an Oxford Comma? YOU DO! (And here's why!)

Five minutes my ass! But I still want to learn how to do this.

I have no idea if I've posted this before (so I'm sorry if I have), but it's so great and helpful that I say why not post again (assuming I've posted it already)! 100 Photography Tutorials

Sometimes I wish A.P. baked. He could make me these!

I don't like to start thinking about Christmas this early, but wouldn't these be wonderful adorning your Christmas tree this year?

(Friday Dance Photo via here; Zak and Karey's Johnny Cash themed wedding photographed by John Robert Woods Photography via Jesi Haack Design)


Bundle Up

As the weather gets crisper and fall feels more like a reality than something we're anticipating, I'm looking for pretty things to keep me warm and happy. I've been posting a lot lately about fall fashion and it's totally intentional. Not only is it my favorite season to experience, but it's also my favorite season in terms of fashion. Here's why:

Knee Socks! Or in this case, boot socks! As soon as fall hits, out come my knee socks. I have a thing for knee socks. I find them sexy and warm and brilliant. They're, in part, how I battle Chicago winters. But boot socks? That's taking it to the next level. How awesome for those lovely rain boots!

Speaking of rain, it's been non-stop raining here the last couple of days (of course it's on days when my car is in the shop and I have to take the freaking bus to work. LAME.). I wish I had this awesome umbrella. (For those of you who don't speak French, it translates to, "Shit. It's raining.")

As soon as I can, I start rocking boots. They're probably my favorite type of shoe next to ballet flats. (I'm especially partial to my Uggs because it's like working all day in slippers.) Wouldn't you love these rad plaid boots?

I also love scarves. I love thin ones, infinity ones, and best of all, pretty, chunky knit ones. Just like this. Cozy!

And finally, one of the best gifts I've ever received was one I thought was so bad when I got it: a down throw blanket. My mom gave it to me for Christmas years ago and I remember thinking it was such a lame gift when she gave it to me. Years later, it's one of the gifts she's given me that I've used the most. I love it and I've kept it as the throw for two different couches I've owned. It's my go to blanket on the coldest of days and I love curling up with it and a hot cup of cider (perhaps in an apple?). Here's one similar to my own (a link to buy a similar one is below)!

Plus two other great fall fashion posts! Three looks for fall and simple gold jewelry.

(Bootsocks via Sahalie; Umbrella via Raindrops; Plaid Boots via Target; Chunky Knit Scarf via ASOS; Down Comforter Image via here, but you can find a similar blanket at Overstock)
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