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05 July 2013 @ 12:20 pm
I felt the urge to write in this today, because I have the day off and haven't written in this in a long time. Also, I am bed-ridden today as I am pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my groin. I was reading that I should try to stay off my leg for 24-48 hours and to ice and massage it as much as possible. Which really sucks because I have been trying to exercise 4-5 times a week and this is causing me to not be able to.

Since my last entry in November, my diet completely failed and I went back to my old habits of eating large, unhealthy portions. It wasn't until a little over a month ago that I really decided that I needed to change my ways. I started going to a personal trainer and generally go to him twice a week. He is super nice, and he kicks my ass. He works muscles that I didn't even know I had. We do mostly strength training, but it also contains cardio because there is no stopping between workouts. I also got a gym membership where I try to go 2-3 times each week for at least an hour. Because I haven't run since the fifth grade and I basically have no endurance, I will run on and off on a treadmill for the first half hour. After, I will work on strength training, mainly consisting of arms, core, and fully body exercises. I just learned that I have an unusually high resting heart rate (anywhere between 90bpm and 110bpm) so it's something I have to pay attention to. I am hoping that the better shape I get into, it will go down. If not, I will have to go to the doctors in order to figure out if I have another issue. For dieting, I am not really on any specific diet, but just trying to watch what I eat and make better choices. It hasn't been going as good as I would like to say it has, but it's still a lot better than it was before. After a month, I have only lost a pound, and although I don't see much of a change in my body yet, I have dropped 3.3% in body fat. Even though I'm not seeing big results yet, I can see that I am making progress, and I can only imagine that I will see the results in time. Unfortunately, I am not sure if I will see big results for my wedding, but I won't quit. It's not only a fact of looking and feeling better, it's a matter of my health and well-being. It's time to change, and there is no better time than now.

 In 99 days, I will be getting married! Ben and I got engaged almost 2 years before our wedding date, and the first and a half went by so slowly. But now, everything is coming so quickly and I am almost in a panic. We still have a ton of stuff to do - make the invitations, order the accessories for my dress, make/buy decorations for centerpieces and other reception decorations, purchase wedding favors and wedding party gifts, etc. However, we have a lot of stuff completed as well. Since I last updated, we picked out the bridesmaid dresses, picked our florist, chose our Reverend, ordered our wedding cake, made our meal selections, picked out the tuxedos, and booked our honeymoon! I love planning the wedding, but I hate paying for it. It's been hard trying to figure out what to cut, because we are definitely on a budget. It is getting very stressful and very exciting. In the end, I am just happy to marry my best friend!
Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: "It's Time" - Imagine Dragons
07 November 2012 @ 08:52 pm
So, the diet has been going... okay. It has been over 17 days since we started the diet, but we are still doing cycle 1. We both cheated a couple of times (which is allowed on occasion, but didn't make me feel good), and decided we wanted to extend Cycle 1 to make up for the cheat days. So far, I have lost almost 11 pounds, and Benny has lost even more. For me, I still don't feel like that the weight loss is that noticeable, although I have been told that it can be seen in my face. Benny and I decided we will start Cycle 2 on Monday. I also plan to start working out a few times a week once I start Cycle 2. 

On the last Saturday in October, I started shopping for a wedding dress. My sister and my mom went with me to two different bridal salons. At the first bridal salon, my plan was to try on all different types and styles of dresses. Although I had an idea of a style I liked, a dress looks very different on a model than when you see it on yourself. Therefore, I felt it was extremely important to try all different styles and materials to determine what I felt the most comfortable in. I think I tried on about 15-20 dresses while I was there. It was the last one I tried on that I really liked. And it was completely different than what I expected to like, in both style and material.

We then headed to our second bridal place of the day, where I tried on another 15-20 dresses. I was surprised by how many dresses I actually liked on me, but I still found myself drawn to the last dress I tried on at the first bridal salon. They had the dress at this salon as well, so I tried it on again, and still liked it better than any of the others I tried on. I wasn't ready to say yes to the dress, so I went home to sleep on it and decide if that was the dress I really wanted.

After sleeping on it and doing some research, I decided that I should do my due diligence and continue to look around more. I started looking up different bridal salons in the area and the different designers they carried. I started looking at the designers and writing down dresses that I really liked on the website and wanted to try on. There was one dress I specifically liked and wanted to try on, so we called a couple of bridal salons to see if they had it there. We found a location that had the dress and a couple others I liked, including the one I originally tried on and liked at the other two salons. On Thursday, I went with my sister and my mom to  this bridal salon and tried on another 10 or so dresses. To make a long story short, I now really liked two dresses: the original one, and the one I went to the salon specifically for to try on. They were both completely different styles/materials, but I think that's why I really liked them both. I knew which one I liked more, but I was afraid that I just set myself up to like that one more over the other, and it wasn't the one that looked best on me. So I went home again to sleep on it to try to decide if my gut instinct was right.

On Saturday, I decided to go back to the bridal salon, and this time, my mom, dad, sister, her husband and one of my bridesmaids, Sarah came with me. I decided that I had narrowed it down to those two dresses, and wanted to see which one they liked best. To make a long story short, I tried on the first one which everyone seemed to love. Then I tried one the second one, and when I walked out, there was dead silence. Finally, I just heard a "wow", and unanimously they all agreed that this dress was the right one. This was the one that was also my favorite as well. I also found a necklace that went really well with the dress. So that day, I said yes to the dress! My dad was nice enough to buy me the necklace. I am very happy with my decision, and I am so glad to have that step taken care of! Buying a dress makes the wedding much more real for me. 

Now comes the next steps in the wedding planning. For me, this is figuring out the color palette, picking out the bridesmaid dresses, finding an officiant, and determining the wedding day timeline. I am hoping to determine the colors soon, because I am taking out my bridesmaids dress shopping on December 8th. It would just be a lot easier to be able to narrow down dresses based on the color.

I guess I've typed enough. God Bless.

Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: "More" - Usher
This entry is going to be a little personal - a subject I never liked to talk about. A subject that always made me self-conscious, embarrassed, depressed, and disappointed in myself. But I am really trying to make a change in my life and it's time to face my demons.

During high school, I wasn't the most active person, and I definitely wasn't a healthy eater. I wasn't one that sometime would define as "fit." I never stepped foot into a gym. However, I was active enough to maintain a healthy weight. I figure skated or coached figure skating on occasion, I participated in musicals like it was going out of style (which involves a lot of moving around and dancing), sometimes doing up to three at a time. As silly as it sounds, my part-time job to get me through high school kept me on my feet for hours at a time and consistently in motion. I enjoyed walking. These little things I did kept me as a size 4 through my senior year.

After high school, everything changed. What, do you ask? Everything. No more skating. No more theatre. My high school job only existed on breaks. Walking was at a bare minimum. Spent a majority of my college days sitting in class, then going back to the dorm and doing homework/watching TV, all the while sitting on my ass. My anxiety was increasingly bad and ruled my world - especially my freshmen and sophomore year. Over four years, I think I could count the number of times I used the gym at Merrimack on two hands. I had very poor sleeping habits - a night's sleep could've been anywhere between 3-12 hours. Eating habits were even worse - I would skip breakfast every day. I would skip lunch most days. In fact, on most days, the only time I would eat would be at dinnertime (and probably not until after 8:00PM). One huge, extremely high carb, high sodium meal that I would consume until I felt sick and fell into a food coma. Then there was the added consumption of alcohol that comes with the college territory. Needless to say, it is no wonder why I put on somewhere around 20-25 pounds during my four years of college.

After college, I can't say that things got much, if at all, better. I still skipped breakfast and lunch almost every day, and dinners were still of the very large, unhealthy variety. Although my sleeping habits have improved since college, they still are not good enough. I now work in an industry that involves sitting for 8+ hours a day, not including the almost 1.5-2 hour daily commute. On top of that is school/studying, so add hours of sitting on for that as well. I continued to put on more and more weight even after college.

I cannot begin to express how angry I am with myself for letting myself get to this point. How did I get here, from being a size 4 in high school? And to think then, I thought I was fat! I look back and I would kill to get back to that weight/size again. I sometimes look at myself in the mirror and just want to break down. I would see people who I envy for being so skinny. I would envy a person even more when I see how much of a health/gym fanatic they are. The envy was even stronger when I would see a person who pushed themselves to lose the weight and keep it off.

Then I thought - why can't that be me? What is keeping that from being me? How is it that I can look at myself with such self-disgust on a regular basis but can't get myself motivated enough to change? Is having the best tasting meal worth the constant weight gain and possible health issues that comes with it? Is the "too tired to exercise after work" mentality worth the disappointment I feel when I see my friends running a 5K or consistently hitting the gym?

It's time for a change. Not a temporary change, a lifestyle change. My wedding is now less than a year away, so what better time to start than now? But I am not just doing this for my wedding. I want to feel better about myself altogether. That is why Benny and I have started this diet called The 17 Day Diet. It is actually a diet that his parents are both on and they have dropped 30-35 pounds in 4-5 months with minimal exercise. We started it a week ago and so far have each dropped 5 pounds. Nothing too noticeable, but it's a start, and not bad for 7 days. It helps when the person you live with is in the same boat and willing to diet with you. We are both going to try to motivate each other to stick with it through the ups and downs so that it actually becomes a lifestyle change. I am very happy to have my fiance's support on this.

If I tried to change all of my bad habits at once, I know I would get overwhelmed and quit. That is why I am taking it step by step. The first step is to stick with the diet plan. This should help break the bad habits of eating too large a portion, from skipping breakfast and lunch, and always eating unhealthy dinners. It's really a big change from how I have lived the past seven years. The next step will be to exercise more. My goal is to lose 25+ pounds before my wedding. More would be welcomed with open arms. 

Wish me luck. I am going to need it. 

Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: "Dance Again" - Jennifer Lopez
Just to put this out there - the subject of my entries rarely have anything to do with my post or how I am feeling. My subjects are determined by to whatever song that I am listening to at the time I start the entry. Even when the subject is relevant to my entry, the subject is always a song I am listening to. Sometimes the song I choose to listen to relates to my mood, or sometimes it is just a song I want to hear, a genre of music I want to hear, or the next song that comes up on my iTunes playlist. Recently, I have been obsessed with this singer named Peter Hollens who sings all his singles/covers a cappella. He is extremely talented with an absolutely amazing voice and an incredible range. I would highly recommend checking him out on YouTube. My subject today is from one of his singles called "Sleepwalking."

I have been pretty busy between work and school. We just got through the 9/15 deadline, but we still have one more big one to go. There is just so much to do and it all needs to be done by 10/15. And it always seems that, when you finally complete one item on your to-do list, you have already added another five items to it. I am just counting down the days until it's over. For grad school, I am taking one course this semester because I really couldn't afford to take another this year. In the end, I am kind of glad that I didn't, because my professor is pretty difficult. I have never had a professor that had so much class participation required. It can get hard though because sometimes after the readings, you don't fully understand until it is discussed in class. These concepts aren't exactly easy or straight forward, especially when you have very little experience in the area. But I just have to do the best I can.

Yesterday, Ben and I went over to Laura's condo for dinner with her and Ryan. They finally booked their venue for May 31, 2014. There are three couples from our group of college friends that are getting married between May 2013 and May 2014. We are all doing three different venues. However, I was thinking about our caterer and realized that they are not only the exclusive caterers for our wedding, but also the exclusive caterers for Laura and Ryan's, and Beth and Durkee's. It's just so coincidental because our caterer only exclusively caters at three venues, and those three venues are the ones we have all booked. Such a small world!

I went to a bridal show today with Benny and my mom, which was absolutely horrendous. There was barely anyone there. And at most shows, they tend to have raffles or things to enter. This show had nothing. We were probably there for 15-20 minutes before we had enough and left. I am excited for the bridal show that is going to be held at my wedding (by my DJ company) next month. Maybe this time I will win something!

I would write more, but I have to get back to doing my homework. God Bless.

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: "Sleepwalking" - Peter Hollens
First off, I have to congratulate my college roommate, Laura, and my after-college roommate, Ryan on their recent engagement! Ryan proposed last night, and I couldn't be happier for the two of them! I remember when Laura used to talk to me about how she had a crush on Ryan and when they first started dating. Laura was one of my closest friends in college, and that's why she is now in my bridal party. I am so excited she has found herself a great guy who is also a good friend of mine as well. So yay for them!

Last night, I went to the Mandarin with some people from work to celebrate those of us who got promoted in the Private Clients Group. It was my first time being there, but it was pretty good. We each picked one meal and then passed around the plates so we all could have some. I really appreciate those who went and celebrated with us. It was a lot of fun and we had a lot of great laughs.

After dinner, I went to my sister's apartment because we were going to see Magic Mike. Since the last time I was there, they have rearranged the furniture and have done some decorating. I really like what they have done with it. It felt so much bigger than before and felt very warm and homely. We then went for a walk and I showed her and Dave my new car. Then Denise and I went over to the movie theater where we just sat and talked for an hour before the movie started. It was awesome to talk to her. Growing up, we really wouldn't talk to each other about what was going on in our lives or the things we had experienced. Now, I feel like I can talk to her about anything. I really am glad that we have gotten to be closer than we ever have. Then we went into the movie. Anytime there was a strip scene on, the girls in front of us would basically get all hot and start screaming. I went into this movie with very low expectations. I couldn't imagine a movie about male strippers would be that good. I just went for the same reason every girl went. However, this movie was even worse than I expected. They should've just stuck to an entire movie of male stripping instead of trying to add in a horrible plot with absolutely no depth. My sister and I just spent most of the movie laughing at how pathetic the whole thing was.

I'm pretty upset that the weather this weekend is supposed to be sucky. It completely blew our plans to go camping at Old Orchard Beach, which I was really looking forward to. I never really get to do things like this often, and the one time the plans work out, the weather doesn't. Thank God I have next week to look forward to.

I realize how much I try to avoid thinking about or doing anything for the wedding, which I guess isn't too dangerous yet because the wedding is still over a year away. It's not because I'm not wanting or ready to get married; I just cannot begin to wrap my mind around the fact that we will be spending thousands and thousands of dollars for 6 hours. I sit here and think about how I just want to cut everything out and have the cheapest wedding possible, but then I think about how I just want the most magical and memorable experience since it is one of the biggest moments in my life, when I marry my best friend and soulmate. So at this point, it's all figuring out what we don't need, what we can do ourselves in order to cut costs, and what we absolutely want/need in order to make our day special and unique to us. Either way, it's still going to be ridiculously expensive. One of these days, I'm actually going to have to face my fears and actually get more into the wedding planning.

Well, it's getting late. Time for bed.

God Bless,
Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: "Poison and Wine" - The Civil Wars
Man, I love that Bridesmaids is back on HBO. I am obsessed with this movie. And now I can watch it whenever I want! Or until they take it off HBO again...

I finished up my graduate classes for the summer semester. These were classes three and four out of the ten that I need to take to get my Masters of Science in Taxation. I registered for one course this fall, will take the spring semester off for busy season, and then take one more class in the summer before my wedding. I would take more courses, but it's not the time commitment that scares me, but the cost of it. Each course is costing me over $3,700, and with a wedding coming up, I need to find a balance between saving money and doing what I need to do to finish graduate school and further my career. I am grateful that my company reimburses for a portion of the costs, but there is still a significant amount that comes out of my own pocket. This plan seems to be the most reasonable and logical for me.

It is nice to see when your hard work pays off. We had our annual reviews at work last week. Not only did I have a good review, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I got a promotion! I am now a senior tax accountant! As a senior, I have the ability to delegate work to be prepared by associates and then review that work. I will also have more opportunities to train and be trained, have more client contact, and become more involved in different aspects of the firm. I am very excited (and extremely nervous) about the increased responsibilities and new opportunities. For the most part, my responsibilities won't change too much until the start of busy season, since the client work has already been established for the year and will be redistributed before the start of next year. Tomorrow night, my practice group is taking me and the other people promoted out to dinner to celebrate. After dinner, I am supposed to go to the movies with my sister.

I must also say how proud I am of one of my bridesmaids, Sarah. She recently passed her boards and is now a registered nurse! She also got a job in the ER at the hospital. I couldn't be happier for her!

This weekend, Benny and some of his friends from home are going up to Paul's summer house on Pleasant Pond for their annual gathering. For me, as long as the weather is okay, I am hoping to take a trip up to Old Orchard Beach and camping for a night with a couple of friends. Next week, Benny and I are taking a few days off and going up to Sunday River for a little mini vacation. I cannot wait for that.

Until next time, God Bless.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: "Never Be The Same" - Red

Meet DracarysCollapse )

For all the Game of Thrones nerds out there, you probably already know what this means. For those who aren’t, Dracarys (“drah-KAH-ris”) is the High Valyrian word for “dragonfire.” Since Benny and I are currently avid fans of the Game of Thrones series, and one of my favorite characters is the mother of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, I couldn’t resist naming my metallic red SUV after something in relation to that. It was either that or something related to True Blood or Dexter, which then would have to be about blood, and neither the color of my car reminds me of blood nor do I really want to name my car after blood. Dragons are much more enticing.

Benny picked Dracarys up for me at the dealership since it is only one exit away from his office, and then picked me up after work where I was able to drive it home. It was really my first time being able to drive the car on the normal route in the normal traffic I commute in on a regular basis. All-in-all, I really enjoyed the ride and felt extremely comfortable. I was a little more passive than usual when merging into traffic as I still have to get used to the slower acceleration compared to the Infiniti. Other than that, the car handled amazingly on the road. I love the Rack and Pinion steering, and the gas and brake felt great. It is a very easy, fun, smooth and comfortable ride.

I brought the car to my parent’s house for them to see for the first time. I was a little afraid that they weren't going to like the car and think I made the wrong decision. However, to my surprise, they both really liked the car. My mom, who went shopping with me for other cars, definitely liked my car more than the others we looked at. My dad took the car for a test drive and seemed genuinely surprised by how well the car handled. And although he also agrees that the slower acceleration will take a little getting used to, he didn't find it as bad as he thought it was going to be. I truly believe that they both think that I made the right decision for me and for my family - not only in choosing to let go of the Infiniti but picking the Mazda. I also think Bergy enjoyed the car as well. I was shocked that once she saw the car, she immediately jumped in without any issues. It is definitely the highest from the ground she has ever had to jump to get into a car. She has already started to put her own touch on the car by decorating the windows with her nose art.

In other news, I forgot to mention this in my last post. Last weekend, Benny and I hung out with Laura and Ryan, and we decided to ask them to be in our wedding party. Originally, I had my four girls picked out – basically, the same four girls I knew would be in my wedding party since I graduated high school – and for some reason, my mind was set on having a four-person bridal party. I don’t even understand it myself, but I could not wrap my head around the idea that, hey, there can be as many or as little people in your bridal party as I’d like. I have wanted Laura in my wedding party since Benny proposed. She was essentially the one who set us up. She was there through thick and thin and, in the end, convinced me to give Benny a chance. She was the one who witnessed our relationship the most. On top of that, since Laura is extremely creative and is the ultimate bargain shopper, I knew I would be going to her for suggestions and advise throughout all the planning stages of my wedding. I finally realized that I cared more about having her in my wedding than having the “magical” number of four people in my bridal party. There is nothing wrong with having five bridesmaids. I am happy that I got over myself and have chosen to include her (and Ryan) in this experience.

Well, that's it for today. About to start class. It is my last one before finals, so I will be pretty busy this week.


Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: "Give Your Heart A Break" - Demi Lovato
23 July 2012 @ 11:16 pm

Ever have emotional attachment to something inanimate and have a hard time letting it go? This weekend, I made a very big decision where I used my head instead of my heart.

When planning a wedding and trying to find ways to save more money, you begin to think about what your current expenses are, what expenses you are expecting to incur, and what you can do to reduce those expenses, if at all. In general, Benny and I have a lot of debt. We own a house and have all the debt related to that, I have a pretty expensive car loan, have a bunch of school loans and I am still incurring more. Our real estate taxes increased by $100 per month because our property value was originally assessed incorrectly. I am lucky enough to be covered under my mother's health insurance, but that will end when I turn 26 in February. Also, Ben's car is getting old and has a lot of miles, and we may need to get him a new car sooner rather than later. That would add another car payment to our debt. We were thinking about ways to cut our debt, but the most we could think of was $5 bucks here, $10 bucks there. There was really one way I could think of to cut payments, although it wasn't something I really wanted to do.

My dad has recently decided to lease a Toyota Highlander and got a decently low monthly payment on it. I looked at my car and realized that I was paying a significant amount each month for it. I originally never thought of the possibility of leasing since I have a 50-mile round trip commute to work each day. However, after talking with my parents and Ben's parents, who were both on board with the idea of leasing, they agreed that, if I was getting too close to the maximum lease miles each year, they would be willing to switch off with me (since they drive a lot less) in order to keep the miles down. There was one big issue with this whole idea to me - I love my car. I mean, it is a sporty Infiniti with all sorts of bells and whistles. It's basically everything I wanted in a car. Except for the monthly car payment. Also, gas is expensive, since it only averages around 20mpg and I have to use 89 or 93 gas on it.

So I decided that it was smart to just shop around for a lease that would get me into a lower car payment. I knew I was going to be really picky about this. I wasn't fully ready to just let go of my car and all of its amenities for a lot less of a car, but also wanted to reduce my monthly payment by $100+. Also, since I wanted a 3-4 year lease, I wanted a vehicle that would be conducive for a future family. I decided I mainly wanted to look at AWD/FWD compact SUVs. We looked at the Kia Sportage, the Mazda CX-5, the Toyota RAV4, and the Subaru Forester. I basically wrote off the Kia Sportage and the Toyota RAV4 because they weren't really what I was looking for. I went through the numbers for the Subaru Forester and the Mazda CX-5, and was able to get the monthly payments down to what I wanted. In the end though, it was the Mazda CX-5 that I really liked. So the question was - was I ready to give up on my Infiniti?

I tried to weigh the pros and cons of getting the Mazda over keeping the Infiniti. First, I weighed what I would be sacrificing by buying the Mazda. I lose my leather, heated seats and I lose my keyless entry and seat memory, which Ben and I use a ton on the Infiniti since we both drive the car frequently. Also, instead of owning, I would be leasing and having to be aware of how much driving I did each year. The biggest sacrifice I would be making is going from a very fast and powerful V6 engine to a V4 engine, which would be a huge adjustment. Then, I considered what amenities both the cars have, which were navigation, bluetooth, a sunroof, HID headlights, auto-dimming mirror with Homelink, and a high quality Bose sound system. Lastly, I thought about what I would be gaining. I would gain a brand new SUV with extra storage space, a back-up camera and blind spot monitoring. I would also gain a auxiliary plug and a USB port. But most importantly, I would be saving money. My monthly payment would be lower by $120 each month. The Mazda also has better gas mileage and only needs 87 gas, which I calculated would save me $600+ a year. I also expected to have some expensive maintenance coming due on my Infiniti, which would only get more expensive since I was only about a year and a half away from hitting 100,000 miles.

In the end, I decided it was in our best interest for me to let go of the Infiniti and lease the Mazda. I signed the contract on Saturday, and am picking up the car tomorrow. It was hard for me to let go of the Infiniti. It was my first big investment that I took care of financially all by myself. And it was a great car. I loved the car. I still do. I had a ton of huge memories in that car. But I made the best decision I could when thinking about the future of Ben and I. I really like the Mazda too, which makes it a little easier to let go of my Infiniti. I just have an emotional attachment to the Infiniti that I do not yet have with the Mazda. But I am hoping that will change. I honestly believe I made the right decision. I will post a couple of pictures of my new car once I have it.

Alas, it is time for bed. Goodnight, and God bless.

Current Mood: satisfiedpractical
Current Music: "Marilyn Monroe" - Nicki Minaj
30 June 2012 @ 12:59 am
In my last entry, I discussed how shocked I was by the fact that I needed to already start looking at photographers and DJs when I am still 15½ months away from my wedding. Well, clearly I did not take that lightly. Right after attending the venue, I started looking up local photographers and DJs on WeddingWire and writing down questions to ask at meetings so I didn't forget when we actually got there.

Two Sundays ago, we met with our first photographer. I had recently seen the engagement photos of a girl I attended college with, and was immediately drawn to his artistic ability, creativity and style. I had seen him before on WeddingWire as well, and saw he had over 50 reviews, all five stars. While meeting with him, we learned he is also a Merrimack alumni. He showed us multiple albums, his online website and how it worked, and how he corrected and retouched images. It was pretty awesome to watch him transpose a face from one picture to another, as well as remove an entire crowd at Boston Common to only include the bride and groom. Out of the 22 questions I had written down to discuss, I only had to ask one because he answered them all on his own. I was extremely impressed with how professional yet personable he was. All of his photos were beautiful and was generally pleased with the pricing. The only complaint I had was with regards to the price of the photo albums, but it was something that didn't need to be decided on until much later. Leaving the meeting, I knew it would be hard to persuade me to use a different photographer. However, I wanted to do my due diligence by looking at a couple more photographers and then making a decision. Thankfully, the photographer said that, if anyone else inquired about our date, he would let us know right away and allow us the first right of refusal.

Later that week, we met with another photographer. I heard about the photographer from a coworker of mine, and was intrigued because their prices were the cheapest I had seen. Although fairly new to the industry, their pictures were still very artistic and lovely. They also showed us their albums with the many different photo paper and album cover options. They were personable and easygoing. However, I think they lacked the professionalism I was looking for in my photographer. In short, I did not trust that we would get the pictures we were looking for. Moreover, they continuously dropped names of other photographers that we should consider booking. I found that to be a complete turn-off. If I am trying to book you as my photographer, why would you drop names of other photographers we should book instead?

Right after meeting with the second photographer, we heard back from the first photographer we met with who informed us that he had a request from another couple to book him for our wedding date. We were supposed to meet with another photographer the following week, but we needed to make a decision before that meeting. Ben and I discussed our options, and it didn't take too long to come to a decision. We realized that we were more than impressed with the first photographer, and had great faith that he would give us all the photos that we would want on our big day. We weren't willing to take the risk of losing him in order to meet with one more photographer. So the next day, I let him know that we chose him as our photographer. For our day, we will be given two photographers for 8 hours of coverage. We were also given an engagement shoot, a slideshow, online proofs, and a CD of all the high-resolution photos taken with unlimited printing rights. At this moment, I couldn't be more happy with our choice in photographer.

Since I just spent a ton of time writing about the photographers and I am ready to go to bed, I will only talk briefly about the DJ. We met with our DJ at a Starbucks one day before work. He is young (and attractive) and works for a larger, highly recognized and highly reviewed entertainment firm in the area. Our DJ also had a number of great reviews on WeddingWire, which was surprising since he is a relatively new DJ. He was extremely nice and laid-back, and did a great job at letting us know his style and what he does to keep the crowd entertained. Also, because he is a new DJ, his prices are cheaper than anyone else I looked at. He also provides uplighting as an option, which is something I am extremely interested in. I am excited to work with him in the future.

We acted quickly because we wanted to be able to choose exactly who we wanted. We didn't want to be left with only a few options. In the end, Benny and I knew what we were looking for, and all-in-all, I think we found it. Other than doing research and living on Pinterest for gathering ideas, we probably won't make any more purchases for the wedding for a couple of months. Next step is probably (insert slight panic attack here) wedding dress shopping. Other than school, my primary focus will be to start exercising regularly and eating better.

I will write more later. It is almost 1:00am and I am exhausted. God Bless.
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: "Comatose" - Skillet
16 June 2012 @ 05:08 pm
I was just reading my sister's blog and realized how jealous I am of her creativity. She has written in her blog every day since January 1, 2010, and always manages to have something to say about her day or at least has a topic to write about. I was reading one of her entries when she was describing a time she was angry. She wrote, "My jaw becomes rigid, my brow furrows, and my throat tightens as I feel the heat move freely within my chest." As much as I know that it is not a complex or entirely difficult sentence, my mind does not allow my writing to be that descriptive. In my case, my sentence would probably say something along the lines of "Every time I think about it, my blood starts to boil." I have such a to-the-point type of mindset. There's nothing wrong with it, but I guess I just wish that, for once, I could write an entry without it feeling like work. For my sister, it comes naturally. For me, it takes patience, time and a lot of deleting.

Since my last entry, winter came and went and spring is just about over. Benny and I have been homeowners for almost 8 months now and we couldn't be happier about our choice to take this step. It has definitely made saving for a wedding more difficult since we blew through our savings to buy a house, but we have made a budget and are trying hard to stick to it. We enjoy having our own space and a place where we can have guests over comfortably. We have wonderful neighbors with three extremely adorable, extremely blonde children. I really like our location because, while we live in a city, it can almost feel rural. Our dog loves having a ton of land to run around and play on. So far, I have found that the hardest part of owning a home is maintaining the lawn, especially since we live on 1.80 acres. We have recently put in a flower bed, although it is currently lacking any flowers. We have found that flowers can get pretty pricey and are taking our time when it comes to getting them. As much as I would love to have a complete flower bed, I would also like to get married. And with that, some things take precedence while other projects get put on hold.

Wedding planning has just started to pick up as well. This winter, we set a date and booked our venue. I will become Mrs. Laura Jordan on October 12, 2013. I absolutely love our venue as well. It is on a newly renovated 18-hole golf course and has a very modern feel with beautiful hardwood floors, high ceilings, large contemporary chandeliers, and balconies that look out to gorgeous views. It is not too big, which works for us as we plan to have a smaller wedding (around 100 people) in order to keep our costs lower. Originally, the only option for holding a ceremony at the venue was indoors so we were a little disappointed that we could not have an outdoor ceremony. However, they recently added an outdoor area that overlooks the golf course and has a lovely water feature which we couldn't be more excited about. In the worst case scenario that it rains, we will just take it indoors where we originally planned on having the ceremony, which is still a very beautiful area. We also considered the option of getting married at a church, but Ben is not Catholic and I have not been practicing for a while for personal reasons. However, since Ben and I are both spiritual and have strong Christian values, we intend on being married by a minister, reverend or someone ordained.

I recently attended a bridal show with my mother and could not believe how far in advance I have to start booking some of the vendors, specifically the photographer and the DJ. While talking to some vendors about my wedding date, some said that they were already booked for that day, while others said that we should consider selecting a vendor soon as booking for 2013 was very active. Although I know we have a popular weekend (Columbus Day weekend), almost all of the wedding "to-do" checklists I have seen or downloaded say that I should start looking for a photographer and a DJ 9-12 months before the wedding. We are still 16 months away from our day, and yet we are being told that, if we want someone, we need to get started now. Therefore, Benny and I have started to look at and set up appointments with DJs and photographers. It is starting to become much more real to me now. It's not just planning anymore. We are booking and committing to contracts and spending money now. As much as this is an exciting experience, it also puts my stomach in knots and makes my heart race with anxiety. Although we are receiving some financial help from our parents (which every dollar we appreciate immensely), most of the weddings costs is coming out of our own pockets. It is very overwhelming, but I refuse to let it get the best of me. I want my first marriage to be my only marriage. With that in mind, I will only go through this experience once in my life, and I want to enjoy and soak up every moment. At the end of the day, all that matters is that I will be married to my best friend.

Other than that, I am taking classes three and four of my graduate program this summer, working, and hanging out. Since February, Allyson, Andy, Benny and I have attended trivia nights every week. Overall, life is busy but good.
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: "Everything" - Michael Buble