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There are a lot of stereotypes I disagree with.  I mean, who doesn’t?  But the biggest one that I’ve run up against lately is this notion that now that I’m engaged and going to be married, I won’t make time for my girlfriends anymore.

This is just not true.

I am well aware of the fact that many engaged/newlyweds fall into this happy and easy state of existence where they feel like they don’t need anyone else now that they have each other.  I can totally see how this could happen.  But there’s something to be said about the power of girlfriends.

I’m not saying that I don’t value my relationship with Jared.  However, I truly do not believe that any woman can survive without a strong group of female friends who have known you at your best and, of course, at your worst.  My girlfriends have helped me weather a lot of storms, and I’d be lying if I said I could give that all up just to spend time with a husband.  It honestly would not be enough: with girlfriends, there is just a different level of love and trust and silliness that cannot be replaced by any man.

Jared and I are really close-there are no topics that are off limits.  However, humans are complex creatures and one person cannot possibly meet all of our needs.  There are things that my friends may understand that Jared might not have any experience with, just solely for the reason that he’s never been through it.  And that’s ok!  It’s not “wrong” to turn to other friends to vent or ask for advice.  By staying only focused on your relationship with your fiance/husband, your focus becomes narrow, and your worldview starts to close.

I’ve always vowed to never be “that friend” that has to bring her significant other everywhere.  Although I’m sure I’ve made mistakes along the way, I do think I strike a healthy balance.  After all, it’s not fair to your girlfriends that may need time alone just to be a girl to always have to deal with you bringing your companion.  You may feel comfortable discussing everything under the sun in front of him, but maybe she doesn’t.  And what kind of friendship can you cultivate when your girlfriends feel like they have to censor themselves in front of you?  That’s why I’m a big advocate of girls-only weekends.  I’ve gotten a lot of flack for doing this so often from people that think it rude of me to leave Jared behind, but I have to say, these times away are healthy not only for my relationships with my friends, but also my relationship with Jared.  Screw the critics.  😉

I hope that as my marriage grows, my relationship with my girlfriends will continue to stay strong.  Kelly, Jenna, Ann, Christina, Cate, Sharon, Tracey, Laurie, Devon,  you all are my life blood, and I am looking forward to growing old with you as well.  🙂

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Happy Friday!  It’s been a long week/month/beginning of the year, lol!  But, we’re only 4 months away from my big day!

So, in tribute to all of us brides who would love to focus on nothing else more than our wedding, but have been consumed with other bigger worries, I bring you The Everyday Bride.  Every day stories for those brides that can’t spend every waking hour thinking about the minor details!  Although it’s focused on Chicago resources, I still love to see the little things people are looking at and thinking about!

Enjoy!

Reader’s Digest recently commissioned a survey in 16 countries interviewing approximately 16,000 regarding their attitudes and behaviors about weight, weight loss, and obesity.  I always find these sort of polls interesting, as I feel that attitudes toward food and weight loss vastly differ per country.

I have to admit, I was kind of shocked and appalled to see that women in the US “most want their husbands to lose weight.”  Maybe I’m surprised by this because I’m usually too obsessed with my own weight to care what Jared is doing, but I find it kind of hypocritical of us US females to battle with our own weight issues, and wish our husbands would lose weight…oh well.

I’m also kind of surprised that the US didn’t lead in the diet pill craze.  I guess that’s a good thing!

All in all, worth a read. I was hoping the advice to lose weight would break us outside the usual recommendations, but I guess that’s just never going to happen 🙂

What surprised you most in this poll?  Anything not surprising?  Let me know your take!

The other night, I watched Paper Heart, a “documentary” created by Charlyne Yi with the purpose of helping her understand love, a subject she doesn’t fully grasp.

Paper heart

The journey to love

Not my typical choice.  However, if you know Charlyne Yi, you’ll know she’s dating Michael Cera.  The main purpose of my watching this movie was to observe Michael Cera in his natural habitat of wonderfulness and romanticism.  Quirky, scrawny and awkward he is, but he has a certain appeal that I cannot deny.

I have to admit that I almost turned the movie off within the first 5 minutes.  Charlyne Yi is almost too awkward for my taste.  I don’t really find her to be that funny, and her level of immaturity kind of bothered me throughout the movie.  Not sure if she really is immature or if that’s just my misinterpretation of awkwardness, but anyway, I digress.

Charlyne and her director, Nick, travel across the country, interviewing a variety of couples regarding the true meaning of love.  The best part of this documentary had to be when she interviewed a group of children on the playground in Atlanta.  The girls informed her that they knew what love was “because they loved Chris Brown, you don’t know him.”  HA.

During the course of the documentary, Charlyne meets Michael Cera, and they start to date.  Almost too perfect, for such a thing to happen during the course of this documentary.  It’s obvious that Michael hates the fact that the beginning of their relationship is being recorded, and they almost break up over it.  This was really the only part of the movie where I applauded Yi’s maturity, as she grappled with an emotion she wasn’t used to feeling.

In all, I wouldn’t say the movie spoke to me or provided any type of insights I didn’t already know.  While I can’t say I spend countless amounts of time pondering what love is, it’s still sweet to hear other people’s interpretations of it.  Love, to me, isn’t really all about the butterflies in the stomach.  When I was younger, that’s ALL it was about…a feeling.  To me, love is a level of comfort you start to feel with someone, whether it’s a best friend, a boyfriend, a fiance, a husband, that allows you to be truly yourself in front of them.  Love has its ups and downs, there’s not doubt about that, but at the end of the day, love is what keeps you coming back for more.

I still maintain that Michael Cera should be with me instead, but I guess he’s too late.  🙂

I confess:  I’ve been on a bit of a buying high lately for wedding things.  I’m a marketer’s dream:  I pour over every email and catalog these wedding people send me, hoping to find just one little thing I can buy.  I don’t know what the attraction is.  I guess I feel like it’s another thing I can cross off the list.  And it’s fun to have things in advance to play with before the big day!

The Wedding Outlet was a recent victim of my shopaholicism.  I can’t remember how I came across it, but I found the products to be slightly different than a lot of the other sites I was on.  My mission:  Toasting Glasses and our Cake Server set.  Minor details, I know, but items that I was adamant to find and have engraved.  I’m not sure why this was so important to me, but it’s another one of those lasting things that was special to me.

After sharing my top choices with Jared via Google Docs and narrowing down the finalists, we finally settled on a matching pair of each.  I had to use the live customer service chat for a question, and I found it to be quite good.  Usually I feel like the “people” you chat with are more like computers, but this actually felt like I was talking to a real person who wasn’t scripting out an answer.  Love that.  Everything arrived in a decent amount of time, and I was able to use some coupon codes I found while browsing around.  Sweet deal.

I now am of course enrolled in all of their email campaigns, but I don’t really mind them.  They take a cute spin on the usual emails, and I’m usually tempted to read and click through.  (Like I said, marketer’s dream)  Today’s theme was “Something Blue” and I liked the little history they provided about the sayings.  Very clever.

If you’re still looking for the final or beginning touches to personalize your wedding, make sure you’re checking out all The Wedding Outlet has to offer!

Oh, and as for a picture of our toasting glasses and cake set?  Guess you’ll have to wait for the big day to see those.  🙂

I’m not much of a TV watcher.  Sure, I have my pet shows (can’t wait until Sunday for 24!!) but I have to really like a show to watch it consistently.  I mean, really like it.  My problem with TV is that it interrupts my work out schedule.   Unless a show is on from 9-10, the chances of me watching it are slim.  And let’s not forget that my memory is terrible, so I usually forget what nights the shows are on…

When I do watch TV, I have a huge penchant for reality TV.  Roll your eyes all you want, but there is something about reality TV that is fascinating to me.  I really think it’s the fact that it’s totally mindless.  I am a chronic worrier, and when stress gets the best of me, there’s nothing better than tuning out and focusing on someone else’s life.

With that being said, I’m happy to report that High School Reunion has started a new season on TV Land.  I watched the premiere episode of this series awhile ago, and it fell off my radar.  However, with Jared being gone, what better to do than catch up on my beloved mindless shows??

The concept for this show is fantastic.  In fact, I often find myself wishing they would call me to be on it.  However, I’m always reminded after watching one episode that I would never be called to be on a show like this for a few reasons:

1.)  I don’t have a bone to pick with anyone from high school. That’s the big one.  To be honest, I could really care less what happened in high school.  I’m sure there were days when I wanted to hide in a locker, but I honestly can’t remember a single person or event as a stand out, OMG I can’t believe they did that to me/that happened thing.  I have no grudges, no burning crushes, nothing.  Pretty boring for HS Reunion.  After all, life just wouldn’t be fair if the cheerleader and head football player from high school didn’t end up together.  Give me a break.   He doesn’t even seem that interested in her!

My only regret post high school is not staying in better touch with my best female friends.  Sure, life gets in the way, but I definitely wish I had done a better job keeping up the friendships that took me through those four years.  Girls, you know who you are, and just know that I miss you!

2.)  I don’t still refer to myself by a high school nickname. Granted, I don’t recall ever having one.  But the “Summer Girls“?  Give me a break, TV Land.  Do these women (who are pushing 40 these days, might I add) REALLY still refer to themselves by their high school clique name?  Get over yourselves.  I can tell these ladies are going to get on my nerves.  I’m already tired of hearing every sentence start with “The Summer Girls…(fill in the blank of some stereotypical thing “popular people” supposedly do).”

3.)  I’ve moved on. I know, it’s reality tv.  But really, how does TV Land do it?  How do they successfully find a group of 16 people each season who never moved past their undergrad days?  The weirdest thinga bout this show to me is that no one talks about what they’re doing now.  It’s all so focused on what happened “back then.”  You can’t really tell me that nothing happened to these people in the 20 years since they left high school.  Some of them touch on divorces, but conveniently, all of them are single. Except, of course, for “the player,” who they put on to test to see if he’ll stay faithful.  So predictable.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love this show and will continue to watch it.  And if TV Land ever called me, I would go.  I just wouldn’t make for good tv.  🙂

As we continue to check things off the list, I feel compelled to fill everyone in on some tips we’ve learned as we go through the wedding planning process.  An often overlooked detail, in my opinion, is what the groom and his men are wearing.  Granted it’s MUCH more fun to talk about dresses, but the guys are obviously an important element of the wedding as well!

Recently, we went to Men’s Wearhouse to set up what exactly the guys will be donning for the big day.  We made an appointment at our local store, and I have to say I was very pleased with the service at the location we went to.  I’ve been to other Men’s Wearhouse locations with other people, and I didn’t really feel like they gave the guys the same type of treatment girls get.  Sure, girls are usually way more into the decisions than guys are, but I still think they should be treated with the same kind of excitement as females are at the bridal salons.

Kerry, the man who helped us out, was extremely thoughtful and helpful.  I had come prepared with some color swatches I ordered off the Web site (for free), and he was very good at steering us in the right direction to make sure all of our patterns and colors fit well together. The patterns I had picked were based on color and not the pattern of the vests, and Kerry pointed out that we really should keep the patterns similar across all the vests.  A very good point that I would have missed being so hung up on color.  Kerry really took the time to show us the looks put together so that we could get the full picture, and I definitely appreciated his help!

The benefit of Men’s Wearhouse is that they have locations all over the United States.  When you are dealing with a group of guys that are scattered across the tri-state area and beyond, it’s hard to get everyone together to come to NJ to have their fittings done.  Men’s Wearhouse allows for the guys to have fittings done anywhere, making it easier for people to go in on their own time without having to travel.  Furthermore, Men’s Wearhouse will then ship all tuxedos to one location to allow for ease of pick-up the day before the wedding.  This makes it impossible for things to get lost or for someone to “forget” their tux on Wedding Day!  Men’s Wearhouse has done a great job figuring out what works best for the male mind and making the process as stress free for the bride as possible!

My only complaint when we go places like Men’s Wearhouse together is that vendors tend to ask me my opinion without considering Jared.  While I’m fully aware of the fact that most brides make all the decisions without consulting their grooms, I find it slightly disrespectful for vendors to always assume the bride is calling the shots, particularly with clothing.  He’s the one that has to wear the tux all day, talk to him about the comfort and fit!  Not a huge deal, but one thing that I’ve noticed overall.  I guess it’s up to brides like me to dispel the stereotype that grooms don’t care about the details of the day!

Happy that our bridal party and groomsmen look is complete!  Now, on to the next task…..

I’ve done a lot of workout videos in my day.  From pilates, to kickboxing, to working out on the ab ball, I guess you could literally say I’ve tried them all.  I usually have mixed feelings about them.  Some of them have been so easy, I barely break a sweat, while others are so hard only a double jointed person could complete the moves.

I think my biggest challenge in working out is staying engaged.  Since I try to work out every day of the week, the usual gets boring for me pretty fast.  And when it gets boring, we know what happens.  So, for Christmas, I decided to add to my video collection by asking for Jillian Michaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Workout DVD.  I have a lot of weigh training DVD’s and was really looking to boost the cardio elements of my routine.

And boost it did.  This video is one of the more challenging ones I’ve done.  It’s not impossible, however, I’m definitely huffing and puffing my way through parts of it.  Jillian takes you through 7 circuits of moves, and it really is a non-stop workout.  You barely have time to catch your breath before you’re on to the next one.  Circuits 1, 3 and 5 are probably the easiest to get through.  2, 4 and 7 however, are very challenging.  I can usually do the more advanced moves and don’t have to drop down to the suggested beginner moves, but not on this one.

This video makes me feel really good. I like Jillian Michaels better than I thought I would.  I’ve never seen The Biggest Loser, but have to admit I’m not a fan of instructors that just yell in your face all day. Not sure if she does that, but that’s the impression I had of her.  Granted, I will never look like her, but I like that she is a realist.  The girls that are in the video can kick almost as high as their heads and stretch to lengths I’ve never been able to.  Jillian acknowledges that even she can’t do this and makes you feel normal instead of completely out of shape and inflexible.

This workout is a challenge, that’s for sure.  I never thought jump squats would be a welcome break, but after everything Jillian puts you through, jump squats are a dream.  The best part about this video is the sense of accomplishment I feel after doing it.  I feel like I’ve worked hard, and that makes me feel incredible.

If you’re looking for a change, turn to Jillian!  She has a pretty robust web site with all sorts of products and suggestions.  Still not sure I feel like signing up for yet another site, but this one is definitely on my radar.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Four years ago today, we lost my grandfather to pancreatic cancer.  January 10th, 2006, a few days before I returned to Susquehanna University to finish my undergraduate studies.  With the gracious support of hospice, my grandfather was able to live out the worst of his disease at home surrounding by his family.  Even though watching him die was a terrible thing to have to go through, the honor of caring for him in his final hours is an experience I will never regret.

My grandfather lost his battle quickly.  He doesn’t have a Patrick Swayze story.  He was diagnosed in late 2005, I believe around October, and we lost him a few short months later.  Pancreatic cancer is a terrible disease like that.  Each year in the US, over 42,000 people are diagnosed with the disease and over 35,000 die from it.  The survival rate, although it has improved, is extremely heartbreaking.

My grandfather was a wonderful man, and not a week goes by that I don’t think about him and cry over our loss.  I know that 4 years after the fact, that seems a bit over done, but my grandfather was a hero in my eyes.  A great husband to my grandmother for over 50 years, a great father,a terrific grandfather, and a dedicated public servant, we miss him more and more every day.  I especially miss him this year, as I prepare to take a trip down the aisle.  What I wouldn’t give to have him holding my arm, and walking me to my future husband. He set a great example for what a beautiful marriage looks like, and I intend to honor his example each day of my own marriage.

To honor the memory of my grandfather’s death and support the advancement of pancreatic cancer research, I have donated to The Lustgarten Foundation, an organization that advances the scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer.  I plan to continue to do this every year on January 10th as a tribute to a man I love and still miss each and every day.  If pancreatic cancer is a disease that is close to your heart, I encourage you to do the same.

My grandfather used to tell us before we left his house each time to return to school or whatever adventures we had, “Be good, and you’ll be happy.”  I’ve been good, Grandpa.  But I still miss you terribly.

I recently cancelled my subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine.  A sad day for me, as I’m pretty addicted to the world of girly magazines.  However, I just really didn’t find the content relevant to me in my engaged, 25 year old state.  Not that I can’t enjoy reading some of it, but it almost got to be too immature for me.

The one subscription I did keep was Glamour.  I’ve written about Glamour pretty consistently in this blog, and I have to say, I’m always impressed with their content and level of maturity.  I noticed the other day that they recently launched a section of their Web site devoted to weddings.

Way to go, Glamour.  Particularly on today’s post about being a better bride.  What an excellent idea for a series.  I absolutely hate blogs and sites that tout the “it’s all about you” mantra to brides.  It wouldn’t be a wedding without the groom!

Glamour can count on me for at least another year!

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