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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Weekend Review {1/17}

FRIDAY

I spent most of my Friday thinking about this place:

Our venue.

We made the decision on Thursday night.  #progress

I rode Bagheera into work since Charleston winter is a lot like NY summers.  While at work not only did I potentially find a DJ who was willing to give us a discount because I pointed out that her website wasn't complete, buuuuttt I also got my original numero uno photographer who agreed to give us a discount for a weekday event and paying in cash.  Yes, please, kthx,  I worked until around 1:30, then I could no longer withstand the temptation of a beautiful day with my bike parked outside.

I headed out and made my way to the coliseum to pick up our Shrimp and Grits 5k race packets.  In a moment of poor planning, I hadn't bothered (or remembered) that there was a children's run on this day.  FML because there were children swarming the entire area with their screams and not paying attention and running around and almost running into me.

There was some drama at the pickup because Teh German's packet didn't exist.  Apparently they had never registered him.  Ugh.  I spent about 10 minutes trying to find the copy of the check I wrote back in April at the Bridge Run expo, but technology failed me.  I gave up and just settled on running alone, ugh.  I perused the expo and then headed out.

As I walked out of the building, I stopped and kinda gathered myself after having to dodge no less than 5 children within 20 feet of the door.  There happened to be 2 police officers sitting on a bench nearby and one asked me if I was ok.  I explained that there were just a lot of people and it was kinda overwhelming, but I was fine now.  He noticed my helmet and asked me what I rode and we chatted about bikes for a minute or two.  So many people villainize police officers, but I just don't understand it.  I've never had a bad interaction with a cop.  Even when I've gotten pulled over.  I'm the one in the wrong, so my bad attitude doesn't mean they shouldn't do their job.

I continued on my way to Bagheera.  As I was preparing to leave (which takes several minutes because I have to turn on my headset and turn on music and make sure it's the good jams and put in my earplugs and put my key in the ignition and pull my hair back and put on my helmet then put on my gloves and actually get on the bike and start it, it's a process ya'll), I noticed a car waiting on me to leave since I was in the closest spot available.  I didn't bother to hurry.

Getting on a road was a relief since it was pretty warm in all my layers with my coat and gloves and helmet on.  I headed home and it was time for laziness.

When Teh German eventually came home, we ordered pizza for dinner and watched HIMYM for the rest of the evening.  Knowing that we had events scheduled on Saturday meant that a lazy Friday evening was perfect.  Also, we're halfway through season 9 and while I love HIMYM, I feel like we've been watching this show for eons and I'm ready for it to be over already so we can start watching something else (Sherlock, Modern Family, so many options).


SATURDAY

Saturday morning came wayyy too early and honestly, I almost just skipped the 5k and let my registration fee go as a donation to the North Charleston Arts in School blah blah blah.  But, I was already awake and I really wanted the medal and I hadn't been in Charleston to run the race the 2 years prior...  So I dragged my ass out of bed and did the damn thing.

I was pretty late.  In fact, as I was walking to the start line from where I parked, I heard the gun go off.  Oops.  I walked up to the start line right as the people at the back of the line were starting to walk to get to the start line.. sooooo right on time.  Teh Running Bestie would have never allowed this if she was here.


The run was mostly flat (the Lowcountry way) so it was nice.  I've been dealing with some hip pain over the last week and a half, but when I'm working out it doesn't hurt, so it's a nice reprieve.  The run was easy, I got my medal, walked through the end area, decided against eating shrimp and grits for breakfast and after a run and headed home instead.

Our next event was the Twin's 1st Birthday part at noon.  After I got home, I showered and got ready.  Knowing that "Teh German Time" is usually in effect on the weekend, I had to prod Teh German a little to start getting ready.  He's so very cute.

We made it right on time to the party.. It was everyone else that was late.  I agreed to take pictures for the event as a birthday present.  Twin Dad had smoked pork butts, which meant that BBQ was on the menu for lunch.  NOMMMM.  We ended up leaving around 3.  I was so exhausted that I went home and took a nap.  After a week of sleeping super shitty, it was catching up to me.  I woke up a little bit after 5:30 and heard Teh German answer my phone and chat with Teh Dad for a bit.


I felt like downstairs was too far to go, so I stayed in bed reading and pinning on my wedding board on Pinterest for the night.  Teh German didn't come upstairs because he thought I was asleep.  He also only watched his YouTube videos on his iPad instead of through the TV, which was glorious.  I never realized how much I appreciated silence until Teh German came into the picture with all his music and YouTube videos and noise.  At one point this weekend he had a German radio station streaming downstairs (which is pretty cool in theory), then went upstairs to shower and turned on his Spotify.  Yeah, no.  I shut the downstairs noise off quick-like.

Eventually he did come to bed and it happened to be right around the time that I was done with being awake.  Win.


SUNDAY

Sunday we got a slow start since there was nothing on the schedule other than the neighbor's kid was having a birthday party that we were invited to.  Instead, I scheduled an outing with Roux's Humom and Mr. Golfer.  Teh German tried to get sassy with me because he'd told the kid we'd be going to her bday party the day before, but I was unaware of this.  He said he felt bad because he'd told her he'd go and I said she wouldn't even miss us since all the kids were going to be there and I wasn't really up for that.

Mr. Golfer picked us up at 1245 and before we left, I ran across the street and dropped off a birthday card with $10 in it for the birthday kid (to make Teh German feel better), then we headed to local 9-hole golf course.  It's like beginners level golf.  Oh yeah, I should mention, I've never ever in my entire life played golf before.  Mini-golf yes, but not actual swing and aim at a tiny hole half a mile thataway golf.

Spoiler alert.  All nine holes, hole-in-1.  BOOM.
JK.  Definitely not.

We didn't keep score, but I know that at least 3 of my balls are in the ponds at the course.  I tried to explain to everyone that sports with balls and I don't usually make a good combination, but no one wanted to listen to me.  Additionally, Mr. Golfer is, as you can imagine, SUPER into golf and he's really good.  I am not.  Additionally, I have things that prohibit me from even being a mediocre golfer, specifically big boobs, a bad back, and I've currently got something going on with my hip that makes it hurt all the time.  So yeah, turning my body and swinging and bending and moving, not so much my idea of a good time.  I had committed to going to golfing, not actual golfing.  I was there to be cute.  I have the text to prove it.

That said, I can now say I've (shit-itly) played golf.  There are absolutely zero pictures to prove this.  #bloggerfail

When we got home, I checked up on some internet things, then I agreed to go to the auto stores with Teh German so he could pick up some things to change Suzi's oil.  I knew better than to go in the store with him and just opted to sit in Baloo and wait.  A mabillionty years later, Teh German finally comes back.  Seriously, a mabillionty years, I had check FB, Instagram, and had even started reading but it was making me sleepy-tired, so I just reclined the seat and kinda drifted in and out.  Forever.  Of course, that store didn't have everything we needed so we had to make a stop at their competition across the street.  Fortunately, that trip only took a few minutes.

Teh German had suggested we get a milkshake to make up for his less than stellar attitude.  Instead, I talked him into going to Ye Old Fashioned for ice cream.  We weren't super hungry, but we decided to split a tuna melt and a basket of bacon cheddar fries and it was perfect.  Then we had half of a delicious brownie ice cream sundae.  NOM.


With that, our errands were complete and we headed back home.  While I was inside working on wedding spreadsheets (for the rest of my foreseeable future), Teh German was in the garage changing Suzi's oil.  There was yelling and I checked on him and he wasn't hurt so I came right back inside.  I've learned that my presence isn't helpful, nor is my help actually helpful, so I just leave him be.  Saves me from hurt feelings and much distress.  #notsorry

Apparently the oil catcher container thingy was leaking which was causing some serious drama.  I just pretended like nothing was happening.  Eventually, I was tired of the computer and moved to the couch for some reading time.

Later, Teh German came inside, crisis resolved, changed into lazy clothes and sat down on the couch with me.  NBD, except that he wasn't speaking to me.  I didn't know why, but I could feel the tension and I couldn't figure out the problem since I knew I hadn't done anything to piss him off.  I started having some kindle/library problems and got frustrated, then I blew up on him because he wasn't speaking to me... #womanlogic  I ended up going upstairs at that point and getting ready for bed.  Obviously, I needed some alone time to think about what I had done.. and some sleep.



MONDAY

Monday morning we had a skype date schedule with Papa G, but we were still able to get a slow start.  I messaged Roux's Humom and told her that I was interested in going to the gym if she was going.  We ended up joining the morning crowd around 9.  Teh German wasn't out of the bed yet and I had just been tossing back and forth since I'd fed the beasts, so it was for the best that I leave.  1.5 hours of workout, we made it back.

Teh German was up and eating breakfast.  We hadn't really recovered from whatever was going on the night before.  I went upstairs and showered and when I came back down, Papa G was already on skype.  We discussed wedding plans and progress and Teh German made some commitments that I wasn't pleased with (more things we need to do.. don't even get me started).  After Skype, I encouraged Teh German to start getting ready so we wouldn't be late for our 1230 appointment with our wedding coordinator (see what I just did there?).

Of course, we were still late.  Something on Suzi had to be adjusted and oil level checked and just blah blah blah.  We arrived 10 minutes late, which is pretty good... considering.  First things first, I told her I brought her a present and presented her with an old towel.  When Phil pooped on her floor, she cut up an old towel she had laying around.  Well, I replaced it.  After discussing some details, setting up a meeting for February, and paying her, we were free for the day.

Since it was supposed to rain at any point, we made a quick stop by Tractor Supply Co for Roux, then we came home to be lazy.  Ok, I was lazy.  Teh German did more work on Suzi.  I played around on social media then got bored with it and went to the couch with my book.  Reading was making me tired, so I took a very short nap.

I had invited over Roux's Humom and Mr. Golfer for dinner (to be nice and because I knew we'd have a lot of leftovers) and I knew I needed to get started cooking at 5.  I got up and got everything started and fed the beasts.  Company arrived at 6:30, right on time, and dinner was served after I almost charred the bread.  Oops.  Shitty oven problems.

After they left, it was time for a few episodes of HIMYM, then time for bed since it was a school night, ugh.


_____________________________________

It was a very much needed long weekend.  Last week we had after-work appointments every day except for Friday.  This was my own doing and a necessary evil.  With that one week we were pretty much able to make all of our big wedding decisions and it should be way less running around from here on out.

Also on the positive front for the weekend: I got my W-2 which means tax return!  Which equals wedding dollas!

This Monday-Tuesday was only slightly Monday-ish, which was nice.

Hooray for a short week!  Let it actually feel like a short week!!!

PS.  For those of you chomping at the bit on wedding deets (ok probably not many of you, that's ok), I have an announcement tomorrow on the wedding front that is a pretty big deal to me (you may have already seen it)... :D

Friday, January 13, 2017

MegMo2017: R&D- The Internet

In the military world, this stage of wedding planning would be called R&D.  Research and development.  It's the best and worst part of starting any project.  The sky is the limit, except that it has to fit within this budget!  Give us all your best ideas, but sorry about the ones that cost too much.  Not gonna happen, but seriously, think outside the box, anything you want!  Not really, but chin up, Sport.

Fun right?

This is 2017, so I figured R&D wouldn't actually be that difficult.  We have technology!  We have the internet!  I don't need to cold call people and ask them what they are going to charge me.  YAY! I don't have to speak to PEOPLE!  For as social as I consider myself, sometimes talking to people is really, really difficult.  Actually, it's the asking for help, but that's a me problem.

But then.. I started running into some problems.  My exhalations of the internet had jinxed me!  Some of these websites were complete garbage.  Or better yet.. some businesses didn't even have a website!

Did you know that some businesses only have a Facebook page?
Yep.  You got that right.  No actual website at all.  Just their Facebook page, filled with comments from other people and shitty cell phone pictures and maybe some contact information and an address if you click around for it.

I get it.  Customers can post their reviews there, share pictures, and everyone has Facebook.  BUT WTF?  I struggle with a professional who doesn't have a website.  I even have my own website and I'm not even a professional anything!  There are some things that Facebook just isn't good for.  Price lists, for instance.

Because I'm planning a budget wedding in Charleston, the biggest things I care about when I go to a potential vendor's site is:
1.  How much is it?
2.  What does it include?
3.  What does it look like?
4.  How do I contact you if your answers to question 1, 2, and 3 make me happy?


1.  How much is it?



Seriously, #1 is the biggest priority.  At the end of the day, it's MY dollars and I have a really hard time letting them go.  75% of wedding vendor websites will have a cost/investment section, but some don't.  This absolutely infuriates me.  I don't want to have to contact you to see your price list.  I just want to see your price list and save us both the hassle of emailing back and forth when your prices are way out of my budget.

I understand that having a conversation means that I will be a little more likely to use your service, but I'm just as likely to waste your time.  Save both of us the emails and just put your price lists (or investment list, whatever you want to call it) on your website and be done with it.  That way, when I do contact you, you know I'm serious.

Also, I don't think I've ever seen a Facebook business page for a wedding vendor with a price on it, which only adds fuel to the no-official-website-fire.  I've looked at price lists on weddingwire.com and I don't trust them for some reason.  I don't know how often that information is updated.  I'm very skeptical since the entire site is dedicated to finding vendors, so it's more important to get your name on the list than have correct information.

My favorite part of using the WeddingWire website has been putting in Charleston, SC as my area and searching for "under $500" for a DJ and getting no results for my search.  Oh yeah, did I mention that Charleston, SC is one of the top 3 wedding destinations in the US (depending on who you're talking to).  If you're speaking to a wedding professional in Charleston, they will tell you that Charleston is the #1 destination for weddings in the US.  Can I get a FML?


2.  What does it include?


There are approximately a mabillionty vendors in Charleston for a single thing.  Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, but still a lot of vendors.  If you're looking for a venue you'll find everything from spaces downtown, restaurants, event spaces not downtown, old houses, court houses, old plantation houses, beach front property, churches (this is the Holy City), farms, parks, houses on the water, you name it, it's probably around Charleston and you can get married there.  That said, technically you can get married anywhere.

You can't throw a rock and NOT hit a photographer.  That said, most anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer, but there is definitely a difference.  Back to the website thing.  If a photographer doesn't have a website with a public gallery or portfolio, they are a hard no.  Also, photographers tend to have specialties.  Not that a photographer can't shoot multiple subjects, but often photographers tend to gravitate towards one subject they are best at.  For me, that's landscape/flower photography.  I can shoot a wedding, but it might not be my best work.  It is what it is.

It's the same story for caterers, DJs, coordinators.. the list goes on and on.  I want to know what the price includes to be able to eliminate options and make the R&D process easier on myself.

Let's talk about venues.  Keep in mind, this is my Charleston experience.  Your location could be completely different and for your sake, I hope it is...

Not only do you have to decide which venue look you're going for (beach wedding?  barn?  plantation house?) you have to also apply your budget to that selection.  The sky is the limit for rental prices here (I wish I was kidding).  I need to specially know from a venue what I'm going to get for my dollars.  Just the roof?  Tables?  Chairs?  Linens?  A partial coordinator?

Again, this is simple information to put on a website.  I'm certain that as the venue manager, you are tired of repeating the same shit to a million different engaged couples.  And I'll be honest, I'm tired of having to click through your website, only to find none of the information I'm looking for, then having to search for your contact information, and having to manually send you an email or filling out the contact me form to repeat myself for the 10th time that day asking if the venue is available on my dates and how much it costs/what is included.

Some venues offer ONLY their facility for your money.  As in, the roof and the bathrooms (hopefully).  Some don't actually offer a roof.  Some of the older places might not even have bathrooms (definitely looked at a venue where renting a porta potty/something like it was a requirement).  Some offer their roof and some tables/chairs.  Some offer chairs for inside but not outside.  Some offer tables/chairs for rent.  Some have a kitchen.  Some have bridal/groom suites.

I want the best bang for my buck.  What incentive do I have for going with you over any of the other venues?


3.  What does it look like?

 

#3 is the easiest requirement to fulfill because of social media.  Even those businesses with only Facebook pages can manage this one.  What does your venue look like?  Are those chairs you offer a million years old and broken?  Do you have a gorgeous old tree with spanish moss that we can get hitched under?  You have a pavilion but the roof has holes?  You have a bridal suite, but the furniture is possibly a hand-down from my grandma's parents?  You have lots of cowboy boots and horseshoes around the property?

These are important things for me to know.

My minimum standard for my venue (ok and everything else wedding related) is that it be within my budget.  But the best budgets are flexible and I'm willing to pay a little more for a place that includes less than another venue but is more visually appealing.  I am willing to take away from another category (photography) to find a gorgeous place that fits with US.


4.  How do I contact you if your answers to question 1, 2, and 3 make me happy?


This should be the easiest question of the 4 to answer.  Contact information should be splattered everywhere.  You know how when you would listen to the radio or watch TV and the announcer would say the phone number no less than 4 times in a row?  It's also flashing huge on the screen (if you're watching TV) for the entire duration of the commercial.  Yeah, that's how easy it should be to find contact information for a business online.  (un)Fortunately, Facebook is the easiest way to to disseminate contact info since it's fill in the blank for a business page.  But on some websites, I've had to dig around to find an email or phone number to contact a business.  In fact, I've given up on some vendors because I had to look too hard.  It's just not worth it.  That's the thing about there being so many vendors in the area, there is always another one.  Help me, help you.

Contact tabs are great.  Even better?  Have all that information on a header AND/or a footer on every.single.page on your website.  Also, social media buttons too.  Because while those cell phone pictures are shitty, I want to see those too.  I want to see what other people were able to do with your services.  I also want to see what you might not think are the best photos that you want featured.





I'm all about keeping it simple.. and keeping it in my budget.  I want to save us all the time and energy when it comes to this long tedious process.  If you've planned an event, what did you look for when trying to find vendors?




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Shit Teh German Said #5




About making his weekly Instagram post before we'd even got out of the bed on a Sunday morning.
tG: I don't want to think about it later.  Don't act weird, please.
tM: Let me remind you, you are constantly checking instagram.
tG: Too late, right? (about me acting weird)


tM: There is no financial incentive if you buy this truck.  Are you ok with that?
tG: Think about the resale value.






After trying on approximately 1000 different helmets, Teh German Johnny Cash-es me.
tM: Ugh, it burns.
tG: And it burns, burns, burnnnssss....
We hum the rest of Ring of Fire together to the enjoyment of the cashier.


On not sharing the pretzel bag.
tG: Is it so weird?  I like having my own stash.
tM: No, it's just funny to me.
tG: I don't like sharing the bag.
tM: That's definitely better.


Again with the pretzel bag.  Teh German reaches into the pretzel bag.
tM: I thought you didn't like sharing the bag?
tG: It's not weird.
tM: I never said that.
tG: I'm just refilling my stash.
He places his handful of pretzels on the lid of the hummus container, aka his "plate".


tG: Hold on tree!  Hold on to your needles!


About his crazy Santa hat vs my elf Santa hat.
tM: Wanna trade?
tG: No, I don't want funny ears.



The night Teh German proposed:
tM: Do you feel different?
tG: No.  Did you put something in my food?


tG: Who put all the alcohol in my drinks last night?
tM: You did.  I watched you
tG: I know.. but I'm just saying, WHO put all the alcohol in my drinks last night?!



tM: If you put that cookie in the microwave it will be softer.
Teh German glares at me while he goes through the process: Drops hard cookie on counter.  Microwaves cookie.  Takes it out of microwave.  Breaks off a piece to eat.  As he brings it to his mouth, a piece crumbles off.  As he gets to his mouth, a large chunk falls off, leaving only the small chunk between his fingers.
tG: Yep.  Now it's SUPER soft.




tM: Oo, you're going to join me in my office?  You can tell me about your problems.
Phil walks in.
tG: 1.
tM: Aww, that's mean.
Meri walks in.
tG: 2.






Shit Teh German Said Edition 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Confessions {1/11}

-Guaranteed way to make me lose my mind: Show me something Disney that you own that I also own. For instance, Kristen posted a picture of her Mike Wazowski mug last week and I was giddy (almost embarrassingly so) about it and had to comment quick-fast-right-away-like because ya know.. #priorities

The complete collection

-I got some mad shit from Teh German because I went shopping and I bought 2 new pans from TJ Maxx when we're supposed to be saving money for the wedding when we could have just asked for new pots and pans..... There is truly nothing worse than money.  That said, the price of my pots ($70 for 2 because I do 99.95% of the cooking and I want these mofos to last) is the price he would pay for 42 beers, easily consumed within a month, assuming they are $10 6 packs (he's got high (local) standards).  OOORRR let's say we go out, then said beers are $7.50 each, an average for what he pays, which makes it 9.3 beers... Either way, I use those pots every single day AND this hopefully means more money for a honeymoon fund.  #beermath #bitchplease

-I've started carrying a purse again just because I'm now carrying 3 notebooks around with me all the time: regular planner/journal/keep my life in track book, wedding planner book, handy dandy wedding ideas notebook.  I'm sad and glad.  #baglady #handydandynotebook


-Teh German tightened the shower knob last night.  This isn't that big of a deal, but it is for someone who is used to having to do all the maintenance herself or do it myself instead of having someone else do it because they would have a tantrum if it wasn't super easy or didn't work exactly the way it was "supposed" to or do it myself after asking someone else several times... #thingsIdontmiss #foundakeeper


-I caught up on my feedly today.  #likeaboss

-Allison pointed out that saying "Girl ____" is stupid.  For instance, #girlboss.  No.  Just #boss, kthx.  I COMPLETELY AGREE.  Also, we're not girls, we're women, so if anything #WomanBoss please.  Or #LadyBoss.  Don't care, but I'm not a girl anymore (there's a story behind that one too).  I've tried to be cognizant more and more recently of myself saying certain things like "girl boss" or "black man" or "old person".  While they are just adjectives, if I'm using them to make a point, then I'm in the wrong.  Just because someone is a specific gender or color shouldn't matter (I can't say that applies as much with age).  I will hear myself telling a story about a shitty Charleston driver and I want to say, "This old Asian lady was on her phone, using 2 lanes."  Instead, I'm training myself to say, "This lady was on her phone, using 2 lanes."  Stereotyping is as strong as we make it.  Change has to start with me.  #wordsmatter

-Story behind the girl thing.  My band director in high school referred to everyone as boy or girl.  Very rarely did he call out a person's name.  This irked me to no end.  After enduring it my freshman year (I was new, maybe he didn't know my name) and my sophomore year (maybe he was confusing me with the other girls my age), when I started 11th grade (junior year), I would correct him anytime he called me "girl" by saying, "I have a name," or "Do you mean, Megan?"  While he probably saw this as extremely disrespectful, I found his behavior even more disrespectful.  The entire fall semester he continued to call me "girl."  Sometimes out of spite, sometimes out of habit.  Then, right before we left for Christmas break, I spoke with my counselor and removed band from my spring schedule.  I didn't like doing this, I loved band and spring semester was contest season, which was sooo much better than marching season, but I was over the disrespect.  A week later he saw me and asked why I wasn't in his class and I was honest with him, "I asked you repeatedly to call me by my name and told you that being called girl made me very angry.  I wasn't willing to deal with it anymore."  Of course, when we parted, he made sure to say, "Alright, Girl."  #overyourshit #standingupformybeliefs #donttalktomelikethat

-WOOT! You're reading a blog by a 2017 Yelp Elite member! AND I made it to the 100 club, which means I wrote over 100 reviews last year.  #likeaboss #yelpelite #coolkids


-Speaking of Yelp.  The bad review I left for the jeweler?  Worth it.  The owner contacted me.  She thanked me for pointing out deficiencies in the business and apologized for my experience.  She said that the sizing of my ring would be comped and that there would be a check for the difference of the gold I sold to them (vs selling it down the street).  Because she reached out to me, I updated my review to inform the community that she had made things right with me and that I'd be giving the business a 2nd chance.  #sorrynotsorry

-The next day, I got a call that my ring was ready for pick up.  When I picked it up, the check was attached as promised.  I didn't open it till I got to the car.  I was thinking a check for $20, no it was more than that and I'm still floored.  Teh German agreed that we might be looking for my wedding band there.  #secondchances

-I've only been wedding planning for about 2 weeks now and my goal is to decide on a venue, coordinator, and photographer by this Saturday.  #getshitdone

-We have a 5k scheduled for Saturday morning and if I didn't want the stupid medal so bad, we'd skip it to sleep in.  This week has drained me and proved that after work activities that require driving more than 15 minutes away from home is too much.  #routinesmakemyworldgoround

-Did you know you can send money though Google Wallet if your person doesn't have a paypal or a square cash account?  Yap.  2017 is magical.  #whocarriescashanymore

-Goals for today: Research 1 venue, 1 photographer, finish wedding post, do work.


-I'm not superstitious about Friday the 13th.. but I plan on making some big decision by then..








Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What I read in December


Life According to Steph
December was difficult for reading because time was limited and then halfway through the month I planned my books out for the next challenge and those were the books I wanted to read.

BUUUTTTT, I wanted to hit 50 books for the year and I set myself up to achieve this goal.  I knew I needed to finish Outlander 4 before the challenge since book 5 is a selection and I wanted to finish the WW2 Intel book that I've been "reading" March or something.  I hit 49 books because life > reading for the last days of the month.  Whatevs. #yolo

Then my problem became resisting starting books so close to starting the challenge and not starting challenge books.  Rules are hard, ya'll.  Once January 1st hit, it was game on. #cantstopwontstop


Rating scale*:

1/5 - Hated it, didn't finish.
2/5 - Tolerated it on principle to finish, didn't like it.
3/5 - Eh, didn't love it, didn't hate it. Had some good parts/kept me interested/finished it on principle.
3.5/5 - I liked parts of it.
4/5 - I liked the whole thing.
4.5/5 - I liked it a lot, but not sure I'd read it again.
5/5 - I LURVED it and I'd read it again.

*Subject to change based on my mood, the phase of the moon, or other unpredictable variables.

Skimmers, stick with the bold text (TL;DR* parts).
PS. Possible spoilers included in reviews.


Voyager by Diana Gabaldon  */5 (audiobook)
I think I'm more in love with the narrator's voice than the actual story, but ya know, whatever.  In true Outlander form, the roller coaster ride continues.  This time we set sail.  Claire gets abducted (is it kidnapping if the person is an adult? what is the difference?) at sea, but do not fret, she jumps overboard and magically finds Jamie by chance.  There may or may not have been some weird shit with the slaves going on and Gilly is back in the picture, which was cool until it was a complete WTF is happening situation.  I couldn't figure out the purpose of the China-man, then he cured Jamie, but I'm wondering how/if he will tie back into the story in the remaining books.

Overall, this book was good, but it could have easily been shorter and still packed a punch.  I hate being this committed because now I can't quit.  There's also that whole thing about being addicted to the narrator's voice.  In fact, I may or may not have actually just searched other books read by the narrator (Davina Porter) just to listen to her voice.

TL;DR: Voyager: the voyage through 44 hours of audiobook (or 870 pages)!  Filled with journeys such as: is Jamie's pulse still beating?  Claire must check!  What color was his hair again?  What color were her eyes again, amber, like whiskey?  How did he/she sigh?  What about that illegitimate bastard child?  Everything is roses, but please expect drama within the next 3 minutes/3 pages.  Oh my god, I can't help but to want you either.  Our love is so profound, this must be a sin!  And of course, Jamie is seasick.



Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares  5/5 (ebook)
I needed something to read while waiting on Erin's challenge to start and I noticed that this book was available as an ebook from the library.  Well, hot damn.  I didn't actually realize this book existed.  Maybe Teh Sister had told me about it eons ago, but it's only been on my TBR list since Sept 2016, so for me, I got to it quickly.

THIS BOOK SHATTERED MY WINE COOLING HEART.  I crieeeeeeeedddd, oh how I cried.  Bridget and Bailey, omg.  I just.. there aren't words.  I'm tearing up thinking about it.  It's rare for me not to critique a book the entire time I'm reading it, but I was able to turn that off after the trip to Greece.  I was angry and sad and felt betrayed (because that's the thing about these books, you, too, are part of the Sisterhood) and I was irritated at the other characters because why couldn't they get their lives together, dammit.  They need each other!

After everything falls apart, things start to fall back together.

The ending felt a bit hokey and it seemed like they were living in a commune, but whatever.  Our ladies are ok and together again and all is right in the world.

Most annoying thing ever: Lena and Kostos.  Holy balls, that fucking story line is the worst.  Lena is my least favorite character overall, with the exception of popular actress Carmen from this book.  If Lena wasn't such a fucking moron and would just let the poor guy speak, they would have gotten together years ago and she wouldn't have been miserable for the last decade and pining after someone who was willing to give her dumbass a chance.
3rd least favorite thing: Bridget purposely being homeless. 

TL;DR: You'll be pissed off at first at how annoying 30 year old Bridget, Tibby, Lena, and Carmen are.  Then something tragic happens, then you find out the tragedy isn't what you thought it was.  Then everyone sucks, then they start to redeem themselves.



Double Edged Secrets: U.S. Naval Intelligence Operations in the Pacific During World War II by WJ Holmes  DNF  1.5/5 (hard copy) 
I've been "reading" this book since we lived at Shitty House.  This was a suggestion from a former Navy coworker for the fall 2015 challenge and I actually bought it in hard copy, so I wanted to eventually read it.  Problem: it's nonfiction.  Blech.  BUT, it is WW2 based, so I mean, what faster way to my heart?

This book was dry and told the story of Naval intelligence workers during WW2.  War time is a different time for military members and that is the biggest thing I took away from this book.  The mission is the #1 priority during wartime, to the detriment of things that are considered important for those who aren't as mission focused.

Much of the intelligence and code-breaking was done by a select and few people.  Additionally, decisions were made on hunches and incomplete or wrong intelligence a lot of the time because of communication limitations.  I'm sure that probably remains true today, but I wouldn't know for certain.

While the picture of the navy and intelligence during WW2 was interesting, especially for me to compare to my experiences, it wasn't so interesting that I was riveted and needed to finish.  In fact, this book became a DNF after it wasn't finished on NYE and I realized I was only reading it to hit 50 books for 2016.  Stupid.



One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid  5/5 (audiobook)
I lurvvvvveeed this book.  In fact, my Goodreads review is mostly fangirling.  This book made my heart feel good and broken and good and so sappy.  Emma has to choose between Sam, her fiance, and Jesse, her dead husband. Uhh, what?  Yeah, that was my thought when reading the synopsis months ago.

But it worked.  Reid choreographed an amazing novel.  It feels like Emma is your best friend and you're living the story with her. 

There were a few confusing points during the book like when Emma started speaking in the 2nd person and it went on for quite a while and I got completely confused (#audiobookproblems) or when entire sections repeated.  Yet, it all seemed to work. 

I will warn you that this book is super romantic and cheesy.  Which is perfect for me right now.  I'm reveling in all the sap.




In Progress:

On Deck:

  • Erin's challenge has officially started.  Expect my next 10 books to come from this list.
    • I have told myself that my Outlander book will be my final audiobook for the challenge because I know that once I start, I won't stop, and it will take approximately a mabillionty hours to complete (ok, 44 but that's about the same).


*TL;DR = too long, don't read

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekend Review {1/9}

FRIDAY

Teh WJL and her international friend arrived on Thursday night.  We had adventures planned for Friday to include lunch, potentially touring downtown, and a trip to Home Goods.  I went into work at regular time and went home around lunchtime to pick them up.

We did good at the lunch and Home Goods part of that.  We ended up also stopping at TJ Maxx and losing our opportunity to tour downtown.  It was ok.  I picked up some baskets for my office and 3 new pans that I've been wanting for a while.  Sadly, I ended up returning everything but 2 of the pans because the baskets didn't fit and the 1 pan wasn't the correct size I had wanted.  Booooooo.

We had agreed earlier in the day to hit up the Stingrays game since they were at home.  We passed a bit of time by stopping by Waterfront Memorial Park so the guest could get some pics of the Bridge from underneath, then we headed to the Coliseum to meet Teh German.




In an effort to save money, we bought nosebleed seats.  Truthfully, they weren't so bad, but they weren't as good as our regular seats in the lower section.  We did save $20 though, so ya know, #priorities.  We won 3-0, which was perfect since Teh German always gets pretty depressed when we lose.


After the game, we headed home.  Teh German and I weren't hungry, but our guests were, so they headed out to Sonic to pick up a late dinner.  While they were gone, I went about the task of clearing out wedding tabs on my browser, eliminating options and writing down names to contact later.  It was after midnight when Teh German and I finally headed to bed.


SATURDAY

We had an alarm set for Saturday morning since we planned to skype with Teh German's Dad (now known as Papa G (which brings me all the lolz)) and Stepmom at 0900.  We discussed wedding plans and who all will be coming from Germany (most everyone, hurray!).  We scheduled another skype date for next Sunday, with the hopes that we'll make some selections this week about our date/location/a few details.

After our skype session, Teh WJL came downstairs, ready for the day.  Teh German and I headed upstairs to get ready.  We planned to drop the Jetta off at the VW dealership at 11, then head to Angel Oak for our international guest, then possibly do some downtown Charleston touring and/or get late lunch at Sesame.  While we waited on our international guest to finish getting ready, Teh German had his last hoorah with the Jetta.  We left once everyone was ready to meet Teh German at the dealership.  Of course, it started raining on our way.  Perfect tree-viewing weather.

Once we picked up Teh German, we headed towards Angel Oak.  On the way, I was scrolling through FB and noticed that local FB friends were making claims of snow flurries, but I hadn't seen any.  I was slightly dismayed, but survived.  While we were at the three I think I saw THREE snowflakes, which made up for my lack of snow.  Lots of pictures were taken.





While we were at the tree, it had pretty much stopped raining.  Yet, it was still cold as a witch's titty.  Cold enough to blow snow, which rarely happens in Charleston, so that's the perspective on that.  Additionally, it was super windy.  Like Chicago windy.  Ok, maybe not, but that's what it felt like (I experienced Chicago after bootcamp, on a wintery January day and it was mostly miserable).

Since it had stopped raining, Teh German agreed to go downtown so we could go to the Battery and check out the pineapple fountain.  We had a communication snafu about where to park so we ended up walking a bit farther than I really wanted to in the wind, but we all survived.

It's a rare day that the fountain is turned off.


we even look cold.





Since it was super cold, the market was mostly deserted, so we had no reason to walk through it (thankfully).  We probably weren't outside for more than 20 minutes, but I was chilled to the bone.  Our next stop was Sesame for late lunch.  Of course, it was delicious.  We hadn't taken Teh WJL there, so it was a perfect solution.

After lunch, where I scored a free adult beverage because the bartender/server made a mistake and made a drink instead of a milkshake for our international guest (woot), we headed home and laziness commenced for Teh German and I, kinda.  Teh WJL and her guest headed back out to accomplish some shopping tasks.  Teh German watched his YouTubes while I continued to do wedding research.  Eventually I headed upstairs to take a bath to get warm because I was so cold.  I started watching S6 E1 of Downton Abbey, but didn't get 15 minutes into it when I was too hot from being in the bath.

Teh WJL brought home Pizza Hut and desserts, which we all dove into.  I was more hungry that I realized.  Teh WJL had also delivered a new planner for me since once of their stops had been Barnes and Noble.  So already I have replaced my bullet journal, it's for the best.  While I set about the task of setting up my new planner, Teh WJL and I discussed wedding details like centerpieces.

Eventually, she headed to bed and I finished up the planner migration.  She had found a weekly planner with a notes page at each week.  After I finished transcribing, I felt like the planner needed to be a little more me.  At which point, I noticed the Lisa Frank stickers I had found while going through all my old stuff when Teh Running Bestie was here in Nov.  PERFECT.

Been saving those bad boys for almost 20 years.




Planner personalized, it was finally bedtime.



SUNDAY

We got to sleep in on Sunday and it was delightful.  I headed downstairs around 0930 since I knew Teh WJL was planning on leaving by 10ish.

I woke up to a batdog on my bed.  Sneaky.





After Teh WJL and her guest had left shortly after 10 and while Teh German social media-ed, I worked on consolidating my handy-dandy-notebooks, planning for the week, and eating breakfast.

seriously, to-go sweet teas are one of the things I'm most grateful for.


Since I had freed up a notebook when Teh WJL found my planner, I used the original bullet journal notebook for wedding ideas instead of the one I had been using that wasn't organized in any way and wasn't easy to carry around.  After getting everything consolidated, the menu planned for the week, a and made my grocery list, I headed upstairs to get ready.  Teh WJL had to stop back by to pick up something she'd left in my car (they hadn't left Charleston right away, fortunately).  After she retrieved her stuff, I headed out to town to return the baskets and pot that hadn't worked from TJ Maxx, a planner that I picked up at Target that I shouldn't have purchased to begin with, stopped at Goodwill to drop off the pots I had replaced, then made a final stop at Publix for the few items I needed to pick up.

I texted Teh German while I was checking out at the grocery store to ask what he wanted to do for lunch and he suggested chinese.  I crinkled my nose at this suggestion (which he couldn't see) and asked for other suggestions.  When he suggested Willie Jewell's, the answer was clear.  I needed to go by and ask some catering questions anyways, so it was perfect. 

When I got home with lunch/dinner at 3, Teh German hadn't moved from the couch.  While I put everything away, still no moving.  I started to get irritated (completely for no reason, it wasn't like I had asked him to help me).  I had everything put away in a few minutes and then announced that I'd eat without him if he couldn't be bothered to get up off the couch.  It wasn't necessary.

After we ate, I was in a better mood and ready to be lazy.  At which point, Teh German asked me if I wanted to walk the dogs with him and I said no.  As I was on my way upstairs, my phone dinged and it was Roux's Humom asking if I wanted to walk the dogs.  With both of them pressuring me, I just opted to go instead of being lazy.  I could be lazy after the dog walk.  Despite the wind and the cold, it was a good quick walk that got the beasts out of the house and burned some energy.

After we got home, I responded to some emails while Teh German showered.  Then we settled in on the couch for a busy evening of HIMYM. 


_______________________________________

Overall, a very good, but very busy weekend.  And it was cold.  Soooo cold.  I am in planner heaven with my new moleskin weekly planner and my wedding planner book and my handy-dandy wedding idea notebook (because I can't find a good place in the planner for random notes, so this is just easier).  This also means that I've picked up carrying a purse again, just so I can carry my notebooks around with me.

I am happy to report that all the planners have helped my brain immensely.  I'm still waking up through the night with wedding swimming through my head (will that ever stop?  ugh), but I'm sleeping better since I'm writing all the things down instead of trying to remember them.  Soon I'm going to have to start putting little check boxes at the top of each page with names on it so I can check off who I've told what.

Since so many of you told me that reading about wedding planning wouldn't bother you, so that was a huge plus for me, I'm ready to pull the trigger sooner rather than later.  I'm still waiting to hear back from Broke Ass Brides, but I have a list of topics and drafts in progress for my ideas.  Honestly, there is no timeline on their site that says how long I'd have to wait to hear back at all, so that doesn't help my impatience problem.



Friday, January 6, 2017

Five on Friday #96

EINS

Soooo.. I applied to be a wedding blogger at Broke Ass Brides.  I spent several days writing and editing my application letter, which I'm sure will charm the pants off of whoever reads it, but maybe not.  After telling you about my WeddingBee blogging secret, I went to WeddingBee's website and they aren't currently taking applications.  Well, their loss.  I'm going to blog about this wedding somewhere and even if it's just here, that's fine with me.  But I've been at this for a week and I've already got plenty of fodder.  Highlight reel: rants on Facebook and what they really mean, WTF why would anyone pay this much for that?, WTF who can read that?, why is there no contrast anywhere in the wedding industry?  Fuck all of this, let's elope!

I mean, just for starts.

Also, I'm afraid if I start talking about the wedding here I won't talk about anything else.  Then again, it already feels like that since planning has mostly consumed my life, so maybe I should just embrace it?  A few Gentle Readers have already confided in me that they are totally ok with me going on and on about the wedding, so there's that positive feedback.



ZWEI

Talking about money is the absolute worst.  Looking at spending thousands of dollars is equally the worst.  I hate money.  Why can't everything be free?

In addition to wedding dollas, our taxes have been coming in and they are annoying me.  I also have no recollection if I paid them or not.  I think I did, because responsible adulting was going on pre-German visitors, but who can be sure? 

My favorite adulting good time was yesterday when I came home to a door hanger on the door knob, of course, I got home after 5pm because I went to the gym with Roux's Humom and then Roux's Humom, Teh German, and I walked the beasts.  Apparently the card we use to pay one of the water oriented bills expired.  I thought it was all set up to go through a checking account draft, but that would be way too easy.  Of course, their offices close at 5.  So I go to the website to fix the issue.. and my username isn't recognized for a bill I know I pay every month.  WTF.  JUST TAKE MY DAMN MONEY!  So before fun activities commence today (we'll get there, hangggggg on), I get to go by the city office to straighten out that mess.  Fantastic.

ALSO, Teh German's car taxes for the Jetta came in and he is crazy about paying bills so I told him to pay it and they'd reimburse him after the registration is cancelled.  Then he got another bill in the mail for the same thing yesterday and was confused about it.  It was super confusing and I finally just pointed out that it isn't actually due until Feb 27th, so really he can calm his tits about it.  His titiths were calmed-ith. 


DREI

More about the fun activities.  Teh WJL is here!!!!  She came with a friend from South Africa who wanted to see Angel Oak while she was in the US.  Conveniently, Teh WJL knew someone that lived nearby AND would offer free lodging.  Seriously, Teh Ville deserves 5 stars on TripAdvisor.  We even have "comfort" dogs.

I planned (so much adulting) for our adventures by working on Monday so I can leave early today.  I'm thinking that we can go grab lunch and then go downtown and walk around the market and look at the old houses.  Then we can either go home or meet Teh German somewhere for an engagement celebration dinner.

So many things, so many choices.

Tomorrow we will chat with Teh German's Dad in the morning, finally return the Jetta to VW and get it out of our driveway, then probably get coffee at Metto since we'll be in Mount Pleasant, then probably lunch, thennnnn Angel Oak. 

I may have realized that there is a Stingrays home game today, so we will possibly hit that up for evening entertainment.  This is what happens when our schedule is empty.


VIER

You weren't the only one that was awkward when you were a kid.

#NiggerNavy was a typo that went hilarous.


FÜNF

Some things I'm grateful for this week:
  • Finally starting a bullet journal and realizing that really I just need a weekly planner with a page for notes along with the week.
  • Roux's Humom gave me a cheap wedding planner book and it's been perfect.
  • Blog ideas... all related to wedding crap.  Ok, mostly.
  • A quiet week at work to plan a wedding start off the new year.
  • Narrowing down options and keeping marriage as a priority over wedding.  Despite being completely consumed by choices.
  • Being able to order new shirts for Teh German so he can retire the same 5-7 shirts he's been wearing to work for the past year and a half.
  • All the support from friends and family about the wedding.
  • All the different suggestions from everyone about what to do for a wedding.
  • Saved blogs from a million years ago with awesome suggestions that I get to finally act on.
  • I love you mores and "real" kisses.
  • Listening to a reallllllly good audiobook.
  • Working out 3 days this week!  Gotta remake some habits!
  • Extra crazy dogs this week.  I'm blaming it on being Phil's "perfect" temperature.
  • Teh WJL being in Charleston!!!!  (I saved the best for last because I know she's reading this.)



Happy Weekend, Gentle Readers!