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Officially a Mrs.

November 27, 2011

I can’t believe I’ve been M.I.A. for two months. Actually, I can – I got married and was super busy!

Our wedding was incredible – better than I ever could have imagined. We had a destination wedding in the Florida Keys, right on the beach, with the reception under a Tiki pavilion. It was a magical night. Warm, full of our closest friends and family and with surprises like impromptu fireworks at the resort next door and a slightly drunken deejay (it’s okay, though. He played for an extra hour for free and brought a band mate who played the flute along to Usher. Sounds strange, but it was beyond cool). My guests tell me I smiled non-stop that evening, and I don’t doubt them one second.

Now, I’m blissfully wed and settling into marriage. I’ve been living with my husband (still getting used to that word!) for five years, but being married feels different. I can’t explain it, but it does. And I love it.

While I grew a lot in the past year (which you can hopefully tell in reading my posts), I’m still trying to learn how to balance my relationship with my career, friendships, writing, running and overall continued evolution. I’m chronicling my adventures in my new blog, Baking in High Heels (consider it part II!).

I hope you’ll join me there and continue reading!

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Teenage wasteland

September 9, 2011

The scene of my bachelorette, before we invaded.

It’s been a month since I last posted. I’m feeling super guilty, but I have an excuse. I was busy being a teenager.

It started with a weekend consisting of a late night at the drive-in, a sleep-in until almost noon (hadn’t done that since my wild days in Manhattan!), a night at the casino and another late morning. The next weekend was my bachelorette party, which consisted of non-stop drinks and a night of some serious move-busting at the club until the wee hours of the morning, when Hurricane Irene showed up and rained—a lot—on our drunken parade.

After detoxing for a few days, I focused my energy on getting my eating back on track and running my fourth 5K (best time yet—yay!). Now I’m back in (adult) action.

I’m not going to lie. I had a lot of fun pretending I had no responsibilities for a couple weekends in a row. I push myself so hard to be my best every day at work, running, in my relationships…the list goes on. It was nice to just kick back and be a “kid” again. But at the same time, my body was not happy. I felt sick, unable to focus and tired for a good week afterward. Clearly, the key is balance.

Balance for me is like the Holy Grail for Indiana Jones. It’s a challenging, seemingly never-ending quest. Now that I’ve recovered from my weeks as a born-again teen, I’m going non-stop again. Last night, after an almost 10-hour workday, I found myself in bed, reading an article on social media measurement and jotting down notes for ways one of my clients can improve their LinkedIn activity at 10:30 p.m.

And despite a taxing day at the office today, I’m on my couch blogging and already thinking about the bills I need to pay and thank-you notes I need to write before I go on my five-mile run tomorrow morning. Before my manicure. And 6th anniversary dinner with my fiancé. Oh, and shopping to get my friends’ new baby a cute onesie before I meet him for the first time on Sunday. Oh, and did I mention I need to swing by the grocery store tomorrow? Maybe right after I put together our wedding song list and email my wedding reception contact about vegetarian options.

You get the idea. It’s gotten to a point where the days pass at warp speed. And even though I’m clearly seizing the day, I feel like I’m missing out on life.

The problem is that I don’t want to give anything up. I love my work. I’m officially hooked on running. I can’t imagine not blogging or writing my style column. I can’t imagine not seeing my many friends or family, for whom I am unbelievably grateful, often. And my dream wedding is now less than two months away.

As the big day nears, I can feel my desperation growing. So help me out—how do you balance it all?

The secrets to wedding planning success

August 8, 2011

This isn't the band I selected - I just really like this image!

This weekend, my fiancé and I started—and finished—wedding band shopping. As all other wedding planning has been so far, the hunt for bands was fun and ridiculously easy. And it occurred to me why everything has been so simple. Beside the fact that I’m a classic Type A who loves to plan and organize (I got seriously excited about organizing our storage closet last week – total party time), the type of relationship my fiancé and I have makes it all the more easier.

We started at the same jewelry store where he bought my engagement ring. My ring is tricky – it has a thick band and diamonds perpendicular to the main stone, which meant the band had to be thick and not too high so that it wouldn’t rub against the side stones and loosen them. But lo and behold, we found the perfect band at the store. And my fiancé found a “manly” ring, as he put it, that he was happy with.

Here’s why it went so smoothly:

  • We talked about the budget ahead of time. I’m by no means a relationship expert, but I can tell you that communication is so key. In fact, I truly think it’s the secret to relationship success.
  • Rather than insist he get a band that complemented mine, I respected the fact that he’ll have to wear this ring every day and preferred that he find one he loved. Ditto on respect.
  • We asked each other’s opinions on the bands we chose and took that input into consideration when making the final choice. Listening is important.
  • We were considerate. I suggested we look at options for him first, because I knew he was a little anxious about finding something he’d like. In turn, he made sure I found something I liked before saying yes to his, so that we could get our bands at the same place and have more bargaining power.

I realized we’ve basically followed this same formula in making every big wedding decision. As a result, there have been no major arguments or frustrations with one another.

To quote one of my favorite wedding movies, “Bride Wars” (yup, I’m doing it), you can tell a lot about a couple’s future by how they handle wedding planning. And I’m feeling pretty good about forever.

 

 

The best big day preparation? Running!

July 24, 2011

I’ve been running like Forrest Gump lately and loving it. But in my typical fashion, I’ve set lofty goals and subsequently beat myself up this week in two instances in which I failed to meet – or exceed – them.

The first was Wednesday during an evening 5K. It was about 95 degrees outside and humid, and the course had three steep hills, each spread out by mile. So by mile #3, when I was already tired, you can imagine how warmly I welcomed the last incline. I’m not going to lie – there may have been a tear or two when I saw that last hill looming in the distance. My body just gave out on that hill, and I had to walk the last half of it, picking up my pace again once I hit level ground. Despite my slowdown, I still took almost a full minute of my mile pace. Yet I still silently chided myself for having to walk. I should have run more to prepare. I should have run outside, up hills. I need to train more days each week. The running criticism I finally stopped this year – after 20 years – returned.

Yesterday, despite the 92 degree weather and humidity once again, I decided to go for a trail run, known to be more difficult than running on asphalt. Between the extreme heat and swarms of gnats along the trail, I had to cut my 40-minute run short to about 25 minutes, with 15 minutes of intermittent walking. Again, I got frustrated and told myself I should be further along in my training by now. How am I ever going to run a 10K if I can’t jog for a measly 40 minutes?

When I got home, I emailed one of my new favorite bloggers, tri-athlete Caitlin Boyle of Healthy Tipping Point, to ask her for tips on running in the heat. She promptly replied with a link to a previous post on that exact topic, and darned if it didn’t mention taking walking breaks and that your pace will decrease in the heat.

Then the light bulb moments:

  1. I was being way too hard on myself. Rather than beating myself up, I should have been taking these experiences as learning opportunities. I now know that I need to hydrate more before races in the heat and work hills into my training. I also need to cover myself in heavy-duty bug spray before trail runs, replace my cotton running gear with a breathable fabric and invest in a waist pack to carry water with me on my runs. All of this will make me a better runner, and, without these crappy experiences, I never would have figured that out.
  2. I needed to put things in perspective. Despite the hills and heat, I finished the 5K and took time off my pace. Yesterday, I still ran 25 minutes – something I couldn’t have done six months ago. And last night, I was able to wear pants I bought at the start of the season that are one size smaller. Success? I’d say so.
  3. My two experiences are perfect metaphors for wedding planning – and life. There are always going to be changes in plans, and things will end up being more difficult than they initially seemed. But in the end, as long as I don’t give up, things work out.

I’m feeling more prepared than ever for my next run – and the final three months of wedding planning!

Return of the night terrors

July 11, 2011

T minus three and a half months to the big day, and wedding planning is moving along nicely. The wedding registry is complete (it’s amazing how passionately a couple can argue about napkin rings), the invitations are ready to be dropped in the mail (thanks for the incredible penmanship that saved us calligraphy costs, Pops!), and the welcome bags are in progress (a shout-out to Oriental Trading for selling gorgeous favors and décor in a stunning black-and-white pattern at a low cost). And the night terrors have returned.

This time, they run the gamut in subject matter. In one, everyone whom we invited unexpectedly RSVPs yes, driving our receptions costs up by thousands of dollars. With no extra money budgeted for such a situation, we have no way to pay our venue, and my mother insists we must cancel the wedding. I cry, pleading that the invitations have already gone out and we can’t possibly cancel. But she won’t budge, and I must suffer public mortification and no wedding.

In another nightmare, my fiancé simply decides he doesn’t love me anymore and breaks up with me over the phone. Heartbroken, I move back into my miniscule Manhattan apartment with my former lunatic roommate and spastic cat—a gift from her sketch ball boyfriend—and sleep in a twin bed (the only furniture that would fit in my bedroom there) the rest of my life.

And then there are the anxiety dreams. The ones where I leave key items, like my dress, at home and have to wear a makeshift frock that looks horrible. Or where I miss my plane and, therefore, don’t make it to Florida in time for my wedding date. The scenarios go on and on.

I’m told these dreams are normal and become more frequent and crazier as the wedding day nears. My maid of honor admitted to having constant dreams in which she had, um, relations with a range of men, women and combinations of men and women. Her eyes light up when she talks about them—I don’t think they were unwelcome like mine. But nevertheless, they weren’t her usual dream material.

I digress.

I guess I’m curious. Are the dreams of brides-to-be manifestations of deep-seated worries or simply symptoms of the anxiety that comes with wedding planning?

Phase #2 of wedding planning, or how the Dirty South, Groupon and rice milk are playing into the big day

June 26, 2011

Another month has already passed. The wedding is now just over four months away, and my head is starting to spin. The planning lull we’d been enjoying has come to an end, and we’re on to the next phase, assembling invitations, arranging wedding weekend activities and picking out registry items for our post-wedding nesting. Next up: working with the officiant to put together the ceremony, compiling a shot list for the photographer and – the best part – the music list.

I was never one of the girls who had her entire wedding planned by age 5, but my music list? That’s another story. Since I started avidly listening to a range of music around age 11, I’ve been mentally filing songs in my head for my wedding. The processional, the first dance, our entrance music as a first couple, the last song of the night – I have no less than 10 options for each. The tricky part: while I love songs from every decade of this century and almost every decade of the 20th century, my fiancé remains an aficionado of 90s rap and hip hop and present-day rap and hip hop. If it’s not by Birdman, Paul Wall or someone else from the Dirty South, he’s skeptical about whether it belongs at our wedding. To give him credit, he is very open-minded (he has to be if he’s marrying me!) and always willing to compromise, so I suspect I’ll be able to have my “Moon River” as I walk down the aisle, as long as Lil Weezy makes an audio appearance during the reception.

In between wedding planning, I’m still running. I finished my first 5K earlier this month, surpassing my goal of running the entire thing by chipping almost an entire minute off my mile. I’m now onto 10K training, with intermittent cross-training – thanks to an incredible deal I scored today.

Here, I must give a shout-out to Groupon. If you haven’t signed up for notice of their daily deals, do it! Today, I bought a month-long membership to a local gym’s 30Fit program. For only $29, I can get up to 24 semi-private (no more than five people per class), 30-minute training sessions – a $219 value! I’m not one of those people who finds good deals often, so I’m way excited about this.

Now the weight just needs to start coming off. I don’t get it. I’ve drastically improved what I’m eating and am working out more regularly and intensely than ever before. And all I do is waiver between three or four pounds. As a next step, I’m trying to cut down on dairy (try rice milk – it’s soooo good!) and meats and opt more for whole grains, fruits and veggies. Snacks have become all-natural foods – no preservatives or processing chemicals, which I’ve learned create fat in the body (and are just gross anyway, when you think about it).

Updates to follow soon. In the meantime, please send your wedding weight-loss secrets my way!

Anger, hurt and other revelations

May 24, 2011

I’m ashamed to realize it’s been almost exactly one month since I last posted. But in my defense, it’s been a busy month. I started my new job, which I absolutely love (waking up without a pit in your stomach already: priceless), continued training for my first 5k on June 4 and have resumed wedding planning, forging into the travel coordination (shout-out to JetBlue here for incredible rates on direct flights), invitation and wedding favor arenas.

And did I mention dealing with an ongoing family issue? Here’s the deal: my brother’s wife is not the easiest to get along with. She’s seemingly always unhappy and discontented, quiet but opinionated and has a sense of humor few understand. As a result, she comes off as unfriendly, disrespectful, judgmental and controlling of my brother to many who first meet her – and, quite frankly, to some of us who have known her for years.

Various family members have tried having discussions with her, explaining why they are put off by things she says or her actions. Her stance – “Take me or leave me” – is difficult, particularly when she’s now a family member. And she has no interest in changing. On top of that, now that she knows she’s offended some of us, she’s resigned herself to the fact that we “hate” her and so she may as well not even try to make conversation or be pleasant when around us. Like I said, difficult.

Last week, my brother and mom had an argument about his plans to stay at a location away from my wedding venue, where everyone else is staying. After months of built-up frustrations, my mother finally exploded, and my brother got very hurt. And I had had enough of the ongoing turmoil. My family trying to talk to my brother about his wife, he feeling stuck in the middle, and her not having to deal with anything at all.

So I suggested we all get together, like mature adults, put it all out on the table and try to come to some sort of mutual understanding or comfort level where we can all be more open about our feelings moving forward (my family members are experts in avoiding conflict). My brother was concerned his wife wouldn’t go for it. I explained that as a part of our family, I would think she’d want to address this. That she wouldn’t want this tension to continue. That at the very least, she’d want to be there for my brother. I suggested he take a few days to discuss the idea further with her and get back to me.

I’ve heard nothing. I’m both angry and sad. I feel like I’m losing my brother, and I’m hurt that they don’t think this is important enough to at least warrant a response. And I’m angry, because I feel as though their failure to respond means they’d rather things continue as they have been.

Realizing they aren’t going to change, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to change the way I react to situations, as well as my perceptions, if I’m going to stay sane. I need to set my own boundaries as to which behaviors and comments I will and will not accept, and I need to resolve to defend myself and assert my anger or hurt feelings as I experience them.

This is a huge revelation for me, and one I’m very proud of. The ability to do these things – and the realization that I have that ability – makes me feel more like an adult than ever before.

And, let’s get real. Life is too short for this nonsense, and I have a wedding to plan!