Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Got my Rental!!!

I finally got my rental car today. While Sean and I have been sharing a car with ease, it's still annoying. He can't get out and do anything during the day, and has cabin fever by the time I get home. I have to drive around with his 50 million burger king bags, because he hasn't cleaned it since finals.

Now, both of those will change. It's supposed to be 60 degrees tomorrow, so he'll be cleaning out his car. I'll be driving a sporty new Jetta for the next few weeks, while my car gets mended.

A what you say? Oh yes. I was rented a Jetta.

With heated seats folks. Heated I say.



It's faaaaabulous.

10 Ways to Grow in a Relationship

I was catching up on old WeddingBee posts that I completely missed during Christmas/car wreck mania, when I came across this post by Miss Prarie Dog. She calls it 10 Ways to Reveal the Crazy, but I like my title better :p

I think she has a really great point about it though. You can think that you're being yourself all you want, but your significant other knows who you are when you're happy. He/she needs to know who you are and what you're like when you're not happy. How you fare under the worst conditions - kind of a "expect the best, be prepared for the worst" scenario. We've been together for 5 1/2 years. That's longer than almost all of our friends (married or not). We've gone through a lot, and it's made us who we are today. Each of these things is completely and totally different for every couple, but I really do think you need to experience them.

The List (with our own personal annotations):
1. Get really, really lost in an area you don’t know. Preferably away from intelligible signs and possibly safety. Florida. We drove to Disney without a map or GPS. We argued for about 3 hours trying to get into Disney World, AFTER we got to Kissimee. We're both very hard headed. Despite that, we still had a great time!
2. Wait in a really, really long line (recommendations: amusement park, Christmas Eve shopping, Harry Potter midnight showing). Too many to count for this one. But I think we really learn the most about each other.
3. Get stuck in inexplicable, stand-still traffic. Bonus points if you are hungry or one of you really has to pee. I don't do hungry. I'm a very happy person, but when I get hungry, it's immediate - not gradual - and I turn into a B*tch.
4. Have a restaurant experience worthy of a scathing Yelp review. (How people react to poor service says a lot about them, I think.) We've been fortunate to generally miss this one, but I'm sure we've been forgotten about before.
5. Deal with being sick together. Not sniffles sick. I’m talking flu and incoherent-fever sick, post-surgical-delirium sick, stomach-pyrotechnics sick. Christmas. Three years in a row. The first year we dated, he held my hair back as I retched at Grandpa's. Last year, we were both so sick with food poisoning that we couldn't even open presents. Awful.
6. Meet each other’s extended families, the ones that won’t be on their “good behavior” like your nuclear family might be. I believe the conversation included an argument as to whether or not my uncle's vasectomy meant he was "fixed" or "broken". I'm not kidding.
7. Get embarrassed in front of each other. I don’t embarrass easily, but I have had a few bright-red-face moments with Mr. PD. This doesn't happen very often, thankfully.
8. Experience tragedy—real, gut-wrenching tragedy. Not that I would wish this upon anyone, but the truth is that it happens to all of us. Patty's death was probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through. Sean was there when I found out, he was by my side at the wake and funeral, and he's held me while I've cried dozens of times since then. Even though it's been 3 years, I still break down every once in a while. It's nice to know he's always there.
9. Spend a fair amount of time apart. Not like a long-distance relationship, necessarily, but a good week or two at a time. Chances are good that this will happen for one reason or another in your lives together, and it’s good to see how you fare on your own. K, so we've done the long distance part. But since we've moved to our own city, we've done a week apart. It's a lot harder when you don't have friends and roommates, that's for sure.
10. Experience any situation which compromises your sleep and/or cleanliness. Camping trips, road trips, band trips - you name it. 

When you think about it, it's really about spending the worst of your time together. How you make the best out of an awful situation. I think we've survived. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Obligatory Post-Christmas...Post.

Christmas was wonderful this year. At my work, there always needs to be someone available. We're a 24/7 security business. I was lucky enough that Christmas eve and Christmas fell on Friday and Saturday, which are my normal days off. I couldn't get the entirety of Thursday or Sunday off, but I was able to get off 3 hours on each day.

James celebrated all of our Christmases with us, which was awesome. He's truly becoming part of the family. My parents gave him gifts, and all of my aunts went in and bought him something as well.  I don't think he's had a family christmas in a long time, and it's great to see his face at events like this.

Christmas Eve started really well. With 4 inches of snow predicted, Michelle was called into work, so our planned early afternoon celebration was nixed. We spent the morning with my family, and then headed over to my aunt's for Christmas with my mom's side. That's when the drama began.

We ate a simple sandwich spread, we enjoyed ourselves, we opened presents. We were just starting to watch a movie, when a knock was heard at the door. We went outside to see this (50 feet from where we parked it, mind you):

My poor car. The quarter panel is entirely busted out, and the wheel is bent. We're hoping to get an estimate and a rental for me tomorrow, but it's still a huge bummer. It's such a pain. I am extremely grateful for the following though: A) The guy stopped. B) He had insurance. C) My dad's name is on the car, so he can handle the repairs. D) Sean's out of school and we can share a car. E) We weren't in it at the time. It's causing some changes to pre-wedding events probably, but we're making it work.

The rest of Christmas went off without a hitch, though we had to have people ferry us around because we only had my car in town. My mom drove us back to Kansas City the night of Christmas too, since I had to work the next day. Oi. 

We got plenty of goodies for Christmas, but frankly, we didn't need much (ok, I needed my tennis shoes). We got what we needed though - time with our families. It's nice to be ourselves and be able to start our lives without the influence of others, but we both miss the close-knit families we have.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crunch Time.

We are 18 days away from getting married. Eighteen. In between that, there's my brother's birthday, Christmas, and New Year's. I work 10 more days. Sean has 2 days of class. I will spend 9 hours driving to and from StP.  And I will probably have a heart attack.

So to keep myself straight, here's my to-do list (at least the big ones):
1. Marriage Certificate
2. Garter
3. Veil?
4. Programs
5. Wedding Party Gifts
6. Necklace
7. Make appointments: lunch & nails before wedding

This doesn't include finished christmas gifts, wrapping them, making dessert for christmas, and a holiday party we have next week. Or the whole celebrating thing. Ya know. 

Some of projects have been scrapped. And it's probably a good thing. It means I'm stressing less, which I am a-okay about.

You know what though? I'm at a really odd state of calm. I've reached that point where I know that no matter what, we will be married in 18 days. It doesn't matter what's there and what isn't. The wedding will be. And love will be.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Bridal Magazines are About...


I saw this picture, and I couldn't help but blog about it. I think it really hits home about what the wedding industry is becoming, and what brides are starting to think about their own weddings. It also gives me a chance to focus in about what weddings really are all about, which, despite popular belief, isn't cake toppers and dresses.

Brides today spend so much time thinking about what others think about their weddings. Do you know what people think? They think about whether or not the food that was served satisfied them (and trust me, I've been to some where it hasn't), and whether or not they had a good time. They don't remember the vows, they don't remember what the cake looked like, and to be honest, they don't even remember what you looked like.

I will be the first to admit that Sean and I have a lot of unnecessary details. And while other people won't remember them, we will. And to be honest, they're things that we love. They're the things that make the wedding about us and for us. This wedding isn't for our 200 guests (though we want to keep them happy, well fed, and entertained as all hosts and hostesses should), it's about us. We've done many hours of pre-marital counseling, which I think was amazing and insightful (and I think every couple should do it, religious or not). We're accepting of each other, and when we do fight, we make it a point to fight fairly - and to NOT bring up things from years past (even if they do still hold a sore spot).

Our wedding isn't to snob unmarried people - hell, do what you want. There are plenty of people that are perfectly happy being unmarried, or single, or whatever. What's the point of being unhappy but married? I think that people should do what makes them happy, and not judge others for not sharing the same goals or happiness.

The wedding industry has really gotten on board with capitalizing on people's insecurities, and it kind of sickens me. There is no need to drastically diet (didn't someone fall in love with you for, ya know, you?!), or get bridalplasty, or anything else. There's no need to be "hot bride" or to invite people that aren't close to you.

I just people would stop thinking about the wedding, and more about the marriage. It's not just one day. It's (hopefully) the rest of your life.

Making it.

Throughout this whole wedding process, money has been a pretty big concern. While each of our parents are contributing significant amounts, there's always a stress around being able to accomodate and entertain large groups of people. Money automatically comes with it - whether it's DIY or not. While our invitations didn't cost a lot of money, we still paid for paper, envelopes, stamps, ribbon, etc.

One thing that was really important to Sean and me was that we didn't have "friendors" - you know, the people who would rather be enjoying themselves at the party than working for you. Anyone that we invited automatically did not have a "job". This wedding is a celebration and a party, not a networking experience. While we have friends and acquantinces that are extremely talented people, I don't want them to work for us. I don't want to have to set rules and guidelines and expectations for them. I want them to enjoy themselves. This, in turn, drives our cost up a bit. We can't bank on Grandma to bake our cake for free, or our parents to cook the dinner.

Yesterday, we really crunched the numbers. Money is due really soon (or has already been paid, in the case of our photographer) for our vendors, and we needed to double check everything. We're making it. We're planning this gala for 230 some-odd people, and we're going to make it. In fact, we're gonna have a little left over. We could easily pay it all in cash too, though we are going to put a bit on credit cards so we can have some buffer room - just in case. We'll simply pay it off after the wedding.

Even better? My bonus for the month will cover my girls' getting their hair done. It was something I really wanted, so, because I'm "requiring" it, I'm also paying for it. The bonus is just an extra drop in the bucket. It's really nice to have.

So while tonight I'm punching out favor tags and cutting ribbon, I can rest easy knowing that we're not going into debt for this. We've managed to squeeze everything out, and money is no longer a concern.

So what is my biggest concern? Making sure everything gets to St. Louis...and that nothing is forgotten in KC. Which is why our wedding rings are already there, and the dress (and anything else I have done) will be going with me next weekend.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Final Reveal - Invitations!

 This is a super pic-heavy post, but I can't help but brag about my invitations! These babies took forever to assemble, and they're a huge work of love (and sweat and frustration). I'm so relieved that they're finally out - but I love hearing about how people love them. :)


They're totally worth everything. In the end, they still only cost 61 cents to mail, so I spent less than $3 on each of them - which was my goal. The actual total was $2.68 a piece - and that includes the ridiculous amount of adhesives I ended up purchasing. It doesn't include the stamps (I already had them), or the liners (left over Costco wrapping paper!). So, ready for the reveal? Here it goes!!

 When the envelope is opened, here's what our guests first see
 Here's the pocketfold closed and ready to be opened
And here's the pocketfold opened!

The main panel of the invitation

Our RSVP postcard
The map and directions card - I made the map myself (on Power Point believe it not!)

And all of the inserts together
I love the way they turned out! It kind of makes me sad that I still haven't found my camera cord (and therefore still have crappy cell phone pics). At least I have an awesome phone, right? So there you have it folks. The great invitations of the Seanmanda wedding.

It just means that it's that much closer - and the official countdown? 36 days!!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Super Ridiculously Awesome Cake Topper.

I love my cake topper. Really, I love all cake toppers. I think they're a great way for people to personalize one little element without thought. It can be as ridiculous or classic as imaginable. I've been keeping an eye out for a great topper for quite awhile, but I hadn't really found anything that really screamed "us". We're not very defined people. There's no game or television show that we're obsessed with. While we're band kids at heart, Sean hasn't really played in nearly 4 years, and it's not as big of a part of our lives as it once was. We're true Mizzou fans, but sometimes I feel like it gets overboard.

And then. Then, I discovered Keren at MudCards on Etsy. She's pretty popular on the Bee front, which is exactly where I found her. Her toppers are kind of expensive, but I fell in love. I adore her custom designed, personal toppers. I think they're adorable and I immediately fell in love.

I bought one.


I couldn't be happier with the results. Keren worked with me to personalize my topper (even to the details of my dress and flowers!). Because we didn't want a theme like most of her others, she put a heart on ours with our wedding date. It's super light, and we won't have any problems putting it on top of the cake (which was a fear I had). And don't those little people look just like us?

I'm so excited to see our awesome cake with this baby on top of it!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

frivolous things and a pretty hanger.

Let's talk about spending money frivolously in wedding planning. It happens. You see one of those things, and all of the sudden its *omgihavetohaveitoriwilldie*. These are the items that don't matter. The things that won't impact your day in the end and that no one will notice if they're not there. They are, for most purposes, completely useless.

But. They are the items you will remember. They're the items you will swoon over on pictures, that others will awe over, and that you will always love.

This is the first of those items. I fell in love with this hanger and I couldn't imagine anything more perfect. You know those beautiful pictures of the dress hanging before the bride puts it on? This is for those pictures. It's also one of the first things (okay the only thing) I've purchased that says Mrs. Byrne. Crazy!!

Take a look at my gorgeous hanger, purchased from Aressa - an awesome Etsy seller :)

I'm super excited to see this baby hanging in the window, with my dress on it, waiting to be worn. Exciting!!
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks.

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and there's so much I have to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family. For Sean, for my parents, my siblings (and my new brother!), Sean's family, and my friends. Sean and I moving in together has been so seamless for the most part, and our families have been so great in supporting us the best they can from 300 miles away. Sean supports everything I do, regardless of how crazy it is. When I'm so frustrated I'm in tears, he helps me see the light. We've worked really hard to have an equal partnership, and even though we're both busy a lot of the time, we make it work.

I'm thankful for my job. Even though I had to work on Thanksgiving (and have yet to eat any turkey), I'm thankful I have it. So many people don't have jobs right now, or don't have jobs that make a difference. My job pays all of our bills, and, while money is a little short for food, we make it work just fine. My job isn't the best in the world, but it's a great place to start.

I'm thankful for Sean's school. He's so happy in law school, and it's definitely where he should be. He doesn't complain about having to read 200+ pages a week, or that his finals are 4 hours long, because he loves it so much. Plus, him being in school gives us a discount on the apartment and the student loans that help close the gaps so that we can live without a fear of starvation. I love that he loves what he's doing.

I'm thankful for our kitten. Ella is so well behaved, and it's so nice to have a loving kitten to come home to at night. She's our lovely foot warmer at night, and our cuddler during the day. I love having her, no matter what she costs (which thankfully hasn't been much yet).

I'm thankful that we're able to plan the wedding of our dreams. It's been a struggle to do it long distance and with no-so-eager family and friends (until now, now that everything is planned :P), but it's everything we've wanted. We've budgeted, we've worked overtime, and we've hunted for deals. Our parents are graciously helping us get the day of our dreams, and I couldn't be more grateful. Let's hope the day goes smoothly!!

This year has been a whirlwind of change for us for sure. I've moved twice in less than six months, I've had 3 jobs, and we're now living less than 100 miles apart for the first time in five years. Despite all of that, we're getting there. We'll be married in 42 days (the answer to life?). I'm looking forward to starting an MBA program next year, getting another promotion (hopefully), and going on our fabulous honeymoon. The next 3 years are going to be incredibly busy, but incredibly rewarding at the same time.

More than anything, I'm thankful that I have the opportunities that I do, and that I've met the love of my life, who is incredibly supportive of everything I do. Life may be hard, but it's going somewhere. You can't see the sunshine until you break through the clouds, and slowly but surely they're clearing away. I'm thankful for my life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On Becoming Suzy Homemaker...

Because I am. Seriously.

I make my own bread (usually every other week - and if we need bread before then, we don't hesitate to buy a loaf), I make my own waffles (and freeze them for later), and my own stews and roasts. We make chili for 12, and freeze 3/4s of it.

Why do I feel the need to spend my weekends in the kitchen?

I've always loved to cook. My family never did it often (I didn't know that cookies could be made without a "tube" of dough until I was in high school), so it was a novelty to me at first. It's stress relieving, knowing that I'm going to get something delicious out of the effort.

It's also cheaper. For me to make a loaf of bread, I need yeast, flour, honey, butter, and milk. 3 packs of yeast is about 60 cents, and I just picked up a 5 lb bag of flour for $1.68. The cheapest bread in KC is still over $2 a loaf, and I can easily make 10 loaves with this bag of flour. Seems like a pretty good deal, ya know? I'm sure wheat flour is probably more expensive (though healthier), but we'll stick with white for now - seeing as I have a brand new bag and all.

But really, there's one reason why I'm doing this. This is what memories are made of. I don't remember the countless microwavable TV dinners that my family made, but I do remember making christmas cookies with my grandma - and the last time we did that I was seven (I got yelled at for not using all of the sprinkle choices - I had my favorites). I remember making tuna salad with my other grandma, even though I hate the stuff. And one of my favorite memories of Sean and I is making a cake with powdered sugar instead of flour (we were bored at midnight, what can I say?).

It doesn't bother me that this is who I'm becoming, because I know the fact that I forgot to peel the carrots I put in the roast this morning is just another memory (and one that Sean will likely never let me forget). My future family isn't going to rely on microwavable meals. Hell, Sean and I don't rely on them (though we are guilty of frozen pizza). And if what I'm cooking doesn't turn out? I have no qualms about cooking up a pack of ramen or having cereal for dinner.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Drowning

I am drowning under a pile of invitation crap.

Who the hell ever thought that addressing envelopes is remotely easy? It sucks.

I've gotten like...20 done? Go me? Only 80 more to go?

*sigh*

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Crash.

Three weeks after I turned 16, I wrecked my car. That earned me the nickname of "Crash" in my family. Friday, my brother totaled his car, and has now assumed the nickname.

It was 9:00 pm on Friday night. He had two people in the car with him, but one of them had a headache so there wasn't any talking or music. They hadn't been drinking or doing any drugs (my brother doesn't at all - and the tox screens all proved that). He just...didn't see the car. He hit a car at a red light going 40 miles per hour. He has no recollection of the 10-20 seconds before the crash. Apparently the kids in the car were yelling at him, but he didn't hear it. Thankfully, no one was severely injured (though the airbag burns make it look like someone tried to slash his throat). The other driver was even able to drive their car away.

Needless to say, my brother is undergoing some testing. Right now, they think he might have epilepsy, with absence seizures (you space out, and basically lose consciousness). He had an EKG on Saturday, and gets to review the results with a cardiologist today. He has an appointment with a neurologist on Wednesday. It's crazy. Other possibilities that he'll have tests for are diabetes and ADD or ADHD, both of which can cause loss of consciousness in severe forms. Thankfully, all of these are easily treated, it's just a matter of what (if any) he has. They're working really hard to find a solution to the situation.

It also makes me really thankful for my "new brother." J has been living with us since April (his parents kicked him out, and he had been living from couch to couch - my parents took him in with the stipulation that he finishes high school). Since he's a good friend of my brother, he's been able to tell us a lot more about how much he spaces out and when. It's been a real help to the doctors, and J has been going to as many of my bro's appointments as possible.

It's a crazy situation. Hopefully they find out what's going on soon, and work on solution.

Monday, November 8, 2010

On being a Confirmation Sponsor (otherwise known as one long Catholic post)

Tonight, my cousin Alex will be confirmed in the Catholic Church. And I'm her sponsor.

Confirmation is a pretty big deal. It's the 4th sacrament that the average Catholic child receives, and it marks you as an adult in the Catholic church. The first sacrament is Baptism. It happens in the infancy of faith, which is generally in your actual  infancy, but occurs later for people converting (obviously). Reconciliation and First Communion (the first time you receive the Eucharist) usually happen in second grade, and then Confirmation is in 8th grade. The reasoning? Confirmation only happens when you are a consenting individual - it is a choice. There were 2 or 3 people in my grade that year that chose not to be confirmed, because they weren't sure if the Catholic faith was for them. I know one has since been confirmed, but I don't think the other two have. Baptism generally happens without choice; you become a Catholic then. But confirmation is something that happens because you choose to it.

Confirmation marks the time when you accept the Holy Spirit to become a soldier for Christ. Basically, it states that you accept Catholicism and all of its beliefs, you choose to live in the Catholic lifestyle, and you choose to treat others as Christians - and inform others of the Catholic faith if they wish to know more.

My job as a sponsor is to help guide my cousin through her faith. We've had discussions on how I live day to day, keeping in my faith (though not shouting it from the rooftops). I'm much more of a service based person - I show faith through helping others, like doing Habitat for Humanity. It's my job to be a good role model for her too (which considering she's a mini-me who plays volleyball instead of an instrument, that's not too hard). I'm really excited about it. She's just chosen her high school (Rosati-Kain), and she's growing up so fast! The public schools in Kirkwood are awful, so private was a given for her. Rosati is where my grandma went, and is literally across the street from the Cathedral. It's like Catholic central in the Central West End lol.

One thing that is strange to me though? She's getting confirmed in her parish church, Ste. Genevieve du Bois. It's weird to me, because one of the big things about getting confirmed in my church was that it was at the New Cathedral (yes, StL has 2). I suppose it makes it less of a spectacle and more of a small, intimate affair, but I learned so much history in preparing for my confirmation. Here's where I was confirmed:

The mosaics make up the largest collection in the world, covering over 83,000 sq feet. it is definitely one of the most awe-inspiring, beautiful buildings in the world. It's open to the public too - even if you're not Catholic, it's definitely worth checking out.

Here's Ste. Gen, which is quite pretty.

In any case, I'm so excited that I get to be Alex's sponsor. I can't wait for this evening. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I will not...

I will not peek at my registries before my bridal shower on Sunday.

I will not peek.

I will not peek.

But it's so hard!! I'm so excited!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

They're here!! Invitations! (the pieces at least)

My anxiously awaited invites have arrived!!

If you don't remember, we sent designs to Sean's cousins who own Wagner Graphics about a month ago to print off our invites. They printed them at cost, which was perfect for us seeing as we I wanted to make the invites myself. We got them once, but the cut was really uneven, so we had to get them printed again. But I couldn't be happier with the final product!

Here's a glimpse of what our guests will get to see when they open up gorgeous envelopes (which I'm still waiting for - and dreading addressing) - you'll have to wait for the real deal though:

 The whole suite

 Our main invite panel

My tester RSVP 
We're using postcards, and I wanted to make sure it'll get to my parents okay - I sent it out today :)

I hate that I had to blur our names, but I'd rather be safe than sorry in today's internet world. I LOVE how my invites are coming together. They look so absolutely gorgeous in their little pocketfold (which I was afraid they wouldn't), and I can't wait to get my hands on the envelopes (though I have envelope liners and "calligraphy" to do on those...). Really, I'll just fantastically excited when these are sent lol. 

Want to see another wedding invite piece?
It's a little dark, but these are the "belly bands" that will go around our pocketfolds to keep them closed. The ribbon is a lighter green, since the pockets are black.  They've been a beast too.


I'll be so excited to get these babies out. My due date for myself is the Friday before Thanksgiving, which is roughly 7 weeks before the wedding. It'll give people about a month to respond RSVP style, and then give me an additional week to hunt down everyone that didn't RSVP. I have to have an exact count two weeks before - I don't get a fudge it option. We'll see how that goes...


Coming Home - Tiger Style!

Homecoming - it really is coming home.

Homecoming at Mizzou is a big deal. We did, after all, have the very first one in 1911. It was the 99th this year (and who's excited for next year?!), we beat the #1 team in the nation (Oklahoma, who we haven't beaten since 1998), and had a fantabulous time.

Sean and I got in on Friday night, with enough time to go to Rally Night all dressed up and playing fight songs. We stumbled home mostly sober (either my drinking tolerance has increased, or I'm just not into being beligerant anymore - I think it's the latter) around 2 am. We were up at 6 for Game Day. Then, at noon, homecoming started for reals.

We registered with Marching Mizzou Alumni Band, which guaranteed us tickets to a sold out game, as well as a spot on the field to march pregame.

And how I missed marching.

I didn't realize it. I was so glad to be done last year. But, I've realized I was glad to be done with the drama, and I will always miss the marching. As soon as the fight song started, I got goosebumps and started tearing up. The field is where I belong. With a flag in my hands. I love it so much. The pride I have for my band, the love for my school - all of it came rushing back. Yelling at the top of my lungs for the team I followed for 4 years. The elation and shock of beating OU, a home win that hasn't been seen since 1983. The energy of 71,004 people.

Pictures of the amazingness:
 Marching Mizzou practicing
 Alumni Band marching down to the field 
This is AFTER the first touchdown (which, btw, was the kickoff return)

Marching Mizzou at half time!

We won! Rushing the field
You can't stop 71,004 people!

The sea of gold, celebrating a glorious victory

Tiger love!

One thing is for sure though:
I can't wait for next year!

Tagged. (I feel loved!!)

I don't generally do surveys. I got past that LiveJournal craze a while ago (minus a very bored semester in undergrad sophomore year), but I figured I was tagged in this one so I might as well. :) Lynsie, if you start my addiction up again, the world will not be happy. Jk. I think.


Here it goes!!

{1}: If you could be in any tv show when you were a kid what would it be?

You know, I'm gonna pick the same answer as Lynsie, 7th Heaven. However, it's for totally different reasons. I was an only child until I was 5, and then it was just me and my brother until I was 14. My brother and I are very different, and he had a lot of colic and other social issues when he was a kid (as a baby, my grandmothers and one uncle were the only people besides my parents who could hold him - he bit the priest at his baptism!!). I spent a lot of time with books, dreaming I had tons of siblings. In middle school, I baby-sat for a family with 9 kids, and I loved it there. I loved 7th Heaven because it was all family - they didn't always get along, but they were always there for each other.

{2}: What has been your favorite Christmas gift as a child?


I really don't know what my favorite Christmas gift was...I think it was probably my Easy Bake Oven. I wasn't allowed to use the stove until I was 16 (kid you not folks), and the Easy Bake let cook! And the mixes were actually pretty darn good. The thing is still running too - my sister still uses it (though, she's not nearly as "domestic" as I was as a kid).

{3}: What actress would you want to play you if your life was a movie?

Sandra Bullock. She's snarky, pretty, and sweet all at the same time. I absolutely love every movie she's in. She's everything I would act like if I had the guts to also - I think she'd totally get my inner thoughts portrayed perfectly.

{4}: What decade fad do you wish would come back?

Fads are fads for a reason - they're not supposed to come back!! Though, I wouldn't mind if Jackie-O type dresses stuck around. And I really like bangles and power beads too..or maybe that's my inner 13 year old talking...

{5}:What song describes your life?

Which part of my life? I think there's two that pretty much define me right now: Beer on the Table and Never Wanted Nothing More. I love how both of them talk about how easy it is to live without thousands of dollars and with simple things. I'm so incredibly poor right now, but I'm also so incredibly happy. I'm trying to live my life by these songs - there's no point to worrying about money and things - you can't take them with you in the end.

{6}: What was your favorite subject in school?

Math. I've always loved math. I love how it's finite and definitive, and how there is always a solution. I love playing with numbers. I love that I can solve problems by looking at them - even if I don't always understand it. All of these are the reasons I didn't make math my living. I could have done accounting, but I got really burnt out in a finance class once. I didn't want my major to ruin my love of numbers.

{7}: If you could have a dream job for a day what would it be?

I would love to work for a non-profit like Habitat for Humanity. I love seeing the faces of people whose lives have been changed forever. Maybe one day Sean will make enough money that I can work a job that doesn't pay hardly anything - I'd do it right now if it would pay the bills.

{8}: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Yikes. Honestly, I've never wanted to be an animal. I think I was a Dalmatian once for Halloween? Maybe I'd be a tiger, or an elephant. Or maybe a bird. A bird would probably be my most likely choice though.

Noooow I get to tag people!!!

1. Lyndsey at My Life in CMYK

2. Caryn at Allens Gone Wild

3. Jessica at I am a Broken Masterpiece

4. Meredith at La Buena Vida

Play along folks!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

College Game Day

Today is the day.

It is Mizzou's College Game Day. We're on ESPN, with photos of Jesse Hall and Columns, and on national television.

While it's not even 10 am, we've been at the Game Day show taping and are prepping again. We're excited for Alumni band, for marching in pregame, and for the game itself.

But for now, here's some photos so far:
We welcomed sunrise on the Quad
Marching Mizzou (they were split in groups - this is just one of them)

Black & Gold!! And crazy signs
We made our own signs

Together again!!

Photo from the top of Jesse, by Joel Kowsky 

All I can say right now though is - 

GO MIZZOU TIGERS!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

impatient.

I have so much to blog about, but I can't find my camera cord :\

Maybe tonight I'll blog with cell pics...sorry!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am waaay to excited about this...

Look at it! Look at it!!

It's our return address stamp for our wedding invites!

How adorable is that?! I made an Alchemy request on Etsy on Sunday night for a custom return address stamp. I figured if I designed it on my own, it would be much cheaper (after all, all I was paying for was the stamp itself!). A few hours after I made it, I had six bids, ranging from $5 - $18. I picked a nice midrange field with someone who had stamps already listed (so I could see their quality), and emailed SandShooters back for my stamp. Tonight, it's Tuesday - and it's already been shipped. The total cost, for a stamp that we'll use 200+ times? $14.25. Completely customized, and wonderful. I can't wait til I receive it in the mail!!

This isn't the first etsy purchase I've made, but it is the first one I'll receive. I fill you in on the rest when I receive them ;)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Crafting Our Ceremony - The Readings

I've talked a lot about the details of our wedding, but I haven't said much about the ceremony - the meat and bones of our wedding. I haven't said much about it simply because we hadn't finished it - but now we have! The ceremony is by far, the most important part to me. It's the root of our marriage, and who we will be in the future. I know I'm going to cry through most of it, but I'm excited nonetheless.

For the Catholics out there - there isn't much customization available in the ceremony. We were given a book to choose readings from, a list of songs to choose from, and other than that, it pretty much all fits into a normal Sunday mass. To me though, this is the best part. Sean and I had to go through each and every reading, discussing them, and narrowing them down to what fits us best - what means the most to us, and what describes our relationship. We knew that we wanted readings that portrayed an equality between the male and female, and that centered on community life rather than something that can only exist in the church. Our religion means a lot to us, but most of that is helping others - not secluding ourselves in prayer. We "pray" through service.

That being said, we had to choose 3 Biblical readings. In the Catholic mass, the first reading is from the Old Testament, the second is from the New Testament, and the third is a Gospel. Here are the readings we chose, and why:

The First Reading:  Jeremiah 31:31-32A, 33-34A

Second Reading: 1 John 4:7-12 

Gospel Reading: John 2:1-11

All of these readings are about love: the meaning of love, how love doesn't just affect us, and how God is important in love and Catholic marriage. I think they're all wonderful. The gospel reading is the traditional wedding at Cana, which to me, resonates with how people need to be prepared for a wedding and not just assume that "everything will fall into place".

Our next step? Music!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Laser Hair Removal

Back in August, I purchased a Groupon. Groupons are city-based (I'm signed up for both KC and STL ones) coupons that get you anywhere from 50-90% off a good or service in your area. They only go into effect if so many people purchase them, but it usually happens. Also, because you pay for them at the time, you can give them as gifts or save them for yourself.

Well, back in August, I had just gotten my new job, and was kind of excited about money - so I rewarded myself. This Groupon was for $675 of laser hair removal treatments - for $99. That was it. Um, yes please!! I clicked purchase, I went on my merry way.

It was really difficult at first to schedule my appointment with Hudson Med Spa, but at the same time, they did sell over 1300 Groupons (not to mention their regular customers). This place is so great though. It the kind of place I like - in and out, no fuss.

I went for my first treatment (that I had easily rescheduled from last Friday), and it was so easy. It was a warm little zap, but way less painful than what I was expecting. It was like someone was flicking me? In any case, I have 5 more treatments, and I'm not worried at all. Since it's laser, there aren't any results yet - it's a slow process apparently. By the way - I'm having my underarms treated.

The thing about it is that it only treats dark hair - lasers can't get peachfuzz or blond hair. Plus, since it only treats actively growing hair, 6 sessions are needed. There's not guarantee that I'll be hair-free, only that it'll be a great reduction (which I'm okay with). The great part is that I can still shave and everything in between appointments - no hair growth needed. It was only like a 15 minute process too.

I'm really excited to see how everything turns out!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

OMG Shoes

These shoes were not $300 (but have you seen this video? It's hilarious)

Wedding shoes. I have to have them, because I can't get alterations done until I have a heel height. You heard right - I'll be wearing heels for my likely 16 hour wedding day. Early on in my wedding planning, I feel in love with pictures like this one:

Gorgeous, right? The pop of color under the pure white dress, the shiny brooches on the front...swoon. I think it's a completely awesome photo. So I started looking around. I quickly found that my beloved holly green is a nearly impossible color find - seriously. My choices narrowed to David's Bridal dyeable shoes, which can be made to match any color imaginable. I've had shoes dyed there before, and I've had pretty good luck. 

So looking around the site, I fell in love with these shoes:

Which, of course, do not come as a dyeable option. /facedesk.

I finally settled on a gorgeous set of shoes, that I love dearly nonetheless. They do not have the 4 inch heels the shoes above have, but still have an adorable detail that I adore. Unfortunately, they're not nearly as green as I was hoping. I'm having pretty sucky luck with the KC David's, which I'm sad about, especially considering how awesome the StP one is. Nonetheless, they still look great. And considering they'll be under a white dress, I'm sure they'll pop just fine :D Without futher ado, my wedding shoes!


Hmm...maybe a little plain (though can you see that adorable scalloped edge?)? Let's add some bling:
I got these buttons from an Ebay seller for about $5 a piece, and then I superglued some scrapbooking "pearls" to them to make them less...snowflaky. The result?


A gorgeous set of green heels, with some funky accents. Sorry about the awful photos - my camera has been misplaced in the move. These are all cell phone pics.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

100

Just to let you all know (in case you didn't already), we're getting married in 100 days. One hundred.

And I'm freaking out, because I still have soooo much to do.

Just, whoa.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just some stuff...

It's been awhile, cause we've been so ridiculously busy. We've been trying to unpack, we've had tons of law school events, we got a kitten, and Sean's starting to study for midterms.

We really like our new place. It seems kinda shady on the outside, but the people that we live around are so nice. We've met a couple of our neighbors, and while we won't be playing dinner party any time soon (or ever), we trust them completely.

Sean and I went to two law school events this past weekend - a poker tournament and a party thrown by his professor. The poker tourney was a lot of fun (I learned how to play blackjack from real dealers), and Sean stayed in for quite a few rounds. It was a fundraiser, so he wasn't playing for money. We did win a raffle though - four tickets to the Royals' game on Thursday! They're box seats and come with a parking pass, so I'm pretty excited. Yay for doing things around town!! The dinner party at the prof's house was awesome too. Law school is broken into sections, and each year in each section has about 50 people. We got to mingle with the law students and their significant others, and enjoy appetizers and drinks made by the professor's awesome wife (and the cider was amazing). The professor is apparently a pretty handy guy - he does woodwork on the side. He showed us a room that he had just done wood cabinetry (as in, 3 of the walls), crown molding, and flooring on himself (including all the detail work - it was fantastic), as well as some grandfather clocks he had made. Holy cow awesome. It was great to meet some people too, and I found it especially cool that most of the law students are actually older - many already have other masters and MBAs. There's one guy who's father owns an Okinawan karate school here, and I might join - he knows my old Sensei and some of the students from my school, so I know it's a legit school (unlike other, "buy-a-belt" karate schools). It was great to meet people.

We also got a kitten!! We adopted Ella, a little black kitten who's 4 1/2 months old from Wayside Waifs here in KC. It's a GREAT no-kill shelter, and if anyone is looking for animals in the KC area, I highly recommend them. We were able to play with any cat or kitten we wanted to, and there were even some that free-roamed. It was such an awesome experience. I can't say much for the dog side, since I didn't want to tempt Sean, but the cat side and the people who worked there were awesome. They even gave us a list of vets with free first visits! Ella's all up to date on most of her shots, but she'll need one more booster at her vet appointment on Saturday (she wasn't old enough). I'll have to post a picture later though, because Miss Ella has already managed to chew through my computer's power cord. We're still working on the training thing ;) We've gotten her chew toys though (she's teething), and things are much better.

Now, off to unpack a bit more (and nurse a mild migraine I've had all day. blah.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's been a long weekend...

Truth. (First: many thanks to our families who helped move us! We couldn't have done it without them!)

We've moved, we've purchased new floor lamps, and I'm slowly starting to unpack. So slowly. I'd like to actually unpack, and make it feel like our apartment. We're getting there. Slowly but surely. I've gotten the kitchen mostly done, and the bedroom too. The living room and office? Eeeeehhhh that's another story :p

Honestly, it would be a lot easier if two things were to happen...A) our apartment magically grew or B) storage magically grew. We need a couple bookshelves for our movies/video games, but there's not much room for them. But, it definitely challenges my organizational skills!

It's also hard transitioning from my college days to this...adult life? I've spent the last four years in a college life, with funky colors and crazy knicknacks. I've definitely grown out of that, but I'm having a hard time transitioning - I need to find a way to meld the two sides of my life.

Le sigh. I guess this is how it always is, huh?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moving on Up!

I got a promotion. After 2 weeks of being out of training...I'm back in training again. But I'm excited!

I've been working in the land of outbound. Meaning, if someone breaks into your house, I'm the one who calls you (and the police) about it. It's okay, and it's certainly interesting, but it's killing me doing the same thing - for eight hours straight. I need some variety in my life! So Monday, there was a table to sign up to make the jump to inbound - and on a whim, I signed up. I figured I wouldn't start until October or so, even if I did make it. Tuesday, I had a meeting with the head 1st shift manager (who happens to be a Mizzou fan -  joy!), and I got it! I'll be in training for the next 5 weeks now, and then I'll go back to my regularly scheduled shift. I'll get a pay raise of some sort, but I won't know until Friday how much - but anything is worth it. I started yesterday, and I think I'm really going to like it.


My company is strange, but neat. They only hire from within (which is awesome). Everyone HAS to work outbound and inbound - even the executive director of my branch has worked outbound. I really like the bottom-up method, because it just makes so much sense from a management point of view. How do you manage something you've never done, and have no idea about any of the specifics? It's also a very self-led organization. They don't give someone a raise - you apply for a raise. If you don't have the guts to ask to go hire, you'll stay in outbound (there are people who have been in outbound for 3 years).

I'm looking forward to moving up. It makes me feel like my degree was at least a tiny bit worth it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Moving...again.

We're moving again this weekend.

What? Didn't we just move?

Yup...we've only been in this apartment 2 months.

We knew from the beginning that we weren't going to be here long. We're subleasing from old high school friends, as their dad has cancer and they wanted to move back in to help out/be around them more (insert prayers for the Skinner family here - they're needed). The lease ends on September 27th, and frankly, we're really not fans of this place. The people that manage it are snooty (as in, they almost didn't rent to us because we aren't married - what is this, 1945?), the place is expensive, and it's really far away and inconvenient from Sean's school.

We're excited to move though.

Our new place...it's different. It's about the same size, but it's a basement apartment so it's much darker (though, cheaper utilities!). It's in the city, so it doesn't feel as safe - but we know a few of Sean's classmates live there, so it can't be that bad. There's still a pool and work-out center. It's about 8 minutes away from Sean's school - which makes it 30 minutes from my work, but my work is all highway driving (unlike Sean's commute to school now, thanks to construction). The city thing is going to be a change for us for sure, especially me. I'm not used to living in a non-collegiate atmosphere. Even though there are a ton of universities around, it's still not primarily students. It's also not the middle-class suburbia we're used to. It's a very big change, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm not exactly sure what to expect.

And so now, it's packing time. Sean has a sinus infection, and, being a boy, this means that he's pretty much useless. I know it's probably mean to say, and he probably does feel like crap. But still. I hate doing all of this by myself.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nixing credit card debt...

Today, I canceled and cut up three credit cards.

Though, this act alone doesn't get my anywhere near my 101/1001 goal, living credit card debt free, because well, I haven't had anything on these cards for over a year. That's right - I had cards that I haven't used in over a year. Just...hanging out. So why did I have them?

The first was my Bank of America card...it was the first credit card I got, way back to freshman year of college. At my first apartment, we had to have credit cards to live there (insurance for them to get their funds, I suppose), and so I signed up for it. I didn't actually use it often, because it had a ridiculous interest rate (we're talking like, 24% here).

The second (well, and third, they were from the same bank) were my Citi bank cards. They had great rewards, and only an 11% interest rate. I used this card sophomore and junior years of college, and pretty regularly too. But, it still doesn't beat the rates of my bank card.

The only credit cards I have now are my Kohl's charge (which is paid off every purchase, but required to have for their great deals) and my bank credit card. I love my bank card...it has a 6% interest rate, I can see it on my bank homepage, and it only has a $1,500 limit - no matter what, my spending simply cannot get out of hand. It's wonderful. We paid this card off when Sean's loans came in, but it's now been designated the "wedding card". I use it for little wedding purchases, like my shoes that I bought this past weekend. We know we can pay it off, but it's easier to keep track of. Some months are better than others money-wise, and this way, we know we're in the black in our bank account when rent comes due.

I'm excited to cut these babies up though. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clang Clang Clang goes the trolley...

Transportation. Sean and I have had many many a...discussion (okay, we even had a fight at one point) about this topic. It probably should not have been such a big issue, but it was. We both had our own opinions on the subject, and it we both knew that our budget was going to be drastically affected by our decision - a lot of money was involved.

So what was the argument about?


Sean, from the get-go, was adamant that our wedding party needed a limo. According to him, a limo ride is a basic privilege that every party member should have - they should be together, all the time.

I, on the other hand, had a different perspective. There have been too many times where I've seen someone's significant other (and I've even been this person) get told they cannot ride in the limo. For weddings where the SO doesn't know anyone...they're kind of left in the dark. It sucks. Limos are expensive, and on top of it, we'd have to find a way to get the wedding party home from the reception afterward.

We presented our arguments, and we compromised. We would have a limo IF all of our wedding party could bring guests onto it..which left us with this (and only this) option:

And Sean hates hummers. Sean had presented the argument that it was winter, and if one of us got stranded, he wanted all of us stranded (how loving!). Plus, it would make some awesome pictures with all of us together.

And then we found the idea of a trolley. It's much cheaper than a limo, fits up to 35 people, and it has so much character! It's not something you see at every.wedding.  Meet Holly the Trolley, courtesy of Tour St. Louis:

She's enclosed, heated, and every bit of charm that I love. I'm excited. We still haven't figured out the transportation from the hall at the end of the night, but I have a feeling it will involve much carpooling. Plus, food and beverages are welcome, so we're able to bring much needed snacks, drinks, and maybe even a green shot or two...(you know, to warm us up)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two Weeks

No, this is not a quitting post. It is, yet again, a wedding post. Grin and bear it folks.

Two weeks.

I feel like this is all I'm ever told, any time I ask a question.

When should I schedule my hair trial? Two weeks before.
When should I pick out table linens? Two weeks before.
When should we discuss meal options? Two weeks before.
When should I have my final payment in? Two weeks before.

Two weeks. Two weeks. Two weeks. I starting to hate this phrase. Why? Let's go over the reasons.

A. I'm a type A personality. If I could, I would have everything set in stone now. I'd have meal options (though not numbers, obviously), hair styles, table cloths, everything. Why? Because what if I need to buy or find something extra? As a DIY bride, I can't just whip something up in two weeks.

B. I live 400 miles away and I have a full time job. I can't just "pop in after work" - visiting you means 8 hours of transportation, a full tank of gas, and a wasted weekend.

C. Two weeks from my wedding is Christmas.  I don't get extra holiday time (one of the cons of working in the security business I suppose). In fact, the only reason I have Christmas off is because it's on a freaking Saturday. Otherwise, I'd be working it too. I'm sure you want to spend time with your families as well. Two weeks ain't gonna fly.

Why can't I just tell them to eff their two week policy? Because vendors act like I'm inconveniencing them. Didn't you just hear my list of reasons as to why I need this done before two weeks?  Didn't you just agree with my list of reasons? Then WHY are you giving me grief?! Sooo much money is going into this gala - I want to know that you know how it's to be spent!

The worst is my church. My priest literally told me he doesn't need to know about the ceremony until the rehearsal dinner. As in, approximately 18 hours before the wedding.

/facepalm. Wedding industry of St. Charles County - you are stressing me out.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Let's talk health insurance...

I'm eligible to enroll in health insurance on September 3rd, which is Friday. However, I have two very different options of insurance, both with pros and cons. I was lucky enough to snag a job with insurance after 30 days, and I'll have health, dental, and vision (in addition to whole life and short term disability, but these are paid for by the company). The vision and dental are the same on every plan, but with health...health is a different story.

I have the option of deciding between an HSA and a PPO plan.

HSA stands for Health Savings Account. The plan costs about $300 less a year than a PPO, but there are disadvantages too. First of all, the deductible is $1500 - for just me. When Sean gets added on in January, the deductible will jump to $3000. That's a lot of money that we would need to have saved up for an emergency. The insurance wouldn't cover any doctors appointments, prescriptions, nothing - until that deductible is met. However, we'd also have an HSA account. My employer would contribute $500 ($1000 with Sean added) to the HSA, and I could contribute up to $2550 a year to the account. It's pre-tax, and rolls over year-to-year while gaining interest.

With a PPO, the annual deductible is only $300 ($700 with Sean), and all standard care is covered with a $25 copay. Emergency care bumps the copay to $100, but 80% is covered after that. This is the standard insurance that everyone else thinks of. PPOs have an FSA, which is pre-tax account similar to an HSA account, but the funds don't roll over year to year - this is optional though.

Both of the plans have the same out-of-pocket maximum too ($3000), so that's not much of an issue either.

I'd love to save the money each year and take the HSA plan, but if either of us were to get into a major accident or come down with an illness that requires hospitalization, we'd have to have $3000 ready to go - we're not at a point that we can save that much up. We'd be covered if we got through the first year - but what if don't? Isn't the whole point of health insurance to eliminate the what ifs? If Sean was working, it'd be different - we could easily have those funds. We technically do have those funds with Sean's loans, but those are earmarked for other purposes.

We're considering all of our options here. We don't want to get into heaps of medical debt while having insurance. I think we're going to go with the PPO, at least until we can build some savings and get settled in life. We shall see.

Any thoughts? What works best for you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Law School - how it's treating us.

Actually, it's not too bad. Seriously.

Sean got his class schedule and the assignments for his first week before school started, and so he read all of the cases and did all of the briefs he was assigned (as far as I understand, a brief is a summary of the case, what he learned from the case, and why it's important to study the case). He went to classes all this week, and since they didn't finish all of the information, he's still about half a week to a week ahead in all of his classes. Conveniently, that meant no homework this weekend (which is nice, since we haven't seen each other this week).

Sean loves to read and research, so this method of schooling is really right up his alley. He loves it. He always has something to talk about, and he's just so excited about things again. Even though there might be more work to do, he's happier and less stressed. Hopefully he doesn't get too comfortable - he knows that this semester means everything in terms of his future - he'll have the same general teachers all 3 years, and let's just say law professors are much less...equitable. If they don't like you, you know it, and your grades will know it. Ah the joys of higher education.

Here's to 1 week down...95 to go.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And they're off to be printed!!

I've sent the email. My invites are in printing mode.

Sean's cousin Jen owns a printing company, and graciously offered to print any design I came up with for cost. I had been planning to design my own anyway (did you know that the average cost for a design suite PDF - one that you still have to pay for printing - is $125?), and this just ended my stress of printing on my dinky little printer, or dealing with Kinkos.

There are 4 components to my printing - the main invite, the reception card, the map card, and the 2 sided RSVP postcard. We're getting linen paper (which I think will look awesome next to the metallic pocketfold), so we opted for flat printing. All of this for less than $1 per invite. My goal is to spend less than $3 per invite, and so far I'm at around $1.15 with the pocketfolds. We'll have to add in ribbon, envelopes, liners, and postage still, but I'm thinking I can do it. In fact, I might even be able to keep it below $2.50.

The inserts will be done in about a week, but I'll have to wait until I see Sean's parents next. We're opting to have Jen drop them off there to cut out some shipping costs.

The design is something that I definitely made concessions with Sean for. While I love them, I'd prefer something much more modern. He's more traditional. But, I love them nonetheless, and the pocketfolds will make them even more perfect.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Church Success!!

We found a church. Thank God.

We were really starting to get discouraged. All the churches we had been to were old and boring. Sean and I, despite popular belief, are not old and boring. We needed a church with young people. Having just moved here, we wanted a young adults group where we could meet people and have things to do. Church groups are perfect for this kind of thing. We had found a church that sounded perfect to us, but it was up by our current apartment - when we decided to move, we realized our new church needed to be closer to our new (and hopefully long lasting) home. We were really starting to worry that we weren't going to find a good church.

We started searching with the churches closest to us. The first church was okay, but not perfect. The second was awful (complete with draperies hanging off the pulpit). This was our third search. It was actually the first one that tipped us here - the bullentin kept mentioning events, but they were all held at St. Mark's. So we decided to go to the heart of the action. And we fell in love.

We knew pulling up. The people in the cars on either side of us were young adults. It was a huge church. And the church was full. People just kept coming. The priest cracked jokes the entire time, and everyone was involved. There are people of every age - it was just awesome.

It's a little farther away than we wanted - it's actually in Independence, rather than KC. But it's only about 15 minutes away from our new place, which is perfectly fine. We're going to the Saturday night mass next weekend, as that's the mass we'll be regularly going to. If it's anything like the 11:30 am mass on Sunday, we'll be here for sure.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Budgeting

I am a terrible budgeter. Really, I am.

I am a fantastic saver, and I'm really go at saying "we can't afford that." But when it comes to spending, once I tell myself I can spend money, I have a tendency to go hog wild.

I'm also terrible at keeping track of what I have spent. Do I know how much I've spent on wedding invites? Nope. Do I know how much I've spent on bridesmaids gifts? Uh-uh. Wedding things in general? That would be a negative. Honestly, the only part of the wedding I've budgeted has been things that our parents are paying for and that we absolutely need. I know exactly how much the reception/catering is, how much the flowers are, how much the photography is, etc. I've consciously shopped around (except for the flowers - I let Mama Byrne go where she wanted, cause I didn't have much of a preference and she was paying for them).

I don't want to think about my invites or maids gifts, mostly because I know what I want. I know exatly what I want to have, and damnit I'm going to have it. One thing that does help though, is knowing how much I'm spending per person. Like today...I found an awesome deal on something I really wanted for my girls, but had all but given up on. Just by wandering into an Old Navy Outlet - I spent $60, but it works out to $7.50 a girl (including Shanon and me!). Score!

Maybe I'll start getting better. I need to start paying attention to my bank account more I guess. Ah well...maybe one day :p

Saturday, August 21, 2010

#47. Get our own cell phone plan

My first check for my 101 in 1001!

Sean and I got our own cell phone plan today. With my new job, I have a 22% discount with Sprint (plus no activation fees), and Sean has been in a real need for a reliable phone and a PDA for law school. Plus, with both of us making new friends and contacts, it made sense to do the switch now.

We got fantastic new Evos.


It kind of makes me sad to leave the 636, but since Sean was 314, it didn't make sense for us to keep our old numbers. What (soon-to-be) married couple has different area codes? We're now apart of the 816 club. It also marks that last piece that was tying me to my parents, financially-speaking. While it makes things a bit tight, I love the feeling of financial freedom. We budgeted $150 for the phone plan, but it comes in waaay cheaper than that with my discount and isn't going to be as financially straining as we thought. Hopefully a car-refinance for me will help the budget too (maybe enough to cover the phone plan?! probably wishful thinking). That will happen sometime next month I believe.

I've already order a cute little cell phone cover - in argyle! I can't wait til it comes in. My phone is naked right now - and I'm terrified of dropping my Evo until it's well protected. 

And now, I leave you with a glory shot:

Does anyone have an Evo? What are your favorite apps? Any useful tricks that I should know about?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Loans loans loans!

Sean's loans came in!! Huzzah!!

I hate that I'm this excited about this, and I really wish we weren't relying on them. Actually, we're not relying on them. We can officially live on my income alone. However, we had to put a few things on the credit cards (um, like Sean's new laptop for school) until the loans came in, so now we can pay those off. Aaaaand get shiny new Evos. Which we could do...next month, but why wait if we have the money now? We'll save my paychecks instead :) I also need to figure out how to refinance my car loan with another bank. Can I just go to US Bank and say I want to refinance my 5/3 Bank loan? I'm not sure how that works exactly. If I can put a couple grand down on the loan, I'm sure I could refinance my loan enough to make the payments muuuch lower.

The goal of the next 3 years is to live entirely on my salary, and any extra loan/grant money that Sean gets goes straight to savings (and maybe a bit towards a honeymoon...). If we can live on my salary when Sean graduates as well, we can have all of our loans paid off in just a few years. Changing finances from one person to two is so different. I feel like our money is in a thousand different places, and the OCD part of me is really bugged by this. I really need to work on simplifying it all. Once we get our individual accounts shut down, it'll be much easier, but we need to wait until we have our joint car insurance - which won't be until February or so. Bah. Thankfully, that's the only bill that's coming out of my solo account now (minus checks - I really need to order some for our joint account), so it shouldn't be too difficult.

Sometimes I hate being the financially-savvy one of the relationship - but I know it has to be done :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day Zero: 101 in 1,001

The Day Zero Project

When all is said and done, life comes down to one simple statement: This is what I've done. Every person has different goals in life, and different things they wish to accomplish. What is important to one person is not necessarily important to another, and vice versa. I've noticed it a lot this past year, especially is reference to some of my friends. We have different goals in life - not good, not bad, just different.

In any case, everyone has different goals. Some people don't complete their goals, or even realize their goals, until very late in life. Soem people never do. And yes, our goals change on a regular basis. Some are small and easy to undertake, while others are large and overbearing. I have a terrible habit of seeing things as small and insignificant, unless I am actually determined to complete them. This, in turn, brings in my "project." Today, day zero, marks the first day of law school for Sean. As he begins this long journey, I will be beginning one of my own. They will nearly parallel each other in length, which is incredibly challenging.

I've seen this project around on the blogosphere for quite awhile now (before I even had a blogger of my own!). It's about creating goals and sticking to them. I've seen it done on Heather Drive and Good Food, Good Friends, Good Life. I've been taking a lot of inspiration from these blogs, and this challenge is no different. There are 101 tasks, to be completed in 1,001 days (which is roughly 2 3/4 years). And I'm doing it.

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1,001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie, no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching - they have to represent some amount of work.

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created to-do lists in the past - usually they are simple challenges such as New Year's Resolutions or a "Bucket List." The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 days is a better period of time, because it allows you several seasons to complete the task, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, and outdoor activities.

My Own Criteria:
1. I reserve the right to change these goals as life goes on. The project is nearly 3 years, and life is going to change for me. I want to be able to have meaningful goals the entire way through, not just at the beginning.
2. I will donate $5 to charity for each task I fail to complete.
3. I'll blog about each task once I've completed it, and link it up to this original post (hopefully)
4. The challenge will go from August 18th, 2010 to May 15th, 2013.

My 101 in 1001

For me:
  1. Upgrade my camera 
  2. Make a t-shirt quilt from my high school t-shirts
  3. Buy a new Mac
  4. Watch a sunrise (I start work at 5:30 am - I see it every day now!)
  5. Transform my wardrobe from "college girl" to "adult world" (I have hardly any t-shirts now!)
  6. Try 20 new restaurants (20/20)
  7. Take a cooking class
  8. Take an art class
  9. Complete 30 Days of Thanks
  10. Read 50 books (34/50)
  11. Answer the "50 Questions that will free your mind"
  12. Complete the Day in the Life project (one photo, every hour)
  13. Send a future email - for me to get on my wedding day 
  14. Design a new blog header
  15. Take a trip outside of the United States
  16. Learn how to shoot a gun
  17. Switch to reusable grocery bags
  18. Detail my car
  19. Buy a pair of designer heels
  20. Fly first class (okay, it was Economy Comfort, but I count it)
  21. Purchase something from Etsy (our cake topper!)
For my body:

   22.  Join a gym
   23.  Run a 5k (I walked it!)

   24.  Complete both the Two Hundred Squats and the Two Hundred Sit-Ups programs (0/2)
   25.  Learn how to make at least 10 healthy meals (10/10)
   26.  Learn how to eat (and like) 5 new vegetables (4/5) (spinach, peas, carrots, lima beans, zucchini)
   27.  Buy a bike (This one!)
   28.  Take a Bikram yoga class
   29.  Buy new tennis shoes
   30.  Get something waxed (anything!) I'm now a firm believer in eyebrow waxing...
   31.  Learn to snowboard (I did! And broke my wrist...)
   32.  Try a Netti Pot
   33.  Take a walk with Sean twice a week for a month (uh, we got a dog)

For my soul:

   34. Go to church, at least 3 times a month (32/33)
   35.  Find a new church  (8/23/10)

   36.  Find a positive thing about a severely negative situation
   37.  Have a night out, with someone other than Sean, at least once a month (32/33)
   38.  Send a secret to postsecret.com
   39.  Join a church group/young adult group/women's group


For us:

   40.  Get married (1/8/11)
   41.  Have a date night once a month (32/33)
   42.  Take a vacation together - other than our honeymoon
   43.  Adopt a Dog
   44.  Go out to eat - just for dessert
   45.  Go to a bed & breakfast for a weekend
   46.  Change my name & update my address on everything
   47.  Get our own cell phone plan (8/21/10)

For others:

   48.  Donate to Locks of Love
   49.  Go through my closet at least once a year and donate clothes (2/3)
   50.  Do Habitat for Humanity (again)
   51.  Pay for someone behind me in the drive-thru
   52.  Send a care package to a soldier
   53.  Create a birthday calendar for family and friends
   54.  Send a card to everyone on my birthday calendar
   55.  Organize an address book for family and friends
   56.  Adopt/foster a kitten from a shelter (9/29/10)
   57.  Participate in Relay for Life (or other walk for a cause)
   58.  Register to become a bone marrow donor
   59.  Give a meal to a homeless person
   60.  Send out thank-you notes for our wedding
   61.  Adopt a family at Christmas

For my home:

   62.  Once we move (again), unpack everything
   63.  Refinish our china cabinet
   64.  Save at least $100 (preferably $250) each month for a house
   65.  Create an entertainment center that's functional
   66.  Re-back my couch (actually, we just bought a new one. Same diff.)
   67.  Create a clean, workable desk space (But I still prefer the couch)

   68.  Make a recipe book
   69.  Make my own taco seasoning
   70.  Complete a jigsaw puzzle - and frame it
   71.  Start a travel map
   72.  Learn how to make "Byrne chili"
   73.  Frame our posters - or throw them away (to the trash they went!)
   74.  Learn how to make weekly meal plans and stick to them for one month
   75.  Create matching bedside tables
   76.  Use every wedding gift at least once during our first year of marriage

For my wallet:

   77.  Live credit card debt free
   78.  Maintain a savings account with at least 3 months of expenses
   79.  Attend 5 free events (5/5)
   80.  Refinance my car OR payoff my car loan
   81.  Get rid of cable
   82.  Get a promotion or a better job
   83.  Organize all the dates that bills are due, so they only happen twice a month
   84.  Sell old video games that we no longer play (we made $50!)

For my past:

   85.  Celebrate my birthday, on my birthday
   86.  Participate in Marching Mizzou Alumni Band

For fun:

   87.  Take a vacation to a state park
   88.  Go to a drive-in movie
   89.  Pick berries
   90. Take a vacation somewhere new (Richmond, VA!)
   91.  Go on a wine tour
   92.  Get a postcard from all 50 states
   93.  Do 10 local activities (10/10)
   94.  Go to a Royals-Cardinals baseball game
   95.  Go to a murder mystery dinner
   96.  Go to a ballet (okay, I went to KA, Cirque du Solei, but I think anyone who has seen it can attest to its awesomeness)
   97.  Go to an opera
   98.  Go zip-lining
   99.  Attend a trivia night
   100.  Learn to golf

Finally (I can't believe I'm writing this down), something that seems so far away in the future. However, it's absolutely feasible and even likely to happen...
   101.  Get pregnant