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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ennui

Sigh. I have ennui. What is ennui, you ask? It's like depression but French, so it's much cooler. See?

 Gilmore Girls version of ennui via YouTube

I feel like every commercial for anti depressants ever created. There's the one about feeling like you need to wind it up, not like Gwen Stefani, more like this:
Image via Pristiq

I feel like this too. Sometimes I'm like "OMG, if I just get a venti soy cinnamon dolce latte with whipped cream from Starbucks and chug it really fast, maybe it will jolt me into normal-ness again." Doesn't work, but it's yummy.

Then there's the one that goes "Who does depression hurt? and "Where does depression hurt?" Oh, ok, just watch it.


Cymbalta commercial via YouTube

This is one of my favorites. When I see it on television, I yell out the answers like I'm a really smart cheerleader. "Who does depression hurt? "EVERYONE!!!!!" "Where does depression hurt?" "EVERYWHERE!!!!" You've got to throw your arms up like a fist pump but add spirit fingers for the full effect. It's really funny to me. But the fact is, my depression ennui is making me physically sore. Stupid ennui.

The absolute cutest depression drug commercial ever has to be the Zoloft dude. I mean, he's so sad and can not even find the energy to enjoy the sunshine and butterflies. Poor little, um, round thing.

Zoloft rock from DoozyWhoop

This is true for me too, and I'm kinda pissed about it. I mean, what the hell, everyone knows you're supposed to have ennui in the stupid cold dark winter, not in the fun sunny summer.

SIGH.

Ok, so you're probably wondering what made me catch the ennui. Well, it's mostly just...there. In fact, it is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves when people say "Why are you so depressed?" I just want to punch them in the face and say "Because I have a *&^%$#@ chemical imbalance, #$%^&*^! What's your excuse for being such an insensitive douchebag?"

I forgot to mention that my ennui makes me irritable too.

I think my own personal ennui is with me all the time, sometimes tucked away in a tiny box and sometimes filling my entire mind and body with really heavy fuzz that weighs me down, makes me tired, and muddles my mind. But, I guess I can kinda see why people ask "Why?" since rough situations can highlight the depression or ennui. Like, changing jobs, which I just did. It's pretty stressful and is taking up a lot of my mental, physical, and emotional energy. In turn, I have a hard time devoting that energy to other things, like laundry or wedding planning. Then the house gets messier and the wedding list grows larger, not smaller, and I feel anxious. It's a freaking vicious cycle. Of doom. And despair. Just to be dramatic.

You know what my other big peeve is? When people say, excitedly, as if to quickly and easily just cheer me up "But you have so many fun things coming up! You're getting married soon!!! You should be happy! This is the happiest time of your life!!!!"

Seriously? That's their big plan to cheer me up? Do they think by reminding me that this should be a really happy time and I'm feeling miserable, that's going to make me feel better? I am perfectly aware that I should be skipping down the sidewalk with a twinkle in my eye on the way to scope out flowers and doilies and crap. Do they think I'm choosing to be miserable? Do they think I don't desperately wish I was super happy allllllllllll the time? Especially now, during what is supposed to be the happiest time of my life?

Of course I wish that, and I am trying to get to that elusive happy place, as I have tried many times before. I know all the tips:  take medicine, exercise, see a therapist, get enough sleep. Drink wine. Eat french fries. Listen to dance music. I'm not like, throwing myself off a cliff or anything...this is not a cry for help. It's just recognition that people can be depressed during happy times and for seemingly no reason, and it sucks.

Like wedding planning, and the wedding day itself, this ennui, too, shall pass. Until then I'll be eating fries, walking in the sunshine, and giving the evil eye to anyone who asks me "why" I'm depressed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Umbrellas Needed: Part 3

I swear this is the last post about my shower. But I couldn't not tell you about some awesome gifts I got, and gave (erm...I hope they thought they were awesome!). Also...embedded in this post is the number one all time tip to making your relationship last. I know. It's gonna be amazing!!!

I got a boatload of sweet gifts, y'all. I mean, I guess I know in theory that that is what a shower is for, but man, I was feeling really overwhelmed with new stuff...in a good way! Mr. Magic's Mum got us the

Apple Green KitchenAid Mixer image via Kitchen Critic

I wanted this color and Mr. M wanted, like, black. I won. 

Also, Magic Mom followed my directions well and purchased these for me at the flea market, as I stood there pointing at them, saying "Why don't you get these for my shower?"

Image via Pyrex Love

She also gave me the ingredients and recipe to make tabouli...yum! Thanks Magic Mom!


I got some Magic themed gifts, including a CD of magical songs, and

Image via Parched No More

And
Image via Amazon

I got a ton of other amazing and thoughtful gifts as well. I also received some beautiful flowers from Mr. Magic. He stopped by to bring them to me, isn't that so thoughtful and amazing of him??? Can you tell what's coming....

It's the number one all time tip to making your relationship last! Are you ready? Here it is:

If you want your significant other to do something, just ask them (nicely)...do NOT expect the person to be a mind reader!!! Yes, that's right...I asked Mr. M to stop by the shower and say hi to everyone, and I may have mentioned he could bring me flowers too...and he did! And it made me soooooooo happy! See picture above for proof. So next time you're thinking "I wish he/she would bring me flowers / take out the trash / take me out on a date..." just tell the person. They have no idea what we want. Seriously.

Finally, I wanted to thank my hostess with the mostest-es, so I made them their own shower gift!


And Magic Mom made Knot Cards for me to give them as a thank you. Oh, what's a Knot Card, you ask? It's a one of a kind work of art made on wood, hence not a card but a "knot card." These are the ones she made for the shower!


 The back of the knot card is shown above left, and I wrote a message of thanks to each one of them. (And everyone asked, but no, that is not actually a picture of me....) Did I mention she's my mom, and she has an etsy shop, and she can make you Knot Cards (or Knotty Cards, hee hee hee) too? She's making some for my bachelorette right now!

So, that's it for the shower...the gifts I got, the gifts I gave, and that one tip that will make your marriage last for evah-evah.

Are you a gift giver or a gift receiver? Or both?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Umbrellas Needed: Part 2

I gave you the details in my last post on how I was showered with awesomeness via a lovely kitchen themed shower. The decor was really lovely and thoughtful, and that alone made me feel super special. But, there was even more! We played several different games...some people aren't into bridal shower games, but I think they are fun! For a group of women who haven't all met, games are a great way to get to know each other and break the ice.

Match the Couple Game
The 3 Peas (my aunts and step mom) started everyone out with a game I had never seen before. There were two sets of photos laid out on the table. In the first set were photos of couples on their wedding day...in the second set were the same couples' photos on their 50th anniversary. The game is to decide which couples match up. It was really tough!


Kitchen Themed Memory Game
We played a memory game were I donned an apron that was adorned with tons of kitchen gadgets. Guests were given two minutes to memorize all the gadgets on the apron, then had to write down everything they could remember. The person who recalled the most gadgets won.


Toilet Paper Gown Game
The guests were divided into three groups and asked to make bridal gowns out of toilet paper. My shower was held the weekend after the royal wedding...can you guess the inspiration?
Kate Middleton's gown, of course! Can you see the resemblance? Here's Mini Magic in her gown. I was asked to judge and choose the winner which was really tough since my sister was on one team, my mother on another team, and my future mother in law on a third team. I picked my mom's team to win because Magic Mom made a  flower rosette for the dress - just like my gown!

Also, everyone was cheating...it was hilarious!
Here is Mr. Magic's aunt, using aluminum foil to make a crown. The rule became, anything in the room you are in is fair game. Hence, my mom using a chandelier crystal to attach to the gown too.

Guests who won each of the above games were given kitchen themed prizes too! Yay! Everyone loves a prize!!!

The Wedding Night Quote Game
I should have known this was coming but I totally forgot about this game! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, beware of what you say while opening your gifts...your words will be used against you in the post-present opening as things you will say on your wedding night. Like, "Oh yay, it's green!" And "This is awesome." And "Oh my gosh, thank you so much!" And "Um...what is this?" And then you will look embarrassed, like this...


The Surprise Sing Along
Finally, the 3 Peas surprised me by writing a song to the tune of ABBA's I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do and singing it to me, along with crowd participation. It was really thoughtful and hilarious...and now I am going to post the video online for you all to see. I'm sure they will appreciate that! Just kidding...they are quite aware that I blog, as you will see from the song....
video

So not only was I showered with awesome decor and details, I also was hit with some fun, hilarious games and a rockin' performance. I was sometimes a bit uncomfortable being the center of attention, but I got over it and soaked up all the love. Coming up next are some super thoughtful gifts I received as well as how I thanked my hostesses, but until then I'm wondering...did you enjoy your shower, or were you embarrassed by all the attention (or the wedding night quote game)?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Umbrellas Needed: Part 1

I really love throwing parties and hosting cookouts. I'm kinda the go-to girl for organizing events amongst our group of friends, and that's totally fine with me because I really enjoy it! I love deciding on what food and drinks to have, making the place look nice and festive, and getting a bunch of people together for a good time. But...I also really enjoy it when someone else plans a party for me and all I have to do is show up! Especially when it turns out to be an awesome bridal shower full of family & friends, games, yummy food, and good times.

The hostesses with the mostest-es (eh?) were my stepmom and two aunts, hereafter referred to as The 3 Peas.

My future MIL was gracious enough to lend us her home as the party location too!

They decided on a kitchen theme and asked everyone to bring a recipe and ingredients to make that item. This was perfect for me, since I love to eat! They really committed to the theme and carried it out through the decor. See?
Yes, there is broccoli and asparagus in that centerpiece and...they made it! Me thinks someone will be helping out with the centerpiece arranging at the reception....

Another centerpiece...and, the favors as well! Each guest got a whisk and a dish towel.

They had lots of yummy food and included recipe cards for how to make the yummy foods...


And kitchen themed signage!

As well as a kitchen themed corsage...and there's not much I love more than a wrist corsage!

I love that they put so much thought into it and really committed to the theme. I felt so showered with thoughtfulness and love. And then came the games and a big surprise...but that's for next time!

Did you have any events or gifts in your wedding planning that made you really feel the love?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The One Where I Fall Down a Flight of Stairs

Sooo, this past weekend I was chillin' with the Magic Fam in Wilmington, North Carolina, enjoying the beach, walking The Loop, and eating the best hot dogs ever at The Trolley Stop and also eating some shrimp (I was hungry).
 personal photo

Magic Mom, Mini Magic, Magic Bro [ yes, I have a brother!], myself, and Roxie Ann (the dog) all decided to go for a walk. Then things got hairy.

Mistake #1: I was holding Roxie Ann's leash as we walked down a few flights of stairs to the ground floor. I'm not trained in dog behavior. Recently, I was holding my new refurbished iPad and was asked to also hold four tiny dogs by their leashes. I grasped the leashes and they immediately got tangled up and started tripping over each other and choking and turning blue. I was more worried about my iPad. Just kidding! [I'm not really kidding.]

Mistake #2: Roxie Ann and Magic Mom just moved into a new apartment. It's super cute, but Roxie is still getting used to it. She also doesn't like strangers. Or men. And she especially doesn't like strange men. And guess what was on the stairs? A strange man. For real, he was strange - he had a peg leg and a bottle of booze. I am not making this up.



Can you see where this is going? Roxie bolted from the strange pirate man...the leash was let out all the way...and I just remember standing at the top of the stairs thinking "Should I try to run down the stairs or just try to jump to the bottom?"

No, I did not let go of the leash right away. Go back and read Mistake #1.

The good news is, by some miracle, Roxie was fine, I did not injure my face (because I'm pretty sure I was flying headfirst into the concrete sidewalk for awhile) and by an even greater miracle, I didn't break or sprain anything. I think. I might have a slightly sprained / bruised knee, as I landed on both knees and my hands, all of which are nice and scraped and bruised. See?

 
That's one of my knobby knees. The picture does not fully capture the awesome bruising, but you can see some of it on the left side there.

Anyway, I've been meaning to write this post for awhile - a post about accidents and bad things that might happen before or on my wedding day.

When I finally got engaged, I was super excited - and immediately a bit paranoid that either I or Mr. Magic was going to be involved in some type of awful accident before the wedding day. I mean, I had waited forever (forevah-evah) and it just did not seem like we were ever going to get married! I may or may not have had the thought "If zombies are gonna attack us or the Judgement Day is coming, just please let it happen after the wedding." What can I say, I have generalized anxiety disorder to the max, plus some crazy bride brain symptoms as well.

I'm also totally worried that something physically horrific will befall me on the wedding day...like pink eye. Or a sty. One of those rare painful zits that occurs right inside your nostril, where it hurts like a bi-atch but also everyone in the free world can see it as clear as day. A wart on my hand. A freaking migraine...ugh, that would be the WORST. Or, an entire scraped up face complete with broken nose from falling down the stairs after Roxie Ann bolted from a pirate.

It could happen.

So now you know...I'm super crazy and anxious and vain, not good with dogs, prejudiced against pirates, and I love to eat.

Do you have irrational (or totally rational) fears about the wedding day?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cooking the Books

I may have mentioned once, twice, or a hundred times that I am not so hot with numbers, math, and especially money. I’m also not so organized, although I really, really wish I was.
Awhile ago, I wrote about some legitimate money saving techniques. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about cooking the books.
Here is a definition of "cooking the books" from Wikipedia: Creative accounting and earnings management are euphemisms referring to accounting practices that may follow the letter of the rules of standard accounting practices, but certainly deviate from the spirit of those rules. They are characterized by excessive complication and the use of novel ways of characterizing income, assets, or liabilities and the intent to influence readers towards the interpretations desired by the authors. The terms  "innovative" or  "aggressive" are also sometimes used.

Here are some tips on how to cook the books in a creative, novel, and innovative way for your own wedding budget!
 
1. If it’s a gift, it doesn’t count towards the overall wedding budget. Good rule, huh? So this past Christmas, I asked for twine in three colors. Mr. Magic thought “Wow, you are so strange” but he bought me the twine. And now it’s “free” and does not factor into the budget. Also, I just had a birthday, and I got some cash. I bought a dress for the rehearsal dinner…but since it was birthday money, it doesn’t count towards the wedding budget! Hooray!
2. “But I don’t buy things for myself anymore.” This rule works best if you were a big shopper BWP (Before Wedding Planning). If you went to Target every day and Nordstrom once a week. If you were addicted to designer jeans and fancy heels. If you got regular manicures and loved having lunch out. But now, since being engaged, you only buy things for the wedding. Milk glass. Spray adhesive. Card stock. Yarn. Wedding rings. Cake toppers.
You aren’t actually spending any more money than you did before! You’re just spending it on different things. And best of all, you are actually being so selfless to forgo your usual standard of living to finance this celebration of love and commitment. Pat yourself on the back, because you are awesome and so generous. 
3. Lose the receipts. I hate to break it to you, but I am not one of those brides who can tell you exactly what each DIY project has cost me. I am not one to keep track of money or bring organized, remember, so keeping track of what I spent at the flea market on milk glass is not gonna happen. And if I don’t know…I can’t record it…and it doesn’t exist. This is pretty much the easiest tip because it just requires throwing paper away. Good times.
 Image via Young House Love
4. “Oh, that’s not part of the budget.” Sometimes people erroneously assume that because my dress is designer, our budget must be higher than it is. The fact is, my dress is not part of the budget. Why? Because I made up that rule, that’s why. I bought it with my own money, it’s all paid off, I love it, and it’s not part of the budget…just because I say so. I mean, after all, I’m the one in charge of the budget, so I can make up rules like this, right? Also, I never buy things for myself anymore. Also, I think I lost the receipt. Oops.
Are there ways you cook the books?

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Middle

You might think I’m referring to being the middle child, or being in the middle of family conflicts, or that television show The Middle. Or that Jimmy Eat World song The Middle. Or, the middle finger. But I’m not.

I’m referring to something much, much more important than any of those things. And something much more near and dear to my heart.


I’m referring to….The Middle Brownie!

Image via Divine Baking

People have very strong opinions about their brownies. Apparently, a lot of people like their brownies with edges. There are entire specialty cake pans devoted to baking a whole batch of brownies so that each brownie, when cut, has a crispy edge.

Slice Solutions Pan via And Another Thing

I just don’t understand the point of this. I hate those tough, chewy edges. I want my brownie cakey (or fudgy) and completely edgeless. So what if it’s a bit more messy? It’s DELICIOUS. I want someone to make a brownie pan that only bakes middle brownies. No edges. (I realize this might be impossible, but I like to dream big.)

Here’s a story for you. I was a senior in college and baked some brownies in the dorm kitchen, which was all the way down the hall from my room. I pulled the brownies out of the oven, left them to cool, and walked back to my room. Ten minutes later I walked back to get my heavenly brownies, following the delicious scent wafting down the hallway, and what did I find?

The entire middle was missing from my brownies!!! I thought this was a practical joke, and that perhaps my friends had cut the middle out of my brownies, but of course not eaten it because that would be way cruel. But no, apparently some Neanderthal punk ate the entire middle out of my brownies. I guess I can’t blame him too much…I mean, it is the best part.

[Um, Magic? What does this have to do with weddings?]

Oh, sorry, my bad. See, we’re having cake, and s’mores, but we are also having brownies! So I’m looking for the best brownie recipes in the whole entire world! Normally I use a coupon and buy what brownie mix is on sale, and Dr. Bridesmaid swears by the Ghiradelli brownies which are quite delicious.

Image via My Brands

But I’m betting with all these women in The Hive, there are some awesome brownie recipes out there! So, do you have a favorite brownie mix or recipe? Also, let’s settle this once and for all….

Poll:

Preach it, Magic, middle brownies are da bomb!

You crazy girl, edge brownies are the way to go!

I can’t believe you spend so much time thinking about brownies. Just eat them and enjoy!

I can’t believe you just said “da bomb.”

Friday, June 3, 2011

Registerin' - Get 'Er Done

I had hemmed and hawed and complained about the registry a long while ago, here and here, but Mr. Magic and I finally decided on a couple of registries that would fit our grown ass up needs. The first registry we created was at
image via heidi and noah

I had suggested Bed Bath & Beyond for it's affordability and awesome coupons, but Mr. Magic wanted something a bit more posh. After all, we’ll only get to request that our friends and families buy us expensive items that we could never afford ourselves once, right?

Walking around Crate & Barrel was hilarious, y’all. First, Mr. Magic relinquished the laser gun scanner thingy to me, so I felt very powerful and a bit smug, like our relationship was so egalitarian, since he did not insist on holding the gun all macho man style. Then we took one lap around the store to get our bearings and our conversation went like this “We have one of those. And, we have one of those too.” We have one of these, but maybe we could get a new one…?”. The very first item we registered for was this...


...because the one we have is plastic and lame.

We added some simple, classic plates...

Some sweet beer glasses and drinking glasses...

And some fun accessories and gadgets!

I did not find this to be a stressful experience at all. We were in there about an hour, and then we ate at the Cheesecake Factory. I went home later and added some more things online. It was totally quick, easy, and painless and we didn’t even argue, so take that stupid communication score of ZERO.

Our next registry was an Amazon registry. We chose this because there were a few specific items we wanted, but these things were from a variety of stores: Anthropologie, random online boutiques, etc. For instance, these lovely glasses! Oprah suggested these unbreakable drinking cups to me, and I am a sucker for Oprah's favorite things!

Glasses from Elizabeth Bauer

We've already received these knives as a gift from my friend Batman, and they are beautiful, French, and extremely sharp. Someone needs to learn to be careful when cutting with these bad boys. That someone might be me.

Mr. M is against "single purpose" items like this deviled egg plate, but I told him it serves two purposes - to hold deviled eggs and to act as decor. Duh.

Mrs. Cola details how to set up an Amazon registry here. The only problem I have had so far is that sometimes the items are not marked as purchased...I just check after I have received something, and delete it if it wasn't changed. 

My Top Registering Tips:

1. Research beforehand. Don't wait until you get into the crowded store to first discuss what plates you want. Narrow it down to a few choices beforehand and then decide on one in the store.

2. Keep a list on the fridge so when you say, "Hey, do we have one of those sucker outer and pour over thingies?," your partner can say "no" and add "baster thingy" to the list.

3. Consider how much space you have in your kitchen or linen closets, and plan accordingly. Donate any old things to a local charity.

4. Reward yourself and your partner with french fries. Yum!

The only problem is, I'm hearing from some of our guests that we need more choices. Is a honeymoon registry in our future, perhaps?

Did you find registering to be easy or stressful?