What I know now- a Bride’s reflection

I feel compelled to write this article for all the future brides out there. I was fully enthralled in the wedding planning and the stress that comes with it. There were things that I wish I had known during the planning stages that I had to learn the hard way. I have compiled a list of tips that I think all future brides should know.

Tip 1: View a variety of venues before selecting the one for your wedding. 

This one may sound like a no brainer but actually, when my hubby and I were looking at places we only had 3 or 4 selected. Why do I recommend expanding and looking at a few more? This gives you the opportunity to see the things that are deal breakers for you and the things you absolutely want at your wedding. I compare this to when you see a pretty dress on the clothing rack. It looks great on the mannequin but does it look great on you? Sometimes seeing something in person helps you decide. Not every venue offers the things you want, and some venues offer things you know you don’t need. Case in point, extended hours for me. Most of my family is older and a majority of our guests were not the party all night crowd. If your venue has an extended hour package they offer and its something you know you won’t need for your guests consider that when making decisions. Another thing I would say about venues is don’t assume the date you want is offseason. We thought selecting a date at the end of the fall season would guarantee us a venue. We were shocked and surprised to discover that a majority of the venues were already booked up from a year ago.

Tip 2: You will fight about money. 

Sorry kids, but no matter who is funding your wedding it will be a topic of heated debate in some respects. Why? Because funding you will find makes the wedding business go round. The trick is to know how to handle heated conversations like this. Understand that the main driving force behind it is stress before you say something you don’t mean to your parents or your soon to be spouse. In our case, we were in a significantly tight spot, as right in the middle of our wedding planning my hubby was laid off. We had to buckle down and decide what were the things we wanted to spend our money on? What was important to us? Those conversations are so important. It not only allows you to better know your soon to be future spouse, but it also helps you prioritize your funds. The two big things for us were photographer and food. Yours may be something different, but you will never know until you have that conversation.

Tip 3: Your family and friends unwillingly will stress you out. 

They don’t mean to do this but you will find that it will happen. The key to success with this is to realize that it is coming from a place of concern or sincere thoughtfulness. In my case we were often asked have you picked out this or that yet? My hubby and I were trying to balance getting our finances back on track plus living day to day. Often times, our answer was no but we are looking into it. You will discover that when you are researching venues for flowers, DJ, linens, or officiant that using websites like The Knot, or Wedding Wire are helpful. They provide you will a list you can read through and select from. However, I wouldn’t just read one review and pick the person then. Go and meet with them and see how they fit with the two of you. Worded a different way; select the tribe that vibes with you.

Tip 4: Don’t let the stress of the planning ruin the small moments. 

This is a tough one. But, it is very important to enjoy the small moments leading up to the wedding as much as possible. The actual wedding day will go by so fast. Try and make the best of the moments you have planning with your girlfriends, sisters, and or your mom. My mom and I did the majority of the meetings with the venues. This allowed us more time to bond and also gave us time to talk about a variety of different things. I learned more about my mom during those times, then when I was living with her. She threw my bridal shower and it was amazing. I had an Alice in Wonderland theme. Those are the moments that I cherish. Take stock of those moments as much as possible as they are the ones that are worth remembering.

Tip 5: Don’t let the vendors dictate your day. 

They are there to assist and provide a service for you and your guests. They are not there to rule your day. A funny story that comes to mind around this topic is my linen lady. She was a preferred vendor from my venue. Which means that she is used often by the venue and in some respects, she offers better deals when you use her. I went with a romantic fall theme. My colors will light blushes, neutral tones, bright pops of color like burgundy, and white pumpkins. So naturally, I wanted my linens to have lace. We met the lady on Mother’s Day weekend at the venue. She wasn’t dressed professionally and she made us wait. Then as I was explaining what I wanted she cut me off, and said to tell the venue to not put lemons in the water. The yellow in the water she exclaimed: “ruins the whole color palette.” The purpose of the meeting was not to talk about lemons in water it was, in fact, selecting linens from her. This is one example of why it’s important to stay classy but also be your own advocate about what you want on your day. I had lace on my tables with blush napkins, and I kept the lemons in my water.

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New Year New Mindset

As this year comes to a close, I am reminded of all the things that have transpired during 2018. 2018 was a volatile year not only for our country but for myself and my husband as well. While wedding planning, and hoping to have the wedding of my dreams, my betrothed lost his job suddenly. It hurt us not only financially, but emotionally, and mentally. We both struggled to get into a better mindset to tackle the problems that we faced. Grandma Kay

I would remember some of the conversations that my grandmother and I had when I was younger. She had grown up during the great depression and had a very authentic view of the world. She used to say “no matter what hardship you face the actions that people will take note of and notice are the ones that show courage.” My husband and I thankfully made it through, ended up moving to a more affordable place, got new jobs and of course we got married! But, now that we have reached one of the last days in 2018 I look to the future and wonder what it will hold for us. I remember something my grandmother used to use to change my point of view, and she unknowingly inspired me to look at the New Year with a new frame of mind.

My grandmother used to always say when I would ask her “does this shirt go with these pants?” She would give me this look and then motion out the window with her hand ” look out into the garden, do you see those colors next to each other in the garden?” I would look and say “Yes grandma I do!” She would smile and say ” well if its good enough for mother nature it should be good enough for you!”

This old adage can be applied to a variety of things that we face throughout the day. Variety is the spice of life and having a combination of people, religions, art, and colors surrounidng us are what makes life so amazing and worth living. I remember visiting The Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, and my mom and I looked at a beautiful mosaic. The mosaic was filled with so many different colors and shapes, and I was absolutely stunned by it. Unlike previous years where I decided I wanted to learn a new hobby, or spend more time with my friends in family. My new mindset for 2019 is this, embracing the beauty around me and taking a moment to pause and enjoy it. If its good enough for mother nature its good enough for me! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy start to 2019!

Christmas Prelude Sojourn

My mom and I set out two weeks ago on our annual Christmas prelude trip to Kennebunk Maine. If you have never been to Maine for the Christmas Prelude festivities I highly recommend it. The town is decorated to the nines with Christmas flare. Bows and bells adorn windows and doors, the smell of freshly cut Christmas trees hangs in the air. As you walk down the sidewalks you feel as if you entered a Hallmark movie, except in this one you get to select the plot. They have dozens of activities each day that are fun for the whole family.

Kennebunkport

On the day this picture was taken we had just arrived and were walking down the sidewalk to visit some shops for Christmas presents. Every year we come we stop is this coffee shop called Mornings in Paris first to get something warm to drink. I got the French hot chocolate this time, and it was like chocolate lava cake in a cup. It was so rich and delicious. Mom got herself a hot chai latte, and we set off on our shopping adventure.

We ended up visiting a good portion of the unique shops that line the streets in town and stopped to stare at the beautiful Christmas tree in the center decorated with buoys. We then hurried back to our hotel to pack everything away and get ready for our nighttime ride. Continue reading

This thirty-something is getting hitched in 48 Days!

As fall brings about change it seems fitting that I too am undergoing my own set of changes. In just a few weeks I will have a new last name and a new extended family. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think something like this would ever happen to me. I never thought I would meet someone who I wanted to be with forever, or he would want to be. This thirty-something is finally reaching a true milestone. I remember scrolling through Facebook a year or two ago and thinking when I saw all the engagement photos and married statuses “I truly am a late bloomer.” But, late bloomer or not I finally get to have my day in the sun. Canva - Leaves falling on ground

We chose fall, it happens to be my favorite season and neither of us enjoys sweating to death in fancy clothes. I was smart enough to start researching places early because fall, as I realized, is just as popular as spring now. After previewing numerous venues with escalating price tags, we chose a historic inn with a rustic feel. The ceremony will be held outside under a large tree in a meadow. We were told by the venue that the tree is known for its beautiful fall color so we knew we just had to do it. This is, of course, providing that New England weather does not throw us a curve ball. Naturally, we decided to do things slightly differently, so we have a bagpiper for ceremony music. We wanted people to walk away thinking this is not like this person or that one.

In true wedding hubbub style, we agonized over excruciating details like food, sides, table clothes, suit and shirt colors, hair, makeup, and flowers. But, as we are down to the very last we can now see all our efforts paying off. I would say here and now wedding planning is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for the broke. We made many sacrifices this past year and a half to get to this point. Our only hope and wish is that our family and friends attend our event and they truly enjoy their time. As it will be the first day we embark on the journey of life as one. ~

Homage: Deuxième Partie

The conclusion of my Poem Alzheimer’s (My Homage to The Wasteland)

Part III

“I never meant to cause you trouble, I never meant to cause you harm…”

The dream is real
The danger is near
I am in the tempest of fear
I walk in and there she is
Radio is alive and she’s on the floor
Maybe this too is a dream,
Maybe I am insane?
No one believes me
“I am what I am, I’ll do what I want…I can’t hide…I won’t go…I can’t breathe..”
She is gone in the white van with lights
I am left lost
I know this is the beginning
Of the end.

In and out she goes
Where she stops no one knows
Nursing home, place, assisted living
All adjectives I am sick of
All lost their feeling
Locked ones unlocked ones,
Doors with locks but no key
My mind is a swirl
Why so many times?
Why so many places?
“You used to speak so easy…your afraid to talk to me….it’s like walking with the wounded… out there with the wounded… and were missing you…”
My life is a tempest,
I am the continent being battered
By the storm
My personal El Nino

“Sometimes it takes a long time for the candle to burn out… sometimes it takes a long time for the bird to fly the coup.” (CAH)
I sit there in the dark
Listening to her chat
She and I are from the same cloth
Same blood, same bone
We were on the same page always
But now things are different
The pages are ripped and torn
The book works backwards
Erasing words, thoughts, hopes
I race to read its contents
All that’s left is lost phrases to a song
In my mind I recall a time when we read it together
I am left to read it alone.
The book of life is mine to discover

I walk alone now on this road
With her notes in my head
And his words in my heart
Why can’t I replay time?
I wonder if the choices I make are right
Would they exclaim “Oh, NO!”
Would they say “it will be alright ?”
Time will tell for me
If this book is the one that will save me
Or damn me.
I fill its pages now with hope.

 

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Notes from the Writer: The music mentioned helped form the backdrop for this piece. In Loving Memory of CAH

  1. Christmas in Killarney – Bing Crosby
  2. White Christmas -Bing Crosby
  3. Cheek to Cheek – Fred Astaire
  4. Trouble – Coldplay
  5. Here with me – Dido
  6. Wounded – Third Eye Blind

 

My Faithful Gardener 

His callous hands that are the product of hard work and diligence dig into the soil. He has just unearthed a giant chunk with his pitchfork and placed it to the side. He delicately frees the wiggling captives from the soil and places them into a bucket. The rocks that he sees go into a neighboring bucket. The rest of the soil is heaved onto a makeshift window frame that has been adorned with mesh wire and placed on a wheelbarrow. He uses the prow to carefully separate the soil and slowly sifts it free and clear of any blemishes. This is a tedious and careful affair but every year he preforms this ceremony.

The garden that blooms every year is one of his hobbies, but more than that it has become a living symbol of the person he is. The leaves he carefully collected during the fall will be placed in the giant hole he has created and then with a toss the worms join in. He will place the fine sifted soil on top and turn it over several times. The garden always yields a variety of fruits and vegetables. There are always two rows of tomatoes, two pepper rows one red and one green, squash, and green and wax beans. The strawberries are always designated a row, the blackberries line the outside of the fence next to the raspberries. The chives are always close to the gate, as a final afterthought for any salad maker.

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The two apple trees always provide shelter for hot summer days, but the peach, and plum tree are nothing to sneeze at. The two walnut trees in the front yard do yield a good deal of nuts, but the competition with the squirrels is fierce. He has added several rose bushes next to the front yard fence, and the honeysuckle bush has attracted quite a few little visitors over the years.

The garden was always a fascination for any visitor but most especially to me. The garden was a perfect showcase of his talents. He was always dutiful and consistent, two qualities that allowed for his garden to flourish year after year. These qualities were not the only ones he was gifted with. He was always patient, loving, gentle and kind. Anything he found lost or foundling he tried to mend. My mom always said this is how she ended up with their lamb Eddy. Eddy was going to be put down, when my grandpa heard this he decided to adopt the lamb. There were other animals along the way a couple of dogs, a cat, and some bunnies.

It should be no surprise to anyone that he came to mend me. I was only six when my parents got divorced and I was 11 when my father passed. Grandpa had already raised five children he certainly had earned a chance to rest. But, I was a foundling and he saw in me troubles that he thought he could fix. He was careful like always with his first sprouted seeds. Protecting them from the harsh sun and providing them with nutrients and care. He would keep a quiet eye on their progress but never quite left them alone. He was always a constant warmth even on the coldest of days. I miss him always but especially as the spring weather arrives and the flowers start to bloom. I want to thank you Grandpa for being my faithful gardener. I am sure I would not be half the person I am without your loving care. Happy birthday grandpa.

Thankful Memories

Perhaps it is customary at times like these to think of memories. You always carry around the knowledge that people are gone but it is never more evident than the holidays. I spent most of mine at my grandparents house. My grandparents would spend the week before cleaning and preparing for Thanksgiving day. My grandmother would fret over not having enough food even though at the end we always had way to much. My grandfather was meticulous about the bird and would continue to get up and peek at it though the window.
I would watch the parade in awe on the TV and wish I was dancing on the floats. I would exclaim about the giant balloons and call my grandmother out of the kitchen to see. I would wait till the very end when Santa appears waving from his sleigh. I would smile and wave at the screen thinking for certain he saw me. These times were magic for me. The smells of food would fill the air. Rolls, turkey, potatoes, gravy, pies and more would enter my senses.

imageMy grandparents, my mom, my uncles, aunts, and cousins would sit down at the large table. I was always so happy to sit down with my family at the grown up table. I would eat my first plate super fast and then reach for more bread and munch on it while my family discussed politics, school, holidays, memories etc. I never much participated in this particular part but I always enjoyed listening to their voices. Grandpa would always finish eating last and we would all wait for him to be done. He would then help clear the table and we would all help washing and drying the dishes together.  image

Then we would all put coats on and walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes we would go down to the pond and feed the ducks, other times we would just stroll about looking at houses. When the walk was complete, we would go into the house and warm ourselves with coffee, teas, and deserts. It is these small moments that I miss the most. Over time the table became more vacant, the chairs left without a companion. Thanksgiving started to become a thing we did in restaurants. My grandparents house was sold and they both passed. We stopped cooking meals and started eating out. The things I loved so much about the holidays seemed to fade and pass too. There was no anticipation, no walks, no real conversation. We ordered ate and left, and it became just like any other day.

Today however, I am happy to say I am spending Thanksgiving eating with family. I ate French toast and watched the parade. I watched in awe at the floats, the balloons and the bands. I waited till the last and waved at Santa and as I started to smell the food cooking I was transported. Transported to a time and place that had been almost forgotten. I am thankful for my memories of the past because they have always carried me through. But, today I am thankful for the new ones I will have because those will be all the sweeter.❤️

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!