Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Five Months to Go

It's been quite a while since my last Wedding Wednesday update around here, in fact we've hit many milestones since then. As of yesterday we were exactly five months and 150 days until the wedding. Holy bananas!

Gah, doesn't this picture just make you swoon?!
Photo by Sean DeWitt Photography
When we decided to set a date that gave us a sixteen month engagement I felt like time was creeping by and it was never going to get here. Quite frankly, I was OK with that. I'll let you in on a little secret...while I may come across to many as an organized person who's on top of everything, I'm a procrastinator at heart. The organizing function of my personality is always in an identity crisis. 

While there are some things I wish I had done sooner, I honestly didn't get crackin' until we hit the six month mark out. It definitely got annoying sometimes to answer "How's wedding planning going?" for the first 10 months while I was doing barely anything. But now I've got an overload to share. 

So in order to catch y'all up as well as help me feel a bit more accomplished let's take a look back at what's been done so far...

  • Found a date and booked a venue
  • Said YES to my dress!
  • Booked an awesome photog, took engagement pics, and created a photobook
  • Ordered and sent Save the Date cards (more details soon)
  • Selected dates and started planning for showers and my bachelorette
  • Mr. Young surprisingly picked the suit that I wanted him to all on his own!
  • Got our bridal party officially on board, booked my grandfather as our officiant and asked my sweet cousins to be flower girls
  • Created registries and got our first gifts from my mama for Christmas!
  • Decided on cupcakes for dessert and booked our sweet shop 
  • Booked a trolley for fun day-of transportation
  • Found awesome hair & makeup to beautify me and my gals for the big day
  • FINALLY decided on a first dance song (this actually happened last night!)
  • Booked a kickass honeymoon, keep your eyes peeled to hear all about it and share some tips!
  • Found a caterer, tasted our menu, and picked out rentals (least fave task of all)
While some tasks seemed daunting all the needed was a quick phone call and a check in the mail. Easy, peasy! I know the tougher part is already starting as I work to draft our day-of schedule and make final decisions on rentals. One thing I love about our venue is that it's not a traditional ballroom, it's a blank canvas for you to completely make your own. This is also the one thing about it that makes me the most stressed in trying to figure out where everything should go.

It's the little things that have been the most fun. Since last February Mr. Young and I have each come up with a good amount of first dance song ideas and there just wasn't anything that we were both in love with. We thought we found one a few weeks back and while I was getting pretty excited about it, I just didn't feel like it was the one. A song came on tonight that I had initially suggested or so I thought, and I sighed...

"That's what I wanted for our first dance."
"Yea, it's one of my favorite songs." MY
"WHAT? I asked you about it forever ago and you said no!"
"Nope, that never happened." MY
"Well, there we go!"

It's surreal to think about how close we are, and also how much still needs to be done. The good thing is that I'm finally starting to get excited and that helps with making the planning a bit more fun.

For all the married ladies out there--what's your advice for the last few months leading up to the wedding?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Life of an (almost) Coach's Wife

While I've referenced Mr. Young (formerly known as Mr. Charming with the old blog name) many times on the blog I've never really shared too many details about him personally. By day Mr. Young is history teacher and by night he is a coach extraordinaire.

Before we moved to Richmond MY coached high school sports all year around. This meant that he was typically at work everyday from 7:00am until at least 7:00pm or later if there was a game that evening. Volleyball season overlapped with swim & dive and that bled into soccer season. It honestly worked out perfectly because for the first year and a half that we dated I was still in grad school and was usually out of the house from 8:00am until 9:00pm anyways.

After moving, he quickly found not just a new teaching job, but of course a new coaching gig as well. He continued with high school volleyball and also sought out a position coaching a club volleyball team. If that wasn't enough he picked up the soccer team at his middle school who conveniently play during his club season. Thankfully middle school sports are only six weeks long and our county doesn't have swim & dive in the high schools!

Throughout his seven year high school coaching career (and many years coaching club before that) he's taken all three of his sports to the state level in playoffs and even won coach of the year back in Georgia. At first this was really intimidating to me as I know only a slight bit about sports in general and my athletic career consisted of one season of first grade soccer.

I'm spoiled in the summers when MY comes home at 5:00pm from coaching at camps, or during club season on his off days since they only practice twice during the week. It can definitely be tough, but this year I've really enjoyed getting learning more about volleyball, having the opportunity to attend more of his games and club tournaments, and getting to know the teams and their parents.

While sometimes I can feel a bit cross about the amount that he coaches because it limits our time together, especially when most weekends in the spring are out of town tournaments, I am incredibly proud of his pursuits with his second career. He has found something that he loves so much that he spends a copious amount of time after his full time job to plan practices, coordinate with parents, hold private lessons for his players, and taking his groups to team building activities. Luckily it provides some extra moolah too.

It's crazy that MY has told me he knows people have had to stop coaching because their significant others will not allow it. Excuse me, you won't allow your partner to pursue a passion that they love? Some circumstances are understandable, for example we've already discussed when kids come into the picture (many years from now) his coaching load will definitely be lightened up, but not altogether abandoned.

The lifestyle is definitely something different to get used to, but it has provided him and us with many opportunities. I've learned that it's pretty much just as important, if not more, than his first job which is why I've recently gotten some crazy looks and comments about the fact that he'll be out of town until the day before our wedding rehearsal for a national volleyball tournament. Honestly it will probably make life 10 times easier to have him out of the way that week!

I never would have dreamed that sports would become such a large part of my life one day, but I am excited to see where this journey will continue to take MY and to be there to support and encourage him along the way. Shout out to all of the coaching girlfriends and wives out there!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to: Joy

The year of joy is underway and I'm not going to get ahead of myself, but I'd definitely have to say 2014 is already off to a better start than last year. After reading The Happiness Project last year I was inspired to take a similar journey as Gretchen Rubin. I really like the idea of rather than coming up with an entire list of resolutions or goals to begin at once, focus on one at a time and build upon them throughout the year.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about a large list of things you'd like to do. It's important to both prioritize this list and look to see if any goal may be a building block for others. With that in mind I've decided to pick a focus for each month of this year to begin re-incorporating something that I love into my life.

While I know that you should pick concrete and attainable goals, another reason I'm going with a monthly focus is because I know that life happens. My intention is to focus on weaving these things into my life, not perfecting them.


It makes me incredibly happy to have a clean organized home, office, and life, but I don't always take the time to maintain the level of order I enjoy. This month includes any and all kind of cleaning, room rearranging, and organizing. In addition, getting a good system together again to stay on top of things at home and outside of work.
February-Morning Time
I have always enjoyed having a bounty of time in the morning to truly wake up and get ready for the day without having to rush. Now that we moved and I know that I can get to my office in exactly five minutes I've been cutting it close. In February I will commit to going back to my regular wakeup time of 6:15am and utilize my morning time to prepare myself for the day ahead.
March-Pretty Spaces
Who doesn't want to live and work somewhere that they love? Since we moved I've had so many projects I talk about all of the time. It's time to actually make some moves and paint my desk, paint some of our rooms, and find some pieces to make our house more homey. This will also include de-cluttering my office at work.
Hey, remember that time that I created an Etsy shop, sold like four things, and then continue to tell people I have this shop when it really doesn't exist? This is the year I actually get to it. I've been building up a collection of things to sell and may have a grand re-opening of the shop prior to April, but this will be the month I focus on a plan to manage and keep it going.
May-Blogging blogging comes in fifth. I am going to focus on blogging more until May but then take some more time to sit down and really think about the direction of this blog. Update pages and work on some plans to be more consistent. 
Um, did you know I get married this month?!! I felt that love would be a good focus for this one. Not only taking some time away from other things to really focus on the wedding and beginning a marriage with Mr. Young, but also getting to spend a lot of quality time with the family and friends that I love.
July-Traveling & Exploring
With the wedding, we also get a honeymoon--score! I can't wait to spend time researching places to see and things to do while we're on our honeymoon and then of course taking the trip itself. I've got some plans up my sleeve about ways for us to chronicle this adventure and hopefully continue to do some of these things on trips we take in the future. Stay tuned for more details about our destination, it's going to be ah-mazing.

Don't worry, you'll get focuses for the rest of the year come July. I have a few ideas up my sleeve but I think that the first half of the year will help me find some clarity on additional areas to focus on. I hope you'll follow me on this journey and hope to hold me accountable. If you've yet to look into resolutions for this year, feel free to follow and find some areas to focus on in your life. Anyone can have joy, but you have to choose it first.

Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK: A Day On

On January 3rd I may have said my task for this month was to get back to blogging. Well after being sick my first few days back at work and recuperating over the past two weeks that clearly hasn't fallen through! January has naturally become the month of simply "cleaning up life" if you will, because it brings me great joy to have a clean house and organized life. More on that and what I've decided to focus on for the rest of this will come soon.

Today is a bit more important than focusing on me and my own goals for this year. For the first time this year, the university that I work has cancelled classes for MLK day. When receiving this news last year I was ecstatic--a three day weekend! Between the winter holidays and Memorial Day we have no paid holidays so you can understand why I was overjoyed to hear this news.

I absolutely savor days off. I sleep in a bit, but don't waste the day away. I leisurely get up, take time to enjoy my coffee and read. If there's something important to get done like cleaning or errands (and usually there is) I'm able to fit that in, but still find ways to enjoy the day. However, this year I've decided to stop talking about it and be about it.

Whenever I'm asked to talk about my top values and things I enjoy, the topic of volunteering, service, and civic engagement is always something that I talk about. While I do volunteer for my sorority as a chapter advisor and have been able to get my hands slightly wet with service through the Junior League so far, I've been craving something more. I haven't yet decided what I'd like to get involved with, but as you may have just guessed getting more involved with service is one the focuses I have for this year.

So instead of a day off, today will be a day on. A day to go and gather with fellow university staff, faculty, and students to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through service in our community. Hopefully this will be only the beginning of my journey back into service this year and I cannot wait to see where it will take me.

Whether you're spending this day catching up on Netflix (I'm dying to finish Scandal right now!), taking care of your kids who are off school, or maybe even at work, find a way to complete even a small act of service and compassion. If the world has been kind to you, find a day to pay it forward. Even a simple act of leaving an encouraging note on a stranger's car, paying for the person in front of you getting coffee, help someone with their bags at the grocery store.

Enjoy this day no matter what you're doing, but take some time to stop and think about the reason that you get this day off and ask yourself "What are you doing for others?"

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014: The Year of Joy

It's definitely been a little quiet here throughout the past few months. 2013 went out with a bang as I was out of town like every other weekend and in December seemed to have an evening commitment after work every night until we left town for the holidays. The holidays have been a whirlwind and I can't remember the last time I spent a full two weeks at my parents house #cabinfever

While a good goal should be specific, measurable and have a timeline I prefer open ended goals and focusing on adding rather than something I should stop doing. Like my 2012 goal to do more. As I've had some time to ponder resolutions and goals for the next year I've come up with something simple: more joy.

Reflecting on 2013 was interesting. It was most definitely not a year devoid of joy and there were many wonderful and momentous occasions like getting engaged, standing by my best friend's side while she got married, running a half marathon, and more.

What I felt I missed out on though was the little joys. I definitely owe much of this to the continuing struggle to adjust to "adult life", making friends, realizing the meaning of a "friend" is different in different stages of life, and learning who I am when I'm not a student. I continue to be amazed at how long it's taken me to make this transition after the many big moves and transitions that I've had in my life thus far.

College and grad school held so many big, exciting, and shiny events to get excited about. There is still much to be excited about in life these days but it comes in a different type of package. It's a harder one for me to see sometimes so this year I vow to dust off my glasses and pay attention to so many of the smaller things that bring me much joy. In addition, I vow to make time to do things that bring me joy. There are so many things I love to do that I never set aside time for anymore, so each month I would like to add one of these into my regular routine. More soon on what each month will look like.

January is get ready for a full come back. Happy 2014 y'all, I'm getting married this year!!!!!