Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"It's Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies...

...it's compromise that moves us along..."

Right? You know you're singin' it. At least you are if you're a girl, and you've seen this YouTube clip a million times when Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are awarded Best Kiss (I think I'm probably 50 of the 1 million+ views!).

Of course, Ryan Gosling isn't really Noah from the Notebook, and the adorable Feminist Flickr isn't exactly real. Which brings me to my blogpost.

I have blogged about George more than any other topic in this blog. Back in 2010, I blogged about how scared I was to one day live with the man. Reading that post again today helped calm me down a bit.

While George and I share many commonalities (ie: our sense of humor, mutual love of the outdoors, free-spirited nature, and love of deep philosophical convos), we are also very different.

I admittedly have two personalities. I can be very chill and laid back, but also very type A and obsessive. It's the Gemini in me. George tends to leave little trails in the house. Diet coke cans, beer bottles, shoes, socks, dishes, trash. I like every item in the house to have a home. I'm not a 'clean freak' (I shamelessly haven't dusted or vacuumed since moving in, which is horrible since we've been here since May 10th!) by any means. But I'm ORDERLY. And he's the opposite.

His apartment got so messy (before we got married), I wouldn't even spend the night and I rarely went over, because the disheveled wreck put me in anxiety mode. I just avoided it. Twice, I helped him all weekend completely organize his room. Both times I told him "I won't be doing this again." Ha.

So, I'm going on strike. Wife Strike. The reason is because it bothers me if housework is not done. It doesn't bother him if it's not done. And half the time, I'm fairly certain he's unaware of the work I even do. So I told him I was going on strike. I wasn't going to do a single chore until he was aware of how much I do, appreciates what I do, and helps out.

The laundry pile is continuing to grow...
Here's the thing. I love George. I love his heart, his mind, his personality, his quirks. But we both work full time jobs (and I'm VERY grateful for this!). I'm not a housewife. I'm a workin' woman. So why is it that when I come home, with swollen feet from being on them for 12 hours, I have to do 90% of the housework? Jessica Valenti coincidentally wrote an amazing article TODAY about this very topic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (a legit source) shows that women-EVEN THOSE WITH FULL TIME JOBS-still do the bulk of housework. "On an average day, 48% of women and 19% of men did housework. Married women with children who work full time spend 51 minutes a day on housework while married men with children spend just 14 minutes a day." This is insane. Don't get me wrong...if I stayed home, I would expect to do all the housework. And if George did, I would expect him to do all the housework. When we BOTH work out of the home, we BOTH need to work in the home. Period. It's 2012. I know that George never had to worry about this before, and it's coming as a bit of a shock now, but I figure if I don't put my foot down in the first few months of our marriage, I'm setting myself up for misery. I don't want that, and I know he doesn't want that....

The dishes continue to sit....
It's so ridiculous, I think it's kind of humorous. That's why I decided to share publicly. That, and because for all 28 times that I've gushed about George, I think it's only fair to make an accurate portrayal of our relationship. Yes, I'm still giddy in love with him, and I know I'll love him forever. But he annoys me with his messiness, and I have to put my foot down at some point. I know it's sounding one sided since I'm the author of this post, so to be fair, I know I'm on his nerves right now, too. I know he thinks I'm being dramatic and mean. There are three sides to every story...his, hers, and the truth. My hope is that eventually (and hopefully that's SOONER rather than LATER) he will realize all I do, appreciate all I do, and help out. Until then, enjoy the disgusting pictures of our humble abode...

My biggest reason for going on strike is explained in this photo. About 4 days after moving in, George lost the mailbox and housekey. I never had a chance to make copies. I asked him multiple times to handle the situation, but going in the backdoor and ignoring the postal service seemed to be easier. I finally told him I'm going on strike. 
This was a note from George on our one and only toilet. He clogged it up with dog feces and paper towels after picking up the mess and doing one big flush. We didn't have a plunger. Past-tense, because I picked one up after work today. (I guess I'm not as tough as I like to think I am!)
 This was what I woke up to this morning. This is part of my reasoning for going all out in a "Wife Strike." 
This would be one of the other reasons! We have puppy pads. George either didn't know where they are (mind you we live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 800 square foot house), or didn't want to take the time to get one out, so he put down two paper towels. All day long. This was before the wife strike. I cleaned up this mess, but this is also part of my reasoning for putting my foot down.
Everyday I clean up the dogs' puppy pad mess. Not today.

Everyday I clean up his Diet Coke cans. Not today.

Everyday I pick up his trash (wrappers, pieces of paper, empty boxes, etc.), and when the trash/recycling piles up, I usually take it out. Not today.

We got a package today. It's still sitting outside!

Oh yes. The straw that broke the camel's back. When George was hanging a shelf on our bedroom wall (a task that he does NOT care about or desire, and one I've been asking him to do for about 6 weeks), my vintage sconce from Canton fell and broke one of our Anthropologie coasters. The lightbulb shattered on the floor.
When I zombie-walked to the coffee maker yesterday morning, I stepped in broken glass because he didn't clean it up. He left the broken glass on the floor! After throwing a fit that evening, he hung the sconce back up but didn't replace the bulb or shade. So now it's sitting on the bed, and I'm NOT GOING TO FIX IT!

Okay. I feel better now. I've ranted, I've tried to maintain a neutral perspective, and I've shown the world (more like the few people who MIGHT care) that all that glitters isn't gold. I wouldn't trade George for anything in the world. I LOVE being married (believe it or not!) and living with my best friend. But I'm also not going to pretend that we are in this perfect relationship because it is the cool online social media thing to do. It's not perfect. Nobody's relationship is. I know this is transitional and I know we are going to get better at this living together thing.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Wedding.

The morning of the wedding I had a very strange feeling. I wasn't 100% happy, as I'd hoped I'd be. I felt the same way I felt for both my high school and college graduations...happy, proud, and wouldn't trade it for the world...but bittersweet. Getting married is just one more reminder that I'm becoming an adult, and leaving childhood behind. Most importantly, I wanted to be reassured by my parents that I wouldn't be left behind in their eyes. My mom lovingly told me, "Honey, we're not losing a daughter; we're gaining a son!" and I instantly felt better. 

Practicing the father-daughter dance with my dad had me melancholy at times. I wanted him to know I wasn't replacing him with George...just committing fully to George as we advance in the next stage of life together. But nobody...NOBODY could take the place of my father. 

Jessica and Laura came downstairs and brought some vodka. After a couple of shots, I started to feel more like how I'd expect to feel: happy, excited, sure.

We stopped by Sonic (where George and I met) and loaded up on some delicious fried food. 

Then we drove to the hotel. I remember telling Laura from the bathroom as I was shaving my legs, "We need to be leaving here by 2:30!"...followed by a silent pause...and a, "That's not going to happen...It's 2:45!" We left in a rush. Once we arrived at Winfrey Point, Jessica got my hair curled in a snap. My mom and Jen helped me touch up on the stray pieces while I applied my make-up.

I wore my mother's dress. I wore TOMS shoes (for every pair purchased, a pair is given to a child in need) and pearls from my grandparents. My garter was from Jessica. My something blue was a last-minute little tie from my new brother-in-law. I wore my late grandmother's broach on the bouquet. 

New=TOMS shoes


(No photo...underneath my dress!)

After getting ready, I was relieved to have our "First Look." I felt instantly at ease when I knew George was at the venue, and on time. That sounds funny, but I really knew at that point that nothing else mattered. I would strongly recommend all couples do a first look. It just makes sense. First of all, you get unbelievably touching photos. Secondly, your first moment together on the wedding day is shared only with your photographer...it keeps the moment very raw, very real, and very authentic; this moment was ours entirely. Finally, we were able to see a few of our friends arrive and say hello together. We also got a head start on family photos, instead of doing them all after the ceremony. 

After the "First Look," we saw Casey and Cade walking up from the parking lot. This was especially exciting to us, because they were a couple of friends (originally of George's) that traveled great distances and sacrificed a lot to be there for our wedding day. Casey lives in New York, and Cade lives in Philly. Seeing them and other guests following made everything very real. I was so honored to see them down in Texas for our nuptials! 

It wasn't long after the First Look that we were ready to start the ceremony. I thought I was going to cry walking down the aisle with Daddy. I love that man more than life itself. But I couldn't! I was too busy soaking up all the faces on either side of the aisle. In hindsight, I barely even remember looking at George at that time (oops, that's probably a 'wrong answer'!). I was just overwhelmed seeing all of our guests! Once we made it to the big tree, I had my mother stand up so both of my parents could take responsibility for shaping me and helping me make it to this point. I kissed them both and took George's hand. The ceremony began.
***About 3 months into our marriage, I realized that my parents each taught me very valuable, and equally important lessons. Because of the relationship I always had with my dad (which was sweet, loving, and calm), I am better able to love George in a peaceful and nurturing manner. Because of the relationship I always had with my mom, I have learned how to love myself. She was always my biggest fan, and encouraged independence (but then again, since she did read "The Strong Willed Child," I know I kinda came out that way, too!). I realized that my marriage wouldn't be possible if it weren't for BOTH roles my parents played. I couldn't love George if I didn't have love for myself, and my mother truly fostered that. From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful for my parents and their unique ways of loving me, preparing me for the next chapter.***

We wrote the entire ceremony ourselves, and were fortunate in having a minister who stood by what we believed in. Rather than having a Unity candle, we had a tree watering ceremony, symbolizing two families coming together. Much thanks to Rachel, our wonderful friend who picked up the magnolia tree the day of the ceremony! It is in front of our house right now. Smells so sweet.
Exchange of rings.

I couldn't stop smiling. The whole night. 
And after all the words were said, and there was nothing left to be said, we sealed the deal with a kiss. 

And we hightailed it outta there. Had a little serene alone time, and let the weight of everything sink in during a private moment. The rest of the night would fly by, and would be filled with laughter, drinks, and dancing. This private moment was essential to both of us. 

Seeing that ring on his finger never gets old. And I adore this photo. Thanks to Stephanie of Stephanie Rose Photography for being the best photographer EVER.


I must be honest. I debated for a while if I wanted to share all my vendors publicly. I was so engrossed in the creative process, I felt nervous that if I gave all my secrets away, my wedding could be duplicated. Luckily, that selfish feeling only lasted about 5 minutes. The truth is, no wedding, anywhere, can ever be duplicated. A wedding is the joining of two people, and their spirits come through regardless of vendors or location. And all of my vendors were FABULOUS. Also, being at Winfrey Point, it was a complete DIY wedding. Nothing came with the location, so having a good team was absolutely essential. I was so impressed with everybody that helped make my vision a success, and I want to promote their businesses. If you or anybody you know is planning on getting married, I highly recommend the following people, places, and ideas:
I'm so lucky and grateful my mom is here and so active in my life. We got really close during the planning process. Many bottles of wine, many hand cramps addressing invitations. Probably close to a thousand e-mails. If you don't have a mom, get a BFF fast. You will need her the most.

Lottie Fowler, Wedding Coordinator, and Creative Brains behind "Couture Events by Lottie"
(She didn't even know I snapped this pic! I'm such a sneaky lil photog. This was at a bridal meeting in her adorable home office. Many of the details in the photos were able to happen as a result of her hard work and creativity!)
Rita Miller Dorris, of Rent My Dust, for vintage rentals. I am absolutely in love with this woman. Kindest soul I've ever met! Oh, and guess what dress she wore when she got married? The one I wore. No big deal.
Stephanie Rose Photography for Engagements...A close friend and unbelievable artist.

Stephanie Rose Photography for Bridals...
and Stephanie Rose Photography, of course, for the wedding! I look through these photos all the time, and cannot make a stronger recommendation for a photographer! 
My bouquet. Oh my goodness, gracious. These flowers, yall. Only Raquel could pull this off. Thanks to RLove! I strongly recommend my personal friend for flowers. I was so pleased. 

I told my mom at the beginning of our planning that FLOWERS and PHOTOS were my two top priorities. I feel that with Stephanie and Raquel, I not only got to collaborate with my friends, but my dreams came true. They are creative, hard working, and professional. I'm so lucky that our relationship didn't end with the wedding! I still get happy hour with Raquel and double date with Stephanie and her strapping lad, Phil. I'm so lucky in that aspect!!!!
(I also included a broach that my grandmother passed down on my bouquet. I love this broach, and was glad to tie in another sentimental element. I saw broach bouquets on Pinterest and thought they were definitely cute and creative...but I have a love for fresh flowers that won't quit, and I knew I wanted an earth, succulent, feminine and whimsical bouquet. I tied in the broach with the burlap and lace!)

Mason jars with wildflowers lined the aisle. Perfection.

Laura's bouquet.

Jen's bouquet.
We had both our ceremony doors and photo wall rented from Sassafrass and Flair. I loved the personal touch, but I think I would be an easier contact to work with. If you want a photo wall or ceremony doors, ask me! I'm making some with the help of my new husband. We are going to make the doors on a base so they can be used indoors OR outdoors (Sassafrass is limited to outdoor only as they are stakes...and had there been inclement weather, we'd have lost money). We also will be easier to get a hold of. E-mail me at: lindsay_van_meter@yahoo.com

The Dress. My mother's. One of my favorite details in the wedding. 
I told my sister and best friend, Jen, to wear whatever they wanted. Hair, shoes, make up, dress, didn't matter to me, as long as we kept in a neutral palette. If you trust the people closest to you to make their own decisions, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Same goes for vendors. Share your creative ideas... CONVEY your vision to your team. But realize they are all creative people, too, and if you limit them, you tie their hands. Laura and Jen decided to wear the same dress on their own. It was from Anthropologie. And I absolutely LOVED them both in it! They both loved it too, and I'm sure (or I should say, I HOPE) will wear it again.
Uh oh. Brides beware. Once on this site, you might go nuts. But absolutely PERFECT for your bridal shower dress or dress rehearsal attire. Or both. Hehe. BHLDN is the step-up from Anthro, and exclusively bridal.
Legacy Cakes for the cake and dessert table. We had cake, pies, brownies, cupcakes, and cake pops. I'm not a big cake person, so having a range of treats was important to me. The traditional side of me wanted to cut cake, though, so, being a Gemini, I had to have both personalities appeased! 
Cake: Legacy Cakes.
Cake Topper: Etsy. Custom Cake Topper, including one green eye and one blue eye for my groom. 

I used Gift Registry 360 for our registry, and am so happy I didn't go traditional on this one! Gift Registry 360 allows you to add items anytime, anywhere. There is an app (of course) for the iPhone, and you also have it on your computer. You can add any item, from any website or store. This includes local artists. Since Anthropologie still doesn't offer registries (get with the program, Anthro!), I was able to get my dream kitchen with this site. I also added throws from individual artists, and random gadgets I saw on Pinterest. GREAT registry. I STRONGLY recommend! 
Bowtie Vintage Classics provided our sweet getaway car, Dolly. This was a fun ride! 
Random. I recommend doing the seating arrangements old-school. I went traditional on this one! I'm very visual, and this helped me visualize the lay out. We did a seated dinner, and guests had assigned tables (but not assigned individual seats). I made Tinker people green, Van Meter people yellow (or vice-versa, I forget...) and pink/blue were our friends. This was also how we did our guest list. 1/3 for my parents, 1/3 for his parents, and 1/3 for ourselves. I made this on a poster board with post-its. I found it very helpful, especially with last minute changes. I didn't have to cross out or erase anything; simply moved the post it. DO THIS, BRIDES!

All of my gifts were purchased from Etsy. I got hankies for both my parents and both George's parents. I know they will cherish these. 

Bride/Groom and other custom hangers for the people closest to me. These made great gifts because they can use them over and over, and it has to do with THEM, not ME. My friends loved their hangers! Made by an artist on Etsy.

We each wrote letters to eachother and put a bottle of wine in this box. When we have an argument one day (hopefully never, but let's be honest!) when we question our marriage, we will go to this box and remind ourselves of this time in our lives now. This box was made by an artist on Etsy. 

Another random! GET YOURSELF A BRIDE STARBUCKS CUP, LADIES. It's a once in a lifetime (hopefully) opportunity, and a great photo-op. Hehe.

Well, this was fun. I certainly enjoyed reliving the best day of my life. If you have any specific questions (I know a LOT of my friends are engaged!!!!), feel free to e-mail me and ask! 

My best advice would be:
  • Call him fiance as long as you can. Typically 'boyfriend' and 'husband' titles last longer than the 'fiance' title. 
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. The guest list is important and was our biggest argument. That's to be expected. For God's sake, don't sweat the make up or hair on your bridal party. Nobody is going to focus on anybody but you and your groom.
  • GET A WEDDING PLANNER. Lottie would be my recommendation. You don't want to be stressed every day leading up to the wedding, nor do you want to stress the day of. I must say, the DAY OF our wedding, I was more calm than ever. I wasn't stressed at all. It felt right, and I knew my coordinator had it under control. THAT FEELING IS PRICELESS.
  • Remember to prepare for your marriage, not just the wedding. We went to several counseling sessions and took a premarital course. If you want the name of my counselor, feel free to e-mail me. He works from home, and I STRONGLY recommend him, but won't put his phone number online! I knew I wanted to prepare for our union the day I got engaged. No regrets. Worth every penny. Iron out potential problems AHEAD OF TIME.
  • Don't assume you have to change your last name. If you want to, by all means, do it. We are living in 2012. Women can make choices. IF you choose his last name, more power to you, and I think that's romantic and great. TRULY. I've considered being Mrs. Tinker many times. But don't ASSUME it has to be done without looking into it, because it doesn't. I have no regrets keeping my last name. When we have kids, this might change, but for now, I'm a very happy Ms. Van Meter. Which reminds me...nowhere in our wedding did we have "Mrs." printed or read aloud. Nowhere did we limit marriage to a union between 'man and woman,' either. Make your wedding your own. If you support gay marriage, don't make your wedding contradict your beliefs. If you support women's rights, keep your name. If these issues pale in comparison to the giddiness of your big day, have a ball with it and don't look back. I'm just giving my opinion, and what worked for me.
  • Get an address book and put all addresses in there from the get go. You'll be writing hundreds of thank you notes, and looking up addresses stifles motivation. Also, when you write your thank you notes, really focus on the person you are writing to and the role they have played; make it a practice of gratitude. I was flattered when my mom received compliments from her friends about my thank you notes. I am not that skilled in writing, but I am grateful, and I wanted to convey my gratitude to each person. Don't take anybody for granted, and make it count. Cranking out a thank you note just to 'check it off your list' defeats the purpose. In a day of texts, Facebook, and blogging, handwritten notes are one of our last ties to the 'good ol days,' and I believe they should be written with care.

A Very Happy Newlywed

PS: I love you, Papa G.