Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Venue/Caterer: Check!

Mr. T and I signed a contract and put a deposit down on our venue today! Hooray!

It's the same venue I've been talking about (where we had our tasting); we were just emailing back and forth with the coordinator about what our start time will be. They've generously given us an additional hour and a half for free! I was anticipating paying $400 more for the extra time, but maybe the recession is helping us there and they need our business, or maybe they're just nice folks, but we are now able to start the ceremony when we want to, at no extra charge!

Also, and I hate to think this way, but I was happy to note that we'll get 75% of our deposit back if we have to cancel. I don't want to jinx us, but it's possible that, thanks to the effects of the recession, we'll need to seriously scale down our wedding plans (in that case, we'll go to city hall and go out for pizza or something afterwards!), and I was worried about just throwing that deposit money away, but it looks like we'd get most of it back.

Again, this is worst-case scenario thinking. I'm not anticipating canceling our wedding, don't you worry! However, I have friends who have been laid off, so it's hard not to be concerned about something happening to me or Mr. T. Fingers are crossed for everyone to make it through next year okay.

Anyway, enough depressing talk. I'm so excited to check that off our list! Now I need to get on dress shopping...and we need to think about our website, our invites, our registries...yikes, only 10 months to go!

I also realized I need to do some additional hotel/motel research in our area. My brother pointed out that he and his family will need a double room, and our venue, while it is a cute little historical hotel, has tiny guest rooms with one queen bed. So that's one more item for our list--possibly another room block at a more traditional hotel for the larger families.


Resolution Clarification

I'd like to point out that I will not be doing ALL of my bright fitness ideas at once. That seems like a recipe for failure! Instead, I'll try one idea, see if I like it, and then if I make it stick, try to incorporate something else.

After much thought I decided to try getting up early and going to the gym before work to see if I can do it. Mr. T says he'll get up with me and work out at home while I go to the gym, and I think if both of us are getting up (not me having to get up while Mr. T blissfully slumbers in the warm bed), it could work! I'll start with a couple days a week, and then increase it if it's working out. The irony is that when we're going to bed Mr. T and I have a running joke about, "Did you set the alarm for 6, so we can go jogging in the morning?" Now that seems almost prophetic! (Although, still no jogging for me! Bleach. My knees would rebel.)

After that I probably would move on to the 100 push-up challenge. That seems like it would be easy to incorporate, it would be affordable, and it might actually obtain results!

I decided to postpone the cleanse for awhile. As attractive as it is to think about starting off the New Year with a clean slate (so to speak), my friends reminded me that we have some events coming up where I will be really bummed not to be drinking or eating a restricted diet...like my troupemate's bachelorette party in Vegas! So I'll wait on that one.

My boss's boss just lost 20 pounds on Weight Watchers. She doesn't go to any meetings, she just uses the online tools. She says it helps her think about what she's eating and how big her portions are. I'm not sure how much WW costs, but it's one to think about...the MOH has used it and liked it as well. Hm.

Happy New Year! I'm curious to hear any resolutions folks are making, whether fitness-related or not.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Year's Resolutions?

Ever so slowly, each year I work on becoming a healthier person. The year before last I started eating almost 100% whole grains (no white bread or white rice). Last year my resolution was to drink more water, since my water intake was oh, nil. I still find water a pretty boring beverage, but I am drinking more of it, so that's good. I could probably do with doubling my current intake, so I'll work on that next.

I also stopped eating as many animal products this year. Obviously I had to cut out dairy when I became lactose-intolerant, but this year I seriously cut back on meat and started eating more tofu, lentils, and chickpeas as my protein. This has a little bit to do with health (there's such nasty stuff in cheap meats...hormones, antibiotics, etc.) and more to do with a horrible pamphlet I was given at a Morrissey concert showing pictures of chickens in crates and pigs chained down so they couldn't even stand up (shudder). I knew about that stuff intellectually, but there's nothing like photographic evidence to change a person's behavior!

I always work on getting more exercise in. This year I was taking regular belly dance classes again for the first time in years, although I just found out my teacher is not going to be teaching that class anymore. Sigh.

Next year (which is rapidly approaching) I think I would like to focus even more on exercise. I gained a little weight this year, and it's bumming me out. I'd like my jeans to fit better, and to look better, and to feel healthier. I'd like to look good in photos, especially belly dance photos where my whole midriff is exposed! I'd like to not have to replace my whole wardrobe with clothes one size larger...that is way too expensive and I'm saving for a wedding, dammit!

I've recently discovered Fit After Thirty, which is a fun site with motivational articles. I think the more I read, the more motivated I feel NOT to eat those holiday cookies sitting on the table at work.

I'm also considering doing a three-week cleanse in January. This one is going to be tricky, because it pretty much means all home-prepared meals and no eating out. When you get home at 10 pm, the easy thing is to eat a quick sandwich...but this cleanse means no gluten, no animal products, no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine. I'm not sure which will be the hardest part. Probably the gluten and the caffeine! Mr. T says he'll support anything that stops me from drinking soda (I drink diet soda but Mr. T thinks all soda is evil...he's probably right, but don't tell him that). I think this would be a huge challenge but it might help wean me from some bad habits. Then again, it might turn me into a cranky bitch for three weeks. So I'm still thinking about it.

The "100 push-up challenge" seems totally do-able and easy to incorporate into one's life.

I'd like to find a good yoga class. My belly dance teacher always did a half-hour yoga warm-up, and since I'm not going to benefit from that anymore, I would like to keep up the yoga part of it in another way.

I've also considered...since getting to the gym can be challenging with a busy schedule...what if I tried getting up early and doing it before work? I can't believe I'm even thinking about that. I am SO not a morning person. But for my health...isn't it worth it?

Does anyone else have fitness goals for 2009?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Engagement Photo Shoot

I think I mentioned that Mr. T and I are meeting with a photographer after Christmas. She lives in Southern CA, so we'll go visit while we're staying with my folks for the holiday. I had the fantastic idea of setting up an engagement photo shoot for that day with her--that way, we can get comfortable beforehand, see what angles we like/don't like, what poses we like, etc. Plus the photos would make good parental gifts.

Luckily, the photographer has the time and has asked for ideas for where to shoot. I have no idea! I'm thinking urban surroundings...neither of us are big nature freaks. I mean, not that I want to burn the rainforests or anything, but neither one of us suggests camping as a recreational activity. Ever. We do go on the occasional hike, but I can probably count the number of hikes we've taken on two hands, and we've been together 11 years. Just sayin'.

I'm also wondering, what the heck should I wear? I was thinking dark jeans and heels. One of my friends expressed disappointment that we wouldn't be more dressed up, but do I want to tromp around urban LA in a dress in the middle of December? I'm just not sure. I only have 11 days to figure this out, so any thoughts are appreciated!!

Review of Twilight

Let's face it, there's a lot of hoopla about these books, and the movie. Teenage girls are screaming in the theaters. It makes starting to read this series a little unappealing, like listening to Hannah Montana might be, for example. Never done it, not going to start.

However, I'd also heard a common refrain from folks whose opinions I trusted: that despite themselves, they were drawn into the story and couldn't put the book down. So, I put myself on the long, long, hold list at the library, and forgot about it until my number was up and the book was in at the library.

I read that sucker in two days.

It was enthralling, and entertaining, and totally worth the hype. No, it's not going to win the Pulitzer, but I immediately took to the characters, especially Bella, the narrator. I love that she is sarcastic and clumsy (like me!). I loved brooding, mysterious, beautiful Edward. The long, slow buildup in the beginning didn't bother me a bit...I knew the book would deliver. And it did.

I would totally recommend this one. Mr. T is now reading it, and is shameless about reading a book popularized by teenage girls on his daily BART rides. I'm on the waiting list for the second and third books, and am so impatient I actually went to the used book store and looked around for book two. They didn't have any copies, of course. Hurry up, library patrons! I'm waiting!!

Review of Maximum Ride: School's Out--Forever

This book was the awkward middle child of this trilogy (I say this without having yet read the third book, but I just have a feeling). The first book was exciting because the characters were introduced, and the third/last book will have the conclusion to all the action. The second book was a little disappointing. Nothing really happened.

The kids end up staying with an FBI agent and being enrolled in school. Max struggles with the feeling of being overruled by the FBI agent, their new "mom". She also goes on her first date, with a normal teenage boy, and she struggles with feeling jealous when Fang also starts dating.

Of course they discover that the FBI agent is working with the lab that created/imprisoned them, and they escape to Florida, where they look up this giant lab that is supposedly going to destroy the world (which is why Max was created--to stop them? I think). They break into the lab and print out some info from the computer, which I'm assuming we'll hear more about in the next book.

There was a side plot about a duplicate Max that the lab created, since the first one (our narrator) wasn't cooperating. I'm assuming we'll see more of dupe Max in the last book too.

So, all in all, nothing much really happened. I wasn't turned off enough to not want to read the final book, but it was a bummer to come down after such an exciting beginning.

Pink Sapphire is the new Diamond?

I was perusing the Brilliant Earth site a couple of weeks ago and noticed some new stock. You may remember that when I picked my ring out, they only had diamonds or blue sapphires shown on the site, except for one pink sapphire and diamond wedding band; it wasn't until our appointment at the showroom that I got to see the larger pink stones.

Now, they've got two new pink sapphire engagement rings listed on the site. I wonder if we had anything to do with that? Or is pink sapphire the new diamond? Here they are:

While I think they are both gorgeous, I still think mine's better. (Of course.) I got a compliment completely out of the blue the other day at Tully's (meaning, I didn't shove my ring under this person's nose on purpose, and she still noticed it!) and I felt very proud of Mr. T and I for doing such a great job at ring selecting.

I noticed that Brilliant Earth also has some new wedding bands with pink sapphires in them, too. This is great since I plan on going back for my band, and I've been at a loss for what I'd get...I thought we were going to have to do a completely custom ring. But this might work, with alterations:

Of course, I'd want the whole thing to be pink. Screw the diamonds.

I also thought this one might work:

Again, if they could do it with pink, instead of the diamonds. Those swirl patterns match the pattern on the band of my ring, so it might be a nice fit.

I love window shopping!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


In a moment of brilliance (I do have them sometimes), I turned to Mr. T and said, "We should ask your mom to do the table centerpieces for us."

Mr. T's mom is an advertisement for DIY; she refinishes furniture and has single-handedly (well, Mr. T helps when he can) decorated her house and landscaped her yard. We showed her some inspiration pix and asked her to run with it.

This is what she presented us with on Thanksgiving (the flowers are a bit wilted b/c I didn't think to take pix till a few days later):

The pumpkin is an artificial one from Michael's that she got for 75% off. As tempting as it was to stock up on these after Halloween, I think having real pumpkins will add a certain something. The flowers are a mix of a $7 bouquet from Trader Joe's and stuff from her yard, as well as a few things from craft stores (the feathers and fruit, dunno if you can see these in the photos).

The wreath underneath is to cover up the dish with DRY ICE underneath, which I love. I don't want folks to be breathing it in during dinner, but I think it doesn't last very long, so we could just have it billowing around during cocktail hour and then it would be done by the time folks wanted to sit down.

So, I imagine Mr. T's mom will come up to stay with us a few days before the wedding, and we'll go flower shopping...it's funny, as much as I thought I didn't care about flowers at the reception, it looks like we'll have them after all, but we'll do it DIY, not the florist route. I'd like more fall colored flowers than what's shown here--reds and oranges--but otherwise I love these. I also got inspired as we were talking about these centerpieces and asked Mr. T's mom if she'd help us DIY the bouquets and corsages, etc. She said she would! I think this will lower our costs considerably.

I'm not sure how we'll work in the candy jars. I know we could have a candy bar, but part of me likes the idea of having them on the tables. We're still thinking about that part.

No STDs for us

Mr. T and I decided we're not going to do Save The Date cards. Everyone that we care about knows when we're getting married. We really just need to send the hotel info to the out of towners, which can be accomplished via email.

Now we get more $ to spend on invitations! That was easy.