Tag Archives: love

Young, Married & Pissed Off

On September 20th of this year, I married my best friend in a beautiful wedding ceremony in Baltimore, surrounded by our closest loved ones. I was just shy of turning 24. Mike was 26. And although we have only been married for three months, in March we will celebrate our eight year “anniversary.”

1239737_10151605652456345_1849831792_n

I mention this because this time of year seems to bring about two things:

  1. Several engagement announcements (I myself got engaged Christmas day two years ago)
  2. Several condemning blog posts about said engagements (no seriously… they’re everywhere)

While I was planning my wedding, I noticed a trend that began festering. From Huffington Post to blogs like this and ridiculous posts like this one about the “23 things you just HAVE to do instead of getting engaged before you’re 23,” people are becoming more vocalized and more vitriolic about their distaste for their fellow peers who are tying the knot in their early 20s.

These posts all share the same sentiment:

  1. People who marry young are missing out on opportunities in life
  2. People who marry young will end up divorced

These bloggers write that once you’re married, you can kiss your youth and any semblance of ‘fun’ goodbye. That walks down the aisle are now synonymous with funeral marches for your social life. That your 20s are meant for crazy, drunken nights full of bad mistakes, not picking out wedding dresses and filing joint tax returns. That anyone who gets married before the age of 25 is practically begging for a life of unhappiness.

But to lump all ‘young’ marriages into the same doomsday category is just as ignorant as calling all “millennials” lazy and uneducated.

I’m not here to advocate that people should marry young. I’m not even advocating that people need to get married at all, because it’s not for everyone. I’m a firm believer that marriage is meant to be forever – through the good, the bad, and the I-hate-your-guts-right-now downright ugly.  People should only get married when they are absolutely ready – whether that means 23 or 43 – because no two couples are the same and not all marriages are created equal.

I have seen people get married and divorced all before they celebrated their 21st birthday. I’ve seen people who have been together for a few years get married in their 40s only to get divorced a few months later. I’ve known people who married in their 20s and have been together for more than 60 years.

It seems everyone these days has their own idea of what they determine to be an acceptable age for people to make the commitment of marriage, and to those people I ask – who made you the expert in other people’s relationships? When we turn 25, is there a magical “I’m ready for marriage now” switch that suddenly goes off?

Because I’m calling bullshit.

For those who might want to throw some overly-used statistics at me right about now, here, let me do it for you.

  • According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce.
  • Also according to the National Center for Health Statistics, 50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older result in a failed marriage.

Seems like we’re damned at any age…. According to statistics.

But like many things in life that don’t fall into black or white, definitively defined categories, marriage is a gray matter with far too many variables to consider when trying to determine why some marriages succeed and why some marriages fail. Variables that include respect, honesty, trust, love, patience, kindness, understanding and compromise. Things that take a lifetime to learn and understand and can’t be measured on a scale. Things that my parents, who have been married for nearly 30 years have been learning since they got married in their early 20s.

With all of these stories and statistics, I believe that the demise of a marriage is more a testament to the lack of maturity in the relationship, and the lack of maturity of the individuals, more-so than a person‘s age.

A successful marriage, at ANY age, is one where both partners have a strong understanding of the other’s needs and desires and work together to help achieve them. One of the most overused arguments in these anti-marriage blogs is that in your twenties you’re still discovering yourself and that you can’t discover yourself when you’re tied down to someone else. That you need to be single in order to make mistakes, figure out what you like and don’t like, travel the world and be selfish.

But I’m here to tell you I’ve done all of those things. And I’ve done them with the unfaltering love and support of my best friend and now husband. I began dating Mike when I was only 16. And in these last eight years I have traveled to Europe, graduated high school, gone to college, made new friends, lost old friends, partied until the sun came up, lost myself, found myself, spent a summer in Paris, drank too much, laughed too hard, made mistakes, had regrets, challenged myself, pursued my dreams, changed my dreams, graduated college,  landed a dream job, picked up my life and moved three states away, changed jobs, made more friends, and changed myself again.

a paris

And I’ve done it all with Mike by my side. Encouraging me the entire way. We grew up together. And in those eight years, we’ve both changed quite a bit, and I will venture to say, it’s been for the better. Mike and I motivate and challenge each other to be better than we were yesterday. We support each other when one is weak or failing. We push each other out of our comfort zones and dare each other to try new things. But we always allow the other the space they need to grow.  Together we have faced triumphs and successes, hardships and loss. That kind of support and companionship is something I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I am incredibly lucky to have found it so early in life.

So while my counterparts may be out clubbing until 4 in the morning or backpacking across Europe to ‘find themselves’, I am content with spending a night in with my husband and our two cats. Or trying the newest hit restaurant in town. Or planning trips to Barcelona and Rome for the fall. Or hosting a dinner party with a group of close friends.  Or god forbid – spending time alone or with friends to focus on ourselves (because contrary to popular belief – married folks are able to do this too.)

It may not be your idea of what someone in her 20s should be doing – but for me, it works just fine.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters? People making their own decisions to find their own version of happiness, whether that means being single, marrying the love of your life or everything else in between. Your life and the decisions you make are yours and yours alone, and deserve to be free from scrutiny and judgment.  But let’s be real… that will never happen, so ignore the naysayers and the doomsday statistics.

Cheers to you and your happiness – whatever, whenever and whoever it may be.

1175139_10151572596151345_1300127383_n

Advertisements

Long time no write!

Hello ‘world.’

It’s been so long since I last wrote, I forgot my log-in password and had to have it emailed to me.

But, considering what I’ve been up to these last few months – I think you’ll understand.

Since we last spoke, I….

–          Got married

–          Honeymooned in Paris

–          Started a new job

….all within less than two weeks.

I’ll try to catch you up a little bit, but those giant life changes are each getting their own blog posts later next week, starting of course with the wedding of my dreams.

On September 20, all of our closest friends and family gathered in Baltimore, Md. to watch Mike and I say, “I do.” Everything about our wedding day was perfect – from the gorgeous weather (not a cloud in the sky!) to the moment we saw each other for the first time that day as I walked down the aisle (I still get chills thinking about it) to dancing the night away with the people we love most. Honestly – it was everything I had ever dreamed of and more – so expect a 2,000 word blog post on that, full of pictures, sometime early next week.

Photo credit: Nelson Pun

Photo credit: Nelson Pun

The morning after the wedding, we woke up at 7 a.m. after a brief 3 hour nap to quick throw everything into bags, get a quick shower and hop the shuttle to BWI to catch our flight to Paris for our honeymoon. I got a steal on our flights, which is probably explained by the ridiculous number of layovers… from Baltimore to Boston, from Boston to Iceland and finally from Iceland to Paris. We didn’t arrive until 6 am Sunday and of course, my bag got lost along the way, but we didn’t let it deter us. This was my third time to Paris and it was by far the most magical trip of the three – I mean, does it get any more romantic than curling up on a blanket underneath the Eiffel Tower for six hours, feeding your new husband chocolate and throwing back bottle after bottle of champagne? More on that later.

La joie de vivre!

La joie de vivre!

We got back from our honeymoon late Sunday night, and thank god we took off that Monday because we were both incredibly jet lagged and had a monstrous amount of wedding crap to clean up. The next day I started my new job as the Special Events Coordinator at The HSUS (yep – same organization, different role!) and got thrown right into the deep end as we have our biggest event coming up in just three short weeks! It’s been a whirlwind since I started but I really love it so far. I was incredibly nervous if I was making the right move career-wise by going after this job, but I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. The leap of faith has proven to be worth it. Again – more on that next week.

The big day is almost here!

The big day is almost here!

I’ve missed blogging so much these past few months, but I have so many wonderful stories that I can’t wait to share with you all.

Until next time!

#15. a valentine’s day special: write 20 things i like about someone

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, or as other’s like to call it – Happy Hallmark or Singles’ Awareness Day. Even though I’ve had a Valentine for the last seven years, I am not one of those girls who gets excited over the so-called “holiday.” In fact, I get pretty annoyed at all of the couples who make us taken girls look bad when they bitch about only getting 6 roses instead of 12 or Russell Stover’s  chocolate instead of Godiva.

Just a couple of goofs.

Just a couple of goofs.

I’m not going to try a cliché blog post about love being something that should be shown 365 days of the year, because you already know that. And that doesn’t just go for significant others I’d like to add – that goes for family and friends as well, the people who are there for you every day.

Because Mike and I are both pathetically broke this year, we’re not doing much out of the ordinary, although that’s been practically every year (last Valentine’s Day we celebrated with pizza. Clearly, he knows the way to my heart).

On my 213 in 2013 list, I wanted to write a list of 20 things I liked about someone and give it to them. I think people like to hear about all of the little quirks they have that make others smile. So I figured it would be the perfect “gift” for Mike – a small, yet sincere and heartfelt way to let him know the many reasons why I love him.

I was even lucky enough to be graced with a big heaping pile of #10. this morning. I’m definitely spoiled. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again – it’s the little, sweet, everyday gestures that make love as great as it is. The ones that you know will make your special someone smile. Not the rush to buy a bouquet of roses because you feel obligated to.

pancakes

Better than any pancakes you’ll ever eat. No, seriously.

Here are 20 (+1) reasons I have the greatest guy in the world.

things i love about you

20 things I love about you:

  1. Your prowess and unmatched talent with even the most challenging crossword puzzle.
  2. The way you sing along to every Steve Wonder song, eyes closed – head swaying.
  3. Your ridiculous musical talent and ability to pick up any instrument and teach yourself how to play it.
  4. That you let me be the big spoon.
  5. That you can never stay mad at me for too long without letting me make you laugh or smile.
  6. Your housekeeping skills and your understanding that I have OCD about dishes, beds that are made and laundry that is folded.
  7. How funny you can be when you’re not even trying. Confession: you’re much funnier than I let on.
  8. Your ugly cry. And how funny, and adorable and absolutely endearing it is and how it can turn even the most emotional moments into awkward, hysterical ones.
  9. Your crooked tooth. It gives your smile so much more pizazz than anyone else’s I’ve ever seen.
  10. How you always manage to make the most delicious, fluffy pancakes that are way better than those at any diner or restaurant I’ve ever been to.
  11. The way you hug me like you’ll never get to do it again. Every single time.
  12. Your patience – even with my most outrageous demands or temper tantrums. Your ability to see through my craziness and love me for even my worst parts.
  13. That you never let me win at the games we play just because I’m a girl. You kick my ass in Scrabble and checkers and I love you for it.
  14. Your thoughtfulness. Whether it comes in the form of a pint of ice cream I’ve been talking about craving or that you spent your day off from work cleaning the apartment – I appreciate every single thing you do.
  15. Your guilty face when you know I’m mad at you with your sad puppy eyes. You know it’s my kryptonite.
  16. That you have absolutely no athletic skills whatsoever, but it never keeps you from attempting to dunk a basket like Michael Jordan.
  17. When we’re driving and you randomly reach over and grab my hand.
  18. All of the things my friends and I make you put up with, from driving us around to listening to our garbagy gossip.
  19. When you sing in the shower and fill up the apartment with the sounds of soul, funk and jazz with your voice.
  20. That you make the perfect “Love Shack” karaoke partner and help us steal the show everywhere we go.

And one extra, for the road!

  1.  That you have been my karaoke partner, secret keeper, punching bag, source of comfort, joke teller, partner in crime, best friend and love of my life for the last seven years.

Thank you for everything you do to make this life the best life it can be. I love you from the bottom of my heart. Happy Valentine’s Day.

#2. ice-skating under the stars

My routine during the work week is usually pretty predictable. After packing up at the office and sitting in migraine-inducing traffic, Mike and I would usually quick throw something together for dinner and spend the next few hours sitting mindlessly in front of the television. After spending 8 – 9 hours at the office, our brains felt like mush and I’d induce a coma full of Honey Boo Boo and Desperate Housewives of Whatever while Mike played way too many games of Bejeweled Blitz on his iPhone.

Needless to say, working full-time has put me into a bit of a rut. A boring one at that. So I was beyond excited to get out of work today knowing that Mike and I would be spending the night ice-skating under the stars and neon lights in Downtown Silver Spring — something I’ve been dying to do now for months.

We're lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

We’re lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

When I was younger, I’d spend almost every weekend with my friends at our skating rink up the street. It’s where I had many of my first “puppy love” middle school dates, where cheesy N’Sync love songs would play and we’d clumsily and awkwardly fumble to hold each others hands. But I also just loved how freeing ice-skating felt… after the pain in your feet melted into numbness, there was nothing more exhilarating then whipping around the rink with the cold air biting at your face.

That’s why I wanted to include ice-skating under the stars on my 213 in 2013 bucket list.

After coming home and changing out of our business professional attire, we bundled up in scarves, hats and gloves and trekked over to the rink. I practically had to drag Mike with me after his last ice-skating disaster a few years back. Long story short, Mike surprised me with two passes to the Blue Cross River Rink in Philly for Valentine’s day. While other couples were skating figure eights, holding hands and smooching under the moonlight, Mike gave up after spending 10 minutes clinging to the side of the wall in shame and went to spend the rest of the night next to the free chocolate fountain while I was left to skate alone. Cute, right?

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice.

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice. I have giant, giant man feet (size 11).

After listening to him whimper and whine about not wanting to embarrass  himself in front of all the eight and nine year old kids, we took our first tentative steps onto the well-worn ice. My legs were a little wobbly and apprehensive at first. It’s like getting on a bike for the first time in years… you have to shake off the dust and make your muscles remember what to do. Slowly but surely, one foot in front of the other, I began to glide around the rink.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

And to my surprise, Mike took a leap of faith, let go of the wall and was skating right beside me. We spent the next two hours laughing, (almost) falling and singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs (not by choice… it was all they seemed to want to play.) We talked about work and life and made jokes. For the first time in a long time, I felt like we were actually spending time together and not just with each other.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

We traded in our skates after our feet couldn’t possibly take another lap and our lips chapped from the bitter cold and finished up the night grubbing on Chipotle while remarking on how nice it was to not be in front of the television for a change.

From cry-baby to man of confidence...Mike finally let go of the wall.

From cry-baby to man of confidence…Mike finally let go of the wall.

It just goes to show you that life doesn’t end at your cubicle. You can still have fun and be adventurous because life isn’t defined by 9 to 5 parameters. It’s our job, our responsibility to fill those hours outside of work with color and memories and laughs. I know it’s only three days in to 2013, but I’m already proud of myself for waking up and realizing the time is now.

This is my life. And I’m making every second of it count.

’tis the season for a wedding proposal

20179_1269101162265_4743515_n

Can you believe there are only 20 days left until Christmas? If you haven’t caught on yet – the holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. And while I’m sure this Christmas will be wonderful, full of the usual overdose on cookies, eggnog and wrapping paper, I know nothing will be able to top last year.

Why, you ask?

Last year, on Christmas day, Mike got down on one knee in his fuzzy moose pajamas and asked me to marry him. It was, and still is, the best day of my life (until I marry him, of course!)

It was probably around last summer that I began pestering Mike about when I could expect a ring on my finger. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty annoying and I by no means made it easy for him. So much so, that my own friends began telling me to cool my jets. I wasn’t a pain in the ass because I wanted a big diamond ring – in fact, I told him multiple times I would happily accept a RingPop if it meant being able to call myself his fiancé. We had been together for nearly six years and we knew we were going to get married… but patience has never been my virtue and I didn’t want to wait anymore.

I finally heeded the advice from family and friends to back off before I ruined my own proposal and I knew that it would come eventually… I just needed to be willing to wait. So I did. The summer turned into fall and the fall turned into winter, and before I knew it, it was Christmas day.

Mike knew that Christmas was my favorite day of the year and how much I loved being with family, wrapped around the Christmas tree with Bing Crosby crooning in the background. As we do every year, we woke up early and shuffled downstairs in our new fuzzy pajamas and slippers from the night before and took our places on the couches, chairs and floor.

One by one, presents were passed around to each person in the room, followed by the sound of ripped wrapping paper and squeals of delight and gratitude. New work clothes, fancy kitchen gadgets, blu ray DVDs, colognes and watches… everyone took pleasure in the looks of excitement on each person’s face as they’d open their gifts. Finally, all of the presents underneath the tree were gone and all that was left were pieces of ribbon, opened boxes and crumpled up paper.

I remember feeling a pang of disappoint in my chest. I really thought that he was going to propose. It had seemed like the perfect opportunity. But as quickly as it came, I pushed it aside and leaned over to give him a big kiss.

He sprang up from the couch and told me he had one more present to give, but that it was too big to fit under the tree. I was confused and sat waiting on the couch as Mike and my brother disappeared into the garage to go get my “mystery gift.”

Too big to fit under the tree? Well clearly it can’t be a ring, I thought. And for the next five minutes I sat there trying to think of what it could possibly be.

I hear the backdoor slide open and my brother and Mike slowly begin walking into the living room with one of the biggest wrapped presents I have ever seen. It was flat and thin – clearly a giant piece of art. They gently set it on the couch and Mike quick grabbed one other present that had been hiding behind the tree.

“Open it!” he said, indicating the giant present on the couch.

I sat down and delicately began ripping away the paper. Underneath was a breathtakingly beautiful black and white framed photograph of the Paris skyline, with the Eiffel Tower illuminating with light in the distance. I had just come back from studying in Paris for five weeks that summer – my favorite city in the entire world. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love affair with Paris and left my heart there after I came back to the states. It has always been my dream to be proposed to under the Eiffel Tower, but I knew it just wasn’t in the cards for us.

parisBefore I could thank him for such a beautiful gift, he gave me the other present he had been holding in his hands and told me to wait. He quickly ran into the kitchen to grab a bottle of Moscato and told me he wanted  to bring Paris to me, since he knew I missed it so much – all of those lazy sunny afternoons sipping wine in the most incredible city on earth.

I opened the other wrapped present to find six wine glasses with tissue paper stuffed inside each one. He passed glasses around to everyone else in the room and handed me the last one, saying he wanted to make a toast to another great holiday with the family. As I pulled the tissue paper out of my glass, I heard a small “clink” sound.

I looked down and in my glass I saw it.

A diamond ring.

In that moment, everything became a blur. I looked up, tears rolling down my cheeks and in front of me was Mike on one knee, asking me to marry him. Under the Eiffel Tower, just as I had always dreamed, but even better. Because I was surrounded by my family, on my favorite day of the year, being proposed to by the love of my life and my best friend.

Needless to say, it was the absolute best Christmas present I have ever received and the most perfect proposal I could have ever hoped for.

It feels like it was just yesterday, not almost a year ago since I said yes to becoming Mike’s wife.

I’m beyond excited to celebrate our 7th Christmas together this year. I’m even more excited to marry him in 289 days… but who’s counting?

one hundred percent

For those of you who hate mushy posts – a word of caution: you may not want to read any further.

When I was a little girl, I probably watched one too many Disney movies and fell in love with the idea of finding my Prince Charming, who would fly me on magic carpet rides and twirl me around in ballrooms while wearing pretty dresses. My idea of love and romance was juvenile (hey – I was only five, give me a break) and I thought it was defined by the number of roses in a bouquet and involved grand gestures of sweeping me off my feet.

Luckily, I’ve done a lot of growing up since then.

This weekend, while Mike was out running an errand, I sat down and talked with my parents who have been married for 26 years. I was sitting at the kitchen counter, swiveling around on the bar stool as I unloaded about wedding stress and financial stress. Mike and I are in the fortunate, yet painful position of experiencing a “growth spurt.” We’ve made leaps and bounds to start new jobs, move to a new city and plan for this next big step in our lives and we’re realizing it’s not always pink and rosy like we had hoped.

I have been looking out for myself and my best interests for years. It’s what we as humans are naturally programmed to do. While talking about the “financial burden” that Mike and I are fighting through and complaining about where “my” money and “my” hard work go, my dad chuckled a bit.

He then said to me, the last time you say “I” will be when you say the words “I do.”

And he’s right. While throughout the years Mike and I have certainly made sacrifices for each other, marriage is the ultimate act of selflessness. It is a vow that you will support that person, both in good times and in bad, for richer or poorer, sickness and in health and through all of the momentary lapses of psychosis in-between.

I recently read a piece on Huffington Post titled, “The Myth of 50-50 Marriage.” It goes on to talk about in order for a marriage or relationship to work, “you can’t spend your time calculating 50 percent in, 50 percent back. …You have to throw away the scorecard and start thinking about what you can do for THEM, not what’s in it for you.”

Here is where I get mushy.

While selflessness is a character trait I try to practice daily, Mike is the quintessential definition of it. He gives me 100% of himself every day and never asks for anything in return.

There are days I forget how incredibly lucky I am to have someone who will clean the apartment on his day off, or will wake up at the crack of dawn to drive me to Philly to spend time with my family. He took on part-time jobs to support me through college and would stay up with me until 2 or 3 in the morning many times as I sluggishly studied for exams and finished papers, even if it meant him being tired at work the next day.

While I was originally going to use this “Wedding Wednesday” post to talk about save the dates and bridesmaids dresses and cute décor – I instead wanted to use it as an opportunity to share how amazing my fiancé is and how lucky I am to get to grow old with him.

He has shown me that “Prince Charming” is real and that love isn’t defined by the grand gestures but the small ones that make each and every day some kind of special.

My endless thanks to you for this, Mike.

adventure is out there!

If your day is looking anything like mine, then your nose has been glued to your computer screen, fingers typing furiously as you push your way through the 3 o’clock mental fog.

Which is why I don’t have the energy or mental brain power to dedicate to dig up some inspiration for a thoughtful post.

Instead – I thought I’d share something cute and fun as a mid-day pick-me-up.

For those who don’t already know, Mike and I are getting married next year on September 20, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. I’m beyond excited to marry my best friend and partner of nearly seven years and can’t wait to share our special day with our closest friends and family members.

Before Mike and I got engaged this past Christmas, we joked around about what our perfect wedding would be. As an untraditional, quirky couple, we knew that a traditional ballroom wedding full of cake cutting and boring readings wasn’t meant for us. So we started thinking about our favorite love stories of all time. After sorting through the typical picks like The Notebook or Casablanca, we came to realize none touched our hearts quite the way that Carl and Ellie’s love story did from Pixar’s movie, UP.

Full of laughs, love and adventure, Mike and I realized it was the perfect fit for our wedding. I’m excited to share our own lighthearted and fun-loving story with everyone, using a little bit of Pixar magic and a few balloons to help us along the way.

In case you haven’t seen the movie UP yet, I’d suggest checking out the below clip. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful and poignant scenes in the history of film animation and is certainly my favorite as far as love stories go.

I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday. And remember, “adventure is out there!”