My Wedding Planning Visit Home: Part 1

On July 31, 2013 Erik and I packed up the Green Hornet (aka my car, a 2012 lime green Ford Fiesta. The name is thanks to my dad…I have yet to come up with a better one) and hit the road to head back to Illinois for a long weekend.  Once we returned from this trip I would be officially losing Erik to the world of MBA (his orientation started that coming Monday) so this was the last real chance I had to get him truly involved in the wedding planning process.  The result of this fact was a road trip back home (home for me anyway) for 3 days of appointments, decisions and family time.

Thankfully Erik’s mom, dad, and sister, Kristin (also one of my bridesmaids), were going to be in Oshgosh, WI for an annual trip they take to an airplane festival type event.  This meant that Kristin and his mom were going to be able to drive to Illinois and come spend the weekend doing wedding planning with us, which was such a blessing, as I want them to be as involved with the process as they can be.

Erik and I are getting good at enduring long car rides together.  We spend a lot of the time talking about things, and yes, sometimes we hit metaphorical pot holes (to go right along with the real ones) and end up arguing for a bit, but the nice thing about that is we are both stuck in a car, so we tend to discover a problem, discuss it intensely, and come up with a solution all within the car ride.  If you and your significant other think your relationship could use some work, go on a 800 mile road trip.  It helps.  Maybe it’s because our entire relationship up until the move has been long distance (save maybe a month total of time spent in the same state thanks to various visits) so communicating is something we do well, but every time we hit a disagreement or problem, talking it out works, and even if there isn’t an instant solution, we figure out what conscious efforts each of us need to make to fix it.  Signs I know i’m with the right man 🙂

Anyway, after a 14 hour ride we arrived at my parent’s house around 9:30pm.  Romano’s pizza was there waiting for us (this was also the weekend of “make sure Brianna gets to eat (and Erik’s family gets to experience) all of the Chicago-area food that isn’t anywhere else”).  Romano’s is a place my family has been eating at my entire life, so it was nice to have that to refuel us after a long drive.  The best part about walking into my house was seeing my dogs.  That is the thing I miss the most about being home; I don’t have any furry friends to offer the unconditional love, cuddling, and allergy problems (okay, that one isn’t a loss) that I have been used to my entire life.   After a little bit of visiting with my family, we headed over to my grandfather’s house where we were staying.  He and Marilyn (his girlfriend)) live there now (for a time he lived at her place and I stayed there, until the epic flood that happened early spring), and were awesome enough to let us stay in the apartment upstairs while we were in town so I could avoid the allergy doom that would have come with sleeping at my parents house.  After visiting with Pops and Marilyn for a bit, we went to bed, having no problems passing out with a day full of driving and knowing the wedding planning chaos that was ahead.


Thursday started easy, with being able to sleep in a bit.  Erik decided he and I should go out for breakfast, so we asked Grandpa and Marilyn to come along, and they did.  I’ve always loved watching Erik and my grandfather getting along as well as they have the few times they’ve seen each other.  We took the opportunity to sit and talk about life in North Carolina, church hunting, etc, because that was the only chance we’d have to really sit and talk to them without the rest of the family around.   Fueled my hearty grained pancakes, fruit, Egg Beaters and turkey bacon, we were ready to embark on our wedding planning mission of the day: the florist.

A friend of mine from college, Mike, is in the wedding business in the area and has been amazing with offering me recommendations for where to go for various wedding things (for which I owe him majorly), and the florist was one of the places he hooked us up with.  We went in and talked flowers with Annie, who ended up being very knowledgeable, helpful and straight forward.  Did you know that there are carnations that grow naturally in several magnificent shades of purple??  Yeah, me either.  Well now a few of those will be with me on my wedding day.  We spent about two hours with her discussing arrangements, ideas for the church, and even her nephew, who has Muscular Dystrophy as well.  I love when that sort of thing serves as an instant bonding agent between myself and people I’ve just met.  It’s sort of like finding another Alpha Chi Omega; you might have just met, but you’re now bonded in a way you weren’t before.

After spending time at the flower shop we went to church to meet with Pam, a woman from my church who has known me pretty much my entire life (as far as I can remember it’s my whole life) and is doing all of our invitations and other paper needs. We walked into a bit a of a welcome party with the group of people that happened to be in the building at that time, which was wonderful.  I feel so at home there, and have missed my church greatly since being away.  After some socializing we got down to business and spent some time discussing our invites, arguing over the RSVP cards (there were 6 people in attendance, all of which voiced got intense at times), but finished with a good idea of what direction to go.  Ever since Pam and i have been shooting emails and PDF files back and forth, trying to find what’s just right. Today (8/24) is when I finally sent the “perfect! let’s do this!” email.

The only other thing on the agenda for Thursday was dinner with my Aunt Norene.  We went to Lonestar Steakhouse (just the 3 of us) and had good food and good conversation.  She also showed us our engagement present.  She was awesome enough to get us our crystal toasting flutes for the big day.  They’re beautiful.

After dinner we got a call that Pam was at my parent’s house with revisions in hand already, so we hiked it back over there for a bit before heading back to grandpa’s for the evening.  One busy day down and two more to go.


Say tuned for part 2, complete with photos.  When Erik’s mom shows up you know there will be plenty of photos.  🙂

Doing Nothing

When we think about doing nothing two scenarios come to mind:

1. I’m going to spend Friday night doing nothing, meaning you’ll still do things like be lazy watching TV, maybe have a deliciously guilt filled dessert and basically just enjoy yourself rather than get work done.

2. You consciously do nothing about a situation and just let it be.

Today I want to talk a bout about our second choice.  As you may or may not know, I am a huge Jillian Michaels fan.  She’s one tough trainer with a good heart, and while she is all about the body, losing weight, being healthy and getting fit, she talks a lot about the psychology behind everything.  Every Monday she has a podcast, and the first segment is usually just her talking about whatever has been on her mind and they tend to be my favorite segments of the podcast.  A month or so ago I went to launch the new podcast and saw it was entitled “doing nothing.”  I figured she would be talking about how even she takes a lazy day or tips on being productive while feeling like you’re doing nothing, but no.  It was something much different and much more inspirational.

So with that said, I ask you this question:


What happens when you do nothing?


Now, you’re probably thinking “Come on Brianna, nothing happens when you do nothing!”  Right?  Wrong!!

Scenario 1: You’re over weight.  You’re not comfortable in your own skin, your self confidence is low, and you’ve packed on enough extra pounds for your doctor to regularly tell you it’s effecting your health.

Scenario 2: The really cute guy you see in the coffee house every day or class every week totally has caught your eye.  You two could very well be perfect for each other…if only he knew your name.

Scenario 3: You diagnosed with cancer.  Luckily you caught it early enough where it is treatable.

Scenario 4: Your significant other is starting to feel less in love with you.  Maybe there’s less passion and lovemaking, maybe there’s more tension and anger.  You know that a few minor changes in your habits could really help.

Scenario 5: Currently you’re employed, but not very happy going to work every day.  You know the type of job you’d like to be doing, but it’s just so much effort to change things at this point.


Look at the scenarios.  Again I ask, what will happen if you do nothing?  *lightbulb goes on*

Doing nothing definitely does not mean that things will stay the same, but instead it typically means things will get worse!  If you’re a #1 and do nothing about your weight you will keep living the lifestyle that got you there to begin with.  The results could very well be deadly.  Poor lab results, larger waistlines, and your health declining at a rapid rate.  In #2 and #5 if you do nothing you could very well end up spending the rest of your life regretting the fact you never took a chance.  Living in a world of “what if” is miserable.  Wouldn’t you rather have talked to the guy and been rejected?  Would that kill you?  What would you really have to lose if you did the work to try and get in the career path you actually wanted?  Be careful…you might end up happy.

While #3 is obvious it just further emphasizes the point.  If the cancer is treatable and you decide to not do anything about it, odds are it will kill you.  If you aren’t willing to do anything at home in #4, things won’t stay the same, but over time they will get worse, you both will be miserable and a split will inevitably happen.


Do any of these situations sound good to you?  These are all the results  of doing nothing.  Sure, doing nothing is easy; no extra effort on your part, but think about the results that will come from it.  Now that you’ve thought about it…is it worth it? The answer is almost always going to be NO.

Jillian Michaels’ words are wise and while I just touched on her 15 minute segment going on about this, I hope I got the point across.  Doing nothing will never result in things staying the same.  One for the road:

Scenario #6: paying your bills…what happens when you do nothing then..?

On this Saturday morning I hope you set yourself up to do something.  Make a change, take a risk, and be happy.

Book Review: The Weekend Makeover

I am a huge reader of all sorts of self-help, motivational, inspirational, etc books.  I don’t know what it is about them, but books that give me a little extra kick in the butt or boost of motivation about anything (health and fitness, organizing my life, improve your life, spiritual books helping me keep God first) seem to be something I always choose to read over the latest top fiction novel.  Occasionally I peruse websites like bookbub or find the deals on Amazon to see whats free or ridiculously low priced on special for me to pick up, and this book happened to be one of those random freebie (or dollar or two, can’t remember which) finds that actually turned out to be an inspiring read.

The Weekend Makeover (by Jill Martin and Dana Ravich) is a little book with a cute concept: “get a brand new life by Monday morning.”  The basic concept is that ladies free up their weekends to take time sitting down and focusing on various things they want to improve on their life, and if you take one weekend to really buckle down and get things moving, it is the start to making that area of your life what you want it to be.  Then on Monday, you are ready to make that subject you were working on into more of a habit incorporated regularly into your life.  I really liked this idea, and there is guaranteed to be at least one chapter (or 5..) that could apply to anyone, because if we’re honest with ourselves our lives are definitely not perfect, and we could use a little “home improvement” now and again.  As you read they say you can do these makeovers in order, or pick and choose the things that work best for you.  While I don’t have the time or the money to get fully into the shopping parts of the makeovers, I have already started implementing bits and pieces of several of the makeovers into my life.  As I mentioned, I read these types of books for extra boosts of motivation, and that is exactly what this book offered me while it accompanied me on my elliptical workouts over the last 2 weeks.  Lets take a little look at what makeovers a weekend really has to offer

Diet Makeover- One of the things most readers can agree they need to change is their diet.  The weekend planned is a combination of a total kitchen clean out, shopping for better-for-you foods, then of course a bit of research on how to make them.  The rest of the book they encourage you to “have a healthy dinner” time and time again, which is always a good remind you.  It’s encouraged to cook more than ordering out (as always), but it’s understood life gets in the way too.  As so many of us always need, it’s a great encouragement to keep the kitchen full of healthy foods and good choices.

Workout Makeover- Just like the whole diet thing, we all could use a good workout reminder too.  It suggests top 10 lists for activities for getting you toned and lean, some workout trends, things to consider when choosing new fitness plans (gym membership fees, do you need lessons/equipment,etc), and of course a commitment to workout 3 times a week.  In the grand scheme of things, 3 out of 7 days is not so bad, my friends.  We call can commit to that.  THe weekend breakdown starts with brainstorming ideas, then Saturday and Sunday get you new gym clothes and equipment, signing up for classes and getting your butt moving.

Beauty Makeover- As a beauty addict, this is always a good one.  Start by purging your makeup and skincare collection of all old, expired, and rarely used product.  This can be a painful process, but for the sake of sanity and clutter, it’s a must.  There’s a list of your products shelf lives right in the book.  Then you get sent out to get new stuff if you feel you’re lacking the basics.  It’s a girly weekend full of makeup, skincare, and literally makeovers that get you ready to have a healthy habit of a good skin care routine, knowing how to make yourself look your best, and of course feel your best.

Activity Makeover- Finding yourself wasting your free time on Netflix and iphone games?  The activity makeover is here to help. This chapter gets you to seriously think about new hobbies (or old ones that have died away) that you’ve always wanted to pursue but always found an excuse not to.  Not anymore!  This chapter was an amazing reminder that there are much better ways to spend your time that you seem to waste doing meaningless things.  Read this chapter and get inspired.

Brain Makeover- This was just as meaningful to me as the activity chapter.  I like to think I’m a pretty smart girl, but I know my current line of work doesn’t exactly challenge my brain quite like the advanced math courses I’d taken since the 5th grade did.  This chapter encourages you to spend your weekend much like the activity makeover but focused on your brain.  Suggestions as simple as reading regularly and doing crosswords and sudoku puzzles to as intense as taking business courses (or literature or whatever might float your boat) are all part of this weekend makeover.  I know this one hit home to me, and I’m sure many of you could be encouraged to get those brain juices flowing again as well.

Vacation Makeover- I’ll be honest, I sort of skimmed this chapter knowing that I definitely can not afford anything that this vacation chapter was sure to offer.  Bottom line: if you haven’t gone on vacation, or vacations are not treating you as vacations should, it’s time for some planning and a vacation makeover!  Bon voyage!

Closet Makeover- How many of us look in our closets and see any of the following: clothes that are too big, too small, have a grease mark or a hole somewhere, clothes you never wear, clothes with the tags still on them?..the list goes on. This chapter helps you make over your closet.  Empty, purge, reorganize, and promise to make a habit of keeping it that way.  You’re a weekend away from closet Heaven.

Clutter Makeover- Read the title of the chapter..we ALL need this.  This chapter has you going through everything from the simple recycling of all of your old magazines and catalogs to sitting down with your jam packed file folder or cabinet and tearing it apart.  Depending on your living situation this could be one of the most difficult (and also most rewarding) chapters in the book.  We all need a bit of a boost here.

Relaxation Makeover- This chapter is a weekend to focus on you in a way you might not have in a long time: Spa weekend.  Get rid of your significant other for as much of the weekend as possible (send the kids to grandma’s too) and focus on you. The chapter talks about setting a spa-like atmosphere and has major emphasis on the need to get disconnected from your electronics, and honestly, I think we all need a bit of that.  So give this chapter a read and give yourself the relaxation you deserve.

Relationship Makeover- Get rid of the kids again because this weekend is all about you and your significant other.  Get ready to spend some time together and rekindle the romance that might have gotten lost in the shuffle of life, children, work and being together for years.  This chapter is just a good reminder to keep the romance alive with your most important person.

Friendship Makeover- Thanks to the world of Facebook we have easy methods of keeping in contact with people, but our social lives also take a hit because of that.  When life gets in the way it’s easy to hide behind the world of Facebook and feel that reading status updates is keeping up to date (this is actually me talking, not the book).  This chapter encourages you to rekindle your social life.  Call, email, or even text your friends you’ve been out of touch with, and then make plans to get together with some of them.  I know how great it feels to get the girls from college back together for a night of dinner and conversation.  We all should do things like that more often, and this makeover reminds you to do just that.

Tradition Makeover- This one was interesting.  You know how your family or friends have these traditions that are..well..tradition?  Some you might be on board for 100% and others you might be thinking “why do we do this..?”  It’s time to makeover YOUR traditions.  Start new ones, kill the old ones (if they’re not what you’re into) and start  traditions that excite you.

That’s the book in a nutshell.  It really is a great read that gives an extra burst of fire to motivate you to do something you’ve been “meaning to get around to.”  This book really does excuse-proof things.  Find a weekend you’re free, pick the chapter that you feel you need the most (or do them all), and start making yourself a better you by Monday 🙂