Some friends and family whom I only see a few times a year frequently apologize when they give me my birthday present in, oh say, September (my birthday is in February). There is no need for this - it's fun to receive late presents! I'm not expecting it then.
Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream
This was an interesting product for me to review because I never use shave cream. Ever. It is too awkward and messy and I'm usually in too big of a hurry. The last time I used shave cream was when I started shaving at about 11. Nineteen years later...
The first thing that really struck me was how thick the foam was. It was really thick, like the shaving cream B uses on his face. I liked that because it didn't run down my leg the minute two drops of water splashed on it. It stayed on nicely while I was shaving. I also really liked the light, not-too-strong raspberry scent - very fresh and clean without being sickening.
As for the shave itself, it did about the same job as I usually do without shaving cream (ie, not a closer or smoother shave), but it was very soothing and I didn't have any nicks or scratches, which are common when you're as accident prone as me.
The verdict: This will never be an every day product for me simply because of the extra time involved (I'm not what you'd call a morning person), but I definitely like it and would keep it around for weekend dates or special events...like a wedding. If you don't have a shave cream you love, definitely give this one a try.
EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge
I was a little scared by this when I first got it out of my VowVoxBox because it was very, very hard. I couldn't imagine possibly this to wash my face...or any part of my body except maybe my heels. However, I was pleased to learn it softened immensely upon getting it wet. This sponge is handmade with Konjac vegetable fibers and is supposed to provide a deeper clean.
I used it as part of my regular shower routine with my Vasanti Detox face cleanser. I really enjoyed the texture of it - it's a great uber-gentle exfoliation without drying out my sensitive skin. It felt like it cleansed my face better than just using my fingers, which is always a good thing. Who wants to be dirty?
The verdict: This one is a keeper. It's super-easy to use and I like the slight, natural exfoliation it gave to my skin. Win.
Tide to Go pen
What can I say about this that hasn't already been said? It is the klutzy girl's best friend, and heaven knows I'm the queen of the klutzy girls. If there is something to spill, dribble, drop, or dump on myself, rest assured I'll do it. Wearing a white dress to dinner is just asking for a lap full of spaghetti sauce; wearing a cream-colored skirt to work virtually assures a coffee stain. You get the idea.
These pens are great because they give you on-the-spot treatment for your mishaps. It would just be too easy to spill on yourself at home, where there's detergent and a washing machine. No, when I spill it's usually out somewhere. I love knowing I have this handy to keep from permanently staining my clothes. I also love how it's a very gentle formula - it has not once harmed any of my clothes by using it, and that's really important to me.
The verdict: Seeing as how I already had one of these floating around my purse and another in the bathroom cabinet at home before I even received my VowVoxBox, I definitely keep these on hand and will continue to do so. Thanks for the extra! Now, if only Tide could create a product to keep this klutzy girl from tripping over her own feet, running into walls, and falling off her bike...
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure
The first thing I noticed about this nail polish was not its claims for a complete salon manicure, but instead its color. They called it "Barracuda." I call it "Carolina Blue," the color of my alma mater and also the color my bridesmaids wore in my wedding. I'm sure the color they sent was randomly picked, but really, it felt heaven-sent from the beginning. Influenster and Sally Hansen picked the right Tar Heel.
Unfortunately, that's where the love affair ended. Maybe it's because this is a matte color (versus something sparkly), but it looked very streaky. I had a hard time making the coverage look full and even. I thought the tapered brush shape might help in smoothing the color evenly, but it didn't seem to be any different than my regular nail polishes. A second coat helped a little, but not a ton. Also, after two days of wearing it on my toes, it's already started to chip, and in my experience polish on toes lasts longer. This nail polish what I was most excited about when I received my VowVoxBox, but it turned out to be the product I was most disappointed in. Ah, such is life.
The verdict: A nice try, but formula-wise I think I'll be sticking with my Julep and Essie polishes. As for the color, go Heels!
Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream
My initial reaction to this is, "I love the scent!" It reminds me of something - maybe my mother? My grandmother(s)? I can't pinpoint it exactly, but I like it. You wouldn't think that's such a big deal, but frankly, if I'm going to be putting something on my face it better be something that smells good.
I've been using it for nearly a week, and I can't really tell any difference in the luminosity of my face. However, I can't really tell a difference using most products - so long as I cleanse and moisturize my face daily, it tends to look the same (hormonal flare-ups aside). I can't imagine there is ANY cream out there that would deliver a truly flawless complexion or show drastic results. Pretty sure that's what Photoshop is for.
The verdict: I like it and I'll continue to use this sample jar, but I don't know if I would go out of my way to purchase this on its own.
Riley and Gray
This was the hardest to review, because I just don't need a wedding website right now (or ever again, God willing). I was also immediately predisposed to dislike this because it costs money. Call me a practical wedding planner - there are plenty of things I was willing to spend money on for our wedding, but a wedding website wasn't one of them. Riley and Gray costs $35 for a monthly payment or $240 for a year - given my eight-month engagement, I would've spent $280. If my brother and his fiancee had used this from the beginning of their engagement, in December of 2011 (they're getting married in October), they would have spent a whopping $720 - for a wedding website. That is good money that could be spent on a beautiful dress...or booze! Keep it in perspective, people.
However, I will say that one of the nice features is that it has mobile and tablet versions, which is good for brides on the go. The layouts and graphic designs are pretty, and my graphic designer bestie would certainly bless them, but I don't think they're worth the cost. I also am not a fan of the website RSVP feature. Call me old-fashioned, but I like my card stock invitations and reply cards sent through the good ol' USPS. These websites are pretty if you just have a ton of money you're dying to waste on your wedding, but for the average, cost-conscious bride, this seems overkill.
The verdict: Maybe it's just because I don't actually need a wedding website anymore, or maybe it's because I'm a strict budgeter, but I wasn't thrilled by this. My www.mywedding.com site was just fine for our purposes.
I really thought I had this in the bag. I was one of the last of my close friends to get married, and I'd been in their weddings, for better or for worse. I'd seen an awful lot, and was rewarded with a heaping helpful of knowledge from my sweet, sweet friends. They were there to answer any questions I had. Further, I had been planning my wedding in my head since I was about, oh, 16. I had some pretty good ideas of things I wanted (and didn't want). And I am crazy, crazy organized and OCD. Still, there were things that surprised me...
Meetings with vendors are wildly inconvenient
Let me start by saying that I worked with THE best vendors and they have been so helpful and fantastic. I'm not knocking any of them in any way, shape or form, and I would hire them all again in a heartbeat. But here's the thing: just because they will be working on a night and a weekend (presumably) on the actual day of your wedding doesn't mean they want to work on nights and weekends leading up to it. They want their get-to-know-you meetings to be during the regular workday. Unfortunately, my boss also kind of likes it when I'm, you know, at my place of employment during the workday.
This was my biggest frustration in wedding planning - trying to get off work to go to vendor meetings. The reception site's ONLY times for food tastings were 2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Period. That wasn't convenient for me, that wasn't convenient for B, and that REALLY wasn't convenient for my parents who had to drive 3 hours to participate in this event. Thankfully, we did it on the Thursday before my birthday so they could combine it into a long weekend/birthday visit. I ordered my save-the-dates, invitations, and menu cards from Wedding Paper Divas solely because I could peruse, design, order and preview them online and do it on my time, meaning one less harried lunch-hour meeting during the week. Unless you work from home or have a REALLY flexible schedule, be prepared to have a little heart-to-heart with your office manager about your comings and goings.
Pinterest actually doesn't help
That's the best way to explain it. It's just too easy to get three billion suggestions, and deciding between them is IMPOSSIBLE. There were like 400,000 different routes I could have taken with flowers - white, pink, blue, yellow...we're talking a freaking rainbow here. How can you choose? How can you know which really will look best?
By going to one of those aforementioned inconvenient vendor meetings, of course. My florist pulled out a scrapbook of weddings they'd done, and one of them matched my vision PERFECTLY. I fell in love. They tweaked it just a tiny bit to suit my tastes, but I absolutely LOVED my flowers (pictured above)...and Pinterest had nothing to do with it. Trust your vendors. They've done this many times (tip: hire experienced vendors), and they should be able to help you pinpoint your style. If you have your heart set on this ONE THING you saw on Pinterest, you could miss something even more amazing.
The one thing, however, that Pinterest DID help with was hairstyles. I pinned several similar ones I liked, and my hair and makeup artist was able to create a similar style that I LOVED. She did say that they can't re-create any one style EXACTLY, but having ALL those pictures pinned in one place was able to give her an idea of what I liked. So Pinterest has its uses...just don't let it overwhelm you or dictate your every move.
Do NOT DIY
I consider myself a fairly crafty person. I crochet all the time, and I like to make things. However, no matter how crafty you are, your wedding really isn't the place to do it. The ONLY things I "made" were the wine corks and the place cards inside them (see above), and after a weekend spent watching March Madness and playing with an Xacto knife, I was even re-thinking that.
A lot of people go the DIY route to save money, and I'm not knocking that. You gotta do what you gotta do. But unless you (or your MOH, your 'maids, or your mother) are SUPER-experienced in doing certain things, just don't. I had one of my bridesmaids, who is a graphic designer by trade, design my wedding programs. It's entirely possible I could have done it myself, but the time and mental capacity involved would've made me miserable, and it would've looked nowhere as amazing as her work.
If (for cost reasons), you absolutely MUST do something yourself, make it something that can be done well in advance of the wedding. See if you can find a talented friend/neighbor/coworker who would offer their services in lieu of a wedding gift. Fork out the money for the stuff that HAS to be done the day-of (flower arranging, catering, etc) so you and your family can relax and enjoy your wedding, because that is the main goal.
I frequently refer to Gilmore Girls as the oracle for life (how could I not? I AM Rory). So it really befuddles me that I did not listen to a direct quote from Luke regarding weddings: "There's nothing like a wedding to screw up a family." I will not go into details or name parties involved, but trust me, this happened. The good news, ironically, is that for us it happened on both sides of our families, and at right about the same time. There was only so long the wedding planning perfection could hold out before something had to give, and oh, it gave.
If you have an uncle that likes to grope young women, or an aunt that cannot stay out of the liquor bottle, or a bitter sibling who's always tried to one-up you, they will not change just because it's the most important day of your life (not theirs). If they'll bring the behavior to your family Christmas get-together, they'll bring it to your wedding (and/or to the planning). Do not take this personally. Have a glass of wine with your husband-to-be and laugh about them, instead.
Planning is most fun with your spouse-to-be
Maybe it's because my mother and all my best friends live at least three hours away, but the most enjoyable aspects of wedding planning were the ones that I did WITH B. A lot of the stuff he was perfectly content to let me handle. Flowers? He wanted no part of that. But he came with me to all three cake tastings, and we enjoyed ourselves SO much talking about what we liked, didn't like, envisioned, etc. We laughed about the crazy vendors and were in complete agreement about the ones we liked. We debated ideas and suggestions. It was so much nicer to plan our wedding together since it was OUR wedding, not MINE.
Just something to keep in mind there, budding bridezillas. It IS your husband's day, too. You may be the one in the big white dress that everyone is looking at, but the day is about the both of you, not just you. So involve your hubby-to-be in the planning.
"The Big Day" will not be perfect
Everything went perfectly right up until the day before the wedding. Then the fun began.
We went to the rehearsal, where everyone in the family and wedding party was blown away by the insane amount of rules and, oh hell, the insane rules themselves, imposed by my church. That is a whole different story that could fill an entire blog post itself and/or an open mic comedy night, but anyway. We survive that, and get in the car to head to the rehearsal dinner.
That's when I get a text from my mother saying my brother has food poisoning with a fever of 102.9, and they've stopped at an urgent care place. Um, yeahhhh. Between worrying about my brother and being sad my parents were missing our rehearsal dinner, it was a long night. But they were finally able to show up for the slideshow and the toasts, and all was well.
The day of the wedding did go relatively smoothly, albeit with some fun NEW rules from the church (such as, my still-weak brother can't bring a water bottle into the church). My brother escorted my mom down the aisle and then sat with her instead of standing up front as a groomsman, as originally planned.
But you know what? It was a perfect day, at least to us. We had a beautiful first look, a...well, a ceremony (those involved know why I'm refraining from adjectives here), and a FANTASTIC, fun, amazing reception celebration with our friends and family. And at the end of the day, we were husband and wife. It may not be textbook-perfect, but it's YOUR wedding day, so I promise, it will be perfect to you. :)
Ten years ago I was sitting in Carroll Hall wrapping up a semester of my first journalism class: JOMC 53 with Professor Roush. I learned a lot in his class, but one thing in particular stuck with me because I had absolutely never thought about it before in my life.
Apparently, at major newspapers across the country, there are already obituaries for people such as former presidents, etc, who aren't even dead yet. Creepier still, these people KNOW the obituaries are already written, and in many cases they contributed to them. So when I was in Rome in June of 2004, when President Reagan died, all the New York Times and Washington Post had to do was pull out and publish the obit - complete with quotes from Reagan himself. Bizarre.
But in a similar vein, I wrote this post long before today. What with my penchant for editing, and re-editing, and re-writing, and changing every little last word, there was absolutely no way in hell I'd be able to sit down and write this post today. If you're reading this, you're lucky I had the chance to hit "Publish."
Today is my wedding day. I'm marrying my best friend and the love of my life, the father of my future children and the grumpy old man I want by my side when I'm 90. You know how anything you eat is basically better with salt on it? That's how life is with B. Anything I do is better if it involves him. I love my friends. I love my family. But B is the person I've chosen to spend the rest of my life with, and that makes him different than every other single person on the planet.
I could wax poetic about B, and us, but you won't understand. No one but I could. So I'll leave you with this instead.
Much like the weird obituary thing, this has stuck with me since I heard it four years ago at my best friend's wedding. After we got lined up all neatly at the rehearsal, the priest told my friend and her husband something. It went something like this: "The wedding, it isn't just for you. It's for everyone watching you. For those who have been married a while, it reminds them of their wedding day and why they got married. For those who are not yet married, it gives them hope. Your wedding will influence everyone in some way."
At the time, I was one of the single people without a shred of hope. I was pretty much resigned to dying alone as an old lady, living in my brother's attic with a bunch of cats (which is especially unfortunate, as I HATE cats). But as I watched my best friend say "I do," I felt, just for a moment that it might eventually happen for me. And today, it will.
So when we stand up in front of family and friends today, it's not just about us. It's about every single person in Christ Church today who has loved us and supported us and helped us grow until we were ready to find each other. I hope each of you will be able to take something away from our wedding today, whether it be remembrance or hope. Thank you all for touching our lives. Special thanks to Mom and Dad for letting me share their anniversary.
And thank you, B, for choosing me. I can't wait to be your wife.
To be fair, the whole "bride" thing has kind of eclipsed the "30" thing. It definitely requires a lot more prep work. To turn 30, basically all I had to do was wake up this morning (or rather, wait until 8:45 tonight, which is when I was born).
30 By the Numbers
30 different beers I tried during the month of January 2014.
29: pairs of shoes I currently own (okay, more like 59, but I'm not that old yet)
28: pounds Luna thinks she weighs. Also, the number of times she licks me per minute (roughly).
27: the age at which my first book was published
26: the average dollar amount I spend per visit to Trader Joe's (YUM!)
25: minutes I can ride in a car before I fall asleep
24: the age at which I bought my own condo (which will be mine and B's first family home!)
23: the age at which I helped throw my mom an awesome surprise 50th birthday party
22 years (almost 23) I got to spend with my Mimi
21: the age at which I absolutely kicked ass in Media Law (an A-minus!)
20 miles round-trip to TR and back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail - my favorite exercise.
19 dollars for my favorite wine, La Crema Pinot Noir, at Costco
18: the age in which I met my two best friends, college roommates & Phi Beta Chi sisters
17 NEW books I read in 2013 (not re-reads)
16 times I've watched Love Actually, my second-favorite movie (first is Casablanca)
15 awesome in-laws I've gotten to know
14 days we fostered Luna in January 2013
13 (or '13): the year I said "YES!" to the man of my dreams
12 baby blankets I've crocheted for various friends' kids
11 visits to Seabrook Island and/or Charleston, the most beautiful places on earth
10 cups of coffee per week to maintain this sparkling personality you all know and love
9 days spent in France with my B in 2011
8 times I've read the Harry Potter series
7 seasons of Gilmore Girls I've watched with my mom
6 trips to NYC, my favorite city on earth
5 weeks spent studying abroad in Florence, Italy, in 2004
4 unbelievably great years at Chapel Hill
3 wonderful immediate family members
2 times cheering in the Dean Dome for my high school's girls basketball team
1 amazing fiance
It's no secret I'm a HUGE Elizabeth Gilbert fan. She sucked me in with Eat, Pray, Love, mostly because part of it took place in Italy. When I picked up Committed, it was really only because it was written by her, and because it was a continuation of EPL. I didn't really know what to expect, but certainly not this. The first thought I had about this book was, "This should be required reading for any girl getting married."
I've read the book twice - once before I even met B, and once after we had been dating a little more than a year. It rang wildly true for me both times, but in very different ways. I have no doubt that if I read it now, as a woman about five months away from her marriage, it would still be relevant in yet even more different ways.
There is a caveat: I do not necessarily agree with everything in the book. Gilbert is wildly liberal, and I am decidedly not. She is also not particularly Christian, while I am looking at my marriage from a Christian perspective. Some of the portions in the book I take with a grain of salt. However, even with political and religious differences aside, there are some nuggets of wisdom in the book, which I will leave with you now:
"...the emotional place where a marriage begins is not nearly as important as the emotional place where a marriage finds itself toward the end, after many years of partnership."
"Sometimes life is too hard to be alone and sometimes life is too good to be alone."
"Because this is the essential question, isn't it? I mean, once the initial madness of desire has passed and we are faced with each other as dimwitted mortal fools, how is it that any of us find the ability to love and forgive each other at all, much less enduringly?"
"So, no, when I mention 'tolerance,' I'm not talking about learning how to stomach pure awfulness. What I am talking about is how to accommodate your life as generously as possible around a basically decent human being who can sometimes be an unmitigated pain in the ass."
"In the end, it seems to me that forgiveness may be the only realistic antidote we are offered in love, to combat the inescapable disappointments of intimacy. We humans come into this world...feeling as though we have been sawed in half, desperate to find somebody who will recognize us and repair us. (Or re-pair us.) Desire is the severed umbilicus that is always with us, always bleeding and wanting and longing for flawless union. Forgiveness is the nurse who knows that such immaculate mergers are impossible, but that maybe we can live on together anyhow if we are polite and kind and careful not to spill too much blood."
"...'marriage is what happens between the memorable.'...Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody--so utterly well-known and so thoroughly ever-present that you become an almost invisible necessity, like air?"
Intrigued yet? If you're in the market for a to-read over the Christmas break, I highly suggest you hightail it to the library and pick this bad boy up. It's a funny read with lots of wisdom. You're welcome.
Anybody who's ever used a camera knows you have to take a LOT of pictures to get those few precious shots. My brother and his fiancee's engagement session was no different. They are SUPER photogenic, but every now and then someone blinks. Or the wind blows a stray hair in someone's face. Or the photographer neglected to focus the lens juuuuuust right (guilty). You get the idea.
Yesterday I had both the pleasure and privilege of taking engagement photos of my little brother and his fiancee. They're getting married at the Biltmore Inn in 363 days, so where else would we take engagement pictures? It wasn't as cool as any of us would have liked, nor were the leaves as colorful, but we made the best of the day.
Innumerable laughs, several tastings of wine, and 471 pictures later, we called it a day. Since yesterday was my sweet fiance's birthday, we went to the Cantina in Asheville to celebrate and get a little sustenance. After that, we checked out Barley's for some pumpkin beer and more good times.
It went by so quickly, which makes me sad, but we've got a lot of great images to remember it by. This is just a small sampling of the pics. I know I'm biased, but aren't they adorable?
I've said this before, and I'll say it again - there is a reason you're supposed to get married at, say, 22, instead of almost-30. Or even, in B's case, almost-28. This requires an insane amount of energy. We are slumped on the sofa, with our sweet Luna passed on the floor in front of us.
The reason for all this exhaustion? We had engagement pictures taken tonight! But let's back up to the successes.
Number one - I got my hair done at Bubbly Blow Dry Bar before the shoot. And. It. Rocked. She did such a super job. Plus, it was fun. I got a glass of champagne and I got to watch Sweet Home Alabama while she did my hair, which, let's face it, is a lot more fun than being at work at 3:30 on a Tuesday. The only thing I will say is, my hair did not quite stand up to the amount of humidity and sweat that came of our engagement shoot (wearing jeans? In September? In South Carolina?! Clearly I didn't think that one through). It went flat pretty quickly. However, if you are going to be staying in the AC, or if you're getting your hair done in the winter, you will be just fine. Go check them out. I would definitely go back.
Success #2 - the chalkboard sign! My $14 Wal-Mart DIY chalkboard sign ROCKED. A cheap frame, a little chalkboard spray paint, a little ribbon and hot glue, and it didn't break. The ribbon stayed on, the glass didn't shatter...and THE DOG ACTUALLY WORE IT. I know, I know - I figured that would be the biggest challenge, too. Nope. Once more, Luna proves she will do just about anything for a treat. Furry girl has no standards where food is concerned. Here's a sneak pic of the sign....
Success #3 (I hope) is our engagement pictures! I tend to not photograph well, so I'm still holding my breath on how I will actually look, but the pictures themselves (and B!) are sure to be AMAZING. Beyond amazing. If you're in SC (or even if you're not) and need a photographer, puh-lease check out Raycroft Art. Amy and David were SO much fun to work with, and made us so comfortable during our shoot (so did the margarita B smuggled me in a water bottle...I have the best fiance ever). It was just an awesome, awesome experience.
I am dyinggggggg to see the finished product(s). I'm usually the one behind the camera, so we have very few decent pictures (ie, not taken with someone's iPhone) of the two of us. I cannot wait to see what kind of super photography magic they have worked. Seriously, patience is not my virtue anyway, and I know these pictures are going to be beautiful. And don't get me started on how my mama is already asking me when she can see them.
Until now, this whole engagement thing has seemed a little surreal. Even after being engaged for a whole month (today!). It's just bizarre. B is my best friend. Of course we're getting married. Why wouldn't we? What other natural course IS there? But today - well, this really made it seem real. Y'all, we are getting married! We are really, really, really getting married. I can't WAIT until April 26th...
Here we are at dinner at Nose Dive (with James and Luna) after our engagement shoot. I love this man :)
I actually made a craft that...worked. Okay, fine, even I'M surprised. But this actually turned out well (for a change...my Pinterest crafts don't always go so hot). What was it? Why, it was a homemade chalkboard frame for our engagement pictures tomorrow!
And how did I do this? I bought a cheap picture frame at Wal-Mart. It's one of those with the really thin frames (think 1 millimeter) that looks like there IS no frame, and the glass pops in the front. I popped the glass out and gave it a couple of coats with spray paint chalkboard paint. I hot-glued a piece of ribbon so that the "chalkboard" would hand, and put two bows where the ribbon met the chalkboard (I really, really hope it doesn't look too much like an "It's a Boy" chalkboard or something...). I bought chalk and...voila! It was remarkably easy, and I think I made B pretty nervous when I said, "Let's see what else I can chalkboard-paint!"
And what does it look like? Well, you'll just have to stay tuned until after our pictures are taken, won't you?
That's what registering for your wedding is like, you know. You make this big long list of things you want and then presumably, on a certain date, you get the things you asked for. Although I don't think a big fat guy in a red suit is going to be bringing them to us. I hope not, anyway.
I guess it goes without saying that we registered this afternoon. And let me just say this: whenever you go to register, wear comfy shoes. Bed Bath and Beyond is a BIG place. It took us two and a half hours. Luckily, it was a lot of fun.
Clearly I was very excited.
While registering, I noticed a trend that keeps occurring in the wedding planning, much like in life: I had this vision in my head of how things wanted to go. And when it comes down to making choices, I keep choosing exactly the opposite of what I thought I wanted (like my wedding dress...and venue...and on and on). I had my heart set on Kate Spade "Chapel Hill" patterned china (for obvious reasons). But when I saw it in person, I just didn't like it. So we chose something different, and I love it. Even better, we chose it together. We chose EVERYTHING today together, and that's what made it special.
Because after registering, after having dinner at Korean BBQ, after taking Luna on a walk and checking the mailbox, we found this envelope. That right there - that's why I -- no, WE -- chose what we did, why we walked around a store with a scanner gun for two and a half hours. Because this is US. This is our new life together. While we know we are on the same page about life's big things (finances, kids, politics, etc), this was the first time we had really stopped to think about little things such as, "What color are we going to paint the bedroom when we get a house?" "What kind of drinking glasses do we need?" and "Do we REALLY need a gravy boat?" (the answer, apparently, is yes).
You might ask, "Who CARES about a gravy boat?" You might ask, "Why do these things even matter?"
Because I am The Future Mrs. Brian Stevenson - that's why. We're planning a life together and we're gonna do it in style.