Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Name Change Revisited

Well, it's been over a month since our wedding. And while I talked about my name change decision earlier, I haven't yet done anything to start the process. I haven't ordered the certified copies of our marriage license. Which means that I also haven't been able to do anything else. I haven't even changed my name on Facebook! (Though I did think that Gmail had changed my name...)


Image via Jump the Curve


Why haven't I started this process yet? Honestly, I have no idea. I'm still planning on changing my name. All of my reasons for doing it are still there. But I think the fact that we're now after the wedding and it's time to actually change my name means that it's very real all of a sudden (is that weird? I feel like that sounds weird. But that's how I'm feeling). I also know several friends who have started the process, but then lost steam. So some of their documents and records are in their new name and some are in their old name. And I could so easily see that happening to me. If I don't get it done all at once, I know I'll get annoyed with the process and just stop. But on the other hand, there are things that I want (and need) to do with my new name, like open a joint bank account already. It doesn't make sense to open it with my old name when I know I'll be changing it soon. So we're waiting. And I know that it's annoying to Mr. EB (though he's very good about not putting any pressure on me about it). So yes, I know I just need to do it. But as with other wedding projects I took on, this one just seems particularly difficult for me to start.


Change is tough for me, especially when it's an active choice that I have to make like this. Did anyone else struggle with the actual act of changing your name even though you already made the decision?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Registry Surprises (the good kind!)

Way back when before the wedding I talked about our registry. And how we decided to register for some nice china (though not too fancy since I get a heart attack thinking about asking people to buy me expensive plates. Even though I still want the $400 per place setting silver that we didn't register for. Ah, someday!). But we weren't planning on registering for any everyday dishes since we had our white everyday dishes that seemed perfectly usable and we figured we'd just replace them later on.




Well, unbeknownst to me, Mr. EB decided that he really wanted some great looking square plates from Crate and Barrel. Also, I should pause here to note that the reason this was unbeknownst to me was not because Mr. EB failed to mention that he was adding said plates to our registry. No, it was because I have a disease known as "selective hearing" and in the weeks and months preceding the wedding it set in in full force. Sorry Mr. EB.




So it was a little bit of a fun surprise to start seeing all these beautiful dishes rolling in from our UPS guy (who we got to know really well. Thanks UPS guy for not taking Cody's barking personally like the Fed Ex guy did!). And you know what? I'm SO glad that Mr. EB added these! We now have a great looking set of white dishes that are beautiful and chip free! Also, they're really white. As opposed to our old dishes which when held up against the new ones are clearly old. And chipped. And, well, let's just say I'll be perfectly happy to box them up and hand them to my brother when he moves out and needs dishes to eat off of.


Did anyone else's significant other add things to the registry that you weren't necessarily 100% aware of but ended up being awesome additions to your household?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Month!

On Saturday we celebrated our one month-aversary! Now, Mr. EB and I have never really been big on celebrating anniversaries. I think the first one that we really celebrated was our engage-aversary last December (this is what happens when you aren't entirely certain when you started dating so there was no real date to pin it on).


This was actually us a month ago on our mini-moon. We forgot to take a picture on our month-aversary. Whoops.


But we wanted to do something special for one month, because hey, we could! It also marked the end of Mr. EB's finals so we had even more reason to celebrate (plus the second round of March Madness was on and it was like a full on party over here!). We don't have a lot of money to spare at the moment, so we decided to make a yummy meal at home together and toast our marriage with some of our wedding wine (that might be my favorite part about having blended our own wine - all the leftover bottles that we have for the future!).


I know that one month is not a long time in the grand scheme of thing, but it was a pretty great month, and here's to many, many more!


Did you do anything special for your month-aversary?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan With Love

If you have anything to give, please do.




Thinking about law school?

It appears college students are finally starting to heed all the reports from the last two years of newly minted lawyers not finding jobs, lawyers being let go and being unable to find work, and lawyers leaving the profession to try to find other jobs that will pay enough in order to repay their law school loans.


The Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece today on how law school admissions were down by 11.5%, which makes this year's total number of applications the lowest since 2001. Becoming an attorney has never guaranteed a good life, but now the path is even more precarious. As the article points out, for some incredibly high level partners who can bill $1,000/hour, they're doing ok. But it took them an incredibly long time to get there. And for all those students who graduate every year who can't find a job? Life's going to be a lot tougher for them. In fact, 


"Even the American Bar Association has seen fit to drive home the risks of law school. "The rising cost of a legal education and the realities of the legal job market mean that going to law school may not pay off," the ABA said in a 2009 report, which noted that the average law student could expect to graduate with more than $100,000 in school debt." Source


As one of those attorneys who's had her ups and downs with the legal job market, I've tried my best to tell prospective law students my honest opinions on the value of law school relative to its cost. I don't regret going to law school in my case (I met my husband there, and I got a great legal education), but I do wish people had been more frank with me before I went. However, in 2005 the economy was still booming, I anticipated getting a great job and I wasn't worried in the least about paying back my loans. 


Oh, how times have changed. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remembering the Memories

I am SO excited to get our pro pictures back soon (just a couple more weeks!!!), but part of me feels like our wedding is wrapped in this shimmery, beautifully delicate bubble of memories that will pop if I poke at it too much or too often. (I don't remember who I stole that line from, but I do recall reading something similar on someone else's blog and that is such an accurate description for how I'm feeling that I had to appropriate it!) 


And so other than writing down memories of the weekend on the first morning of our mini-moon, I've kept myself from looking at the whole thing too closely. Sure I've enjoyed looking at pictures on Facebook. And yes, I LOVED spending the first few days after the wedding reliving every moment with Mr. EB, and talking about what an amazingly fun time we had. Yet even though we've only been married for a month (though seriously? We've been married for nearly a month already??), I can already see how hazy some of the memories have become. 


So the time is coming when I need to start poking the bubble. I want to start organizing my memories of the weekend so that when we get our pictures back I can tell you all about it. And I've finally realized that poking the bubble won't change my feelings about our amazing weekend - it will just serve to help me preserve the memories for longer.


I do have more pre-wedding stories I want to share with y'all before I start my recaps (like how my girls threw me the most amazing bachelorette party ever, plus I still need to share the actual story of how we found our officiant), but before that I wanted to show you one of my favorite guest photos from the wedding. 


It was near the end of the night, my hair was falling out, the band was still rocking and I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, felt so happy, or loved my husband more.


Guest photo - Thanks E!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Directions



I've been thinking a lot lately about this blog and what I've been writing here. For the last year it's been mainly about our wedding. And don't worry, there's a lot more wedding talk still ahead! We're supposed to be getting our pictures back in the next month and I cannot wait to see them! Plus several friends took video and once I get ahold of the footage I want to put together a few videos to capture the feel of our wedding. And there's all the other stories I haven't told yet - my bachelorette party, our mini-moon, what our plans are for a bigger honeymoon at some point... have no fear, we're definitely not done with the wedding talk yet!


But this blog was never supposed to be just a wedding blog. That's why I used a name for this blog that means something to me, rather than focusing on being a bride or planning a wedding. I wanted to use this as a platform for talking about what's going on in my life and bigger issues I'm working through at any given time, rather than a single topic blog with an expiration date. Our wedding was a huge part of my life since we got engaged in December, 2009.


But our wedding is over.


And life goes on.


And a huge question keeps looming over me - what's next?*


I don't know the answer to that question. 


I don't know what comes next in terms of my career. I'm still looking for a job - right now I need a paycheck, but I'm also trying to figure out what my career passion is and how to find it. 


I don't know what comes next for my family. B and I are living happily in the city that we want to raise our kids in someday, but if we aren't having kids for a few years, do we want to move somewhere else if the opportunity arises? Or do we put roots down for good here?


I don't know what comes next for my dreams. I want to spend an extended period traveling the Caribbean on a boat. I want to spend time in Europe with B - showing him my favorite places and finding new favorites together. I want to buy a house. I want to ride horses again. How do I get myself to a place where I can make these happen?


I clearly don't know what comes next for a lot of areas in my life - but I know I need to start being proactive rather than passively waiting for life to give me a sign. I've never really believed in signs but I recently realized that I was waiting for the universe to point me in the right direction.


I'm done with waiting - it's up to me to figure out the direction of my life and where I want it to go. I'm starting this journey doing what I know best - researching. I'm planning on sharing more about what I find out and where my life goes, and if anyone out there is struggling with these same issues I'd love to find out what you're doing about it! Nothing worth doing comes easily, but nothing will happen at all if I don't start now.




*I am a HUGE fan of the West Wing. Every couple of years I get the urge to go back and rewatch the series. During my most recent re-viewing, I realized yet again how much I loved that the President would always ask this question. I might not know the answer, but I'm working on it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Update on OperationLayla!

In 48 hours a group that originally thought it might help Layla by raising a few hundred dollars to offset even part of the cost of surgery reached its original goal of raising $4000!




If I didn't believe in the power of social media beforehand, I totally do now. What an awesome thing to have been a part of.


A bake sale was planned at the beginning of all of this, and that's still happening so that we can help defray the costs of co-pays and other medical costs that are not covered by insurance. Anything raised beyond that amount will go toward tsunami/earthquake relief in Japan. 


I've added the OperationLayla badge to my page that Jacin from Lovely Little Details designed. I'll take down the PayPal button in the next week or so, but if anyone wants more information on the bake sale or Layla's story, please visit the OperationLayla website.


Women on a mission are pretty powerful - these last few days have reminded me just how powerful we really are.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Operation Layla

Hey all - I hope you noticed the new PayPal button over in the right sidebar. It's there as part of a joint effort to help out a friend who really needs it. In her words, here's Layla's story:


Picture used with Layla's permission. Please do not repost without it!


One month after her 30th birthday, Layla was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer (1A Adenocarcinoma). She was extraordinarily lucky that it was caught early, and had a simple surgery to remove the cancerous cells.


Three years later, Layla was in horrible pain that affected nearly every aspect of her life. Temporarily uninsured due to a job change, she paid out of pocket last October to go to the doctor and make sure the cancer had not returned. Thankfully, it had not. However, her doctor believes that she has pelvic adhesions and Endometriosis due to the previous surgery, but it can’t be diagnosed until an additional surgery (laparoscopy) is performed. The doctor also found out Layla has cervical stenosis, which basically means her cervix has completely shut down due to the scar tissue from the previous surgery. These issues make her miserable most of the time, making simple things like going to the bathroom and menstruation horribly painful, and sexual intercourse impossible. He stated that if she wanted to have children one day, even sperm could not pass through her cervix, and she would have to have intrauterine insemination.


The doctor wanted to schedule surgery as soon as the insurance at her new job went into effect. Her company fired her the day her insurance became valid, ten days before Christmas, plainly stating that it was because of her health issues.


Fortunately, she got on her husband’s insurance, which went into effect February 1st. As soon as she could, Layla scheduled surgery for March 22nd. Then her insurance company dropped a bomb: because she went to the doctor (even as a self-pay patient) within a three month period prior to her enrollment date, they were considering her health issues to be a pre-existing condition, and would not insure any doctor visits, medication, or surgery for 388 days.


When you are in near constant pain and can’t work, 388 days is a long time to wait. The sooner Layla can have this surgery, the sooner she can return to work (hopefully with a nicer company!) and start living her life again. Her doctor has been nice enough to work out a deal with her if she can pay as a cash patient: he decreased the amount of her surgery to $4,000, and the cost of the anesthesia to $500, with additional fees for biopsies of removed tissue to be determined.


The problem is, Layla is unemployed due to this, has used her savings to pay for living expenses and medical bills, and has been denied loans for the surgery because of her unemployment status. She does not have close family, so she can’t ask them for help. Surgery is scheduled for March 22nd, and Layla and her husband are still trying to secure a loan through several banks.


I know times are tough for a lot of people out there, but if there's anything you can do to help #OperationLayla, whether it's donating via PayPal or spreading the word via your own blog or twitter, please do so! For more information, please check out: http://operationlayla.wordpress.com/.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some of My Favorite...

RSVP cards!


When I first thought about using our unconventional RSVP cards, I was a little bit nervous to see how people would respond to them. Would people understand my quirky sense of humor? Would they realize that I was trying to set the tone for the wedding as lighthearted and fun? Or would they just think I was crazy? 


Luckily, everyone loved them! And we ended up getting some pretty great responses back. Several people said I should make a graph out of all of the responses, but I thought it would be more fun to show you a few of my favorites.


Like this one which cracked me up as soon as I pulled it out of the envelope: 




I did not go the invisible ink route that so many other Bees have done, but luckily this was the only RSVP that we received without a name. And my cousin had fortuitously put a very large return address sticker on the back of the envelope so it was easy to tell who these mystery guests were.


Several guests added in their own lines:



Clearly we have a saying in my family. Even funnier, both of these rsvp's arrived on the same day.

From my second parents. They are awesome.

Then there was this reply from friends of mine who I've known since middle school. Apparently they decided they needed to come up with an equation (which I still don't entirely understand...):


And this reply from my friend whose band played at our reception:


But I think this one ended up being my favorite, purely because of its delivery. It was handed to me at the welcome dinner by one of my good friends from college (she played the music for our processional, so clearly I knew she was coming):




I loved getting all of these in the mail - it made the time before the wedding really special as so many people let us know how excited they were to celebrate with us!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Wedding Facebook - Finished!

One of my favorite wedding projects also turned out to be one of the most time consuming tasks that I took on for the wedding. The Facebook. As I mentioned earlier, it's not like Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook (though that did come in handy to find many of our guests' photos for our wedding version). No, it's like those college facebooks that we got our freshman year that had all of the first year class's names and pictures and you used it to try to predict what your roommate would be like, who your friends might be and what guys you wanted to meet (what, I was the only one who did that?).




As much as a pain in the a** that this project was, I'm SO happy that I stuck with it and finished it. Everyone loved it and so many people said it was one of their favorite additions to our wedding.




I don't really have any sort of tutorial because I'm pretty sure I made this project way harder than it needed to be.  And I'm confident that if you want to make this yourselves, you'll probably think of a much easier way. Basically what I did was create 10 rectangles on a page in Word, inserted a guest's picture and added in a fun fact/conversation starter about each person (and which lodge they were staying in if they stayed at IslandWood). And then repeated that approximately 14 times for all of our guests. Then we printed the pages and had them cut in half at our local Fed Ex store. 


It looks even better without all the blacked out information. I promise.


The pain in the butt part was when I had to figure out exactly how each page needed to be set up so that it could be printed and cut in half and would then line up correctly when I went to put it all together. Because this was very hard for my brain to figure out at the time, I ended up having to (multiple times, mind you) print out the pages, cut them up and then rearrange everything in the Word file after I finally figured out how the pages needed to be ordered. I do not recommend this process. I'm sure there is an easier way. I just never found it. Oh, and the other pain in the butt part of this endeavor was finding, resizing and cropping all of the pictures, as well as trying to think of conversation starters. Way more time consuming to do this for 134 guests than I thought it would be!


The last page of our Facebook - even though Cody couldn't be there physically, we made sure he was there in spirit! Also Annemarie was our amazing officiant. I will be talking a lot more about her in future posts because she was absolutely wonderful. And of course you recognize our awesome photographers!


Once the pages were printed I took everything over to my parents' house where it was a group effort to get them bound. I printed the covers on the same poison ivory cover weight paper that I used for our invitations, Mr. EB cut in half the covers, the backs (a plain piece of cardstock) and the last page that I had forgotten to have printed at Fed Ex. Then we assembled all the pages, I punched holes in the books and my mom tied blue and green ribbon through the holes to keep everything together.




And they were done! We handed out most of the Facebooks on Friday night and Saturday as people checked in, and then we put the rest of them near the programs before the ceremony (at least this was the plan...). But some of my family came in earlier in the week so we made sure to have several of the Facebooks around so that we could show them to people during the bridesmaid luncheon and at my parents' house where people gathered before the welcome dinner on Friday night.




This was definitely a labor of love, and if I wasn't convinced that the finished project was really going to be worth it, I'm not sure I would have kept going. I'm so, so glad that I did, though, and everyone's comments about how much they loved the book have meant so much to me. Plus, it's one more tangible representation of everyone who was at our wedding. 


Mrs. Eggs Benedict tip #1: If there's any project on your DIY list that is giving you fits, focus on whether it has any sentimental value to you or your partner, and what it will mean to you on your wedding day to have it (or not). If it means a lot to you, keep going! Otherwise, I say focus on other projects that will mean more to you. I ended up sacrificing several other projects due to the time I invested in this one, and I have to say it was so worth it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gmail and Changing My Name

I got an email from my dad over the weekend asking me whether Mr. EB and I wanted to join him and my mom for a wine tasting event in a couple of weeks. This is not an abnormal type of email to receive from him, given his love of wine and the fun he has finding new wineries to add to his list of favorites. But at the very end of his email he made an off-hand comment saying "Mrs. EB I see you've changed your name. Cool."


My reaction to this email was: 1) Heck yes on the wine tasting! and 2) Huh? I haven't done anything about changing my name yet. What on earth is he talking about? 


So I asked him that and he said that in Gmail (which is the email program that we both use) when he typed my name into the address bar it came up as FirstName NewLastName, even though he could see that my email address was still FirstName.OldLastName@gmail.com. 


I have to admit, this one had me stumped. 


He hadn't changed anything in Gmail on his end, and I hadn't done anything yet to change my name in any of my online accounts, so I had no idea how this had happened! I sat there for awhile thinking that Gmail truly did know all and had mined my emails and blogger posts where I talked about how I was planning on changing my name, and they figured out what my new name was going to be and they totally changed it for me!


Um, no. They didn't. Turns out my dad had changed my name in his phone (which uses the Android operating system) and it ended up filtering out to his Gmail account a day or so later.


So while Gmail may be all powerful in many ways, they have not yet started changing peoples' names for them. Yet.
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