Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why I Blog

Well hello, everyone. I have seen this theme float around and thought that I would give it a go.

I wish I had a simple answer to this question, but for me it's a rather loaded one.

I started this blog back in 2009.
Yep, that long ago.
I maybe blogged about three times a year until I moved to Chicago in 2011 when I felt like blogging more often with more of a content schedule. Until then I would basically write short and funny stories  like this and this that I didn't want to forget.

In a way, the blog was like a public diary, meant for me to document stories and to keep in touch with friends from home in Ohio.

Once I moved to Chicago I started to blog about 4-5 times per week. I had a blog consultation with {av} from long distance loving, she created my new header and buttons, and I felt like a "blogger." I even posted a few vlogs. ha. vlogs.

Then a funny thing happened: I got engaged and got CONSUMED. I absolutely loved wedding planning, dreaming about our perfect wedding, reading about all different types of weddings, and really anything wedding-related. 

Then I got busy.

So basically for the past year I have blogged mainly on a weekly basis, with a few intermittent posts about random funny things, like what Teddy thinks.

I have two scheduled posts left in my weekly wedding series
For some loyal readers, I am sure they feel relief. For nearly two years I have written consistently about weddings and not much else. 
For others, they will have to take the linkup elsewhere. It will live on, I just won't be part of it.

So now what?

After all of the different phases of my blog, what's next?

Recently I have realized some things about me and my blog:
1) I love weddings. I loved our wedding. I love to talk about our wedding. I love to write it all down so that I can remember the feelings and fun and love and silliness later in life.
2) I don't think many people aside from myself actually enjoy this public diary of mine.
3) I don't have much to offer readers. 
4) When I read other blogs, all I want to do is shop, lose weight, travel, get my dream job, have a cute little baby with cute little clothes and cute little room decor, redecorate every room and write about it to make the rest of you jealous, get out of debt, and cook and bake while still being a size 4. (I'm not sure if I was EVER a size 4. Maybe pre-puberty? I can't remember.)

Keeping these factors in mind, I'm not sure what to do with this space.
Basically, I'm not that interesting. 

For example, I am not and cannot be a "cool" blogger for the following reasons:

I can't afford to offer giveaways or do DIY projects or host parties. We have a beautiful and fun marriage, but I don't want to only write about that. I rarely go out to new bars or restaurants so you won't read many, if any, reviews from me. I may do a ton of workouts and eat healthy, but I also tend to gain and lose weight often because I also enjoy drinking and eating unhealthy things. I am too plump for anyone to care what my OOTD is, and nothing I wear is in season. I don't do anything special with my hair or makeup and my skin is far from flawless to share any sort of routine that I have. We have an awesome cat, but no cute puppy or child to showcase. Thanks to Georgetown, expensive Chicago living and a lot of medical-related payments, I will honestly be in debt my entire life. Shopping for me is what's on sale at the grocery store, and deleting my online shopping carts because even a $10 shirt stresses me out.

So why blog? 
Why on earth would anyone care what's going on in my head and in my life?
Was the wedding the only thing that was "worth" the space in the blog world?

Maybe other people feel the same: some bloggers seem too unrealistic.
Maybe I'm not the only ordinary gal blogger out there.
Maybe someone else might think some ho-hum story of mine is relatable, give them a chuckle or maybe even some inspiration.  

I'm not sure why I blog and what I have to offer anyone but my own memory down the road.

But it doesn't mean that I'm going to stop.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to keep you at least a little entertained for a long time to come.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Music and Andrew Wrote It!

Wedding Wednesday

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

I have a treat for you today: Andrew wrote the post!
He wanted to share our story about the music for our day.

Alright, Andrew, take it away!
I’m sure Mary agrees with me when I say that one of the hardest things for me to do is give up control over music selection in any situation. For example, after numerous 12 hour (round trip) drives to Ohio from Chicago I think I’ve given up control once. Needless to say, handing over the music responsibilities to someone else for the wedding was a rough decision. My knee-jerk reaction was to fill out a list of all of the songs I wanted to play, yet when it came time for me to fill out the DJ list I only had two songs listed: The Michigan State University Fight Song and “Take Me Out To A Dancehall” by Pat Green. 

Luckily Mary and I had been collecting songs for a wedding "Do Not Play" list since we had gotten engaged. I’ve shown this list to a couple of friends, and to say it's controversial is putting it lightly. You’ll see some wedding staples on this list:

Andrew & Mary's "Do Not Play" List:

Any Bee Gees

Any Village People

Disco (In general)

“The Electric Slide”

“Friends in Low Places”

“Hang on Sloopy”

The Ohio State Fight Song

Michael Jackson

Whitney Houston

Celine Dion

Michael Bolton

Barbra Streisand

Tony Bennett 

Michael Buble

Any song with dance instructions in it (This covers a lot of songs)

The Backstreet Boys (if you recall, Mary pledges her allegiance to *NSYNC)

New Britney

“Suit and Tie”

“The Chicken Dance”

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

The B-52s

“Boot Scootin Boogie”

“Closing Time”

“Grease Medley”

“Blurred Lines”

“Baby Got Back”

“Bust A Move”

Toby Keith

“Gangnam Style”

“Harlem Shake”

“Neon Moon”

“I'll Make Love to You” (yep, we heard this at a wedding...awkward!)

Now, the point of publishing the list is not to say our musical tastes are better than anyone else. Our DJ told us that it was the most comprehensive "Do Not Play" list he had ever seen (he does 2-3 weddings a week from April to October every year so I’ll take his word for it). Hopefully this is a good starting point for some of you who are still planning your wedding and you can edit/add to it to make it your own. 

I’ve made a Spotify playlist of some of our wedding day songs (embedded below) for anyone looking for some extra inspiration. I wanted our song selection to be a unique blend of music that represented us well and that you don’t hear at every wedding. 

Grandparents & Parents Introduction: “There Will Never Be Another You” by Bud Powell. This tune is an upbeat number and I think everyone can picture his or her parents and grandparents walking in to it. Even better: there are no lyrics, so the DJ doesn’t have to compete with the lyrics of the song to make the introduction. 

{Photo by Starling Studio}

Bridal Party Introduction: “What’d I Say Parts I & II UK compilation Version 2” by Ray Charles. I went back and forth on this one for a while and decided to pull the trigger on it a few days before the wedding. I figured our bridal party would enjoy walking into it.  Even better, at over 6 minutes long, it gives everyone some time to enjoy their intros. 

{Photo by Starling Studio} 

Bride and Groom Introduction: “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. OK fine, this one is a wedding standard. But the horns leading into the song are just too fitting. Plus, I knew we would be going into our first dance right away so admittedly I was fine that this song wasn’t as unique.

First Dance: “When I Grow too Old to Dream” by Nat King Cole. Not sure if Mary has told the story about how this became "our song" yet but one night in DC I came over to her house, made pasta and stuffed meatballs, and we slow danced in her kitchen as we waited for everything to cook. I’m honestly surprised this song isn’t used more at weddings or hasn’t really become more mainstream. The first time I heard it was on the Northern Exposure soundtrack my parents had growing up.

{Photo by Starling Studio}

Father Daughter Dance: “Child of Mine” by Carole King. Mary and her Dad love Classic Rock music and musicians, but finding an appropriate song was difficult. Luckily, Mary's Dad found this song and since Carole King is a legend, it was perfect for them. I'm actually playing this song as I write and Mary's tearing up thinking about the dance with her Dad. (Awww)

{Photo by Starling Studio}

Mother Son Dance: “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke. Mom and I debated a lot on this one and I found this one on a Spotify playlist. A lot of mother/son songs can be...uhh...a little weird...but this one fit the bill for us. 

 {Photo by Starling Studio}

Last Song of the Night: “When I Fall in Love” by Dianne Reeves off the Good Night, and Good Luck soundtrack. This is a jazzy version of the classic song. I thought it was a good note to go out on and would let Mary and I have one last slow dance before we head out. The vocals are played by a saxophone and that just gives the song a smoky feeling. 

One song that I would have worked into the wedding if I knew about it:  Love You Till I Die by Bennie Cole & His Soul Brothers. I heard this song on an amateur tourism video for Milwaukee recently. I did some digging and found the embedded digital copy and some description of his work but that’s it. This is just a classic tune that sounds like it would fit in a soundtrack for reminiscing.

I will leave you with two dance floor photos. We had a good time:

{Photo by Starling Studio}

Nice job, Andrew!
It was fun to give him the reins this week - but OK, fine, I added the pictures. Guilty!
I can't wait to read what all of you are up to this week!

Missed a Wedding Wednesday post? Here are the big ones:

 Have a wedding story that you want to share? Please join the linkup!
All I ask is that you grab the button, link back to me and visit the other blogs!

Please share the linkup on social, too, if you wish!
 @marysue20 is the name, #WeddingWednesday is the game.

I'm joining another linkup as well!
NC Belle In Boots

Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy Friday...but, uh, is it Sunday Yet?!?!

SO I'm really excited it's Friday for many reasons:
1) It's Friday. I mean, duh.
2) Andrew got a new job! We celebrated last night and plan to keep the party going all weekend!
3) Our friends are hosting a party for the MSU/Oregon game and we are stoked! I'm making Spartan helmet cookies! (Hey, I know I'm from Ohio but I married into a MSU family! I still like Ohio State, but since I didn't go there I never really followed the team until I left Columbus...and I followed them because I wanted something to talk about with my Columbus friends!)

So, college football is awesome. I truly do love waking up later on Saturdays, eating breakfast during College Game Day and watching football all day. It's awesome!

But Sundays? Oh boy.
Sundays to me are meant for three things: Mass, family and Steelers.
Go to Mass, hang out with the fam and watch the game/yell at the TV. Sundays are the best!
Seriously, I always WELCOME the end of summer because that means it's football season!!!

OK and here I go being even more obnoxious!
(all photos are sourced on my Pinterest board)

So, I ask again - is it Sunday yet?!?!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Our Send Off!

Wedding Wednesday

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

A quick housekeeping note: 
As my wedding posts wind down, Kristyn is stepping up!
Kristyn from Chits and Giggles is my old partner in co-hosting linkups crime and is back to co-host!
Kristyn will co-host with me through my last few posts and then take over once I am finished.
End housekeeping note. :)

I'm really excited to share our send off with you today. This is all thanks to my Mother-in-Law who planned it! I am so happy that she took charge because we had no idea what we wanted to do. We just knew that we did not want to deal with sparklers. Even though sparklers are pretty, I am clumsy and sparklers don't exactly pair well with clumsy.

Andrew's Mom was a genius and thought of glow sticks!
How unique!
I have never in all of my Pinterest research and wedding planning seen a send off including glow sticks! Yay!!
(Isn't it funny how excited I get when I know the things we did AREN'T on Pinterest and I know NO ONE else who has done the same thing?!? Am I alone in this excitement??)

Here are a couple of cute, albeit blurry, photos, but you get the idea:

It was such a thrill to go through the glow-filled tunnel amid cheers and high fives!

Not only did our send-off include a tunnel of guests waving glow sticks, it also included a ride around the city in a pedicab! Andrew's Mom contacted ECT Pedicab and arranged for our little jaunt around Columbus. The owner of the company drove us!

 I love this photo of us hugging our new moms before riding off!

Our videographer stayed for the whole event, so we have a clip of this in both of our highlight videos! I'm so happy he was still there for it and I'm very thankful guests took their own photos! The send off is a huge reason why I am happy that we had a wedding hashtag!

Our ride was awesome! Columbus added some cool features to downtown that I had not seen. It was also really fun to point out places to Andrew, like places my friends and I bar-hopped in college to theaters to the site where the best mall ever stood that is now a really cool concert and event venue. Oh, memories!

The best part of the ride, though, was the cheers from Columbus folks! Many people were out and about on the lovely April evening, so we definitely had audiences wherever he pedaled!
Everyone who saw us yelled and cheered and made us giggle. It was so fun! Of course our driver honked his horn around the crowds to draw attention. My mouth hurt from smiling so much! It felt like we were in our own private parade and everyone was so excited to cheer us on!
Well, some jerks said things like, "what were you thinking, buddy?" to Andrew and other such anti-marriage comments. But that silliness was few and far between. I was really impressed by the genuine encouragement from Columbus that night.

Our driver rode us around downtown for about 40 minutes and took us straight to our hotel.
Honestly it was pretty magical to have that alone time with Andrew immediately following all of the excitement from the day and events leading up to it. Riding around Columbus was the perfect way to relive the day, reflect on the sacrament we celebrated, thank the good Lord for all of the incredible generosity of our family and friends, and celebrate our new adventure as a married couple. I am beyond grateful that Andrew's Mom planned a send off for us. Otherwise we probably just would have left without fanfare, and what fun is that?!?!

Did you have a send off at your wedding or do you plan to have one in your upcoming wedding?
As a wedding guest do you like send-offs? I have always personally liked them. It's a fun last hoorah, if you will, to celebrate the couple...and is also the perfect signal to the fun groups of people still up for partying to organize an after-party if there wasn't one already planned!

And for Pinterest/Instagram:

Missed a Wedding Wednesday post? Here are the big ones:


 Have a wedding story that you want to share? Please join the linkup!
All I ask is that you grab the button, link back to me and visit the other blogs!

Please share the linkup on social, too, if you wish!
 @marysue20 is the name, #WeddingWednesday is the game.

I'm joining another linkup as well!
NC Belle In Boots

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Link Up Without Me, Gals!

Wedding Wednesday

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

I did not make the time this week that my next planned post deserves, so please link up without me! All of you should share your stories even if I was too wrapped up in my own life to write.

I'm having jaw and migraine issues, so if I don't need to be in front of a computer screen then I'm not. I'll be fine, just hurting a little lately.

Anyway, I hope your week is going well!
Please come back next week for my post about our awesome send-off!!

Missed a Wedding Wednesday post? Here are the big ones:

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: The Details

Wedding Wednesday

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

This is crazy to think, but I only have a couple more posts planned for this link-up.
Not gonna lie, I'm pretty sad about it, but I have stretched this content to the max, it seems.
For almost two years I have had a reason to blog, but once it's over I'm not sure of the future for my little space online. But that's another discussion for another day.

In the meantime, let's talk about the deets.
We put a lot of thought into everything, so please forgive the lengthy post! I could split this into multiple posts, but I wrote it all so I'm posting it, gosh darn it!
(Unless otherwise noted, all photos are from Starling Studio)

Let's start with the welcome bags!
As a wedding guest I love receiving welcome bags from the couple when I arrive at the hotel. It's so thoughtful to receive treats and Tylenol and water! We wanted to do the same for our guests and add treats from the area since many had never been to Columbus or Lancaster.
I made the letter and my parents got everything for the bags (they were SO amazing handling this!!!)

 The bags are from Oriental Trading and are in the shape of wedding cakes. We thought they were too cute and had to get them!

Here are some of the wardrobe details. I loved my simple accessories. You've seen the dress before, so I won't go on and on about that. The others deserve more explanation, though. The garter is from Etsy and I loved it! I personally don't like the garter toss at receptions, especially with family looking on, so I wore one but didn't toss one. Call me a prude, but I get creeped out by it! Also, check out the bracelets in the lower left. I got the bangle from Megan at my Pittsburgh Bachelorette and the thin bracelet is the same one that I got my bridesmaids when I asked them to stand up for me! My engagement ring is an heirloom, given to Andrew by his grandmother who wore it as her engagement ring, too! It's apparently from the 1800s! It's such an honor to wear it and I absolutely love that it's different from anything else I have ever seen! Our wedding bands were purchased in Chicago on Jewelers Row from a friend of a friend. We got a great deal and met a lovely jeweler on top of it!

This image below shows my jewelry, too, from the pearls I've had since I was 16, the vintage brooch-turned hair clip that I found at a vintage Chicago shop and the pearl and sapphire earrings I treated myself to for my Something Blue:

Next up is the church, the beautiful St. Mary of the Assumption. I grew up going here and attending the adjoining school. Lots of happy memories here!

Next, our venue, the gorgeous Athletic Club of Columbus:

So dreamy!!

Next, our Escort Cards and Table Settings!
Andrew came up with this idea, just like he did for our Guest Book!

Each table represented a location special to us and was identified by the location's address. The locations included the house where each of us grew up, our colleges, stadiums and other places that hold memories. The escort cards themselves were mini envelopes. I wrote each guest's name in calligraphy with the address to the special location below it. We wrote a traditional table number where a stamp would go on a letter (in case there was confusion). Once guests got to their tables there was a picture of the two of us with an explanation on the back of the photo of why the location is special. We loved putting this together and were so happy with the unique result!
We also had a non-traditional favor: we donated to PAWS Chicago in everyone's name and had a little business card (pictured bottom center), tucked in the napkin explaining that we adopted our cat, Teddy, from PAWS!

We also wanted to give treats to our guests, so in addition to our delicious cake, we also had a cookie table! So many treats!
I want a picture of the whole cookie table (do any of you reading this and were there have one?!?!)!

Next up are the flowers!
We thankfully did not need to decorate the church. Not only is it beautiful on its own, our wedding was also the week after Easter, so there were plenty for our day! It was so pretty!

I absolutely loved my bouquet and the flowers at the reception. The boutonnieres fell a little throughout the day, but I overall liked how they looked. The bridesmaid's bouquets were not what I imagined, but the color combo worked beautifully with their dresses, so I couldn't be too disappointed.

Our toasting flutes are one of our Something Old and one of our Something Borrowed items, used by my parents as well as my sister and brother-in-law at their weddings:

Finally, the other Something Old/Something Borrowed, which I have written about many times: the veil!

I loved wearing this veil. It has been in Andrew's family for more than 60 years and has been worn by many ladies (now including me!). We also wanted to highlight it in some way, so we had five photos in frames on our cocktail tables. I cherish these beautiful photos of Andrew's family!

It was such an honor to wear the veil and I had a lot of fun posing with it!


This post took me forever to put together!

Tell me what's going on with you this week!

Missed a Wedding Wednesday post? Here are the big ones:

All non-Instagram photos from this post are from Starling Studio (you can tell which ones they are because they are beautiful photos!!!): website | Facebook

 Have a wedding story that you want to share? Please join the linkup!
All I ask is that you grab the button, link back to me and visit the other blogs!

Please share the linkup on social, too, if you wish!
 @marysue20 is the name, #WeddingWednesday is the game.

I'm joining another linkup as well!
NC Belle In Boots