Monday, November 10, 2014

No He Just Did Not

I'm slipping in and out of denial about wedding planning. We've reached that comfortable place where the major work is done, but the details need attention. Or we could go to a movie...or anything besides handling the details.

At the moment, wedding plans have taken a back seat to putting the new place together. Will is already living there. I am gradually moving my things over. I've always known he is a minimalist, but he said something to me the other day that shocked my womanly senses.

We were discussing how I'm going to move and organize my purses. I was thinking maybe he'd build a cubby in the closet -or something- to accommodate the load. Then he said these incredible words that take a woman's breath away, "You could get rid of a few."


In moments like that there's really only one thing to do. Let your expression display full shock and appall. Then move all of your purses over anyway. I mean, come on.

I am half kidding. Of course I will organize the purses so as not be a nuissance. But ain't nobody giving up a collection of bags collected from San Francisco to New York. Mmmkay.

It is hard figuring out where things will go, but I'm creative. We'll find a way to make it work for both of us.

There really seem to be four things I collect in abundance:
--DVDs from less-technologically-advanced days

I have found several minimalist storage solutions thanks to an unhealthy amount of time on Pinterest. Let us browse the leading ideas.

DVD Organization
Seriously, my mind is blown. It is hard to throw away my DVD cases (read: hoarder), but this is so much simpler. I can actually find my DVDs now.

Ottoman Filing System
Again, wow. This looks great at the foot of the spare bed. And I can keep my papers present but hidden.

Bag Storage
Brilliant! You can use shower hooks to hang your bags. I will be trying this. 

I believe this clutch organizer was intended to hold wine bottles. Perfection!

Shoe Storage

Thanks to Ikea and Will's mechanically abilities I already have a shoe cabinet. Now, if I could just get a second shoe cabinet... ;)

Here's to joining a minimalist and a pack rat while (mostly) keeping the peace. I think it's going to be good for both of us. I'm learning that I really could make better use of space.

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Will

There is one person in the world whose eyes quiet me. One man who untangles my spirit by sitting contently and taking in every word I say. This man is brilliant, but he doesn't force his thoughts on me. He waits for me to find my way, and he walks with me so sweetly. Patiently. Shedding light naturally, without forcing a thing.

I am so blessed with this man. It's amazing to admire someone so incredible. And to have his love in return.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Holidays, Compromise, and Denial

You know those families that have holiday traditions and can't stand to be apart for any major festivities? I have one of those. And it's amazing.

One of the things I am a little anxious about is getting married and learning to share holidays. Make no mistake, I love my fiance's family. From the very beginning they have been wonderful. But...I'm trying to change my traditions at age 31. It's kind of tough! My family has a lot of holiday traditions that I am attached to. It's hard to imagine being married and deciding where to go for the holidays.

I honestly had put that thought out of my mind since we're only engaged. I mean, engaged people don't have to share holidays. Right? *nervous pause* RIGHT?!

Then I got an invitation to Will's family Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day. The day my family always gets together.

*record scratch*

And at first I was like...

Then this...
Then this...

I guess somewhere in my mind I had blocked out the whole holiday compromising part of marriage. Well, because I thought I had another year to come to grips with it. Then it hit me in the face. Hard.

And I realized one of those adult truths that revives you from shock and nestles you into a warm, comforting hug: My family is about to get a lot bigger. And that's a good thing. All of these people that I've gotten to know over the last year and a half are going to officially be my people, too. Not just Will's people. My people. And I am really grateful about that, when I think about it.

So finally I was like...

As silly as this whole process must seem, it can be hard to change your traditions at a certain age. But I am looking forward to the traditions I'll share with Will's family and eventually with Will and our own family. So I'm going to try to, you know, open my mind a little and do Thanksgiving a new way this year. Here's to new family members and a new way of doing holidays. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Psychology of Happy Marriages

When i was in college, one of my favorite psychology professors would give life lessons based on psychological studies as a reward for being on point as a class. I loved it. One week he spoke about qualities of happy and unhappy marriages. According to studies, the number one reason couples fight is money. 

That fact has stuck with me over the years. I've already discussed that Will and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) course together. Finances have been part of our discussion for a while. We want to keep ourselves on the same page and be positioned for a strong future.

Recently one of my friends got involved with Primerica. I'd honestly never heard of the company before my friend introduced me to it. (He actually said that Dave Ramsey got started with this company and uses some of its ideas in his own work.) My friend offered to do a free Financial Needs Analysis for us. You know, I really thought I was decent at finances, but that whole experience challenged my thinking. 

Let me pause here to say I really encourage couples to take advantage of financial education. If the number one reason you're going to fight is going to be money, be proactive by increasing your understanding of finances and making a plan to deal with it together. One thing we've come to realize is that we do not share a brain. We have to get on the same page by reading and talking things out. Otherwise, what happens? We end up making assumptions. And you know what they say about assumptions, right?

There is obviously no one company that has all the answers. As much as we were able to take from Dave Ramsey, Primerica still taught us new concepts. I'm sure there are other gurus and companies that will teach us more. So I'm not pushing any one product at you, I'm really just saying one of the best decisions we have made so far is studying finances together. Ok, back to the story.

In FPU your main focus is getting out of debt. There are other steps, sure, but you focus every spare penny to the goal of being debt-free. When we went for our Financial Needs Analysis with Primerica they talked to us about the balance between getting out of debt and using the time value of money to build savings for retirement. If you'd like to test this concept, use this calculator

Basically, the whole concept is that when you invest money and draw a return on that investment, the total available to you will grow the longer you leave the money alone. So if I invest $200/month over 10 years at a 5% rate of return I will have contributed $24,000 and gained a $7,700 return for a total of $31,700. (I'm rounding here.) On the other hand, if I were to make the same contribution, stop contributing at all after ten years, then pull the money out after 20 years have elapsed guess what my total would be? Around $51,600! 

Holy. Crap.

I realize that I'm a little old to be saying this, but I have neglected my 401k. I'll admit it. I wanted to free myself of debt before I really focused on it. And I have a graduate degree in business. Mmmkay. I admit it. I still did not heed a concept I already knew about - the time value of money. 

Again I say, I really encourage people to take advantage of financial education. Will and I are both graduate educated and still we have a long way to go in learning to deal with money. This is not a problem specific to any type of person - we all have it; however, it's amazing what you learn and how it impacts the next 30 years of your life...and your satisfaction within your marriage. They say that women naturally seek security (savings, retirement) while men are naturally more comfortable with risk (investment) and decreased savings. When you know you're prone to disagree, it's time to get educated and find your path together. 

Fun marriage articles:

Moving And Creating A Home

After getting pre-approved for a home loan, searching the local market, feeling overwhelmed, and ultimately renting a sweet little place -- Will and I officially have our future home! And we're so relieved we didn't buy...because we don't have to remodel ANYTHING!

Ain't nobody got time to plan a wedding, a honeymoon, and a house. That's all I'm saying.

Last weekend we moved Will in. You know, men and women really view moving differently. I had about two bags full of cleaner and sponges, etc. He took one look at the place and said, "It looks clean to me. What? You want to wipe down the counters?"

Oh, honey. That's cute. Real cute.

He had no idea what he was in for. Sure, he knew that I'm Type A. But there's a difference between knowing and fully experiencing that little trait. After a day and a half of wiping down every cabinet and every surface, not to mention scrubbing the floors, he really grasped the force of me being Type A.

Now that all of his local items are in our new place we get to go raid our storage spaces. Yep, storage spaces. We've each rented rooms from people who had common rooms filled already. That means I finally get to dig out my couch and desk! I'm extremely excited. Of course, it will change the bachelor pad vibe Will has going on at the moment, but surely he can still find room for his guitars and road bikes if I inch my furniture in there just a...lot. There's a lot of furniture to move. *gulp*

It is hilarious watching his reaction to things I bring over since it is his place for now.

from How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

The other day I brought two under-the-sink organizers. He looked confused. He turned his head sideways and asked, "What do we need those for?" This process is going to be hilarious. Men and women definitely do not fashion a space in the same way. It should be quite entertaining for the two us to compromise on how we use the space.

It's exciting to be creating our future home. He definitely gets the sweet end of the deal since he'll live there now without me. But that's a relief in itself. I have a lot of stuff. I'm kind of like Barbie, I travel with accessories. Having time to gradually weed through my things is nice. It doesn't force me to do it all at once. Of course, he also gets to experience the glory our new king-size memory foam bed every night. What?! That part does make me jealous. What can I say? I'm old school. I'd prefer not to live together until we're married. There's something sweet about it.

Here's to the next round of moving!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Favorite Invitation Discovery

I am a minimalist...well, if you exclude the massive amounts I somehow fit into one purse. I digress. In terms of general style, I like one object that functions in multiple ways.

One thing that bothered me about wedding invitations is the sheer bulk. You have an invite, a response card, and an envelope.

Seriously. Ain't NOBODY got time for that mess. Especially during wedding planning. My time is the most rationed treasure I own right now. There's no way I want to spend time arranging multiple items in an envelope.

Enter the send and seal invite, my sweetest find lately.

That's my design pick from Ann's Bridal Bargains. There are other options out there, of course. Do you see the design? That's one well-designed, continuous piece of paper. It folds into an envelop shape, and they print your returns address for you. All you have to do is fold, seal, and write the recipient's mailing address on the front. What?! If that's not enough, the response card is at the bottom of the invitation, and your address is printed on the opposite side so your potential guest cuts the response card off, slaps a stamp on, and sends their answer back as a postcard.

I am in paper love. This takes so many steps out in terms of having to stuff an envelope and write or stamp your own address in place, etc. I was PUMPED to find this option.

I feel like I'm peddling a product, but truly I'm just happy that there's such a simple invitation out there. I caught mine on sale for about $1.11 per invite, including shipping. I seemed to find tons of invites that were, at the cheapest, $1 but required that you purchase a separate response card. Again...ain't nobody got time for that.

Here's to good design. I am so thankful the world has smarty pants designers to think of such things.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Honeymoon Destination Reveal

Every time wedding planning gets stressful Will wraps me up in a hug and reassures me that we'll have a great honeymoon. The honeymoon has become our solace. And it's not just about wedding stress. As introverts we're a little nervous about some aspects of the wedding, but the honeymoon is our time. It's a personal celebration of the life we're beginning together. So when things get tough, he always reminds me that we have an amazing trip to look forward to.

 The simple thought of us getting away together calms my nerves. I have always known, wherever we go, it'll be the best time - because I'll be with my amazing husband. :)

Today Will really blew my mind. He booked our honeymoon. And I would've been happy with a cabin a couple of hours from here. But no. He pulled out all the stops. He booked a trip to...ITALY! We'll see Rome, Florence, and Venice over nine days!

WHAT?! Italy?! I would go anywhere with him and be happy...and now we're going to Italy? Yeah, I think I'm radiating at this point.

Of course, in true Type A fashion, I have started researching travel insurance, conversational Italian, and how to pack (read: stuff to the point the seams scream for mercy) a carry-on. It's going to be a wonderful experience - especially with my architect. I'm sure Italy is a different sight when you're traveling with a man who falls in love with buildings.