Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Facebook and the Engagement Ring Photo Conundrum

With the holidays upon us there has definitely been a recent upsurge of engagements. My Facebook newsfeed has been plastered with many newly engaged couples changing their relationship status, and posting shots of their brand new bling to their Timeline.

I recently read an article that got me thinking about the whole conundrum of whether or not to post a picture of your engagement ring to Facebook. The article itself was written in a really snarky and rude manner damning the women who choose to snap a picture of their engagement ring up-close and then send off to their mobile uploads. The writer, who is not-engaged but in a happy relationship which she felt the need to stress (over compensation, much?), got a lot of backlash in her comments section, and for the sake of preventing an internet war of words between said site and Weddingbee I think that it’s best that I leave the source of the article anonymous.

In essence, the article voices the view that it is cheesy, materialistic and alarming to post pictures of your new shiny bling to your Facebook. One of her points made sense. For instance, yes, you’re not engaged to your hand so why not snap a picture of you and your fiancĂ© together, instead of a close-up of your ring? (In my opinion, why not a shot of both?) However, she also said some things that I found to be a little ridiculous, along the lines of, “no one wants to see your sausage fingers up-close.”

I love seeing people I knew at different points in my life get engaged thanks to Facebook. It’s always kind of fun to see that XYZ-friend that I played on the swings with is now set to become a married woman. And, like most women, I love seeing diamond rings. I really don’t mind the ring shots people post to their newsfeed. In the exciting moment, I don’t think posting the ring comes from a place of materialism. The symbol of an engagement ring, and the act of showing it off to everyone, has become a right of passage engraved into our society. How many times after your engagement did someone swat at your hand and shout, “Let me see the ring!”?

When I got engaged I was still Smartphone-less (yes, I’m a Grandma. I also still refuse to switch to an e-reader) so there was no ring shot uploaded when it happened. I posted a pic of the ring later on within our engagement album. Only one and hey, why not? I don’t see why posting it to Facebook, a personal choice none-the-less, should concern anyone. If we aren’t close anymore and you could care less then go ahead and de-friend me. Mr. P spent a long time researching and picking out the ring. It’s certainly not the most important part of our engagement, but it IS a part of it, so why not snap a shot and include it as part of the other thousands of minute details we all post about each day? Why do I need to censor myself?

In our evolving culture we definitely share more parts of our life then ever before. The article in itself made it seem like a crime to post a photo of something that is going to be (most likely) one of your most prized possessions. Whether it’s 2 carats or ¼ carat, a sapphire instead of a diamond, a simple band, or a piece of twine is not the point. The whole point in posting the image is the excitement, bliss, and joy you feel the need to share in that moment (or day or week after).

Where do you stand on posting e-ring pictures to Facebook or other social networking sites? Did you post a photo of your ring for all your “friends” to see?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Skyping with the Rabbi

The one annoying thing about planning a wedding that will take place 3 hours away is figuring out when to meet up with vendors. Since we’ve had a long engagement we were able to space out a few trips to get this done. We also made really good choices from our research, so we didn’t have to go back and forth a bunch of times to find people we wanted to work with. One trip per vendor worked for us to find the right people to work with.

The one thing that has proved more difficult is scheduling a meeting with our Rabbi. Since we don’t belong to a temple in New York, we easily decided on using the Rabbi at Mr. Porcupine’s parent’s temple in Pennsylvania. He marked our date off, we met with him briefly early on into our planning, and he told us we wouldn’t need to meet again until much closer to the big day. But, after two more short trips down to Pennsylvania without being able to coordinate schedules, our Rabbi suggested we have a meeting via Skype.

So, we downloaded Skype and used it for the first time to talk with our Rabbi. For some reason I find this hilarious. Granted our Rabbi is Reform. He's not the traditional Rabbi you might be picturing with a long beard and conservative dress. He's definitely a modern dude, but come on, having a Skype meeting with a Rabbi? There has to be a joke in there somewhere.

The meeting mostly consisted of sharing basic information about ourselves and discussing the different aspects of the ceremony. We spent an hour going over Ketubah options, parents’ names, what we’ll need to bring for the ceremony, etc. There were a few questions and tasks that left us with some work to do. For instance, my parents tracked down my Hebrew name that I had long forgotten. And, we both located some stand-in ring options, since in the Jewish tradition wedding bands have to be a single band not broken by anything (like the diamonds in my wedding ring and the lines etched into Mr. P’s). For the ceremony I will most likely use my mom’s ring, and Mr. P will use his grandma’s (unless they can find his grandfather’s). I just hope he can get the ring to even make it over his nailbed!

We were also given a homework assignment of questions that Mr. P and I have to fill out so that the Rabbi can put together a ceremony with a personal touch. It asks the basic questions such as how did we met and how did the proposal go. The catch is that we're not allowed to show each other our answers.

One of the questions asks for any personal stories about our relationship that we care to share. We have about 900 ridiculous stories we could mention. Or, we could go the traditional sweet approach with how much we have impacted each other’s lives. I haven’t decided what to share yet and I don’t know what I expect Mr. P to write. We're not a serious couple and I really enjoy funny, personalized ceremonies. I just can't think of the perfect story to share, but I do have a few months to dig into the recesses of my brain.

Did you meet with any of your vendors via Skype? Did your officiant personalize your wedding ceremony with a story? Should I stay true to us and go the funny route or serious it up for our wedding day?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Weighty Issue Part 2: The Results

When I left off, I mentioned it took me a year to get into the whole weight loss idea.

At my current job I joined the gym in the basement, using the treadmill and elliptical for 45 minutes to an hour for four or five times a week. I started eating smaller portions and better food. I started cooking with a lot less fat and a lot more low-fat ingredients. I also stopped a lot of the mindless snacking I did. It took me a year to shed 20 pounds. Since I’m short it was significant enough.

What I can recommend, which has worked for me (keep in mind I have NO dietary knowledge. This is just that works for my metabolism):
  • Stop drinking soda. Even diet soda. I was a HUGE Coca Cola freak before I cut it out back in high school. Within a week you will feel SO different. Within a month you will completely lose your taste for it. 
  • Eat more whole grain/wheat products and less white flour foods. It took me awhile, but I now like whole-grain pasta and breads (an occasional bagel in moderation is necessary though).
  • Cut your portions down. Check out a guide to portions here at WebMD. Not going to lie, it SUCKS sometimes, but slowly but surely what it takes to get you feeling full will shrink down.
  • Exercise. I hate exercising, but I’ve learned that I am not the type of person who can get away with not doing any. I’m down to 30 minutes three or four times a week on the elliptical or treadmill. When I first started exercising I only saw significant weight loss when I did 45 minutes to an hour at least four times a week. I also lift five pound weights three to four times a week while watching TV. How everyone’s body reacts though is different.
  • Cut down your use of full fat products. I hate fat free cheese/sour cream/butter/etc., but I see little to no taste difference in reduced fat versions.
  • Eat small, lighter meals throughout the day instead of three big heavy ones.
  • Don’t base your happiness on the scale. It’s how you feel in your clothing and in every day life that matters. If your pants are falling down, but the scale won’t budge- throw the scale out the window!
I still hold true to many of those tips, but sometimes my daily eating gets off course and my desire to work out weans away. Winter makes me want to do things like eat giant bowls of chili and baked potatoes smothered in cheese while wearing oversized sweaters on my couch.

I don't expect to lose more than the five pounds I've recently put on before the wedding, but I'd like to eat better and exercise more just for the sake of feeling better. Exercising and eating better/lighter just makes me feel more awake and energized. My biggest goal is to tone up my arms before the wedding. I also need to stop the mindless snacking I've been doing at night, the weekend Wendy's runs, and full fat beer drinking (Blue Moon being my new go-to).

What are your tips for getting into shape? Anyone have good arm toning workouts? Getting my arms toned has always been a tough battle for me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Weighty Issue Part 1: The Backstory

Today I signed into my registry to replace something that went discontinued (no worries- I've only had to do this 80 times already) and my jaw almost hit the floor when I noticed I am ALMOST at 100 days out. Crazy little registry countdown clock!

What the hell? I don't think I ever took into consideration that all this planning would lead to the big day, because my mind feels boggled by the concept of me walking down the aisle and getting married. And, with my first dress fitting looming a few weeks away I realized I better stop slacking at getting my arse to the gym, and I better stop eating all those damn tacos (well except for Taco Tuesdays...)

Okay, a disclaimer. I know I am not a plus-size bride and I am not here to whine that my size 2s are just TOO DARN TIGHT (because I will never be a size 2 and um, eat a potato!). But, my desire to be in shape for my wedding stems from my past. I was a chubster! Baby fat, chubby, chunky, however you want to put it I was overweight and unhealthy. I like food and I like to eat. I grew up in a clean your plate(s) family. I was the polar opposite of an active child. My hobbies consisted of doing things like poking out all the chocolate chips in my Chips Ahoys, eating the cookie, and saving the chocolate chips for dessert (yes, I really did this). So, Hive for you only (and I guess whoever else stumbles upon this blog post) I am revealing a teenage awkward photo of myself to prove that I am not BSing you. Here goes:

Yes, I am aware I had oddly un-proportional legs

I can tell you one thing, Junior High was NOT fun. I had great girlfriends my whole life, but kids in general are really terrible. I survived Junior Hellschool and during the summer before High School I remember clearly thinking, “I should lose weight.” That summer I lost maybe 5 lbs. I wasn’t weighing myself at the time so I don’t know, but it wasn’t a significant loss.

My High School was great. I can honestly say there was no teasing or cruelty that I ever witnessed. But, I still felt like I should just lose the weight already. My mom had joined Weight Watchers sometime during my freshman year, and even though I didn’t want to go to the meetings (mostly my lazy ass did not want to wake up early on a Sunday morning) I used all her books and points calculator to do the old school Points system on my own, and it worked! Again, I wasn’t weighing myself then, but I went from chubby to “average.”
Our Senior Year trip to the Jersey Shore before it was a household name... yes, I'm wearing too much bronzer in hopes of blending in with my Italian best friends

I know the Points program has changed somewhat, but I can not talk-up Weight Watchers enough. Their “diets” make sense. They don’t make you eat stupid crap that you will soon give up on. The program honestly changes your life and how you think about food. By my senior prom I was down to a size 6, and then college came around….

Like most people I ate like PURE SHIT in college. I gained the freshmen 15 and then some. I would go through spurts of “I am going to be good,” where I would occasionally hit the gym and eat more salads. However, beer + late night eating + more beer + horrible food choices for weeks on end = blubbery. By the time I graduated I was really unhealthy and felt like garbage.  I looked extremely swollen.

I could barely hustle downstairs to the subway to catch a train I heard pulling in (mind you this was running DOWN stairs, not up). The scale was telling me I was almost 160 lbs and I’m only 5’3.’’ My BMI put me as overweight, and my size 12s were telling me “ha ha you fool!” It still took me about a year after this knowledge set in to cut out the excessive vanilla lattes, bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, and craptastic snacking.

Losing weight isn't something to do on a whim to fit in a dress, but it can definitely be a great motivator. Even though my initial motivator came before our engagement, I’m not sure that my bride brain could have handled one more task. Are you trying to lose weight before your big day?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Over it!

To be blunt, I’ve gotten to a place in wedding planning where I just don’t give a hunk of doo anymore. Just me? At this point we’ve been engaged for almost a year and a half. I’ve been steadily planning since about day 3 of our engagement. I have all my vendors booked, the menu picked, my first dress fitting scheduled, and a pretty good grasp on what detail items need to be accomplished. (Damn you chalkboard frames!) The issue now is that I can’t get anything done. AT.ALL. I mean to do something, but then I can’t quite figure out what it is I should be doing, and I take to my couch and DVR.

I could sit here and wax poetic about the joys of wedding planning, the fun I’m having, the lollipops that fall from the sky every time I accomplish a wedding task, but um – no. I’m seriously over it. I want to create a bonfire of all my damn wedding magazines that have the same advertisements and the same articles in EVERY.SINGLE.ISSUE. I want to fling my wedding binder that I long ago neglected out the window at full force. I want to eat brownies and cheeseburgers (whoops, I’ve been doing quite a bit of that) instead of trying to focus on keeping the LBs off so that I can zip up my gown.

What have I done in the last month? I’ve ordered 10 invitations from Vistaprint. That’s all folks. I suck.

Before we order a slew of 100 invitations, response cards, and the like, Mr. P and I decided to make sure we like the design in-person. The smallest amount you can order on Vistaprint is ten, so I randomly stumbled upon a Vistaprint sale and ordered ten invitations for five bucks. With tax and shipping it came to be 16 dollars. I figure 16 dollars isn’t much to lose if we get them and dislike them. A lot better than ordering 100 and regretting it.

So, yea. I have 10 invitations en route to gaze at and then hopefully order another 100 of. Then what? How do I make myself care about things like the guest book, the bridesmaid accessories, and what the place cards should look like?

How did you navigate the lat few months of your engagement? Where did you find the inspiration to get into the swing of finishing up the details?