Category Archives: Life

Wedding Wednesdays – How to: Register for Wedding Gifts

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Let’s talk gifts. I LOVE gift giving and I especially love buying a wedding gift for a couple. I mean, how could you not? It’s legitimately the easiest gift you’ll ever buy, the couple chooses the exact gifts their hearts desire and all you have to do is click purchase and your gift is sent directly to their door! Wedding registries can be a very controversial topic for some and it’s a subject that people can get extremely judgey about so take a breath because as always, this is just simply one woman’s opinion and that woman, is me.

Eric and I went the old fashioned way and registered at three different stores, linking each registry through our website, but before I get into that we must talk about all of the hip new registries on the block. There are so many different ways to register these days, it’s really insane how many start ups have been created to tackle the “issue” of wedding registries. I’ll give one example because it’s the only alternative we ever looked into and that is, Blueprint Registry. Of course I’ve participated in purchasing gifts for friends through the Honeyfund and Zola sites as well. Blueprint Registry is a new way of looking at a wedding registry. It allows the couple to create a homepage and shop for a variety of items from a variety of stores all on one website. It also allows the couple to shop “room by room” in their integrated system, taking an overwhelming task of what one needs for their house and organizing it in a very systematic way. What drew me to Blueprint was the idea that it wouldn’t matter what store each item was from while also allowing guests to narrow their search by price. I decided to ultimately stick with tradition primarily due to the concern I had over return policies through Blueprint Registry. Things get complicated when the items are integrated into one system instead of using each store’s website and we ultimately decided to go with our gut and register at: Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and Heath Ceramics.

I have to be honest, I love shopping and I love housewares and kitchen gadgets so registering for our wedding was basically my dream. My dream came crashing down pretty quickly after I realized stores no longer give you a barcode scanner to scan items in their store. First off, what’s with that? If you’ve watched enough rom-coms that involve weddings you know that you’re supposed to get a “gun” to scan items in a store when you get married and it looks fun and it looks easy! Well now we can all thank technology for allowing us to download a freaking registry app that allows one to roam the store freely, scanning barcodes like a crazy person. That might still sound fun to you, but let me tell you, if you’re registering at Crate & Barrel or Williams-Sonoma like we were, both of their apps are glitchy, slow, and not nearly as fun as what I can only imagine those scanning guns were in their hay day. I know, I know, first world problems, but bear with me.

A little backstory on Eric and my registry. We have been living together for three years in an adorable San Francisco, 500 square foot, apartment (or what Craigslist lovingly referred to as a “junior one bedroom”). Now, over these three years one would think we would have a well stocked apartment or kitchen, but not Eric and I, oh no. We have been waiting until we get married to actually buy things that don’t snap in half when you use them (like our Target knife, terrifying) and so our registry was a big deal. We needed everything under the sun you can think of, including the obvious, a KitchenAid Mixer (pistachio color obviously) and the not so obvious, a garlic press. One thing we did that I would highly recommend is to make a list of things as you notice them missing in your kitchen, things you wished you had or things that need replacing. Likely, the stores you register at will load you up with all sorts of helpful lists, tips, and tricks on how to best utilize their wedding registry. Not only that, but when you check-in at the stores in person, they’ll probably give you an adorable wedding gift. At Crate & Barrel for example, we got two free stemless wine glasses! The other thing is to consult the internet. I found great, comprehensive lists of recommended items that I brought with me to each store for registering in order to make the task less daunting. No matter how much preparation you have going into building and creating a wedding registry though, it’s going to overwhelm you at some point and don’t you worry, that’s normal. Trust me, you have no idea how big of an industry dish drying racks are until you begin your wedding registry.

The last thing I want to say about registering is to focus on creating a registry that speaks to you as a couple and your life together moving forward in your marriage. I think the main reason alternative registries are growing is due to the lack of personalization one can have in purchasing a wedding gift through a traditional wedding registry. For me, I get excited about buying someone new sheets or glassware, but that’s not for everyone. Some people want to participate in your honeymoon by buying you an adventure on your Croatian getaway or getting you a restaurant gift card to contribute to future date nights. Not everyone even has a wedding registry at all these days and that’s okay too. Just note, older family and friends may find it challenging to not have any ideas to go off of and many people frown upon asking for money to pay off your student loans after the wedding (trust me, we considered this). Eric and I chose Heath Ceramics as our sort of outlier store. Heath Ceramics is a gorgeous and incredible local ceramics shop started in Sausalito by Edith Heath where we registered for all of our dishes and serving platters/bowls. To us, shopping local is important and we fell in love with Heath Ceramics after moving to San Francisco. Their attention to detail and handmade craft makes their dishes special and unique and something we hope to keep forever. What’s the real adventure about registering for wedding gifts? Choosing to wait to open them all until after the wedding and allowing them to stack up until the big day. If there’s one thing I am, it’s impatient. The fact that I haven’t completely spoiled the entire registry is only due to the fact that Eric locked me out of our registries by changing all of the passwords.

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Wedding Wednesdays – Building a Wedding Website

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At brunch this weekend with Katie, we both realized it had been far too long since I’ve blogged about wedding planning. Time is flying by and all of a sudden the wedding is just over two months away, 73 days to be exact but who’s counting? It’s a weird thing when you’re engaged for a year and a half because for so much of the time it feels so far away and then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye you are completely freaking out with excitement that it’s just around the corner! So with that, I’m back and anxious to discuss the importance of a wedding website.

A destination wedding can mean a couple of things. It can mean that most of your family and friends are coming in from various parts of the country therefore, for them, it’s a destination wedding. It can also mean that you chose a wedding venue that’s in a national park conveniently located a 3-4 hour drive from an airport…oh wait that’s what we did. Either way, having a destination wedding of sorts means there is a lot of pressure on a good wedding website. Not only am I having a destination wedding, but I’m having a wedding weekend, making the wedding website even more significant. Knowing the importance of a clear, well done wedding website and luckily marrying a software engineer, Eric and I set to work on building our wedding website from the ground up. That’s right, we did not use Squarespace (*gasp!)

The goal of a wedding website should be to exchange information with your guests without actually having to participate in a million different texts, calls, and emails asking the same questions. Your website should be clear and succinct, you don’t want to overwhelm your guests, but you’re covering a lot of ground so truly more information is better in this case. Your website should also be personal and unique to you as a couple. For example, Eric and I have been together for almost seven years and wanted to share our story for those who might not know it already or those who want to hear it again! We also shared a myriad of photos depicting us throughout our relationship, which we had a lot of fun picking out and putting together in a slideshow. Most importantly, our website has travel and lodging information so that our guests can feel at ease in booking their flights and accommodations. Lastly, guests want to know what to expect for the day or weekend so include information such as a schedule of events, anticipated weather, and requested guest attire.

Not everyone chooses to have a wedding website, but they are a nice thing to have and can be easily included on your save the date or on an invitation insert. Absolutely if you are planning a destination wedding a website should be considered and created prior to sending out save the dates. If you can’t code an entire website like my better half, then I would strongly encourage a predesigned/pre-built wedding website engine. Thankfully for me, I got to sit next to Eric and dictate all of my website desires while he did all of the hard work. We think it turned out pretty great, and we’re always working to update it and add additional information as the big day gets closer. The update we’re most excited about? Adding a road trip playlist, curated by my famous bridesmaid who is a big deal in the music industry, and road trip suggested stops for everyone on their drive from the Bay Area to Yosemite.

Interested in how ours turned out or want to just stalk our wedding plans? We don’t judge, check it out here: mandianderic2016.com

Yes, it does sound like we’re running for president, but vote for us and check out our labor of love for inspiration for your own website!

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Blog Roundup

  • 5 Things that are harder than registering to vote
  • Gay Marriage, A Year Later [New York Times]
  • Kevin Durant leaves OKC to join the Warriors. Just give them the trophy already. [ThePlayersTribune]
  • Lollapalooza Columbia cancels entire festival because headliner Rihanna pulls out for fear of Zika Virus [Nylon]
  • Photographing the real Barack Obama [The Guardian]
  • Productivity is about what you don’t do [Jocelyn Glei]
  • The one food you should never eat according to Anthony Bourdain [TIME]
  • JetBlue does something sweet for mothers on Mother’s Day [Travel + Leisure]
  • How awkward are you? (a quiz!) I got the “I’m not awkward, which is awkward.” Man, can’t win [Man Repeller]
  • How to say “Thank You” [James Clear]
  • A generator that guesses your age and status based on what apps you have on your phone. [Washington Post] This wasn’t entirelyyyy accurate for me.

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Sleeping on Airplanes

How do people do it? I feel like this is something I should have mastered by now as an adult, but I really haven’t at all. After getting 3 hours of sleep last night and having to wake up at 5:00 AM to get ready for a 7:40 AM flight, I was pretty much counting on getting some sleep for my 2 hour flight to Seattle. But when that flight came, I was completely unprepared and I’d love to know how people do it? There are so many factors on a flight that I think can deter just about anyone from getting some sleep so here are my thoughts on that and maybe some things I’ve probably been doing wrong.

  • How do you get some sleep when there are… natural odors around you that might prevent you from sleeping because you’re trying to find another way to just breathe normally?
  • There’s a child behind you. They can’t seem to get their feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Every time we take off, I’m afraid to close my eyes because I fear that someday I’m going to be that one person that is sitting next to one that doesn’t realize they have motion sickness and that is my WORST fear.
  • What if you’re in the middle seat (like I always am – I realize that this is sort of my own fault though) and the person in the window needs to get up and use the bathroom?
  • You don’t want to miss the flight attendants when they come by with snackies and beverages
  • I listen to my music on low when I’m on a flight with my eyes closed. Does the changing of a track affect me from sleeping soundly? Probably and then there’s that whole thing about wanting to switch songs if you don’t like it so you have to open your eyes for that too.
  • If you’re in the middle seat, do you just sleep completely upright? These are things that I think about.

Oh man, I really hope I’m not the only one that has these thoughts.

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Wedding Mondays

We have a lot of love in our hearts after being in Seattle for the last week. While I was home, I learned that one of my best friends from college just got engaged! Naturally, you all know that that always makes me a little bit emotional and that getting to share a wedding video for the following Monday makes this so much better. The video we’re sharing today is right up our alley because it’s totally non-traditional and we love it. Lately, I’ve been reading about a lot of weddings through blogs that are tossing out those old-aged and stale traditions. I have such a greater sense of appreciation for couples that can do things that aren’t always by the books and are most true to themselves.

Unrelated, but sort of related – I watched an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” while I was home and this bride-to-be with electric blue hair just had to have color in her wedding dress, but her very traditional mother wanted her in a white dress. When she tried on a white dress at the request of her mother, she broke down in tears because she just didn’t feel like herself and of course, the mom (seeing her daughter sobbing) still couldn’t see it. SO (this was the best part!) the salespeople at Kleinfeld stepped in and were all “Mom, we’re not going to see a crying bride on our floor so you need to just take a step back and let your daughter do what she wants to do.” Those aren’t the exact words, but I’m pretty close! So whether you have a rainbow colored dress or you opt out of the cake cutting or don’t have a bridal party at all, you should just do what feels right for you and your partner.

Side note / Fun fact – while I was home, I caught up with Veronica who is also newly engaged and she had the chance to show me her amazing and stunning pearl earrings which her and fiance had chosen for her instead of just your standard engagement ring. I had actually never heard of anyone swapping out the engagement ring for another piece instead, but it was SO them to do it this way and it clearly held a lot of sentiment for the both of them.

To view the entire feature on Green Wedding Shoes, click here.

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Our Twenties : How We’re Doing

I was recently introduced to a company that has made a new type of mattress popular to young adults called Casper. They started a new project collaborating with bloggers about what advice they could give to young professionals and I was surprised, but flattered to be asked to be a part of it. My first thought was – “Who… me?!” As a mid-20 something, I can honestly say that there are a whole lot of days where I don’t feel like I have it all together and from what I hear, that’s pretty normal. If there’s anything I’ve learned so far about being in my 20’s, it’s that these are my most transformative years (at least as far I’ve seen!) Who I was at age 20 is vastly different from who I was at age 25. How I ran and organized my life at 22 and graduating college is far from the daily routines I hold as a 26-year old working girl. For me, the most exciting part of this all is that at 20 years old, I never envisioned this future for myself. It was a total surprise. And not knowing what the next 4 years of my 20’s will hold is something that I’m looking more forward to. Hopefully the lessons I’ve learned so far that have helped shaped my 20’s are something that you might find useful too!

Say “yes” to the things you want to do / Say “no” to things that disinterest you

Seems like a no-brainer, right? For me, this was one of those things that was easier said than done. In my early 20’s, I was a total people pleaser. I never wanted to leave a friend hanging or let someone down when they were so excited to do something that I was pretty much lukewarm about it. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, I would suck it up and in the end, I was just hurting myself. It wasn’t until my mid-20’s that I realized saying yes to things I didn’t want to do was eating up my own time, which I find to be very precious (we’ll get into that a little bit later!) Also, friends of mine would become upset if I didn’t have an opinion when they asked me if I preferred one thing over the other. Instead of voicing that I didn’t want to do either, I would say – “Whatever, it doesn’t matter to me, you pick!” In my head, I thought I was being flexible when really to them, I was being more difficult. It wasn’t until I started voicing my opinions with someone that I dated that this became more apparent to me because he would end up telling me that he *liked* how honest I was about what I did and didn’t want to do.

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Wedding Mondays

Every Sunday, I hold my breath a little bit just hoping that there’s going to be a wedding video from the previous week that we can share with everyone. Last Sunday, as I was going through my usual roundup, I was really disappointed to find that there wasn’t even one that I loved. In fact, they didn’t even come close. Luckily for me though, I stumbled upon one last night – and I really needed a good one because I was going to see Jennie today while in Seattle.

What I love about this video even though there’s no dialogue, it looks like you’re watching a perfect film. I love the shots that were captured and her two-part dress and the way they made this wedding very Mexican themed to highlight something that was special to them, but that it took place in Palm Springs! I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a wedding video from Max and Molly Films, but I am VERY excited about them.

Yup, I’m in love with her bridesmaids’ dresses as well. To view the rest of the feature, click here to visit Green Wedding Shoes!

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Let’s Talk About New York!

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As much as I love taking the trips and looking forward to writing about them on Yow Yow! When I sit down to actually start writing the post, I find myself dreading it. These are always the meatiest and because of that, I want to make sure that everything is perfect and not leave anything out.

I went to New York for the first time in March with Mandi and I couldn’t have imagined a better travel partner. I’m not just saying that because she writes on Yow Yow! with us. I’m mostly saying this because it just seemed like a no-brainer – we already really enjoy spending time with each other, but we’ve never spent THIS much time together. It could’ve gone either way, however, it was definitely more positive for us. Also, Mandi graduated from Columbia a few years back when she was there for grad school so she really knew her way around the city. We all know that I would have had a tough time surviving that if I were on my own.

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Similar to me, Mandi likes to plan things out so there were things she wanted to do/see and things I also wanted to do/see as well. Together, we compiled a list and made up a plan for every single day that we were there. It’s not surprising that we didn’t hit everything, but we did A LOT and I felt like all the walking I did in that trip was enough to last me a year. Another wonderful part about our trip was that we left some pockets open to fill. Not everything was planned to a tee and I really appreciated that because that allowed the both of us to take some time apart and do our own thing or catch up with our own friends without the other person feeling like they were being dragged into it.

When I let people know that I was going on this trip, a lot of people were surprised that this was my first time. To be honest, I didn’t think I would be 26 when I went, but it’s not terrible. When I was younger and in college, I didn’t have any friends that lived there. It was also difficult to make the time to take a trip like this since I was in school and didn’t have as much $$$ back then. Better late than never? I felt like when I left on our last day that I had a greater sense of appreciation for the city and the things that I saw, did, and ate. I’m not sure if I would have had that same feeling had I been younger.

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A Well Deserved Break

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I learned what work/life balance actually meant when I started working in the Bay Area back in 2013 (it’s a thing here apparently), but I can promise you that this was probably something that I had never practiced in my life even before that. I was thinking about writing this post while on the plane home this afternoon about to head out on my week-long vacation and the best photo that I could think of to accompany this post was the one above.

During my senior year, I was organizing a music festival for my university along with my partner and this was in the final last week stretch! I was in between classes in my events office, but honestly I spent all of my free time here anyways. In that last week, Charles and I were getting zero sleep. Any free minute we had was working out of the office and making sure everything was ready. I like to think that I was pretty crafty by making this “bed” out of two office chairs, but really this is just a prime example of how much of a mess I was! A coworker of mine managed to catch this while I was taking a cat nap. Luckily, we don’t do stuff like this today because I like to think that I’m sort of maturing into my adulthood and sleeping in my real bed when I need a nap, but the seriousness of not having work/life balance started a long time ago for me.

Sometimes, we take the breaks we need when they are too late – when we’re already burnt out and exhausted from our work. After I told a former manager of mine that I never felt like I had the opportunity to travel much because I was always working, she suggested I set a goal for myself. Every month, I should get away. It may be a trip back home, a trip elsewhere to see friends, or a day trip – whatever it was, it needed to happen once a month. This is something that I have sort of accidentally done this year in 2016 without even realizing it. It just so happens that all of my trips have occurred every month and with half of the year already under my belt, the next six months sound promising! I can already tell how positive this has been on my life because every month – at least once a month – we get to reset for a little bit. :)

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