Well, tomorrow is the last day of engagement (or I guess, technically it’s today)! Thanks so much for reading my blog throughout these 500 days. I had so much fun working on it, and it reminded me of how much I love to write. I hope you felt inspired by the ideas & enjoyed following along!
If I start a new blog, I’ll be sure to link it here. 🙂 Til then, I’m off to get married & explore Europe! I’ll see you onInstagram.
“Honeymoons are supposed to be relaxing,” people keep saying.
Hahaha. Have you met us, though?
While we temporarily considered going back to the Bahamas for our honeymoon, we couldn’t really pass up the opportunity to take two weeks further away. New Zealand/Australia and Europe were both serious contenders, but since it’s winter in the southern hemisphere, we went with Europe.
I generally consider us to be good planners and budget-conscious (oldest children, woo!), but this trip was a little more complicated. As I was looking through one of my favorite travel bloggers’ site (The Simple Sol), I saw she had a page for travel planning. Yes, please!
In short, having Taylor plan our honeymoon was the best decision. We gave her the countries we wanted and our budget, and she planned everything.
She managed to give us tours and experiences – along with flights, trains (OK, still working out trains – they’re confusing), a car rental, and hotels – all in our budget. She is by no means compensating me to say this, but I’m honestly impressed!
One day when we do get around to taking that New Zealand/Australia trip, we’ll definitely be reaching out to The Simple Sol again.
Today’s guest post is by my good friend Alex of Wandering Paper Co! Alex was one of my college roomies and she’s an incredibly talented designer (Just read on – you’ll see!). She’s getting married TOMORROW and was kind enough to share her handmade invitations!
Hello, 500 Days of Engagement readers! My name is Alex and I am very excited to be guest-blogging about my wedding invitations here today. I am a graphic designer, so naturally I had to design my own wedding invitations! But first, I want to share with you a little bit about my fiancé, Philip, and me.
Philip and I met in 2012 when I moved to Dallas for a design job, and by 2013, we had started dating. Our partnership wasn’t just a romantic one; we teamed up on many creative projects as well. Through working together on his book, Miraclist, and my printmaking business, we’ve learned a lot about each other and how we function as a team.
Philip is a fantastic person to work with because he and I approach tasks so differently. I am very strategic and analytical; he prefers to dive right in. So when it comes to making creative decisions, he helps me speed up, and I help him slow down.
When we got engaged, we knew we wanted our wedding to reflect our creative partnership. The theme was inspired by this piece by one of my favorite graphic designers, Tord Boontje. We are having a lakeside wedding , and we’ve put together three of these panels to use as a backdrop for the ceremony.
The invitations take visual cues from the backdrop, with a cut-paper style design framing the invitation. The finished design was letterpressed on Crane Lettra 110#.
The cut paper theme will be reflected throughout the different pieces in the wedding décor, including the cake! I’m really happy with how everything turned out, and I’ve had a lot of fun designing such a personal project. I can’t wait to share the rest of the details! Maybe Jen will let me do another guest blog after the wedding 😉
Alex is a graphic designer and printmaker based in Dallas. Follow her on Instagram for more inspiring design work and travel-themed prints.
My dear friend James once told me – sort of jokingly, after I had told him some schedule I mapped out – that he felt sorry for the guy who would marry me one day. Well, this is probably one of those times when everyone would feel sorry for my poor fiancé.
This weekend we’re going to tackle our shared apartment, and I am so excited! Here’s the tentative schedule I have planned out:
I know it, my fiancé is a lucky guy. In my defense, though, I have been wanting a weekend like this for the last year and a half! The weird thing about moving into an already-occupied apartment is I had to squeeze my belongings into the empty nooks, so it has never felt 50/50. More like 90/10! The thought that I might have my very own drawer for socks, or a space to store my Christmas decorations, is going to keep me going this weekend. 🙂
As much as I believe in living in the moment, I condone a healthy amount of daydreaming about the future. 🙂
John & I are in a lucky position where – thanks to his remote job & the plethora of marketing jobs for me in the country – we could live anywhere after the wedding.
At first I dreamt a lot about a tiny box in NYC, but lately I really have a house or townhouse on my heart. I’ve always wanted to be a young mom and obviously a house is more in line with that dream (and kinder to the neighbors) than an apartment.
I have a Pinterest board for first home inspo here, but I’m sharing a few of my favorite pins here today. Enjoy!
Last weekend was my bridal shower/bachelorette. To say I felt loved would be an understatement. Between all of my bridesmaids from Seattle to DC coming into town, to the cutest decorations, to the most fun, laid-back evening, I felt more loved than ever in my life.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day:
I felt a little sick the night of the party and went into the week super sick. This week was the first time my fiancé and I were sick at the same time, and it was not fun! There was a lot of trading off over whose turn it was to buy more tissues or come up with dinner, followed by an agreement that our next apartment will be within Amazon Instant’s delivery zone. 😉
As of today, January 19, I’ve been a blogger for one year. Hooray!
Though I didn’t announce my blog to friends & family til sometime in February, and I didn’t get my Instagram rolling until spring (major blogger fail), I’m counting Jan. 19 as my anniversary date.
Since my first post with its centered type, here are my standard “what I’ve learned about blogging” notes:
Blogging is CUT-THROAT. There are literally millions of bloggers trying to make it, and if you want it to be your full-time job you have to hustle like crazy. It sort of drives me nuts when people suggest I quit my job and blog because they somewhere heard blogging is a job. I mean, kind of… But I want to make more than $10/year.
The blogging world opens you up to friends all over the world. I wrote about my favorite wedding bloggers here, but I’m sure there are so many more I haven’t read yet!
Social media is king. I don’t have a Twitter (fail) and my Snapchat is just for friends and family (double fail), but Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have served me well. It’s a love-hate relationship, especially when you want to take a social media break. Well, you can’t! 😉
Relatable posts > standard posts. I know I’m not the only one who skims the pictures of fashion blogs but really sits down to read when they write about something important. My posts about hair or shoes or whatever get decent readership, but blogging about #thestruggle always sparks more conversation because people can relate.
Internet security is important. Just pay the extra cost to register your domain privately. Just do it.
Some people have asked if this is going to transition into a newlywed blog, to which I say… maybe. 🙂 TBD. But probably not. Writing about your life is kind of weird, you know? Plus, I’m sort of psyched for the free time not taken by wedding planning and blogging in the future. So we’ll see.
For this part 2, I have to say I very much regret not getting married sooner (like this past year, not in life)! It feels like every day my age ticks a bit older as my metabolism ticks a bit slower.
But here we are. So here are some of the small changes I’ve made lately. Maybe they will help you, too!
1. Standing desk
My dad made me a standing desk and it’s one of my favorite things ever! I stand probably 90% of the week now. My coworkers made fun of me for a good couple months before they all apparently saw the same story on FOX News about it, and now they admire it.
(Yes, I know, if you work in a millennial office, you’ve had one of these for years.)
2. Cutting back
Ramen is my favorite food of all time. I feel lucky about this, in a way, because I used to eat so cheap. Spending $2 for a week’s worth of dinner was lovely. But it’s nothing nutrition-wise (or as my friend Chase once put it, “basically cyanide”). My solution: Just don’t buy it. Some days I want it so bad and Target is minutes away, so I go get it. But mostly… I don’t.
I’m also obsessed with pumpkin spice lattes, as any good basic is, and there’s a Starbucks nearby that told me they’ll have them til MARCH. (It’s this one. You’re welcome.) So now I cannot go there; I have to go to ones where my only option is the much-fewer-caloried flat white.
3. Commit to 20 minutes of exercise
In part 1, I mentioned being totally exhausted all the time. This is still super true. I don’t have goals like “run 8 miles tonight” like I used to. My goal is just “work out for 20 minutes”. Some days, I’m so tired it ends up being the biggest fight to just leisurely walk that long. Other days, I get going and run 4 miles. But at least, both days, I do something.
So that’s where I’m at. Maybe there will be a part 3. We’ll see how things go. 🙂
Since I started blogging as a Southern Bride Blogger, I’ve discovered just how much is going on out there in the blogging world. There are an estimated 31 million+ bloggers in the US alone, and wedding blogs are certainly not in short supply.
Here are some of my favorite reads, listed in order left-> right, top-> bottom.
Simply Sweet Melissa: Melissa is a newlywed now, but there’s no reason you can’t go back and read her many wedding planning and wedding recap posts! I like that she wrote recaps because it’s interesting to see what mattered to her after the big day. I also just read her blog post-wedding for all the lifestyle posts.
A Tad Bit of Southern Charm: Brittany is basically an expert in all things weddings, and it shows on her blog. She puts a lot of thought into her decisions, from invitations to upcoming trends she plans to incorporate to her venue. I’m on her site at least 3 times a week.
A Bluegrass Bride: Anna is also recently married, and an excellent source for keeping up on timelines. Check out the “wedding checklist” section of her site. It’s helped me think of things I missed completely.
Tay & Co.: A fellow Southern Bride Blogger, Taylor blogs about fashion in addition to wedding planning. Please just look at her cute side braid and orange scarf in the photo above. I wish she could be my stylist IRL.
Celebrate Dallas: Celebrate Dallas is actually a wedding planner with a blog attached. I’ve linked to the blog, but please explore the whole site! Megan’s style is all things colorful and bright, and I’m obsessed.
Southern Weddings: Well, of course. Not sure if you could call this a blog so much as a magazine empire, but they do post daily weddings/tips/features so check it regularly.
Style Me Pretty: In the same vein, SMP is a mega-blog. I had to stop following them on Instagram because they post a million things a day, but if that’s your thing then find them there. I also like reading Style Me Pretty Living and pretending like I have a house where I host dinner parties. 🙂
Little White Dress: OBSESSED. I’ve linked to the main site but click “blog” on the top if you want to go straight there. Lauren’s a stylist with past experience at Lily Pulitzer and she recently blogged about Lauren Conrad’s Runway line, so you know she’s good. I’ll be working with her soon so check back. 😉
Green Wedding Shoes: OK, another mega-blog but a good one. I think of it as the alternative to the mainstream (The Knot). The looks featured as usually more laid-back and outdoorsy.
People always think the oldest child is the responsible, even-tempered, smart one. Even the Huffington Post says so.
As the oldest of three, I have to tell you this is not the case in my family. Though I may get the most attention for my occasional accomplishments – simply because I did them first – I am, in truth, the family failure. So when I need advice on how to *actually* be a responsible, even-tempered, smart human being, I go to my brother, the second-born.
(FYI I have a WHOLE THEORY on second-borns, and if you know me IRL I have probably already told you even if you didn’t want to hear it. It’s not really relevant to this post. But ask me later if you want to hear it. ‘CAUSE IT’S GOOD.)
I asked my brother for advice on something I was ready to give up on.
“Jen, you’re a quitter,” he told me. “You always get excited about something for like four months, then you move on to something else.”
He’s not wrong.
My resumé reads like the story of a fugitive who can’t stay in one place for long without being caught. In college, I flirted with six different career paths (throughout two colleges and three majors). I’ve never finished out an apartment lease. I have a hard enough time trying to not quit blogging, for goodness’ sake, and it’s only a 500-day-long project (probably). Once something gets a little rocky, or a little boring, I’m out.
But do you know what’s really scary about that? Marriage is not a semester-long in college, or a year-long lease, or a 500-day website. Unless you are Kim Kardashian, you can’t really up and quit marriage after 72 days.
So what does that mean for a quitter like myself? I’m not really sure. But I think it’s about time to start training in “how not to be a quitter”.
Step 1: Don’t quit any jobs or this blog or anything else right now. Step 2: Don’t quit marriage. Ever.