Somewhere in Middle America

happy 2nd anniversary to us!

Two years ago today I married my best friend. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have found my perfect match. Not that we are exactly the same. Of course we share many of the same interests and values, but our differences compliment each other as well. For example, I’m more introverted whereas J is extremely extroverted, and he encourages me to come out of my shell.

Sadly, we can’t celebrate this special occasion together today because we are 1,250 miles apart! I am in NJ preparing for my sister’s wedding this weekend; J will join us later this week. However, we plan to enjoy a romantic dinner on Sunday at the location where we exchanged our vows (we actually married on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in 2008).

If you’re wondering why I never show my husband’s handsome face on my blog, it’s not because he’s camera shy. (Quite the opposite!) It’s simply a privacy thing.

(photos by Heather Waraksa)

happy anniversary to us!

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Yesterday, J and I celebrated our first anniversary. It’s still hard to believe that 365 days have gone by since we exchanged our vows; I can remember that day like it was yesterday. It’s even more crazy to think that J has been deployed for nearly half of our first official year together. Needless to say, we’ve had an unconventional year as newlyweds, and it looks like our life will be a bit unpredictable for another three or so years.

Because our anniversary fell on Memorial Day this year, there wasn’t much for us to do in Omaha. Nearly every “fancy” restaurant in the city was closed, either because they typically close on Mondays or because of the holiday, so we had brunch at Wheatfields, dinner at House of Hunan and dessert at Dairy Queen. We walked around Village Pointe, took an afternoon nap and, in the evening, watched Jon & Kate Plus 8.

It didn’t really bother me that yesterday was a low-key day because next week we’re heading to Phoenix for a true vacation in honor of our anniversary. We’re staying at the Biltmore and have nothing on our agenda besides lounging by the pool and eating at the best restaurants in the area. If you have any suggestions of things to do in Phoenix, please leave them in the comments section below. The last time I was in the Phoenix-area was back in 1998, I think!

(photo by Heather Waraksa)

american photo’s top wedding photographer

I was excited to learn that my wedding photographer, Heather Waraska, was named one of American Photo‘s Top Wedding Photographers of 2009 — and extremely surprised to see my portrait (above) included in her portfolio slideshow! It’s a beautifully artistic and intense photograph, but I don’t really think it looks like me!

Because of his deployments, J and I are a little bit behind in ordering our wedding album… and engagement album, the photos for which were taken over one year ago. My bridal shower also took place over a year ago, and in about a month, J and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since these milestones in my life. I remember them like they just happened. As time passes, I hope the memories of all of these wedding-related events stay as strong in my mind as they are now. (Of course, having those photo albums would help tremendously!)

we not me

When I saw this poster on More Ways to Waste Time, I immediately thought of marriage. As I’m learning, in a successful marriage you often need to do what’s best for the relationship (the “we”) rather than what’s best for yourself (the “me”). I’ve been told this is a crucial lesson to learn, especially during the first year — when it’s easy to fall back into singleton selfishness.

You can buy it for $18 here. Unfortunately, I love the message, but I’m not crazy about the colors.

happy one year anniversary…

… to Jess and her Guy!  I can’t believe it’s been a year since their amazing wedding. Time is just flying by.

Congratulations!

wedding dress preservation

No, this is not a photo of me. I didn’t “trash my dress” after my wedding. It’s hanging in my bedroom closet in my parents’ house, exactly where I left it after the wedding weekend. It’s safe and sound–but dirty. I haven’t let my mom take the dress to be cleaned and preserved yet because she thinks that the neighborhood dry cleaner will suffice. I’m not so sure about that. This is my wedding dress we’re talking about! But I know that taking it back to the bridal salon from where it was purchase will likely cost several hundred dollars, and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that option either.


Read more…

kansas city on a hot summer day

On Saturday Jamie and I took a road trip to Kansas City. Our primary goal was to return or exchange gifts we had each received for our weddings (she got married a month after I did) and to use our 10% off completion coupon to buy what remained on our registries. A trip to the plaza was also on our agenda, as we both wanted to go to Anthropologie, Paper Source and American Apparel, among other stores.

Here’s a rundown of our day spent in KC by the numbers.

360 = Approximate numbers of miles we traveled roundtrip

2.5 = Hours spent at Crate & Barrel

3 = Number of bags containing Jamie’s purchases from C&B

12 = Number of bags and boxes containing my purchases from C&B

2 = Number of fast food meals eaten in 12 hours. Lunch at McDonald’s and a snack at Wendy’s on our drive home.

25 = Percentage we got off on our purchases from Anthropologie thanks to Jamie’s sister’s Friends & Family discount.

1 = Number of travel centers we stopped at on our way home. SAPP BROS, somewhere in Iowa, is a site to be seen.

4 = Number of folding knives in a collectibles kit available at SAPP BROS — and on sale!

45 – Minutes listening to “Learn Italian” CD. (io capisco un po l’taliano)

1,000,000 = Degrees it felt like outside as we walked up hills, down hills and in circles

Jamie’s bags

My boxes and bags

More of my purchases

Lunch

The craziest gas station store ever

Knives on sale

Watches and wax

weak nails

I wore fake nails to my wedding.

However, they were gel and not acrylic, and I used Mademoiselle by Essie rather than getting the traditional bridal French manicure, which I think helped to lessen the tackiness.

Now my real nails are in dire need of some TLC. Not only are they short (I bit them WAY down in the weeks leading up to the wedding), but they’re weak. I heard that there are some supplements you can take to help your nails grow faster and stronger. A former co-worker used to take MSM supplements, but I’m wary to start taking those because they seem to be for arthritic adults and not for growing fingernails. I heard that Biotin can make your hair and nails grow, but can anybody vouch for that? What about the expensive Phyto supplements from France?

(images source and source)

i’ll be in the kitchen

Allow me to introduce my new favorite kitchen appliance…the Keurig Platinum B70. We actually received it two weeks ago (wow!) at our wedding from J’s cousins, but it was one of many gifts we had to return to BB&B in NJ and re-buy in Omaha. It’s fantastic! This morning I’m drinking one of the French Vanilla cups with some Splenda and Vanilla Caramel Coffee-Mate, and it’s delish. We’re going to have to buy some more K-cups pretty soon; the sample box of 18 cups only had 17 in it! I wonder if Costco sells K-cups…if not, I’ll be using my 20%-off BB&B coupons to restock.

the married life

So what does a married woman do upon her return to Omaha? SLEEP! I can’t seem to get enough of it. Since we got home on Saturday, I’ve slept until about 11am almost every day. (Today I was up at the ungodly hour of 8:15am because J literally dragged me out of bed. He said I have to start getting up at a normal hour. What does he know?)

I can justify my lethargy: Before the wedding, I was an emotional wreck. My anxiety levels were through the roof. I was nervous/anxious/excited about the wedding, stressed out about my job, etc. But now that the wedding is over and I’m (happily) unemployed, I can finally relax. I feel like a totally different person. At night, in bed, my mind can actually turn off. It’s wonderful. So I’m taking full advantage of it and making up for all the sleep I’ve lost in the previous months.

When I’m not sleeping, I’ve been adjusting to the role of housewife. Doing laundry, doing dishes, reorganizing the cabinets and the bookcases and the closets… I’m actually enjoying myself. Getting things in order gives me pleasure. However, I don’t intend to do this full-time for the rest of my married life. I’ve been brainstorming with two friends about the real possibility of us opening a store together. The more I talk about it with them and with my family, the more real it becomes. Right now I’m trying to figure out what exactly I need to know and do in order to start a small business. More details on that as they develop…

I know I still owe you stories and photos from the wedding. Those are forthcoming. I didn’t take any at my own wedding, and I’m still collecting pictures from my friends and family. I’ll be posting some of the best over the next couple of days. Of course, I’m most eager to see Heather’s photos. She brought two assistants with her that day, so I know there are going to be a TON of amazing pictures. She is such a rock star among my circle of friends. I seriously think some of them were more excited to meet her than to see me!

This evening I’m going with a friend to her final dress fitting. Her wedding is in less than three weeks, but since it will be in Buffalo, NY, I’m unable to attend. I can’t wait to see her in her dress. I’m definitely going to have wedding envy. I want to do it all again!

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