We can be set FREE from our brokenness, for $19.99!

JK, it’s actually for free… not some Jenny Craig Program for the heart or something…

Last week, my women’s Bible study group was studying about brokenness. And as I was one of the youngest in the group, I didn’t feel like I had much life experience to share. People shared about broken relationships with spouses and family members and parents. People shared about death and mental disorders and other severe chronic ailments…

Mine? A breakup… sounds quite silly and young… actually. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day… WHAT? Single Valentine’s Day = Wonderful!

So… Now I’m married, I’m wondering if I really have to celebrate this valentine’s day thing… since we married, doesn’t that show ultimately that we love one another? Enough to take the vow… “till DEATH do us part”?

Now I don’t mind if buying a Valentine’s Day gift for a guy means flowers and a teddy bear plus some chocolates… except not.

Continue reading

Where did all the restaurants go?!?!

I wanted to go with my husband to Saturday brunch tomorrow. Simple. Easy. No sweat. Everyone does it, and it’s so common, right?

NO!

Apparently, only ONE place offer brunch, and apparently it’s also only on Sunday. What?! Where is the brunch businesses?? Why isn’t anyone eating/demanding brunch service?

Apparently, it’s been a trend that has only been heavily wide spread in the last 5 years around NYC and Philadelphia and Boston. But Michigan is in the same time zone, EST… so why hasn’t the wild fire spread here yet?

Fine. It’s Friday afternoon, and Maybe they’ll have some restaurants with some outdoor seating with heat-lamps. You know, like the ones at Rouge or Parc or Farmers~!

Nope, they stop seating outdoors once September comes. “You’re 4 months too late!” they say. UGH~ what?! with heat lamps you can sit there till the middle of February! (Minus the time that Philadelphia had 60+ inches of snow and no money to plow the snow, and SEPTA (our buses and trains and subway) decides, at the same time, to throw a fit and go on strike. cry-babies…)

Alright, fine. We’ll sit indoors, and we won’t go to brunch, we’ll go to the normal lunch. Wait, no lunches available on Saturdays either. OMG. FINE. We’ll just go to the normal person dinner then! Let’s find us some restaurants! 🙂

If you are looking for a way to quickly find a list of restaurants (for whatever purposes: dinner, happy hour, lunch, brunch, etc), I’d highly recommend you pull the city’s Restaurant Week roster. This usually will give you about 80% of the nice restaurants in town. The other 20%  will either come on board next year or have a big nose that they stick  in the air and don’t care to join in. (Yes yes, I agree that Restaurant Week is a nightmare and the patrons are horrible. I personally DON’T participate in Restaurant Week, I just use the list… haha). Oh, and you ask why the other 20% will probably come on board next year? Because since the bad economy hit in 2007-2008, restaurant businesses have been losing a lot of money. If you notice the trends, you’ll see that restaurants that used to be too upp-ity to join restaurant week or Center City Sips, now have joined. In addition, MANY restaurants have regular daily happy hours and many places have ADDITIONAL specials for Mondays and Tuesdays (these are the famous dead days in the service industry, service industry including bars and restaurants).

Anyhow… I digress. My point is, let’s go pull up Michigan’s Restaurant Week. Let’s look at their downtown, where some of the best restaurants in the state are located. Apparently, they also have a few Iron Chef restaurants that reside here. Getting excited! The list, ladies and gentleman…(drumroll, please!)…… 20 restaurants.
WHAT?! is there another secret list that I don’t know of? (and I’ve already been to 10+ of the 20…) Some of them are just burger joints. I’m dying here. What happened to a list of over 200 restaurants? ok, fine, 100? no… fine, 50? Nope… 21 restaurants. 😦

I will STARVE out here!!!

Someone please mail order me some gourmet food!!!!

Auto Insurance, Mattress Hunting, and Honeymoon Reservations

Did you think that planning a wedding would sometimes include these items? I didn’t. 

Ok, the honeymoon reservations were obvious… but when I think wedding planning, I often think of more the dress, the food, the cake, the bridal party, etc.

So today, at work, I got slammed with 3 very stressful topics. Auto Insurance (I don’t own / drive a car in the city of Philadelphia, thank goodness…), buying a new mattress, and our honeymoon reservations have been paid… twice.

The main reason why it’s stressful is just because I don’t know anything about those 3 things.

I don’t drive a car and we’re about to buy a car for me for when I move to Michigan. I think about the color of the car, the interior, whether or not I can get Sirius XM radio or Navigon, etc etc… But probably the most important thing about buying a car is registering the car and getting it insured (or at least getting yourself covered under some type of auto insurance plan). Now throw in the fact that I’m moving… everything gets more complicated. I’m currently a Pennsylvania resident, planning to buy a car in PA, to drive it up to MI, in order to register and insure it there… (my fiance was the one who reminded me about these other… important details).

As for the mattress situation, we need to buy a new mattress for us after the wedding. We are looking for one that has combined firmness, so one half being soft (for me) and one half being firm (for him). While Mattress Giant carries this (and a good one, might I add, since I have married friends that own it), there is no Mattress Giant in the state of Michigan… and it is unable to deliver this mattress to us. So now we have to look for other similar ones. Except… I’ve learned now, that mattress stores are very similar to used car dealerships, and the salespersons are equal in their shadiness.

I’ve been going online and searching for tips on how to find a mattress. I first get a ton of tips and guides about how NOT to get conned by mattress salespersons. Then I come by a few sites with review forums on all the brands and models of mattresses available. While I understand that there is a high potential that only dissatisfied and angry customers will be proactive and complain about the product, I also wanted to see what the complaints were. This made me more terrified about this now ever-growing daunting task of buying a new mattress.

As for the honeymoon reservations, we have two destination, of the two, one is in Asia. While we have already reserved and put down a deposit, my lovely well-intentioned father texted me to tell me that he helped us reserved our hotel suites for the Asia portion of the honeymoon and has paid everything in FULL. While that’s very thoughtful, I’m sweating cold sweat, because that means we now have two reservations, one half paid, one fully paid. My father says his can’t be refunded (not really sure the exact details…) but he had bought a package, with all-inclusive food and drinks for the stay, as well as massages, etc etc.

So now we need to see if we can get a full refund on our previously paid deposit for that first reservation, and just use the second (father-made) reservation.

Did not think that these things would be the items that stress me out during the work day. Unless of course emails and phone calls and text messages were being sent around DURING the work day…

(Below: pictures of where we are going for our first portion of the honeymoon!)

Midwest doesn’t like Obama… what?!?!

So a few more items that I found that may hinder my attempted subtle transition into the Midwest… I’m trying to be inconspicuous, and fit right in… Looks like it’s going to be a lot harder.

First of all, people in Michigan speak with an accent. I am NOT joking. It’s very slight, but it’s most apparent in how they pronounce their “a”‘s, particularly the short “a” sounds…

Tangent.

Second of all, everyone (ok, fine, not everyone, many people….) is Christian and Republican. (obviously excluding places like Ann Arbor where there is high percentage of high education, research, teaching, education….) Apparently, it’s common for dinner table conversations to be bashing Obama and the administration.
Now, obviously, as left as NYC and CA can be… people aren’t always 100% pro-Obama and think he’s God’s chosen one… However, we also know to be PC and polite and not be bashing a certain side of politics in mixed company. What makes you think everyone here is Republican?! And even if everyone is Republican, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees!

It just makes me really uncomfortable. When people start going on and on and on, and suddenly if they bring up religion + all these other things, then I am not sure. I should stand up for what I think, right? I shouldn’t feel like I’m being silenced. But it’s strange, we’re talking about a “free country” and a “free market” yet suddenly, I don’t feel like my speech is very free anymore… We don’t have to agree, but to be condemning and mean is just not okay (no matter what corner of the earth you’re from…)

And moreover, WHY ARE YOU STILL YELLING?? Is it really the policies? Or perhaps its the race that you’re bothered by, but since you can’t openly complain about that (against federal law of racism) then you displace your dissatisfaction and target his policies and parties. Look, I don’t necessarily agree with all of Obama’s decisions and policies either, but I don’t say horrific things and bash the leader of our country. I still try to give the man some basic respect, you know, the ones promised and mandated by the Constitution? Oh, and btw, I’m also Christian. So now what? Why are you telling me that the Democrats are the devil?

Obama is already in the 3rd year of his term, if anything, why don’t you focus on who’s running? As opposed to, “Let me count the ways of his mistakes, and though I can’t do better, nor do I understand or know better, let me just complain, instead of using my complaints and energy in a positive way to influence the community, you know, in that same way that you think Obama isn’t doing well.”
Ohh, but of course, you’re Republican and Christian (?! I don’t see how this is relevant here…), and you think there should be a new development on ways to euthanize poor and sick people (oh, and don’t forget the immigrants) so that YOUR tax dollars don’t have to pay a cent.

Except, why do you have income today? Don’t say “because my own two hands got me here.” That’s never true. I went to some of the most expensive schools in this country, and I KNOW that I can’t ever say “by my own two hands,” because it’s just NOT true. It’s so untrue.

If I were born a different race, or a different family background, how about a different SES? Then what? I could work with my “own two hands” but I wouldn’t have the guidance “towards what should I work for”, “how should I work for”

ok, stepping back. This blog was never supposed to discuss politics.

Anyhow, I just found another obstacle in my transition to Michigan. Great…

I’m not saying I have to find friends that are pro-Obama, not at all. But I hope I’m not clamored with hoards of people/politics bashing company… Hopefully, we can have intelligent and cordial discussions, where we can talk about our thoughts and opinions. I always want to know what people think and why they think so, even if it’s worlds apart. But it shouldn’t become a battle, or attacks, or anything mean and barbaric.

Anyhow, I guess I shouldn’t hang my Obama poster back in 2008 anywhere visible. I kept it, thinking it will be an awesome memorabilia, since it really was our first black president ever. Thinking I’ll keep something to show my kids “I was there!”

But now… I guess some parts of the country think that it’s a disgrace, and want nothing more than to scrutinize and crucify his every move.

Good job, Midwest America. Finally overcoming 300 years of racism, and you just set us back to the 60s. Good job.

Enter: Bridesmaids!

Just a while ago, I had happily gathered with my bridesmaids, with some mango mimosa (amazing, btw) and some sushi, I love my fish raw!

My 4 bridesmaids are from my different walks of life. My maid of honor is with me in Philly, she is in my small group and goes to the same church. She was deepest undercover operative that my fiance used to gather valuable intel from me, regarding surprise birthday parties, ring size and ring preference, and finally, to get a manicure before the proposal. She is my maid of honor, who has quiet strength, but some impressive fits of delirious giggles and explosions when needed (like Jiggly-puff… apparently). Using color codes in notes and spreadsheet is her specialty.

My next bridesmaid is my college best friend. We met as freshmen, we were in the same class, then we had the same major (both had Physics as our double major). So thereafter, we had every class together till the day we died… I mean, till we graduated. We were in dance together, we were part of the same close group of friends. I brought her to my church and my college fellowship and eventually that’s where she got baptized. She currently lives in Florida with some gorgeous dark red hair. She has some crazy ideas, but has the biggest and most generous heart one has seen before.

My next bridesmaids is was someone I used to mentor (I guess still? since mentoring is lifelong??). I used to be her college advisor, but soon after she graduated and started working in NYC, we became close friends. It kind of felt like a Paul-Timothy relationship, except without the crazy age gap. We’re only 3 years apart. She is a crazy NYC person. She sometimes can be the most clueless person in the group. But she brings a type of calmness and happiness into the group as well. Schedules and itineraries are her specialties. Armed with electronics and maps in hand, she is never afraid of getting lost or asking for help. She can reserve and book us into restaurants of any caliber. She is a yelp fan and can easily tell us why we should go somewhere somehow.

My next bridesmaids is my close friend in Philly. She is an ex-athlete. Trained with the type of endurance only a professional athlete can have. She has crazy endurance. And that includes when she is dragged out to shop for bridal dresses. She is the only bridesmaid who has accompanied me to ALL bridal dress appointments. FIGHTER! 🙂 She also spends a large amount of time doing event planning along with her phD, like me. So we have similar lives. I support her events, she supports my events (and on occasion bounces at my too-large events). She is ALWAYS on her Droid, and loves spreadsheets and google calendar. Her specialty is forcing me not to accidentally drift back to becoming event planner on my wedding day and remind me to be pampered and have fun.

Honorary member: She is more knowledgeable than 10 brides combined. She has more knowledge than any bridal consultant I’ve met. She’s planned more weddings than the fingers on her one hand, and been in at least 4 bridal parties. She is knowledgeable from centerpieces to dresses to flowers to stationary. She is currently in Philly and studying to be a nurse. Her energy is indispensable and her knowledge is worth millions. Her specialty is fighting off the bad people during anything, giving off positive energy and excitement to keep the group excited,  and also finding the best ideas/deals/inventions.

Me, being very type A and way over-organized, had handouts printed for them, googledocs ready for them. They, being my beloved bridesmaids, are also super organized, didn’t miss a beat, and started also creating multiple spreadsheets and documents for: dress shops, florists, types of flowers in season, centerpiece option, bridesmaids shoe options, etc etc…

They are amazing. They make my life amazing. And they do it with a smile. And they do it all happily. We are having a blast. It’s awesome! 🙂

Best part of my wedding so far: My time with these ladies!

Wedding planning is a microcosm of marriage

Wow.. I can’t believe how many topics we’ve covered in the past 3 days.

I’m not going to lie, there are many times that we get so discouraged, because these discussions (or fights) can get intense, and personal, and we can feel very vulnerable.

Issues that we’ve covered in 3 short days:

– Birth control methods, responsibility, medical risks, statistics, etc.

– Moving, possessions of each person, do we ship it, buy new things, which things to keep and which to throw out, different tastes, etc. (I hate your lamp, I like my table, I wouldn’t pay 5 cents for your shelf, etc)

– Registry or cash as gifts, information from other couples, one location or multiple ones, what information/perks/deals are useless or useful

– Sticking up for the other person (we’re on the same side)

I’m thankful that sometimes in the middle of the fight, when we’re both fuming at each other, we stop to pray. (Because we’re both speechless at some point… which is very very rare…)  Sometimes we’re not that angry yet, and we still have some sanity and have the lucidity to say, “I think we should pray.”
Sometimes, it’s because of pure scheduling. Because it’s time for our weekly devotionals, and we needed to pause our fights, so we could pray and do our couple’s Bible Study time. (Is it ironic that we were on Ephesians 5 this week? the part about Husbands and Wives?)

This morning, we had a short phone call before work, and we were loosely discussing some topics (can’t even remember what…) But we very easily agree on most things. In fact, we have the same opinion and mindset on the majority of things. I guess on the few things that we disagree on, sometimes they are significant issues to us and we become more emotionally charged than usual, and we get into very heated arguments.

A few of my women mentors at church (some newlyweds, others married for a few years) say that the top three things that couples fight about:
Money
Sex
Family (children and parents)

Our pastor tells us that marriage is a journey. I’m excited for it. I really am.

It’s just tough when there’s crying times (like last night) and difficult discussions (where you feel like you’re head is about to explode).

Thankfully, we can pray. Somehow, that always calms us both down, and renews us, and reminds us about what is ultimately the most important thing.
Christ – and being like-minded to Him.

 

 

PS. I know that by no means are we done fighting, there is a long road ahead of us. But with Christ as our head, I’m not too worried about it. I’m not to wary, I’m not fearful. 🙂