Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Hideous Holiday Sweater.

I stumbled upon Coke Zero's Sweater Generator on Monday after a friend created their own yarn art and posted it to Facebook.  The Sweater Generator is an on-line tool that allows you to channel your inner granny and design your very own hideous holiday sweater.  Every aspect of the sweater is customizable - to include cut, color, patterns, and graphics.  The best part is the 100 sweaters with the most votes will be knitted and shipped to their creators. 

Sold!!  There are three primary convictions as to why I am making this sweater my mission.
  • As the accessory queen, I can't imagine a better piece of holiday flare!  Especially one that will have a fun story behind it.  And you know I will be dazzling it even further with jingle bell earrings!
  • What a fun social media experiment!  I just wrote the RLF v. SMC post so I feel like "I know people", but do I really?
  • It's just the thing to occupy my time and suppress my post-wedding blues!  Which by the way, is a real thing.

The Masterpiece! Seeing as I am a newlywed, I strategically, placed those bows for Tower.

Yesterday, I was campaigning to a co-worker and he said to me, "why don't you just buy it".  Well - co-worker - because not everything is for sale.  There is just something exhilarating about going after something that's attainment is contingent solely upon the support of others.  Particularly, the support of SMCs.

I am currently in the top 15 of 20,000+ entries so I am starting out strong.  However, I must continue to be vigilant and am begging for your votes, which you can do once a day until December 1st.

If I win, I promise to celebrate and show my appreciation for your votes by pumping holiday spirit and kindness back into the world.    I will wear the shit out of this sweater!  I want to document our journey together in a hybrid of the Shelf on the Elf, Flat Stanley, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants sort of a way.

Secondly, I will do something I should do anyway (something I've wanted to do for along time).  I will don the sweater, grab a crisp $50 bill, and grab lunch at one of my usual suspects (Jimmy Johns, Chipotle, Noodles & Co.) and tell the person waiting on me to keep the change.  I really have a special place in my heart for people who work hard but may not make the best wages.  I know it's not much to offer, but it will have to do until I win the Power Ball. 

So there you have it.  Your votes will bring me joy and together we can make the day of another.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Boom! Married in 7 Minutes.

Warning: If you watch this, you will never get your seven minutes back.

And there you have it, that's our 428 second wedding video. Short and sweet. I am not overly impressed with the quality, but I am glad we have it. It was important for me to post it because it was through watching youtube videos of Las Vegas weddings that I selected our venue - the Juno Garden at Caesars Palace. I wanted to return the favor.  So many Las Vegas wedding venues look like funeral homes so I am happy to have found this lovely garden.  The 75 degrees and sunshine in November made it that much sweeter.

I was so honored to have my dad walk me down the aisle.  There was a time a couple years ago when I wasn't sure he was going to make it.  Both my parents and Tower's parents have been  married for 40+ years.  That my friends, is really something.  Tower and I got a late start, but I think we can get there too. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Real Life Friends v. Social Media Companions.

I first joined Instagram under the username @passingleft.  This was prior to the formation of Mama Laughlin's Fit Camp so I wasn't posting a ton of fitness related pictures.  Mainly my posts consisted of just photos of my cat, food porn, and highlights from my travels.  My only followers were real life friends (RLFs) and were small in number.  Then Fit Camp came along and Instagram became another mechanism to motivate and seek motivation in the health and wellness arena.  My followership grew and I found myself increasingly wanting to push the envelope of things that I was posting.  Things that I did not necessarily want Tower's parents or his co-workers see.  For instance, visuals of my shirtless 30 Day Shred results.  The desire to be raw, honest, and open finally led me to ditching @passingleft and migrating to @fitnessunscripted.  Initially, my intent was to hide from RLFs because honestly I didn't think they would get it and frankly, I thought they would think the content of my posts were lame.  Slowly though, since changing handles approximately a year ago, several of them have found me and are now following me again.

And I do.....I really do think my RLFs think I am weird.  Some of them have made snide remarks about the quantity of my posts, or that I am addict.  I honestly think they equate me to those dreaded annoying people that do nothing but showcase their children on Facebook or gloat about how happily married they are when they probably really are not.  You know the ones; the people that share EVERYTHING!  Including when their toddler took their first shit in the big boy potty.  Except I am worst, I just show me off.  I mean how many pictures of oneself working out, can one post?!  Gasp, I am narcissistic!

It is also interesting to me what posts RLFs  "double tap" compared to what my social media companions (SMCs)  "like".  As an example, I am pretty certain my SMCs, were more excited than my RLFs about my wedding posts.  I think my RLFs were thinking shut the f*ck up already!!!  We will see you at the alter!  I could be wrong but I am pretty sure I am not.  In their defense though, they get double exposure to my life - social media posts + real life interactions.

I shall caveat the previous paragraph by saying now more than ever do I appreciate my RLFs.  They demonstrated nothing but love and support to me and Tower during our wedding - live and in person.  They were there for us - in the human form.  That is far more valuable and is so much more in depth then any tap-tap on Instagram.  Not only that, but, my RLFs and I have a real history.  Just like you, I am sure you have known many of your RLFs long before social media was even a defined term. 

I also think that any comments regarding Instagram from my RLFs I may have interpreted as rude, were not ill intended.  I just don't think they truly get what all the buzz is about.  And really, how could they?  For the most part, I've adhered to mum policy when it came to the fit fam.  I kept it private, it was my little secret.

But what my RLFs don't know:
  • I was partly responsible for starting Fit Camp, a Facebook group of 5000+ ladies who use the group to commiserate, promote, and celebrate all things fitness related.  Half marathons have been run, thousands of pounds have been lost, and real friendships have been forged. 
  • In June 2013, Fit Camp took me to Dallas to meet some of you SMCs in real life.  Boy, what a weekend that was!  I have never had so much fun with strangers!  Granted, it wasn't so healthy  but it was theraputic for the soul.
 SMCs post Color Run.
  • Then there is @Christym4444, my SMC BFF.  Prior to Dallas, we had hit it off and were exchanging emails.  Dallas just solidified it.  And honestly, at this point of my life she is the one person I probably have the most in common with.  She went to college in Pennsylvania, I live in Pennsylvania.  We both have successful careers.  We are both in our midish 30s.  At the time we met we were both living with boys who took their sweet time popping the question and both of them relocated to be with us.  Both fellas also eat like toddlers are less into home improvements that us.  They are both gingerheads.  Between us, one of us is always nursing an injury.  I could go on and on.  My point is, we relate, we are like modern day pen pals AND she attended my wedding. 
    @Christym4444 and I.  Isn't she gorgeous too!
  • Besides Christy, there have been several other noteable encounters too.  There's Missy, who is not part of Fit Camp (she found me in a very round about way), that saw we are going to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and emailed me a novel offering travel tips.  There's Monica who offered suggestions after I hurt my back swinging kettlebells.  Leslie sent me a lovely cuff bracelet and headband to thank me for establishing Fit Camp.  Patrica mailed me an engagement card.  In short, I am networking, getting answers, support, and encouragement.  The kind of encouragement that has brought me to my lowest weight and highest fitness level in years.  In a ridiculous way, I also derive a sense of purpose from it.
So yeah, RLFs, Instagram is kind of a big deal to me.  I sometimes joke, that I am even slightly Instagram famous. 

I believe that people have different purposes in your life at different times.  I truly treasure my RLFs to the core, I love spending time with them, they make me laugh, they are incredibly loyal.  And as hard as it may be for some people to understand, I also value my SMCs (especially those that have morphed into RLFs).  For it is these people that truly understand my struggles with maintaining/achieving a healthy weight, and totally see the value in a good selfie.  As I strive to achieve my fitness goals, there is no one else, I'd like stalking me all the way.  I know you've got my back, and hopefully you feel like I have yours too.

You see, simple as that.  There's room for everyone.  RLFs & SMCs.  Win.

And Tara at Generous Impluses!  I am coming to convert you next.

.......make new friends, but keep the old.  Some are silver but the others gold.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The detail fog.

Now that I am married, I am bored.  I am also slightly down and out.  There is all this build up and then in what seems a matter of seconds, it's over. That left me with the desire to come back here, dust off some cobwebs, and write.  If anything it lets me live out my 10 seconds of bridal bliss just a tad bit longer.  I am selfish that way.

Planning our Las Vegas nuptials was easy as far as weddings go.  It's not like had some elaborate huge wedding that involved cake tastings, seating assignments, and selecting chair covers.  I did all of my planning virtually through the use of The Knot , Etsy, and Pinterest.  Goodness, I have no idea what the brides of yesteryear did.  With in two weeks of being engaged I had the major bones taken care of: date, ceremony venue, and reception venue - without leaving the keyboard of my laptop.  After that I just engulfed myself in filling in all the details.  A task I very much enjoyed.  Like really enjoyed.  I honestly feel like I would enjoy event planning for a living.  And seriously, if there is anyway I can help any of you with any type of special event planning, I'd love to assist.  Seriously.  Or at the very least share your details with me.

I poured hours and a lot of money into the details.
Personalized Poker Chips.
Customized Swag Bags. 
Hangover kits.
Name tags w/ nod to how I know each individual.
Personalized wooden cake topper.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen all these pictures (and several more) before and are already aware of my love of details so I won't inundate you further.

What did I learn from all that money spent?  Honestly, guests - unless they are like me - generally do not give a rats ass about the individual details.  Boy guests don't care about cutesy swag bags; they care that you have cold beer and hot food.  The ladies are slightly more into it, but honestly my guests were getting buzzed up too and half of them lost track of their bags by the end of the night.  Good food and drinks - that's the priority!  Good times will follow.

I would also suggest before nitty gritty details make sure you have good entertainment/music, a professional photographer, and the bride & groom styled properly (great dress, hair, makeup, and suit for him).  That's just my two cents but with everything stay within your budget and what you can afford.

Do I regret spending the money and do I think my attention to detail was a waste of time?  The answer is a resounding no.  For the six months leading up to the wedding it was my hobby to plan, to locate unique things, and to be creative.  Hobbies cost money and take time.  It entertained me.  I loved every second of it.  I also enjoyed sharing my finds with the Instagram community and I grateful they humored me.  If you are reading this, thank you for humoring me further.

To quote Aristotle, "The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts".  Meaning that perhaps some of the individual details went on noticed, but all added together there was illuminating flare about our day that made it unique to us.  Tower and I were represented.  The last thing I wanted was a cookie cutter wedding.  I am biased, but certainly don't want to come off as pompous but I think we achieved that.  I am not saying our wedding was the fanciest wedding ever, in fact, I've been a to a New Jersey wedding (they sure know how to have weddings) that tops ours twice over.  But ours reflected us and gave me the best memories - to us that's a wedding win.  Ah, the sweet, sweet memories of having so many people we love from all facets of life in the same place at one time.  That is the best feeling ever.  My heart is still smiling.

It's only been a week, but so far married life is good.  Since we lived together for two years, I wouldn't say there was a major shift in the dynamic of our relationship but it seems to be more legit.  We are official.  He is my family.  I'd also like to add that made a pot roast this week and pancakes & bacon this morning.  How's that for my first week as a wife?  

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