Monday, August 31, 2009

happiness and the blogosphere

This past Friday, our tri-weekly training session at work was a class on effective blogging. As September looms ever so close, the launch of the Brooks Bell Interactive blog is fast approaching. Our creative director here wears many, many hats and knows so much about so many things. Not surprisingly, one of which is social media. The class was insightful and extremely worthwhile. I learned a lot - mostly that I have a lot to learn about effective blogging.

In consistency and avoiding cute headlines I earned a big, fat FAIL. On the positive side, I do play in my comfort zone. I write about subjects I know about and things I enjoy.

My first contribution to the BBI blog will take place towards the end of next month and I'm pretty sure I will be unable to blab about wedding photography trends and my latest spelling errors. I have plenty of time to research topics and I've already gotten started to ensure my first post is not a complete and utter failure. Luckily, I get some pretty bad retailer emails in my inbox every day and constructive criticism of creative received there is fair grounds for blogging. Thankfully, my job here has taught me so much about the interactive marketing industry - I would have been up shit's creek without a paddle if I had to write something like that this time last year as that job taught me nothing about industry trends.

So the blogging pressure is on! On a professional level, to be blunt, I just want to make sure I don't sound like an idiot. I want to be a knowledgeable contributor. On a personal level, my blog here is apparently read by more people than I thought and I'm starting to hear adjectives like "funny" and "easy to relate to" being tossed around. Well crap. Now I have expectations to live up to.

Not surprising to me whatsoever, all these expectations left me without a creative, funny, relatable (is that a word?), or thought-provoking topic in which to ramble about. I decided to do another happy list today, because, in all honesty, I have a lot to be happy about right now.

Rockstar Diaries is on a brief hiatus, which gives you an excellent opportunity to go read of all her quirky and adorable posts before she comes back and delivers us some more pieces of wonderful. One of my favorite parts of her blog is the Here's to Happiness project. This will be my second happiness list and this one was just as much fun to create as the first.

Without further ado, here's a list of things that have recently made me incredibly, out of my mind happy: (a topic I'm both an expert on and is most definitely in my comfort zone!)

1. good morning kisses

2. realizing new acquaintances are genuine friends
3. drooling over pictures of stylish home decor - like this crisp, bright white kitchen - and dreaming up post-wedding home improvement projects (lately, much inspired by The Vintage Chair)

4. feeling the contagious happiness jump from each image while looking at pictures from someone's wedding
5. Eric Northman

6. the staples of summer: thunderstorms, barefeet, cookouts, white wine, tanned skin
7. colorful flowers

8. imagining how it's going to feel to kiss my husband for the very first time
9. how easily children are entertained, and how absolutely adorable my niece is

10. laughing so hard i cry

image credits:
1. image niotillfem via Le Love
3. image via Just One More Minute - Day Dream theme by Jim Whimpey
7. image via Just One More Minute - Day Dream theme by Jim Whimpey

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

putting it into perspective

There's a word spelled wrong on my wedding invitation. Yep, I'm serious. And not just any word. The date. As much as I want to have a dramatic internet blog pause and say, "I'm MESSING with you guys!" Old School style, I regretfully must admit that according to the invitations that were put in the mail last week, I am now getting married on October SEVENTEETH.

Seventeeth?? kj;dlgj;serjhpjsl;jftu!!!!

There are a multitude of reasons why this should have never happened, but perhaps the most important one is I proofread emails and landing pages as part of my job every effing day. I also have read that wedding invitation 45698 times. Or more. I caught other spelling mistakes. "Newport News" was originally just "Newport" and we had a great laugh at the printers while viewing our proofs at how they had turned my lovely home state into a slightly uncomfortable and mildly inappropriate "Virgina." True story.

In the scheme of things, I realize that this is a pretty minor error and if I can get through the wedding with this being my biggest mistake then I am will pat myself on the back. I know it could be worse. In the meantime, my friends continue to swear they either didn't notice it (liars...) or no one else will and my mom continues to laugh at me - she clicked the thumbs up when I mentioned the typo on my Facebook status AND left a comment. Nice.

Moving forward, I'll probably stick to numbers on the programs. Here's to getting to 10/17/09! (with more than seventeeth...)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

where i'm going, where i've been

I took this picture with my iPhone on our drive back from the Outer Banks earlier this week. I'm fully aware it is not a quality shot or anything, but I love it. I love it in a pat myself on the back and smile kind of way. I love how you can see the road in the side mirror. I love how the sun is shining through the trees shortly before sunset. Most of all, I love my feet on the dashboard next to an open car window, truly epitomizing summer.

I spent two and a half days this week at the beach with my mom and Jason and friends I've had known through our yearly vacations in Kill Devil Hills since I was barely walking. I woke up in the morning to this view...

I ate crab legs and steamed and seasoned shrimp and fresh tuna. I slathered myself in lotion that smelled like coconut and didn't even pack my blow dryer. The most difficult decision I made was whether or not to read the newest People magazine or finish the second book in the True Blood series - and when to roll over to sun my back. It was a great couple of days.

It's back to reality now. The reality of too much to do and too little time to do it. Wedding invites go out today, bachelorette festivities take place this weekend and ECU football kicks off in 2 weeks. Sigh. Relaxation won't come till mid-October, but it comes in the form of a week long cruise to the Mexican Riveria with my hot new husband. So, as you may have guessed, I'm not complaining. Bring on busy and bring on October!

Friday, August 14, 2009

we can do anything

Wanna pack your bags...something small
Take what you need and we disappear
Without a trace we'll be gone, gone
The moon and the stars can follow the car
and then when we get to the ocean
Take a boat to the end of the world
All the way to the end of the world

We can always look back at what we did
All these memories of you and me baby
But right now it's you and me forever
And you know we could do better than anything that we did
You know that you and me, we could do anything
The two of us together, we could do anything

-Dave Matthews Band

*Image by klairg.deviantart via Le Love

Thursday, August 13, 2009

contagious happiness

I had THE email I was waiting for in my inbox this morning - my bridal session proofs were ready to look at! Stephanie really outdid herself, yet again. I can't even begin to tell you how much fun the morning was. My mom and sister came with me to City Center in Newport News and I got to play in my beautiful dress and sassy heels for 2 whole hours. I'm so jealous of models who get paid to do what I graciously paid Stephanie to do for me. I can not adequately describe how it feels to wear a wedding dress, your wedding dress. Suffice it to say that it would absolutely make a list of the top 10 things that make me incredibly happy.

I'm trying this new thing where I don't blab every detail of the wedding to everyone. That's a bold faced lie. I'm actually only trying to not show the dress to everyone. Except for my bridesmaids, immediate family, and, I guess just not to the majority of the people receiving invitations. If you've met me, you know it's really really difficult for me to keep a secret. I want to share more pics from the session, but I'm going to only show two not so revealing ones. Check out Stephanie's blog for more of her awesome work!

On a side note, I'm dying to catch 500 Days of Summer! Zoey Deschanel is adorable and quirky and the soundtrack is really good, too. Has anyone seen it yet?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

i need more time

I need about 6 extra hours added to every day so I can blog and run longer and cook better dinners and REALLY clean my upstairs and get over this 3-day long headache I've been having. I hope to make it back soon to tell you all about how much fun I had playing in my wedding dress for 2 hours last weekend (and hopefully show a few not too revealing pics!). I want more time to read and get a new charger for my camera so I can start taking pictures again. I want to actually start my engagement scrapbook (I've been engaged for over 9 months now and the book is still in the wrapper). I want to address invitations and re-read our hand-crafted wedding ceremony 100 more times and take the next two months to do nothing but finish planning my wedding and love on the people that love me most!

Three good things have happened to me already today:
1. I filled the dishwasher to an appropriate capacity and started it before Jason could cram 7 too many extra dishes in there and I end up having to re-wash most of them. Victory!
2. My friend, Erin, sent me some new pictures of her son, Logan, who may be the cutest little baby boy I've ever seen.
3. I have a giant triple espresso coffee sitting next to me

So here's to a day spent knee-deep in stats analysis and managing email programs and wishing I was kissing my fiance in a bright yellow bucket on the Farris wheel.

*Picture from Hazelnut Photography. Check out their awesome blog here...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

what makes me feel beautiful

It's been awhile...a long while. Despite several mediocre spurts of inspiration, I haven't found the time or the desire in a good long while to sit down and blog. I miss it. I'm also very much relieved that my meal ticket doesn't come by means of acting on writing inspirations or else I'd epitomize the starving artist. What I missed most is having something I really WANTED to write about.

This is also the first time I've blogged at home. In the past, it has been a 30 minute respite from the workday, a lunch hour of time spent looking up creative wedding expressions or discussing my talented co-workers. I was sitting on the couch watching old Fringe episodes with Jason and browsing through this month's Real Simple when I stumbled upon an article that made me immediately walk upstairs and sit down at the computer to write.

The article is titled "what makes me feel beautiful." Just like that, in all lower case letters. Something about the avoidance of capital letters is peaceful to me. Strange, I know. The first piece is written by Anne Roiphe, an older author who has a book titled "Epilogue: A Memoir" being released next month. While acknowledging that inner beauty is insufficient at changing physical appearance and no amount of love will bring back the body of your youth, she recalls a time just a week before her husband's sudden passing where on a seemingly ordinary morning, he turned to her before walking out the door for work and told her how happy of a man she had made him. I smiled as I read about her asking him to repeat himself, just so she could hear it again. The number of times I have pulled the "what did you say?" line just to feel the wave of happiness wash over me for another couple seconds after hearing Jason say something especially thoughtful are too many to count. Something I will quickly fess up to and make no promises to curb in the future.

They had been married 39 years. She mentions the trials and tribulations that inevitably come with marriage - noting financial mistakes, fishing trips, second-guessing decisions, and graduations. Her relationship is so refreshingly human and normal and obviously filled with love. Her husband's six words, "You have made me very happy," made her feel beautiful despite any physical imperfection she may have had in her 80 plus years of life. They will continue to make her feel beautiful despite him no longer being with her. The weight of which is too powerful for me to even be able to comprehend right now.

She writes, "I don't believe that positive thinking improves your skin tone or that loving or being loved changes the shape of your nose or restores the thickness and color of hair, but I do know that there is a way of being beautiful, even as age takes its toll, that has something to do with the spirit filling with joy, something to do with the union with another human being, with the sense of having done well at something enormously important, like making happy a man who has made you happy often enough."

Tomorrow marks exactly 2.5 months until my wedding day, and I hope that in 39 years, 2 months and 2 weeks, I too know just how to feels to have succeeded in making an amazing man happy, and it can be a beauty potion I can keep with me for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, what makes me feel beautiful now is an odd mix: a hard, sweaty workout, a pair of killer heels, a good hair day and that smile Jason gets on his face when I walk downstairs on an ordinary day to go somewhere insignificant that says more than his words ever could. When I'm laughing with my niece, my best friends or my sister, when Jason and I are sharing an inside joke or I'm getting poked fun at by my mom - when I'm laughing with the people I love most, it's then, hands down, that I feel the most beautiful. And that laughter sure is an effective beauty potion, even on the ugliest of days.