Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Choose Joy


I woke up this morning to many sad things happening in the world (as I do most mornings, let's be honest about the world we live in). Today, I'm remembering to choose joy when there is darkness around.

My vacation was wonderful but you probably won't be hearing about it for a couple of days. Brandon and I returned home and immediately began our process of moving. What a pain! It's truly incredible the amount of stuff we had crammed into an 800 square foot apartment. Once we're settled into our new place and I've unpacked most of our boxes, I'll be back.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Don't Ask Me That, Part II

Yesterday, Dianna shared with you some questions you should never ask a bride who is planning her wedding. I had some difficulty with friends & family members while planning my own wedding, but was rarely asked anything this crazy! Here are the rest...

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As I have already said, weddings are stressful. There are some questions or comments that you can ask that you may think are helpful but have the opposite effect. When you offer to help in certain areas you can be intruding and overbearing. Brides heads are full of advice and questions from almost the second they say yes, be mindful that the couple will consider what you said but depending on the topic they may not wish for you to divulge. There are also some comments that you may say intending to be harmless but it is actually completely offensive and downright rude or are just plain annoying so here are a few examples of questions you should THINK about before actually saying:

  • Can we drop by the room after the wedding, I would love to see how you think it went and share my pictures with you, I know you will be excited to see them.
  • When are you having kids? (Soooo many people will be asking this. Try not to put the horse before the carriage!)
  • Can I be your photographer/DJ/officiant?
  • I’ll diet with you since of course you are going to try to lose weight.
  • I can’t believe you are getting married before me.
  • Is this really a good idea?/Do you think it is going to last?

Believe it or not, men dream about their wedding day as much as women, they just do not admit it so freely (source: actual men). Whether it is a dream of being a princess, having a classic traditional gathering, or wearing a short pink polka dot dress in front of the justice of the peace, a bride AND groom have a vision for their wedding that will just be LEGEN-wait for it, or maybe don’t since you are reading and can just skip ahead-DARY. There are comments that, once again may be intended to be helpful, but will ruin the illusion for the couple.

Stop and remind yourself that the GROOM has a say! Personally, I could not have even gotten past posting our engagement on Facebook without my fiancĂ©. We have made almost every single decision together or have at least discussed each other's views for OUR wedding... seeing as it takes two to marry. So you know the drill, here are some examples:

  • Why don’t you do ___ like your sister did at her wedding, I thought that was just wonderful.
  • I saw that exact same centerpiece and favor combination on the most commonly used wedding trends list on the Knot. 
  • Cool, EVERYONE is doing that, I’m sure you will enjoy that.
  • Why would you have to discuss it with the groom? It is YOUR wedding.

So there it is, my completed list of what not to say to a bride. Depending on your relationship with the bride there may be many of the questions above that you CAN ask without any hard feelings but it never hurts to follow these simple rules: THINK of how your questions could be perceived and determine if it is really YOUR business to know (would you like someone asking you about that?). Weddings are truly about the couple and their commitments, likes, dislikes and love. I am not an expert in weddings but I hope you find this helpful!

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Thanks Dianna for sharing these tips about talking to brides and grooms. I'm now running over in my head whether or not I've asked Dianna anything I shouldn't have. ;) What do YOU think? What's the most annoying questions you were asked while you were engaged?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Don't Ask Me That, Part I

While I'm on vacation this week, one of my very best friends Dianna Snow has volunteered to share some insights with you about weddings and things you simply shouldn't say to a bride-to-be. She's getting married next April and is documenting the process on her own blog. If you like what she has to say here, consider visiting her there!

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By 25, everyone has had experiences either with getting engaged and planning a wedding, or having a friend who has gotten engaged. There are millions of blogs of with questions for brides to ask their caterers, their grooms, their wedding party... etc. However, there is rarely a list of those comments or questions that can make a bride uncomfortable or even mad. I have come up with a few guidelines and questions to avoid when talking with a bride (or groom) to be.

When a bride and groom finalize any detail of their wedding they have more than likely put a lot of thought into that detail; be it the colors for the wedding, the date, the wedding party (which was by far my toughest decision), or the venue. Because this event is so significant, these decisions are being made cautiously and carefully. Keeping that in mind, the following questions and comments will upset the couple because after all of that hard work and all of that stress, you are criticizing their calls and questioning their judgement. This is THEIR big day, not yours, so even if you don’t like something that they want to do, just go with it:

  • I’m in the bridal party, right? / My daughter is the flower girl, right?
  • Why in the world would you want... (fake flowers, a band, a black wedding ring, etc.)
  • That date/location is really inconvenient for me. Can you move it?
  • What’s the rush? / Why such a long engagement?

Many personal issues also come to light with wedding planning. Marriage is more than just two people who have fallen in love and decided to officially be married. Different beliefs and experiences can cause a couple to make extremely difficult compromises and for many of them the details are personal and should be kept between the couple. Do not make some of the comments below as they can be humiliating for a bride:

  • Should you really be wearing white?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • I am so disappointed that you... (aren’t getting married in a church, etc.)
  • Are you a virgin? / What are you wearing on your wedding night?
  • Are you going to make his son call you mom?
  • You registered at Wal-Mart? Why? (Note: I registered at Wal-Mart because it was practical.)
  • I am so glad you are not marrying another woman.
  • How much did __ cost? / Who is actually paying for the wedding? / Where are you getting the money for all of that?

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Are you guilty of asking any of these questions? Come back tomorrow to hear the rest!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Oh Jimmy!

A few weeks ago, Jimmy Eat World announced their summer 2013 tour and when I saw they were stopping in Charlotte, NC I literally shrieked for joy! Brandon and I saw them perform two years ago with our friend Meridith and we agree that it was one of the best live shows we've ever seen. I've obsessively checked their website ever since to watch them announce another tour.

Imagine my excitement when I found another blogger who loves Jimmy Eat World just as much as I do! Read on for Alicia's take on a recent concert + an exclusive deal from her Etsy shop:

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Hey, hey, hey. My name is Alicia and I blog over at Hearts&Chances.

I’m so excited to be guest posting for the lovely Hannah. I absolutely adore her and this blog. When she asked me to guest post for her (okay, let’s be honest, I asked if she’d let me take over her blog for a day while she was away on vacay), I was ecstatic. So let’s get to it...

Today I’m going to tell brag about a concert I recently attended. I got to see Jimmy Eat World and it was fantastic. If you don't know who Jimmy Eat World is, shame on you. Luckily, I'm here to enlighten you on all that you've been missing. Jimmy Eat World started out as a local band in the Phoenix area in Arizona where I live. They had a few songs hit the charts and now they're pretty well known. 

Even though they're from my area, their Arizona/California tour did not have a stop nearby. Therefore, I had to roadtrip it to a dinky town named Yuma three hours away and watch them perform at the Strummer's Tavern. It. Was. FANTASTIC. Small town=small venue and an even smaller stage. I was right up front the entire time. As in, I was five feet from the lead singer Jim and; therefore, covered in his sweat and spit. Yeah, talk about awesome. If you're not a regular concert go-er, I don't think you can understand why being in a crowded humid room full of sweaty/drunk people can be enjoyable. But it is. It's part of the experience and it wouldn't be the same if I came out of a concert not convered in other's sweat and spilt drinks. Please tell me I'm not the only one that feels this way?... Maybe I'm weird. Sue me.

Before I go, I wanted to share a special deal from my etsy shop exclusively for Flamingos in Raincoats followers. I made the following print of lyrics from Jimmy Eat World's song, The Middle.

With any purchase, you'll also get the Jimmy print free! (Just make sure to include a message with your purchase letting me know you're a follower). A little thank you for dealing with my post today. :)

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THANK YOU to Alicia for posting for me while I'm on vacation. Make sure you visit her blog + Etsy shop. Her prints are awesome (this one is my favorite) and her taste in music is impeccable. :)

Friday, May 10, 2013


Brandon and I are off in the morning for our vacation, which I've been planning for over a year! It is very needed and well deserved. I'll be back in a week!

...And when we come back we'll be moving into our first (rental) house! This photo was taken yesterday, on our anniversary, after Brandon picked up the keys.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One Year

Dear Brandon,

I can't believe it has been an entire year since our wedding day and what a year it has been! We have changed jobs, received promotions, struggled with school, and added a puppy to the family. We have lived together in a one bedroom apartment for too long. We signed the lease to rent a 3 bedroom house! You finally visited my favorite place on the Earth for our honeymoon and together we fell in love with Wilmington when we traveled there last Fall. We've had just as many fights as I predicted, but we've had a lot more fun than I thought possible... especially considering our schedules that haven't allowed us to spend a lot of time together every day.

You are my favorite travel companion and Melting Pot date. At the end of a long day I'm glad you're at home to meet me with a hug. I still wish you would put the dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink when they're dirty, but I suppose I'll keep bugging you about it for the next 60 years or so. :)

I love you forever!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Greatest Hits: Walt Disney World, 2000

This will be the last post in the first half of my Greatest Hits series. I started with the intention of writing 10 posts, but due to semester time constraints I'm only considering the first 5 for my final class paper. I'll write the other 5 in the coming weeks! No idea what I'm talking about? Read the introduction HERE. I've already shared with you 1/2/3/4 and I've saved one of my very favorite memories for last.

"Wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything and everybody believed in you?" - Taylor Swift // Innocent

This story is simple. When I was 12 years old my family went on a vacation to Walt Disney World and it's the single happiest memory from my childhood. We went on regular beach vacations every year and visited Disney World a few other times as well, but this trip was different. We stayed at a cool resort, I rode the Tower of Terror multiple times in a row, we enjoyed a character breakfast with Winnie-the-Pooh characters, and we attended Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party. We even began pin trading on this trip and Mom, in particular, built up quite a collection in the years following our trip.

I don't share many intimate family details on my blog (you're welcome, Mom!), but those of you who know me in real life my know that my family has encountered our fair share of difficulties, especially since I 'grew up' and moved out of the house. This one vacation always reminds me of the happiness we felt when I was growing up.

Disney World markets itself as the 'happiest place on Earth' so it was only natural that I went expecting to have the best time ever. I was not disappointed. I didn't have to worry about school (oh, the struggles of 7th grade!), Dad didn't have to think about work, and the 4 of us were just together, enjoying each day. Disney pulls on this type of memory making in their commercials for the theme parks. Check out this 2012 commercial HERE. When it aired last year I couldn't get the song out of my head and found it very annoying but I watched it again today and cried. They couldn't have said it better. Did they secretly follow my family around the parks 13 years ago and get commercial ideas from us?

I've read over and over again that you'll cherish your childhood memories once they're gone and I realize now just how true that is. Sometimes Oftentimes I feel sad that I'll never go on a family trip to Disney World again. I'm glad that I have these memories to look back on with my family as Brandon and I begin making our own memories together (Which we started at Disney World! For our honeymoon!).

What's your favorite childhood memory? Any Disney-specific memories? Leave a comment and let me know. I could talk about Disney World for days on end.

**A note on the photo: This photo was taken in the Magic Kingdom, which was decorated for Christmas at the time we visited. We used it for our Christmas card that year. I couldn't find the original so I planned to scan the Christmas card. Then the scanner wouldn't work. So I took a photo of the copy of the original photo with my iPhone. That explains the terrible quality! Wasn't my brother (6 at the time) adorable?! I had braces and shorts that closed with velcro. Hah.

Greatest Hits: My First Job

Read the introduction to this series HERE and 1/2/3 if you wish. :)

"If you want to achieve some really big and interesting goals, you have to learn to fall in love with hard work." - Steve Pavlina

No, this isn't the story of my very first job. My very first job was at Maggie Moo's Ice Cream when I was 16 years old. This is a reflection on my first full-time job, which I started less than a year ago.

I've always felt it was important to have a successful career. I put work in front of almost everything else, to a fault. I enjoy working and being rewarded for my hard work. In television shows and movies I continually see women hit a glass ceiling in the corporate world. Rarely do I come across story lines of women who 'break through' to become successful executives. When I do see these stories, they're so cheesy that I can't stand it. All I'm here to do is work hard, learn new things, take pride in my accomplishments, and be a leader in a company that I love. I don't want any of the side story.

Before I started working full-time, I had a skewed picture in my head of what it would be like to find my first job. Have you seen the movie Post Grad featuring Alexis Bledel? She graduates from college, doesn't get her dream job, moves back in with her parents, and searches for jobs for months. Based on the experiences of some of my friends, I thought I might meet the same fate. I was told often in undergrad that the job market was terrible and that I'd need an impressive resumĂ© to land a full-time position. I'd finish graduate school, apply for dozens of jobs, go to several interviews, and hopefully have enough money to support myself while I was on the hunt.

I am very lucky that things did not go that way for me. Last summer, in between my two years of graduate school, I applied for an internship with Market America. After working hard for 11 weeks or so, the social media director of the company pulled me into his office and offered me a full-time job as a social media writer. I wasn't planning on working full-time during my last year of graduate school, but how could I turn down a full-time job with benefits that was offered to me on the proverbial silver platter? I couldn't.

The day I signed my offer letter was one of the best days of my life. I chose carefully what dress I would wear, got up extra early to straighten my hair, and even wore lipstick (which I rarely do). I requested that my best friend at work, Kerri, take a picture of me. It's probably one of the most genuine smiles you'll ever see in a picture of me.

I realize that career success is not as important to some people as it is to me. In fact, it's not important to some people at all. I admire those people, while realizing that we are very different. It was refreshing to me to learn that I wasn't predestined to start my career like I see on tv. I won't finish it that way, either.

Leave a comment and tell me about the story of your first "big" job!