TALK TUESDAY: Transitioning

My working days started not so long ago.  In fact, this week, I turn two months old in my company.  I am still trying to find my footing, but I have to say, I have been pretty blessed with a motivating boss and a welcoming team.  This job is a great introduction to the American working class.

I feel pretty blessed at this point.  Right this very moment, I am happy.  I am happy to go to work, and I am happy to come home.  I cannot recall having such a healthy balance in my life before.  Although my commuting pretty much ate up my time for working out in the early evening and my weight gain has become more palpable, I really cannot complain.  A lot of people mistake that disposition as optimism, especially my new work friends, but really it’s not.  I am just all too familiar what a stressful life is.

Here’s the thing though:  I have been missing out on wifely duties.  Maybe not even wifely, but chores to be more exact.  Now, I feel the tiredness of the commute, and have a fixed schedule to follow.  Chores are starting to build up as this new thing in my life occupies 40 hours of my week, plus 20 more to prepare and to commute home.  Seeing three weeks’ worth of laundry building up, I can’t help but feel guilty.

Laundry pile

No shame that all of my undergarments are shown in this photo lolol

I felt even worse over the weekend.  The Husband was taking a nap while I chose to fold laundry.  Ten minutes in, seeing that there was so much to do and pretty much getting overwhelmed, I banged the laundry basket, slammed the door, and pretty much kicked the bed frame to wake him up and say, “I COULD USE SOME HELP HERE, IF IT’S NOT TOO MUCH TROUBLE.”  What a bitch, right?  I bathed in my own bitterness, sulking as if it’s the Husband’s fault that the laundry got this bad.

But it’s not.  Life is just taking over, and as much as I want to be the best wife ever that makes and packs meals, does chores, and still look so f*cking glamorous, I’m not.  One way or another, a ball will drop, and it’s okay.  I should be okay with it because it’s not a ball I can’t just pick up.

After my brief rampage, he just started folding clothes with me.  I was quiet for about 20 minutes before I made my way over to his side of the bed and apologized.  I know I upset him, and I know I was being unfair.  After all, I was the one that insisted that he should nap and get some rest.  But he easily accepted my apologies and bathed me in kisses.  It was at that moment that I realized in order for balls to not keep falling on the floor, I should just be more honest and ask for help.

Wow.  Even when he’s napping, he’s truly proving to be the better half in this partnership.  Hahaha.  Oh well.  I can race him to be the better half tomorrow. <3

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TALK TUESDAY: Having an unplugged wedding

Did I mention that we had an unplugged wedding?  At the doors of the church, our coordinators and junior bridesmaids handed out these notice cards to our guests:

When I first pitched the idea to the husband, he was immediately all for it.  My mother, not so much.  She pointed out that it will be inevitable that people will whip out their phones and tablets and cameras and just take a snapshot of everything.  I know what she meant; I myself have a hard time putting my phone down.  But I was adamant.

Of course, our wedding is not my first wedding.  I have seen so many, and in the recent past, two of which were my close friends’.  Both were grand celebrations, and everyone seemed to be present.  They had hashtags and everything, so that anything posted on social media about weddings will be publicly curated.  I did this too, and it really was great seeing everyone else’s perspective of our special day.

Anyway, the guests were taking photos of everything — flowers, each other, selfies — and then the entourage started walking.  It was marvelous.  You know you’re about to see something special when each participant is a build up to something better.  Then the doors opened.  The bride’s silhouette made everyone gasp in awe.  It was just like in the story books.

But it completely SUCKED A** for the photographer and videographer.  Everyone had their own phones, cameras, Go Pros and what not blocking their line of sight.  I swear I even saw a couple of the crew visibly and verbally irritated.  Some of them even asked the guests to move out of the way so they can catch that moment, and the guests had the gall to be annoyed that they’re being asked to move!

At that moment, all I could think of was the money the couple paid for the professionals to take pictures and videos of their special day. True, in the end, they made it work, but honestly, not without extreme effort.  There was even a wedding I attended that there were so many phone up, the videographer couldn’t see the groom’s face when he first saw the bride.  He had to make do by capturing a tablet capturing the groom’s face.

It was such a distraction.  I felt so bad for the photographers and videographers.  It was at that point that I decided that for our wedding, we’ll have everyone turn off their devices, at least during the ceremony.  Right off the bat, our coordinator and my mother immediately said this will be difficult to pull off, especially at this day and age where it is just automatic for people to whip out their phones at any god given time.  But we made it work.  And thanks to completely cooperative guests, everything was pulled off perfectly.

Guests, please take note. Jaraaaan! #carlallanwed

A post shared by Marga Susi (@margoks) on

Not a single phone or tablet in sight. Our families and guests were amazing. They truly made our day special.

It was almost a special gift to our suppliers.  No distractions, no need for body contortions, because the space was open and free for them to take photos and videos of our special day.

I know how important it is to have your own memento of things and events that had happened in your life.  I know because I too am an enthusiast of taking photos.  You can check out my almost 3,000 photos on Instagram, and even on Snapchat.  I take a lot of photos and make sure that they’re properly framed so they’re deserving to be exhibited on my feed.  But us, the to-be-married couple, we’re right in front of you.  You can see us live and alive, exchanging our vows and very much in the moment.  Why would you settle for the small screen?

Our journey as a couple is filled with Facetime, selfies, chats, numerous text messages and email journals even.  For once, it was nice to not have those things in the way and just be present.  Believe us when we say real life is a million times better.

It did result in fewer public posts in our social media feed, but we didn’t care.  I’d like to believe (and as what most of our guests have shared after the festivities) that everyone was moved because everyone paid attention, and listened, and was completely present.  Now, that was truly a moment to remember.

Bitten by the Lovebug

So, MIA again!  Sorry about that.  I caught a good ol’ winter bug a couple of weeks ago, and unfortunately for me, it’s not bad enough to require antibiotics but bad enough to severely inconvenience us for about 12 days.  There were tons of home remedies, and I now have a renewed appreciation for ginger lemon tea and Panera Bread’s broccoli cheddar soup.  Thankfully, I was able to recover in time for Valentine’s day.

This year is our first ever hearts day together.  Really.  Seriously.  I met my husband in May 2004.  I got back together with him in September 2013.  We got married January 2016.  And he was on assignment in Japan that year during Valentine’s Day.  Of course, I wasn’t even discreet with him about this day being our first.  In fact, I compelled him to take me out.

“This is our first ever,” I said.  “You better make up for not being here last year.”

“I will,” he said.

Monday evening, he took me to Roots Steakhouse in Summit.  Quite a fancy place for our general liking, but it did not disappoint.  We got the seared sesame seed tuna and Caesar salad to start.  They had a pretty decent wine selection, so I settled for this Tuscan wine to match my Prime NY Strip Steak, cooked to its medium rare perfection.  Husband was more adventurous, and took the 20 oz. Dry Aged Cowboy Prime Steak.

I was about to whip out my phone to take some photos but Husband stopped me.  “No phones,” he said.  We slipped away into our offline meal.

It was the perfect dinner, truly an explosion of flavors.  Having a taste of the dry aged beef, I see now why people look after the dry ageing.  It really does have a bolder taste to it, but the tenderness is still present.  My strip didn’t disappoint too, as I sunk into it bite after bite.  I matched mine with potato au gratin, while he had his with creamy whipped potatoes.  Sorry.  We can go fancy, but potatoes = life.

We tried to walk around downtown Summit, but it was frigid cold.  Husband excused himself for having V-day dinner a day early; he wasn’t sure how late he’d come home the next day as they’re paying for the snow day last week, courtesy of Storm Niko.  So on the drive home, I told him we’ll just catch dessert and coffee tomorrow, reminding myself to find a dessert cafe nearby.

The next day, the alarm sounds off and I turn to get up and make his breakfast.

“Five more minutes,” he pulls me back to his side.

“It’s already 6:30,” I said.  He leaves for work in an hour.  “I have to cook your lunch too.”

“Fine, fine,” he sighs.  Then, he pulls me closer and said, “Where do you want to catch breakfast?”

“You don’t have work?”

He smiles.

“You don’t have work.”

He giggles.

“You don’t have work!”

And the rest of the day unfolded like a dream.

It really was all the years we missed bundled together in one day.  He made breakfast, as I requested.  Steak and eggs, since we took home the last bit of our steaks.  Around lunch time, flowers, teddy and chocolates came.  Then he took me out for a couples’ massage.  After, we had late lunch at Inspiration Roll.  On our way home, we bought our desserts and coffee, and crawled into bed early.  It was the perfect celebration.

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It was one of those days when it’s just unbelievable how blessed I am in this life.  I look back at all the raucous and vividly disturbing things I’ve done, especially in my youth, and then I look at him sleeping next to me, and I just wonder how in the world did I get so lucky.  He could have chosen to be with someone else, yet he insisted that I’m the one.  It took me a while to come around, but he was persistent.  I can look for all the reasons why I’m this happy, but at this very moment, I can only bend my knees and be thankful that I am.

Maybe this is something I should not get used to, considering of course we can’t always have it this good.  I mean, who does right?  We’re bound to have rough days ahead, really, let’s be honest.  But still, I have a good feeling we’ll both work on having surprise days like these ahead.

Hope your heart is as full as mine.

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<3

The Wedding: Final Part

I have been ranting over and over about our wedding this past week, and well, please don’t blame me for being overly cheesy.  I have waited a long time to talk about this and I have been wanting to talk about this for some time now.  Hahaha.  Finally, the cat is out of the bag.  I can’t even remember why I chose to be mum about it to begin with.

Anyway, I do have a few more tips to shell out, even though they are quite unsolicited.  Planning and putting together this wedding was hard and a breeze at the same time; I could not have done it without the village that I had then and now.

We managed to keep to our budget and spent a little under $16,000, including honeymoon expenses.  We had 112 guests at the wedding, and they were all fed and taken care of.  I’m glad to hear until now that they had a really good time at our wedding.  How did we do it?

  1.  Our guest list was intimate.  At first, it was hard because being Filipino, friends of friends of family of friends are always being suggested as invitees, but Le Mari actually gave a good position:  invite the ones you know would be sad for missing your wedding.  Don’t invite people who will be sad because they didn’t get an invite.  After that, it just became easy.  I knew and he knew who we wanted as witnesses to this union, and my inner introvert came out, and the list was the list.  It started at 70, so having a list at 120 (8 couldn’t come) is already a stretch.
  2. There were a lot of craft parties.  Now, not everyone is up for this.  Come to think of it, you also have to compute the cost of raw materials, the food you’ll serve, and the time you and your party will consume.  One of the main reasons why we did this is because our family is always meeting up.  Our entourage is quite intimate especially the ones coming from the Philippines, so there was never any hesitation to rally and help me out.  I am most grateful to them.
  3. Research your suppliers well.  I found out about Roxy in my university’s forum, touting her as the next big wedding gown designer.  They were right.  There are a lot of budding talent looking to break into the wedding industry and they should be given a chance to.  Of course, it’s a risk because their inexperience might reflect on their work, but they can also be your biggest surprise.  I remember back then my cousin booked Jason Magbanua, and he was the only one doing SDEs.  Now she proudly says she’s one of his first customers.  You can be a building block to their success.
  4. We didn’t look for miracles.  It’s true.  We knew what our budget was so we didn’t go for Gideon Hermosa, or Jason Magbanua, or Ian Cruz, or Metrophoto… we knew what we can afford, and we settled.  For some, the budget is adjustable.  For us, it wasn’t.  We knew that we would need the money as we would be starting out with me not having a job and therefore only on single income.  What was important  was to have a wedding that would be memorable to us and to our friends.  And we nailed it.
  5. Patience is a virtue.  The thing with budget wedding is having to look high and low for suppliers that meet your criteria and your pocket.  So yeah, I am so grateful to my brothers for taking the time to take me anywhere just so I can find the best deals and discounts.  My entourage, especially Marga my MOH, went above and beyond what is required.  I’m just so grateful for our village really.

It was the perfect party, did you know?  I can still replay everything in my head.  I can’t even remember feeling so happy and so sad at the same time.  Happy to be with the love of my life, and sad because I didn’t get to have my father-daughter dance.  But our wedding was phenomenal.  It truly was the best welcome to a new life for us both.  I couldn’t ask for more.

How was your wedding?  Do you have a dream wedding in mind?

The Wedding Part 4

Not all aspects of our wedding were sourced in the Philippines.  There are a lot that was given to us by the gods of Etsy!  Hahahaha.  Here you go:

Giveaways for the Groom’s Men:  Personalized Knives
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰
Le Mari loved it, seriously.  And ultimately regretted not getting one for himself the moment he got it.  Hahahaha.

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Get yours here.

Giveaways for the Bridesmaids:  Monogram Jewelry by House of Monogram PH
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
I gave rose gold tinted monogram bracelets for our bridesmaids.  It was really nice.  This one was not Etsy sourced but they do have a lot of options there.

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Cake Topper:  Better Off Wed
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰
It was exactly as pictured, and we were right to want that instead of the traditional bride-groom figurine.  We still have this intact and would make a great mantle piece, when we eventually find that home.

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Principal Sponsor Giveaways:  Leather Passport Holders and Bag Tags
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
The Leather Company from the Philippines did a wonderful job making light gray pebbled leather passport holders and bag tags, with monograms of our principal sponsors.  The finished product is similar to the one photographed below.  They really know how to satisfy their customers, because when I said that I needed it two weeks later, they delivered it at the door of my house.  WOW.

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We also had our wedding madlibs, and thank you tags all from Etsy.  The table numbers, guest names and thank you notes were all made by my beautiful bridal entourage!  Thank you bridesmaids!  Anyway, do not be afraid to explore that option.  For small details like this, Etsy is such a life saver.