Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend: Lots Of Play & A Little Work

I’m back after my mini-break, ready to share a couple more posts before I celebrate my first anniversary this Saturday! I hope you all had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend, filled with food, friends and fun. While I've recently spent many of my weekends holed up working away, this one was an exception, and I allowed myself some time to unwind and relax without worrying or thinking about my to-do list.

To kick things off, Stephen and I went to La Tasca with none other than my blog friend Hannah from Gator Tales, who was in town for business. We had a blast drinking sangria, sharing tapas and hanging out offline, where Hannah’s just as nice, fun and awesome as she is online. (Sorry about the bad quality iPhone photo -- I always forget my camera!)

Then, after a lot of reading, relaxing and eating on Saturday, I decided to get back on track workwise by sprucing up my home office, starting with a new L-shaped desk that’s much more spacious than the one I was using before. I love it, and it’s already helped me get better organized and feel more on track with my projects, whether for grad school, Weddzilla or the weddings I’m coordinating this summer. And the best part? We got it on sale for nearly 50 percent off at Staples for just $70!

All in all, a lot of play and a little work made for an awesome weekend! How did you spend yours?

P.S. I think I've fixed the problem I was having commenting on other blogs by clearing my cache and also switching to using the Google Chrome browser all the time, instead of Internet Explorer. I know a lot of you are having the same issue, so I suggest giving it a try!

(Photo Credits: Personal Library)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Google Blogger Help Needed: Unable to Comment!

I hope you're all having a great Memorial Day weekend! I'll be back later this week with a couple new posts, but today's is an open call for help from my blogger friends.

For the past week, I have been unable to comment on many of the blogs I follow, which is probably why many of you haven't seen me around on your pages. Even though I am signed in to Blogger, when I try to view and comment on another blogger's page, the system often doesn't recognize my profile. It's like it doesn't think I'm really signed in. And when I try to sign in again, it doesn't help. Plus, since many blogs won't accept anonymous, name/URL comments, I have no way to leave one.

I submitted a question via Google's help forum but haven't gotten any feedback. Is anyone else having this problem? Any advice on how to fix it? If so, please feel free to leave me a message or email me at htwalrath@gmail.com. After a week of this happening, I'm totally fed up!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Be Back Soon!

Hi friends! The past week has been super crazy in my world, but I’m still here following your blogs and hope to be back next week with at least a couple new posts of my own, including one about ideas for our first anniversary, coming right up on June 4!

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep my head above water while prepping for a client’s wedding in June (so excited about it!), managing the Weddzilla Blog, and that little thing called grad school.

See you all again soon, and in meantime, take a peek at my little wedding coordinator in training. What do you think – has she got what it takes? :)

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!

(Photo Credit: Personal Library)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Certificate

Since one of my awesome clients is getting married exactly one month from today, I figure it's the perfect time to share this little beauty. She just arrived in the mail Monday, and I couldn’t be happier to say hello.

Yes, I know it’s a wedding coordination certificate from a community college, and not a master’s degree or anything fancy like that in the eyes of many, but I worked hard to earn it (while at the same time working on an actual master’s degree), and I feel incredibly proud to have made another one of my dreams a reality.

Just a piece of paper? Maybe. But I’ve got a feeling we’ll do great things together. :)

(Photo Credit: Personal Library)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Learning To Let Go & Relax

One month in, and it’s already official. This semester of grad school is off to an even crazier start than the last one!

But although my schedule is as demanding as ever, the publishing courses this time around – marketing strategies and production management – are more closely in line with my interests. The professors’ styles are also very interactive and project-based, which creates more work overall, but also helps each three-hour class pass by much more quickly and interestingly.

Even better, I’m doing my best to improve at setting boundaries in other areas of my life, no longer trying to frantically respond to emails and edit material during our class breaks. Instead, I now typically use the time to take a quick walk outside or down to Starbucks, chatting with my classmates and knowing that the rest of the world will still be there three hours later for me to respond to.

As you can imagine, this is sometimes a challenge for me – someone used to being constantly connected and who has trouble relaxing even when she does have the chance – mostly because I think about all the things I “should” be doing.

Though it may sound crazy, my hectic schedule has led me to crave being able to constantly check things off my to-do list, and I often feel anxious when I can’t respond to every email the minute it comes in, or when I have unfinished tasks leftover that I’d hoped to complete before the end of the day. But, since I know it’s not healthy to go through life feeling continuously on edge, I’m doing all that I can to change my ways, taking time to focus on and appreciate the small, quiet moments in life, no matter how few or far between they may be.

Will I be able to change overnight? Definitely not. But who knows? In the end, if I keep this up, I just may make it through this whole grad school while working thing without going insane after all!

Do you ever find you have a hard time relaxing or being “disconnected”? Which techniques do you use to help you unwind?

(Photo Credit: domarcenter.com)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Symbols Of Our Love

Prince William made headlines last month by deciding to go without a wedding ring, and people the world over took the opportunity to speculate as to whether this was the “right” decision and whether both partners in a marriage should always wear wedding bands.

In our marriage, my husband and I both happily wear wedding rings every day. In our eyes, our rings are beautiful symbols of our love and commitment to one another, reminding us that we are not alone throughout each moment of joy, sorrow or frustration. Stephen and I stand behind one another and support each other in all that we do, and our rings are one of the many ways we share that perspective with each other and with the world.

That said, if a couple chooses to forgo wedding rings, or if only one partner wishes to wear one, I don’t feel that it’s in any way a bad decision. After all, marriage is about understanding one another and doing what’s best for you as a couple, and if that involves making the decision not to wear a ring, what right does anyone else have to pass judgment?

In the aerospace engineering world, there are also certain career paths that don’t allow employees to wear wedding bands daily when working around high-tech equipment. In light of this, I realize that there may come a time when Stephen will no longer be able to wear his ring while on the job.

Would I feel sad about this? Yes, because when Stephen wears his ring, it makes me feel as though I am symbolically with him even when we are apart. But would I become angry or incredibly upset? Absolutely not. After all, a ring may be a beautiful symbol, but at the end of the day, it’s just that -- a symbol. Marriage, of course, is about so much more.

Do you and you husband both wear rings? Would it bother you if your spouse chose not to wear a wedding band?

(Photo Credit: Alex Neumann Photography)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Living The Bicoastal Life

This past weekend marked another “bicoastal holiday” for Stephen and I, as we both had little choice but to “phone it in” with our moms on Mother’s Day.

While this is of course an understandable part of living all the way across the country from our families, after six years of making it work, the past few months have for many reasons made us both eager to head back to the West Coast, or at least somewhere closer, at some point after I complete my master's.

The truth is that as great a time as we’ve had here in DC, as we and our family members all get older, the idea of seeing them just once or twice a year simply isn’t enough. My close friends are all still in California, as well, mostly in the same area. Two of them are even set to move back this summer after time spent in Boston and Germany!

The thought of being able to once again enjoy the simple luxuries others may take for granted, like going out to dinner with your close girlfriends, enjoying a shopping trip with your sister and mom, and spending the holidays seated around the table close to beloved grandparents, fills me with an eager joy and anticipation that can’t accurately be described in words.

Just as pressingly, the thought of raising children and starting a family without the support and nearness of family fills me with a great deal of anxiety and sadness. I guess it's fair to say that being far from loved ones long-term is incompatible with my vision of a happy and healthy life, career and marriage.

How far are you from your family and close friends? How do you cope when you can’t be together?

(Photo Credit: Alex Neumann Photography)

Friday, May 6, 2011

One Gown Fits All?

Last week, as the fashion world buzzed over what the former Kate Middleton and now Duchess Catherine’s wedding gown would look like, with brides everywhere eagerly awaiting the chance to get copies, I couldn't help but wonder whether it would be wise for so many women to want to copy someone else – especially someone who might have a very different build and body type than they do.

Though Catherine ultimately went with a very classic and flattering style, if you’ve ever read a fashion magazine or looked at bridal runway shots, you already know as well as I do that wedding gowns are “sold” to the rest of us on models that oftentimes look very much like Catherine – tall and extremely slender.

In reality, as much as I loved attending the Bridal Market fashion shows last month, the lack of diversity on the runways and the twig-like figures of many of the models definitely didn’t go over my head. Though I consider myself to have a pretty trim and petite figure, one that I have worked hard to maintain over the years, the fact that even someone my size would be considered too curvy to head down the runway is truly disturbing.

From an industry standpoint, I well know that the goal is to sell as many gowns as possible and earn as much profit as possible. Most designers feel the best way to do this is to showcase gowns on thin models. But are these portrayed ideals realistic? Why is there so little cultural diversity in the fashion world, and is it wise for designers to market “Kate’s gown” to brides who may be better suited by a different style entirely?

What do you think?

(Photo Credit: Official Royal Wedding Website)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Help Someone Remember Their Dream

It’s no secret how stressful the past few months have been for me. At my worst moments of intense pressure, I’ve wanted to drop everything and give it all up, in spite of my passion, just so that I could make the overwhelmed feelings go away.

Last week was one of those weeks. Between overseeing royal wedding blog coverage, starting yet another semester of grad school (yeah, there’s no summer break) and completing my final wedding coordination project, there were moments when I felt about ready to snap.

But then one day, just when I was at the end of my rope, I got the most awesome emails from a couple Weddzilla bloggers, telling me just how much they have appreciated the experience and how the work of myself and others has truly made a difference. As you can imagine, these types of messages meant the world to me, helping me to remember just why I do what I do and why I love it.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and each time it does, it reminds me how something as simple as a thank you or a few words of encouragement can truly revitalize your spirit, letting you know that your efforts are in fact worth it and are affecting others in a positive way.

Last year, at my friend’s graduation from medical school, the dean gave a speech about the importance of “remembering your dream,” especially at times when you want to give in and give up. Think about how your actions are impacting the lives of others, he said. Think about how they are impacting your own life. Remember your dream and how hard you've worked to get where you are. Remember your dream, and keep moving forward.

That's why I think that everyone, myself included, should take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the things that others do and the ways their actions have made a difference in whatever way that might be. Take the time, and you never knew what type of influence you might have. You just might be helping someone remember their dream.

(Graphic Credit: explodingdoughnut.blogspot.com)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Swept Away By Royal Wedding Fever!

I’m late posting here today because ever since 3 a.m. Friday, Weddzilla assistant Amanda and I have been swept away by royal wedding fever, blogging live and doing our best to keep up with every development that comes our way so that we can share it with our readers just as quickly as we can.

On Friday alone, she, several of our other fabulous bloggers and I worked together to publish a whopping 42 blog posts! Yes, Amanda and I were writing, editing, tweeting, posting and responding to questions from before the sun came up to long after it set, loving the chance to share all the news and details firsthand, but nevertheless feeling entirely exhausted by the time it all drew to a close.

This week, we’re still going strong with follow-up reports about trends, newly revealed recaps and more, written by the two of us, as well as the rest of the awesome Weddzilla blogger team. Check it out and see for yourself the proof that as if I wasn’t royally obsessed enough before the wedding, I certainly am now!

Did you watch the royal wedding? Are you still following the latest updates and recaps as they come out, or are you getting tired of hearing about it at this point?

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)