Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Venue

Edward didn’t ask for much when it came to our wedding, but one of his requests was that our wedding ceremony take place in a church. Although we both have Christian upbringings, I was less attached to the idea of having our ceremony in a church. I mean, pastors travel and Jesus is everywhere. Jesus put Edward and I together and I knew He (Jesus) would be sure to make it to our wedding ceremony regardless of where it took place.

One of the things I cared about most in our wedding was dancing; with Edward, with my friends, by myself. I didn’t care who I was dancing with, I just knew that I wanted to be on the floor dancing until the very last song. And if that was the case, we would definitely have to have our wedding reception at another location, because I wasn’t trying to get struck down for disrespecting the Lord’s house by gettin’ down in a church.

I definitely thought it was more logical to have our wedding ceremony and reception at the same location. I tried explaining to Edward that it would be an inconvenience and also time consuming for the wedding party and guests to have to travel from one location to another. One of the things I’d heard a lot from other couples was how fast their wedding day went and I wanted to enjoy every second of our day without it feeling rushed. I didn’t want to waste the day dealing with traveling, traffic and being stressed out by time constraints. I wanted things to be simple and easy for everyone. 

We were already on a budget and splitting up the ceremony and reception locations only added to that budget. We would have to book a hotel and rent some sort of car service when we could just eliminate those costs by having the ceremony and reception take place at one location.

Image by Danfredo Photos & Film
I showed Edward a few online photos of Flushing Town Hall, which is a venue that I’d had my eye on for years. I thought Flushing Town Hall was great for us because it was affordable, unique and very scenic. Flushing Town Hall had a few spaces that we could use for different blocks of our day which I thought was perfect!

My husband is extremely stubborn so he was insistent on us having our ceremony in a church. Since we began planning our wedding less than a year to our wedding date, we didn’t really have time to waste going back and forth with each other when we didn’t yet have a venue booked to be going back and forth about. We put the location of our wedding ceremony on the back burner for the moment and made a few appointments to check out some venues.

As I’ve said before, I just don’t have the energy that I used to have, so I wasn’t interested in traveling back and forth visiting venue after venue. So like an episode of House Hunters, we made appointments to visit three venues, all in Queens and we were GOING TO agree on one of them.
Since I’d already had my eye on Flushing Town Hall and it was close to where we live, it only made sense that it be the first place we visit.

The moment we stepped into Flushing Town Hall the heavens opened and angels literally began singing; AND playing their harps. The weather was gorgeous that day, so Edward and I were able to get an accurate vision of what our wedding would look like if the weather held up.

The venue manager, Kevin, took us on a tour of the garden, the gallery and the theater which all could be booked for one reasonable price. We could use the gallery for the cocktail hour and the theater for our reception. We would have the entire building to ourselves verses having to share the space with multiple events also taking place on the same day; which would have been fine with me, but I’m bougie so I preferred the idea of us having the building to ourselves.

Image by Danfredo Photos & Film
Kevin suggested that we have our ceremony in the garden. The second I began mentioning to Kevin that Edward wanted to have the ceremony at his church, Edward interrupted me by stating that it was fine for us to have our ceremony in the Flushing Town Hall garden. Psssh… Sometimes you have to be quiet and let people see things for themselves – which is something I’m going to try and remember in my marriage.

When Edward and I floated out of Flushing Town Hall, we were on a dreamy high. It was perfect for us! When hunting for anything worthwhile, you always want  to keep your options open and not commit so quickly to the first thing that comes your way; so even though we’d already  fallen in love with Flushing Town Hall, we still  gave our following two appointments a chance. Needless to say, we couldn’t get over Flushing Town Hall and Flushing Town Hall won. 

There was a lot of work to be done. Flushing Town Hall would provide us with the tables and chairs so at least we wouldn’t have to rent them, but we would have to take care of all of the other details ourselves- decorations, catering, table settings etc... I’m pretty creative and I had Pinterest on my side, but the thought of putting my entire wedding together on my own was extremely overwhelming.  I certainly had my work cut out for me.

How in the world was I going to pull this off?

Up Next: The Wedding Planner 

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Wedding Party

I have way too much fun by myself - I was in absolute hysterical stitches as I put together these avatar caricatures of our wedding party for our wedding website. The program I used has favoritism towards Puerto Ricans, because Daisy’s and Edward’s avatars are the only ones that actually resemble them.

The wedding party was easy. Edward’s party of groomsmen consisted of three of his best high school/college friends and I wanted a small bridal party to begin with, so three bridesmaids it was. That should have been the end of it, but I have a knack for complicating things when I don’t take a moment to think things through. 

Although I’d already chosen my three bridesmaids, I got greedy. I think with my heart, so if I could have, I would have asked just about every good girl and guy friend of mine to be in my bridal party. And in my excitement, I did. But after I took the time to really think about what I wanted for myself, I accepted that I didn’t want a wedding that bordered on looking like a sweet 16 (no offense to those who have large bridal parties). So I had to go back and tell my friends, like a loser, that whoops I kinda jumped the gun in asking them to be in my wedding. Absolutely tacky! Thankfully this dilemma I’d brought upon myself took place the instant Edward slipped the ring on my finger and before any real wedding plans were in motion. Thankfully, my friends love me and they know me; they know that I’m ditsy and they know that my heart was in the right place.

As if creating predicaments on my end wasn’t enough, I had to go poking my nose into the business of Edward and his groomsmen.

Edward and his friends have what I viewed as an unhealthy attachment to each other. Yes, I have been super critical and extremely judgmental of his relationship with his boys. Hey, at least I recognize my flaws.

One of Edward’s groomsmen lives in Poland yet Edward was adamant about including Polish Rob as one of his groomsmen. As far as I knew Rob was a ghost and a figment of Edward’s imagination. I’d heard lots and lots about Rob from Edward and his boys, but I’d never met Rob. I just assumed that Edward and his band of merry nincompoops were over here dreamily grasping at the last remaining straws of their boyish youth, and that Rob was over there in Poland moving on with his life without these fools. 

I repeatedly badgered Edward with a series of annoying questions:

How often do you speak to Rob? 
When is the last time you spoke to Rob? 
So you don’t speak to Rob that often, and you think he’s going to make the trip from Poland for someone he speaks to occasionally? 
Have you heard from Rob?
You think he'll make it to the wedding?
You still want him to be in the wedding? 
Did you reach out to Rob? 
Did Rob say if he could make it? 
Have you heard from Rob?
Have you heard from Rob? 
Have you heard from Rob?

I can now see why this line of questioning usually ended up in an argument. Bitches be crazy; especially when it comes to their weddings. My bad.

My issue wasn’t with Rob at all. Edward has a big heart and I feel like he can cling to a relationship all because that person lent him a dollar back in 1993; so at times I don’t trust his judgment when it comes to his idea of friendship. I recognize that this trait of mine can be extremely frustrating for Edward, and I’m sorry Boo.

As convinced as Edward was that Rob was going to make it to our wedding, I was equally convinced that Edward was about to have a rude awakening about his friendships; but I was the one who was about to be woke.

In addition to Polish Rob shutting down all of my skepticism by getting on a plane and flying over from Poland, Edward’s two other friends whom I earlier referred to as fools, shut down every criticism and judgment I’d ever held against them.

From the moment of our engagement to the last second of our wedding, Edward’s groomsmen banded together as one solid unit to make sure that everything went flawlessly for him; for us. I was extremely moved, impressed and honored by the support, love, care, respect and loyalty that they showed for me and for each other.

I couldn’t help myself - I fell in love with them. I certainly didn’t expect such a display of love from a group of dudes. Not that Edward needed my approval, but I now understood his attachment to these men.

All in all, our wedding party consisted of good, old friends; friends who have known us both from our tens, to our twenties and into our thirties. Having friends who have known us for most of our lives stand by our side on such an important and wonderful day was such an absolute blessing! 

The Unofficials:

A special, special thank you to the unofficial members of our wedding party:

Anadi, Mikey, Tim, Kevin, Angie, David, Beata, Lisa, Niketta and Dwight.

Thank you for chauffeuring, makeuping, errand running, cake delivering, performing, painting, assembling, rolling up your sleeves and pitching in. We needed you, we thank you and we love you forever!

Up Next: The Venue

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Wedding Series

This blog is WAY overdue, but at least I’m getting to it before I’ve been married for a full year. Maybe I’m getting old – actually, I know I’m getting old. Had my wedding taken place when I was in my 20’s I might have shared daily, weekly or at least monthly blog posts in the midst of the wedding planning mayhem, but I just don’t have the same oomph that I did back then. And although I made many notes throughout my wedding planning journey, I was so overwhelmed and stressed that I didn’t have the energy to pull a full blog post together.

I learned a lot about myself during the process of planning my wedding and reaffirmed things I already knew about myself but had forgotten. For one, I am super anal. I like order. I want everything to be perfect. I want things the way I want them; and when I want a certain thing to go a certain way and it goes left or right, I begin to spiral.

When planning a wedding, no matter how perfect you expect everything to go, you need to accept that an area of your expectations might not be met – and that’s okay. Things may not go exactly the way you anticipated, but everything will turn out to be amazing! I’m still working with myself on my expectations, reality and ACCEPTING reality. It is a daily struggle.

Anyway – on to my reason for being here...

The Proposal:

Edward proposed to me at the karaoke bar where we first met. Kudos to him for remembering, because I’d completely forgotten the name of the place. Trickery and lies were used to get me to the karaoke bar (and how good can a surprise be if there isn’t some level of deception involved?). I thought I was there to eat food and have drinks with a friend of ours and I was hungry and ready for some adult beverages so I wasn’t really paying attention. Although I did have an idea that a proposal was on the way, I was still totally thrown off.

I don’t know how I remember this, but the moment when Edward walked into the karaoke room on the day we first met, my friends and I were all singing and booty popping to Get Low, by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz. So after Edward proposed to me in such a special and profound way; with such class and heartfelt emotion, it only made sense that I trash up the moment by playing that song in honor of the day he walked into my life.

The Ring:

Edward proposed to me with a ring, but it wasn’t THE ring. Edward is very traditional, but he broke tradition by taking me to the ring shop and giving me the option of choosing my own ring (which I stare at often). The following days and weeks went something like this: 


With our engagement now in full effect, it was time to begin the wedding planning process. I have a SEVERE magazine addiction so I really expected that I would subscribe to just about every bridal magazine available, but I surprised myself by not subscribing to any because - Pinterest.

I pulled my Pinterest boards together in a ridiculously short amount of time. Edward and I had been together for 10 years so I was ready and prepared, like yesterday, for this wedding to take place. With my pin-boards settled, I thought I had just about everything figured out. I was very na├»ve about how many details, timelines and dollars actually go into a wedding, depending on the type of wedding you envision for yourself. And this girl right here had bourgie aspirations on a penny pinching budget. I wanted to feel like a celebrity on that day, and feeling like a celebrity damn sure aint cheap.

Up Next: The Wedding Party

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year!

I have a few goals for 2017 but the most important one is learning to relax for the sake of my health.

2016 was incredibly amazing, but it was also stressful, overwhelming and anxiety ridden. Although I have always had a clean bill of health I still never took my health for granted. I always thanked the Lord that my annual visits to the doctor have all been clear.

Phone calls from the doctor are usually not a good thing and in 2016 my doctor’s number flashed across my caller ID more than I would have liked. Nothing extremely serious is wrong but the doctor wasn’t calling me to chit-chat either. I’m the weirdo who actually enjoys going to the doctor, but in 2016 I came to dread those visits because there was one issue after another to resolve.

My mom told me that I have been a worrier since I was little and I never really accepted this. Even though I internalized the things that I worried about I would eventually get over them. But over the past few years, I realize and accept that I don’t handle stress as well as I used to or at least as well as I thought I did. I get overwhelmed and anxious easily. Even when I don’t feel the stress or anxiety it still manifests itself in my body and is apparent in my blood pressure.

It’s known how stressful planning a wedding can be (and it was stressful); and planning a wedding in conjunction with having surgery, having other minor health issues pop up here and there throughout the year and then, ending the year with having to have the same surgery that I had before the wedding was A LOT. I’m exhausted.

In 2017 I want to learn how to really chill out. I realize that I’m not so good at relaxing. Even when I’m sitting still my mind is still going. I want to not take things so seriously. Even if things are serious, there are some things that are out of my control and I need to let those things go and let God…

Exercise is one of the things that is effective in lowering stress and combating high blood pressure. I don’t think I’ll ever be crazy about exercise, but I do see the positive effects working out has had on my health. I had to find something that I would stick with and Lumowell at home workouts seem to keep me motivated. I haven’t been able to work out in a few weeks because I’m still recovering (and I cannot believe I’m saying this!), but I’m looking forward to working out again. If exercise can naturally help to relieve some of my health issues, then I’ll do whatever I have to.

I know that things could be worse for me, so I’m grateful that everything that was wrong with me has turned out to be ok. I’m grateful to be alive because putting my life into the hands of others, even for something minor, is nerve wrecking. I’m grateful to have a wonderful, amazing husband who stayed home and waited on me like a handsome nurse/butler. Everybody doesn’t have a partner who will drop everything for them and I’m so blessed to have that in him.

All in all I’m hoping for a healthier year.

Happy 2017!

- Louise

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End - 2015

It really is a shame that I haven’t shared anything in so long since I have so many uncompleted blog posts sitting in a folder on my desktop. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m not a consistent writer. Actually, I am a consistent writer; I’m just not consistent with my social media shares & posts. Regardless, I apologize for being away for so long.

Part of the reason that I haven’t had as much time to complete the writings I’ve begun is because I’ve been addictively reading book after book. The other reason is because I began working a new position at my job. I’d wanted a change for a long time. I love where I work, but I was stuck in my role. Since I wanted more at work, I began to fake the role I wanted. I made myself more available to those I work with. I helped everyone with everything so that I could learn more and so that I could be noticed. I faked the role I wanted and someone took notice and that someone asked me to work for them.

I’m thrilled with my new job, but since I am always way too hard on myself, my new role gives me anxiety. Work is work. You learn how to do what you have to do and then you do it. It’s simple and it’s easy. I’ve tried telling myself this over and over, but my stress levels are still all over the place. I want to do my best, I want to be my best and I don’t want to make any mistakes, but those are unrealistic expectations that I’m putting on myself. I am so grateful that I have an amazing friend at work who works the same role and who calms me the fuck down when I start spinning out of control. She thinks I'm ridiculous when I say this, but I really don’t know what I would do without her.

Pressuring myself to write in addition to pressuring myself about work doesn’t make me makes me feel like writing at all; which is how I end up submerging myself into the sick, dysfunctional and twisted lives of the characters in the books I’ve been reading. Reading about their crazy lives relaxes me completely.

Anyway, my reason for being here is to reflect on the year as I usually do.

Since my 2016 will be epic, my reflection on 2015 is short.

2015 was a happy, happy year for me. I’m so happy it’s scary because when you’re happy, doesn’t something always happen to ruin your happiness? It took me a while to identify that happy was what I was feeling. Life is up and down, but the last two years have been amazing! I deserve it, so I’m going to enjoy this happy for as long as it lasts.

This moment of my life is so full of good stuff. I’m so blessed and grateful to be where I am today and to have all that I have. What is life without loving people to share it with? So, as usual, I’m so grateful for my friends made family; both near and far. I’m grateful that my old, fat cat is still with me and mostly I’m grateful for the wonderful man in my life and to be ending and beginning another year with him… and Pit Bull.

As a New Yorker I should be loyal to the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Special, but I’ll be watching Pit Bull’s New Year’s Revolution. Pit Bull’s music and energy puts me in such a happy mood and that’s how I want to feel when 11:59 turns to midnight.

Auld Lang Syne depresses me so much! Am I alone here?

However you spend your New Year’s Eve, I hope you have a blast!

All the best for 2016!

- Louise

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year End - 2014

I made some huge moves this year, one being moving out of the Bronx. To people who aren't from The Bronx, this isn't a big deal, because those who didn't grow up there only think of the borough as bad, ugly and ghetto. The Bronx can be all of those things, because every borough has its dirt, but there is a culture and a love that can only be appreciated by those who are from the Bronx.

I could say that I'm not a real Bronxite because I was born in London and didn't land in the BX until 1987 when I was 8, but I lived in the Bronx most of my life and longer than I lived in London, so I count!

I can't explain my attachment to the Bronx in this post, because I'm trying to keep things short, and I'm long winded when I get to writing, but I will dedicate a blog post to the BX because the borough deserves a piece dedicated straight from my heart.

I always knew that one day I would leave, but still, I wasn't prepared for how I would take it when I did. I cried. HYSTERICALLY! Multiple times. And although my move wasn't a mistake, but a step in the right direction of my life, I'm probably still not done shedding tears. My tears aren't just about the borough, I'm sentimental. My life was formulated there. I met one of the loves of my life there; she and I walked those streets daily, chased & kissed boys and both dreamed of the day we left, but still, I can't believe I actually left.

Most of my tears were shed for my apartment. That apartment held many many awesome memories and I loved that place so much! But there will be lots of memories to be made and different phases of life to experience in this new chapter.

New home, new borough, new year.

Have a happy one!

- Louise

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4th, 2014

The past several months have been filled with dreams. Dreams where you are with me, dreams where I tell people of you and dreams where I realize that I've lost you all over again.

These past months, you have haunted me daily and nightly.

Once, in the beginning, I tried to escape you with the hazy way that wine makes everything just a little softer around the edges; but at times alcohol, especially red wine, can have the opposite effect where it only makes your existence more real to me. Instead of escaping my thoughts of you, you and the pain of losing you are magnified in me.

Your existence brought me such miraculous joy. Every day, I woke not quite believing that you were with me. Your presence made me so happy that at times, I felt like I was having an outer body experience because it was unbelievable that you were with me! But you were with me, and I was overjoyed!

The second that I learned that you were with me was one of the most remarkable, breathtaking days of my life, of which I will never forget. And I loved you and I loved what having you with me was going to mean for my life. I grieve that you aren't here when you were supposed to be. But God is good and He has been good to me. And, although it’s extremely hard, I trust that if you were supposed to be with me you would have been.

Sometimes saying that to myself makes me feel better, but feeling better about you not being here when, in my mind, you were supposed to only lasts for a moment. Even as those moments of sadness become fewer and fewer, they are not few enough. When those moments catch me they sometimes catch me off guard; and when those moments come, they come hard like a brick.

My lose of you hits me harder than anything I've ever been hit by in my life. And when I’m hit by the grief of losing you, no matter how hard I try to reel it in, I can’t take it back and I can’t control it. My grief of losing you consumes me completely; mind, heart and body, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. It’s as if everything around me has been paused and all I see, all I feel, all I breathe is my lose of you.

I thought I was strong, but the physical and emotional pain of losing you brought me to my knees. I’ve always tried to be strong, because life just isn’t easy, and the only way I could think to move through life’s unpleasantries was to put one foot in front of the other even when I felt like collapsing to the ground. Even in those times, I’ve always been able to dust myself off and move forward. I wasn’t entirely whole to begin with, but you broke me, Dear Angel.

The way I was after you left me, Dear Angel, made me afraid. Who knew darkness could last for so long? I didn’t know that I could lose myself in such a way. I didn’t know that I could go to such a dark, dark place and I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to find my way back to myself. I’m mostly back, but I’ll never be the same again.

You’ve changed me, Dear Angel, you changed us forever. With your existence, two separates became one and we'll never forget you, because you were our first. Even when the others come, we will still think of you.

I told myself that maybe I shouldn't write this because what if I lose who comes after you and who comes after them? I don’t think I could bear it, but I’ll cross that bridge if, God forbid, I come to it. Life is unstable and the truth is that I will have worse things than your lose to face. The reality is that there's no getting around life’s instabilities.

Those who haven’t experienced this type of lose might think I’m dwelling, but my lose of you isn’t something I can shake. I am a thinker, been a thinker since the day I was born. I think of you every day and even when/if the daily thoughts of you fade you will always be in my heart and on my mind.

You changed me, Dear Angel, when I lost you, I lost some of the fight in me. Some of the fight in me was immature and unnecessary, but some of the fight in me is what kept me motivated; a lot of the wind has been knocked out of my sails and I just don’t have the energy, the oomph I had before you came along. Now, I’m utterly exhausted.

The only thing that continues to save me is God and Jesus and our Edward-Angel who continues to pull me out of the darkness with his love. Getting through losing you would have been a million times harder if God didn't show him how to rescue me.

The only thing that saves me is the happy, loving images projected from my heart to my mind that I can only hope will be fulfilled.

At this time, of this year I would have become someone new because of you. I would have entered a role that I feel I was born to live. I was glad and ready for the sacrifices I would have had to make because of you. Because for you, it would have all been worth it. I like to know, need to know everything. I like to have answers, but there are no answers for why I wasn't allowed to have you in my life.

I wish I could keep you to myself, because some things are supposed to remain private, but I can’t because I’m a writer and my words aren't only for me. There’s a stirring that happens in me right before the words come and I couldn’t ignore it. I live for stories. I just wish I had different stories to tell about you and about all of the joys you were bringing us because you were here. We’re sorry that you aren't, but we can only trust that there is a reason why.

~ With all of my love.