The First Couple on (Their) Marriage

Posted on October 31, 2009. Filed under: inspiration, reality |

Hey, y’all!  Have you read this article in the New York Times Magazine?

The Obamas’ Marriage

If you haven’t read it, go now.  Seriously.  Right now.  It’s mind-blowingly honest and real.  Regardless of your political persuasion, we need more honesty and reality around marriages.  They talk about ups and downs, decisions and families and figuring out how to to make a marriage work with what might be the world’s toughest external factors.

Oh, where to begin to blog about how this story resonated with me? 

A smart, accomplished, ambitious woman figuring out how her husband’s life and desires fit with hers… and being honest about it:

Unlike the wife who smiles tightly and insists everything is fine, Michelle sent a clear series of distress signals not only to her husband but to everyone around her. “Barack and I, we’re doing a lot of talking,” she would say when asked how she was holding up.

A couple with an admittedly happy marriage talking honestly about how hard marriage can be:

Two months later in the Oval Office, I asked the Obamas just how severe their strains had been. “This was sort of the eye-opener to me, that marriage is hard,” the first lady said with a little laugh. “But going into it, no one ever tells you that. They just tell you, ‘Do you love him?’ ‘What’s the dress look like?’ ”

A man worried that if his wife agrees to what he wants, she won’t be happy.  When my husband and I disagree, his biggest worry is that I’m not happy (hello, of COURSE I’m not happy, we’re yelling at each other, buddy!), so this strikes a chord in me:

The first lady looked solemnly at the president. He said: “You know, I mean, I think that it was important for us to work this through. . . . There was no point where I was fearful for our marriage. There were points in time where I was fearful that Michelle just really didn’t — that she would be unhappy.”

This, THIS, this right here is why I blog about all the things that aren’t rainbows and butterflies:

“If my ups and downs, our ups and downs in our marriage can help young couples sort of realize that good marriages take work. . . .” Michelle Obama said a few minutes later in the interview. The image of a flawless relationship is “the last thing that we want to project,” she said. “It’s unfair to the institution of marriage, and it’s unfair for young people who are trying to build something, to project this perfection that doesn’t exist.”

And my favorite, the quote that out of an article filled with oh-my-God-we-ARE-normal-thank-God moments, stuck in my head and settled into my heart with a whoosh of peace:

Michelle Obama accepted that she was not going to have a conventional marriage, that her husband would be away much of the time. “That was me, wanting a certain type of model, and our lives didn’t fit that model,” she told me in an Iowa lunchroom in the summer of 2007. “I just needed the support. It didn’t have to be Barack.”

Tell me honestly (since “honest” seems to be a popular word in this post!), did you love the article as much as I did?  Why?

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Plan B (not the contraceptive)

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: inspiration | Tags: |

I’m a girl who’s gotta have a backup plan under the best of circumstances, and leaving the details of my bouquet to the whims of our rose garden (I say “our” with a bit of irony, since our only contribution is likely to be that we manage to kill them weeks before our wedding) makes that doubly true.

Plan B was always to beg our neighbors to let us have our way with their flower bushes, but I think I’ve found a better backup plan, and they deliver.


Yea, baby, I’m sending myself flowers!  I love Proflowers.  Unlike many online florists, they don’t pawn your order off on a local flower shop, instead delivering your flowers via FedEx/ UPS (I can’t remember which)… right to your door!

They come in a spiffy little box like this:


I’ve used them quite a few times for gifts and each time the recipient has raved about the quality of the flowers.  And their customer service is FANTASTIC.  I made the mistake of sending my mom flowers without making sure she’d be home, and just my luck, they were headed out of town for a long weekend.  When I called ProFlowers to beg them to hold the shipment, I was too late — but they sent her another bouquet a few days later for free.  Seriously.  I didn’t lie, fib, or bat my eyelashes, either.  They’re just that cool.  {Note: I’m not getting anything from them for saying this.  Swear.}

I’m leaning toward a hot pink bouquet, but I’m not sure yet. If I do, I’ll order these happy carnations to make mini-bouquets and bouts.


Check these out!






Total cost with shipping is about $70 which is a steal for a bridal bouquet. The flowers are already “designed,” they deliver to your door, they’re relatively inexpensive… just my style.  Call it almost-DIY, but I think it’s a great idea (even if I do say so myself).

Anybody else being creative about your florals?

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Ceremony bookmarks

Posted on February 18, 2009. Filed under: emotional, inspiration | Tags: |

With less than three months to go until we get married, I’ve decided it’s time to start working on the part of the whole thing that I look forward to the most: the ceremony.

I was a bit uncomfortable about writing it; if I know every word, every passage, every sentiment, will I feel as engaged (no pun intended) during our ceremony?

But after much web surfing and some shower time (don’t you do your best thinking in the shower?), I’m very excited.  I figure it’s much like live music: I may know every word and every note, but there’s just something special about hearing a song sung live.

So, as I get started (Wheeee! I’m excited!), I thought I’d share all of my ceremony links from Weddingbee.  You can recreate my search by reading through every post tagged “ceremony” — or you can just use the list below.

Mrs. Ant’s “The Purpose of Marriage”

Mrs. Emerald’s first draft of vows

Mrs. Tomato’s Love and Joy quotes

Mrs. Corn’s unusual and very touching reading

Mrs. Penguin’s ceremony script

Mrs. Lovebug’s group blessing (Have I mentioned my crush on Mrs. Lovebug?)

Mrs. Cookie’s readings

And a couple of posts by yours truly with quotes that I love

I can’t leave out the fabulous DIY Bride’s very comprehensive ceremony download section, even though it’s not from WB (and I’m working from a theme here, people).  You have to register to download files, but it’s really worth it.

I may have missed a few, so as I continue in this (exciting!) process, I’ll update you.  Also, while we’re on the subject of marriage, have you seen the Simple Marriage blog?  Happy reading.

What inspiration sources are you using to craft your ceremony?  Have I mentioned how excited I am?

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Random conversations

Posted on February 9, 2009. Filed under: crafty-crafty, inspiration |


While at the Aveda salon the other day getting my makeup done (oh, have I not blogged about that? *innocent look*), my stylist got to telling me about her sister’s fun and fabulous beach wedding.  I was poised to hear all about the over-the-top resort or the phenomenal food when I heard this:

“They gave us these great welcome bags with all of their favorite candy in them.  How cute is that?”

And then my world shifted on its  axis.

What she remembered most were the special touches highlighting the couple’s uniqueness.  That he loved m&m’s.  That she always had Jolly Ranchers in her purse.  That they met at a bar.  (Okay, I totally made up that last one; projecting, anyone?)

I’ve never considered doing favors or welcome bags, thinking them pain that I don’t want to take on.  I didn’t want to have to figure out what would make our loved ones happy.  Do most people like chips?  What about ginger ale – that’s a pretty benign drink choice, right?  Now I’m rethinking them.  The idea isn’t to be the Marriott, after all, making sure that they’re hydrated and managing their blood sugar levels!

If, as a wedding guest, you enjoy knowing more about the couple whose wedding you’re there to celebrate (note to self: duh), then this couple will oblige.  The mister’s gonna love another project.

Please, share your eye-opening random wedding conversations, will ya?  Or, better yet, take off your bride lenses for a bit (brides think differently than guests) and tell us what you remember about the weddings you’ve attended.

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Favorite words, part II

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: inspiration |

I’ve collected quotes for a while, copied into the notes section of my email program. Here are a few more of my favorites:

She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.
~Toni Morrison, Beloved

“A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults.”
~ Charles Kingsley (1819-75)

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes,” explained Reason quietly, “as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”

~Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

“To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.”

~Anna Louise Strong

“The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved — loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

~Victor Hugo

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”

~Judy Garland

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
~James Baldwin

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
~Albert Camus

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.
~Robert Southey (1774-1843)

I am learning to live close to the lives of my friends without ever seeing them. No miles of any measurement can separate your soul from mine.
~John Mu

If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.
~Michel de Montaigne

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Didja miss me?

Posted on January 20, 2009. Filed under: inspiration |

Why, hello, there, hive! How the heck are ya?  It’s been a while, I know… don’t hate me.  I’ve been a busy little bee, and you’ve been well taken care of by the other fabulous bees (and c’mon, don’t you just love the new bees to death?).

Before I take you through the details of the stuff I’ve been doing (you’ll be so proud of me, I promise… more on that later*), have you seen this site?


I’ll admit, they totally had me with that tag line, but then I found this in a section titled “For the Bride”:

Have you lost your voice, strained your “stink eye” and threw your shoulder getting him to help?

All’s not lost. You might just need to deliver the message in a way that he’s more comfortable with. After all, men are creatures of habit. And picking flowers, linens and fruit platters are not habits they have picked up. Yet.

So how can we help?

Just click on the type that best describes your guy and we’ll let you deliver all his to-do’s in a way he can easily relate to. Ta da!

Short Attention Span Man gets a pdf “sticky note” version of things they have to do, Day Planner gets a calendar version and Middle Manager gets a slide show.  *laugh!*


Highlights of the list include To Do #22 with four months to go: Get Away For the Weekend; To Do #27 with three months to go: Call Your Mother; and To Do #37 with three months to go: Check Under Her Hood (“And if you don’t complain about the condition of her car, she may let you use your dip stick on her as well.  Vroom vroom.”)  C’mon, that’s funny, I don’t care who ya are.

Have you seen any other laugh-worthy methods for getting grooms involved??

*Have I ever blogged without promising to give you more details on that later?  Doubtful.

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Fun and inexpensive gift ideas

Posted on December 12, 2008. Filed under: inspiration | Tags: , |

I loved Miss Powder Puff’s post on inexpensive wedding gifts, and it got me thinking about other gifts that I’ve loved to receive that weren’t terribly expensive: magazine subscriptions! This year for Christmas, each member of my family is getting a magazine subscription – less pressure than picking out a book, less expensive than clothing they won’t wear anyway, and they’ll get a little gift every month all year long!  So, here are my contributions to the list of inexpensive gifts….


As an engagement gift, give bridal magazines: Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle Weddings, Brides… or all three!  For $24, you get 6 issues of Brides, 6 issues of Modern Bride, AND 4 issues of Elegant Bride.  Throw in the other two ($16 for four issues of Martha Stewart, $5.99 per issue for InStyle Weddings) and you’re still under 50 bucks.  This would also make a fabulous holiday gift for an engaged friend.

As a wedding gift, how about nesting or shelter magazines: Domino, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living or Food. Domino is only $10 for ten issues!! Real Simple has two subscriptions for the $24 price of one (send one to yourself)! Martha Stewart Living and Food are $24 and $12, respectively.

And, as someone who likes to cook but loves to eat, I can’t leave out the food magazines: Food & Wine…$20 for 12 issues, Gourmet… $12 for 12 issues, or Cook’s Illustrated… $25 for 6 issues.  I love all three (in fact, am drooling now from going to the websites), and I’ll mention that while CI seems expensive, it’s the most detailed of the bunch, with very easy to follow how-to’s.  You can throw in a second subscription for the non-cook of the couple, or consider it a joint gift (while I may be cooking, Mr. Cheese is certainly benefiting from the results!).

Or, for the couple: Money magazine… $15 for a year.  While there are quite a few financial magazines out there, this one consistently offers great topics for couples to discuss.

I’d buy the current issue of the magazine, include a card noting the gift subscription (and a list of my favorite relevant links… like Weddingbee!) and wrap it up with something useful – a mixing bowl or recipe box with the food mags, a throw or pillow with the shelter mags, or a pretty file folder (to hold clippings and inspiration photos) with the bridal mags.  Or, you could go simple: just the current magazine and a card.

{If you’re related to me and reading, consider this a hint!}

Do you give or receive magazines as gifts?  Any other ideas for inexpensive and thoughtful wedding (or holiday) gifts?  Share with the hive!

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On lost productivity and color addictions

Posted on November 12, 2008. Filed under: inspiration | Tags: , |

Oh, Miss Hot Cocoa, you are an eeee-vil woman.  Remember this post?  The one where you showed me the Pantone site?  Thus began my long slide down the slippery slope of color picking.  And boy, is it niiiiiice.

Y’all might remember that we bought a whole lotta classic mid-century goodness of a house, none of which has been updated since, well, the middle of last century.  Since we’re getting married and hosting our reception at home in six short months (excuse me while I have a panic attack, EEK!), I’m getting my act together and picking paint colors for each room.

At least, that’s my excuse for spending my whole day off playing on the Pantone site.  (At least it was my day off, right?!?)  And now, I’m here to pull you down the slippery slope with me.

Behold, the Pantone Mood Selector. You choose words that describe the mood you want to invoke, and it presents you with a custom mood palette.  (Now you say, “ooooh” in a hushed voice.)  Here’s my mood palette for the bedroom:


The mood I want to evoke in our bedroom is one of comfy calmness, bringing to mind gray t-shirts, soft fuzzy blankets, and the sound of water (like being on the beach on a cloudy day).  Using this tool I chose only words — and the colors I’d been wanting were included! Here’s my palette:

bedroomcolorpalette1Next up, the bathroom (with pics)!  We just finished ripping out the floors and will be repainting and tiling through the end of the week, so I’ll be sharing the color palette, inspiration pics, and the result!

I’m hoping that you’ll help me make sure that the colors we use throughout the house make sense from the perspective of an event venue (please?). I expect that we’ll be using the invite colors (below) a lot, not just because they’re for our wedding, but because they’re my (er, “our”) favorite colors.

Tell the truth: are you spending way more time than you should playing with color palettes?  Do we need to start a support group (“My name is Cheese and I sink too much time into playing with online color tools”)?  Can you recommend any other online tools to feed my addiction?  I’m on a hunt for that one that shows your colors in big round drops (like a paint drip)… do you know it?

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Short and sassy

Posted on October 30, 2008. Filed under: inspiration | Tags: |

… I’m talking about hair, but I suppose you can describe me that way too.  🙂

My hair, if you recall (if you don’t, mouse over my chees-y icon and you’ll see a pic of me) is short.  In fact, it’s much shorter than it appears in that picture because it’s a graduated cut so the front is much longer than the back.

I love having short hair.  I’m not terribly tall (ahem, *cough* five foot nothing, to be exact) and I have a ton of hair.  Seriously.  A ton.  Every hair stylist I’ve ever been to has remarked on how much hair I have.  Lest you be creating voodoo dolls to wish me harm for what probably seems like a good problem to have, let me just say that most of my pre-short-hair pictures make me look like this:


Mr. Cheese, unlike Mr. Eggplant, is a huge fan of long hair, and more than once has suggested that I grow it out just so that he can see what it looks like.  Setting aside the fact that this isn’t at all like, “Try on that dress so that I can see it” because of minor things like time and daily aggravation, I’m not sure I WANT long hair on my wedding day simply because it’s my wedding day.  I want to look like me — only significantly more fabulous — and “me” has short and sassy hair.

Par for the course, I’m conflicted.  I like my hair short and think that it fits me.  On the other hand, I love my guy, and it would be fun to grow it out, even just a bit, so that the mister would get his wish.  Yea, yea, first-world problem, I know.

Supposing I’m keeping it short (even if I grow it out, it’ll be short), it’s so hard to find inspiration photos!  This post is for my short-haired sistas out there.

I *love* this bride’s hair.  While I obviously don’t have the length in the back, I think I could simulate the front waviness and general fabulousness.


Then there’s the always gorgeous Mariska Hargitay.  Her hairstyle here is much like my original plan: stick a flower in it and make it poofy.


She used that same strategy for her own wedding:


I’d call this one a faux-updo, while the poofiness in the front is much like the first picture.


I’m not sure I like the hairpiece, but I like the idea, and this is closer to my regular everyday hairstyle.


This bride is sassy  looking, eh?  I’m not sure I like this as much as the others, but maybe another short-haired bride will find some inspiration?


While I don’t think Ivana Bozilovic has short hair, I could mimic the style by pulling my hair back with a few pins and… yep, sticking a flower in it!


And, from my consistent source of fabulousness inspiration, Twigs & Honey:



The best part about the net-and-flowers hair pieces is that, if I can somehow get a little bit of Mrs. Pineapple’s DIY pixie dust, I think I can make it myself.

And, of course, we can’t have a short hair inspiration post without our very own Mrs. Gingerbread:

I’ll have to try some of these out and post embarrassing pics so that y’all can weigh in!  Stay tuned….

And now, it’s your turn.  Are you keeping your hair short for your wedding or growing it out?  Did your fiance factor into your decision?  If short, do you have inspiration pictures you can contribute to this post?

{Before you ask, no, I don’t know what I’m going to do about a veil, but don’t worry, you’ll see a post on that soon, if for no other reason that I think I read that a blusher veil is the “prerogative of a first-time bride.”  You KNOW I’ll have an opinion on the whole thing.}

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It’s all in the words

Posted on October 23, 2008. Filed under: inspiration |

I’m a bit of a strategist by profession.  My theme post was part of the execution of our wedding, but the strategy is much simpler.

Two words:  Meaningful and Lasting.

In our life, I’m all about the meaningful, while My Favorite Guy is all about the lasting.  I want to be surrounded by objects and items that remind me of special people, occasions, and ideas.  He wants to be sure that things will survive and stand up to the rigors of time and life.  Our wedding — and more importantly, our marriage — should be both.

Our priorities become more clear when we come back to these words.  A wedding dress is for one day, and while wearing it on my wedding day will make it meaningful, it’s not something that can join me in my married life (unless I secretly wear it when J goes out of town… don’t think I haven’t considered it!).  On the other hand, I’ve been pushing J to buy exactly the suit that he wants because he can wear it for years and I love the idea that he’ll enter our marriage prepared for a formal occasion.

Another situation: we’re hosting our reception at our home, so we can either rent dishes or buy them (more on inexpensive ways to do this later).  I’d prefer to buy them, because then we can use them in our married life when we host parties.  Assuming we buy something that’s not terribly delicate, they can last us for years.  Meaningful and lasting.

One more: remember that I posted about growing my own bouquet?  Meaningful — every time I cut flowers for a bouquet, I’ll be reminded of the day J and I became a family.  Lasting — roses and peonies plants, when properly cared for, will live for decades.

It’s obviously not always clear cut, but when I’m stressed and overwhelmed (um, yea, that happens way more often than it should), I find that coming back to these two words helps.

Am I hopeless nerd? (Don’t answer that.)  Did anyone else do this?  And if you haven’t, take a moment to think about it.  What would your words be/ have been?

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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