Monday, December 13, 2010

This Monday in Manners, Installment #4: Snark - Don't Do It!

Emily Dickinson once wrote: "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." While computers, let alone the internet was not even close to a conceivable reality in the late nineteenth century, Ms. Dickinson hit the nail on the head with that one. Words, in their various shapes, sounds and formats, leave a major impression, and sadly in our digital world, I think this gets taken for granted.
The online world makes everything feel more open, less formal. Like you can really speak your mind, n'est-ce pas? The flip side of that is, of course, written language (without much context) becomes *very* open to interpretation. A statement on a message board or an instant message or a tweet devoid of punctuation or emoticons could mean many, many things to many, many people. Enter online sarcasm, and worse yet, S.N.A.R.K.

For some reason lately, I've noticed snark alllll over the internet, and it breaks my heart. Why do people feel the need to one-up someone, always have the last word or take unnecessary shots at other people? There is an unwritten trust we all have in the internet, but there is also the safety of anonymity. But the golden rule of speech should still prevail: If you don't have anything nice to say... shut it. Which isn't to say that you should withhold any expression of your opinions. But like having a face-to-face conversation, you should always think before you tweet. Agree to disagree. As much as someone's statement about something riles you up and leads you to believe said individual is a complete and utter moron who should be locked away from society until further notice, the minute that snarky bit has landed on the message board, you have admitted defeat. Having the last word does not mean you win. It means you fell into someone's trap, and you fought for something other people clearly were not that interersted in fighting for in the first place. The person at whom your snark was directed is probably completely unaffected, and your snark benefited no one.
So I implore all of you out there: have some self-respect! Snark is never the right response. Sarcasm tempered with humor is always acceptable. To take a stab at someone above and beyond what is dictated by the conversation is just plain wrong and a waste of your precious time and brain space. I don't know who David Denby is, but he sure got this anti-snark thing right. Take a lesson, and you might just have a more peaceful existence.


Until next week...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Don't Quit Your Day Job: How to make the best of your work situation

It's been a tough few years economically. Jobs are scarce, and in many workplaces, morale is low. A good friend of mine moved to another coast completely to work for a startup that rapidly proceeded to go bust. And though my company has managed to more or less bounce back from the downturn, I remember a terrifying round of layoffs that happened about a year and half ago. I survived unscathed, and so I am blissfully thankful to the gods of fortune that I:
1) still have a job
2) have have a job I looove
3) have a salary that is growing, not shrinking

I am very conscious, however, of many folks upon whom fortune has not smiled so kindly. Working just because you have to pay your bills, or because you just need to keep this job, is no fun. I've been there.

But I wanted to offer a few pieces of advice, for what it's worth, that may help you over the hump. There is a silver lining, no matter what, and you can use your position to your advantage.
- Stick it out. If it's a job you happen to like, stick around for as long as it makes sense for you financially and goal-wise. Try to negotiate other job "perks" as an interim trade-off: ask for a few extra vacation days, 1/2 day Fridays during the summer, an adjustment in hours (if you don't work a particular shift), or the ability to work from home from time to time. Chances are that if your employer recognizes you as an MVP, they'll be willing to offer you something even if it can't be monetary.
- If you feel like you're stuck at a job that you aren't crazy about but need to stick with it because you need to pay the bills: focus on doing whatever it is you do really well, or go the extra mile even when you don't want to. Even if you have big plans to peace out, leave a lasting impression behind. Being a hard worker never goes out of style and will likely pay off either with a raise/promotion when your workplace gets back on it's feet (I thought it would never happen for me in a previous job, and it did, 10x over!), or when it comes time for recommendations for your next position.
- Network! At first, I had no idea what this meant. But if what you want to do is kind of specific, start spreading the word among people you know in that industry that you're jonesing for a career move. Talk to all of your friends and relatives and neighbors. You just *never* know what's out there or who the people you are close to have connections with.
- Go solo, even if only temporarily. If you have a good amount of experience doing something, try freelancing for a bit. While not devoid of its own stresses, freelancing at least allows you to focus on doing the thing(s) you love, all the time! It's a huge personal growth opportunity as well as an opportunity to learn more about the industry that you're embarking on a deeper journey into. And also, Network! You'll need to market yourself somehow and word-of-mouth is one of THE best ways to do it, and doesn't cost a dime :)
- This may be obvious to some, but stay positive. I know, some days it seems like you can't even drag yourself out of bed. But trying to keep a positive attitude and smiling in the face of challenge is something employers really appreciate. Again - think of the long term: you want your reputation to precede you when possible, especially if your goal is to stay at your current workplace and advance up the ranks. Seeing a challenge as an opportunity is also the best way to keep to keep yourself engaged and motivated. If you can turn your situation around to work for YOU, you'll always be an indispensable employee.

I recognize that some of these tips won't be applicable to many of you out there. But I've had about 6 jobs in the last 8 years, few burnt bridges, and I'm where I want to be career-wise. The moral of the story is that you should just try, as the ever-fabulous Tim Gunn is of saying, to "Make it Work!"

Spotlight Wedding Blog/Website Extraordinaire: WeddingBee!

I just want to give a quick shout-out to WeddingBee today! I found the "hive" about 5 months before I was actually engaged, and it blew my mind. Seriously. Of any wedding website out there, I have found a pulse on the wedding world from the ground up, vendor connections, amazing ideas & inspiration, and a genuine community & support network all in one place! Certain other sites that shall remain nameless may offer the same things with a bit more industry presence, but the 'Bee is all real people. It's been a long journey to get where I am today, and I can honestly say that if I didn't have a sounding board and this amazing network of supportive strangers, I'd be lost. And without hair/makeup recs and a DOC :) For the marrying types out there, take a peek. You just might get hooked!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Manners Mondays, Installment #3: Ummm....

I got nuthin'. Manners Mondays is taking a brief hiatus this week. Way wayyy too much going on over the weekend for me to come up with something clever to write about today. Plus, my interwebs were broken at work today, which is normally when I think about my manners blog post. I'm sorry peeps - I promise to deliver mondo manners amazingness next week. That is all.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gagnant à nouveau!

So I also speak French. On occasion. What little I can remember! So remember when I was talking about my strategy for paying for my wedding? Well, it's working - still! Since then I have won two small but very cool and helpful giveaways! Printable patterns I can use to jazz up our reception decor, and a gift certificate to the elegant and always classy Bonita J jewelry boutique! Yay! I also found a super great deal on a "Day of Coordinator" for the wedding.... The hits just keep 'on rolling! I'm so inspired that I think I'm going to start featuring a weekly round-up of the best discounts and giveaways out there! Might as well share the love - at some point I won't have anything left to win!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To your health (and pocketbook)!

In an effort to begin the wedding weight loss, I've returned to the gym as of today. Wanna know a l'il secret though? The wedding alone and looking good in a white dress wasn't really motivation enough on it's own. Nope. Sad but true. The real reason I'm returning to a regular gym routine: dollah dollah bills y'all! I recently learned that my company's new health insurance will reimburse you up to between $200 & $300 every six months for a mere 50 visits. That works out to be roughly twice a week. Living in NYC, I have been victim to exorbitant gym membership fees; but this new incentive softens the blow. Assuming I get the lower end of the scale, my net effective monthly membership cost goes from $79 to about $46. Not too shabby! 49 visits to go!

From what I hear, this seems to an across-the-board policy being implemented my many many insurance companies. Makes sense. If you're going help people get healthy and stay healthy, understanding that access to exercise and regular activity is often cost prohibitive to many, why not help them out a little? So I encourage everyone out there to start looking into their health insurance company's extra benefits - you may find something very useful and something that will put a few more Benjamins back in your pocket! (On a side note, I've also noticed many insurance companies are now starting to cover acupuncturists and nutritionists like a specialist doctor - that means you only have to pay a copay! Such a great thing for anyone who benefits from alternative medicine and more holistic health care).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Manners Mondays installment #2: Party Etiquette

In the spirit of weddings and holidays, no doubt everyone out there will receive at least one invite to a holiday party and or wedding in the coming weeks. But paper goods are no longer as treasured as they used to be. It's almost 2011, I know. People are being eco-friendly and high-tech with virtual and digital invitations these days, and they seem to be getting more and more sophisticated by the hour. BUT. Yes, I said it. BUT... just because the invitation format has changed, that does not mean invitation and party attendance etiquette should or needs to change as well. Here are some quick rules of thumb:

If you are sending invitations:
- Balance the timing. For a more formal party, particularly one where a headcount needs to be given or a specific amount of food needs to be purchased, give guests extra time to plan ahead and time for yourself to remind them accordingly. However, too much advanced notice and your guests may not feel the need to pay attention. 2-3 weeks for a more casual affair seems to be sufficient, but perhaps an additional week if you need strict numbers!
- Be clear about who is invited - your friends will not be offended. If you plan to have an adults only kind of party, say so. You may risk some friends not being able to make, but lots of parents may appreciate the no-kids atmosphere and use it as an opportunity to decompress! Accordingly, if you prefer to have a more intimate affair, say a dinner party, make sure guests know how many people they are allowed to bring.
- Don't be afraid to ask your guests to contribute. You may be the host, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to bleed your wallet dry to have a rockin' time. If you're hosting, especially at your home, ask guests to bring beverages, desserts, sides, snacks, etc. Chances are, people will do that anyway, but providing some direction is very helpful so you don't end up with one six-pack and 6 fruitcakes!
- Beware the theme party! Theme parties are fun, but if you want your party to be more inclusive, suggest multiple ways guests can participate, particularly if it's a costumed theme party. Dressing up, particularly if your guests are traveling some distance (and using public transit), may not always be a desirable option.
- An obvious one: make sure the date, time & location is very clear. Also, provide your phone number and/or your venue's phone number in the event your guests need directions, are running late, etc.
- Thank your guests for coming. In person, by email, whatever works. If you took photos, you can use this as an excuse to share them!

If you are guest who has received an invitation:
- Respect the RSVP. Evite, email, by phone or by post, if you are expected to respond to the invitation, please do so. This is the major complaint I get from so many of my friends. An email invitation should be taken as seriously as a paper one. If your host took the time to create and distribute the invitation and plan the event, you should respect that and reply in kind. It will take you no time at all, and save your host from that awkward moment when all the food has run out and you show up with five friends.
- Respect your host's wishes, and don't hesitate to call and ask questions if something isn't clear.
- If you are being invited to someone's home, respect their space. Don't get out of control drunk, break dishes and spill drinks everywhere. Of course, accidents happen, but you can prevent them by acting accordingly. And if you do something accidentally, fess up to it at the very least. From experience, nothing is more infuriating (and inspiration to stop having parties) than finding a mess, a broken glass, etc., that a guest made after the party is all over and everyone has left. If you're truly a good friend and you are responsible, clean up immediately, offer to pay for cleaning or the cost of replacing the broken item. It's the grown up thing to do.
- Respect your host's guest requests. If your host is allowing a plus one only, but your two best friends from high school dropped into town unexpectedly, just ask if it's ok. And although plus one is generally reserved for significant others, spouses and partners, close friends or family are a-ok to bring as well. But use your judgment when bringing random friends.
- Try not to show up empty-handed when going to a party at someone's home, unless specifically requested. You can never have too much booze and you don't have to worry about other guests' food allergies! But even a small box of chocolates just for the hosts is always appreciated.
- Be realistic about your RSVP. Don't say you're going to someone's birthday bash if you're really not feelin' it. Put yourself as a maybe and let your host know what the probability of you showing up. If the event is happening across multiple venues over an evening, meet up with the group later.
- If you are invited to a party at a bar, restaurant, etc., let your host know in advance if you are planning to arrive later than the first 30 mins of the party. Particularly if your host is having dinner at a restaurant and has made a reservation for a specific number of people at a specific time, your host could end up losing their reserved area and risk being embarrassed by venue staff for no-shows. Again, from personal experience, not cool to make the host look bad.

That's all for today folks! Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's Black...Weekend!

The tradition of Black Friday seems like it's slowly being tossed out the window these days! In the spirit of money saving, I suppose, many sales have been extended through the weekend, and some even started on Thanksgiving day (yeesh!). I was really into Black Friday at one point. About 2 years ago, I dragged my mom to Woodbury Commons with me for their "Midnight Madness". Surprisingly, it was not too crowded, and what better way to digest your humongo turkey day feast than to burn some calories shopping, right? Also, I'm not a morning person, so to be home and in bed by 1AM without fear of the 5AM wake-up call was bliss!

However, a warning about many of these Black Friday deals. Some of them are great for holiday shopping, and who doesn't want to save money when your gift list is on the long side? But if you're picking up some gifts for yourself along the way, my advice is to wait a little if you can. Case in point: on the above-mentioned shopping trip, I purchased a pair of Kenneth Cole knee high, low heeled black boots from the outlet. They were/are (still wearing them with pride!) beautiful, and I thought, what a bargain, when the final price tag was about $120 (original price was close to $200). Well, my mom bought a similar pair, and ended up returning them about a month later, and to my chagrin, she reported that the boots I purchased were now an extra 50% off the sale price, bringing the cost down to about $75 or $80. Booo. You might imagine the sheer frustration I felt. Since they were so perfect, I had been wearing them with glee nearly every day since I bought them and tossed the receipt, so sadly I couldn't pull the ole swap-a-roo (buy a new pair, and then return them with the old receipt) or request a price adjustment to get some of my money back.

This year, I was much wiser. I spent Black Friday trolling the interwebs for deals in my pjs. In general, my new favoritest thing is etsy. Wow, the abundance of things available is endless! I first discovered etsy through various and sundry wedding blogs I've been following, and have scored numerous deals on a few key wedding items (hair goodies and my veil!). But via Twitter, I've also see a TON of mega discount codes for various shops (20-30% off!). But besides the variety of things you can get, what's so great about etsy you say? One word: HANDMADE! Ok, two words: VINTAGE! What can be cooler than being the recipient of a near one-of-a-kind item? Or one-of-a-kind, top quality vintage item? These are independent sellers who use their skills to craft beautiful things or collect really cool stuff. And because you're buying virtually, no overhead costs to the sellers = bigger savings for you! Home decor, stationary, patterns & raw materials, handmade/sewn clothes, wedding favors, you name it - it's on etsy! Locavore? You can even find sellers by zip code so you can buy from your neighbor(s), literally! Get on the etsy train folks! You'll thank me, I promise :)

Some of my favorites:
Funky vintage things:

Gorgeous vintage style accessories:

Salted Caramels, my obsession!

Clever wine glass/beer bottle tags - essential for any entertainer!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lessons in Modesty: M is for Manners Mondays!

So why "A Modest Bride" you ask? Well modesty doesn't just describe my financial means. It describes the way I conduct myself out in the world. I grew up being taught the importance of manners. The importance of respecting yourself and others. Over the last 5 years or so, at the dawn of the age of Facebook and the reign of e-mail and instant messaging, I've noticed an unfortunate decline in my generation of general manners and thoughtfulness. So I thought I would begin a weekly "column" on appropriate ways to conduct oneself in life, and how to adhere to time-honored and accepted social graces. And as someone in the midst of planning a wedding, this becomes very important!

However, I thought I would start out with something not exactly wedding-related, but a universal truism related to email correspondence. My first "M is for Manners" Monday segment is about the age-old email form letter. I am in the process of obtaining hotel room blocks for my wedding, and have chosen two different hotels for my guests' convenience. After speaking with a sales rep at one hotel for nearly 1/2 an hour about the wedding and our guest room needs, I received the following follow up email last Friday:
Dear Jackie,
Thank you for choosing the (hotel name here) for your son’s wedding.  We host many weddings every year.  Keeping groups satisfied is my specialty.  I look forward to working with you.  I will get the marriage license information and send it to you soon.
Your group agreement is attached to this email.  Please sign it and return it by 10/22/10.

First, let's note that I DO NOT have a son. Nor any children for that matter. And I was asked what my role in the wedding was, to which I responded that I was the bride. Second, last Friday's date was 11/19. I'm not sure exactly how I'm supposed to submit a contract retroactively. Clearly this email was used for someone else, and I find it disheartening and sad that for a large hotel chain trying to win my business, this sales person can't even take an extra 5 minutes to proofread her correspondence with me, and edit it appropriately so that it feels like it was personalized. 

This can be extrapolated and applied to emailed cover letters or resume submissions as well. Folks, take the time and the energy and the care to re-read your emails before you send them! Form letters are great in that they save you time, but don't embarrass yourself/ruin your chances of getting that interview/risk losing a potential customer by being completely careless. Here are a few tips to help safeguard yourself against this very awkward situation:

1) Prior to resending a form letter, jot down 2-3 things that only apply to this person or company. This will make it very easy to personalize your note. For example, the individual above could have mentioned the venue I chose and/or the time of year of the wedding. 

2) Copy and paste your form letter in the a Word or TextEdit or WordPad document. This forces you to actually re-edit your letter, rather than slapping it immediately into a blank email.

3) Go through the letter and delete ALL mentions of the previous person/company/situation BEFORE adding the new person/company/situation specific details.

4) After copying & pasting your edited letter into a blank email, re-read it one more time before inserting the recipient's email address. This will allow you to catch anything that you missed when editing in document form. And if you're feeling rushed, save a draft of the email, send another email or two, and then come back to it before you send. 

An extra 5-10 of care when sending a form letter by email will save you more than embarrassment. It will show that you respect yourself and those who are on the receiving end of your communication, ensuring that your name rises to the top of the proverbial list. If your first introduction to someone is over e-mail, do it right the first time! 

Until next Monday.... I am also happy to take suggestions on hot topics regarding manners! Please leave comments if there's a topic that's in desperate need of addressing!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I interrupt this happy, fluffy blog for a serious PSA

I'm not a very "political" person, but I have recently been outraged by the new TSA security measures being implemented at airports across the nation. I'm not going to go on and on about it here, but I will just say that this wrong. Mechanical scanning of person to revel an image of the person's naked body is one thing. You have no connection with the person operating the scanner, and no one is touching you. It's a pretty borderline procedure, but I am willing to submit to that. But I will not submit to have a stranger, a questionably trained individual who claims to be a professional, touch me in inappropriate places in the name of security. What I am even more horrified by are pieces like this LA Times article, that equate submitting to these new policies with, essentially posing for Playboy. Hey geniuses: 1) Option A is voluntary, the person on the other side of the camera isn't fondling your breasts (unless you want them to), and generally, you are in control of or are able to consent to where and in front of whose eyes those boudoir snapshots end up; 2) Option B is mandatory, this random person's hands are all in your business and you can't tell them to stop, and you have to trust that your naked body scan is going to be jettisoned appropriately and not end up the object of some government sicko's wet dream. Sorry, buying a plane ticket isn't giving consent to be potentially sexually assaulted, or exploited. Folks, be warned and be vocal. Don't let a TSA agent take advantage of you. You have rights. Don't be fooled into thinking there is a good reason to sacrifice them!

Back on Monday with a new Monday column inspired by ongoing conversations I've been having with friends about interpersonal relationships in the 21st century!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A financial strategy for weddings that is underrated

So I wanted to focus today's post on paying for weddings. While my mom will be contributing a generous amount to cover our wedding costs (a little more than 1/2), my FH & I will still be left with some hefty bills, including paying for our honeymoon. Enter: Wedding giveaways! Unconventional, yes. But generally speaking, the odds are in your favor, and if you could end up winning lots of things large and small that will save you money. And all the better if you win items or monetary amounts for things that you can only use for the wedding. Better to invest your money in things that you will use again anyway, no?

Also, the internet (Twitter, Facebook) is your friend! Since we are not having a super traditional wedding, I have been trolling the internet for ideas and inspiration. I've found at least 10 wedding blogs that are utterly amazing resources, but the really beautiful thing is that most of these blogs have relationships with vendors, and that means giveaways! I've probably entered about 30 giveaways thus far, and have won 3 of them!

Our biggest win to date is our wedding photography! Huge coup, right? We are getting married in the Hudson Valley, and in my research for photographers from/familiar with the area in last spring, I happened upon the blog of J.Castro Photography and started reading through some archived posts. I took note that last year he offered a contest, and as soon as he announced the 2011 contest, I was in it to win it. And we did! We still paid a deposit, but as the winners, we get that money back in album/print credits! So our wedding photography in the end is costing us between 1/3 and 1/4 of what it would have been.

Another awesome win: invitation design by little birdie studio! I was going to ask one of my graphic designer pals to help on this one, but I won it instead! It will probably preserve our friendship in the end anyway, and despite said designer being on the up & coming side, I couldn't be happier with the results so far! She was supposed to design just the invites but even offered to do our Save the Dates! Sweet!

Lastly, I won a $100 shopping spree to a fantastic etsy shop, Bead Flora Jewels, for fun accessories. I chose to get a custom made, awesome beaded hair piece and an ivory clutch! I may even splurge and buy some shoe clips for the big day too :)

So ladies & germs, the lesson here is just try it out! It's always free to put your name in the hat for these things, and the amount of entries varies greatly so chances are you'll enter something with not too much competition and victory will be yours! But wait? Where might one find out about these giveaways? Here's a short list of some cool giveaways going on now that are just super cool:

A great site that posts all kinds of wedding giveaways, no signing up necessary:

A wonderful lady who has a weekly giveaway on her blog:

A great. ECO-FRIENDLY multi-item giveaway with lots of really useful stuff! And as a bonus, you can buy and sell all kinds of wedding stuff, saving yourself lots of Benjamins :)

A $25 certificate to BonitaJ jewelry's shop, posted on Nutritionist Reviews' blog:

I could go on, but Google is your friend!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh, and by the way

In case anyone hasn't been following the NY governor's race, this guy is A-MAZING! Speaking of wealth, we need more folks like this in NYC, advocating for the city to stop forcing its residents to waste their hard-earning money on sub-standard housing. Enjoy!

The rent is too damn high!

It's been awile... I know

Wow! It's November already. Sigh. I know I've been MIA for a loooong time, but remember all that free time I was complaining about not having? Well life set sail on a slow moving ship after late May, and I have been devoting my life to planning the wedding and sticking to our budget! I'm in the midst of so many things right now and I'm just bursting with excitement!

On the wedding front, we've managed to book all but one of our major vendors (and the last will happen w/in the next few weeks or so) - awesome. The not so awesome part? How 'bout our budget being eaten up rather quickly? Between mid-June when we booked our *fantastic* venue and now, I've bought my dress, and we've made deposits on our ceremony musicians, a band for the reception, and paid for our engagement photo session. The florist is our last item to tick off booking for 2010. We were doing well until I decided to buy my dress at Kleinfeld's and we caved in and booked a live band. My mom offered to pay the difference of what I had budgeted for my dress and the final cost of the dress which was great, but I still have to pay for alterations - boo. And the band really only was $600 above our budget, but it means I'll need to finagle some other things I had been dreaming up (or not do them at all) so we can afford everything else we actually still have to pay for. I'm socking away lots of money, and the fiance is too, but I'm still a little nervous about where we'll be financially when we really have to start paying for stuff! But some things that have helped out immensely: we won a photography contest and now have (nearly) free wedding photography; I won a giveaway that paid for some cute bridal accessories; and I won free invitation design! I've been stalking lots of wedding blogs like a hawk, and hopefully my winning streak will continue and I'll win more awesome stuff!

This year on my job scene had been going well I think. My 2 yr anniversary was in late September, and I have yet to have a review scheduled, which is frustrating. I am really hoping for another raise this year, but I won't necessarily be disappointed if it doesn't happen. But I do have a wedding & honeymoon to pay for so some extra dough would be really really awesome :)

I can't believe the holidays are here already! I am trying to think of some unique, crafty items to get my friends/family and I'm coming up empty! I can't afford much in the way of gifts this year, so I need to find some good alternatives! Open to suggestions though.

I always seem to end up writing these right before I need to go to bed. Oh well! Until next time!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hmm. Here I go!

This is day one of my blog. I've always thought blogging was cool. So I'm giving it a whirl. Why should anyone read this? Well, pull up a chair and listen to a little story.

I just turned 30. Three months ago, I got engaged. About 9 months ago, said fiance and I landed a sweet sweet apartment in Brooklyn. A year and a half ago, I landed what might possibly be my dream job. Nearly 4 and a half years ago, I landed said fiance. So it seems like things are just going peachy for me, right? Well, not so much...

Sometimes in life, and especially in life, we get ourselves into these little predicaments that make all of the really awesome stuff look just kinda ok. For example:

In 2006 I entered a Masters program at NYU (which shall remain nameless). It appears that, due to the complete lack of professionalism, good sense and compassion of said Masters program staff, I will probably not be graduating. Why? I am an exhibit designer. As in museum exhibits. By some strange act of fate, my first project at my really awesome design firm happens to be a 50,000 sq. foot, multi-million dollar Charlotte, NC. Us creative types a) don't make tons of $$, 2) work insane hours (and in my case, travel to our project sites frequently), have frequent and often unrealistic deadlines that we have to meet, and are generally understaffed, and c) happen to want to move ourselves up in stature in this very small creative museum world by getting additional degrees. Hmph. Well, this degree is hanging in the balance and appears to be tipping in the NO-GO favor. Of course, I still have to pay for every last minute that I participated in this program regardless of whether I get a stinkin' piece of paper to show for it or not. There's much more to be said here, but I won't bore with more details. More will come, I promise

And speaking of finances... I have a wedding pay for!!!!! Yeah. Which, in theory is really great. But I get to live like a pauper for the next year because a massive chunk of that pocket change I make called a salary is getting stashed away for what I hope to be a very worthwhile event! However, sticker shock is a bi***! Does everything wedding-related really need to be this expensive? Which leads me to issue 2: I have been working and traveling for work so much in the last month and a half that I have not been able to devote ample time to the best thing ever: planning my wedding!! It makes me sad. Especially since there are just too many awesome places to do the deed within a hundred mile radius of Brooklyn, and I just have so little time....

In a nutshell, my life is nothing short of insane right now. But I thought maybe someone out there might benefit from reading about my insanity and how to deal! Over the course of the next year or so, I will attempt to drop some wisdom about 3 W's (yes, I was an English major): Wealth, Weddings and Work, and how to successfully (ehem, or unsuccessfully as might be the case) manage all three, all the time! I'll provide a little backstory on each of these on another day, but for now, I need to conserve my energy for Work tomorrow!