Monday, January 26, 2009

wedding details: {readings}

meg over at a practical wedding is doing a great feature about readings.  this post featured tom robbin's STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER.  this inspired me to share one of the readings our friend melissa read at our wedding.  melissa was part of the bridal brigade.  i asked two brigade members, melissa and antonia, who are both getting masters degrees in creative writing, to choose and read something for the ceremony.  i let them choose something or write something, it was their choice, whatever inspired them when they thought of us.  melissa interviewed both patty & myself about specific details of our dating life and courtship.  she then used those details to adapt tom robbins' WOODPECKER.  here is what she read at our wedding:

this is my attempt at answering tom robbins' question how to make love stay.

who knows how to make love stay?

1.  tell love you are going to the alcove cafe on hillhurst ave in los feliz to pick up a pecan pie and if love stays, it can have half.  it will stay.
2.  find love...tell her there is a half off sale at the anthropologie store but you have to go together to get the discount.  love never refuses a good deal.
3.  tell love that you will forgive her if she forgets entire decades, more specifically the nineties.  she will stay or she may just forget to leave.
4.  tell love you are going to get a bikini wax and you will be back in half an hour.  love will definitely wait.
5.  tell love if she stays she can name her next dog gepetto.  love will wait and see.
6.  sit beside love on a fluffy bed.  be chivalrous.  don't make out with love too soon.  instead send love a text.  ask her:  "don't you think i should have  kissed you by now?"  love will laugh.  laughter sustains love.
7.  hold love close...sway back and forth.  love will ask: "are we dancing?"  say yeah, we're uh...we're doing the schemoletti...

love will surely stay forever.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

married life: {budgeting}

historically, i haven't been very good about budgeting.  in my professional life, no problem.  but when it comes to my personal finances, i've really just hoped for the best, then worried.  i worried a lot.  well, i don't really have any resolutions per se this year, i don't want to set up too many expectations and i really just want to live one day at a time.  we also really want to seriously start saving to buy a house.  it's not easy to save in los angeles for me and it's not easy to find an affordable house.  but i really want to start managing my finances better, one day at a time.  i also really wanted to let go of all my worrying about money.  and i felt like if i knew how much i spent, i can make a better budget and be more aware of how much money we have. and if i have a better handle on it, i don't worry so much.  the "what if's" aren't as powerful.

so, although i'm unemployed, i signed up to meet with a financial planner.  i met with her last week and she sent me home with lots of homework.  figure out my expenses, my assets, etc.  rather than dwell and get depressed, i started right away.  earlier in the year, i had signed up for, then forgot all about it.  i never checked anything on it.  but in order to do my homework from the planner (and to start thinking about taxes!), i logged back on to mint.  

i have to say, it's been great.  yes, you do have to give your bank passwords, so i was a bit hesitant, but i've read a lot of reviews about it and it seems secure.  frankly, so much of our lives are online now, that a breach could really come from anywhere, so i decided to trust and use the program and it's been really helpful.

each transaction is automatically assigned to a category, which i can easily track. since january, i've been going on everyday as part of my daily online presence.  check email, check blogs, update mint. it just knows that target is "shopping," but if i want to add a label, a tag, or get more specific, i can.  

once i labeled my transactions, i can see my spending patterns.  they have great color coded graphs, which i love.  it's so much easier for me to get an idea of what i'm spending if it's
 in a nice visual picture!  i can click on the "food" portion of the pie and it will break it down in smaller increments:  "groceries" vs. "restaurants" for example.  and once in "groceries," i can click on a specific vendor.  that's where i really learned a lot and started to think about our spending patterns.  i was shocked--really shocked--at how much we spent at whole foods.  we had gotten lazy and did a lot of our shopping at whole foods and it really adds up!  it's made me so much more aware of where we are spending.  i try to eat well, as organically and locally as possible, and if i want to eat locally, i can go to the farmers markets.  much more local and
 WAY cheaper than whole foods!  plus, i really don't want to support whole foods management, as the owner is very republican and a big pal of george w. bush.  so analyzing our spending patterns has really helped me get back in touch with my values.  put my money where my mouth is.

lastly, i've created a budget that i'm working from.  they created one for me based on our monthly spending patterns, but i adjusted their "suggested" budget.  and the tracking is very simple and visual, which i love.

so, today i managed my money.  tomorrow isn't here yet, so i'm not going to worry about it. steady happy, one day at a time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

other folks weddings: {mary-kate & dave}

i've been meaning to post these photos for a while now, but life got in the way of blogging.  since i'm unemployed, what better way to pass my free time than with some blogging...

these are photos from the talented katie malone.  she's a flickr contact of mine & i found her photos through her holga weddings group.  our photographer, chris strother, used the holga for some of our photos and they ended up being some of my favorites.  so, i started to get interested in the holga and other "non-traditional" types of photos and processing.  i've posted katie's own wedding photos before here and here, but these are photos she took of mary-kate & dave's wedding.  

mary-kate and dave's wedding took place last fall on a farm outside of asheville, nc.  mary-kate had lots of beautiful vintage details, such as milkglass and hobnail glassware.  i love the look of
 the makes me think of an old time 1930's circus (which is what they were going for, they tell me!).  katie used the holga, as well as color and black and white infrared film in this sampling.  see the entire fantastic set here.  congratulations to mary-kate and dave!!! 

photo credit: katie malone

Monday, January 5, 2009

eco honeymoon

we have not been able to take a honeymoon for three reasons:

one:  work.
two:  travel (airplanes, more specifically) is a huge pollutant.
three:  we donated the money that we had saved for our honeymoon to the NO ON PROP 8 campaign.

now that i can take a break from work in march, obstacle one is out of the way, so lately i've been dreaming about a honeymoon again.   i really feel like i would like to get away from los angeles, the car, the dogs, work, the tv, computer, etc. but i'm very torn about travel.  that brings me to obstacle two: 

travel is the worst for the environment & although i know we can buy carbon credits, it still makes me weary to fly and contribute to all that pollution.  i've looked into amazing places in our own state (we do live in beautiful california, after all!) that we can drive to (i run my car on biodiesel, so not as much of a pollution concern) or that we could take the train to.  i've always wanted to take the train, maybe just up the coast to santa barbara...

that said, i've been dreaming about visiting these lovely eco cabanas in tulum, mexico.  they are free from phones, tv's, internet and no electricity.  they are very rustic, right on the beautiful beach.  i've visited tulum before, for one day when i was in cancun scouting and i've always wanted to go back.  i've also had friends who've visited there and even lived there & they have raved about it and they were the ones who recommended cabanas copal.  there is an on-site spa, where they do in-room massages and yoga on premises every morning at 7:30 am.  dreamy.  (they are even gay-friendly!  they've performed same-sex marriages at their resort & they have a gay flag on their website.)  patty has never been to mexico & i've shown her the website--she thinks it looks great.  she's not as excited about the no tv, but it's our honeymoon, after all.  and it's fairly inexpensive, which brings me to obstacle three:  money.

i've searched all over for something similar in hawaii, but anything comparable is at least three times as much.  we have a trade worked out with someone for taking care of our dogs, so we don't have to worry about that expense.  we could afford the eco-cabanas, too since they are so reasonable, and i know from experience that mexico is very affordable.  we even have airline miles we can use.

so while i'm very hesitant about the airline travel, i'm really seriously considering the tulum vacation.  i really want to get away from it all, no tv, electronics, etc.  and i think the only way to do that is to completely remove ourselves...while i'd love the train trip, we would still be here with our computers, cell phones, tv's, etc.  i haven't taken a break from work in at least three years and patty and i have NEVER taken a trip like this together...

so i guess i have to look in to carbon off-sets...

happy new year

wishing you love, peace & happiness in the new year!  i know i've been absent from blogging lately, but i've been helping patty with her dog business over the holidays and that keeps me away from the computer screen!  no complaints here, though, i've been outside at the park, the pool and the backyard and of course snuggling on the couch with lots of dogs!  i'm grateful i live in los angeles and we are able to be outside...

i'll be back to posting soon and i'll just let the universe guide me with my we'll see what the new year brings!

photo credit:  me!  it's patty in our friend's backyard with nannie, bailey, theo, ruby, tip tap, dolly and bubba.