Posts in the 'Guest Bloggers' Category

5 Crazy Things I Regret Not Getting on Video from my Wedding


I married the most unlikely man almost 15 years ago. I say unlikely because we both bet our friends a six pack of beer that we would never, ever get married. Best bet I ever lost.

We were so different, that it took a while to get engaged. By the time he proposed, I wanted to simply tie the knot the next day. No way, said he. “We will have the biggest party on the smallest budget possible.”

So, he set to planning a huge bash, while I set about learning how to DIY everything. Our priorities in this party were booze and bar band. We would DIY everything else.

Seriously, 15 years later friends still tell us that our wedding was the best party they ever attended. Not just wedding. Party. Was it the Jack Daniels? Was it the bar band? Hard to say, but I wish I had all these moments on video.

1. The DIY Dress

Only a fool would make her wedding dress when she does not know how to sew. I am that fool. I wish I had video of me cutting nineteen, yes — nineteen yards of tulle. Or especially video of me twirling around in the dress the very first time. Right after sewing that last stitch.

2. The DIY Cake

Ah, but a bigger fool would make her own wedding cake! (Points finger at self) I had been a cake decorator professionally, so I figured that naturally I would be able to make my own cake. Never mind the carpal tunnel that set in the week of the wedding. Never mind that it’s crazy to try to decorate a cake two days before your wedding. Especially when you have to talk your bridesmaid through doing it for you.

But everything is better with alcohol. So, you get your bridesmaid drunk and then have her do it. And then proceed to have a food fight with the middle bits of the cake. It’s all good. And would have been grrrrrreat on video!

3. The Steam Iron

I made my own dress, but shame on my mother, I never really learned how to iron. So, I show up at the church in my dress, and my friend points out that it’s all wrinkly and going to look funny in the photos. Yes, I was that oblivious.

It was now about 5 minutes til the wedding was supposed to start and someone ran out to get a steam iron. There’s my man standing at the front of church, waiting. And there’s his best friend, running through the church with a steam iron. Literally, running. With the priest behind him promising NOT to marry us if I was late. Priceless.

4. The Piggyback Ride

We swore it never happened, but my husband’s buddy’s girlfriend swore it did. The piggyback ride. Me and my bustle were seen careening across the dance floor on the back of her boyfriend and she was not pleased. I would pay good money for that video now.

5. Table Dancing

I do have a photo. But who wouldn’t want to see video of themselves dancing on a table at the end of the night with a centerpiece on their head?

Our wedding journey took us from DIY near-disasters all the way to face-planting on a black diamond slope in Oregon. Proposal all the way through the honeymoon, there were soooo many crazy moments I wish I could relive with my man. Sometimes photos just aren’t enough.

Ariane Fisher is the Co-founder of Storymix Media. Their app WeddingMix is a fun way to crowdsource photos & videos from your friends into an edited wedding video. Her great loves are bourbon, chocolate, and hockey. She is mom to 6, yes, 6 kids. It’s loud.

On Marriage: The science of happily ever after

This article in the New York Post riveted me. Whether you’re looking for love, currently engaged, or already wedded to your mate… the statistics revealing what qualities in a person makes them likely to be candidates for happy marriage that Susannah Cahalan presents herein are boggling. In the details of piece, I can see why my first marriage – though brilliant on paper – was far from perfect in reality. I can see how much better suited Paul is for me, as a life partner. I can see how legions of ex-boyfriends past fit perfectly in their place of “not for me.”

And I came away from it knowing what traits to better focus on cultivating within myself as time goes on, to make me a better partner for Paul, and do my part in ensuring the future satisfaction of our marriage. It’s fascinating, what science is capable of understanding, and predicting. And it’s amazing, to see where our priorities, as humans, really shake down, in terms of seeking a mate. Give it a read, and see what you think. Does it resonate with your past, present or vision of your future? Does it motivate you to nurture different attitudes within yourself, about what “true love” means?

I hope you like it as much as I did! 

Make a mental list of attributes you’d require in your perfect mate. Do you picture a handsome, tall man, with six figures in the bank, a sharp wit, a sweet sensibility and an Ivy League diploma to round him out?

Well, I have a bridge to sell you.

That’s because in love, as with genies, we only get three wishes, says relationship expert Ty Tashiro. The more traits you pick that are above the average, the lower the statistical odds that you’ll find a match. And three is the tipping point.

Imagine you have a room of 100 men. If you choose mediocrity — the trifecta of average income, looks and height — you’ll have, statistically, only 13 suitors out of 100 to choose from. Increase your criteria to an attractive man at least 6-feet tall who makes $87,000, and you’re left with only one.

Add another trait — funny, kind, even a political affiliation — and it becomes statistically impossible to find him out of 100 men.

Tashiro, a professor at the Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotion Research at the University of Maryland, has run the numbers and thinks we’re approaching this whole finding-a-mate thing wrong. He urges singles to be more statistical in their approach to the “irrational” world of dating.

“All this wishing has led to a case of wanting everything and getting nothing,” Tashiro writes in his first book, “The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love” (Harlequin). Dating should be “about learning to weed out the undesirable traits and rethinking our views about what really matters in a romantic partner.”

Our fairy-tale view of romance — 88 percent of adults believe in soul mates — has contributed to the fact that although 90 percent of people will marry in their lifetimes, only three in 10 will find enduring love, Tashiro says. (He gets this statistic by adding unhappy marriages and separations to the 50 percent divorce rate).

When finding a long-term partner, don’t waste your wishes, he warns.

So what should be on your list? Keep attractiveness off the table, if you can. Looks are not a predictor of sexual satisfaction, nor do they correlate to happier marriages. In fact, there “is no reliable association between physical attractiveness and relationship satisfaction,” he writes, quoting from his own research.

A study at the University of Tennessee, which recruited 82 newlyweds to rate each other’s attractiveness (to keep it honest they also had the research assistants rate their hotness factor), corroborates his conclusions. What they found was that there was “no relationship between either partner’s level of physical attractiveness and either partner’s relationship satisfaction.” The only significant association found was that the most physically attractive men were least satisfied with their marriages.

Read the rest of the article, here! 

The Broke-Ass Bride’s Engagement Ring Buying Guide!


Real Bride Kate‘s  Aussie fiance Daniel Gullotta used to work in fine jewelry and was kind enough to provide our readers with insider’s tips on how to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to wedding jewelry. This guide is the next best thing to having him with you when you go shopping! And when it’s all said and done, don’t forget to get your ring insured. Often when you have an expensive piece of jewelry, you’ll need it listed separately on your insurance policy with proof of its purchase and value. For instance, your policy could cover $30,000 worth of losses, but generally only a few thousand of that can be jewelry, so if you have an expensive piece or family heirlooms, it would require a separate rider or an overall bump in your coverage. Check with your insurance provider to be certain! Although insurance money is a cold comfort in the face of  the devastating emotional blow of loss/theft, it’s definitely better than starting again from scratch.



So gentlemen, you want to get engaged, huh? Well, first off congratulations! This is an exciting time in your lives and it’s something that should be celebrated. You guys are taking a big step together and getting engaged should be one of the more enjoyable things to do. Sadly, with the pressures of a century of jewellery companies and the influence of Nicholas Sparks novels and countless romantic comedies, getting engaged seems to have become a nightmare because of one little piece of jewellery: the engagement ring. In my previous life, while I was taking a break from my academic endeavours, for two years I was a jewellery salesperson for one of Australia’s leading jewellers. I worked for one of the major stores that many people used as a reference to begin their searches, so needless to say, I have suggested, designed, and sold a lot of engagement rings to a lot of different people. Some of these people came in well-prepared and very educated on what they believed was expected of them by their partners and others came in clueless and in desperate need of guidance. So if you are reading this, allow me to take you through some tricks of the trade, some tips on getting a good deal, and some advice about finding the right engagement ring for you and your partner.

As a side note, I would like to stress my use of inclusive language because I have sold plenty of engagement rings to LGBTI couples who want to formally commit to their relationship. Buying engagement rings is a practice not just for heterosexual couples. In fact, I have sold some utterly gorgeous rings to same-sex couples. And, as a man who is typing this article wearing an engagement ring given to him by his lovely partner, Kate, engagement rings are not just for women as well. Engagement and engagement rings are not just for women who are having their fairy tale dreams come true, they can be for anyone and everyone who desires to formally and symbolically pronounce their engagement.

Let Your Desires Be Known

This is the first piece of advice I always give to people whenever I hear young people expressing that they want to get their partner an engagement ring. Does your partner know your desire to get engaged? Do they have a clue that you are planning? Do they know how much you intend to spend on the ring? Are you sure they are going to say “yes” if you propose? The reason why I inquire about this is because it answers a lot of questions straight away, and it also helps with piece of mind. If you are going to get engaged, this means you are about to begin sharing your finances and financial commitments with another person – maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but eventually you are going to have to start budgeting for your wedding and other expenses. So, while you may be able to afford an $8000 ring, how much do you imagine spending on the wedding and how soon will you need that money for the wedding? Now, you do not have to let your partner know how much you are going to spend on the ring, but in my experience, partners have a way of finding this out. I think it is good to ask, “Honey, if I was going to buy you an engagement ring, how much do you think is a reasonable amount to spend?” Once I assisted a young man who thought he was going to have to spend close to $5000 on an engagement ring for his partner, but seeing how stressed and pale it made him, I advised him to discuss that with his partner. He came back a few days later very relieved and he informed me that his partner said, “If you spend that much on a ring, you are an idiot.” So, it pays (or rather saves) to communicate. Perhaps I am not being romantic about this, and I am ruining the grand and lovely surprise of it all, but honestly, if your engagement comes as a complete and utter shock, I think you two may need to start communicating a little better.

The other reason why I stress this is because of the chance of rejection and how that will affect your purchase. The worst scenario I have seen was a man who bought his partner an engagement ring which he was going to give to her on their anniversary trip to Bali, being almost two months away. He returned months later with the receipt, the box, the bag, and the ring and asked if he could get his money back because his partner was unhappy with their relationship. She had wanted to talk about it for a long time and with their tickets and hotel booked for Bali, she had wanted to wait until they got home. The engagement ring was a shock and too much and she let her true feelings be known. As sad as that was, my store had polices to follow, and the ring was long out of its return period and had even left the country. We could not give him his money back, and this created one of the biggest stresses in my career as a jewellery salesman. After weeks of back-and-forth dialogue from our legal team and him, the best we could offer him was a gift card for our store which he used to buy a luxury watch, and even then, he was still not happy at all. Yet, I have heard worse, far worse, and people have walked away with even less than that. So please, let your intentions be known and start talking to your partner about the future.

Their Style, Not Whats in Style

The other reason why I say it’s good to talk to one another about this is so you can get their style and desires right. Yellow gold or white gold? Diamonds or rubies or emeralds? How many stones? What sort of cut? What sort of design? The amount of choices can be overwhelming and this is where an important choice has to be made, even before you get into the jewellery store. To look at rings together or go in solo? Both choices are right, and it really depends the couple. Going in solo will take determination and research, but it shows great initiative and allows you the element of surprise. However, bringing your partner in with you can save you a lot of stress and time; plus sometimes their expectations from magazines and movies are not the same once they try it in the store. From my own experience, I am very glad I talked to Kate about rings and took her into various jewellery stores to get a better sense of what her style was. If I had it my way, I would have gone with a single solitaire round set in white gold with six claw prongs. Simple, classic, and timeless I thought, but to Kate, it was overused, dull, and simply not her. While Kate wanted a round stone and white gold (I got that much right), she wanted a few more stones to help the ring stand out a little and be special, and thus I started look at rings I had never originally intended to look at. From Kate’s own perspective, she had always imagined getting a ruby for an engagement ring stone, but when she saw how they had very little shine and no sparkle, her mind was quickly changed.

The Six Cs: Cut, Colour, Clarity, Carat-Weight, Compromise and Cost

When it comes to the actual science and art of selecting a stone, the most important thing to know is the four Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat-weight. Most jewelry stores, if not all, will have flyers or stands with this information and will demonstrate where the stone you are looking at fits into these categories. The fifth and sixth Cs that no one talks about are compromise and cost. Undoubtedly, these are what will define what you exit the store with. However, one of the most common questions I get is which c is the most important? What is the one that really matters? It’s a good question, but there is no universal answer – it really depends on the person, and you must remember that all of these factors work together in producing what your stone is going to be. So there is no perfect way to determine what is more important: that is up to you and your wallet.

The cut of the stone, before we get into the science of it, will determine how the stone looks, and getting this right is the most important thing because it’s what your partner will wear. If they wanted a square cut stone (a princess cut) and you present them with a round stone (a brilliant cut), that is a big mistake. However, the cut is important because it speaks to the proportions of the stone and that in turn affects the dispersion of light through the stone. Simply put, the cut determines how much sparkle and fire your stone can get on its best days in the best lights. This ranges from excellent to very good to good around the crown, girdle, and pavilion, each with its own grading. A stone with an excellent cut crown, girdle, and pavilion is the most desirable and is known as triple excellent cut or flawless cut. However, these stones are rare because in order to create a stone with a flawless cut, the stone itself must have very few flaws to work with. Thus, generally, most stones on the market are good to very good and some with excellent qualities such as just the crown or just the pavilion.

Next is colour. When it comes to diamonds, they are graded from D to Z: D for diamond being the best and colourless. The ranges differ from jeweller to jeweler, but in my experience D-F are generally considered colourless or rare-white stones, G-H are near colourless or white stones, and J-M are faintly yellow or off-white stones, and so on. However, let me stress something here: there is no exact scientific way to grade the colour of stones. Do not be fooled: all colours are graded by the eye and one person’s H grade is another’s J. The difference in colour can be subtle or striking and this depends the range you find yourself in. In my experience, due to cost, the range most people find themselves in is about the G-H range, as these are whiter stones but still relatively affordable.

The one the most people do not like knowing too much about is clarity, which is a polite way of putting how many flaws and inclusions as stone has. The reason why this matters is because these inclusions interfere with how much light passes through the stone. The fewer inclusions to mess with the dispersion of light, the more shine and sparkle you are going to get. Some cannot be seen by the naked eye, and generally these are very small inclusions, others are slight and take a trained eye to see, but some contain small spots that can be seen, and in my experience, they are known to drive people crazy. And this is where I want to stress something: do not get caught up in the clarity game. Unless you are stupidly wealthy, if you want a natural stone, whether it’s a diamond or a ruby or whatever, it is going to have flaws. Accept that fact and move on. Seriously, take a deep breath and move on. My advice to you is to go for something with small inclusions that you cannot see with the naked eye. It’s good to know where they are and how big they are, so ask the salesperson to show you with a magnifying glass. Once you look through the glass, remove it and see if you can still notice the inclusion. If you can and it’s striking, the stone is probably not good. However, if you can’t, you know the flaw is there, but you know it’s not noticeable.

Last comes carat-weight, which is all about the size of the stone. Stones are measured in carats, one carat being one hundred points. The bigger the stone, the bigger the price tag. Carat is probably the most difficult part of being a salesperson in jewellery, because generally this is where people get the most unrealistic or have the least amount of information. Being a fan of the single solitaire, I imagined getting Kate a one carat stone, being a nice even and holistic number, yet, when I discovered how much it was going to cost me (even with staff discount), I knew getting a one carat diamond was not going to happen. Carat weight is what can hurt the most, because, next to the cut of your stone, it’s what people and your partner notice (and sadly judge) first. Did they get a stone or a speck?

After saying all this, here is where compromise and cost come into play. Ask yourself honestly, what really matters to you the most, and how much is it going to cost you to get it? Does size really matter to you that much? Can you live with a bigger stone but with less sparkle than you would like? Can you manage a very lovely stone with very few flaws but is it about the size of a grain of rice? Is there a perfect stone across the board with just one inclusion that you can see at certain angles? What can you compromise on, and how much it is going to cost? Honesty is the best medicine. If you can only afford a $2000 ring, stop looking at the rings that cost $10000. It simply isn’t going to happen, so walk away and save yourself the grief.

Tips and Tricks for Grabbing a Bargain

Having said all that, allow me to impart a few tips and tricks for getting a great deal on your engagement ring. These aren’t guaranteed to work, but they have helped people I have served time and time again, and they come recommended from a lot of finance books such as The Total Money Makeover and The Millionaire Next Door.

  • Every day is a Sale Day: Jewellery stores always seem to have a sale going on, so don’t be surprised when you go in and see lots of “sale” signs and banners and discounts of 25% – 50%. By all means, go and see what is on sale, but do not stress if what you want is not on sale. If you want it, then and there, if you make them work for your money and business, trust me, it will go on sale for you. However, this will not work for certain companies that do not negotiate on price, but if you are shopping at one of those stores, you are probably more interested in the name on the box rather than the ring inside.
  • Shop on a Sunday near the End of the Month: Sunday is viewed in either two ways, the start of a new business week (a great chance to get the week off to a good start) or the end of the business week (the last chance to boost a store’s numbers). Either way, Sundays are quiet days for businesses, and malls are not nearly as busy on Sundays. They have fewer staff members, and that is the time a lot of stores use to do extra amounts of cleaning. Also, if it’s near the end of the month, most of employees will have their budgets due, and if they haven’t made their targets, stress will be high and this will only be increased by how quiet a Sunday is. They will bend backwards to get your money, and by bend backwards, I mean bend prices.
  • Cash is King: Cash is the easiest way to get a deal you normally wouldn’t get with a credit card or a financing plan. Cash shows you are serious, very serious. Cash in hand moves people to make deals and get business done. I can tell you a story when a very impressive woman wanted to buy her partner an engagement ring and she had decided that was the ring she wanted, she opened her purse and flashed a lot of bills and looked me directly in the eye and said, “Now let’s talk about that price.” Cash is the best weapon you have. It gets the deal done in one transaction, saves you on interest, gets you the best discount and even makes the salesperson a profit: everyone’s a winner.
  • Fight Emotion with Emotion: “Sell emotion.” That is the mantra of the salesperson in jewellery. Because jewellery items are such personal items, salespeople are trained to persuade and influence people by selling emotion in their sales in order to maximise their profit. Do not let their flattery, stories, or emotions trick you. Of course they are going to tell you this ring is very popular and it’s amazing and it’s stunning and it’s perfect. Of course they are going to tell you that someone else has been looking at it and that there are very few left in the company and that your fiancé(e) would really love this ring. Fight emotion with emotion. Ask them, “What can YOU do on the price?” Say to them, “If I brought this ring today what would YOU make the price for me?” Point out, “I see YOU have a sale on this month, let’s discuss this ring.” Be bold and blunt, “I want this ring and YOU want to sell it to me, what are deal WE going to make?” Get them involved in this deal: they want your money and you want the ring, at least everyone’s honest about it.
  • Meet me in the middle.: This phrase has seen more business settled than you can possibly imagine, both by me and by my clever customers. For example, one day I was selling a ring that was $3000 at full price. The lady who was interested in it told me she really only wanted to spent $1000, yet she loved that ring. After speaking with my manager, I offered her $2000, and she still insisted that was too much and it wasn’t what she had in mind and we went back and forth until she drew out $1500 in cash and said to me, “How about we meet in the middle?” It’s so simple, and it’s so effective. It’s the best way to try and keep both parties happy. See what discounts they can offer you and try your best to undercut them until they really start to hold up a fight, and then, flash your cash and offer to meet them in the middle.

Parting Advice

My final piece of advice is that ultimately the engagement ring is what you make it. It is your money, but more importantly, it’s you and your partner’s choice in what you want to symbolise your commitment to one another. Do not feel pressured to follow the masses and get a diamond ring, far from it. Diamonds as ‘the engagement’ stone are a modern invention and engagement rings as common practice by the masses (not by the super powerful and wealthy) is a modern marketing phenomenon. I have seen every stone under the sun used an engagement ring, and the people who wear them rock them with complete and utter confidence that is inspiring. I have seen engagement rings made out of sterling silver crafted in traditional Celtic styles and even gothic skulls and dragons used as an engagement ring. Everyone is different. We all have different budgets, of course, but we all have different tastes and styles too. Do not let the norm inform you what you ‘should’ spend on your partner and what will make them happy.

That’s for you to decide.

On Marriage: I Wasn’t Ready For Marriage

This post on The Matt Walsh Blog really hit home for me. I lived with my first husband for almost 6 years before we were married, and yet the marriage barely survived 3 years. We knew every one of the other’s bad habits and annoying quirks. But that wasn’t enough. Looking back, I can see very clearly what broke us up, and yet not put my finger on the exact straw that broke our marriage’s back. But I do know that no amount of “till death do us part” commitment would have cured what ailed us, and had we made the choice to honor our vows over our happiness, we’d have lived a very miserable existence until that death came calling. 

What I love about this post is that it sums up the exact way I feel about my impending marriage. Paul and I have not yet known each other for a year, and yet I know that making my vows will be different this time than the last. And I get to take all the lessons from my first marriage into my next, to make me a better wife, partner, friend, and lover. By our second date, we knew we were headed toward the aisle. It’s so easy to say “oh my god, are we really ready for this?” But, Matt is right. No one is ever ready. All we can do is jump, and count on our wings to open. 


I met my wife on eHarmony. I was a morning rock DJ in Delaware, she was living in Maryland and finishing up her degree. I drove two and a half hours to pick her up for our first date. I spent most of my bi-weekly paycheck on tickets to a dinner theater in Baltimore. The rest went to gas and tolls.

And that’s the way it would go for the next year and a half (minus the dinner theater part). Once a week, I’d spend money I didn’t have and drive the 260 mile roundtrip to see the love of my life. Sometimes I’d sleep for a few hours in the guest room at her mom’s house, waking up at 2AM to head back to the coast for my 5:30AM radio show.

I was very tired back then.

And broke.

Lord, was I broke.

She’d take turns driving my way, burning gas she couldn’t afford to burn and using money that should have been collecting interest in a savings account. On occasion, we’d cut ourselves (and our cars) a break, meeting in the middle for an intimate meal at the Cracker Barrel near the Bay Bridge. It was in these moments that I knew I was fulfilling her girlhood dreams. Oh, it might be a cliché, but it’s true: most young ladies grow up fantasizing about the day that a small market radio jock from Delaware will whisk them away to the Cracker Barrel in Stevensville.

It was a fairytale romance.

Or maybe not; but it was ours. It was our relationship. It was real. We loved each other. We were building something.

When we tied the knot in October of 2011, we were vowing our lives to the other person, even though we’d never lived in the same state. We’d rarely spent more than two consecutive days with each other. We didn’t know all of each other’s bad habits. We didn’t know what the other was like on a day-to-day basis.

We had no nest egg, for that matter. We’d blown most of it funding our trips back and forth.

In other words, we weren’t “ready” for marriage. We hadn’t tried it out. According to conventional wisdom, we were “unprepared.” We didn’t take a turn in the Marriage Simulator. We didn’t live together for seven years and slowly glide into it. We were two, apart, only dating — courting, really — until we were one. We were unmarried, and then we were married.

No transition.

No warm up.

We weren’t ready for kids, either. We didn’t get any practice swings. We had no kids, and then we had two kids. We weren’t parents, and then we were parents. We slept at night, and then we didn’t.

If there’s one thing about life that I wish everyone would consider — particularly my peers, and those younger than me — it’s that you’ll never do the big things if you’re waiting until you’re ready to do them.

You’ll never be ready.

 …Read the rest of Matt’s entry, here.

On Marriage: The Love That Keeps You Married

Marriage can have a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs. Our On Marriage series is an attempt to showcase the different realities people experience when it comes to Happily Ever After. This week, we’ve got an excerpt from Brenna of Suburban Snapshots


I love my husband this week. This week, I look across the room at him and think, “How long can I safely assume Anna would stay glued to that iPad right now?” This week I want to tell his bosses what a dedicated employee he is and tell Anna to stop saying that she loves me better because I let her have hot cocoa after school. I want to make his favorite dinner even though it’s so packed with fat that I can’t go near it. I’ll tell him I’m proud of his work, that he’s a great dad and husband, that sometimes when I joke about my friends wanting to get in his pants I’m kind of serious and maybe a little concerned. This week he’s getting more random hugs, less sarcasm, and lots of appreciation.

Last week I wanted to beat him with the pillow he hugs to sleep and which inevitably ends up making its way onto my face when he lets go of it in the middle of the night. He couldn’t say a thing that didn’t annoy me, he was full of sarcasm and tone, he’d been sick and stressed and brought all of it into the house after work. All I could see were the piles of crap he makes on every surface in the house and the pile of dishes he ignored before work. His coughing annoyed me, the tissues everywhere annoyed me, the way he spoke to Anna led me a few times to break the cardinal parenting rule of not contradicting your partner in earshot of your children.

Steve is much more steady in things like this than I am. He doesn’t get annoyed like I do. I don’t consider myself moody, but I might walk around tense and aggravated and bottled up, I keep it in especially when I know I’m being unfair. Usually my first indication that he’s stressed or tired is that he stops trying to grope me every six seconds. And even when I’m such an irrepressible rag that I don’t want to hang out with myself, he wants me around. Two weeks ago when I couldn’t stand the sight of his wet boots tipped over at the back door, I thought about taking off to my mom’s for the day, just for some space, just to miss him again.

Love it so far? Check out the rest at Suburban Snapshots!


On Marriage: The Top Ten Rules a Couple Should Live By, Gay or Straight

Our On Marriage series continues, this time with a post from Kristy Sinsara, who has ten salient rules to live by to keep a marriage strong and healthy. We aren’t born knowing this stuff, it’s hard-earned knowledge and we’re grateful that Kristy is sharing it with our readers.

Let’s be honest, once you’re past the honeymoon stage, marriage is difficult and gay or straight you’ll probably be shocked to realize that the rules of engagement are the same for all.

My wife and I have been married for several years now.  We haven’t always had the marriage we have now.  In fact, we fought very hard to get to where we are.

See, this is my first marriage…my first “real” relationship.  I went into the relationship without any rules and because of that I caused some undue hardships and turmoil along the way.   Prior to meeting her I was a “serial monogamous dater”, I never really cared to stay past my own personal ambition, which caused me to never learn the true rules of engagement for any successful relationship.

My wife, on the other hand, was married to a man for almost ten years, after they divorced she was single for three years and then we met.  And WHEN we met, she never shared with me the rules she had learned along the way.  She kept it to herself and allowed me to learn things on my own, the hard way, as I usually do.  Fast forward, years later when our marriage was on the rocks and she was ready to leave me and I was in shock trying to figure out what went wrong.  And then she said it.  She literally stood there in our hallway and shared with me some of these secrets I’m sharing with you now.   She finally told me the rules.

And knowing the rules changed everything for me and for us!  My wife and my family mean everything to me and keeping us all together, happy and healthy is one of the most important things I will do in this lifetime.

Fast forward a few years again, now she and I have built an incredible life and a family together.  We have a ton of married friends that we are very close to and I have noticed that the same rules that I must live by to keep my marriage going strong, are all of the same rules everyone seems to have to live by as well.

Perhaps these will be reminders for you, maybe for others simply enlightening tips on how to keep your marriage together, and for others perhaps “the obvious”.  But if you’re anything like me, knowing this BEFORE a marriage is helpful.  I took my vows seriously.  Staying committed to my wife and our family is the most important part of me.

So here are some mistakes I made and truths I have learned as well as some other “natural” rules we have applied to our marriage that I believe have kept us going so strong.


1.  Never threaten to leave, and never say the “D” word. It cheapens the union, puts the option on the table for all, and above all, thoughts become things…

OMG When Tina and I first got married it was the answer to literally every single problem we had to me.  Couldn’t agree on stuff with the kids, “divorce me”.  I forgot to buy bagels, “divorce me”.  You won’t let me buy something I want on Amazon, “divorce me”.  It was literally the answer to everything…and then one day she said “okay, I want a divorce”.  Wait, what?  You’re kidding right?  Because I never meant that…

What I learned is that rule number one is probably the most important rule of all once you’ve committed to spending your life with someone.   Unless you’re dealing with actual “deal breakers” then putting the option of divorce on the table should NEVER be said!

Marriage is NOT about being in love.  It’s not about getting butterflies when your spouse walks in the door and giggling uncontrollably at their jokes in public.  Marriage is, above all things, about commitment and nothing deteriorates the spirit of commitment more than the constant verbalization of your refusal to acknowledge it.  When you say “divorce me” all you’re actually saying is “I don’t care about our commitment”.   I learned the hard way that when you threaten to leave, each and every time, you’re leaving in a way, even if it’s not physically, you’re still leaving a little bit at a time, with each threat…and if you’re not leaving, they are!

2.  Discuss and RESPECT your deal breakers.  

Every couple goes through unexpected hardships.  A deal breaker isn’t a curve ball, it’s exactly the opposite.  It’s what your partner tells you ahead of time is an absolute “will not deal with, put up with, handle, work through, work out”, etc…

Discuss them, know them and respect them!   Deal breakers are things that would make you no longer want to “work” on things.  Deal breakers make you question commitment.  Deal breakers make you want to “break the deal” and bonds of marriage.   Do you know your partners deal breakers?

3.  Eliminate the urge to merge.

It sounds sweet at first…to do absolutely everything on the planet together.  Those initial feelings where you can’t get enough of each other…and you still long for more…and then the honeymoon ends and what was once the most adorable little thing on the planet becomes the most annoying thing in the universe.

I believe that one of the things that have kept our marriage so strong is that we have kept our sense of autonomy throughout our relationship.  We have a ton of “common/mutual” friends but we also have a handful of our own individual friends and friendships that have not been merged.  We have a ton of common interests and she’s still my favorite person to hang out with, the go out with, to vacation with, to raise kids with, to take a walk in the park with, etc… but we also allow each other the room to be an individual.  I like to golf, she doesn’t.  She encourages me to find friends that I can golf with and go as often as I want.   Additionally, I also travel a lot for work and have since the day we met…the time apart has kept us stronger and most of the couples that we know that have incredible marriages have a degree of “time away”.  It helps you appreciate the other person, keeps your sanity and maintains your freedom.

We have a couple friend that literally eats and breathes together every day all day long and they said once that they can’t imagine being away from one another for more than a day.  Once separated I discussed it again and she admitted it was only because she thought he would cheat.

Listen, if your relationship is SO completely insecure and you’re that distrustful of your partner you have a much bigger problem on your hands.  I always say don’t choke someone with your tight rope, allow them enough rope to choke themselves.  Besides, do you really want to know someone was faithful to you just because you forced their hands at loyalty and monogamy? Come on now.

Offer your partner some room to be themselves…because I guarantee you that if you are choking them, they will eventually break free to breathe.  It is just the truth.

Resonating so far? Check out the other seven rules on Kristy’s blog!

Broke-Ass Bride Wants YOU To Blog Your Wedding Adventures!

Listen up, aspiring wedding bloggers! BAB is looking for some real brides to share their grand adventure through Wedding World, a land of wonder, inspiration, financial pitfalls, DIY dragons, and etiquette monsters…a fellowship of real brides, if you will!

We’re looking for a newbie bride-to-be (or two, OR MORE) who is at least 6 months out from her wedding date to journal about her wedding planning journey. If you’re in the habit of keeping a personal blog or journal, if you love to engage with people via the magic of blogging, if you’ve got a fresh voice, an irreverent sense of humor, and you’re pulling your wedding together on a budget, you should definitely give this a shot.

Here’s what we’d like from all applicants: a brief letter of introduction, telling us who you are, where you are, when your big day is, and why it’s gonna be amazing. We of course want to know if you have any background experience writing and/or blogging, and a more-than-basic knowledge of WordPress is a HUGE bonus. We’d also love to see the two writing (or blogging) samples you’re most proud of. Please send all applications to Mellzah at Flowers and candy are always appreciated but will have no bearing on the final decision.

These are unpaid positions, but there is the possibility of paid work in the future. We do pay in love, appreciation, glowing recommendations, the occasional freebie, and of course, the opportunity to get your foot in the door of the wedding blogging biz! Please give this a lot of thought before you apply – we need contributors that will be timely, reliable, fabulous, and professional.

Partner Love: Let Bliss Honeymoons Tell You How Destinations Weddings Can Save You Big Bucks

Hey-yo! We’re letting our fantastic partners over at Bliss Honeymoons take the stage once again to present their killer tips on how to have a faboosh destination wedding without completely emptying your wallet (and checking account, savings account, etc…). Destination weddings often seem overwhelming because of the distance and the dollar signs, but surprisingly, you can score an amazing wedding for a fraction of the price it would have cost back home. Take it away, Bliss:

Exotic locations like Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, and the Capes of New England may sound expensive, but when pitted against a hometown wedding with a bloated guest list you’ll find they can save you a bundle.

Aside from saving you time and hassle, here are the 4 ways a destination wedding can save you big bucks:

Destination weddings have smaller guest lists and smaller invoices

This is simple math. How many friends of friends of friends will be willing to travel to attend your wedding? While a hometown wedding naturally lends itself to a more inflated guest list, a destination wedding is a great way to keep your guest list intimate and focused on close friends and family. If you host a hometown wedding and reception you have to find room in your budget for dozens of acquaintances that you may not include in a destination wedding guest list. This saves money on everything from the venue to the food and drink to the chair and linen rentals and guest favors.

Destination weddings give you get the best of both worlds

You get an exotic honeymoon in an amazing location bundled with the memories of a traditional ceremony-but you don’t pay for both. For just a little more  than you would spend on an exotic honeymoon trip anyways, you can include your wedding at the destination. This aspect of a destination wedding saves you the hassle of planning a wedding and a honeymoon as well as saving time by combining the two.

Destination wedding packages save big bucks

Most resorts offer special all-inclusive destination wedding packages that not only include your stay and amenities but also cover the cost of the wedding ceremony, cake, and photographs. Unlike a hometown wedding where you pay for each vendor separately as well as the venue, a destination-wedding package saves you money by bundling all your wedding day and honeymoon services into one competitive price.

Destination wedding planners take the strain off your finances

A dedicated destination wedding travel planner is the best way to squeeze the most out of your budget. Often, because of all their professional connections, tools and tricks they can save couples the cost of their fee and then some. Destination and honeymoon specialists have close relationships with the resorts, visit them in person frequently throughout the year, and have access to special pricing not available to the public. Destination wedding planners have tools and tricks to whisk you to your far away locale with insider knowledge of flight itineraries and unpublished airfare deals.

Using a destination wedding planner ensures you will spend your far away wedding day enjoying the details, not managing them.

What’s your idea of a dream destination wedding?

Exclusive Broke-Ass Bride Wedding Printables: Adorable Aqua & Gold Floral Pocketfold Invitations From Download & Print!

BABs, we have another gorgeous printable project for you today from our pals at Download & Print! As you can see, D&P has whipped up yet another truly lovely, wonderfully FREE downloadable, printable wedding invitation suite. (In case you missed their first project – elegant B&W pocketfold invitations -you can check that out by clicking here. )

Hi, Anna Skye here again from Download & Print. If you need further convincing that DIY invitation suites don’t have to compromise on style and quality, I have another project for you that I think would wow even Miss Emily Post. If you have a paperclip, piece of string, and gum… hang on, that’s MacGyver. BUT, with a printer, some cardstock, and double sided tape you can easily create this beautiful aqua and gold pocketfold set.

What you’ll need to create this project:

-          Free printable templates – invitation, backer, inserts, belly band, and envelope liner

-          Gold A7 Pocket available from Paper and More

-          A7 envelopes in Pool color from Paper Source

-          White or cream card stock, 67 lb to 90 lb

-          Ink jet or laser printer (or print at a local copy shop)

-          Paper cutter or scissors

-          Double Sided Tape


Step #1: Add Your Wording and Print the Templates

Download the template files and save to your computer. Open the invitation and backer, inserts and belly band in MS Word and type in your details. Open the envelope liner in Acrobat. Print the files.

Step #2: Cut out the Cards, Belly Band, and Liner

Use a paper cutter to cut along the dotted lines. Scissors will also work, but your edges won’t be as perfect and this will be a little more time consuming. When you have trimmed all the print outs you will end up with a set looking like this:

Step #3: Tape the Invitation to the Backer

Place two strips of double sided tape on the back of the invitation, each about 4” in length. You are aiming to leave approximately 1/8” of the backer showing around the invitation. Eyeball the top edge and right and left sides and lower the invitation onto the front of the backer card, pressing it gently into place.

Step #4: Tape the Backer to the Pocketfold

Using the same process as in step #3… place two 4” strips of tape on the back of the backer.  Eyeball the top, right, and left edges, then lower into place. Insert the enclosure cards into the pocket, layering them with the shorter card at the front.

Step #5: Wrap and Tape the Belly Band

Score the belly band along the two dotted lines to the right and left of the name frame, or just make a nice, crisp fold with your hand.  Align the band on the pocket fold, wrap around and tape with double sided tape.

Step #6: Insert the Liner into the Envelope

Insert the liner into the envelope with the design facing toward you. Center the liner onto the envelope, leaving an even space around the flap. Fold the liner flap down, creating a crisp fold in line with the envelope’s fold. Apply double sided tape to the reverse of the folded down liner, two strips approximately 3” long is ideal. Close the envelope flap onto the liner and press firmly to secure.

And there you have it, the MacGyver method to wedding invitations. Super simple, with amazing results. Enjoy!