Five Truths and a Lie

Mandi

This is Mandi.

Thanks to the sweetest mother-daughter blogger duo, InionNMathair, I’ve been introduced to some awesome new bloggers via their post, The Sisterwives. One of these amazing women is Mandi of the fabulously named blog – Cellulite Looks Better Tan.

I’ll have to take your word on that, Mandi!

*stretches toes into ray of sunlight* Sizzle *withdraws immediately*

For now, this redhead is still sun-combustible. And my cellulite looks like a  marshmallow.

Then again, Mandi prides herself on being a good liar. Perhaps this is true about sun-baked cellulite. I can’t be sure.

What I am sure of is that Mandi is a really funny gal. And she just shared five truths and a lie in her blog post, True Story…,  for readers to figure out which thing on her list is the lie. Interested yet? You should be. After all she includes tuna, stitches, and dead people! What more could you want?!

Inspired to play along, I’m sharing five truths and a lie for all of YOU to guess which one is the lie about me.

Have at it!

1.  I once won a year’s worth of chicken wings.

2. My first boyfriend collected horse figurines.

3. I quit smoking by drinking tea.

4. My parents’ backyard once kept 7 toilets, 1 urinal, a washing machine, a keyboard, and a caution – slow down – crosswalk person inside it.

5. I love to cartwheel.

6. I whistle by breathing in instead of out.

So, whatd’ya think?
Which one is the lie?

You Are What You Eat, And That’s Why I’m An Oompa Loompa

The past year has been a transitional one for me. I quit my job of six years, I was unemployed and financially broke for months, I wrote a full draft of my book, and I got a new job that I love!

It seems the winds of change weren’t done for me after just one year. I took on the task of planning an international wedding. I continued working on my book. I had a secret civil ceremony abroad. And then my family and I laid my brother-in-law to rest. Four days later, Joe and I had our stateside wedding ceremony and revealed our big surprise.

It doesn’t seem possible that I’ve undergone so many emotional extremes – some of which in one week’s time. I know I lived it. But I can’t believe it. I just knew it was time that I start taking care of myself. Mentally and physically.

The big push to get started came after reading Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. It’s amazing and well-researched. And I had the pleasure of meeting her at BlogHer14. In her book, she discusses the strengths and increased productivity from exercising meditation, getting enough sleep at night, and separating ourselves from technology for awhile.

BlogHer book signing

I started practicing a few of her tips, like not checking social media an hour before bedtime – and going to bed earlier!

About a month ago, my best friend asked me if I wanted to do the 21 Day Fix challenge with her. It’s a daily workout and meal plan. I was in the midst of the wedding and decided not to, but when it came up again this month, I said yes.

And that brings me to all the green food I’ve eaten.

I’m eating a lot of green food.

cucumbersCucumbers

chicken with avocadoAvocado on top of my Chicken

spinachSpinach and Kale

kiwiKiwi

Everything I’m eating is GREEN!

green foods collage

In addition, I also ate peas, green beans, and asparagus.

I started worrying that if I continued to eat so many green foods, I would eventually turn GREEN!

And then I’d look like an Oompa Loompa!!!

Selfie - OL1

Selfie - OL2

Selfie - OL3

Selfie - OL4

But I still crave junk food sometimes.

selfie - OL collageI’m done with week one. And good news, I’ve gone grocery shopping and bought vegetables of other colors. For now, my pigment is sage safe.

I’m liking how I feel so far. Taking care of ourselves is a luxury most of us don’t honor. But I’m glad I timed myself out and did this. My brain and body feel energized and are able to start processing the events of this past year.

What are you doing for yourself this week?

Thoughts On Selling My Oldest Niece, or Why Grammar Is Important

I was in Madison this past weekend visiting family when I drove by a rather peculiar sign on a highly trafficked street corner.

Huge Kids SaleMy immediate thoughts were, “Someone alert the authorities! They’re selling above average sized children on their lot!”

But then I thought, “Where can I find some large kidlets to sell? I could use some extra cash.”

And that’s when I looked schemingly at my niece and nephew. *rubs hands together*

My niece, who is 12, is only about 1 inch shorter than me, if that. She has taken on, with great gusto might I add, the goal of growing taller than several members of our family. I am the next name on her list.

Yes, she has a list.

When I arrived earlier that day at my brother’s house, I learned I was going to be sharing a room with my niece for the night. While carrying my backpack to the guest mattress they had laid out, she noticed a pair of shoes sticking out of my bag.

Niece:  “Oh good, you brought the shoes I like!”

Me:  “I like them too. That’s why I STILL WEAR them.”

Suffice it to say, after we arrived back to their house, having seen the sign for the “HUGE KIDS SALE,” my mind was full of ideas.

Ideas that raised my eyebrows when I saw my niece walk across the living room wearing my shoes – that fit her – on her 12 year old feet. I am almost 29.

And then when I saw her proceed to gulp down a glass of lemonade and eat several slices of banana bread smeared in butter, I may have uttered in a kind of creepy voice, “Good, good. Eat up, my pretty. I’ll make more at the market in the morning.” *followed by more hand rubbing*

My niece giggled at me and put my shoes back in my bag.

Now how come my brother has never asked me to babysit?

 

 

 

My Big Fat Secret Greek Wedding

Well the cat’s out of the bag now and we revealed our big surprise to our wedding guests and you that we’ve secretly been married for a month now.

Surprise!!! *throws rice confetti and releases the doves*

Here’s what people are saying about it:

“It was the best wedding I’ve never been to!”

“Most fun we’ve had at a wedding in a long time!”

“It’s so romantic and beautiful.”

“How did you keep it a secret so well? We loved it!”

We are eternally grateful that everyone supported our actions and thought what we did was romantic and dreamlike. It really was.

I mean, look where we were! Can you blame us?

DSC_0026Our wedding day in Santorini was relaxing. Since our wedding wasn’t until sunset, we actually lounged the whole morning, swimming and hanging out in our private jacuzzi with glasses of Assyrtiko wine.

I’ve heard that every wedding day has its minor glitches and mine involved my flat iron.

While we had planned ahead and purchased an international adapter plug, Joe had warned me about voltage conversion issues. So far, things had worked out when it came to charging our camera and my laptop. While getting ready for the big event, I plugged my flat iron in to use it to smooth my bangs down and planned to curl the rest of my hair.

Yes, I know that sounds weird. I use my FLAT iron to CURL my hair. Just trust me it works, and I like how the curls turn out better than with a curling iron.

I had recently just purchased a new flat iron as well. It was so beautiful, a shiny new red handle and it worked really well.

I was straightening my bangs when I heard this little sizzling noise. And about 5 seconds later I dropped the flat iron to the floor because that sizzle I heard was the inside of the HANDLE burning up and scalding my palm. VOLTAGE CONVERSION ISSUE!!!

This day is not about my hair. This day is not about my hair. This day is not about my hair.

Those are the words I repeated to myself in the mirror as I stared at my straight hair. They were followed by gratitude to the gods for the fact that I had smoothed my bangs and NOT begun curling my hair or else I’d have ended up with some half-headed poodle-ized catastrophe.

And my new straightener…ended up in the trash. :(

In the end it worked out.

DSC_0028Joe also played a trick on me on our wedding day. We’d been talking the week before we left about our wedding vows and all he’d tell me about his were that he “had a good idea” of what he was going to say and he didn’t need to write them down because he didn’t want them “to sound rehearsed.”

Okay, fine. But know that I had stepped up my game when it came to writing wedding vows. When Joe and I first started dating, I was still in college and wrote a lot of spoken word poems. Some even, for Joe. It’d been years since I’d written one. As a meaningful gesture, I wrote my vows in a spoken word poem for him.

The morning of our wedding, we both had to rewrite our vows nicely on fresh paper because we’d only packed the rough drafts. So I wrote mine out on one end of our room, and he wrote his on the other. I finished rewriting mine, meanwhile Joe is still sitting there – slightly staring into the abyss, periodically writing something down.

That worm! Is he just writing his vows NOW?!!

So our wedding time came and I was unsure what Joe’s vows would be. I was half preparing for a bulleted list of nonsense.

DSC_0032His vows were perfect. They were heartfelt, meaningful to us, and touched on the things we both love and find important.

So what the heck had he been twiddling with for so freaking long?

My twerp of a husband was messing with me. That whole time he was sitting there pretending to struggle with his vows, he was scribbling Bruno Mars song lyrics on the back of the paper!

I’ll get you for this, my pretty!

Everyone we worked with from our Grecian wedding planner’s company was wonderful. We had so much fun laughing with them, enjoying our happy moment of foreverness, taking in as much beauty as our eyes would let us, and sharing cake and champagne with them as well as our hotel staff, who felt like our long distance Greek family members while we stayed there.

DSC_0080Makin’ it legal.

DSC_0103Say Aaaaaah!

DSC_0120Something blue.

DSC_0125Cheers to our Big Fat Secret Greek Wedding!

Thank you to everyone who supported us and our big surprise!
We so enjoy sharing our 2 special weddings with you all.

Have you ever kept a big secret from your closest loved ones?
How did it go over when you finally told them?

I’m Enough: Learning Lessons From a Mirror That Talks Back

When you look in the mirror, how do you feel about yourself?

And we’re being  honest here.

Do you believe the only value it shows is what’s on the outside? Does the mirror, to you, amplify your flaws or acknowledge the human being that you are with phenomenal virtues inside and out?

Does the mirror reflect your worth?

This is the question that a group of women from Austen, TX came together to answer. But first, they started a band.

Their group is called The Mrs.

Unable to connect with the songs they were hearing on the radio, well past the years of the teenage heartbreak and club beats, they sought to create music inspired by their own lives as passionate – and busy – wives, mothers, and girlfriends.

The all-female rock band is comprised of drummer Andra Liemandt, lead vocalists/guitarists Mandy Prater and Jennifer Zavaleta, vocals/keyboardist Larissa Ness, and bassist Jenny Mason.

They wrote a song called ‘I’m Enough.’ And from that song, they gave birth to a movement.

They plastered stickers around every mirror and window they came across with messages like “You’re awesome,” “I’m Enough,” and “You’ve never looked better!” Then they took it a step further and concocted what some might dub ‘a magic mirror’, a talking mirror that surprised women all over the county.

At first glance, the mirror on the wall appears ordinary. When you walk up to it, all you see is your reflection.

And then a voice comes on.

That voice greets you, perhaps by name. That voice tells you you’re beautiful. That voice tells you you are loved. That voice tells you you’re enough.

*****

The Mrs. performed at BlogHer live on Saturday, and their talking mirror was in the vendor hall all weekend. My pal, August McLaughlin, and I got to experience the talking mirror firsthand before we even knew what it was!

I went up to it first. I put the headphones on and immediately this friendly voice greeted me, “Hi Jess! Look at that gorgeous red hair!”

MirrorAugust listening to the Talking Mirror

The person behind the mirror told me I was beautiful. She told me I had beautiful, clear skin.

I started crying.

I wasn’t making-a-scene-hysterical, I just genuinely teared up. I don’t tell myself my skin is beautiful.

As my 30th birthday gets closer, I’ve been battling some body dysmorphia. I wrote about it in To Conceal and Carry…My Muffin Top. Besides recent weight gain, I have trouble with adult acne. It began as “teenage” acne, then “college” acne, and morphed into adulthood “I’ve paid thousands of dollars on skincare and make-up” acne. I know my skin has changed and that it has improved. But when I look in the mirror, I see only the bumps, the redness, the scarring.

I knew my attacks on myself were really bad when I nonchalantly made the comment to my sister, “You know how people sometimes ask you ‘If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?’ Well, mine would be clear skin. That’s all I want. CLEAR skin!”

I immediately felt hurt when I said it. Hurt by my OWN words. I had always been the girl who wanted to fly. How had I let myself get so stuck?

Even on my wedding day, my biggest fear was my face. Not the hundreds of dollars we paid in legal paperwork for an international wedding, or traveling to a foreign country with my wedding dress, or that Joe had not written his vows until the day of (he actually had, but was messing with me for fun). No, I was freaking out over my face. I wanted perfect skin for my wedding day, and that was the one thing beyond my grasp.

I started a mantra, “This day is not about my face. This day is not about my face.” And I said it every morning as I put my make up on for that whole week before our wedding.

So yah. I started crying when the woman behind the mirror told me I had clear skin. And then she told me my writing mattered. That my words brought joy and laughter and insight to others. And I felt – this may sound silly – but I felt like I sprouted wings. Little baby wings that flapped and triggered my brain to say “Go after your dreams.”

She's Enough

And remember I’m enough.

Do you need to be reminded?

Follow more of the movement on Twitter using the hashtag #ImEnough.

 

 

 

Top 5 Reasons To Go To BlogHer

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending Blogher ’14.

I can’t even begin to decompress and describe the mind bomb that is this conference. 4,000 bloggers, most of them women, in scenic California, partying it up, networking, and honoring each others’ voices.

I arrived in San Jose, CA on Thursday afternoon and was greeted by cupcakes (made out of lentils???) in a beautiful city. I ask you, does it get any better than that?

San Jose CollageWell yes, it does. Because there are keynotes. AMAZING, funny, gorgeous, talented, and freaking cool keynotes!

Who was on the list?

Jenny Lawson - who you may know as The Bloggess, and author of the hilarious memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I met her, and we talked about funny female authors, and we both just finished reading Nora Ephron for the first time, and she signed my book “Knock Knock, Mofo”. Isn’t she great?

Tig Notaro - the comedian best known for her stand up show discussing the humor and heft of having breast cancer. You can download free tracks of her stand up at her site here, including clips from her famous show, Live.

Arianna Huffington - as in the founder of The Huffington Post! Best speech of the keynotes; she was inspiring, charming, funny, and flawless. And you know what? I met her too, and I spoke to her in Greek! *seriously might faint just thinking how awesome that was*

Kerry Washington - the actor and activist. She shared behind the scenes stories from her show, Scandal, as well as why civil rights and philanthropy are so important.

Keynote CollageWhy go to BlogHer?

BlogHer is drastically different than writers conferences, in my opinion. When you go to a writers conference, there’s a pretty strict schedule of classes to attend. It’s more about learning, networking, and deciding about indie vs. traditional publishing routes. It’s awesome and definitely motivating, but different.

1. BlogHer is basically a giant party.

No I’m not kidding. That’s how it feels. Everyone is smiling. Everyone wants to meet people. Everyone wants to know what you blog about and which classes you attended, and which yogurt you picked in the Yoplait #tasteoff challenge!

Shocker! We picked Yoplait.

YoplaitThat’s me and the illustrious August McLaughlin
hanging out with a giant spoon. #GoodTimes

The Expo room with all the vendors is fun to bum around. And for those looking to write sponsored posts, the connections are yours for the making!

2. The Keynotes

See above. Then wipe the drool from your chin. I can’t wait to see who’s on board for next year’s keynotes.

3. Voices of the Year Community Keynote

If you want to hear the voices that are groundbreaking in the blogosphere, attend the VOTY celebration. I was in awe of these women. And I want to share them all with you. Here are the 12 Voices of the Year that spoke at the conference. (All were phenomenal, but I starred the ones that spoke the most to me personally.)

*Parri Sontag ~ Her Royal Thighness ~ Leisure Suits, Braces, and Beanies: My Life as a Dodgeball Target

Kristin Vanderhey Shaw ~ Two Cannoli ~ More Than Words

Tammy Soong ~ World’s Worst Moms ~ First Reason Not to Get a Tattoo: Your Mom Probably Has One

*A’driane Nieves ~ Butterfly Confessions ~ America’s Not Here For Us

*Meredith Bland ~ Pile of Babies ~ 9 Awesome Things About Having a Physical Disability

*Janelle Hanchett ~ Renegade Mothering ~ We Don’t Start With Needles in Our Arms

Phyllis Myung ~ The Napkin Hoarder ~ Sometimes I Still Wish I Was White

Ashley Garrett ~ Baddest Mother Ever ~ It’s All One Life

*August McLaughlin ~ August McLaughlin’s Blog ~ My Big Brindle Heart: A Love Story

*Grace Sandra ~ Grace Sandra’s Blog ~ Letting The Stupid Little Ni**er Go

Jenna Hatfield ~ Stop, Drop, & Blog ~ The Bridge That is Any Bridge

Lisa Page Rosenberg ~ Smacksy ~ The View From Here

4. Networking and Friendships

Business CardsHoly business cards, Batman!

There are 4,000 bloggers in one building and you get to hang out with them!!! I actually ran out of business cards.

Also, meet bloggers you follow online.

After using Twitter as a ginger beacon homing device, I met up with Aussa Lorens from Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy.

Photo credit - Aussa Lorens

Photo credit – Aussa Lorens

You know who else I Twitter stalked?

Hege and Cotille from StitchFix! Photo coming soon as it’s on Cotille’s phone, but the girls will be sharing their photos from BlogHer and all the StitchFix fashionistas at the conference using the hashtag #StitchFixInTheWild.

*double squeeee* I even went out to dinner with them! And we leisured on Santana Row, San Jose’s trendy hot spot for restaurants and clothing boutiques.

But best of all was meeting fellow blogger, longtime friend, and founder of #GirlBoner radio – August McLaughlin!

August and Jess

Photo credit – August McLaughlin

Truth.

Truth.

5. BlogHer is literally a giant party.

The end of the conference is a big, outdoor party. And Rev Run from Run DMC was the dj. #ILoveThe90s

Rev Run Run DMC

Do you need any more reasons than that?
So, will I see you at BlogHer next year?

 

 

 

 

 

The Wedding(s) of the Century

Hello Friends!

Wedding weekend extravaganza is officially over. Joe and I were married this weekend…

Or were we?

That’s right, we had a bit of a surprise during our ceremony.

But now the cat’s out of the bag, and you all can be in on it too! During the wedding, we showed a slideshow, and today I’d like to share it with all of you! (It’s 7 minutes long, so those wanting to jump to the really good part, should fast forward to 4:30ish.)

*All music composed and/or arranged by Joe Gantzer, except the Greek song, all vocals by Joe Gantzer and Jess Witkins. The Disney song has been rearranged by Joe Gantzer.

 

 

The Highlights and Hiccups of our Grecian Honeymoon

I’m baaaaaaaaack!

Kah-lee-MER-ah, Everyone! (That means ‘good morning’ in Greek! And yes, I wrote it phonetically, because I do not have the Greek alphabet on my keyboard, nor would most of you be able to read it if I did not do so.)

Thank you to Misty and Deanne for keeping you all company while I was away!

Greece was magnificent! We thoroughly enjoyed our pre-wedding honeymoon (yep, it’s backwards thanks to Joe’s gig schedule, but I’m just happy we got to get away).

The Highlights:

We started in Santorini, which was breathtaking.

DSCN1062I would like to go back now please.

We stayed in one of the southern most cities, Akrotiri, which is the historical part of the island. It was quiet and scenic as our room overlooked the caldera, with Nea Kameni (the volano island) right in the middle.

This is what breakfast was like each day.

DSCN0832I miss breakfast in Greece.

We rented ATV’s a couple times and cruised all around the island, checking out the northern most city Oia (pronounced Eeh-ah), relaxed in Perissa on the Perevolos black sand beaches, and headed down to the southern tip where we watched the sunset from the rocks around the lighthouse.

DCIM100GOPROOia

DCIM100GOPROPerissa

DSCN1140Lighthouse

Our next stop was Athens. We left the beaches and wineries of Santorini for the Capital city. We got lost – in a good way – on the streets of the Plaka. We buzzed about Adrianou Street and ventured out to dine in street cafes where we listened to local musicians and stared up at the Acropolis.

On one of the hottest mornings of our trip, we trekked to the Acropolis. And it was totally worth the heat.

DSCN1188Behind us is the Parthenon – the Temple of Athena, Goddess of War and Wisdom, and whom Athens is named for. The temple was completed in 438 BC.

DSCN1193Just one view of the city of Athens. The population is estimated to be 10, 767, 827 people!

We visited the National Archeological Museum, the largest in the country. My favorite room showed the items and murals found in ancient Thira (Santorini) in the ruins of Akrotiri – an ancient trade port that was covered for centuries by volcanic ash and uncovered in the 1800’s. We walked the ruins in Akrotiri, and had to wait till we got to Athens to see the murals that were recovered there.

DSCN1289

Famous Mural – The Boxing Boys

Did you all read Deanne’s guest post about the Greek Changing of the Guard? We did see the Evzones.

DSCN1316

We had a date night at one of the most famous outdoor theaters, Cine Thissio, which was built in 1935.

DSCN1219

And of course, the FOOD was amazing!!!

DSCN0831DSCN0852DSCN0925DSCN1007DCIM100GOPRO

DSCN1303DSCN1365

The Hiccups:

1.)  Shockingly, I’m sure to you all, we only got kind of lost one and a half times. The first was after our ship docked in Piraeus and we had to find the metro to connect to Athens and check into our hotel. This was all after 9 o’clock at night, so it was dark out and there weren’t any signs for the metro that we could see.

We basically got there by meandering the city and following some other tourists for a bit, all while dragging our luggage along. We were hot, sweaty messes when we finally checked into our hotel. Oh…and I had what I thought was motion sickness, but ended up being vertigo, so I threw up a bunch that night!

2.) Yes, I got vertigo – actually still have vertigo – and that made touring Athens interesting. We had to take several breaks throughout the day for me to sit and cool down and start believing the walls and pavement were not in fact coming after me. For the record, vertigo sucks.

3.)  The second time we got lost was our first full day in Athens. We had a map of the city, which was in English, but once you venture away from the main streets of the Plaka, most street signs are only in Greek, so the map didn’t help a ton. And it was also 99,000 degrees Celsius. Yes, Celsius!

We were literally wandering inside the very mouth of Hades!

4.) And this one is minor, truly. But, I did get me some sun poisoning in Santorini. As any good ginger knows, being in too much sun will cause one to self combust, and sauntering all over that beautiful island caused my arms to break out in some form of minor hive-age.

I paid a visit to a pharmacy in Fira where a very kind Greek woman helped me purchase what I hope was Grecian benadryl and anti-itch cream. The “Greek-adryl” box was entirely in Greek and her only counsel on the drug was to take it for 5-6 days. I didn’t know the dosage or whether the stuff was non-drowsy or what, so I resigned to only taking it at bedtime, wherein I seemed to conclude that it was in fact the drowsy version. It worked wonders on our final flight home in which Joe tells me there was some serious turbulence and a lightening storm that I completely missed. :D

The anti-itch cream made me laugh as it was in Greek and Grenglish? My favorite part of the tube is where it read that the cream helps with “the itch of elderly people” followed directly by “contact with jellyfish.” It was most comforting to know that if I came in contact with either an old person or a jellyfish, I was covered itch-wise.

That’s our story! All in all, a very happy honeymoon!
As they say in Greece, “Cheers” or “Yah-mas!”

DSCN0873DSCN1041Ready to do a helmet wearing PSA if asked!

DSCN1067Yah-mas!

Beware Of Open Bars Near Your Open Bar

By Misty’s Laws

*****

Since Jess is about to embark on a journey of love and foreverness that many before her, including me, have taken (and somehow survived), I thought this might be a good time share my own wedding story, which might serve as a cautionary tale for her upcoming nuptials.

I was married on a rainy day in October, almost 12 years ago.  Leading up to that wedding, I was what could best be described as a dragon breathing, hair-trigger, insane beast . . . better known as a Bridezilla.  It happens to all of us.  I’m sure not Jess, of course, but pretty much everyone else.  I never thought in my life that I would be someone who stressed over details such as table
settings and flower arrangements, but there I was.

But a really strange and wonderful thing happened the day of the wedding.  I woke up and I had the weirdest feeling . . . complete and utter calm.  Today was the day and it was all over.  The planning, the stress, the details… everything was finished.  All that was left was to get married.  It was incredible.

Although I seemed very calm and happy, the people around me were wary of my new state of being.  They had experienced the monster I had become and were skeptical of my newfound peacefulness.  Hence, when we arrived at the hair salon and I realized that we had left my headpiece back at the hotel and asked my dad to run back to fetch it, they expected some type of rant or fuming state because of this mishap, and I watched as my bridesmaids and mom exchanged wary glances.  But
instead, I serenely sat and drank my mimosa, and patiently waited for it to arrive.

And despite the clouds and drizzle outside, I felt fine and knew it would be a beautiful day.  Some people say that rain on your wedding day is good luck, and I was convinced at that time of the truth of
this statement.

rain-on-wedding-day

When we returned to the hotel room to get dressed and ready for the wedding, there were a million people in the hotel room and I was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic.  It was the closest I got that
day to becoming annoyed.  But, instead of yelling and throwing a childish fit, I just took a breath and focused on getting into my dress.

Once everyone was ready to go, and the photographer had snapped a few “getting ready” shots, we went downstairs to catch the limo to the chapel . . . but it wasn’t there.  It was running late.  My maid of honor had the company on the phone and was very firmly explaining that this was unacceptable and that we couldn’t be late, but I just spent the time getting some more beautiful shots taken in front of the hotel.  I was still happy and calm.

The limo arrived soon after and we were off to the wedding.  By the time we arrived, the sky had cleared up and it was a beautiful day with a gorgeous blue sky above us.  The wedding itself went  smoothly, but I later found out that as we were doing a final prep before I walked down the aisle, somehow we got lipstick on the wrap I was wearing around my shoulders.  My bridesmaids wisely did not inform me of this, and instead just reconfigured the wrap to cover it up.  They told me later and I found it pretty funny.

The reception was wonderful . . . mostly.  However, all those little details that I had stressed over and meticulously planned?  I didn’t care at all.  People were eating, drinking, dancing, and having a great time.  And so was I.  Every once in a while, somebody would walk over and place a drink in my and my husband’s hands, but because we were always meeting and greeting with people, and then later dancing, we would usually set them down somewhere and forget about them, until someone brought us another.  This is to say that we weren’t drinking very much . . . at first.

Here is where we face our greatest problem of the day, and where I finally lose that zen-like calm.  It started the moment when my husband’s best buddies from high school realized that there was an
actual bar in the lobby of the hotel, directly outside our reception hall.  And when they decided to forego the open bar we had paid for for our wedding guests, and instead decided that they would go across the lobby and buy shots.  Mainly . . . mind-erasers.  These shots were then fed to my new husband, who drank them out of a sense of fun and responsibility, not because he’s a huge drinker.  A few of those bad boys, and it was all over.  Luckily, this was at the tail end of the night, but our last dance was not pretty, let me tell you.  I was holding him up as we clumsily swayed on the dance floor.

minderaserdrink1

Once the festivities were over, and we went to the front desk to get the keys to our honeymoon suite,  the night desk clerk was clueless as to what we were talking about.  In attempting to explain to him that we were the couple who just had the 4 hour reception in the room directly beside his desk, and that there should be a room waiting for us (supposedly filled with flowers, champagne and strawberries, per our prior request), he just looked at us blankly.  This was about the time when my extremely inebriated husband decided that he had had enough of this guy, and wanted to fight him.  So, we then had to hold him back and firmly place him on a couch across the lobby to chill out.  By the
time they found us a room (not the honeymoon suite, just a room), we were too tired to care.  One of us was about to pass out, as well, so you can imagine how exciting my wedding night was!

So, that is the story of my magical wedding day.  Mostly serene, until the very final moments.  To avoid this, I would suggest not having your wedding where there is a real live bar close enough for shot
purchases.  Either that, or put something in your wedding vows for Joe to recite, wherein he promises not to get wasted on your wedding night!  Mazel Tov and good luck!

MistyMisty is a lawyer by day, ninja by night.  At least one of those things are true.  Recently, she discovered that she is growing a baby ninja, and can’t wait until the baby starts training . . . inside her belly.  Misty sometimes finds the time to write about various inane subjects at her blog:  Misty’s Laws.

Are You Manly Enough to Wear Pom-Poms on Your Shoes?

By Deanne M. Schultz, @DMSwriter

*****

Now that Jess is gone for a couple weeks, it’s a good time to talk about pom-poms. Specifically the kind worn on the ends of shoes. If your grandma knitted her own slippers, she may have stuck pom-poms on the toes just for a sassy affectation, happy about the way they bobbled around as she did her housework.

For those of you who don’t know, Joe and Jess are on their honeymoon in Greece, and if they hit the right part of Athens, they’ll see men wearing pom-poms on their shoes. These guys goose-step around, too, which only adds to their allure. Thankfully there’s no ouzo involved.

When we were in Athens a few years ago, we spotted these guys at Syntagma Square. Our tour guide told us that they were Evzones, members of an elite force that guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And man, were they serious about their duty. They marched back and forth with such ramrod precision that I felt slouchy and undignified in their presence. When they met at the top of the stairs and executed an abrupt turn and marched down, a lady in our group grabbed her camera and started snapping away.

Greece 1Woe be unto her, because the Evzones kept goose-stepping rigidly forward, plowing right past Camera Lady, who almost bit the dust in her zeal to get a good shot. I imagined her, limp and bloodied on the sidewalk, a fuzzy pom-pom sticking out of her nose.

Really, what was the deal with those things? They seemed frivolous and unnecessary, almost humorous when compared with the semi-automatics the Evzones carried. Now those babies I took seriously. They elevated the goose-stepping to a don’t-mess-with-me meanness that made me gulp.

And when I found out that the Evzones’ shoes weigh seven pounds and have nails under their soles?

Boy, Camera Lady was just lucky to be alive, is what I thought.

Our tour guide told us that in the 1800s, when the Evzones prepared for combat, they would hide knives under the pom-poms. If they were captured in battle – fwip! – out came the knife, ready for action.

Greece 2Cool, I thought, mentally elevating the status of the lowly pom-pom to Fuzzy Defender of the Faith. Someone else in our group, a Mr. Historical Know-It-All, challenged our tour guide, saying he heard the pom-poms were used to keep water from leaking in the seams of the shoes. Sorry, buddy, I thought. Water leaking in?? What a yawner. Knives were much more interesting, and gave the soldiers a sinister presence. Water leaking in made them sound like practical gardeners.

So, Jess and Joe, if you’re reading this, head on over to Syntagma Square and check out the Evzones. Hoist an ouzo in their honor, and if you’re secure in your manhood, stick some pom-poms on your shoes when you get home.

Just don’t goose-step around the front yard.

*****

Deanne SchultzDeanne M. Schultz is currently working on The Green Hornet Suit and Other Musings, a book that takes a wry look at life as she sees it. Her hope is that her writing inspires and helps others, moving them to connect with those around them. She blogs at dmswriter – witty weekly writing to inform and entertain.

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