Monday, August 12, 2013

Year Two

As of today, Mr. Snow Cone and I have been married for two years.  Like all things in life, our wedding day seems like both 20 minutes and 20 years ago.  More of my friends are getting engaged and preparing for their own weddings, and I look on them with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, there's a nostalgic envy, knowing they have that wonderful day to look forward to, when all of their loved ones are in one room for one very special reason.

On the other hand, there's an impatient restlessness, eagerly awaiting them to join the married folks club and see what all the fuss is about.

The wedding is a heckuva good time, but anyone can have a good time whenever fancy clothes and an open bar are involved, right?  The real people you want by your side are those who can make even the most mundane, every day moments transform into something that produces belly-aching laughs and goofy grins.

After giving it some thought, that's what I would say was my number one take-away from year two of our marriage.  Most any moment can be fun or stressful.  It's up to you and your partner to determine which reaction rises to the top.  I'm guilty of letting stress stand in the way at times, but the good news is I have a person by my side who is a kid at heart and isn't afraid to make you one, too.  I can't even imagine the number of Pittsburgh citizens who have gawked at us busting a move in the middle of a grocery store aisle.  He's the only dance partner I'll ever want, even when we're the only ones who can hear the music.

Thanks for two.  I'll take a couple dozen more, please.

All wedding photos by Christina Garber

If you're interested in seeing what the Snow Cones have been up to since tying the knot, check out my blog, The Strawberry Blonde Life!  Some highlights from our second year of marriage include:


and we met Martin Sheen! (which you may remember, if you're a long-time WeddingBee reader with a wicked good memory, is a huuuuuuge deal to us because we're die-hard fans of The West Wing and even entered our reception to its theme music [which we got to tell him OMG]):

Follow along while we continue to figure out this whole adulthood extravaganza!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Year One

Exactly 366 days ago (remember, 2012 was a leap year!), I put on a gorgeous white dress,

 took my dad's arm and walked down the aisle,

to exchange vows

and commit myself to my most favorite person on the planet.

I've occasionally heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest, and prior to being married, I always poo-pooed that idea. Turns out, I was a little premature in my assessment.  Obviously I've only been married for one year so I can't weigh in on whether year one is any easier or harder than year five or year fifty-five, but I can definitely say that year one wasn't without its challenges.  I dated Mr. Snow Cone for just shy of nine years before exchanging vows and rings, so I was quite confident that I knew every nook and cranny of his existence.  And I still do feel that way today.

However, I'd say the biggest lesson from year one was that I didn't really know myself.  Specifically, I had never taken the time to recognize how my personality would both mesh and conflict with another's on an every-day, every-minute basis.  You see, Mr. Snow Cone and I had never lived together before getting married, and as a result, we had our fair share of "You're kidding me, right?" moments.  I'd be fibbing if I said every moment of the past year was newlywed bliss.  Heck, I'd probably be fibbing if I said every moment of the past year was newlywed civility or tolerance!

To me, though, the important thing is this -- 366 days in, and I can now, more clearly than ever, understand what our relationship needs in order to work and why it works.  We're far from perfect, but that's OK.  Even though our marriage may have its flaws, those truly pale in comparison to the strengths and supports that are fundamental to its success.  He brings out the best parts of me, plain and simple.  I can only hope I do the same to him.

Here's to many more years of laughter! (And don't forget that you can find out what the Snow Cones are up to at my new blog, The Strawberry Blonde Life!)

All photos courtesy of Christina Garber

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Lifetime of Tomorrows

Sadly, it's about that time.  I've said all I have to say about our engagement and wedding, and now it's time for me to retire this pretty little blog and, with it, this chapter of my life.

Just about two years ago, I moved to Pittsburgh with a shiny new ring on my hand, transitioning to a new city with a new support system.  It wasn't the hardest move ever, as I had Mr. Snow Cone by my side, but there was a definite vacancy in my life.  The vast majority of my social life consisted of hanging out with guys who, for the most part, wouldn't even know that there are different chair options for a reception, let alone that people go gaga for specific varieties.  I had all of my bridesmaids and my mom to go along the planning journey with me, but I always felt that I (rightfully so) cared more about the nitty-gritty details than they did.  I was trying to be sensitive and not eat up all of their time with the grand debate of ivory versus white, so I needed a space of my own to discuss these details with people who were engaged, interested, and understanding.  And that, my friends, was WeddingBee.

It's been such a special privilege to tell my story here, and I will forever be grateful for the support, camaraderie, feedback, and love that I've experienced.  Being engaged was already such a fun, exciting chapter of my life, and the opportunity to contribute to this site made it that much more memorable.  I'm so glad I took the time to transcribe this journey, from start to finish; I have no doubt that I will look back on these words with fondness in 5, 10, or 50 years.  I hope you've enjoyed this experience a mere morsel as much as I have.

I've truly loved being your Snow Cone.

 Photo courtesy of Mrs. Bunting!

As much as I've loved being engaged and newly married, I'm even more excited about what comes next - a lifetime of tomorrows with my amazing husband.  Feel free to check in on what we're up to at my new blog, The Strawberry Blonde Life.

 Photo courtesy of Christina Garber

Hugs and high fives,
Mrs. Snow Cone

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Bee's Life: Snow Cone!

WeddingBee, I just can't quit you.  So you get one more post before the dreaded farewell.

How I Found WeddingBee
About 48 hours after I got engaged, I got the planning bug and started to Google color schemes.  I think my search for some peacock inspiration landed me on the WeddingBee boards.  I was shocked that a resource existed in which people could upload their own photos as ways of sparking inspiration for others.  All of my knowledge of the online world prior to this point was limited to "Real Weddings" on other sites which normally come with no budget information but you have no doubt that they're, well, lavish.  Not exactly helpful.  I loved the accessibility of this new little treasure trove of ideas.

A few days later, I stumbled across the blog portion of the site.  I think I was looking for Pennsylvania weddings, and Mrs. Octopus had been introduced mere days before I got engaged.  It was clearly meant to be.  That serendipity didn't help me to make heads or tails of this site, though.  As far as I could tell, a bunch of anonymous people were creating fake identities to exist in this online world, and why anyone would want to be known as Mrs. Insert-Inanimate-Object-Here was beyond me.  I decided it was a little too "out there" for me and kindly bid it adieu.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I was honestly just curious to figure out the whole schtick behind this site with Cheeseburgers and Octopi and Penguins.  If I happened to pick up some wedding inspiration along the way, so be it.  Once I figured out the whole blog element of the site, I was totally hooked. 

My Application Story
Shortly after I fell in love with the site, I decided that I would apply to be a blogger, even though I hadn't ever blogged, with the exception a semester abroad.  Before I could begin my wedding blog, though, I got cold feet.  What if I started it and never saw it through?  I considered this to be a very real possibility, given that I had school, work, and wedding planning eating up most of my time.  I decided to table the whole blog idea before it even got off the ground.

As I neared the eight-month mark, though, I started to feel the itch.  I desperately wanted to blog for WeddingBee, and if that meant I had to work on my time management, so be it.  I realized I had never identified a specific goal and not thrown myself head-first into trying to make it happen, so why should this be any different?  After confirming that I didn't need to be marrying in a major metropolitan area, I took the plunge and started my blog.

I plodded along happily, walking through the story of us and our wedding planning to date.  On December 13, I sent in my application and then waited.  I was both wildly confident and horrifically wary about my chances of being selected.  I even kept a chart of the brunch generation icons, putting red x's over the selected one so I could have a head start in choosing my hypothetical future moniker.  Well, the weeks came and passed.  I read between nonexistent lines, thinking that a dry spell with no response maybe meant I was an automatic no.  Or I was a maybe.  Or I was a yes but they needed to space out introductions.  I drove myself insane and then, finally, the day came.  The day I realized I'd passed the five-week mark and needed to check back in.  Sure enough, my application had gotten lost in the shuffle and would be immediately evaluated.  A few days later, I woke up to a rejection email and actually felt great about it.

Sure, it stung at first, but I was driving myself bonkers with the incessant email checking and stressing.  I decided to put my head down and keep blogging.  After about a month of new posts and a mild refinement of my writing voice, I reapplied.  And, finally, the day I'd been waiting for arrived.  The day I realized that I had, once again, passed the five-week mark.  So, I emailed Pengy, and a few days later, I found out I was in!  I still remember all the details of that day and how nervous I was as I crafted my intro post at 5 in the morning because I was too jazzed to sleep.

 something like that

Being a Blogger Bee
At the risk of sounding dramatic, being a blogger bee is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time (minus that whole marrying my soulmate thing).  It's provided me with such an outlet in every sense of the word.  Few things are as gratifying as laboring over a detail or an event and receiving positive feedback from people who may not know you, but still support you.  Still to this day, a full year after I joined the site as a blogger, I get all warm and fuzzy reading through the comments on any of my posts.  And, still to this day, it occasionally surprises me to remember that just as I sapped inspiration from bees past, some readers may like an idea that I used!  While I may not blog with the site in mind (see below), that hasn't prevented me from putting down deep, happy roots in this wonderful online world.

Tips for Aspiring Bees!
When I applied (and re-applied), I voraciously read these "Bee's Life" posts and was always kind of put off with the abstract advice.  While they were undoubtedly accurate, I still needed real, hard suggestions to put into motion, people! So, in the hopes of helping some neurotic little ladies like myself, here are some "real" tips that helped me in my applying.
  • Have one of your nearest and dearest friends who knows you really well but isn't afraid to give you honest feedback read your posts.  Ask her (or him!) if she can hear your voice telling her this story.  I struggled with my writing style in the beginning, and bounced posts off one of my best friends.  I felt so validated when she finally assessed that my writing actually sounded like me!
  • Write for you.  It's really easy to get caught up in the mindset that there's a formula for preparing a WeddingBee-worthy application blog, like you need x posts about your proposal, y posts about picking a florist, and z posts about font selections.  In reality, that's more than likely going to set you up for some stiff, clunky writing.  Instead, recognize that you are already a reader of WeddingBee.  What is it that you want to read about?  And, along those same lines, write about what's important to you.  In 10 years, the only person who is likely to flip through these posts is going to be you.  Create a version of this special chapter in your life that will still resonate for yourself.  Sure, there are readers who could also be taking a look at your posts, but it will ring truer if you do it for you.
  • Tell a story.  Instead of rattling off a list of what you need to accomplish this month, delve into a few specific details of one specific task.  Tell the readers (and yourself) why you were stressing over picking your invitation design, or why you've always been so confident about your wedding band selection.  Think of it this way - what's more interesting, when a friend tells you what she bought at the grocery store, or when a friend tells you about that crazy guy she saw smelling all the melons in the produce aisle?
  • Along those same lines, try to find a hook within your story.  Lots and lots of people buy wedding dresses.  What detail about your experience with your dress hunt is most interesting or surprising?  What detail are you going to tell your kids about when they ask you about how you decided that dress was the one?
  • Don't worry about your wedding not being _____ enough.  When I was waiting to hear back on my first application, I fell into a nasty mindset in which I convinced myself that a rejection would mean my wedding needed improvement, rather than my blogging.  This could not be further from the truth.  The only "improvement" I can think of that an applicant wedding may need is purely nailing down specifics.  It's a lot easier to tell interesting stories about places you've visited, rather than places you've considered traveling to, you know?  But, back to my original point.  Everyone's weddings will have repeated aspects and individual details.  What's important is that you embrace the path your wedding is taking and tell us about it.  Simple as that.
Sorry for going on and on; I can be pretty easily excitable and run on at the mouth keyboard.