Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wedding Wednesday: Letting Go Of My Childhood Make Believe Wedding

Like any little girl, I played wedding a billion times.
As I got older I drunkenly told at least 30 different women "I love you, one day you'll be my bridesmaid!" and pictured the EXACT big white dress I would wear to marry my tall dark and handsome faceless man.
But a funny thing happened when Kris and I started dating and I realized he was IT: All the things I had always thought I would want (dress, venues, music, flowers) got SUPER fuzzy (even though he is tall, dark and handsome).
The wedding that I wanted became this thing of the past as it was replaced with the life we were building together.
OKAY: that sounds SUPER cheesy I know, but now I find myself engaged (finally, like FINALLY!) and I am totally clueless about those BIG details that came so easily when I was younger.
So here's what I have decided about that: I'm good with it.
I am completely fine with letting go of the wedding I wanted as a girl, to plan the wedding that we want as adults... knowing full well I'll probably still plan about 90% of it, but dammit Kris want's orange so I'm making it one of our colours (even though I wouldn't have picked it). And while we both wanted a more traditional ceremony, we've talked over the benefits of a first look, and I think we might do it!
The truth of the matter is this: I really don't care what kind of flowers I get, I'm sure they'll be pretty. I'm not too concerned about crafting the most beautiful place cards that ever graced a table, and I'll survive if I'm not getting married in a barn at sunset (which would be super bad for Kris' asthma).
I was also 100% clueless about my dress. CLUELESS. I had no idea what I wanted so my mom and I went so I could try on EVERYTHING (turns out, I am NOT a ballgown or princess kind of girl).
As for my bridesmaids? I decided that 30 was probably too many, but I've picked 6 wonderful women who have been with me for over a decade (or two) of bad boyfriends, playing hooky from school, good news, terrible news, vacation fun, theater performances, rock star karaoke moments, tears, laughter and just growing up.
At least 4 of them got the drunk bridesmaid speech, and most of the other women will be there celebrating with me on the day.
So it's already not the wedding I had always dreamed of, and the jury is still out on whether it will be better (since I probably can't have an elephant petting zoo...) but I'm still so so so excited to be planning it, to have it, and (surprisingly) to put it behind me so we can just make this thing official already!
On the planning note...
We're signing away a large chunk of change this week to finalize our venue selection and date! Wedding planning is going to be more and more of a fixture in my life so expect regular Wedding Wednesday updates!
Some of them might just be me asking why I ever thought this would be fun...

Married? What were the things that surprised you about what you did on the day vs. what you dreamed up when you were younger?
Unmarried/planning? Do you have any vague notions of what you might want or are you clueless? I'm so curious!
xxox, Laura

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Dry January - A Recap of my Month Without Alcohol

Well, the end of the month is finally here!
I have a little under 48 hours until I am allowed to indulge in a cocktail (or six), and I have to say I'm pretty excited.
This month, I challenged myself to not drink alcohol (with the exception of my Brother's wedding) to give my body a break after the holiday season, recharge for the new year, stay focused, and manage my health a bit.
So how did I do?
All in all, I would give this monthly challenge a rate of 75% Success, 25% Mess.
There were a few slip ups. I did really well up until the wedding, but as soon as I allowed myself that pass, it was so easy to say "just a small white wine spritzer" when I was having dinner with a friend, or after wedding dress shopping with my mom.
The truth is, my life is full of celebrating these days, and celebrating often means alcohol. 
Though, for all that I didn't slip that much. There were nights out with friends where I stuck to soda water, absolutely no drinking at home, and even Kris cut back in solidarity for most of the month.
Would I do it again?
Scaling back entirely is a wonderful thing if you can do it, but it's not for me. 
My first few weeks of no drinking were AMAZING. My skin was glowing, I lost weight, I was sleeping better and felt better... but after the first 10 - 14 days, the benefits kind of plateaued. I cleansed again after the wedding (I don't even want to know how much champagne I drank) but I bounced back fairly quickly and then... nothing.
If you caught my post from the weekend you may remember that I've been really stressed. I've been going back and forth on whether not drinking during this time has been a good thing or a bad thing. A relaxer was very much needed, but staying focused when I'm that busy was SO important that I think alcohol would have hindered more than helped.
I'm also wondering if the stress is impacting my health so that I am not noticing the effects of not drinking.
So what are my next steps?
I'm going to keep up my existing "No Drinking on School Nights" rule; it serves me well and keeps me productive at work (and calories out)
I'm also going to take more steps to drinking LESS when out with friends. It's such a habit to be holding a drink and sipping along during a party or when out at a bar... but if you switch to water you don't feel awkward or out of place... just less drunk, and more in control.
Finally: if I'm just hanging out at home, no drinking. Unless Kris and I are having a date night and feel like having some wine or beer together, I don't think either of us really need it. 

As for alleviating stress? I think it's time to explore new methods that aren't substance related for that... but more on that on February first for my next monthly challenge!
If you're considering a month off drinking, I encourage you to give it a try, even if only for a few weeks. 
It's a tough change at first but you really will feel a lot better at first. It can also help you overcome some social anxieties about NOT drinking around friends so you can reevaluate your habits. Even if you decide like me not to make it a regular thing, it can be good to get back in touch with yourself and reestablish a baseline.
You might find that you're just as charming and wonderful without the booze as you are with it!
Have you ever taken a month off drinking? How did you find it? Do you have any tricks for not drinking overly much when  you go out? Share them in the comments!
xxox, Laura

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Life Around Here Lately

Hey Reader! Hi! It's been so quiet around here lately... I'm sorry about that.... I promise that I haven't gone and done anything crazy like fallen down a well, or quit blogging forever.
The truth is, life got INSANELY busy. I mean, just totally and completely mental... Here's a rundown:
  1. I got engaged just before the Holidays... and therefore am now wedding planning
  2. Christmas (need I say more?)
  3. Took a trip between Christmas and New Years to escape the Canadian Cold
  4. I came back and less than 2 weeks later my brother got married
  5. Did I mention the wedding planning?
  6. I got given a bunch more responsibility at work (while also taking care of my old responsibilities)
If you saw my Instagram stories this weekend, you may have clued in that I'm a little stressed.
I'm working very long days, nights, early mornings and also weekends, and trying to fit in wedding planning in between. Roll in my other responsibilities, trying (trying) to keep my house clean, and just generally keeping myself fed and I am completely tapped out. 
On top of that, early January is a very busy time of year for Kris work wise, so it's hard for him to pick up my slack.
I've had one of those months where I feel like I'm always scrambling towards the next thing. I notice it most when I'm talking to other people and I'm not focused, loud, and kind of aggressive.
But the name of the blog is Successes AND Messes... not "Look how successful everything is in my life" (that would be boring). So I am here to tell you that right now my life is MESSY, and I'm forging my way through it as best as I can.
Unfortunately, in the midst of all of this chaos the blog took a hit. I wasn't able to keep up with a good posting schedule or really spend much time on it at all. 
The good news? I have some changes coming up professionally that should help, and on top of that we've selected our venue and date (a BIG load off my mind) so wedding planning is less of an urgent issue now. 
Hopefully this means getting back into more regular blogging, getting to the gym, and eating less pizza. Oh and sleep.
So this sorta-but-not-really post is just to let you know that I'm not in a coma, I'm just WAY too overly programmed. On the bright side this means a new challenge on finding an outlet for letting out stress, calming my mind and re energizing. 
I smell a potential blog post series!
Misery loves company so tell me stories of busy lives, and ways to get through the insanity! The funnier the better (because after all, laughter is the best medicine)
xxox, Laura

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Why I'm Taking A Month Off Drinking

It’s a new year full of new possibilities and dreams. There are resolutions to be made (and broken), goals to accomplish, and an overwhelming sense of “I need to get back in shape”.
Which is why when I woke up on January 1 this year, I decided to have a no-drink January. 
Well... ALMOST. My brother is getting married this month and I certainly plan on enjoying a drink or two in celebration.
Taking a Month off Drinking.png
But otherwise, the goal of the month is to avoid liquor in all its forms, get back to normal after the holidays.
I’ve done a no-drink month before a few years ago (but I picked February because it’s the shortest!) and like the previous round of teetotaling, the effects of not drinking have been too obvious to ignore after only the first two weeks.
Hair fuller, face and body more slim and toned, better sleep, more energy... from that description you’d think I drink a LOT, but the truth is I tend to only drink on Fridays and Saturdays. It might be too much on those days, but drinking is certainly not a daily occurrence for me. 
So WHY am I doing this for a whole month (aside from the above)?
If I don’t drink much anyway, other than my admittedly booze heavy Christmas vacation to the beach, then why keep it up for more than a week if I’m already looking and feeling better post holidays?
Well I'll tell you why!
1) I’m getting older, and am increasingly concerned with my physique and health. It's unbelievable in the last few years how much I have noticed the impact of what I feed my body and my overall health. I'm only 29! 
2) I’m wedding planning, call me vain but I want to look my best. I'm also IN two weddings in the next 5 weeks so I'd like to look good for those too.
3) Booze can be a BIG distraction in my life. In preparation, in the moment, and the next day when you’re I'm in recovery. It stops me from exercising, blogging, getting work done on the weekend, and if I break my "no drinking on work nights" rule, it impacts my 9-5 in noticeable ways. That's a lot of negative outcome for a few hours of fun!
4) It encourages bad habits! The junk food I consume when I’m drinking is ASTONISHING! Plus I tend to ramble when I’ve had too much to drink (unattractive... just... I am so sorry to anyone who needs to deal with me when I get this way)
5) I like a challenge! I'm trying to do a challenge a month this year, rather than a year-long new years resolution. This seemed like the ideal place to start.

I love a glass of red wine with my best friend. Sharing a cold beer with my family at the cottage is like a living dream, and since this is the year we say “I Do!” Kris and I are planning on enjoying a few bottles of bubbly together
But it’s time for me to learn to have fun and be social without the booze, it’s not a crutch I need, but it’s one I find myself using (and that's kinda scary!). 
So, will I give up booze forever? Absolutely not.
Am I going to get through (almost but that one day) the whole month without drinking? That’s the plan!
Will it continue past that? In an even more muted capacity than I’ve been employing so far (no drinking on school nights)? We’ll see!  I'd like to think that I'm motivated by my 5 reasons to put the bottle down a little more often this year than last.
Have you ever taken a month off drinking before? What was the result!? Or are you not a big drinker to begin with? I'd love to know so hit me up in the comments
xxox, Laura
Why I'm taking a month off drinking