Bariatric Surgery

I’ve officially decided to do the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, with a timeframe of likely having surgery in early-mid July. I’m still a little hesitant on it, but only because it’s such a big decision. I hate having to tell people and explain it, though. I feel like a lot of people don’t know what the surgery is or assume it’s a cosmetic surgery, and I feel like folks will think I’m taking the easy way out or that I’m a failure for being unable to lose and maintain weight loss without surgery. I know that’s not true, logically, but there’s some shame associated with it that I need to get through.

When you are obese, your body strives hard to maintain that weight. There are multitudes of studies that show metabolism is forever impacted, and that all but around 5% of folks who lose weight end up regaining it. With weight loss surgery (WLS), the number of folks that maintain goes from 5% to well above 75%. I want to be in that 75% percent. I’ve been able to lose (and have regained) the same 65 lbs again and again over the last 10 years. I’ve only been under 200 lbs once that I can remember since elementary school, and that was when I ended up going to the hospital for passing out from not eating enough.

Weight has always been a shameful thing to discuss for me. My mother and sister wouldn’t stop talking about it. My mom’s self hatred because of her extreme obesity shaped my self-esteem and my life as much as it shaped her own. Her heart disease (and mental illness) and eventual death shaped me even more. My sister’s weight and the bullying and esteem issues that went with it didn’t help. In my family, I was the “tiny” one, but I myself was always medically obese too. I’ve been told I carry it well, and that I don’t look obese, but being honest, I am. I always have been. Despite that “tiny” label, I was only ever called pretty in my family with a caveat of “you look so good, keep up the diet” type of language. It fucks with you.

I’ve gone through cycles of weight loss and gain. I worked my ass off and got borderline anorexic in high school, only to hit a lot of 195lbs my junior year. Then I got a part-time job and quit dance, and then I went to college, and by the time I graduated college I was 260lbs. My first year of grad school I lost 20lbs, and then my second year when I moved to DC I lost another 20lbs when I had a cholesterol scare and needed a medical clearance for a job (weight watchers helped me out this time). My blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. have always been good, thankfully. I was in the clear. Then I graduated and had time again to have a social life, and over the next two years I gained back that 40lbs plus 5. Then my mom died, and I shoved all that into a personal trainer and calorie counting and working out again. I lost 30lbs, then the holidays hit and my grief won. I also started my happy new relationship. Over the next 2ish years, I gained that 30lbs back, plus 3olbs. I hit an all time high. I was miserable by it, so I did Whole30, lost 20lbs, and started working out. Then I tore my ACL and both meniscus in my left knee, and gained another 10lbs back. And that’s where I’ve been for about 8 months.

I’m not unhappy, and I’m not at death’s door. I can live my life. I also have faith I could lose some weight on my own. I don’t have faith that I can lose as much weight as I could with WLS, and I don’t have faith that I could keep it off. I have success in losing when I eat 1200 calories and work out literally every day, but that’s so impossible to maintain long-term without additional tools. My cholesterol has been testing high over the last 6 months, and that’s not a good sign. I have every weight-related illness possible in my family history (sister and dad with diabetes, dad/sister/mom with blood pressure and cholesterol issues, mom with heart disease…).  I don’t want to go down that road.

WLS isn’t dangerous anymore. 20 years ago, maybe it was, but there’s very minimal risk nowadays. The risk of the surgery itself is less than 2%, and the most common complications are heartburn or acid reflux afterwards. The benefits are extreme – most people lose over 50% of excess weight within 12-18months and keep it off, and all weight-related health issues go away. People are happier and have more active lives. My sister had WLS last summer, and she’s lost 200lbs. She started out much heavier than me (she’s only now at my weight), and it was definitely a life/death thing for her, but her success motivated me. It also taught me about WLS and how much safer it is now, and how much more likely it is for insurance to cover it. I never thought it was an option for me, but I learned it was.

There are multiple types of WLS. There’s gastric bypass, where they remove a large portion of the stomach and reroute part of the intestines. There’s the duodenal switch, where they remove a large part of the stomach and reroute all of the intestines. There’s the lap band, where they put a silicone band around the stomach, but there are lots of complications and most surgeons don’t do that procedure anymore. Then there’s the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), where they remove part of the stomach. The VSG has been done for decades as the first step in the duodenal switch procedure, and when doctors realized how effective it is on its own, people started getting the VSG alone about 5ish years ago. Now the VSG is one of the most popular procedures. I like it because it isn’t malabsorptive – they don’t touch your intestines. Bypass and the switch rely in part on reduced stomach size meaning reduced portion and less hunger hormone, but they also rely on food moving through the stomach and digestive process more quickly so that not all of it is absorbed, thus meaning less intake and more weight loss. That makes me nervous, and I don’t want to do that. The VSG is all about less food and less hunger hormone, and has none of the malabsorptive part.

For me, I want to lose weight and keep it off. I want kids, and I want to be able to get pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy, and be active with my children – being a lower weight helps with all of those things. I want to be healthy and not progress down the family history diseased path. I want my knee to have less weight on it so I can reduce arthritis risk.

Yes, appearance, more clothing options, etc. are nice side bonuses. I’ll be able to physically get in more sexual positions. More clothing stores will be available to me and those stores will cost less. I’ll never have to worry about fitting into chairs or seat belts or not being able to do something because of a weight requirement. As sociological studies show, I’ll be treated better by strangers and likely be respected more at work.

So this is my decision. It means post-op, I’ll be able to eat very little food at any given meal. I’ll have to focus on protein first to make sure I stay healthy. I won’t be able to eat much sugar without getting sick. I won’t be able to have carbonated drinks, alcohol will hit me super hard, and drinking and eating at the same time is very much not recommended. I’ll have to force myself to have a bunch of gross protein shakes and vitamins daily. But, I get all the aforementioned benefits, so totally worth it in my mind.

My pre-approval process is pretty straightforward. I’m lucky and I have good insurance. I have to see a dietician 3 times (1 for 1hr, 2 for 30min) and go to a nutrition pre-op 2 hour class. I have to do a 2hr psych consult. I have to have an endoscopy. I also have to get a letter from my primary physician, and see her and the surgeon in the weeks before surgery. Then I do a 14 day liquid diet leading up to the surgery itself, and ta-da. I’ll be in the hospital one night, then home. There’s a 4 week food phasing recovery plan – 2 weeks liquids, 2 weeks soft foods, then all foods are OK.

I haven’t figured out how much I’ll tell me office, but likely something along the lines of “stomach surgery” and not go into more detail than that. I have and still do feel that my weight and my health are my business. I will tell close friends and family because 1) it’s a surgery and that’s risky and 2) it will impact our interactions. I hate bringing it up though. I just feel like there’s so much judgement, and I’m probably or possibly projecting all that, but still. I hope people realize that it’s a big decision and not one I take lightly, and it isn’t a solve-all-your problems thing. I’ll still have to work out and eat right in order to make a long term difference. It’s a tool to help me find more success in the long run.

2016 in the Aggregate

There was bad – my massive knee injury, my husband’s back injury, a friend’s mom dying, my husband’s car kicking the bucket and my car troubles, celebrity deaths, family illnesses (within my family and friends’ families), election results…

However there was SO MUCH good. I got married and went on my honeymoon, had a slew of awesome activities leading up to the wedding, got promoted at work, bought a car with my husband, went to 3 family member weddings and was in one friend’s wedding. A friend (a couple I introduced!) of mine got engaged, one friend had a baby, another got pregnant, and my dad sold his house, bought an RV, set a retirement date, and got engaged.  My sister lost 175+lbs, learned to cook, and maintained a year having quit smoking cigarettes. I went to Puerto Rico, California, Arkansas, New York City a few times, Philly, South Carolina, New Jersey, Nebraska, and Indiana. I saw Aladdin on Broadway and several stand up comedy shows, and I had countless game nights with friends and went to a bunch of awesome restaurants.

Not too shabby, 2016. For all the shit people give you, you were kinda awesome.

2016 Resolution Update (Part 2)

In 2016, I wanted to focus on frugality, fitness, and friend (relationships). 

For frugality, I’d give myself a B-. I contributed to my joint savings with my now-husband as anticipated, and I contributed to my own savings too. We successfully completed a no-spend month in January. However, I definitely went WAY over budget from my beginning-of-year plan. A couple of things were outside my control – an injury with lots of medical expenses, and car issues galore – but some were just me spending money on shopping or eating out needlessly. We did, however, make hard choices about big money things. We paid off a large debt from the dude’s crapped out car, we bought a new car, and we bought a new mattress.

For fitness, I’d give myself a D+. I’m about the same weight I was at the beginning of the year, and I yo-yo’d a good 20 pounds in the middle (lost it doing Whole30 successfully, then gained it back). I was working out a bit for a while, but I hurt my knee in May, and that really just kicked things to the curb.

For friends/relationships, I’d give myself a A-. I definitely called people of my own initiative a lot more. I did better doing that with folks who live farther away, but it was an improvement. I tried texting folks more regularly too. I visited family who lives far away that I wanted to get closer to, and tried to foster that as well. I didn’t send surprise mail, but that’s OK. I still am not getting a ton of reciprocal actions from my people, but I’m hopeful that will change. My dude and I were great at date nights through the summer, then in the fall that sort of fell apart with all the wedding planning. We were both OK with that though :).

 

Goals: (strike through means I completed it)

  • Have an IRA opened by end of year
  • Contribute 5K to joint savings and accumulate $10K in personal savings (growth of ~$3500)
  • Invest in one stock (even if just one share)
  • Follow through with no-spend January… at least mostly (no spending on entertainment/eating out – necessary pharmacy/grocery/car expenses allowed, and preplanned trip to NYC allowed)
  • Join the gym at my office and do 10 minutes physical activity each day (starting 1/25)
  • Have a fabulous wedding/honeymoon🙂
  • Cooking Things: Make brioche, baguette, cheese (got a kit for this for xmas), macarons (w/birthday gift kit from last year). Grill ribs. Cook a recipe from each cookbook I own.
  • Create a pinterest board of tried and true recipes.
  • Travel to an international destination
  • Complete at least one thing from my bucket list  did archery

Things I’d like to continue from 2015:

  • Book Club(s) – kink-friendly ones
  • Game Nights  – had 33 game nights (which is, after counting, the exact number we had the year before too. weird)
  • RSS reader
  • Goodreads – read 52 books  – I read 74 books
  • Cooking at home/trying new recipes  – I made 63 new recipes

Things I like to get back in the habit of from prior years:

I didn’t do any of this…

  • MyFitnessPal – tracking calories and community of fitness-minded folks
  • Cardio & Strength training – with a trainer or on my own
  • 100 days of happiness on instagram
  • Gratitude practice of some sort – possibly something weekly that includes categorical buckets…
  • Journaling – both on here and in my physical 52 list book

Local things I’d like to prioritize:

I didn’t do any of these…

  • military band concert
  • hirschorn museum
  • udvall museum (the air and space museum out at dulles)
  • see something at strathmore
  • visit either Winterthur, Hillwood estate, or Dumbarton House Gardens.
  • shenandoah hiking
  • supreme court oral arguments

2016 Book Recap

This is just for personal record-keeping. These are the 74 books I read in 2016. Divided by category.

In 2016, I read 74 books: 9 nonfiction (6 memoir), 10 YA, 24 Misc. Fiction (12 romance), 11 erotica, 18 re-reads, and 2 books I didn’t finish.

In 2015, I read 71 books: 11 Nonfiction (5 memoir), 22 YA, 23 Misc. fiction books, 9 erotica, 2 re-reads, and 4 books I didn’t finish.

Nonfiction:

  1. Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon (biography)
  2. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola (memoir)
  3. The Real Thing: Lessons on Love…From a Wedding Reporter by Ellen McCarthy (memoir)
  4. I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert (memoir)
  5. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (memoir)
  6. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (memoir)
  7. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (memoir)
  8. Rising Strong by Brene Brown (psych)
  9. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (psych)

Young Adult:

  1. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
  2. Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella
  3. Upstaged by Patricia McCowan
  4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  5. The Crown (Selection #5) by Kiera Cass
  6. The Heir (Selection #4) by Kiera Cass
  7. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
  8. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  9. The Heiresses by Sara Shepard
  10. Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

Miscellaneous Fiction (includes chick lit/romance):

  1. The Whip by Karen Kondazian
  2. Longbourn by Jo Baker
  3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick
  5. Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
  6. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
  7. The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes
  8. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  9. Self Help by Lori Moore (essays)
  10. Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes (essays)
  11. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J.Ryan Stradal
  12. Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  13. Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (romance)
  14. Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton (romance)
  15. Nuts (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton (romance)
  16. Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet #4) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  17. Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet #3) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  18. Bed of Roses (Bride Quartet #2) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  19. Vision in White (Bride Quartet #1) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  20. Untamed by Diana Palmer (romance)
  21. Merciless by Diana Palmer (romance)
  22. Wyoming Strong by Diana Palmer (romance)
  23. Love, Come to Me by Lisa Kleypas (romance)
  24. Accidentally Yours by Susan Mallery (romance)

Erotica:

  1. Grey by E.L. James
  2. Michief and the Masters (Masters of Shadowlands #12)
  3. Protecting his Own (MoS #11) by Cherise Sinclair
  4. Perfectly Paired (Topped #3) by Lexi Blake
  5. Submission is not enough (Masters and Mercenaries #12) by Lexi Blake
  6. Dominance Never Dies (Masters and Mercenaries #11) by Lexi Blake
  7. From Sanctum with Love (Masters and Mercenaries #10) by Lexi Blake
  8. You Only Love Twice (Masters and Mercenaries #8) by Lexi Blake
  9. The Men with Golden Cuffs (Masters and Mercenaries #2) by Lexi Blake
  10. Ruthless (Lawless #1) by Lexi Blake
  11. Her Highland Master by Anya Summers

Didn’t Finish:

  1. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
  2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Rereads:

  1. Servicing the Target (Masters of Shadowlands #10)
  2. 1001 Dark Nights: Show Me, Baby (MoS #9) by Cherise Sinclair
  3. If Only (MoS #8) by Cherise Sinclair
  4. This is who I am (MoS #7) by Cherise Sinclair
  5. To Command and to Collar (MoS #6) by Cherise Sinclair
  6. Make me, Sir (MoS #5) by Cherise Sinclair
  7. Lean on Me (MoS #4) by Cherise Sinclair
  8. Breaking Free (MoS #3) by Cherise Sinclair
  9. Dark Citadel (MoS #2) by Cherise Sinclair
  10. Club Shadowlands (MoS #1) by Cherise Sinclair
  11. The Dom’s Dungeon by Cherise Sinclair
  12. Mr. Cavendish, I presume by Julia Quinn
  13. Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn
  14. A Night Like This by Julia Quinn
  15. Fat Cat by Robin Brande
  16. Amelia by Diana Palmer
  17. Heartbreaker by Diana Palmer
  18. Hurt Me So Good by Joely Sue Burkhart

2016 Resolution Update (Part 1)

The italicized answer was last year’s response.

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

2016: I got married, I drove the Pacific Coast Highway and visited Big Sur, Napa, Carmel by the Sea, and San Francisco, I had an MRI, I played some new board games (Smash Up, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Red Flags), I cooked a bunch of new recipes, I opened an American Express credit card, I got my first joint savings account, I bought a used car, and I went to Puerto Rico.

2015: I got engaged, I went to Animal Kingdom in Disney, I played a bunch of new board games and cooked a bunch of new recipes, I saw Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I saw the botanical conservatory, and I moved in with my boyfriend.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

2016: Like last year, I read more than my goal of books and I kept up game nights and my RSS feed, but I sucked at blogging. I didn’t meet my financial goals, in part due to overspending and in part due to unanticipated medical and car expenses (hurting my knee was a big financial whammy). Fitness was not a success on the whole, although I did successfully complete a Whole30 month. I also successfully did a month-long spending fast.

2015: As per usual, I kept some and not others. I read as many books as I wanted and kept up with game nights and my RSS feed, but I didn’t keep up with blogging or my gratitude journal. I met my financial goals, and I saved passwords electronically. I totally let my fitness slip. I’ll make more next year, though.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

2016: A different cousin gave birth to a baby in December, and one of my college roommate’s had a baby girl in November.

2015: My cousin gave birth to a baby girl in October.

Did anyone close to you die?

2016: Nope.

2015: Nope.

What was your favorite TV program?

2016: Suits, Game of Thrones, The Fosters, Life in Pieces, This is Us, Designated Survivor, Law and Order: SVU.

2015: Quantico, iZombie, Limitless, Shark Tank, The Fosters, Suits, Game of Thrones, Brooklyn Nine Nine.

What countries did you visit?

2016: Same as last year – stayed domestic.

2015: Just the good ole US of A.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

2016: Shopping.

2015: Eating out and eating poor food choices.

What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

2016: November 6th, the day I got married.

2015: November 7th, the day I got engaged.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

2016: Sadly, yes – I tore my ACL and lateral/medial meniscus’ in a trampoline incident. ACL reconstruction and meniscal repairs knee surgery scheduled for January 13th (Waited until after wedding/honeymoon/holidays).

2015: Nothing beyond the norm.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

2016: More self-discipline. I want to be able to tell myself (and others) no when I want something but know it isn’t a great choice (think eating out, expensive entertainment, staying awake too late, too much ice cream).

2015: Dedication to fitness, and proactive communication with friends/family.

What was the best thing you bought?

2016: A used red 2008 prius, a new duvet cover (that amazingly brightens our bedroom), travel experiences.

2015: All of the owl things…furniture for my place with my now fiance.

Where did most of your money go?

2016: Cars (issues with my car, husband’s car dying but needing to be paid off, buying a new-to-us car together), physical therapy and dr appointments for my knee injury, my wedding and honeymoon, being a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding (hair, travel, bachelorette party, etc.), eating out, bills, savings.

2015: Bills and travel.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

2016: Getting promoted, saving more money than I put away last year.

2015: Getting a perfect rating at my job another time, saving more than 5K.

What was your biggest failure?

2016: I didn’t do some things I wished I did – like get in better shape, for example – but I don’t know that I “failed” at anything in particular. I feel like this past year was full of learning and ups and downs, but nothing that was a black and white negative/failure. Guess I’m getting more #woo with my age.

2015: Gaining back all the weight I’d lost plus some.

What did you get really, really excited about?

2016: My husband (ee!) – our wedding and honeymoon, the wedding of a good friend, vacation weekends, reading good books, cooking, personal finance.

2015: My dude – our new place, our wedding; several good friends’ engagements; and vacations.

What song will always remind you of 2016?

2016: They bring me to you by Josh Radin (my first dance song with my hubby).

2015: …I honestly don’t know.

*for next questions, last year in parentheses*
Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder?  About the same (happier)

…just older or also wiser? Both. (Both)

…thinner or fatter? About the same (fatter)

…richer or poorer?  Richer, for all the same reasons as last year. (Richer; car and credit cards paid off, more in savings and retirement, making more money.)

What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercising my knee at home, blogging or other journalling. (Work out more.)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable. (same response from 2015)

Whose behavior merited celebration?  For their behavior insomuch as it applied to me – my husband for his amazing support, my dad and mother-in-law’s financial assistance with the wedding, my friends who helped make our wedding fabulous despite my stress. For behavior that benefited them in large ways – my sister, who had weight loss surgery and has drastically improved her quality of life, and one of my friends who has taken her parents into her home permanently to help them financially and healthwise. (My fiance)

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I don’t know that I was “appalled” per se, but I did struggle with my father yet again. This year he sold our house and I never got to go back or say goodbye to the memories there with my mom, and he also got engaged. (My father, for not communicating well or putting my sister and I first during tough times.)

How will you be spending Christmas? In the midwest with my immediate family. (same response)

Did you fall in love in 2016? More in love :). (Yes)

How many one night stands? 0. (0).

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not injuring my knee, and being able to kick butt at exercise instead of trying to recuperate. (Working out more)

How will you be spending New Years? At a friend’s house. (With my aunt and uncle and cousin, fiance, and some friends at my house.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Hate is a strong word. (same response as last year)

What was the best book you read?  I don’t have one best book this year. I really like “The Girl on the Train,” “Finding Audrey,” and two romantic-erotica series (Masters of Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair and Masters and Mercenaries by Lexi Blake). (The Martian by Andy Weir.)

What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t really know of one. (same response as last year)

What did you get and not want? I don’t recall getting anything I didn’t want…maybe more owl things? We have too many as-is. (Umm holidays with my dad’s girlfriend?)

What did you want and not get? A certain set of glasses for the kitchen, new sheets, a meat thermometer (I’m a sexy lady), and a cartier locking love bracelet (a girl can dream, right?). (Towel warmer, wake up light, dna profile. )

What did you want and get? Promoted, married, closer to some extended family, a wake-up light. (Engaged, closer to a few friends, new place to call home, cheesemaking kit :).)

What was your favorite film this year? Eddie the Eagle, Me Before You, Bad Moms…and I honestly only saw like 3 other movies the whole year. There were a TON I wanted to see but didn’t, though. (The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Turned 28, had an italian potluck party at my house. (Turned 27, went to Medieval Times with a bunch of friends.)

What kept you sane? My goals and vision for my future (stress during the wedding – thinking about married life with my husband kept me sane, etc.), and my husband and closest friends. (My fiance, closest friends, roommates while we lived together. )

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Paul Rudd, of course, and Chris Pratt. (No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much.)

Whom did you miss? My mom. (My family, most of all my mom.)

Who was the best new person you met? I really liked one of my friend’s other bridesmaids and some of our neighbors we recently met. (Um…my current team at work, including two new people I like a lot?)

What political issue stirred you the most? The election. ‘Nuff said. (Gay marriage passing, planned parenthood being threatened.)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016. A plan is only as good as your ability to adjust and implement it. (You get what you give in terms of relationships.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. No clue. (I have absolutely no fucking idea.)

Wedding Update

I’ve been engaged for just over 7 months, and I’m getting married in 4 months!! I’ve been pretty awful at blogging, but thought I’d post about some of the things we’re working on. Right now, my to-do list includes setting up four different meetings for this fall with various vendors for “8 week” check ins and hair/makeup trials. I also am trying to pin down my aunt for a visit in August for my first dress fitting, because she wants to help me pick out my veil/hairpiece. I need to chat with my dad about our father/daughter song (I hate the song he picked, which is a generic ‘made for weddings’ song). We need to schedule premarital counseling sessions and dance lessons. Allll the things. At some point, we’ll also have to start buying some decor items and procuring our guestbook stand-in and cocktail hour activity items. Oh, and we need to pick shooting locations for our engagement photos.

Planning a wedding isn’t easy! I feel like I’ve been kind of skating along until now, though. We booked a lot of vendors immediately – venue, dj, florist, photographer. That was easy for me since it was a concrete task. We did an engagement session with our photographer and realized we had creative differences, so we ended up booking a second photographer, done. Bought a wedding dress quickly and still love it. I’m a little regretful that I didn’t go for the blush color, but I love my dress anyway. Invited wedding party, rehearsal venue booked, made website, booked hotels, made a registry, sent save the dates, bought my wedding band, collected addresses for guest list, all done. One bridesmaid did a sample of our favors, and that’s done – we’ll order supplies in bulk and spend a night on that in October to finish that part off. My MOH has the shower venue booked and invites are pending, and the bachelorette party flights and hotel are booked. (We’re going to Puerto Rico, yay! Hopefully Zika won’t kill or maim all our future babies, for those that plan to have them.) 2 of 5 bridesmaids have ordered dresses, but my MOH is on it for tracking them all down and making sure that happens.

At some point, I also have to figure out day of transport, signage for day-of (menu, program), song list of do/do not play, day-of schedule, card box, photos for decor, head table decor, rehearsal cake tasting, altar flowers, ceremony reading (if any), my vows, bridesmaid gifts, gift for my dad and for my fiance on day-of, a shot list, table personalization, table numbers, mani/pedi day-before booking, week before waxing and facial, marriage license, rehearsal outfit, a slideshow for rehearsal (if I want it), invites, and name cards. We also need a list of who to tip day of with envelopes set aside with cash, and a chart of which vendors we owe money and when during the last few weeks.

I have plans underway already for shoe, bra, and lingerie procurement and floor plan and linens happen at our 8 week meeting.

This is why people get stressed about weddings! So many things. Most of them requires sitting down with my man and just making some decisions then purchasing things. Some require much more thought, like my vows…I am going to see what things on this list I can delegate…perhaps the shot list first draft, do-play first draft for dj, and mani/pedi booking, at a minimum. If I gather photos, I can perhaps have someone do the slideshow too. The ridiculous part of all of this is that I just want to be married and have a fun party and pretty day, I don’t care about a lot of this. It still has to happen, though, sadly.

The one thing that has definitely be the most fun to plan is our honeymoon. We both love traveling, and had a huge list of options. We debated the UK, Australia, and more. Ultimately, we ruled out Europe since it’ll be November. We were thinking strongly about Africa for safari, but decided early morning (5am) wakeups was better for another year. We then moved onto Nicaragua, since this travel show we went to had a great option, but it ended up being more money than we wanted to spend. We moved to Florida/Disney combined with an island (I wanted St. Lucia), but there are NO flights from Orlando to remote islands, go figure. We ended up deciding to go to California and do the Pacific Coast Highway. We’re pumped!

Our plan is to fly into San Francisco, then do Napa, Route 1 south (Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Solvang, Santa Barbara), and end in LA. We get to do great food, wine, hot air balloons, beach, scenery, cooking class, studio tours, disney, and more…and lots of sex in unique inns and B’n’Bs. We’re hoping to check out the Armory and Wicked Grounds in SF too to indulge a bit in my kinky side. We may splurge on some toys at a local shop to add variety to the intimacy those weeks. We just finished booking our last hotel, and we can’t wait!

April, May, and June Catch Ups

April:

Frugality – I injured my knee at the very end of this month (torn meniscus at a trampoline place…), which resulted in emergency room fees putting me over budget. Otherwise, I was proud of how I’d accurately predicted expenses going into the month. I also got promoted this month (Yay!!) which boosted my annual predictive savings, which was exciting.

Fitness – Didn’t win on this one. Was really pumped about an active date night, but that ended up killing my knee.

Friends – Was a great month for this. I had a double date with one bridesmaid and her SO, had a girls spa day to celebrate mutually occurring birthdays with another bridesmaid, had a movie night with my cousin who lives locally, saw friends in Philly while we went to town for a quick jaunt, and continued monthly dinners with grad school friends. Overall, good! I also went over to my cousin’s one night for Shabbat and saw my aunt, which was nice.

May:

Frugality – The knee injury caused lots of issues with my budget this month. I had to pay copays, and then was told to go to physical therapy 2x/week for 8 weeks at $30 a pop. Then, to make matters even more fun, my brakes made a horrid sound and ended up needing to be replaced for another $700 hit. Joy.

Fitness –  This is sort of a good/bad this month. Since I was injured, I couldn’t really do much in terms of the gym. I suspended my membership. But, on the other hand, PT is actually a pretty good workout (weighted leg lifts/raises, bike, squats, lunges, etc.). I 100% got my workout in the two weeks I was on crutches because those things are a BITCH.

Friends – My friends really pulled through this month. I was sad and drugged, and friends came over to telework with me so they could get me lunch (the kitchen was a different level in our house and I couldn’t manage stairs the first week injured). One friend far away sent me an awesome care package with a coloring book. The Fiance was amazingly caring and helpful. At the end of the month, the Fiance and I went to visit my aunt and uncle in another state. I didn’t grow up knowing them well, so we wanted to foster the relationship. It was a great trip, relaxing and nice to learn more about them and my mom’s family. I also celebrated a bridal shower for a good friend.

June:

Frugality – Another month of PT expenses and, because of ongoing digestive issues (possibly from the vicodin), medicine and doctors appointments. Then, I decided to do a diet change (see Fitness for more) which meant a ton of extra grocery expenses. AHH!

Fitness – Decided to do Whole30 with my man from June 20 to July 19th. Whole30 is an elimination diet where you can’t have added sugar (including honey), dairy, legumes, grains, and most processed foods. Even corn and soy are out. This required a major refresh of our pantry and recipe planning. I’ve been having digestive issues since late April, and haven’t felt well pretty much all year (continually getting sick with one thing or another), and wanted a reset. My doctor did a bunch of tests on my blood and stool to see if anything was wrong, and didn’t find anything. Before I go to a GI doctor and end up with lots of testing, I wanted to see if diet could help some of it. I’m on probiotics, prilosec, and my gallbladder meds have been doubled, alongside these diet changes. I’ve seen improvement thus far, so fingers crossed I’ll be good to go. I’ve been doing more at my PT sessions and getting the sweat on while there.

Friends – I’ve seen a lot of my local friends at some point this month, which is good. I celebrated a friend’s bachelorette party, and have plans to go away for July 4th with some others. I’ve traveled a lot this month so there hasn’t been a TON of local activity, but still some fun where I can. I also helped my MOH find her wedding dress, which was super fun!