When Life Hands Your Lemons

Staying positive when life is rough, when life hands lemons


You might be wondering how my wedding dress saving is going. The short answer: it was going well.

Here’s the long answer.

As I wrote in the past, I had decided to save up money from scratch to put down for my wedding dress deposit. We’ve already got a tight wedding budget, and I didn’t want to settle on a mediocre dress because I had no wiggle room in the budget.

I was on track to have the money (and more even) saved by June, and I was ready to book my dress appointment for the same month or July.

I was SO excited.

And then there was a family issue. I really don’t want to get into the details right now, but basically a close family member suddenly found him/herself in need of a pretty good sum of money, and they needed it asap.

I’m not the kind of person who lends money, especially large sums of it. But given the situation and my relationship with the person, I gave them what they needed. Most of what had been put aside for the wedding dress (this is the part where you tell me I should have an “emergency fund.” I do have an emergency fund, but it’s for myself/my fiance, not for giving to other people).

I don’t regret giving the money for an instant.

But now the dress fund is starting basically from scratch. I don’t know when I’ll be able to buy the dress. I know my family member will pay me back, but not for a while.

I’m not trying to sulk. I know there are way worse things that can happen to people, and a dress isn’t super important. But I needed an outlet. I’m no longer super excited to buy the dress. I don’t even want to look at pictures or think about wedding stuff right now.

All I can do is drink some lemonade, clean some more houses, and refill that money jar.

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Well that was fun (On Moving the Blog)

I’ve been in a funk and haven’t felt like writing or being creative or anything the last few months. But I’m happy to report that that has changed, and I’ve moved the blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org!

Bare with me while I work out the kinks. The transfer was easy and pretty stress free, but a few things were messed up and I’m working on them.

That’s all!


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Music to Help You Grieve


Sometimes you just have to let yourself grieve. For me, that usually means listening to the right songs to aid in that process. These songs aren’t all about loss per se, but they all evoke certain feelings in me that help when I’m feeling down.

Here’s a list (with links to YouTube) of some that have helped me:





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Plans for Our 10 Year Anniversary


J and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary on February 9th!! Wow!! It’s weird…in one way, it feels like it cannot be that long. But also it seems like we’ve been together for way more than 10 years. J asked me out on January 31st, 2007, and our first date was February 9th, 2007. We actually kept planning it for the days between when he asked and when we finally went out, but there were snowstorms every day, and J is from Arizona. It was only his 2nd Winter up north 🙂

Even though the big day isn’t until February, I know it’s going to come up fast. So we’ve already started brainstorming some ways to celebrate. If you’re reading this and have any ideas, let me know in the comments!

  • Weekend getaway – Our anniversary is on a Thursday, so we could do a long weekend somewhere special. Maybe the Adirondacks (unless they’re snowed in..). Maybe somewhere new! It would have to be near home. For one, we LOVE Winter. Also, it’s easy and convenient. Finger Lakes? Catskills? Or maybe the Hudson Valley.
  • Stay-cation – We could book a room for a night or two at a local hotel in Buffalo and act like tourists. There’s a lot to do downtown and we could get dinner and drinks and have fun.
  • Stay at home – We could also spend very little money (we are after all planning a wedding) and just get dinner/drinks and then come back to our house for movie night or something.

I’m leaning more towards the stay-cation, because it’s something different than our day-to-day, but it wouldn’t be as much money as going out of town for the weekend.

I love planning trips and fun adventures though, so we’ll see. I might have to do another post on more specific ideas once I do more brainstorming!


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On Setting the Wedding Date


Your wedding day may well be the most important date you ever choose. I don’t know about you, but deciding on our wedding date was anything but easy! I know some couples get engaged and have a date set (or at least a date range) within a few days!!

Here’s what helped us decided:

  • Paying for the wedding – Before we could even begin thinking about dates, we needed to talk about money. Neither of our parents are contributing, which means it’s all on us. We also had bought our house less than a year before getting engaged and it’s a fixer-upper. Most of our saved money was going into that. So we picked a date 3 YEARS out. Click here to read more about why we chose to have a long engagement.
  • The time of year/season – Ideally, I would have loved a winter wedding in all of it’s frozen snowy goodness. Winter has always been my favorite season. It is romantic and pretty and you can bundle up. But then we got to thinking. We live in Buffalo, NY. First, much of J’s family lives in Arizona, so they might not even have the proper clothing to come up in the dead of winter. Second, there’s always a chance we’ll have a milder, less snowy winter. But there’s an even better chance that we’ll have a super snowy, cold, lake-effect storm filled winter. We didn’t want my wish for a snowy wedding to come true only for the roads to be impassible, the power knocked out, flights to be cancelled, and our guests to be either stranded or unable to get in. Fall is my second favorite season and J’s favorite, and October may well be our favorite fall month. So we chose October.
  • The day of the week – J and I are pretty traditional when it comes to wanting a weekend wedding. We knew 100% it had to be a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. But which to choose? Friday and Sunday are typically quite a bit cheaper than a Saturday night. Sunday meant our guests might stress about work the next day. Friday meant guests would have to take the day off or leave work early. Guests coming from out of town would have to take Thursday as well to get in before the wedding. As much as it would have been nice to save by not booking a Saturday, we decided to pay the extra amount to accommodate guests and the bridal party.
  • As for the specific date we chose, it’s simple! 13 is my favorite number, it just happened to fall on a Saturday, and it was available at our reception venue (which was the first place we booked because at the time we had no idea where to hold the ceremony!).

What things did you have to think about before choosing your wedding date?? Let me know in the comments!

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Planning My First Trip to Baltimore


I’ve never been to Baltimore, neither has J. Or pretty much my entire immediate family. This weekend we get to go for the first time for a cousin’s wedding. I am so pumped!

The problem I always have with trips (and this one in particular because we really don’t have a lot of time for ourselves), is deciding what to do with my time in a new place. We only really have Friday evening and Sunday morning to explore on our own. Possibly a few hours Saturday afternoon, but we won’t really know until that day.

J and I are driving down early Friday. We decided to check out the inner harbor area after checking into the hotel. There are so many cute neighborhoods around there that I wanted to visit! But having just the one evening, I took the advice of a few friends and settled on the inner harbor. We’ll get dinner and drinks and check it out.

The rest of the family gets in later Friday, so we’ll get drinks or something with them then.

No trip in my family is complete without a visit to the local fort. So Sunday morning before heading home, J and I are stopping at Fort McHenry. I am SO excited.

The only real downside to this trip (besides leaving our fur babies with a sitter!) is that it’s going to be perfect autumn weather at home, and about 90 in Baltimore…

I’ll recap when we’re back!


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5 Love Songs that Make Me Emotional


I can’t help it, I’m a hopeless romantic!

One thing I can’t get enough of are love songs, especially the ones that make me emotional. You know what I mean – the lump in your throat, the teary eyes, the heavy sighs.

Here is a list of 5 of my favorites. Stay tuned for future posts with more songs!

(Each links to a video on YouTube)

  • Love Story – Taylor Swift. I can’t leave this one off. It makes me feel all warm and happy inside. It’s how Romeo and Juliet should have ended.
  • A Part of Me – Alex Band. This one gives me chills every time I listen to it. And that voice! My prefer the non duet version, but I couldn’t find that one on Youtube.
  • Feels Like Home – Chantal Kreviazuk. This one was played a lot when I was growing up (living near Canada means you get all the great CA stations that focus on playing CA artists). I heard it again recently after YEARS of forgetting about it, and it was more amazing that I’d remembered.

What are your favorite love songs?

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Preparing For a Wedding Venue Visit

Preparing for a Wedding Venue Visit

On Sunday J and I are getting  a tour of a possible ceremony location. My fingers are crossed and I feel like I’ll be holding me breath in anticipation all week because I think this could be the one!

In preparation for the visit, I’ve compiled a list of things to prepare for a visit to possible wedding venues.

  • Your wedding planner, if you have one. My twin sister is coming with us because she just got married and knows a thing or two about venue visits. Also, she’s helping us plan the wedding, so while I’ll be flailing around all excited to see the place, she’ll keep the vision in mind and see if it works at this location.
  • A clear vision. I’m not saying you have to have all of the decor or your colors picked out, but if you’re thinking you want an urban feel, maybe looking at barn venues isn’t the right way to go. And that’s a big reason why my sister/planner is coming with us.
  • A list of questions to ask the venue. These will differ based on whether you’re booking the ceremony, reception, or both. Also just depending on what you want or need. My wedding planning binder (which my twin sister got me for Christmas) has a list of questions to ask at venue visits. I’m going to write down the ones that apply to us and bring them along.
  • Your phone or camera to take pictures. So that you remember what the place looked like, and just in case you’re stuck between a couple venues. Looking at photos and seeing which one best fits your vision will be super helpful when you have to make your decision.
  • An open mind. Not so open that you end up booking something you really didn’t want. But you never know. If you booked a tour “just because” and have your heart set on something else, don’t 100% rule it out. Enjoy seeing the venue. I thought since getting engaged last September that I wanted my ceremony at a specific place near my office. But then I saw photos of the place we’re seeing on Sunday and I was curious. I had been ready to book the other location but now I’m feeling that this new place is a better fit. Good thing I didn’t book because I’d be out of the deposit money.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is what I’ll be focusing on later in the week when viewing the possible ceremony location.

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Why I Need My Morning Dog Walk

Why I Need My Morning Dog Walk

I need to walk my dog every morning before work, and not just because he has to go out. My morning walk is like a daily mind reset before starting all the chaos and stress coming later on. We all know what I mean. The job is less than perfect. There’s traffic and bills to pay and goodness knows what else.

Here’s how I maximize on that 10 minute walk every morning:

  • I work at 7am, so I’m usually walking the pup around 5:45am. I know, it’s pretty early. But it is perfect for calming my mind. In my neighborhood I’m often the only person out and about that early. I take in that silence. And even more so when it’s snowing. Bonus if my and my dog’s footprints are the first ones to mark the snow!
  • I take in the sounds around me. Yes, sometimes that includes a rat rummaging through someone’s trash. But usually it’s sounds I relish – birds chirping, train whistles in the distance, my dog’s excited breathing, and NO cars going by.
  • I clear my mind and let go of anything bothering me. Even if it is just for 10 minutes, clearing my mind has a HUGE impact on my stress levels. Once in a while J will volunteer to do the morning dog walk, and I find that my thoughts the rest of the day are all over the place and my stress is less manageable.

If you don’t have a furry friend to walk with, why not grab your partner (or just yourself – just bring that pepper spray as a precaution!) and get out there anyway? You’ll notice a change in how you feel!

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