Wedding Wednesday: The theme of our wedding is…

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It always makes me chuckle inside when someone asks me how wedding planning is going and asks what the “theme” of our wedding is. Now, I’ve seen a few episodes of “Four Weddings,” so I get it. Some people have a “country” themed wedding or the wedding is on a ship so they have a nautical or “under the sea” themed wedding. I’ve also seen some more in-depth themed weddings as well.

Below, here is an example of a themed wedding. In this case… Disney characters?

And this one… not quite sure what the theme is but I think some sort of video game?

And I mean, I guess it’s fun for pictures and it helps to showcase the couple’s personalities and/or interests. But personally, when people do themed weddings, it just sort of makes a joke out of the whole thing. On my wedding day, I want to look like the most beautiful ME I could possibly look like, not Snow White, or Ariel, or a Cowgirl. Let’s save that stuff for October 31.

When people ask what the theme of our wedding is going to be, I always say, “Love,” “Adam and Shannon,” “Adam and Shannon’s start to marriage.” ¬†People of course think I’m being a smartass (shocker!) but I’m really not. I’m just so excited to have a wedding that celebrates us and our love for one another. And everything about the wedding will be themed as “Shannon and Adam.” The centerpieces, place cards, decorations — that stuff will all revolve around things that Adam and I have shared in our relationship. So maybe that is a “theme”?

I just think it’s such a strange question for people to ask of an engaged couple — “what is the theme of your wedding?” — maybe what they really mean to ask is about the color scheme or venue or something else.

Anyway, just a thought that’s been circling my mind lately so I figured I’d write it down.

Later, haters. ūüôā

Wedding Wednesday: The Plus One Conundrum

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Unless you’ve had to plan a wedding, you probably haven’t put too much thought into the topic of “plus ones,” but since we are in the midst of this wedding madness/bliss,¬†I’ve realized it’s quite a big topic to tackle. One of the first things Adam and I did for the wedding after getting engaged and setting the date was making a rough draft of our guest list. We did this on our 10-hour drive home from Asheville, North Carolina, where one of my best friend’s destination weddings was held (we had a lot of time on our hands).

Although the guest list seemed like a fun thing to get started, it was actually a little stressful. My list consisted of my friends and their significant others, family and significant others, etc. Adam had a similar list for his side, but he had added a “plus one” or a guest for most of his friends. We got in an argument as I explained to him that everyone on our lists was not getting a “plus one” because that would severely increase our guest count. That isn’t even the main reason.

The main reason I don’t like the idea of “plus ones” is because people find someone to bring to the wedding. Could be a friend, a cousin, a brother/sister or could be someone they’re causally dating. But the main point is, this person is random. The “plus one” wasn’t on the guest list themselves because we don’t know them and/or they aren’t in our lives.

I’ve said from the very beginning of this process, that no one will be invited to the wedding that hasn’t met Adam AND me. Weddings, to me, shouldn’t be about introductions, “how long have you two been together,” and “how did you meet.” I want everyone there to know our story, know US, and be there to celebrate our love together.

These “plus ones” don’t know us, they don’t know our story, and they are just there for free food and alcohol. (most of the time.)

Now, of course I’m not saying our friends have to be married or engaged to get an additional person invited. If anyone has a significant other for maybe more than 6 months at the time of invitations mail-out, that probably qualifies. Also, special privileges would be given to those in the wedding party and our siblings.

I’ve been hurt by this before as well. One of my cousins got married a few years ago and invited me on a card with my family. At the time, Adam and I had been together for two and a half years so I was confused when his name wasn’t included. I asked her politely if he was invited to the wedding and she told me that unfortunately he was not because she was working with a budget and couldn’t have him. -_-

This hurt because 1.) we had been together for so long already and my family knew this wasn’t a flavor-of-the-week type thing. He was the real deal and we’d be together for the long haul. 2.) None of the other cousins had significant others at the time so it wasn’t like “Oh, well if we invite him, we’ll have to invite 12 more people too.” He was literally one person.

To this day, I’m sad he wasn’t there to celebrate the wedding with me and my family. That’s why this whole topic is such a “conundrum.” A lot of thought goes into every piece of a wedding and like I said, until you plan one, you probably have no idea.

Anyone have any advice and/or horror stories on this topic? I’d love to hear it all!

xoxo Bride-to-be,

Shannon

More than games and social media: an app for keeping women safe

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Even if you don‚Äėt think it can or will happen to you, it‚Äės important to be armed with tools to get yourself out of dangerous situations. I always felt in college that I had good friends and a safe campus and yet I found myself numerous times shoved into an uncomfortable corner at some frat house or house party with some guy, away from my friends, feeling helpless and sometimes even scared.

I discovered this app towards the end of my college days and I‚Äôve been meaning to blog about it ever since. It‚Äôs called ‚ÄúCircle of 6‚ÄĚ and it‚Äôs basically a tool for young women to get out of situations where they may need assistance.

First, you choose six people from your contact list to be your ‚Äúcircle.‚ÄĚ These people shouldn‚Äôt be just anyone, be more careful in choosing people who will truly be there for you in a second no matter what– I‚Äôll explain that more later.

Here‚Äôs what the ‚Äúcircle‚ÄĚ looks like.

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The app gives you assistance in three types of scenarios. When you click the green circle in the middle that says ‚Äúask my circle to‚Ķ‚ÄĚ three more circles pop up and you can choose one of them. Here‚Äôs what that screen looks like:

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The little car icon sends the six people in your circle a message that basically says you need a ride and can they please get you. It also attaches a google maps location for your texting recipients so they’ll know exactly how to get to you.

Here’s what that text looks like:

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That’s honestly the one I think would be most helpful with this app. A lot of times on campus too, especially on a big campus, if you get separated from your friends group, you may not even remember where you are or how exactly you got there. So this GoogleMaps location will help the situation tremendously.

Next, the little phone icon is for if you feel uncomfortable around a group of people or even on a date. Basically, this one sends a message telling the circle to call you and act like it’s an emergency or something. Yes, it’s an old trick in the dating book but this could help if you’re in an awkward, uncomfortable or even dangerous situation.

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The third one is just letting your circle know that your looking up information on safe relationships. This does not mean you need help right now, but it is just making them aware that you may be in a bad situation so they can at least be on the lookout for anything strange.

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As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, you don’t want to just choose your roommates or people you hang out with the most as your circle. You can, but only if they are reliable people. It doesn’t mean they’re not good friends but I had friends in college who would disappear with guys or other friends at a party and wouldn’t answer their texts the rest of the night— they shouldn’t be in your circle because they’re never going to help you.

Also, make sure these people are pretty close in proximity to where you are going out. Obviously if you’re going to send a text saying “please come get me” it would help if they were close so they can get you out of that situation as quickly as possible.

Make sure the people in your circle are aware that you have this app and they are in your circle, so they aren’t confused when a text like this comes through.

Once someone in your circle calls to interrupt the date, or comes to pick you up there’s a notification you can send to your circle so the other five people are aware that you’re safe. This is the little checkmark at the bottom. It sends all of your circle a message that says: “Thanks everyone. I’ve gotten help.”

The app is nice because you’re simply tapping icons. If you are in an uncomfortable/awkward/dangerous situation, you don’t have to worry about going through your contacts or typing out a message. The messages are pre-written for convenience and confidentiality. The person you’re with won’t know what you’re even doing.

Please spread the word about this app to anyone you know who is in college, goes to parties or nightclubs, is actively dating, or just happens to be out and about often. I truly believe this would’ve helped me so many times had I known about it while in school.¬†

If you’ve used the app or have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them. As always, thanks for checking in.¬†

A runner’s rant

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If you know me at all (or happen to follow me on any form of social media) you already know that I’m a runner. Beginning in my high school years as a track and cross country runner and continuing now in my early 20s as I run 5-6 times a week for fun (yes, I said fun) and race in a 5k once a month.¬†

Throughout my years as a runner, I’ve certainly encountered things that make my blood boil. If you’re interested… read on to find out exactly what those are.

I live in Lakewood, Ohio, a very active city on the West side of Cleveland. There’s people running, biking, walking strollers and dogs at all hours of the day and night. That’s one of the many things I love about this city that I obsess over. But, you would think by now people would have a clear understanding of what to do if a runner happens to be running towards them.

Pet peeve #1: The “dance.” ¬†You know what I’m talking about– when two people are walking (or running) towards each other and both parties keep switching sides at the same time, thus causing them to be running into a head-butt type situation. Why does this happen? Runners seem to have this under control. It’s the WALKERS/random pedestrians that can’t seem to wrap their mind around the concept that you ALWAYS walk/run/skateboard/crawl/fly down the RIGHT side of the sidewalk. What side of the road do you drive on?? The RIGHT side. This isn’t Europe, people. Get your shit together.

Pet peeve #2: Unnecessary commentary. Why is it that people feel the need to yell/whistle/honk at runners? First of all, half the time we have our music up loud and we’re in a runner’s trance so we don’t hear you anyway. I almost showed some 14-year-olds the pavement last week as I ran by them and they made sarcastic well-wishing comments. Stupid skateboard punks. And, believe me. It’s not just teenagers. I’ve had grown men make comments and gestures as well. Is it supposed to be funny? Do you think you’re cool? Not quite sure of the reason, but it’s annoying. So stop it.¬†

Pet peeve #3: Almost getting hit by cars.¬†There’s a reason there’s a thick white strip across the road by any stop sign or stoplight. Can you figure out why it’s there? OH, WAIT. It’s because YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO STOP BEHIND IT. So tired of almost being killed by drivers who think it’s acceptable to roll through stop signs. I’m just out running and minding my own business. I see a car approaching the end of the street, but I think “hey, they have a stop sign. I’ll be okay to cross.” NOPE. I’m going to start carrying a bag of rocks around with me when I run. If one of them hits your car, you’ll know that you didn’t stop behind the white line.¬†

Pet peeve #4: Dogs.¬†Please don’t misinterpret this one. I LOVE dogs, and all animals for that matter. But when I’m running down the sidewalk, and you have your dog out for a walk, have some common courtesy. This has only (thankfully) happened a few times, but we all know that dogs get excited when they see new people. They forcefully run towards the person and yank their owners’ arm almost out of its socket. A dog lunging towards you while you’re running or biking is not very fun and can cause one to jump suddenly towards the opposite direction (many times which could be into the road). ¬†Pull your dog in a little tighter when a runner/biker/other walker is passing by.¬†

Pet peeve #5: Blowing smoke.¬†I mean this in the literal way. In Lakewood, there’s a ton of bars that I pass by on any route that I choose to run. People stand outside, taking a cigarette break, and enjoying the weather. While I don’t have a problem with the person smoking (I’m not a smoker for the simple reason that I like my lungs/body/life), I would appreciate if they could hold that puff of smoke in their lungs just a seeeecccondddd longer so I can pass by. I’m out there, being healthy and trying to enjoy the weather. If I wanted cigarette smoke in my face, I’d be standing with you instead.

Although I could probably go on for another 2,000 words, I’m going to leave you with my top 5 runner’s pet peeves for now.¬†

With the rant, I do have to say that there are some really smart, considerate people out there who understand the rules of the road (sidewalk). Let’s take a moment to recognize you:

  • The people who turn their lawnmower to the side as runners/bikers pass so they don’t blow grass blades all over the passerby’s feet.
  • The dogwalkers who pull their energetic dogs over to the side and allow the other person to pass without getting dog-assaulted.¬†
  • The drivers who are carefully looking to see if pedestrians might be crossing in front/behind/or beside them.¬†
  • The drivers who always make eye contact with pedestrians, and allow the pedestrian to safely cross without confusion.
  • Those super-smart Americans who understand that the right side is the correct side to be walking on.

Thank you to those who follow these unwritten rules. And to those that don’t, well, I suppose you may see a rock flying your way soon.

Justice is justice- Age shouldn’t matter

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In January, an 81-year-old woman was sentenced to ‘no jail time’ after she killed a 13-year-old boy and fled the scene in her car.¬† Although her defense was that she was prescribed the wrong kind of medication (a muscle relaxer), I cannot get over the fact that this woman killed someone– left a family without their little boy– and she’s not serving time for it.¬† She did get her license suspended for life and 5 years of probation and house arrest, and also has to pay the boy’s family a large sum of money for restitution, but still¬†this just doesn’t seem fair to me.¬† Why should she get off light because she’s older?¬† Yes, she’s adorable, but not only did she hit this boy with her car, but she did not stop to help, and went to get repairs done a few days later (so she obviously knew something had happened).

If you want to read the story for yourself, here it is: http://fox8.com/2013/01/14/woman-81-gets-probation-in-deadly-hit-and-run/

I think the reason this story struck such a nerve with me is because I’ve had something like this happen in my life not too long ago.

Just over a year ago, as we were all saying hello to 2012, my grandmother was walking to her car in a Giant Eagle parking lot when an 80-something year-old man backed up and hit her.¬† She fell down, of course, fractured her skull, and was in the hospital for MONTHS.¬† I didn’t know what to do.¬† I’d never been through an experience like that before.¬† My family has always been happy, healthy, and steered clear of the hospital.¬† But now, that had become our second home.¬† For the first week, Grandma was in ICU, completely unresponsive.¬† She was breathing, but besides that, we had no idea if she would be okay.¬† When she started to open her eyes, she couldn’t talk much, and it didn’t¬†seem like she recognized anyone.

I know so many families experience their loved ones suffering for Alzheimer’s, but I thought, “God, no.¬† Please not Grandma.¬† She is the sweetest, most out-going, and caring older person that I know.¬† She loves shopping and being social with her friends.¬† This can’t be happening.”

A few weeks later, Grandma made it to another hospital where she went through therapy everyday.¬† Therapy to exercise both her physical and mental skills.¬† She still didn’t seem back to normal though.¬† She didn’t know where I went to college– and I had just graduated after being at Mount Union for three and half years, and she couldn’t remember the name of my boyfriend, who I had been dating for three years and she had met hundreds of times.¬† Two of the most important things in my life, and Grandma’s memory of them wasn’t there.

I told myself to push those things out of my mind, because really, all I wanted for her was a recovery- a fast one, in which she could finally get out of the hospital and go home to my Grandpa, who was devastated over the situation as well.

As I said, a few months later, she finally went home but things weren’t “back to normal.”¬† She had a physical therapist come to their house to work with her every few days and¬†she had a ton of medications to take.¬† To this day, things aren’t the same.¬† There’s days she gets confused and she’s had so many random medical issues pop up since the accident.

How did this man that hit my grandma get punished?¬† He didn’t.¬† Or at least not to me- he was charged with¬†some misdemeanor because she wasn’t killed.¬† And the witnesses who said they saw my grandma get hit were thrown out because the police said, “From where they claim they were standing, they couldn’t have seen the accident happen.”¬† WHAT?!?! Who would lie about that?¬† What benefit would they get out of lying???¬† Ugh, that made me so mad.

Anyway, the point of this long, rambling rant of a blog post, is that people should be charged equally for their crimes committed.¬† Period.¬† I don’t care how old you are.¬† I don’t care what you were on when it happened.¬† If you hit someone with your car, and a family was changed forever, you deserve the punishment.¬† Thank God we still have my Grandma.¬† I would have hunted¬†down that old man and punished him myself¬†had she not recovered.

Laws need to be changed.¬† The elderly NEED to be re-tested for driving tests.¬† Hell, we could all use a test every four years.¬† There’s 30-year-olds out there that can’t drive.¬† I propose that after your first license when you turn 16, a drivers test every other license.¬† That’s every eight years. And, when you turn 65 (and are considered a senior citizen), you should be re-tested every 4 years.¬† That wouldn’t be too much to ask, right?

Be whoever you want to be…as long as it’s really you.

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The internet is fascinating, And scary.¬†I love that you can shop without leaving your home (I did that last night) and I love that you can share things with people across the world in an instant. It’s awesome that people can even start and run businesses completely online without spending any money on advertisements.

The thing that scares me- and this is nothing new- is the relationships people create and continue online.¬† The fact that people meet online doesn’t scare me,¬† it’s the part where these people talk online for a one, two, or ten years before ever even meeting each other in person.

Yes, I’ve been watching the new show on MTV, Catfish. I haven’t seen the documentary, Catfish, that started this chain of shows, but the host of the tv show is also the main character in the documentary.¬† Basically, his story was that he met and really liked this girl he met online and when he finally¬†decided to meet her, she turned out not to be blonde, skinny, and tan, like her profile picture on Facebook led him to believe, but rather she was brunette, overweight, and well, not what he expected.

With his lesson learned, he’s now traveling across the country to meet with other people going through similar situations and connect them with the other side of their “online relationships.”¬† I think I’ve caught most of the episodes so far, and I have yet to see an episode where the person on the other side really is who they say they are.

I watched two episodes tonight and the first one was similar to the host’s story.¬† This guy thought he was talking to this blonde barbie doll looking girl and the girl actually ending up being a dark-haired, glasses-wearing, overweight young woman with self-esteem issues.¬† She said she led him on to believe she was this other person for TWO years because she liked the feeling that guys actually were interested in her.¬† That makes me so sad to hear because ultimately, these guys that were “interested in her,” weren’t really interested in her… they¬†liked the blonde, skinny girl in the photos.¬† Once the girl and the guy were connected, of course¬†the guy was confused and a little upset, but they actually ended up being friends.

The next episode was about a black girl who had found this gorgeous, black modeling agent on Facebook and they’d been talking online for over two years.¬† Not on the phone, and never in person, although “he only lived 15 minutes away.”¬† Bizarre, right?¬† I think my problem with this is how naive¬†these people are.¬† How can you think¬†that’s okay to¬†instant message someone for¬†over two years and¬†never see them?!¬† And it’s not even like these were just friendly conversations.¬† They got personal, told each other that they loved one another, and even changed¬†their relationship statuses on Facebook to reflect that they were together.¬†¬†At the end of this episode, we find out that the guy¬†she had been talking to¬†was another black¬†girl, who had been¬†pretending to be this guy for two years to GET REVENGE.¬†¬†Well that definitely explaisns why they¬†never met or talked on the phone. ¬†¬†This situation made me sad thinking about all the time they had both wasted.¬† The one girl thought she had really made a connection and was starting something long-term with this guy who didn’t exist, and the other one committed to spending how many hours a day to break someone’s heart.

I’m defintely a skeptic when it comes to most things in life, and that may be why this show blows my mind.¬† I just can’t wrap my mind around the time and passion these people put into relationships that they can’t even confirm is with a real person.¬† Adam and I started our relationship texting and moved onto talking on the phone about a month later.¬† However, I had found out about him through a friend and had seen many pictures online… I knew what I was getting myself into ūüôā

Online dating may be a good thing, but I think the talking on the phone/video chatting needs to happen sooner.¬† Do it in stages if that’s easiest: talking online, text messaging, phone calls, video messaging and finally meeting in person.¬† That way you know you’re not going to meet up with your fantasy guy and have it be a 70-year-old grandfather with three teeth (unless of course that is your fantasy man :)).

Moral of the story?¬† Be who you are.¬†Don’t bully people online because you think you’re tougher than you really are, and don’t try to get someone to like you by pretending you’re someone else.¬† In the end, you and the person on the other side, will probably just end up more hurt than you were to begin with.¬† If people don’t like you for who you are, they’re not meant to be in your life.

Power outage pros and cons

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If you are one of my Twitter followers, you probably are already aware that I am experiencing the power outage that many in Northeast Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are currently experiencing due to Hurricane Sandy and “Frankenstorm.”¬† Our power went out at 6 p.m. Monday night and has yet to return.¬† Although living in the so-called “dark ages” may sound awful, I’ve found both pros and cons to this unexpected situation.

Cons

  • Can’t open the fridge or freezer to access our food and/or drinks.
  • Max can’t have his canned food that’s in the fridge. ūüė¶ poor nugget.
  • Can’t do my laundry that is piling up in my hamper.
  • Getting dressed/showering/doing makeup in the dark.
  • Spending more money by dining out.
  • No wifi in our home.
  • Less time watching my reality TV shows.
  • My ice cream is melting.

Pros

  • More time to read.
  • More time to clean (while there’s still daylight).
  • More excuses to cuddle with both my cats and my man.¬† ūüėČ
  • More excuses to burn candles that make the house smell wonderful.
  • Less time watching my reality TV shows. (yes, I’m aware this one made both lists)
  • Less snacking/eating ice cream.
  • It’s a talking point with those who I encounter on a daily basis.
  • More excuses to get out into the city to use our resources (library, coffee shops, any outlets that we can find while dining at a restaurant or having a drink at the bar)

In a way, this whole power outage thing is making me feel very calm.  A power outage is a perfect reality check to make you recognize the things that you have and use everyday that you make take for granted.  Things such as wifi, charging your phone, watching TV, flicking on a light as you walk into the room, showering with the light on, and frozen ice cream on demand.

On the flipside, it’s got my nerves going a thousand miles a minute because I am thinking about all the things I could be doing with the electricity on.

No one is quite sure when the power will come back.¬† Some are saying Saturday.¬† Let’s hope it’s sooner than that.¬† All I can say is, if this is what I have to deal with in this storm, I feel blessed.¬† So many people right now are missing family members, animals, and pieces of their homes.¬† Many have seen trees crash down on their cars and homes.¬† My heart goes out to all of those and I hope that everything gets back to normal very soon.