Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Can't Choose Your Family

We've all said it, you can't choose your family.  Oh that you could ... day dream over!

We say it when our family does something we don't like, or we feel the need to defend our relationship with this family member.

But sometimes it's more serious.

Each of my parents have a brother.  My dad and his brother are ridiculously close.  I mean they talk multiple times a day.  They are very involved in each others life.  When I got engaged, my uncle was furious my dad hadn't told him ahead of time.  There is also a 12 year age difference and their biological dad died when my dad was 2 so I am sure that has a role in their relationship.  From time to time there are downsides but overall, I love seeing my dad with such a close relationship to his brother.

Now contrast that with my mom.

She doesn't talk to her brother.  At all.  When my mom's parents were alive, there was a bridge.  My uncle was somewhat involved in our lives because my grandparents involved him.  But they have since died.

My mother once asked her brother why he hated her so much.  His response was that their parents had treated her better than him.  (Now to be fair, I cannot remember if I heard him say this over the phone or if she told me he said this. This distinction would only matter as to credibility. )

As a result, my mother and uncle have no relationship.  A few years ago, I sent my uncle and aunt an email saying hi and trying to build a bridge.  My parents knew what I was doing, weren't thrilled but didn't try to stop me.  After a handful of emails back and forth, I was going to meet my aunt and uncle for lunch near my job.  This was only a few weeks before grad school started and my aunt was a high school teacher so she was going back to work as well.  We emailed back and forth for location and time. 

I went.  And I remember thinking wouldn't it be ironic if after all this I was stood up.  Well ... I was.  They never showed.

Now when I got back to the office, I sent them an email. My aunt claimed that my latest email confirming lunch had gotten sent to her spam folder (even though previous emails went through).  I had tried calling her cell while at lunch (I didn't have my uncle's number) and it kept going to voicemail.

My aunt apologized.  I tried to believe her and understand.  But school was about to start for both of us so we weren't going to be able to reschedule for a few weeks.  She promised to send me an email to set up a time.

That was August 2005.

When D and I got engaged I went back and forth on whether to invite this uncle/aunt to my wedding.  My position is they are family. 

But D and I decided we would leave the decision up to my mom.  And we did.  And she said she'd feel more comfortable if he wasn't there.  So we didn't invite him.

(Don't laugh) in watching Real Housewives of NJ lately with family strife, it makes me sad that I have zero relationship with that uncle.  I have a very small family and two people missing is noticable.

Last night I toyed around with the idea of contacting him.  Or giving my information to a mutual Aunt (my great aunt, my uncle's aunt) who still speaks to both of our sides and telling her to tell him if he wants to get in touch, to use my email.

How much would this hurt my parents? And am I brave enough to do this?  And do I even want to?

My uncle and I were never close, unfortunately.  And we do have some personality and political differences.  But he is family.  Is that enough?  You can't choose your family...

What do you think I should do?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Time for Skippin Rope

A blogger friend of mine, Tara, just completed the transition to her new site.  She's a former Navy wife now navigating life as a Navy veteran.

Her new site is SkippinRope.  And to celebrate her new blog she's having a WEEK of giveaways!  Her first giveaway goes live in just under 30 minutes!  She's having a giveaway for a Recaro ProSeries ProSport child car seat. And tomorrow she's sponsoring a giveaway from Melissa and Doug!  But only a few select people know about Tuesday's giveaway, so shhhhhh!

Go visit Tara and give her some love.  Let her know I sent you her way!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Anniversary Celebration

Unless this is your first visit to my blog, you know that last week, May 23rd to be exact, was my first wedding anniversary! (In honor of that I'm having a giveaway, enter here!)

For months, D has been going on and on about how great my anniversary gift is but I refused to let him tell me what it was.  The box arrived and we put it in his office so I wouldn't try to figure it out.  I caught a glimpse of the shape so I thought it was a picture, but I couldn't imagine how beautiful.  D took one of our favorite wedding photos and had it put on canvas! I'll explain the significance of this photo in a future post!
First Dance
Lest you think I didn't get D anything, I listened to what he wanted and got him a harmonica along with an instruction book.  He's already started playing a few songs and sounds pretty good!

My parents met us for breakfast on Sunday, May 22nd (day before anniversary) and to eat the top tier from our wedding cake (pictures below!).

My work sent me to Cumberland, Maryland (take a look on the map, it's quite far west!).  On Sunday, when we arrived, we had a hell of a time finding a place to eat!  (Read all about it here!)  Monday wasn't much better but because of an antique car show, some restaurants usually closed on Mondays were opened. We ate in a wonderful Italian restaurant that was straight out of the Godfather!

We also found an old synagogue founded in 1863.  D noticed a sign saying to enter from the side door.  So he did.  And announced we were "just two wandering Jews passing by."  And I wish I was making that up!

Then Tuesday night we headed to Garrett County, the furthest west in Maryland.  We stayed in a lovely inn I had found online.  Unfortunately, between my heel problems and D stepping on a power cord and puncturing his foot, we weren't really up for anything physical.

That first night we went to a wonderful restaurant and had a great meal.  And then I got sick.  And pretty much napped/slept the rest of the night.

On Wednesday I woke up feeling much better. We found this tiny little restaurant for breakfast that had been recommended and although we didn't quite fit in, the food was decent and cheap.  We then headed out to this crafts store that had been recommended and for the life of our GPS, we could not find it.  Deciding it wasn't worth the hassle, we decided to head on to the vineyard that I had found.  And our lovely GPS tried to kill us.  It took us through this mountain road that is unpaved, about 4 feet wide with a mountain on one side and a cliff on the other. Oh, and did I mention it is a two-way road??  Needless to say, we took a different route back. And on the way I noticed the sign for that store we hadn't been able to find before! It was 5:45pm and it closed at 6pm. You know we popped in and bought up a few treats!

Thursday took us to a stained glass store with an interesting shop keeper.  Seeing how small the showroom (aka his house) was, we knew going in we'd have to buy something.  His pieces were quite beautiful but most of the prices were a bit high for us.  When I went into another room, D noticed some "collector" knives he had.  I selected my piece and as I was paying, D examined the knives even closer.  He noticed one had a swastika on it.  Thinking it was an antique he opened it up ... and found a "made in China" engraved in it.  Definitely not authentic.  And not too thrilled about this guy selling it.  Inappropriate? Yes. Neo-Nazi? Don't think so.  We also went to a blown glass store, an Amish farm (but didn't realize we had to call ahead for farm tours) and an Amish bakery.  Busy days!

On Friday, I had a meeting scheduled but then headed to Antietam on our way back.

And we came home to a clean apartment! My parent's anniversary gift was a cleaning lady and I loved it! I wish we could afford one every month!

Take a look at the photos. All in all we had a great anniversary trip!  My only wish is the trip could have been even longer :)  But at least we came home to a three day weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Guest Post!

I love my twitter/blogger friends and was so honored when Kim at MamasMonologues asked me to guest post! May 23rd was my wedding anniversary (I'm having a giveaway in honor of it: enter here! And because I was away and couldn't really promote it, I am extending the giveaway until June 4th at 11pm!) 

Go over to Kim's page where I give you all the secret to marriage.  Because you know after one year I am the expert ;)

Thanks again Kim!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Just Want Dinner!

D and I are in Western Maryland first for my work, then to celebrate our anniversary (tomorrow!).  I am planning a large "how was the anniversary celebration" post when I get back ... but tonight was too funny not to post.

My parents, in honor of our anniversary, (have you entered my anniversary inspired giveaway yet??) treated us to breakfast.  A very large breakfast at that.  We ate around 11:30am so naturally we weren't really hungry for lunch

So by the time 6pm rolled around we were hungry and ready to go.

Except, we are in Western Maryland.  Which we have come to discover is a whole different world.

I had done some research online and found a restaurant that looked good AND had a restaurant.com coupon (you know about my love for them).  AFTER purchasing, I noticed the restaurant isn't open on Sundays.  Weird.  But ok. We're still going to be here for Monday night dinner so I'll deal.

So I looked online again and found a Greek restaurant.  Around 6:15pm off we went.  By 6:30, we were there.

But it was closed.

Across the street was a French restaurant I had seen online.  It was a little pricey, but it was there.  And we were hungry.  So D agreed to go across the busy 2 lane road to make sure we could eat something off the menu.

But they were closed too.

A little frustrating but no big deal.  I had seen a Japanese restaurant so took out Louise (my reliable GPS) and looked up Japanese restaurants.  There was only one.

About 12 minutes later we arrived.

And it was closed.

On the way to the Japanese restaurant I had noticed an Italian restaurant.  Fine. Not our first choice but we were really hungry and there were cars in the parking lot = open.

I joked with D that they probably close at 7pm (it was 6:53pm when we pulled in the parking lot).  And sure enough, they did close at 7.

So into the bank parking lot and pull out Louise again. By this time I am in the mood for Italian so we find a place about 10 minutes away.  It is more in the "heart" of downtown so they must be open.

We arrive around 7:15pm to find out ... you guessed it. They were closed too.

However, on the way I noticed an ice cream shop/deli that I had seen online and wanted to visit.  We had already looked at their website and KNEW it was open until 8pm.

So we walked in, placed our order and sat down.

After all that, I don't know if any meal could measure up.  And this meal definitely did NOT.  My turkey breast was probably a day from spoiling.  I told D if I die he'll know why.

I am just glad it was D and myself and we were able to find the humor in it.

What have you gone through just for a meal??

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Paper is the first anniversary gift

 Congrats to our winner #60

And our 60th comment was:
Congrats to Amanda T and thanks to all for entering!!

 Update: Giveaway extended until Saturday, June 4th at 11pm!!

Monday, May 23rd marks my first wedding anniversary with D.  I cannot believe a year ago we got married.  I cannot believe it has already been a year.  Amazing.  [D and I are going away for a few days but when I get back I'll write all about our anniversary gifts and our trip.]

In honor of my anniversary, I wanted to have a month full of love-inspired giveaways and was so blessed to have so many wonderful sponsors.

And just in time for my actual anniversary, one more.  For those who don't know ... paper is the first anniversary present.  And as we all know ... paper comes from wood (ok this might be a stretch but work with me!).

You all have read about my love for Etsy and I found one more amazing shop, PrinceWhitaker.  Allie, the designer of PrinceWhitaker makes some amazing pieces.

Like these garden sticks. I wrote about how D loves to garden and is doing a great job with our mini-balcony garden. He'd love these when we have a real garden! 

 Or this really cute photo frame for a graduation gift!

Or how about these wonderful napkin holders, perfect for a shower, rehearsal dinner or wedding!

I think Allie's designs are wonderful and unique.  As you know, I like to pry and find out lots of information from the designers.


Funny story. I was grounded for a whole weekend when I was a teenager. Before the days of social media and cell phones, when my friends went out they were unreachable and I truly had nothing to do. A light bulb when off and I climbed on top of my bedroom dresser and started to sketch out a mural of the Jetsons family in their spaceship/car (Astro too). From there, family and friends asked me to paint murals for them and eventually a business grew. As time went on (and I aged) murals became too labor-intensive. I've always designed and painted on every surface you can think of: paper, walls, ceramics, wood and then I discovered wood-burning and Prince Whitaker was born!


Currently, I use different types of wood. I also use embellishments such as tulle and ribbons for certain products. The colors add flair and a personal touch to match the color scheme of the wedding.


Recently I've been having a good time making the guest / advice books. They can be personalized with the happy couple's names, a personal message on the front and back, and ribbon to match their bridal party colors. I add a piece of vellum to the front and back with gorgeous deckled edges for an extra special touch. I just received requests to make this for baby showers too! It's special to me because I know that it will be such a treasured keepsake for the recipients.

I am sure you are thinking of all the unique gifts/favors you could get from her shop.  Well good news, one lucky reader is going to win a beautiful I Do photo frame.

The winner gets to personalize it with their initials or you could give it as a gift and use the initials of the happy couple!

This contest is open to people in the US or Canada only.  If your email is not visible in your profile, you must leave it in one of your entries!

  •  Visit PrinceWhitaker's Etsy Shop and leave a comment with your favorite item!
EARN MORE ENTRIES! (You may do any or all of these in any order.  
Leave a separate comment for each entry completed.)
  • 1 Entry: Follow IDoTheeWedSara publicly on Google Friend Connect
  • 1 Entry: Follow PrinceWhitaker publicly on Google Friend Connect
  • 1 Entry: Make PrinceWhitaker a favorite on Etsy
  • 1 Entry: Like IDoTheeWedSara on Facebook
  • 1 Entry: Like PrinceWhitaker on Facebook
  • 1 Entry: Follow IDoTheeWedSara on Twitter
  • 1 Entry: Follow PrinceWhitaker on Twitter
  • 2 Entries: Tweet about this giveaway and include #PrinceWhitakergiveaway (maximum 3x/day and leave a comment each time!)
  • 5 Entries: Blog about this giveaway (one time). In the comment include a link to your post.
Giveaway ends Saturday May 28, 2011 at 4pm EST. Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will have 24 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be selected.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Puppy Remembered...

When I was born my parents already had a dog, Schmutzy.  He passed away when I was in 3rd grade. For the next seven years I begged my parents to get another dog.  I had just finally stopped begging them when I went on a huge trip with my school one summer.  I came home ... and they brought this little fur ball with them to pick me up.  After 6 weeks gone I missed my parents ... but cared more about the dog!

His name was Cappy, short for Cappuccino (I didn't get to name him).  And he was my dog (ok I'll be honest, if my mom was around it was either a tie or he was her dog ... but when she was gone, he was mine!).  I took him to puppy school, I taught him to sit, down, stay (he knew other commands but I didn't practice them so he lost them). I was the one who took so many pictures he developed a love for cameras and would pose and whine when seeing a camera until you took his picture.

He loved digging and would do it for hours if you'd have let him.  And he loved licking. The air, your hand, your leg, anything.  He'd lick so much a white foam would form on his bottom lip.

After a vet visit when he was only a few months old, it was me who noticed his face swell up and insisted that my parents call the vet. Come to find out, he was having an allergic reaction. From then on, whenever he got a shot, he had to have some Benedryl as well.

When I went away to college, I liked talking to my parents, but it was my puppy who I missed.  It was my puppy who I made my mom put on the phone so I could say hi.

During grad school when I moved home, my parents went to the shelter and fell in love with another dog. It was me who said don't get him (although he was adorable).  It was me, and only me, who said not to get the second dog.

But they didn't listen.

And it was me who said "I told you so" when the new dog BJ (we didn't name him) made Cappy's life miserable. It was me who recognized the only way Cappy would be able to play with his soccer ball that he LOVED was to trick BJ into going outside.  It was me who tried to give Cappy the attention he'd originally received and still needed/wanted but could no longer get because the new dog stole it all.

And it was me who when just after his 10th birthday he got sick, insisted we take him to the vet.  It was me (and at times my parents) who forewent sleep to stay up all night with him.  It was me who said no, he isn't suffering, we shouldn't put him down.

And it was me who was overruled.  I called for an update to learn my sister and mother were on the way to the vet to put him down.  I rushed out of work for a final chance to say goodbye.

And when the vet said he wasn't suffering but didn't have a good quality of life, it was me who regrets not speaking up for Cappy and leaving with him then and there.

Instead, I had to be the one to hold him when the vet gave him the final shots.

And it was me who stayed in the room with him after everyone else had left, apologizing for not being stronger and saying goodbye.

May 20th marks the second anniversary of his death.  And I still miss him.  And there are times, like now, that I still burst into tears thinking of him.

He was alive for my engagement but wasn't alive for the wedding. I missed him then and miss him now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vlog 2

So it is time for vlog talk!


The prompts for this week:

1. Why you don’t vlog?
2. What is your makeup routine? Show us.
3. Tell us the story behind your kid(s) names or blog nicknames.
For more information on VlogTalk or to sign up for to have the prompts emailed directly to you each week go here.

So none of these worked for me.  So instead I am telling the story of how we came to name our fish!

I hope you enjoy ... and please be kind!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Dollars and Cents

(So this post is a little self congratulatory.  I apologize for that. But I need to scream something and it seems rude to tell people in the real world!)

I was very lucky regarding undergraduate school.  Between scholarships, working, money my grandma left me and some generosity of my parents', I graduated college with no debt.  Grad school was another story.

My whole life I knew graduate school would be on my own.  My dad, wrongly, felt guilty about this.  Like he'd somehow let me down.  Not even close.  He was amazingly supportive and still is.

But I still graduated with a hefty debt.

Because my credit rating was so good, and my dad agreed to cosigns my loans, I got really good interest rates.  But even really good interest rates on a lot of money, is a lot of money in monthly payments.

When I graduated I had a few repayment options.  I could do the 10 year regular repayment, graduated repayment based on income or spread it out over 25 years but wind up paying a lot more.  I opted for 10 year basic repayment.

This meant my monthly payment was ~$731/month. Now some of my friends had significantly higher payments because they took out more money, they had undergraduate debt, and/or their interest rate was much higher.   But for me, it was a lot of money (I think for most people it would be!).

I got a job soon after graduation with a non-profit.  And I love my work.  My salary, compared to other non-profits in the area was comparable.  Now a bunch of the people I graduated with went into the private sector and made SIGNIFICANTLY more.  Of course I was a little jealous of their salaries.  But there was one thing my job had that their jobs didn't: loan repayment assistance.

Because I had a non-profit job, I was eligible for a loan repayment program from my school AND one from the state.

I have received a considerable amount of money from those two programs over the past 3 years.  Plus, D contributes a portion of his salary to my loans every month and from time to time I've written an additional check to pay off specific loans.

Last night I was looking at my bank statement online and noticed my lender didn't take the full loan payment.  Confused, I went directly to the lender's site and realized my monthly payment had again gone down!

When I started paying my debt in November 2008 until now, my monthly payment is now ~$440.  That's a savings of almost $300/month.

PLUS, I still have a few loan programs I'm expecting to receive some money from.  Which means, by the end of the summer I could have $300/month as a loan payment.

D and I are very careful and try really hard to not have to use savings to pay for anything.  But realistically, we are using one salary to pay for two people, we do occasionally dip into savings. 

Except for big purchases, we no longer have to do that.  That is amazing.

I'm so proud of myself and D for paying off this debt so quickly.  It isn't easy.  And there are definitely things that we are denying ourselves in order to do it.

But I'm still proud.

Do you have debt that you are working hard to pay off?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Book in Review

When I first started blogging (you know, three months ago!) I would from time to time post reviews of the books I was reading.

Now I am not a professional book reviewer. Not by a long shot.  But I figured I love getting recommendations for books, so maybe others would as well.

Through that, I was very fortunate to meet Beth Hoffman, the gifted author behind Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (you can read the review here and find Beth here).  Having loved her book, and becoming twitter "friends," I thought it was only appropriate to ask for a recommendation when I found myself without a book to read.

Her recommendation, A Gracious Plenty, had me concerned.  When someone else on twitter saw the recommendation, they said it was a book lacking in dialogue.  I am a reader who craves dialogue and at times (embarrassing to admit) will skim over imagery.

But Beth recommended it and I didn't want to not read a book she recommended.  So I did.

And I was mesmerized.  A Gracious Plenty is about a woman, Fitch, who accidentally gets burned very badly when she'd very little.  As a result, she becomes somewhat of a recluse and tends to the cemetery where she is able to speak with the dead before they can lighten and "move on."  The one thing she can't do is touch them and that's what she craves more than anything.  She's an outcast in her community, partly by her own doing, and finds love and friendship with the dead.

It's a beautiful written book where each word seems immensely critical.  In an effort to be honest, I always try to find something less than "perfect" to point out.  But honestly, I am having a hard time.  Much like Beth's book, my biggest criticism is that it ended!

I'd strongly recommend.

A Book in Review Grade: A

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My New Obsession

I think I am addicted to vlogging.  And I have Kate at Mommy Monologues to blame thanks.

And now, it's gotten even better worse.  I just got a new computer that finally has the ability to take videos.  AND .... I can now edit the videos.

Call me obsessed.

It's amazing, though to be honest I have a long way to go until I am challenging Steven Spielberg.  But I can do simple things.  What kind of things you ask?

Well, I was going to tell you.  But I think I'll hold off.  You see, on Tuesday, our second "vlog" is due!  This time we were given three prompts. Well, unfortunately for me, none really fit.  So I've modified a prompt and am going to create a vlog along with the new gadgets I've discovered.

D has even agreed to be in the vlog.  Though it may just be his voice that you all get the privilege of "meeting."  We'll see ... (He's now asking to use a voice modifier so you can't recognize his voice ... too cute.)


Do you vlog?  Why/why not?  You know you want to ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vlogging ... What Came Over Me ?!?!


So not perfect but for a first vlogging attempt, not too shabby.  The end got cut off but I am saying thank you to our creators: Mommy Monologues, Mommy is in Time Out,and My Time as a Mom and that I was excited to meet all of you!

After my horrible experience at the doctor's office yesterday (can read about it here) this is an exceptionally scary prospect.  But alas, I'm in.

So welcome to IDoTheeWedSara's first vlog. I just got a new computer that has a microphone and video camera.  Unfortunately, the words/my lips are slightly off but this is as good as it gets right now.  (The sound might be a little low as well ... be nice!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mental Health Day Needed

I am so in need of a mental health day.  I mean really.

Even though my blog is a secret from my family, I still recognize that there will likely come a time when my family learns of this.  So anything that I think could be used against me in the future, I unfortunately have to edit out.

That said, yesterday was a hard day.  Though I enjoyed seeing my mom and she seemed genuinely happy to see D and myself.  It also makes me wishful that next year I am pregnant on Mother's Day.

As some of you may remember, I have been having trouble with my heel lately.  I've also had a lot of trouble actually getting an appointment with my [new] doctor.  So I was thrilled when there was a cancellation

He was horrible.  I mean it.  Horrible.  Made me feel worthless.  Actually made me cry ... but not in front of him.  Even though my heel symptoms do NOT match up with his diagnosis, that was what he stuck with.  He has attributed everything to me not being thin.


And believe you me, he was shocked when all my tests came back "good." EKG--good.  Pulse--good. Breath sounds -- good.  Blood pressure? Tiny bit high ... not surprising since this @** of a doctor started telling me over and over and over again that I should really consider gastric bypass surgery (my sister and father had it).  Even after I told him I didn't want it.  Also not surprising that my pulse was a little fast ... I was trying to not cry ... or scream/kill him.

I had blood drawn and I am 99.9% convinced that it will all come back normal--and he will be shocked.

He also talked down to me and dictated he wanted me back in 6 months to weigh me and take my BP again.  Again, my BP wasn't actually high.  And there is no way in hell I am going back for this man to make me feel like crap again.

He's calling on Wed with the blood test results ... that message will be going to voicemail.  I need a referral for an ENT.  Once I get that, I'm switching doctors.

I get that your doctor should be concerned with making sure you are healthy.  But shouldn't he also make sure he isn't f*cking with your psyche too?

I am beyond hurt.  And humiliated.  And perhaps it is just adding to it to put it on this blog (so please be kind with comments!).  But there it is.

Seriously needing a pick-me-up.

Update: Blood work came back.  Nurse left a voicemail saying everything was great then started reading my results.  Sucrose (i.e. diabetes) ideal. Potassium, ideal. Sodium, perfect. Cholesterol a little high (her words).  She left the numbers and I did some further research.  The LDL is the number to be most concerned about and mine is "within ideal range."  Works for me.  In my opinion, I've been vindicated!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Gift for Me!

UPDATE: So we all know that blogger crapped out over the week.  I had saved all the emails I received from blogger and went through and reconstructed our "comments."  I promise you, every comment that you made did go through even though it doesn't appear below.  The lucky winner was number:

And the 11th comment was from:

Thanks to everyone who entered! Please check out my next giveaway coming soon!

Have you had the pleasure of meeting one of the sweetest "mommy bloggers" around?  Her name is Kim and she is the mommy behind Mama's Monologues (click here to go visit, I'll wait!) and mommy to three boys, though she's angling for a girl one of these tries!  I am not sure where Kim and I "met" though it was probably a twitter party.  Kim and I instantly clicked.  We are very similar people and of course, have become fast blogger/twitter/online friends.  (Though we both hope to meet in person someday!)

When I told Kim I was having a month of "love" inspired giveaways in honor of my first wedding anniversary (right around the corner!!!) she told me she had just recently opened up an Etsy store and very graciously offered up any piece of her jewelry that I wanted.  I had to resist the temptation to ask for everything!
So feminine!

Love the colors
Very Kennedy-esque I think!

Now you know from past giveaways that blue is my all time favorite color.  Fortunately for you, since blue may not also be your favorite color, the necklace I liked the most was not blue but rather pink.  Kim had a very sweet offer for me, she'd send me the necklace in blue but offer a pink version to my readers.  Did I mention how nice she is?!?!

So as always, I needed to ask Kim some questions about her Etsy shop and her inspiration!
I admit, I'm obsessed with accessories. I love jewelry! I keep seeing certain pieces in the stores that I liked, but they were the wrong color, or too bulky, and just not quite right for me. Then I got the idea to try to make some on my own, using my likes and my style. Eventually it turned into something more that I wanted to share with other people. I figured if I had the same concern about pieces sold in stores, then I was sure I could please my customers with special orders and custom designs!
IS IT DIFFICULT GETTING INSPIRED SURROUNDED BY MALES? (did I mention she has a hubby and three boys??)
I actually think that helps me, as strange as that may seem! Since I live in a house full of boys, I think it made me more girly. I guess it's my way of making up for not having a girl to share all of the feminine things with!
Yes, I saved the tissue paper to use again!

My blue necklace!
Have you noticed that one of my favorite things about "gifts" is the wrapping?  Kim's wrapping was so lovely I had to take pictures!  

Now in my reviews I am honest and will tell you if I have any "concerns" with the item.  And I was completely ready to tell you that for me, the necklace was a little long.  It didn't quite hit where I would have liked.  But that was me wearing a button down shirt.  The next day when I wore a plain shirt the length was perfect!  I think it really depends on what your preference is.  The great thing is that because of the materials Kim uses, you can shorten the necklace, like I did when wearing the button down, to fit your "necklace mood" that day!  Although my necklace is blue, one of my readers will receive the same necklace in pink:

The links are silver but the beads are pink.
Because she is just that nice, Kim is also offering all of my readers a 20% discount for everything in her store!  Just enter "WEDSARA" at the checkout.  This offer will be good through the entire month of May.  And she is willing to customize orders and still offer the discount!  Make sure you check out her Etsy store and get something (maybe a late Mother's day gift??).

This contest is open to people in the US or Canada only.  If your email is not visible in your profile, you must leave it in one of your entries!


  • Visit DayDreamingDesigns Etsy store and leave a comment telling me your favorite item.
EARN MORE ENTRIES! (You may do any or all of these in any order.  
Leave a separate comment for each entry completed.)
  • 2 Entries: Follow IDoTheeWedSara on Google Friend Connect publicly
  • 2 Entries: Follow Mama's Monologues on Google Friend Connect publicly
  • 1 Entry: Make DayDreamingDesigns a favorite on Etsy
  • 2 Entries: Like IDoTheeWedSara on Facebook
  • 2 Entries: Like Mama's Monologues on Facebook
  • 1 Entry: Follow IDoTheeWedSara on Twitter
  • 1 Entry: Follow Mama's Monologues on Twitter
  • 2 Entries: Tweet about this giveaway and include #mamamurogiveaway (maximum 3x/day and leave a comment each time!)
  • 5 Entries: Blog about this giveaway (one time).  Include a link to your blog post as a comment.
Giveaway ends Saturday, May 14th at 11pm EST.  Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will have 24 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be selected.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rude Much??

There is a chance I might delete this after I finish writing ... D (as editor today) will decide.

Today I had to go to the post office to mail an application for my new passport (even though my passport is still valid for FIVE years ... stupid me for changing my name!!!).

Anyways. When I get there, two post office workers are helping two customers. One of these customers was on his cell phone. (Now to be fair to him when I arrived he'd already discussed what he wanted.) However, I have a huge pet peeve about people talking on cell phones while waiting for any kind of service.  It is NOT that important.  Know how I know? Because if it were, you wouldn't have time to stand in line!! (Ok there may be some exceptions to this, please don't yell at me if you are an exception.)

Now in order to understand why this was particularly upsetting, I need to tell a quick backstory.

A few years ago, before D and I met, I started to become more Orthodox/observant.  I won't go into the reasons why I did and why I no longer am, they are irrelevant here.  But as a Jew, and as a former observant Jew, I am very sensitive to how we are perceived.  When someone is featured on the news (say for example Bernie Madoff!) who is Jewish, I am affected.  I feel like his behavior is attributed to all Jews.  And I feel shame.

Ok we're back.  Did I forget to mention this kind gentleman in the post office was Orthodox?  And speaking in Hebrew?  When I walked in he looked around the room to make sure there wasn't anyone there who could understand him.  And so he kept talking.

There are many problems with this.  First, you should pretty much always assume that someone can understand you!  For instance, even though I am far from fluent in Hebrew (seriously, your toddler knows more English than I do Hebrew), I could pick up that he was counting something.

Second, just because I am not "dressed Orthodox" (for a married woman traditionally that would be long skirt, long sleeves and hat/wig) doesn't mean I am not.  And it also doesn't mean I'm not Jewish.  Or that I just happen to understand what you are saying!!

Third, it is incredibly rude to talk on a cell phone, while being helped, in another language.  (In my opinion this just adds insult to injury).

Fourth, I happen to live near a very large Jewish population.  I know and am friendly with some Orthodox people who are absolutely lovely.  However, I am sure these postal workers have interacted both positively and negatively with Orthodox Jews.  And this interaction probably only strengthened his negative opinions of Orthodox Jews.  I hate that this happened.  And although I don't agree with a potentially negative opinion of an entire group based on a few interactions (to be discussed later), I can understand.  And it's difficult.


Now the feisty Sara almost would have made you all proud.  I had my cell phone in hand.  There was still another woman in front of me so I wasn't about to be called.  I almost called my mom (who speaks about as much Hebrew as me) and said "Shalom, Ma shlomech?" (Hi, how are you?) VERY loudly so the guy would hear me.

But I didn't.  I chickened out.  I didn't want to "start."

Instead, I was just very nice to the postal worker when it was my turn (same guy).

What would you have done??

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm a Double Agent...

...Can't you tell?

So I blog and love it.  When D and I are out and something happens he'll remind me I can blog about it (still waiting for Comcast situation to be resolved .. that could be a whole novel!).

But it is a secret from my family and almost all of my real life friends.

I am winning contests or getting items to review that friends/family notice.  They ask where I got said item(s) and I lie ... sort of.  I usually tell them I entered a contest online.  Which is true.  But a serious omission.

But I enjoy having this to myself.  I still self-censor a bit.  But it's nice that my family doesn't know about this.  It's nice that I can write what I want and not have my mother call me to ask me why I said what I said.  D usually doesn't even read my blog (though I usually write as though he will ... just in case!)

Am I being dishonest? (yes) But enough so that I should feel guilty? (maybe?) I dislike GREATLY lying to my parents.  This may be the longest I have actively kept something from them.  I've even done it in front of them (on my laptop) without them realizing.

Which makes me feel like I am living two lives.  I'm *, my parent's daughter, a sister, friend, co-worker.  And then there is Sara, a wonderful, funny, intelligent, (haha ... I'll stop!) blogger.  I am really both people.  But not simultaneously.

Does your family know about your blogging?  Or are you, like me, leading a double life?


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Honey v. Vinegar

I am sometimes very direct, which I wrote about here.  But I am almost never mean, and never intentionally.

I have never understood the necessity of some people to be mean.  I've always been someone who followed the mantra "you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar." 

So it is especially difficult for me when I encounter meanness, or rudeness, that is wholly unwarranted.  Now that isn't to say I can't be rude or mean.  I'm not perfect and don't claim to me.

But I don't enjoy turning every conversation into a fight.  And I don't enjoy surrounding myself with people who do either.

It almost seems like some people take pleasure in making other people feel miserable.  Some people who perhaps never learned a healthy or normal means of interacting with others.

So as a society, as friends, as family, what is our responsibility?  Do we try to challenge these people or simply shrug our shoulders and say "that's just how they are?"

I've grappled with this in many different instances.  Sometimes I'm in public and someone is being incredibly rude.  Do I speak up in defense of the "victim?"  Or do I say it isn't my place and let it go?

For instance, on our honeymoon there was another newlywed couple at the next table.  The bride, who was most definitely a bridezilla, kept making comments to her hubs about the waitress.  We had the same waitress and thought she was wonderful.  At one point I overheard bridezilla say she was going to complain to the manager.  I turned to D and said we have to wait around because that isn't fair to the waitress.  In the restaurant's gift shop I spied and saw her comment card which bashed the waitress.  A few minutes later, D and I were leaving and the waitress was talking to the manager upset because she didn't understand what she'd done wrong.  I interrupted and let the manager know that the waitress was great, it was the bride who was horrid.  (Just for irony sake, guess which bridezilla was staying in the exact same hotel as us ... figures!)

I guess I could have spoken up during dinner.  But this seemed like the best way for me to handle the situation.  But what about for people you interact with more regularly?

Am I alone in this?  Thoughts?
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