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I HATE WEDDING PLANNING

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I know, I know, that sounds super dramatic. But so far, wedding planning hasn’t exactly been fun for me, which, if you know me, is a little surprising. I LOVE this kind of stuff. (And if my wedding planner is reading this, NONE of this is a reflection of you. You are awesome, so patient and helpful, and I am so relieved to have you as part of my wedding planning team! xo!)

I got engaged in the end of February (read that story here) and have made what feels to ZERO progress wedding planning. We haven’t set a date, we have no venue, nada. I’m basically failing at it.

Well, that’s not completely true. In the past ten months (holy crap, I’VE BEEN ENGAGED FOR TEN MONTHS?!?! Get it together, Salaun! Plan that wedding!), I’ve chosen a wedding planner, set my budget, seen about a bazillion venues, done lots of pinning on Pinterest, and started the beginnings of the registry process (last weekend I registered for ONE thing on Amazon…progress!).

When it’s all written out like that, it feels like I’ve actually done SOMETHING, but for 10 months of being engaged, I definitely feel like I should have done a bit more. (We’ve always planned to get married in August/September of 2015, so we haven’t postponed the wedding or anything due to lack of planning, we’ve just shortened our allotted planning time).

But back to the hating wedding planning thing…I wouldn’t say that I currently hate wedding planning. I think I’ve finally reached the turning point where I’m excited about it again (don’t get me wrong, I was SO excited to get engaged, I have absolutely LOVED being engaged ever since, and I am so pumped to marry to Charlie… it’s just the planning an actual wedding part that is more the headache.) I went to a good friend’s wedding last weekend — Congrats to the Givens!!! — and it helped propel me out of the grumpy planning phase. BUT, before that turning point, every time I dove into wedding planning, I came out on the other end stressed, having a bridezilla-lite freak outs on the regular, and just not wanting to do it. At all. And also feeling extreme guilt every time I saw friends or acquaintances because the go-to conversation starter when you get engaged is “How’s wedding planning going?” My response was always, “Not any further than the last time we talked! Soooo, pretty much nothing.”

And here’s why…

Inside my head, and sometimes on the outside (*sheepish smirk*), I’m a princess. I don’t have one of those wedding binders with all the details already planned for my dream wedding, nothing like that. But, like probably every girl out there, I want to have a FANTASTIC wedding. In my head, I’d love to have a $100k wedding (imagine all you could do!!!), but practically speaking (and even if I had an extra $100-grand to throw at a wedding), that is a bit excessive. Frankly, as princessy as I can be, spending an astronomical amount of money on a wedding just doesn’t make sense to me. I think that amount of money can go a lot further on a number of other things (like buying a house, taking an epic vacation, paying off student loans, getting a new car, investing in something, etc.).

But let’s be honest, the princess in me is at odds with the financially practical side.

We’re planning to get married in the Santa Barbara area (right now, our top venue choice is in Camarillo). This area is one of the most expensive places to get married. It’s a destination wedding location for many people. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $30k (excluding the honeymoon), while the average cost of a wedding in Santa Barbara is nearly $45k (minus the honeymoon). I just started my own business, so I want my wedding to be as economical as possible. Pretty tough when you’re planning a wedding in the 6th most expensive place in the country! And then, when I go to see venues that fit in my budget, they fall dramatically short of the wedding I’m picturing in my head. So, this beginning step, finding a venue, mostly ends in disappointment. None of the venues (aside from the one that was half my entire budget) feel like the right now. Oh, I also have a ginormous family and want all my family and friends to be able to come, which doesn’t alleviate the budget concerns at all.

I do think that choosing your venue is one of the toughest pieces of the wedding planning puzzle. The venue sets the stage for the entire wedding, so it has to feel just right. You have to be able to visualize your entire wedding there. And then it has to fit the price too.

I will also say that right now, in my life, everything is huge and life-changing. I started my own business shortly after getting engaged, I’m remodeling (aka nearly completely rebuilding) my house in Santa Barbara, oh, and I’m planning a wedding. All, huge, things. If you didn’t already know, my fiancé and I don’t currently live in the same city either. I’m based in Santa Barbara, while he’s full-time based in Hollywood (my work does allow me to split my time about 50/50 between the two cities though). So, wedding planning also involves planning to move my life to a whole different city. Another HUGE thing. (Don’t worry, SB peeps, I’ll still be in Santa Barbara about 1-2 days a week, but will most likely be based in Hollywood, rather than based in Santa Barbara). So, as you can see, wedding planning has often been put on the back-burner, for obvious reasons.

Like I said above though, we’ve narrowed our venue options down to a top favorite, and I’m feeling good about it (I’m just seeing one more option this weekend before making my decision). And the wedding I went to last weekend really re-inspired me to get back into the wedding planning game, and I can tell I’ve rounded the corner out of “I hate wedding planning!” town, and it feels good. (Trust me, I know there will be more freak outs, but over all, I’m in a better place with it.)

If you’re feeling like you’re in a wedding planning rut or you just do not like it, it’ll change. It might take 10 months, but it will. And a good thing to keep in mind is that while yes, your wedding is a reflection of you and your fiancé and you want it to embody everything you both are in your love and fabulousness together, but it’s also a reflection of where you are right now, at this point in your lives. It doesn’t define you or dictate your worth as individuals or as a couple, and it doesn’t have to be the end-all celebration of your life together. Saying that out loud seems like an “oh duh” statement, but I think we get wrapped up in trying to make this day something more than it is. Don’t get me wrong, I think weddings are incredibly meaningful, precious, and wonderful, but it doesn’t define your relationship or your future as husband and wife. And that’s something to keep in mind (talking to myself here!).

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Weekly Uncut Blog: World Cup Final!

 

Last weekend, Germany won the World Cup Final against Argentina. It was a really good game, going into extra time, with Germany securing the win with an amazing goal by Mario Goetze. Honestly, his shot was GORGEOUS. The game was competitive, and fun to watch, but it would have been really nice to see an Argentine (specifically a Messi) goal and a bit more high stakes game-play. But like I said, very good game. Did you guys watch the World Cup? How about the Final?

Also, if you’re interested in any of the outfit items in my video, here are a few! Unfortunately, I bought some of these things a little while ago, so they’re not longer available, but I’ve posted similar ones below.
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Weekly Uncut Vlog: Fourth of July Weekend!

Fourth of July is one of my absolute favorite holidays!!! I love everything about it…BBQs with friends and family, being outside, fireworks, and being able to wear an inordinate amount of flag clothing without having to explain myself. 🙂 Obviously the most important part is the reason WHY we’re celebrating. For me, the Fourth of July is not only always filled with heaps of fun, but also profound appreciation and reflection on all the amazing things that make this country such a wonderful place to live, and I’m grateful to call it home. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.

VidCon 2014!

I went to VidCon again this year — and had a blast!

Last year, I went with a Community Pass, which was a great way to do it the first year. This year, I went big and did the Industry Pass. As a YouTube creator, and someone who works in the industry, the Industry Pass was definitely the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, the Community Pass was a great way to see what VidCon is all about, but there just such rich content available for the Industry Pass holders, not to mention some great networking opportunities.

I seriously love VidCon. Not only do you learn a lot, but it is so much fun! Plus, the YouTube community is a really neat thing, so it’s awesome to be a part of that in real life, not just via the Internet.

Here’s a few pics from VidCon 2014!

GHEE & BROWN RICE / QUINOA PASTA (#JuneBlogADay #8)

Two things I’m digging lately, ghee and Trader Joe’s brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta. photo5

1. Ghee.

I’m pretty new to using ghee and have been thrilled to find out that there are a bunch of health and cooking benefits. Basically, ghee is clarified butter, and is made by simmering butter and then separating the liquid part from the chunky party (yes, very technical description) — the liquid part will solidify once cooled, and that’s the ghee! (I smell a future DIY project….). Ghee is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, but can also be used as a replacement for butter or oil.

First impression…tastes a lot like butter, but with a consistency very similar to coconut oil. I used it on top of my pasta tonight with a pinch of salt and some parmesan cheese.

Here are just a few of the great things about ghee:photo6

  • It has a high smoke point (482* F), which means you can cook and fry with it at high temperatures and it will not break down or burn.
  • It does not spoil easily, so it doesn’t really require much refrigeration, if any.
  • Apparently, when ghee is made, the milk solids are separated (that’s the chunky part I mentioned above) and removed, so people who are lactose intolerant can usually have ghee with no issue.
  • Ghee is super nutritious: high in Vitamins A, D, and E, a rich source of K2 and CLA.
  • It’s rich in fatty acids, which are a good source of energy. It also has butyric acid, which aids in digestion and decreasing inflammation in the body.

If you know me, you’ll know I LOVE butter (a friend has even endorsed me for “Butter” on LinkedIn…it’s that serious. But more on that later…), and ghee is kind of butter 2.0. I will never give up the real thing, but ghee is a great (healthful!) addition to my cooking. Order yourself some Ghee: Trader Joe’s Clarified Butter (Ghee), 8oz.

2. Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa Fusilli Pasta. (Order here!)

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I’m Italian. I was also an athlete my whole life, which means I used to eat pasta ALL THE TIME…dinner, microwaved for breakfast the next morning, you name it. And being a young, spry lil thing that ran my butt off in soccer practice and other sports nearly every night, it didn’t matter one bit how much pasta I consumed when I was younger. Nowadays, not so much. Today, pasta is more of a treat. I try to eat clean 80-90% of the time, and pasta does not factor into that clean eating plan. The grains I usually eat are brown rice and quinoa. So, you can imagine how THRILLED I was to discover quinoa and brown rice PASTA at TJ’s. And I kid you not, the only ingredients are brown rice and quinoa, and guess what, those count as clean eating! I honestly feel like I’m cheating each time I eat it — it really tastes like the real thing.

First impression…It completely satisfies any pasta cravings I ever have. It’s so good! Now, if you know your pasta, you’ll notice that it’s not EXACTLY the same as the real thing…with normal pasta, it’s smooth and your teeth cut through it easily. The brown rice and quinoa pasta is “stickier” and the tiniest bit chewy, but man, for an imposter, it does the job.

Ultimately, if you’re trying to eat healthy but absolutely needing to get your pasta fix, try this stuff out. Plus, it’s organic!

Tonight, I added a touch of ghee to my boiling water instead of olive oil, and then put a little bit on the finished pasta. YUM.

Healthy & Refreshing Appetizer/Dessert (#JUNEBLOGADAY Post #4)

The other night, I whipped up a VERY TASTY appetizer that was inspired by one of the dishes we ate at AOC. It also doubles as a healthy and refreshing dessert!

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Here’s what you need:

1 peach (sliced)

1 apricot (chopped)

Handful of pomegranate seeds

Dollop of ricotta cheese

Squeeze of half a lime

Mint sprigs to garnish

Aside from the full fat ricotta (you can use low-fat if you want, but trust me the real stuff is AMAZING…and worth it), this is a pretty healthy appetizer/dessert. Enjoy!

HOUSE PAINTER (#JUNEBLOGADAY POST #3)

My family owns a rental house in town, and we recently decided to give the place a mini-makeover. So, for the past two weeks, I’ve been helping out by painting it. It’s a four-bedroom, two-story house…and we’re doing ceilings, walls, and trim all different colors…so, no small feat. THANKFULLY, I was able to convince a friend to help me out. If I had to do it all by my lonesome, it’d take me 2 months and I’d have punched at least 3 people in the face by now…yeah, it’s suuuuuper fun.

I realize that I’ve only had a small taste, but this kind of steady physical work is exhausting! As silly as it might sound, this project has given me such appreciation and respect for people who work physically demanding jobs every day. Yes, your body probably gets used to it to a certain extent, but man…I’m a pretty in-shape person and painting whoops my butt…blisters, paint in my eyes/hair/nose/ears, jacked up fingernails, hand cramps, back muscles all knotted up and spasmy — YES, FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS, I KNOW — you get it, though, it’s tough!

(At the same time, there is something almost soothing about doing repetitive physical work like that…letting your mind wander and focus on something entirely separated from what you’re actually doing.)

To commemorate almost being done with painting, here are some really glamorous selfies. ENJOY.

Dinner at AOC (#JUNEBLOGADAY Post #2)

 

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On Sunday night, we went to AOC in Los Angeles for dinner to celebrate Charlie’s sister’s birthday! I’m pretty sure we ate one of everything off the menu. And it was INCREDIBLE.

Here’s some of what we ate (apologies for the photo quality — most of the time we ate them up as soon as they hit the table so snapping pics was tricky!)…

Cocktails

The “Oxaca Sour” – la penca mezcal, angostura, lemon, vanilla & egg white

Appetizers, Small Bites, & Main Courses

3 cheese plate

Bacon-wrapped dates

Marinated olives

Brioche, prosciutto, gruyère & egg flatbread

Grilled peaches, ricotta & pistachio aillade salad*

Curried cauliflower*

Spanish fried chicken*

Hanger steak with gorgonzola butter & shallot rings

Half roasted chicken

Baby broccoli with garlic & chili*

Desserts

 Vanilla pot de crème with spanish chocolate & marcona almonds

Butterscotch pot de crème with fleur de sel & salted cashew cookies*

Chocolate torta with coffee cream*

Medjool dates

Candied almonds & hazelnuts

Assorted house-made chocolates

Mini s’mores bites*

* = SUPER FAVORITE (let’s be real though, I loved everything!)

June Blogging Challenge! #juneblogaday

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I’m doing a June blogging challenge with two of my friends (Madeleine and Jess) in which we plan to blog each day. It’s June 2nd (well, technically June 3rd because it’s past midnight) and this is my first post…so I’m off to a great start…

We’re currently reading through 99U’s book Manage Your Day-to-Daywhich is all about establishing routines that help you maximize your focus and reach your creative potential. The book is a collection of essays from some pretty smart (and successful) people, like Seth Godin, Gretchen Rubin, Stefan Sagmeister, and many more. So far, I’ve found it to be incredibly insightful (I highly recommend it!).

In one of the first chapters, the various authors emphasize consistency when it comes to your creative practice. Don’t wait for creativity to strike you in order to do your creative work. Build a routine for it. Do it consistently, pure and simple. Over time, it will improve. Over time, it will get easier. Over time, you will achieve a lot. This basic idea of cultivating a consistent creative practice resonated strongly with each of us, and thus, the DAILY June blogging challenge was born.

…now I gotta go write day two’s post.

…and probably day three while I’m at it.

CONSISTENCY.