Introducing Gret-Chin: My Double Chin

Ok guys, things are about to get very silly, and very real over here. Despite the fact that I’m fairly thin, I have some things about my body I’m insecure about: my belly, my underboob, and my double chin. I generally have a very round face, a baby face if you will. But it’s the double chin that makes its debut when I least desire it that kinda drives me crazy. It’s the one thing I can’t really hide, because it’s literally my face (or, well... right under it). 

Introducing Gret-Chin: My Double Chin

After my sister lovingly teased me about it several times, I decided if this double chin really wanted to come around, I’d better name her. She’s like a stray cat you can’t help but love, or at the very least accept. So, I decided to name her Gretchen. Or as I like to call her, Gret-Chin. Aside from being an amazingly hilarious play on words (if I do say so myself), it’s also a Mean Girls reference. And we all know I love those. 

Introducing Gret-Chin: My Double Chin

Related: Polly Pocket Iron-On DIY

This means that if there’s a pic of me with a double chin, she gets a shout out. If anyone teases me about it (lovingly or otherwise) I won’t care, because I’ll simply tell them “that’s Gretchen”. And seeing my double chin in pics doesn’t make me feel bleh anymore, because it makes me laugh. Oh, that Gretchen... 

She’s like that one friend that always makes a silly face and ruins an otherwise nice photo. She’s also like that friend that occasionally shows up even though she wasn’t really invited, but you accept her anyway. She’s the Pillsbury Doughboy, Phoebe’s Smelly Cat and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man all in one. 

Introducing Gret-Chin: My Double Chin

If you’re looking to name your double chin, I have some suggestions. 

-Felicia (as in, Bye Felicia) 

-Vin-Chin-Zo (like Vincenzo)

-Neck-ole (like Nicole)

-Flab-ulous (because it’s fat and fabulous)

-Cather-Chin (like the amazing name Catherine- I’m not biased at all) 

Introducing Gret-Chin: My Double Chin

When it comes to the things that bother us, we can either dwell on them or we can accept them. I’ve chosen to accept my flaws, and to also work to improve them. Hatred never really helped anyone, and I think that by acknowledging my flaws, I’m able to move on from them. Because at the end of the day, I have much more important things to worry about than the occasional double chin. And you do too!

So, what do you think about this idea? Am I straight up crazy, or will you be giving your flaws funny names to accept them? Let me know in the comments below!

The Truth About Planning a Wedding

Wedding planning seems quite glamorous. You get to try on gorgeous wedding dresses, you get to pick flowers, look at beautiful venues, create a stellar guest list, be the center of attention. There are so many little, amazing details, and as an added bonus, you get to tell the person you love that you want to be with them forever and ever. It's going to be the greatest day of your life. No pressure. 

However, no one expects how unbelievably stressful wedding planning can be. I sure as heck didn't expect it. I love planning parties. A wedding is basically just the biggest, greatest party ever, right? Riiiiight. 

The truth is that there's a reason why so many couples say they're happy it's over. While most engaged couples start out with a dream in their heart and a twinkle in their eyes, they quickly realize they are in over their heads. And guess what- it's ok! So whether you are currently planning, already had your wedding, or still willing your boyfriend to ask, here's the truth about wedding planning. 

Forget wedding planning advice- learn the truth about planning a wedding! I’ve got the low-down on budgets, expectations, and timing. Read along to get advice, or at least find someone who gets you! #weddingplanning

Your budget will double and it'll make you want to cry.

They always say, take your budget and double it. And people scoff. I know I did. "No way," I thought. "I can't even afford to double my budget." Next thing you know, you're eating ramen and walking 5 miles to work because you had to invite your college friends, wanted the better photographer, or just underestimated how much everything would cost. Hint: it's probably almost double what you think it'll cost. 

Your family members will have their own expectations for the day.

Although it's your wedding, everyone thinks it's their wedding. But remember this: unless they're willing to pay for it, they don't have a say. That means that if your parents think you should get a nicer venue for your rehearsal dinner, they need to pay for it. If your grandmother wants a church wedding in addition to your outdoor ceremony, she needs to fund it. Or, if your mother in law thinks that each person needs an invitation with hand calligraphy instead of printed, she needs to pony up the cash. If you did what everyone wanted, you'd go crazy, broke, or both. So choose your battles and what you'll allow other people to dictate for you. Chances are, when you ask them for for the $1k or $7k to fulfill their request, it won't be quite so important to them. 

Your partner might not care about the little details and it'll make you want to cry.

Even though it's so important to you that you decide between satin or linen napkins, your partner might not care, at all. Same goes for picking individual flowers for the centerpieces, whether the women should get corsages or pins, and if the bridal party should wear open or closed toe shoes. And at some point, the unreasonable bridezilla in you will rear her ugly head and make you want to cry. You might even actually cry, and say things like "do you even care about this wedding?!" The truth is that with all the tiny decisions you're faced with (that seem monumental to you) there's a great chance you'll get overwhelmed. And your partner may get overstimulated and give up on decisions. It's all normal, it's all ok, and it'll all get figured out. 

You won't be able to find your dream dress, or be able afford it, and that'll make you want to cry.

There are so many gorgeous dresses out there. There's one for you. And that's what makes it even harder. There are SO MANY dresses and you can only choose one. It's ok. Try on as many as you want, but create a deadline for making a decision. The only thing worse than wearing the "wrong" dress is wearing no dress, or wearing the only last-minute choice you could find. Don't do that to yourself. You might be in the bridal salon, or watching Say Yes To the Dress, near tears. It's a stressful thing, and those gorgeous dresses change from something so fun to those mean biotches in high school that made you second guess yourself. Don't give the dresses that power. You'll find the right one for you. Finding a great guy you want to spend your life with is even harder, and you found that, right? And I bet he thinks you're beautiful no matter what.  

Did I mention you'll want to cry?

Because you will. Over napkins, over your dress, over your mom hurting your feelings. You name it, it'll make you want to cry. Movies, touching photos, videos of a puppy getting rescued. It'll all bring you to tears. So go ahead and cry. Or eat a bowl of ice cream. You'll get over it. And it's ok to cry. Wedding planning is emotional! 

Your wedding isn't as important to everyone else as it is to you.

There will be people that you really thought would be there. And they won't. And you'll definitely be mad, and you'll definitely judge them. But that's ok, you can decide whether or not to go to their wedding. Kidding! Kinda... Just know that just because people don't make it doesn't mean they don't care about you, no matter how much it'll feel that way. And the truth is that you'll be so busy on that day, you probably won't realize. Plus they'll see photos of what they missed out on and they'll have serious FOMO from then on. 

Time is a tricky little thing.

It's constant, and yet it seems like it can go quicker or slower. Waiting for your fiancé to ask you to marry him for 12 months? Brutal. Planning your wedding in 12 months? Where did the time go! You'll think you have so much time to plan, until you suddenly realize you don't have nearly enough time. Print out one of those timelines and check things off as you go. And also know that there will be things you do in an opposite order. That's ok too. We picked out our rings before we picked out our wedding song. So be it. As long as it gets done, that's all that matters. 

Forget wedding planning advice- learn the truth about planning a wedding! I’ve got the low-down on budgets, expectations, and timing. Read along to get advice, or at least find someone who gets you! #weddingplanning

The little details will kill your budget.

Favors, wedding programs, calligraphy, tips for the staff. These are all things that'll throw your budget off track. Create a list of things you need to pay (like tips) and the things you want to add on (like wedding programs) in order of cost and/or importance. Then, add them in as you go along and see what budget you have left. Or, just throw caution to the wind and keep buying until you empty your bank account. That's an option too. 

Everyone and their mother will ask how the planning is going.

And they don't really care that much, so don't start ranting to them about the florist picking lilies when you told her how much you hate them, and did you mention how the venue changed their carpeting and now it doesn't match the table linens anymore? How could they do such a terrible thing to you on this most important of days?! Instead, be prepared to answer with some generic cheerful but funny stuff, like"it's going well. Luckily we can agree on what to watch on tv even though we can't agree on which color linens to get." This way, people aren't afraid to get married, or to ever ask you anything again. 

Don't sweat the small stuff.

"What do you mean blush pink and carnation pink look the same," you'll wail. But your partner won't know what to say. And your mom might not, or your sister, or your friends. And that can get stressful when you're trying to make a decision. So, if you find that everyone is baffled and doesn't know which pink to go with, or they all say "I don't know, it looks the same to me," chances are your guests will feel exactly the same way. So, seriously... don't sweat the small stuff. There are so many parts to a wedding and in the end it'll all fit together beautifully. No one will notice and if they do notice and have the gall to point it out to you, eff em. Someday they'll get married, or their kids will, and they'll see how hard it is. With so many big decions to make, don't make yourself crazy (or broke) over the small ones. 

You'll want to elope about 17 times.

You'll joke at first like, "wow, we could have eloped and gone to Europe for a month with all this money." Then you'll get stressed and say, "if we had eloped we wouldn't have had to deal with this stress." Then it'll turn into "hey if we elope now this will all be over and we don't need to worry about Aunt Tricia arguing with Uncle Hank and if grandad's allergies will act up in our outdoor ceremony or if it's ok that your mom wants to wear off-white. Let's just run away, ok?!" Somehow you'll power through it all and enjoy your wedding day. And you'll agree that it was all worth it. 

Pinterest is a trap.

I love Pinterest just as much (or more) than the next gal. It's great for finding ideas and inspiration. However, it's also a perfect way to feel inadequate with your wedding choices, find unnecessary ideas that'll blow your budget, and cause you to pick out trends that you actually don't even like. So, use Pinterest wth caution. Remember that most events you see on there were done by a professional, and even though something might not look expensive, it very well could be. So do your best, use it for inspiration, and don't let Pinterest bully you. 

Phew, that's a lot! I hope you're all laughing and nodding in agreement right now. Or, thanking your lucky stars that you're still single or that your wedding planning nightmare is over. The truth is that although it's stressful, you've got to find the fun in it. This is your wedding. Make the planning process fun. You'll (hopefully) only do it once. And if you have to do it twice? That's ok too. You're better prepared the next time around ;)

What's one thing you didn't realize about wedding planning until you were too far into it? Was there anything you'd do differently? Any advice for couples in the midst of wedding planning? Let me know in the comments below!

Appreciate Where You Are

Appreciate where you are, because it's going to take you where you need to be. Yea, I know. I'm gonna get a little but woo woo on you today, but I am consistently amazed by the way life plays out. The small coincidences and seemingly insignificant moments that somehow add up to the magic of your life. Sometimes you're in a shitty spot, and you're like "why me? Why here, why now?" Sometimes there's no answer. Other times, it's a really crappy answer. Usually, it's something that doesn't even matter, a small little drop in the bucket of your life. But sometimes, things work out and you're like, oh ok. That's why.

Appreciate where you are, because it's going to take you where you need to be. I am consistently amazed by the way life plays out. The small coincidences and seemingly insignificant moments that somehow add up to the magic of your life. Click to learn more.

Let me tell you a little example about that. Let's go back to like, 25 years ago. I was a little kid, and my parents had been looking for a new house for years. They needed it to have a separate apartment for my grandparents to live in, which was proving to be difficult. They finally found a decent one and were mulling it over. As we were looking at it, a little neighbor girl asked me where I live. I pointed at the house and said, "I live here!" My parents decided that was a sign and bought the house. That's right... my parents took housing advice from a three year old. What can I say? I've always been wise.

Let's fast forward 16 years. I was in college and took an accounting class. I went down to the bookstore armed with $200 to buy this giant encyclopedia of a book. Seriously... it was huge! A girl approaches me and tells me how she didn't realize the book was so expensive! She has to come back and buy it another day, but she can't do the homework in time for class. Before I can even stop myself, I'm offering to let her (a complete stranger) borrow my $200 textbook to do her homework. I immediately panic, like, what did I just do? In an effort to reel it back in, I tell her she has to come to the Science building with me (where my class was) to borrow it. She thanks me profusely and we go over to where my class is. She sits at a table in the common area to do the homework. I'm worried the entire time, but when I come out of class, she's sitting there waving at me with my textbook in hand. 

We became really good friends, and we had a few college parties we co-hosted together. They were almost always held at her house, and we got to meet a lot of really cool people that way. One time, we had a party at my house, in the upstairs apartment my grandparents had lived in. She brought a longtime friend, and he immediately liked the apartment and was asking a whole bunch of questions about it. I wrote it off, because we were about 21 and although we all wanted to move out, no one had money for an apartment. It turned out, he did. He texted a few weeks later and asked about renting it with a friend. We arranged a date, and he came out to see the apartment. 

He arrived alone, and I introduced him to my dad and brought him upstairs. As we're all looking at this apartment at my parents' house, the doorbell rings. I go down to answer and let his potential roommate in. I nonchalantly skip down the stairs, swing open the door, and come face to face with his roommate.

If we didn't buy that house... if my friend had enough money for her textbook... if I wasn't nice enough to lend my book to a total stranger, my life could have been completely different. The roommate at the door? Well, he turned out to be my future husband. I didn't know it then, but all these seemingly insignificant moments in my life had added up to the perfect love story. 

So, back to the topic at hand- appreciate where you are. Every single moment, every heartbreak, and every ordinary experience adds up to your life. You don't know if that random person you met will turn out to be a lifelong friend, a funny story you tell people someday, or help you meet your true love. All those shitty days in a bad relationship will make you bask in the glow of single life. And all those lonely nights crying about how you're alone (...or, was that just me?) will make you cherish a good relationship when you find it. Just get through today, and find something really fun tomorrow. It'll all be worth it in the end.

Wedding Planning Update- Just 2 More Months!

Wow guys… I am now at 59 days until my wedding!! I am so so soooo excited about everything and I’m so ready to marry my fiancé. As my wedding day approaches, I can see it more and more vividly as all the moving pieces come together. Here’s a little bit more about what happened recently.

Just 2 more months until the wedding! This month we're talking Bridal Showers, Dress Fittings, and crazy emotions. Click for the full post!

Hair and Makeup Trial- Scheduled! 

In about 2 weeks I’m heading over to my venue, which is about 3 hours away, for my hair and makeup trial. I’m bringing my girls with me and we are spending the weekend there. I’m excited for them to see the venue for the first time! I already have an idea of how I want my hair to look, but I don’t usually wear makeup so I’m a little nervous I’ll look kinda… clowny. I trust the makeup artists, but I know my fiancé likes my au naturale look, so I hope he likes my made up look too. 

Bridal Shower- Amazing! 

I had my surprise bridal shower a few weeks ago, and it was amazing!!! My mom and sister threw it for me, with help from my sister in law and my friends. They did SUCH an amazing job! I need to get some photos back from the ladies so I can do a blog post, but all we have is cell pics. Ha! I wish wish wiiiiish I had brought my camera with me that day. The shower was held at a local sweet shop, which has a really cute backyard garden. The party theme was a Disney Garden Tea Party. I loved the vintage accents my sister in law found at thrift stores, along with the teapot vases she painted. My mom made me a really cute lace umbrella, and I heard she was searching everywhere for the perfect one, which was really really cute. My sister made such cute invitations and signs, and they strung up pictures of me and John everywhere that made me cry! My dad even joined in and made a funny face-hole frame for us to take pics with. My friends got some really cute teacup tea light favors which were just perfect. The party flew by, and I was pouting at the end because I didn’t want it to be over! I can’t image how fast my wedding is going to go, but at least the quick bridal shower taught me to savor every moment.

Dress- Arrived!!!!

I was so excited to find out that my dress arrived about a month early! I went to pick it up and I made an appointment with a seamstress to have it altered. I’m really nervous about getting the alterations done, since it needs quite a few. I’m excited to see it on me nice and fitted, since the ones at the stores were all several sizes too big and had to be clipped like crazy. I’m going to attempt making my own veil, and may even do a blog post about it! And if it doesn’t work out…. then I gotta order one fast!

Suits- Purchased

Since our wedding venue isn’t too fancy, we decided a suit would probably fit the occasion better than a tuxedo. My fiance and his brother purchased their suits from Men’s Warehouse, where they were having a buy one- get one sale. Thank goodness for that, because the suits weren’t cheap!  We also picked up a belt & shoes for my fiancé, as well as a tie. I’m not sure I like the tie, but he does so I’m trying to be open minded. How much does a tie really need to match the theme? We shall see…

Car- Rented 

Since we have a whooooole lotta stuff to carry to our venue, and our car is on its last legs, we decided to rent a larger vehicle for the weekend. We have to take at least 2 people with us too, so we need to have room for them, all our luggage, and my giant wedding dress bag. Even though we didn’t want to spend the extra money, it really seemed like a good investment so we would have the space and peace of mind. 

Just 2 more months until the wedding! This month we're talking Bridal Showers, Dress Fittings, and crazy emotions. Click for the full post!

Emotions- Running High

Um, yea things are just a liiiitle bit emotional lately! I find myself crying over things really easily (mostly happy tears, thank goodness!) and I’m getting a bit overwhelmed about getting everything done in time. Blogging & working & wedding planning all alone is pretty darn stressful. But, planning is something I enjoy so I’m going to get this done! I’m also trying to remember that although the wedding is the end goal, I need to enjoy the last few months of planning, since it’ll (probably) never happen again. At least until someone else gets married, or I decide I want a vow renewal ceremony :p

 

Need to do:

Follow up on RSVP's- There's only about 10 days left to RSVP and we got about 15 cards back haha! So, we need to follow up with everyone to get their RSVP, and to make sure that they booked their rooms at our special wedding rate. I don't think people realize that the rooms will cost twice as much if they don't book before the deadline, which is in just a couple of weeks! 

Finalize all purchases- We spent this past weekend ordering a whole bunch of things, so I want to go through the list and make sure we ordered everything else we need for the wedding. Amazon Prime has been by BFF through all this, but for anything that isn’t coming from there, we need to order it soon.

Crafting Party- I want to host a crafting party with my besties so we can get some projects done for the wedding. I did a blog post about it, so this time I want to do an actual one! It’ll be fun to get together and get stuff DONE.

Create Day-of Schedules- Since the day before and day of the wedding are going to be hectic, I wanted to create a schedule and a plan for everyone with where they need to be and when, and exactly what’s going on. I tend to get stressed and the thought of everyone texting me for locations or asking me what’s happening when is a bit terrifying. I really want to hand off my phone on the wedding day and know that everything will be taken care of.

Bachelorette Party- WOOHOO! My sister is finalizing the date and plans for my bridal shower, and I’m really excited to see what we do! I can’t believe everything is flying by so quickly and we are already at this point, but at the same time that means the wedding day is nearly here, and that’s the very best part. Y’know, besides the whole happily ever after thing!

If you want to learn more about planning a Pinterest worthy party, be sure to sign up to get your FREE Anatomy of a Pinterest Worthy Party guide! It's full of helpful hints on how to pick a theme, the little details that will make your event unique, and tips to take great photos of your event. And, there's even a checklist so you don't forget anything! So what are you waiting for? Get yours now!

Overall, I think things are moving at a steady pace and going well. But, that could all change very quickly! Do you guys have any tips for making sure nothing falls through the cracks? How did you wrap everything up at the last minute? Anything to add that I might forget until the last minute? Let me know in the comments below!

Defining WellKeptChaos- Finding Yourself by Embracing Your Flaws

When I first started my blog, I intended for it to be an organization blog. I had just bought a house, and I really wanted to blog about it. It was going to be a lifestyle blog, but I’d provide all these handy tips to get your stuff organized. Hence the name, WellKeptChaos. 

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As it sometimes goes, the blog got reworked and reformed. I realized I didn’t have a passion for organization (and my house on any given day can prove that…) so I decided to go for my next passion- party planning. I did that for a bit, but then my other passion came out, which was crafting. And the blog went in that direction. I even thought about changing the name of the blog. I lined up my new social media channels, bought the domain, and just about everything else! But everyone told me they liked the old name, and so there it stayed. Somehow the name seemed perfect, but also like it didn’t fit either.

The truth is that through all these transitions, I never really felt like I found my niche or my audience. I, like my blog, wasn’t any one thing. I like to do a whole lot of everything. I have ADD and it was, again, rearing its ugly head. I wanted to do #allthethings and trying to fit myself into a box of a “diy blogger” or a “party blogger” wasn’t really doing it for me. Because the truth is, I want to talk about everything. And I can talk A LOT.

So I sat here, on this chilly almost-June day, and I felt defeated. Not just with my blog, but in general. Who am I and what am I doing? What defines me? Is it my blog, my job, my life? And if any one part changes, do I change? And I thought about that name I created for my blog, and how off it seemed, and it finally clicked. The WellKeptChaos was ME. But not just me… in a way, WellKeptChaos is all of us. 

WellKeptChaos is trying to be an adult when you really still feel like a kid. It’s trying to get your finances in order when you just want to go shopping. It’s trying to hustle and start a business when you have absolutely no frickin idea what you’re doing, but you’re not going to let that stop you. It’s all the very many pieces of your life and how they fit together and make you YOU, when they don’t seem to even make sense together. How a person can be lazy in life but dedicated in their business. How a person can love food and hate cooking. How a person can be obsessed with becoming an adult but not feel ready once they are. These are our quirks, these are our personality traits, and this is our chaos. 

But despite the chaos, despite the pitfalls, and despite the world around us trying to change us, we are doing it. We are being ourselves, we are fighting the norm, and we are trying to find our way in the world. We are changing and adapting every single day, even if we don’t feel it, or sense it, or even believe it. Every day is a change, every day has potential, and every day we learn. And although we might be panicking inside, we put on our big girl (or boy) pants and we get through that day with a smile. We pretend we know what we are doing, we have a sureness in our voice that even we don’t believe, and we pretend we’ve got our shit together. That is our WellKeptChaos.

One thing I always liked to do, and wanted to do, was to help people. And I think that with all the very many things I do on my blog and in my life, I do help people. I’m not an art teacher, but I can sure as heck help you DIY almost anything. I’m not a party planner, but I can plan a shindig that looks like it came out of a magazine- and tell you how to do it too. I’m not a life coach, or google, or the town wiseman, but that doesn’t stop people from coming to me for advice, for someone to listen to them, or someone to encourage them to get their “show on the road”, so to speak. Throughout my life, my career, my jobs, I am that person that people go to for help. It’s something I always knew but also always overlooked. By not being perfect at any one thing, I was fairly proficient in a great many things. And this allows me to help a whole lot of different kinds of people.

So who is my target audience? Anyone that needs help getting their life together. Anyone who needs a girlfriend to tell it to them straight, but with kindness. Anyone that needs help doing this thing called adulting without going absolutely bonkers in the process. She’s probably a woman, she’s probably in her 20’s-30’s, and she’s probably like me. Maybe she’s someone that wants to laugh at her failures while she cries, maybe she wants to dress better but she’s SO bad at it, or maybe she just got her apartment and she’s broke. None of these things are bad, but they aren’t what you see on the internet, or in magazines. Everything looks perfect on there, but I can assure you, it.is.not. And that’s ok, because no one is perfect. That’s a fact, and you can quote me on that.

So you do you, boo. Be weird, be crazy, be broke, be stylish, be lazy. Be everything that you are, that makes you who you are. Keep improving, keep striving, and keep navigating your way through adulthood. We’ll all figure it out someday, someway, and at our own pace. But for now, let’s figure out where the heck to start. And let's do it together.

So, let's get this helpful thing started. Tell me your #1 challenge right now, and I'll do my best to give advice, help you out, or create a blog post about it. Is it something simple, like how to refinish your dresser? Something harder, like how to update your wardrobe on a budget? Or something really tough, like how to move forward when your mind is filled with doubts? Let me know in the comments below, or contact me.

I can't wait to go on this journey with you!

In a world of photoshop, social media, and unrealistic expectations, it can be hard to feel like you're good enough. Click to learn how a particularly bad day helped me find myself- and how you can too!