Spinster: Women Supporting Women

This post was inspired by Spinster by Kate Bolick, who explores singledom with famous women who fashioned life on their own terms. Join From Left to Write on May 5th as we discuss Spinster. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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From Left to Write is one of the best things I have ever found via blogging. It has opened many a door (erm or maybe a book) for me, but I have to fully admit with the end of B1’s first year in school, a pregnancy that has been rougher on me than I expected, and a tight turn around on three books for the book club, I just haven’t been able to finish the last one or this one. I know my posting has been sporadic at best, and I have no expectation that it will get better once B2 is here, but I am going to make an effort to write quality content when I can, thank you for sticking with me.

Now, back to the book post!

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t really relate to the “spinster” title. Nick and I have been together since we were 20 and we’ve been married for most of that time. What I can relate to with this book is that women are expected to do certain “life moments” in a particular order, and they get questioned all the time, while men don’t.

Over time the mentality of society has changed, you don’t necessarily need to get married right out of college, and then have kids after that. There is much more acceptance for the woman who wants to travel and not settle down. Or the women who wants to focus on her career instead of having a family. While you will probably still have that relative that will ask you at the family get-together what you are doing with your life and when you are going to get married or have babies, etc… the general acceptance in society is there.

I have found however, at least in the north-east, that the woman who decides that she does in fact want to get married young and have babies young is judged. It’s as if she (or I) is being judged for not helping other women break ground in changing the ways society view women and what their roles should or shouldn’t be.

For me, I have friends that have married young, have had babies young, friends that never want to get married, friends that don’t want to have children, friends that want to travel the world before the settle down, friends that want to travel with their partner, friends that want to travel with their kids, etc…

This life would be pretty boring if we were all the same, I hope that someday women can just find it in their hearts to support the woman standing next to them, whether or not their lifestyle is one they would want.

Dataclysm: How Do We Choose Our Relationships?

This post was inspired by Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, where he analyzes online data to find out that people who prefer beer are more likely to have sex on a first date. Join From Left to Write on October 9th as we discuss Dataclysm. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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I will be honest, I haven’t quite finished this book yet, it is pretty fascinating, even for someone who has never used an online dating website. I think one of the themes that stood out is why we choose our partners, and for the sake of this post, and friends?

Do we choose based on looks, first impressions, etc? I think sometimes that we make our decisions based on what we’ve seen during our lifetime. Do you hang out with a group of people who constantly parties? Maybe that is what you are into, but would you naturally make that decision?

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For me, my life growing up wasn’t super structured, there was a lot of uncertainty, and I can see that in the relationships of my former friends and family. I craved the structure, someone who was comfortable with being settled and not having this really fast-paced lifestyle. To me this is not boring, this is real life.

Sure, we do exciting things and have taken fun trips, but I love the fact that Nick and I can sit at home and watch a movie and have fun. My husband is one of the most sensitive and responsible people I know. For a lot of people that translates to boring, but not for me. I grew up in a chaotic lifestyle, and this is exactly the type of life I want to raise my child in.

I also have chosen my friends to be similar, I don’t like having people who are unreliable in my life, if I can help it. It’s taken quite a few of my adult years to cut out the people who aren’t reliable or supportive. This doesn’t mean that my friends have to be in the same situation as me. Some of these friends are single and have yet to had children, and yet I am closer to them than I was with some friends that are married with children. Now, even though the friends circle is a bit smaller, I have a group of friends that I know I can count on 100%, no matter what the situation is.

Did you choose a partner with a childhood similar to yours or completely different? What about friends, do you keep all your old friends around even if your views aren’t the same?

Five Things Friday: Thoughtful Posts

Five Things Friday

While I would argue that all posts, for the most part, are written to get you to think about something, I picked these 5 posts to feature in this weeks round-up because they are either things I have been thinking about lately, or topics that have been a part of my life.

Marriage Shouldn’t Work – The Wannabe Athlete

wannabeathleteI know Callie’s post is old, but I still love it. I’ve been talking with a good friend lately about marriage, about how some people don’t realize that relationships take work and effort and that it is not a fairytale. No man is going to come sweep you off your feet and keep you on this pedestal for the rest of your life, it’s just not realistic, and too many people want to be constantly wooed. Personally, I don’t want a man who is going to be making grand gestures all the time, because eventually they won’t be grand gestures and I will expect more and more. Instead, I want a man who will help me change the sheets at 3 am when our son gets sick. I want a man who will try all my new recipes, and laugh with me when we realize how truly terrible it is. I want a man, who at the end of the day, is someone I can laugh with, someone I can go out and have a great time with, or we can stay in and still have a great evening with a pizza and movie.

I also really like Callie’s point about protecting your marriage, 10 years ago you couldn’t go find your high school/college boyfriend or fling on facebook, and that was a damn good thing. It is so easy to have someone make you feel special and wooed through a text message or email, but that will only last a short time, eventually they too will stop trying to woo you. Also, check out this post, it has some other great points.

The Guilt Prison – Determined. To Be…

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All of Jolene’s posts make me sit and think all about what is going with me and my life, but this especially speaks to me currently. I have a lot of guilt about the miscarriage and the aftermath. Things have obviously changed, and life has gotten better, but that doesn’t mean I don’t carry the guilt with me. Or the guilt that came with emotional eating for far longer than I care to admit, the guilt of how I let my sadness affect my relationships with my husband and other people I love.

On Unfriending – The Lunchbox Diaries

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Colleen’s post says what a lot of us think or feel. How crappy we feel after spending time on facebook and looking at what all these other people are doing. Based on this post and Callie’s post I think we’d all be better off deleting the whole thing all together.

Is BARBIE unapologetically herself? – Carla Birnberg

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Carla has written multiple times about how great it is to be unapologetically yourself, and now with all the media surrounding the Barbie Sports Illustrated business she weighs in with her opinion. What do you think about what she has to say?

Click.Snap. – Love Life Surf

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Christine’s posts about yoga are some of my favorite, and in this post she talks about her old yoga videos and how they allowed her to see the progress she has made. I know bloggers give other bloggers a lot of flack for progress pictures, etc… but this proves how I feel about them. Regardless of how fit you might think someone is they might be looking to improve or not realize they’ve improved, and videos or photos can really help you see the changes.

What are your favorite posts this week? 

Young Love

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I am sure that you’ve read one of the million posts regarding marriage and age, and just like fitness and health there is no one size fits all situation. Two of the most popular posts that I’ve seen are Vanessa’s on what you should do instead of getting engaged at a young age and Emily’s on why she got married young.

While I think that Vanessa’s post has some very important, I think it is treating marriage at 23 as black & white. So this is my story, and my thoughts on young marriage.

#TBT College Kelly & Nick

#TBT College Kelly & Nick

Nick and I met in college through a mutual friend. I had gone through a serious of bad short-lived relationships, although now I am not sure I would even call them that. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but I was happy to meet a new group of people (Nick and his roommates) and to develop more real friendships.

That spring, Nick and I were both still on campus and it was my sisters graduation, I invited him to come hang out with me for a bit, everyone assumed we were dating (we weren’t), we just were good friends. During the summer I was going through some stuff with my best friend and I needed some advice and someone to talk to, someone from the male perspective, and I called Nick.Things just sort of progressed. We started talking more and more and then we started seeing each other. Things just got serious very fast.

Fast forward back to school starting, it was Nick’s senior year and my junior year (we were the same age, I was a year behind due to transferring and losing a ton of credits). I had a lot of obligations for clubs on campus and my sorority, and in the fall it’s all kinds of crazy. We had a huge fight, and in my typical style I said it was over. We didn’t talk for months, it was difficult because we still had a lot of mutual friends. At a mutual friends birthday we ended up talking and for the next few months we just talked, we took things slow and ended up getting back together. That was scary for me, and a lot of our friends expressed their dissatisfaction about it.

That summer was the hardest, my best friend passed away and I was a mess. Not only did Nick move to Boston, so did 95% of my friends, only 3 of the core group of people I hung out with were actually in my graduating class. I was angry and sad all at the same time. I spent literally all my free time in Boston with Nick. We had talked about marriage and looked at rings, Nick had stood by me through one of the most difficult times in my life thus far. I knew that he was a keeper, but I also witnessed a ton of unhappy relationships in my family and how mean those people turned after divorce. I didn’t want to have any part in that.

Marriage to me is sacred, you honor it. Marriage is not always easy, it takes constant work. You need to communicate and spend time with each other, and to continue to give to that relationship like you did when you were dating. Divorce isn’t always the answer, I truly believe that people (old and young) don’t realize that marriage can be hard and that you go through shit that may make you want to walk away, but getting to the other side, that’s the beautiful part.

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We got engaged when I was still in school, I turned 24 two weeks before our wedding and Nick was still 23. Five and half years later here we are. In a much better place then when we started dating. I’ll be honest, we’ve had some rough times, we’ve been through some situations that really test your relationship. At the end of every day I am grateful, and Nick’s support through the miscarriage has made me even more aware how great of a partner I picked. I am grateful for the hard times, because we wouldn’t have been able to get through this without those times.

Did I miss the fact that I couldn’t just pick up and travel wherever I wanted or that I couldn’t blow all my time and money on a fad or something completely ridiculous? Absolutely not. We traveled a bunch, we spent our fair share of time roaming around Boston, finding cool bars and restaurants. If nothing else, I am grateful I got to experience all those things with my best friend and my partner.

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Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

This post was inspired by Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey written by The Countess of Carnarvon. Learn more about the family who lived in Highclere Castle, where the popular British series Downton Abbey is filmed. Join From Left to Write on December 17 we discuss Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

The winter time is my absolute favorite time to read books. A fire in the fireplace, the lights on the Christmas Tree twinkling, a blanket and a good book. Sounds pretty perfect to me. December’s book for From Left to Write is one that I am sure many of you would love to read, history buff or not.

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I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t seen a single episode or moment of Downton Abbey, I would love to, but honestly I just don’t have time to watch any other shows. I do love history and will jump at any chance to read a book with some sort of historical significance. Since I can’t relate the book and the show I decided to pull from a part of the book I can relate too. Catherine was by no means poor or anti-social, but the changes to her life once she married Porchey were incredible.

I grew up in what I call a very “American” life. My parents backgrounds were pretty normal, spanish, italian and irish. We had a modest house and cars. I grew up in Vermont, but my relatives were all pretty much in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California.

Then I met Nick, who is very Greek with many relatives still in Greece. Many of his family members speak only Greek, and the have many different traditions that I never even knew about.

I am still learning, even after 5+ years of marriage, on etiquette, the different food specialities, and I can barely speak the language, let alone understand it. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

There are some traditions in his family that I love. For Christmas, all the stocking items are from Santa, this includes some small and large items. All the presents under the tree are from friends and family. Santa was something I have struggled with since having B. This is the first year that he really understands what is going on. I want him to believe in the magic, but I also want him to know that Santa isn’t the be all end all magical man who gives you what you ask for no matter what. I also want him to know that family and friends love him and care about him enough to pick out a gift that he will love.

In my family almost all presents were from Santa, and I will say it was confusing when even the gifts at my grandmother’s house were also from Santa.

In my family, two Christmas traditions I love are Christmas Pj’s opened and worn on Christmas eve. And every year we would all get ornaments that were all similar but individualized. I love these special touches, and who doesn’t love new comfy pi’s?

I love the way we have blended our families traditions, and I am sure as B gets older other things will have to be blended and changed, but Nick and I respect each other’s traditions and we will always make it work.

What are your family holiday traditions? How did they change when you got married?

Max Downtown: Celebrating 5 Years

I’m still crying over the fact that my baby is two years old.

In an effort to feel better I want to share my WIAW or WIAF(Friday), the lovely meal that Nick and I shared for our 5 year wedding anniversary.


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Awkward hands!

We ended up choosing Max Downtown, one because we love the Max Restaurant Group (they own Max Fish where I had my birthday dinner)

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Two, it was a recommendation from my favorite drink chooser, Cait.

It was pretty much fate that we picked Max Downtown, because it was right next to the hotel Nick and I spent our wedding night, The Goodwin, which is no longer in business, but it was nice to have that memory.

Not the best photo, sorry!

Not the best photo, sorry!

The place was all but deserted when we walked in, I mean Hartford isn’t exactly the bustling city that Boston is, especially during a holiday weekend, but it was weird that there were only two other tables seated when we walked in.

Nick and I started with drinks, a glass of champagne for me and the Kentucky Lemonade for Nick.

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We started with apps, but since Nick and I have some very different taste buds we each had our own appetizer.

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Caesar Salad for Nick, I see fishies…

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I went for the amazing option, the Wok seared Ahi Tuna. I loved my Tuna Tartare at Max Fish and this is a completely different dish and just as wonderful. The Tuna was seared to perfection and I loved the crust, just enough kick for me to notice, but not to ruin my dinner.

I didn’t grab a photo of Nick’s dinner, but he ended up getting the Sirloin Special which came with Beer Battered Onion Rings.

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I went with the Filet Mignon Oscar Style. It came with Jumbo Crab, Parmesan Crusted Asparagus, Sour Cream and Chive Potato Puree, and Bernaise sauce.

The steak was cooked to a beautiful medium rare, and the crab was sweet and full of flavor, however the sauce completely overwhelmed the dish, I wish it had a drizzle instead of what seemed like a heavy-handed ladle pour. I could only eat about half and boxed the rest to send home. Those potatoes though, heaven on a plate.

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For dessert we had the S’mores Brûlée (this meal is looking a lot like mine at Max Fish, huh?). Creme Brûlée is one of my favorite desserts and I love seeing a twist on a classic. The marshmallow was easy to eat with the brûlée, my only complaint was that the crackers were not crispy, they were chewy, not stale, but I was definitely missing that crunch factor.

The waitress also served us each a glass of sweet champagne, on the house.

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Nick and I leisurely worked our way through dessert and then headed home at the late hour of 8 pm, (party animals!).

I enjoyed our time at Max Downtown, and loved our entire meal. While pricy, it is definitely worth it for a special occasion, and I am glad I got to spend it with my main squeeze.

What would you order at Max Downtown?

Five Years!

Don’t forget my one true shoe love is in stores today. I suggest you hustle to your nearest retailer then have a blissful run home!

I can’t believe it has been 5 years since Nick and I were married. It seriously has felt like it was forever ago and also like it was yesterday. Crazy how that happens. We’ve had an apartment, bought a condo, bought a house, sold our condo and have had an amazing little boy. Life is beautiful and I am so happy to share this journey with Nick. I didn’t have a blog when Nick and I got married so I figured I would share a few pictures of our wonderful day.

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The Groomsmen & Nick

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THe Bridesmaids & I

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My sister, sister-in-law, and good friend. These girls I love to death!

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In the limo on the way to the church, this is one of my favorite photos and those earrings were lent to me from our jeweler, amazing.

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Dad & I. I was so incredibly nervous, not to get married, but to be the center of attention, and my dad was trying to remain composed.

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I love this moment between Nick and his Papou (grandfather).

To give some background, we got married in a Greek Orthodox church. The ceremony consists of two parts which are distinct and separate from each other: The service of the Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage. Everything in the ceremony has a special meaning and significance, especially the repetition of each act three times to symbolize and to invoke the mystical presence of the Holy Trinity.

The highlight during the service of the Betrothal is the exchanging of the rings. The priest blesses the rings. The koumbara (religious sponsor) then exchanges the rings three times. The exchange signifies that in married life, the weakness of one partner will be compensated by the strength of the other, the imperfections of one, by the perfection of the other. By themselves, the newly betrothed are incomplete, but together they are made perfect. The rite of the betrothal ends with the priest praying for betrothal of mutual promise, officially given before the church, may prove in true faith, concord and love.

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The Wedding begins as the white candles are handed to The Bride and The Groom. These candles symbolize their spiritual willingness to receive Christ.

The crowning is the focal point of the marriage ceremony. The crowns are signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the sacrament. The wedding crowns (stefana) are joined by a ribbon which again symbolizes the unity of the couple and the presence of Christ who blesses and joins the couple and establishes them as the King and Queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice and integrity. The priest takes the two crowns and blesses The Bride and The Groom. The Koumbara then steps behind The Bride and The Groom and interchanges the crowns three times as a witness to the sealing of the union.

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The common cup, the cup is denoting the mutual sharing of joy and sorrow, the token of a life of harmony. The drinking of wine from the common cup serves to impress upon the couple that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys, as well as sorrows, and that they are to “bear one another’s burdens.” Their joys will be doubled and their sorrows halved because they will be shared.

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Parents & Grandparents

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The ceremonial walk. The priest then leads The Bride and The Groom in a circle around the table on which are placed the Gospel and the Cross. The Bride and The Groom are taking their first steps as a married couple, and the church, in the person of the priest, leads them in the way they must walk.

You are never announced as man and wife. The bride and groom kiss but this is when you are married. It is obviously different from a traditional Catholic marriage ceremony.

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Coming out of the church

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Nick’s sister was our Koumbara and my maid of honor, and we had a bit of an emotional moment following her speech. They have such a wonderful relationship, I can only hope the same for my children.

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Nick’s best man was ready to give us some laughs! Another wonderful speech.

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My sister and I, love her.

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This photo is amazing and currently hanging in our living room. Bride and Groom, Maid of Honor and Best Man.

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First Greek dance of the night.

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Greek Dancing

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Father/Daughter Dance

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Mother/Son Dance

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Nick and his Dad play a lot of gigs with their Greek band, and they both ended up sitting with our band and played during the wedding.

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My man has moves. Nick is dancing, the money on the floor is a traditional Greek thing, people throw money during special dances etc… some couples take the money, some give it as tips to the band. We chose to do the latter.

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Nick, his sister and I dancing.

I had such an amazing wedding, so happy to be here 5 years later. Here’s to 95 more, I love you.

Have you ever been to a Greek wedding? What was your favorite part?