Long weekend shenanigans

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Ah, long weekend. What a blessing. As a student I always looked forward to these days, when I’d be able to spend days doing as I pleased, and not excited about the extra time it gave me to work. It wasn’t a particularly eventful weekend, but we filled it with fun things, times and people that we love – and I guess that’s pretty important in life.

Friday we actually started out at the gym. I wish I could say it was dedication, but it was really just because we’ve been slacking so badly. The allure of warmth as the mornings get colder, and the sun rises so much later. By the time we leave these days, it may as well be the middle of the night and I wouldn’t know the difference. It was nice actually. We don’t gym together anymore. We go at similar times before work, but do our own things as our morning schedules are different. It was nice to be pushed a little harder and laugh together at gym again.

We were having guests Friday night, but we were smart and did all our Shabbos cooking Thursday as if Friday wasn’t a public holiday at all (don’t worry, we’re no superheroes, and even we couldn’t avoid that “Shabbos Rush” feeling). We spent the afternoon at one of my favourite places Kirstenbosch, which is especially lovely on days when the weather is so glorious. I somehow persuaded Greg to take a bit of a walk up towards the protea gardens, they’re way way up the mountain, in search of the bench where he proposed. I also wanted to find that random patch of grass he almost proposed at, which we’d never found since then – but we did this time.

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The afternoon passed with a lunch of one massive salad (I’m really not a salad person. I give funny looks to people who order them at restaurants. But I just had this craving), lounging chatting in the sunshine and playing bananagrams, another thing we hadn’t done in such a long time.

Shabbos was a great one. We had a great evening with guests we loved – you know it’s a good night when you suddenly check the time and it’s after 12! We don’t usually do anything on a Saturday night, but this one was all sorts of fun and filled with so much love (and more food!) and one of my best friends’ engagement party. I still can’t believe how so many of my best friends are getting married in one year. I love it!

Sunday was a bit of admin. I had grand intentions of getting a haircut. I usually go to this small little place at the mall, kind of secluded, kind of closed so not every passer by can see my and my long locks. But they’d disappeared and I didn’t feel like finding another one. So here I am, sitting typing this with hair down my back. After a non-successful mall adventure – almost every shop we needed to go to was “closed – be back in 45 minutes”, we had a braai at friends. Seriously, I don’t think we’ve ever been so social in one weekend!

After the braai, we rushed home because we were actually hosting a board-games night. We’d never hosted one before, but my friend and I had the idea, she organised and I offered to host. No-one really knew how the night would pan out, everyone just brought some snacks and we brought out all the games. Oh, did I mention all our friends happened to be Rabbis and their wives? Let’s just say it was interesting, and the laughs from our living room will remain a secret. We played a great round of Apples to Apples (if you haven’t played, it’s kind of similar to Cards Against Humanity. Just less dodge. Obviously), some bananagrams and even articulate. Guys seriously, a board games night with friends is seriously underrated! Next time Greg and I plan on introducing Settlers of Catan to the mix, but we might need to split up the games a bit. Lots of planning for next time.

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So when I was asked at work this morning the obligatory “how was your long weekend” and I answered “yeah, chilled” as I always do, I quickly took it back when I realised how much we’d gotten up to. What did you all get up to for the long weekend?

 

On our 2 year wedding anniversary.

Can you believe I’ve been married 2 years to this bloke? (Or rather, that he’s been married to me?) And he still makes me heart flutter.

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I certainly can’t. Friend’s and family can’t believe it either, always commenting about how it still feels like yesterday. I mean, where did the time go?

Last year I was so emotional hitting our one year anniversary. It seemed like a big momentous occasion. I even cried when Greg gave me my gift (a bracelet from his January trip to Israel, which I wanted but he said he didn’t have time to get to, with the quote from our wedding engraved on the outside, and our names on the inside. I love it). I was an awful wife and never gave him anything. We celebrated in a big way at Madam Zingara (actually, I paid for that, so I guess that was my gift).

We had plans to do a fancy spa day for our anniversary this year, but time slipped away from us and I realised it’s not about big fancy celebrations and elaborate presents. It’s about us, and celebrating our relationship: we needed to focus on that. We’re going intimate and low key tonight instead and are making a fancypants dinner to eat by candlelight, giving each other hand made crafted gifts (I’m intrigued as to what Greg has made, he’s not the crafty type – we’re exchanging gifts this evening), and maybe we’ll page through our brand new custom wedding album or watch our wedding video.

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On our anniversary, while I feel thankful for and loved by my husband I cannot help but feel appreciative of so many other people. Our family helped us pull off the most epic wedding I’ve been to. We had friends fly in from Israel, England, Australia, America, Joburg, and Durban. To those who flew in, to those who hosted our friends with places to stay and meals to eat, to friends who lifted our out-of-town friends around and for all the joy you brought to our very special day: thank you.

I try to tap in to those emotions of the day on our anniversary. Everything is still so recent on your first anniversary, and for us we were really still settling in to married life. Now we have no (ok, very few) food or kitchen dramas and make dinner like clockwork, we don’t invite ourselves out for Shabbos meals as much because we love hosting our friends and entertaining, we’ve become really adult with all the responsibilities and trimmings. Sometimes you get so stuck in routine (gym, work, dinner, dishes, shower, bed, shabbos, grocery shopping, rent, medical aid, petrol) that you really can lose sight of being in love. I think this past year really just flew by in a blur of life, work and routine.

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Recently we’ve initiated “date nights” because we always land up being so busy in the week that we don’t find the time for the two of us. That’s my new priority this year, us.

It’s been two years filled with good times, smiles and memories, challenges and tough times. I have a husband who chooses to love me, and every day I choose to love him in return. Love is a verb, they say, it’s not just a feeling. 2 years isn’t much in the long run, but I can’t help feel pretty happy and filled with smiles (ok, and some tears I’m holding back). Thank you GG for all the laughs, the crazies, the fun times, the sucky times and just for all the love. I love you bucketloads. I really am the luckiest lady. Onwards into the 3rd year of life together, side by side.

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Finally, our custom designed wedding album, by Books.Love

I got the greatest delivery at work last week: our wedding album. You might wonder why this is almost 2 years late, but I’ll give you a full run down of what happened, why, and just how fantastic this book is.

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Can you tell I was excited to open it?

You see, you pay a lot of money for beautiful wedding photographs. I love ours, and even now 2 years later, I still look back at them fondly. Not just because they capture our day, but because the are just so beautiful. I always wanted a photobook from our wedding. I’d fallen in love with a friend’s album, not the normal photobooks with a hardcover and normal paper pages, but the heavy duty, massive ones, each page on mounted board. That is what I wanted.

Our photographer did offer the creation of a photobook at an extra cost, but he wasn’t offering one of these books I wanted, and for R3 000 – R4 000, I wasn’t going to settle (because that’s a lot of money). So I’ve always been doing research, since before, and continuing well after our wedding day. There were an array of options, but they were either too expensive or not the book I wanted or I’d have to design the pages myself in Photoshop, which I honestly just didn’t have the time or patience for. Along comes an ad on The Pretty Blog for a photo album service called Books.Love.

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Enter the very lovely Cassandra. Send her your photos, and she puts the album together, sending each page to you for approval. And: she offered the book I wanted (actually, she has a variety of different books), and the price was so decent. For less than getting a book through Orms that I’d have to design myself, I’d have the book of my dreams and have someone do the hard design work I didn’t have time for. It was like my prayers had been answered.

After paying my deposit and posting we got to work. Now you must understand, handing over your beloved wedding photos to a complete stranger can be a terribly daunting task. I didn’t realise I might have trust issues until those early days. It’s difficult, especially if you’re fussy and particular, but if there’s something I didn’t like I made sure to let Cassandra know and she very kindly assisted me in putting my vision into a perfect reality.

It's one thing receiving files like this in your inbox to approve, but a whole other thing when you see it printed!

It’s one thing receiving files like this in your inbox to approve, but a whole other thing when you see it printed!

It’s difficult, sometimes you don’t like something and you need to try put your finger on what it is to try explain it. I would sometimes agonise for hours putting together an email that I was pretty sure wasn’t making much (if any sense), and worried to get an email from Cassandra saying “sorry, I actually have no idea what you’re trying to say”, except each time she presented me with an email filled with pages of my book that just worked. She understood all my ramblings and made my book perfect.

Upon delivery, I couldn’t stop smiling and couldn’t wait to open it with Greg and home. I knew the pages were going to be beautiful (I mean, I did approve them all) but what I could not have possibly expected was the excellent quality of the book. It’s sturdy and feels like it’s going to last til we’re old and gray. It’s the one thing I still cannot get over (and I’ve looked at this book over and over again, I can’t get over it!)

And behold, a very beautiful wedding album, just in time for our 2nd anniversary. (Also, I know I need to learn to use my camera and not rely on my phone)
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View Books.Love here (and the facebook page here), the different album types here, and prices hereIf you’re looking for a custom made album (for any event, it doesn’t just have to be a wedding!), I seriously recommend Cassandra. She’s friendly, helpful, understanding and really helps you create something beautiful. And who can say no to a beautiful wedding album? That’s right. No one.

Shees, Valentines Day soon? Already?

The month of love and all that. Actually, it’s almost our second wedding anniversary – yikes! I still don’t really know our approach to Valentines Day, or if we even have one. Anyway, I found these Valentines Day cards online which I thought were pretty epic that I thought I’d share. Happy love month to everyone, and here is some inspiration for next Friday.

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Movie Review: About Time

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They told me I’d do The Ugly Cry. You know, not the one where your eyes water a little bit, or you wipe a small tear. No, no. You will heave, your heart will be wrenched and you mind will run in circles. Well, I didn’t heave, but I did struggle to keep the tears from falling, and once they did, well, let’s just say they didn’t stop, and I left the cinema hoping people would assume I’d seen a sad movie and not that Greg and I had had a huge argument.

Greg actually walked in and said “if I’m the only guy in here, I’m walking out.” I knew he wouldn’t, but I actually sat wondering for most of the movie – hello? When is this supposed Ugly Cry going to kick in? Because for the most part, Greg and I laughed our way through. The loud, hearty type of laugh. Funnily, I saw so much of us in the lead characters, Mary and Tim (minus the American accent an the orange hair). At one point I laughed so loud at a point that wasn’t funny at all because it was the exact same way Greg would have reacted.

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Initially when I heard the movie involved time travel I was all “no, man. You can’t rip off The Time Traveller’s Wife” (I haven’t seen the movie, but am in love with the book). But I was so impressed. Also from the creators of Love Actually, can you actually expect anything sub-par? I’ve never seen Rachel McAdams in a better role, you wouldn;t be able to believe she ever played a meanie like Regina George. And British films are always, ultimately better. Basically: if you love anyone deeply enough this movie will touch you. Do you love your partner? Do you want children want day? Love your family? You’ll feel all the feelings.

It’s funny, I used to pride myself on not crying in sad movies when I was younger. I think it made me seem cooler and tougher. Now that I think about it, that seems a bit heartless. But I think that when you get “older” (I’m not that old yet) you have so many more experiences, so many deeper relationships, different things are more meaningful to you, and these are universal things that you feel, but when you’re younger you might not understand. At 16 I would never have been able to really fathom true love for a partner, or appreciation of your parents/siblings and the mere concept of a day without them. Deep, right?

I don’t want to give it away. But it made me think of so many things. Even this morning while driving to gym at the crack of dawn i started tearing just thinking about it. So obviously, I stopped thinking about it. I’m not going to share why exactly this movie made me “feel all  the feelings”, but it was wonderfully sentimental and touching. There is just so much natural love in this one movie.

I need to stop thinking and writing about this movie, because the tears are starting to surface, and I’m sitting at work, so it’s quite the place for an Ugly Cry, is it?

I’m not sure when this movie is going off the circuit, but please, do go see it.

Relationships: It’s not all “what you see is what you get”

Yesterday Greg and I took some time to celebrate his post exam freedom and just reconnect. It was a much needed experience that required some selfies:

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Post exam drinking party!

A post shared by Greg Gelb Magician (@greggelb_magician) on

I was particularly intrigued by the amount of social media “traction” these pictures were getting. So many likes, from so many of our friends.

But no-one knows what really happened that day. How I had such an awful day. How we fought. Had a long crying conversation together. How I expressed my concerns that we’d become boring, and a little bit distant. How I was super vulnerable and weepy and the tears just wouldn’t stop streaming down my face, even once our discussion had concluded. (And listen, I’m really not “that” type of girl)

Because we don’t air our dirty laundry. Nobody knows these things. Our Social Media profiles are like our personal little “highlights” real. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I like to remember the good times and memories. Selfies are for the smiley moments, not the mopey ones. While a difficult discussion and a bit of a cry might shape me into thinking of something differently, I don’t need to remember the sadness.

It just got me thinking, and I found it very interesting regarding what we choose to show the world. I know I do it. I love posting happy pictures of Greg and I. Certain things are for Facebook, some for twitter, some for instagram, some for the blog, and some for a combination of the above. I’ve also come across so many articles in magazines about Social Media envy. You’ve never thought that there could be such a thing? Those feelings when you see someone just got engaged/married/had a baby/bought a house/got a new job? We all see these things.

But you just don’t know, do you. I guess you need to give people the benefit of the doubt. Everybody has their own struggles, and I know that if (as the old saying goes) we all threw them into a pile, and saw the problems of others – we’d very promptly pick our own ones back up, and be very thankful for them.

Some ladies bloggers on twitter the other day hosted #nofilterday and encouraged people to share pictures of themselves first thing in the morning before their coffee, without make up, or that pile of dishes that got left in the sink, the mess in their homes. A reminder that we’re not all perfect, despite what is “perceived” online (and sometimes even in person).

Greg and I are fun people individually, and also as a couple. We like to do fun things and take pictures while we’re out, as little reminders to ourselves. Even in person we are light-hearted, laugh at one another and joke around. But it’s not always like that. Our relationship isn’t perfect. It’s just that you don’t need to parade these things into internet-universe. It’s not about being “fake” or about censoring our lives (and relationship), it’s just that some things are personal and we like to keep them private.

We’re incredibly happy and in love and all that jazz. But we’re also real, we also fight, we also argue, we also cry. Sometimes we’re mean, we make sure to apologise, to acknowledge when we’re wrong and when to listen. And sometimes we get all of that really wrong. We’re not perfect, but I like us a lot.

Looking back: our wedding stationery

A friend asked me to send her some files we used at our wedding last year and it had me looking over that “WEDDING” folder on my desktop. While initially my heart stopped beating when I saw the many excel spreadsheets entitled “seating plan” or “guests” split between Lipman and Gelb, I then found all the fun stuff. See, I designed all the wedding stuff and stationery (I guess you call it that) myself. Partly to save money, partly I didn’t really know what I wanted, partly… I don’t know, I just did it myself.

I wasn’t blogging back then, so none of this stuff made it onto the internet and the only people who saw it all were the 180 guests who were invited. So because it’s Thursday, and people do that whole “throwback Thursday” stuff, and I just decided that’s a good enough reason to share all this wedding paraphernalia, well, here you are.

The funny thing is, I cannot for the life of me find the invite to our engagement party. Which is sort of where it all began. I kind of designed it on a whim, with colours I got in an idea off the internet. A couple months down the line – and it happened to be the same colour scheme that worked it’s way through. Don’t know where the red/black/white thing came from. Maybe because I wanted things easy for my bridesmaids, in black dresses (with a pop of red). Somewhere along the lines the colours of playing cards came into the picture (Greg is a magician, if you didn’t know). I don’t know. And only recently am I discovering how dire my love for red is. It can’t be this normal. I wish I had photos of the actual invites, thank yous etc, but well, I really suck at using a camera (maybe I’ll intagram and amend this post later) but for now, you can have a squizz at the original undisturbed files 😉

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I’ll be honest, I sorta love our Save the Dates, which we emailed out.

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Our invite was double sided and printed on a silvery paper (so imagine all the white bits to be sparkly. I wanted a modern typography based invite, Greg said the invite was “his” thing and it needed to be traditional and “look Jewish”. So I did what I could and really like the result. We still have at least 50 copies, anyone want one? (by the way, those sqiggles – are our names in Hebrew.)

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These were our table numbers, going through 1 – 18, each with a diffirent picture of Greg and I during the time we dated. These were displayed in picture frames which I spray painted silver. They became the perfect frames to give my bridesmaids as gifts with a picture of us inside.

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Instead of a guestbook…

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…we did those fill in the blank things. They’re displayed in a treasure chest type box in our lounge. Whenever we meet new friends we make them fill one in. For laughs of course.

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I love how we used photographs of us throughout our wedding stationery, so our thank you had to be the same. Our photos were so beautiful also, how could we not use them? I wish I knew where those chalkboards were though…

I loved our wedding ❤

But also incredibly happy the planning phases are behind me. Phew.

Update: 30 October 2013

I found the box which has all our wedding stuff in it last night while rearranging our living room. So I figured I’d show you the “real” copies. I think they look even better 🙂