Friday, July 31, 2009
The bar exam is over!! Sam took the exam on Tuesday and Wednesday in Baltimore this week. He said there were parts he felt really confident about but there were a lot of difficult multiple choice questions. It was stressful, but now its over. We'll find out on November 6th what the verdict is on his scores. It seems far, but I think it will be nice to not think about the bar for a little while.
In related news, my promise to not bug Sam about wedding details until after the bar exam is officially over! Kidding. Sam was really open to looking at ideas I had while he was studying. I just tried to keep planning down to a minimum in his presence. But now. . . . I get to ask for all sorts of opinions with none of the guilt!! And he will be free to give me the ultimate guy responses, like "I dunno" or "Whatever you want."
Actually, Sam has been thinking really hard about what our first dance should be. We are big living room dancers, so I think we will be testing lots of songs out. We want something upbeat. Yes, romantical ballads are beautiful, but they are also BORING to watch after 30 seconds. My friends, Heather & Ryan, did a tango for their first dance, which was the opposite of boring. In fact, it was quite sexy and the guests loved it! I don't think that Sam and I will tango, but we do want to be fun. Maybe this. . .
Too sexy!! hahahaha
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This is a very big week for us! Sam will take the Maryland Bar Exam on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. We are taking the train up to Baltimore tomorrow evening to get settled and hopefully have a quiet night before the exam. Sam has been studying since mid-May doing Barbri classes and practice exams. Up until a week and a half ago, he was still working at his job during the day and taking the bar prep classes at night. Since then he has been putting in 12 hour days of studying.
I think Sam has been handling the stress of the exam really well. He has been following the Barbri study schedule to the letter and hasn't gotten behind. Also, he has done really (and I mean REALLY) well on the practice questions and exams. I'm so proud of him.
When we spoke about it last week, Sam said he was excited about this week, not because of the test, but because the test will be over. He is right. This is a scary exam, but once it is finished, he is done with law school and studying the law. That calls for a big toast!
Here is to the last time we will see this. . .
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
I just got an email from theknot.com telling me that we are 14 months away from the wedding. WEIRD!! I feel like I should let The Knot know that we are also a week and a half away from Sam completing the Bar Exam. We are 35 days away from going to the North Country for my friends, Michelle & Casey's wedding, and my sister's bridal shower. We are one month and two weeks away from helping my youngest sister settle in at GWU. At some point in the next month and a half, we will be looking at apartments in NoVa. We are also 85 days away from my sister and her fiancé's wedding.
The email said I should work on my budget. Thank you, The Knot, for the reminder.
I just started my job a few weeks ago as a policy analyst for the federal government. Most people just smile and nod when I attempt to explain what a policy analyst does, and to them, I should just smile and nod back. (In case your curious, a policy analyst looks at government programs and policies and does all sorts of statistical and analytical techniques in order to conclude whether or not the program/policy operates effectively, efficiently, and/or equitably.) When I see myself explaining my job description, I imagine the poor, hapless listener staring at me and hearing Charlie Brown's teacher, "wa waa wha waaaaa!" So I just leave the description at what I have said and 99 percent of the time, the person I am talking to does not press me to divulge further.
People do like to hear about the benefits, though. I will tell you about my favorite- a maxiflex schedule! I work nine hours for nine days every two weeks, as opposed to the normal eight-hour, nine-to-five everyday. Working nine-hour days, allows me to work my 80 hour schedule in nine days, instead of ten and then I get every other Friday off. That's right, kids. Three day weekends every other week! (Insert heavenly choruses here.)
"But Rachel, how does that relate to wedding planning?"
Good question. It doesn't have to do with wedding planning, unless I need it to involve wedding planning. If I am in a pinch, having every other Friday off gives me the opportunity to meet with vendors and avoid the weekend rush of crazy DC brides. See below. . .
Scary, scary ladies. . . EEK!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sometimes I go into magazine and wedding blog overload. I find myself either so excited about too many potential details or I am completely non-committed and ready to elope. I need to back up and look at the big picture. I am marrying the man I love- my best friend. When I am able to look at the big picture the decisions regarding the color of the flowers and whether we have a band or a DJ seem pretty superficial. I don't really need to plan anymore for at least a few more months. We have a reception venue that caters, a photographer, and soon a church. We are one evite and an ipod away from a wedding! We don't need to rush to book the other vendors and and we can save more for the wedding. I want to be able to relish our engagement and enjoy the planning.
Therefore, I think I am going to start my posts with a countdown to the wedding. This may drive me crazy in about a year, once we get down to the three month marker, but for now I think it will remind me that I am in no hurry. When I say 430 days out loud, it calms me. I've got time.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I am very excited to announce that our rehearsal dinner has been booked! Sam's father has graciously offered to host our rehearsal dinner. Since our engagement, we have been tossing around ideas of hosting our rehearsal dinner at a restaurant that means something to the two of us. We were able to narrow it down to two restaurants- Old Ebbitt Grill and Brasserie Beck. We chose Old Ebbitts because we went there for one of our first dates (see below) and they have AWESOME crabcakes! Plus it is a piece of DC history. Beck's is one of our favorite places to celebrate special occasions. Sam likes the beer selection there and I like any places where french fries (frites) are a legitimate appetizer. Unfortunately, after looking at the fine print in Beck's contract, we realized the minimum there was not in our range. So we decided to try and proceed with Old Ebbitts and we requested a formal quote. I submitted the request last Wednesday and on Thursday, received a response and formal quote, which we sent to Sam's father that evening. The next morning, I got a phone call from Old Ebbitt telling me that we were booked in the Cabinet Room and I just needed to sign the contract. I was stunned and thrilled! It was an awesomely easy step in planning our wedding and I hope the rest of the wedding details will go as well. (I doubt it, but a girl can hope!)
How Sam and Rachel first got to Old Ebbitt Grill:
We are very excited to have our rehearsal dinner at Old Ebbitt. Sam and I had one of our first dates there. Three weeks into dating, which was a 14 degree day in February of 2007, Sam asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. Sam told me that along the GW Parkway and the Potomac River there is a trail that we can take as far as we would like to go. We parked his car at his office in Old Town Alexandria and started our walk North. It was cold out, but the sun was shining and we were having a good time. After walking for about 45 minutes, we started to approach Reagan National Airport, where the yellow and blue line metro trains stop. Sam said that if I was tired or cold, we could get on the metro and take it the rest of the way into the DC. I told him not to worry because I am a North Country girl and I can handle cold- the fact that I was bundled up in a wool jacket, earmuffs and gloves helped, too. Another 45 minutes later, I may have regretted that decision as we approached the 14th Street Bridge. The bridge crossed the Potomac River and connected Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. It was our gateway to the arbitrary finish-line. Unfortunately, during the ten minutes it took to cross the bridge, the wind decided to kick up and it reminded us that walking dates in February are not for the meek. We were barely able to hear our conversation as we were subjected to windburn, sunburn, and numb fingers and toes. I also realized that although I had dressed appropriately, Sam definitely had not. He was wearing some leather gloves with a light jacket and a polo underneath. He was frozen to the core. When we got across the bridge, we hurried over to Old Ebbitt Grill, a historic restaurant in DC that is near the White House. After two hours and fifteen minutes/seven miles of walking, I was definitely ready for heat and food. We settled into a corner table that looks into the atrium, where if I remember correctly, there was a wedding reception going on. :-) We split a bottle of pinot noir and ate a fantastic meal and then very wisely decided we would take the metro train the seven miles back to Old Town. By the time we got back to Sam's apartment, the sun was no longer out and we were both exhausted. We napped for a solid seven hours, which I think is a fabulous way to end a cold, yet beautiful day!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
When Sam and I got engaged, it wasn't long after that we started discussing who would be in our bridal party. I would be lying to you and myself if I tell you that I didn't know for months, if not years, who I would ask to be a bridesmaid. I think Sam knew as well. He emailed his friends the week after we got engaged and I think they all ready have a bachelor party in the works. ;-)
I, on the other hand, waited to ask until this past weekend. I waited for a few reasons - 1) We got engaged in April, right before finals, so planning wasn't supposed to be my priority at that time; 2) Three of my girls were still incredibly busy with their own wedding plans and one of my friends has been volunteering in Colombia since last September - I didn't want them to worry about helping me plan for an event that was more than a year and a half away. We have time.; and 3) I wanted the manner in which I ask my friends to be in my bridal party to be special, because each of them means so much to me.
Fast forward two and a half months. I realized last weekend that I didn't want to wait any longer and I am sure a lot of them were scratching their heads as to why I hadn't mentioned it yet. So I started searching for cute ways to ask. I thought of making greeting cards with sassy/quippy text, such as, "Thanks for this awesome taffeta monstrosity, Rach! So glad I agreed to be a bridesmaid!" to "I don't care what they say, sherbet orange looks fabulous on everyone!"
I also found this piece of literary genius - Bridesmaid Contract. Read it. I'll wait. . .
Although I found it to be HILARIOUS, I read a lot of articles about how upset some other bridal parties had gotten after receiving the contract from some seriously evil and passive aggressive brides. I didn't want to risk it. Also I wanted to make sure my girls knew that our wedding was going to be fun and relaxing and besides looking fabulous, they had nothing to worry about. So I adapted the heinous contract above so that it suited me and my ladies and emailed it to them. (What happened to the greeting card? Email is so eco-chic and budget -friendly. Two things I am trying to be.) Ahem. . .The Email:
Saturday, July 4, 2009
No wedding news today. I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Independence Day! Today is my FAVORITE holiday! I love getting together with family to have a BBQ and watch fireworks! Unfortunately, this year, the Maryland Bar is putting a cramp in Sam's and my patriotic celebrations. I am heading to work, while he studies away. Hopefully, when I get home the roof of our building won't be booked and we can watch the fireworks from there. Here's a photoshopped taste of the awesome fireworks in DC! (Source)