Tuesday, April 30, 2013

10 Reasons to have a destination wedding

I found this really great article on Huffington Post a few weeks ago and I thought I would post it and write about it here since obvs I'm all for having a destination wedding!!

You can read the full article here

10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding
(my thoughts and opinions are in red)

1. You can say "I do" anywhere! A destination wedding is defined as marrying at least 100 miles from where the bride currently lives. So imagine the options that definition opens up for you -- the world really is your playground.
I know that a destination wedding doesn't have to be on a beach or in another country like ours was, but that's the beauty of it. You can pick ANYWHERE!

2. You'll stand out from the pack. More than 2 million American couples wed every year -- and fewer than 25 percent of them have destination dos. Bonus: Wed away, and you won't have to choose from the same old hometown spots all your friends have booked.
Have you seen our pictures?? You don't get a Mexican beach, a mariachi band and a rainbow in your every day wedding pics in Houston! Everyone in Houston gets married at the same ol' spots so our pictures really stand out when comparing to other Houston brides.

3. It's easier. Many wedding-worthy resorts offer free planning help to couples, whether the event is for two or 200, and an abundance of packages keep things simple while still giving options to customize. Want something more involved? Turn to an independent planner who specializes in more elaborate events.
Yes, Yes Yes! I know I told y'all before how much easier it was, but I will say it again. The coordinator in Mexico pretty much planned everything and we decided on all the details 3 days before when we arrived in Mexico. 

4. You can save on decor. With a destination wedding in a stunning setting, your location of choice supplies the theme, from castle fairytale, to sea-inspired soiree. And when you choose an amazing backdrop, it doesn't take much to dress it up. Opt for a pristine beach, a tidy vineyard, a blooming garden or a historic plantation house furnished with graceful antiques, and you'll be more than covered with a few simple florals and other modest accents.
We still spent a lot on decor. Not as much as we would have to fancy up a standard ballroom, but we still spent quite a bit. Centerpieces, table covers, chair sashes, picture frames... those all add up. But no ballroom in Houston could have the infinity pool and beach in the pictures no matter the cost :)

5. Enjoy quality time with loved ones. The standard wedding lasts for five hours, and the bride and groom spend most of that time running from table to table, trying to say hello to everyone. A destination do spans a minimum of three days -- which means, now that you've finally gotten your nearest and dearest together, you can actually spend quality time with them! Hooray!
This was one of the main reasons we chose a destination wedding. John's family in NY and mine in Ft. Worth - everyone would have travelled to Houston and then we only see them for a few hours at a reception. Not cool in my opinion. We got to spend 5 days with everyone and I wouldn't have traded that for anything!

6. It's a great excuse to limit the guest list. The very nature of destination weddings -- they require travel, a longer time commitment and hotel stays -- gives you the perfect excuse to cut down on an often unmanageable number of invitees. Think the second cousins and office mates will be miffed? You can always throw a postwedding party -- complete with plenty of photos -- when you get back home.
Absolutely. We still had a large guest list, but it would have been twice as long had we had it in Houston. And most of those people would have come. We didn't have a budget for that so a destination wedding was perfect for us and no feelings were hurt along the way. We decided against the at home reception just because it was so close to Christmas and more $$ involved with that.

7. Guests can save on a vacation. Ask your host hotel about discounted room rates for your guests; most resorts are more than willing to bargain in exchange for group business. Some airlines, such as United and American, offer discounted airfares for groups of 10 of more -- on the latter, this is true even if your guests are departing from different gateways. And ultimately, your friends will have a blast! Destination weddings give friends and family that most valuable commodity: downtime -- to kick back, connect and celebrate. And what's more fun than that?
We booked our trip through United Vacations and anyone who booked through them as well got a small discount on their trip. It really wasn't enough to make a big difference, but us getting married in Mexico was a good excuse for alot of people to travel and get a vacation. 

8. You'll share a locale you love. Part of the joy of a destination wedding is showing off a place that has special meaning to you, be it bringing friends and family back to a beloved college campus, sharing where you took your first vacation as a couple or finally going to a locale you've always dreamed of visiting.
We LOVE Cancun and because of that and it's closeness to Houston, that's why we chose it for our wedding. It was our first big vacation together when we were dating so it was fun to go back and get married there!

9. Flexible timing helps with budgeting. You'll be at your destination for a few days, so work with your vendors to see how timing can trim costs. After all, if everyone is already there, you can wed on a Friday, a Sunday or even a Tuesday -- what does the day of the week matter in paradise? Look at seasonality too. Many Caribbean hotels drop their prices dramatically in mid-April; by planning your wedding for May, you can get the same great digs for a fraction of the price paid by visitors a few weeks earlier. Likewise, mountain resort towns offer big savings in spring and fall.
We got married on a Monday! No one cares what day it is when you're in Mexico :)

10. You can start the honeymoon early. Just arriving at your destination is sure to put you in a relaxed mood as the pre-wedding festivities begin. Many hotels offer automatic upgrades to the bride and groom on their wedding night, and you may be able to negotiate an extended minimoon at a reduced rate after the guests have gone home.
I was stressed out and didn't really get to enjoy the first few days of the trip because of meetings with the wedding coordinator, photographer, DJ, minister, etc. But I would have been 10x more stressed had we been in Houston. And I got to go to all the meetings with my fedora and swim suit, that's a win right? :) And we were upgraded to the master suite for the entire trip which was so cool. It really was like we were on our honeymoon the entire time even though the wedding hadn't happened yet. 

The only other thing I would add to this list is the option for a Trash the Dress session! Y'all know those are some of my favorite pictures! If you're having a destination wedding in a tropical location with a beach or pool, I definitely think it's a must! 

What are your thoughts or opinions on this article?

Helene in Between


Monday, April 29, 2013

The New Job

Well, after leaving you all in suspense for a week, (ha!) I am back to tell y'all about my new job!

A lot of you know that I haven't been happy in my current job for awhile now... I had been looking for a new job here and there and had been on interviews, but nothing really seemed to fit.

And just to give you a little background of what I did before for people that don't know... I worked in a large school district in Houston with the pregnancy program. I was THE nurse that pretty much coordinated the entire program that is state funded. State funded = lots and lots of paperwork and documentation. I was pretty much behind a computer doing paperwork all the time and after awhile it got old. Every month when I'd pay my student loan bill, I'd get reminded of all the hard work I put in to get through nursing school and I pretty much wasn't using any of it.

So, last school year I met with one of the nurses from Nurse Family Partnership (google it if you want more info) to get some of my girls enrolled in their program. I was just floored with all the information and education they give the mom's. From that day on, I was on their website at least weekly looking for jobs in Houston. So for over a year, I'd been hoping for something to open up with this program.

A few weeks ago, I looked and saw 2 positions in Houston open. Nurse Family Partnership is a national program that uses different agencies in cities to implement the program. Houston has 3 different implementing agencies, including Texas Children's Hospital.

Once I saw the 2 positions open, I immediately contacted the nurse managers and emailed my resume (this was on a Tuesday). One of the positions had been filled but the other nurse manager said they were doing second round interviews this week so I HAD to interview that Thursday to be considered. She said she would do my interviews backwards and I could do the panel interview first and then she would interview me second since I was coming in late. She said there were going to be 2 positions open, one now and one later in the summer. I told her I would have to take the summer one (if I were offered it) due to finishing out the school year and a large sum of money I owe the district... don't get me started on that...!

I had the panel interview late Thursday afternoon and after meeting with them I KNEW this was for me. Then I met with the nurse manager and I told her that if I were offered the position I would start right away. I didn't want to take the chance of waiting until the summer and something happen and the position not open up or whatever. John and I talked about it and he said if it's really what I wanted to do, we could make the $ thing work. I felt both interviews went exceptionally well!

The next day I got a call from HR, missed the call, and then we played phone tag all day. Finally, late Friday afternoon, I got in touch with HR and I was offered the position!

I am just so excited about it because I'll get to be doing what my passion is in nursing... Education.

Nurse Family Partnership basically does education with first time moms that are living in poverty level. Every implementing agency has their own smaller requirements, but all of my clients will be first time poverty level moms. We go in to their homes and do education with them... how to take care of the baby, pregnancy, goal setting, making sure they have their resources set up, etc. We follow them from the time they are identified which is generally early in pregnancy, and meet with them weekly until the baby is 2 years old.

And not only will I being doing my passion, there are some other perks. The implementing agency I am technically employed by is Texas Children's Hospital...A big hospital in Houston's medical center that has a reputation for being amazing. I am so exited about starting a career with them.

Oh, and I get a phone, iPad, laptop, and GPS since most of my time will be in my car. And a trip to Denver for a week for training!

And did I mention it's more money and better benefits? :)

I am so excited for this next chapter. I really think that this is where I am supposed to be. It's going to be a big adjustment not working for the school system. I've been there since 2009 so it will take getting used to, but I am thrilled for this next adventure.

Nursing is all about helping people and making a difference in peoples lives and in this job career, I KNOW I will doing just that.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Checking In

I know this blog of mine has been pretty dead recently, so I just wanted to "check in" and tell y'all I'll be back soon with more regular posts.

I've had a lot on my plate recently and just haven't felt like blogging. Well, I have a lot to talk about, and I feel like blogging, but just don't want to sit at my computer and type it out. It's weird.

So, I had some time today and wanted to do a quick up date of my life lately.

1. I got a new job! I'll go in to details more soon, but I am really excited about it and the new opportunity with a large hospital here in Houston's Med Center. My first day is May 6th!

2. I put in my 2 weeks notice at my current job. I decided to take a week off so my last day there is next Friday, the 29th. How my boss and everyone acted about it really made me realize that I am making the right decision.

3. I had a EGD and flexible sigmoidoscopy done on Thursday. I've had really bad stomach aches and heartburn the last few months so I finally went to a gastroenterologist and he ordered these tests. They gave me all my results when I was still kind of out of it, but John said he remembered something about a hiatal hernia. I have to call them Wednesday for all my biopsy results.

4. I've felt like crap ever since I had the procedure done. Being a nurse makes you so paranoid about every little thing that could go wrong so I've been freaking out the past few days.

5. John left today for a business trip to the UK and he'll be gone 8 days. :( I think this is the longest we've ever been away from each other except for the 2 weeks he left to go to the UK when we first started dating. It's one thing to be away from each other for 8 days, but when he's in a different country and we can't talk very much because of the time difference, it sucks even more :(  Luckily the kitties know exactly what I need!!

6. I just dropped John off at the airport 3 hours ago and I'm already lonely. I have some plans this week... shopping today, hanging out with Emily tomorrow, mani/pedi date on Wednesday and a few dinners here and there, but it's still weird going to bed without your husband. The girls miss their dad already too. Lucy has been sitting at the door crying ever since I got home.

7. John got a promotion this week at work and had to move to a new office. He's stressed because it's different and going to be a lot of work for him, but I know he will do great at it. He's with the same large oil and gas company and just keeps moving up. I am so proud of him and everything he does to provide for our family.

8. I'm still missing our wedding week like crazy. I can't believe it's already been 4 months since we were on the beach in Mexico with all of our family and friends. Does this wedding depression ever go away?? haha

9. We booked our hotel and flight for the wedding we have to go to in NYC in September. John's cousin is getting married in Manhattan and I'm really looking forward to it. Unfortunately though, there is something going on that weekend in NYC and hotel prices were ridiculously expensive. We ended up finding a mediocre hotel in Times Square, but spent what we would have on a 5 star. But, it will still be fun to be back in the city where we got engaged and see all of John's family again :)

I promise I'll be back soon with some regularly scheduled blogging and more info about my new job!
Happy Saturday!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You Aint Met My Texas Yet

Hey everyone! I have the pleasure of co-hosting Texas Tuesday today with Amanda and Crystal today!

Confessions of a Cowboy's Wife
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.princessofthepanhandle.com/" title="Confessions of a Cowboy's Wife"><img src="http://i49.tinypic.com/2wdagxv.jpg" alt="Confessions of a Cowboy's Wife" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Have y'all heard the Josh Abbot and Pat Green song 'You Aint Met My Texas Yet'?

Well, I love me some Josh Abbot and I love the song. 

But it got me thinking...

I've lived in Texas for nearly 30 years and haven't done half the stuff in this song. I know. I'm a bad Texan. 

Here are the Lyrics.... 

If you haven't climbed up to Enchanted Rock,
Drank a cold Shiner down in Luckenbach,
Taken your baby to the River Walk,
Then you ain't met My Texas yet.
I've never been to Enchanted Rock (or even know where that is...) and I've never been to Luckenbach. 
I have drank a Shiner before though, yet it's not my beer of choice. 
I HAVE been to the Riverwalk! And John has taken me ;) That was our first "vacation" together after we started dating! 

 If you haven't floated down the Ol' Frio,
Heard Red Dirt music on your radio,
Eaten Cooper's down in Llano,
Then you ain't met My Texas yet.
Y'all, I have never floated the River, Frio or Guadalupe. I know this seriously makes me a bad Texan. 
I've definitely heard red dirt music on the radio ipod, and I love it! We don't have a station for that in Houston like Ft. Worth does!
But, I've never been to Llano!

You haven't been to the Houston rodeo,
Sang "Carry On" at a Pat Green show,
If you ain't seen an Abilene sunset,
Then you ain't met My Texas yet.
DUH on the first one ;)
I've never been to a Pat Green show, but I love Carry On
And I've only driven through Abilene so I don't think I've seen a sunset there.

If you never caught a trout down in Port A,
Heard the words to Corpus Christi Bay,
Never seen fireworks on PK,
Then you ain't met My Texas yet.
I've been to Port A but never been fishin 
I've never heard of Corpus Christi Bay
And I've never seen fireworks on PK Lake, but I've been there before!
I have seen fireworks on Grandbury and Lewisville Lake, does that count?

Havent had a kolache when you go through West,
Never heard of the Larry Jo Taylor fest,
Think polished pop country crap sounds the best,
Then you ain't met My Texas yet.
We drive past the Czech Stop in West every time we go up to Ft. Worth, yet we've never stopped. I will have to next time! 
I have heard of LJT fest, but never been. Seen lots of pics and looks like a big redneck drunk fest ;)
HATE the pop country. Much rather listen to Texas Country anyday!!

You haven't been to the Ft. Worth stock show,
Sang along with Cory Morrow,
You ain't seen a hill country sunset,
Then you ain't met My Texas yet.
DUH on the first one again. Every year since I was born!
Sang along in my car to Cory Morrow, not at a concert
If you consider Austin and San Antonio "hill country" then yes, I've done that. But, I don't consider that true hill country, which means a big fat sad face to this one. This is something that I would love to do with John one day. Go to Fredericksburg, all the winery's, and just get a cabin for a relaxing weekend.

 You say you haven't hiked through Big Bend,
Had your hair blown back by a Lubbock wind,
Been somewhere where they call you "friend",
then you ain't met My Texas yet.
Never been to Big Bend and most definitely had my hair blown by the Lubbock wind, but have never been there during the dust storms like I know they have!
And of course to the last one :)

You haven't been to the San Antone rodeo,
Sang "Everclear" at a Creager show,
If you ain't seen an El Paso sunset,
Then you ain't met My Texas yet
I've never been to the San Antonio Rodeo or El Paso
But I love me the Everclear song ;)

So, after hearing this song, it's made me really want to see what Texas is all about! I know these things are REAL Texas and I need to see/do them soon! 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Phone Dump

{view of downtown Houston from Jury Duty}

{new red front door all finished!}

Our friends Kevin and Summer got new puppies and we went over there to see them last weekend... 
They're huskies and their names are Reba and Raider! So cute!

{with their cousin Luther}


{new white kitty makeup bag from my friend Jessica}

{John's mom sent me this pic... she said she found my b-day cake!}

{had to pull out the northface last week because it got cold!}

{new pretty nail polish!}

{Texas de Brazil opening up by our house!}

{birthday celebrations for Bor-Ting}

{new sandals!}

This weekend I got to meet Kristen and Ashley! They had already planned on meeting at the dog park with their puppies, Wrinkles, Bowser and Axle so I joined them! It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I got to meet both of these sweet girls. (and their pups!)

{kitty snuggles Sunday morning}

Mingle 240
miscellany monday at lowercase letters   

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