It’s the Final Countdown

 

The countdown is on folks. We are officially less than a month away from our wedding and the lists are many. Fortunately, a lot of the things on the lists are getting crossed off.

Because I’m such a list fiend, I’m actually feeling pretty good about where we are in terms of being ready for the big day. I mean, there are still a lot of little details to take care of, but the beauty of having a small wedding is that there are fewer moving parts and consequently there is less to worry about.

(I’m also a pretty chill person, so getting worked up about a big party just isn’t my style.)

One of the things left on my list is my dress alterations. I actually go in today for my last fitting and I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you I wasn’t a little nervous about how it’s going to fit. I probably shouldn’t be, but I am, because that’s how I roll.

In order to allay my concerns about my dress fitting today (and in another month), Clay and I have been doing Whole30 – and really it’ll end up being a Whole48 – and I’ve committed to run at least one mile every day until the wedding. I know that I need cardio in my life to feel my best, and I’ve been away from running regularly for a while.

Inspired by one of my good friends who is in the middle of her own run streak (something like 100 days, now!), I figured that in addition to my normal gym routine, if I can get myself moving for even just one mile everyday, I will feel good. And I’ll have more peace of mind. And I’ll be running again. FINALLY.

Posting about this streak here will help keep me accountable – so feel free to bug me on social media and make sure I’m getting out and getting my miles in. Every. Damn. Day. Find me on insta and twitter @kylepjennings.

Here we go!

#WeddingWednesday: DIY Wedding Day Music

I’m DJ-ing my own wedding.

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I wish DJ Roomba would play my wedding.

I thought this would be pretty easy – I’m a musician, Clay is really a musician, we love a wide variety of tune-age. Finding songs that we like should be no problem, right?

Well. Kind of.

As it turns out, we both have pretty strong criteria for our playlists and while we like many genres and styles of music, it’s hard to sift through that many songs! And, we don’t want any of our ceremony music to feel cliched – because as pretty as Pachelbel’s Canon is, I am not walking down the aisle to it. Nope. (Not judging anyone who has used that piece, I’ve just played it one too many times, and the cello part blows.)

It’s also tricky to pick all of your own music for not only the ceremony, but also for dinner and dancing. That’s a lot of moods and styles to figure out and balance. (And let’s be honest, I really just want to dance.)

Basically, the Bravermans are #goals

Basically, the Bravermans are #goals

Needless to say,  I have a large spreadsheet mapping out our current favorites and ideas. The dancing and dinner portions of the evening don’t seem to be giving me as much trouble as the ceremony part – which isn’t really surprising, as it is the most personal and is when people will be the most tuned-in to what the music says and how it makes them feel.

Consequently, that means that I am over-thinking this portion like whoa. Because I want to avoid cliche, and I want the ceremony to be true to our music style, I’m finding myself wading through all of my favorite music and getting seriously distracted. “Oooh, I like that!” “OH! I like that too.”  “Dave Matthews needs to be in here somewhere” “Also probably Paul Simon?” “HOW COULD I FORGET JOHN WILLIAMS?!”

You see my problem.

Fortunately, the lovely folks at Wedding Paper Divas have a super helpful tool to help with this kind of indecision. Their Wedding Song interactive is categorized by event within the wedding day, and then browse-able by genre and decade.

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I spent about twenty minutes poking through their selections for processionals, as that’s where most of my indecision has been, and I was pleased to find a song I didn’t know existed that now I want to use! Who knew that John Mayer covered Beyonce’s “XO”? Okay. Clay knew. But I didn’t, and I’m kind of obsessed with it.

I’m really looking forward to continuing to play around with this tool as we build our playlists for Wedding Day – there’s still a lot of fine-tuning to do and this will be a great resource to inspire us.

What are some of the most unique wedding songs you’ve heard? Best? Worst?

Weekend Hangover and #WeddingWednesday

I’m writing this post to you on Tuesday, for Wednesday, but it was originally supposed to be up Monday.

That should give you some idea of how this week has started for me.

I had a three-day weekend, which you think would mean that I got lots done or rested or got my ish together. Unfortunately, none of that was the case. The things I took off to do on Friday? Not done. Lunch with friends? Spoiled by a parking ticket (that I didn’t even deserve!). No time for the gym for three days between running errands, and rehearsals and choir concerts. Football Sunday was shaping up to be a good day, and then the Packers lost.

And then it was Monday and I forgot to write a post. So, here we are.

I think I’ve managed to move past that nonsense though, finally getting back in the gym yesterday with Clay (he’d been traveling for two weeks for work). Brilliant us decided that leg day was the best way to get back at it and though these deadlifts look easy, they were just the beginning of a “let’s just slay ourselves” evening under the barbell.

Picking up heavy things really helped me shake off the weekend and the general bummer that it was. I remembered that my guy was finally home and how much more I like working out when he’s with me. I remembered that even though the Packers lost, I still got to spend Football Sunday with good friends and enjoyed good food. I remembered that despite a parking ticket, I got to see some of my favorite people, even if it was just for a couple of hours. And at the end of the day, all the weekend lameness was just that. Lameness. It goes away.

There are so many more things to be grateful for – I really don’t need to complain about anything at all.

My mission for the rest of this week?

  1. Sleep more. I’ll feel a lot more together with more than 5 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Meal Plan.  Now that Clay is home, I can’t just skate by with half a grilled chicken breast for dinner anymore. Back to the list making!
  3. Gym. Our schedules are pretty normal for the next couple of weeks – time to find our routine again.
  4. Work on Wedding Playlists. We’re doing our own DJ-ing, so I’ve been collecting song ideas for the ceremony, cocktail hour and dance portions of the evening. Time to sit down and spend some quality time with my iTunes library and a spreadsheet.

Happy Hump Day!

What are some of your must-hear wedding jams? What gets you on the dancefloor? I’m taking suggestions!

Wedding Wellness Wednesday

You guys, I’m so sorry for all of the wedding-related things that have been falling out of my mouth (fingers? I don’t know. Whatever.) lately. This is supposed to be a fitness-ish blog, and I feel like I can only write so many posts about how I’m “going to the gym and lifting heavy things” every day. That probably gets boring.

Because I know I get bored doing it.

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But, it’s necessary for a lot of reasons. 

  1. Working out keeps me healthy. Duh.
  2. Working out keeps me in a good headspace – I feel better about myself when I’ve gone to the gym or gotten a good sweaty dance sesh in.
  3. I have to wear a fancy dress in 8 months and apparently there will be a lot of pictures taken of me in said dress and I really would like to look and feel good in those pictures.

So, for this week, you’re getting another #weddingwednesday post, but it’s also going to be a #wellnesswednesday post. HA! It counts.

Eight months feels like a long time, but it’s really not. Especially when you consider the fact that those eight months include: Thanksgiving (FOOD), Christmas (COOKIES), and my busiest time of the year at work, leading up to our annual conference. Stress and food. Lots of food. That eight months kind of feels like a lot of time to do a lot of nutritional damage and not a lot of time to fix it.

My goals? Not inflict so much of the damage, and really dial in my fitness so that the “damage” I do isn’t really damage at all.

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(grilled) chicken and (protein) waffles is totally healthy, right?

What does that mean?

For me, this means restructuring my workout schedule. In the past, I’ve written about having a pretty set lifting cycle, but the last couple of months have been a little more freeform. Clay and I were working out together a lot and we’d lift regularly, but during the summer, his work schedule gets pretty brutal, so I’ve been on my own, which has meant more flexibility in what I choose to do. It’s also meant I’ve lacked some of my motivation. Not having a gym buddy can be a bummer on the days that you’re just dragging and don’t want to go.

Now that Clay’s work schedule has calmed down a bit, we’re going to be getting back in our routine. I’ve found that in the last few months the balance of strength and cardio has been working well for me, so we’ll be keeping that as a basic blueprint, and adjusting our set/rep counts on strength days to achieve our individual goals. He wants to bulk up a bit and I want to cut body fat. I know that’s a totally vain reason, but hey, I’m being honest.

Go buy this right meow – so many good recipes, so easy, and its current 46% off on Amazon!

Having him around more regularly will also make our meal prep and planning easier, which I’m super excited about. I’m looking for new recipes to make and fit into our dinner rotation. I just picked up Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook and I’m super excited to make more things from it. Her blog, PaleOMG, is also a regular go-to for me for just about everythang. Recipes, workouts, fashion… this girl is hilarious and awesome.

I got distracted. ANYWAYS. Having a concrete reason and deadline to meet a goal makes working on that goal way more fun and makes finding the motivation a lot easier. I know that I’m already 75% of the way there, I just have to get that last 25% moving and shaking.

What are some of your motivational hurdles? What fitness goals are you working towards?

DIY Wedding: Cakes!

This time last year, I was blogging a lot about marathon training. And running. And lifting.

This year? There’s almost no running to speak of. I don’t have a race to train for and I’m enjoying finding all of the other ways my body can work – and trying to maintain a balance between work and extracurriculars and life.

I’m also knee-deep in wedding planning, which is proving to be a whole other adventure, let me tell you. A fun adventure, but definitely an adventure.

Because my fiance and I are trying to keep or wedding simple and small, and because we’re working with a very modest budget, we’ve decided to DIY a lot of it. Flowers, music, booze, desert, maybe even my dress. Fortunately, having a small wedding means that coordinating all of this won’t be terribly outrageous.

The thing I’m the most excited about DIY-ing though? The cake! I love to bake and while I had never made a wedding cake before, I felt pretty confident in my ability to figure it out. I’m no professional by a long shot, and I’m not even that well-versed in decorating, but I am preeeetttyyy good at following instructions and my Pinterest project success rate is super high.

In addition to baking a lot of cookies and bars and other treats, my primary preparation for this project has been to watch way too much of The Great British Baking Show (which is arguably the best show on television, and if you’re not watching it, what’s wrong with you?).

So, two weeks ago, while home alone for the weekend and having the kitchen to myself, I decided to get started. This is how much cake baking I haven’t done in recent years: I didn’t even own a cake pan. I went out and secured a couple cake pans and got to work.

So. Much. Butter. In. Here.

So. Much. Butter. In. Here.

This batter is so light and fluffy and YUM.

I started with a simple vanilla butter cake recipe, but I didn’t have the called-for cake flour, so I just forged ahead with AP flour and kept working. I also thought to myself “hey self, you’ve never tried to make fondant before, why not try now, since you have all of the ingredients.” I wish I’d thought to take pictures of THAT hot mess, because whoa. The mess was real. Melted marshmallows and powdered sugar literally everywhere in my kitchen. And then I threw together some vanilla buttercream frosting. The end result didn’t turn out half bad.

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The cake was slightly underbaked and a little bit more dense (thanks, AP flour), but the taste was great and everyone in my office who got to taste test enjoyed it.

For our second trial, I decided to play with flavors and still not worry too much about decorating or overall aesthetics. This time, I opted for some blueberry jam as the filling along with almond buttercream. No fondant this time and to keep it simple, I just did one size cake.

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I had actual cake flour this time around, so the crumb of this bake was a little looser, but the taste was just as good and stayed just as moist. The almond buttercream was a big hit and Clay (who famously doesn’t like cake) asked for an even bigger slice than the test one I gave him. He thought that there could be more blueberry – I tend to agree.

As the wedding gets closer, there will be more test bakes with a few more flavors and a greater attempt at decorating. Ultimately, I want a naked or semi-naked cake, so I’ll be working mostly with fruits and flowers to decorate. I’m still looking for other cake recipes, so if anyone has any reliable ones, I’d love to try them!