Adventures In Wedding Planning

Until now, I have mainly posted about fashion and food – two things that I enjoy very much and am pretty passionate about. I have recently decided to broaden my content for the simple reason of having more to write about once in a while. Aside from work and blogging, I am currently spending most of my free time wedding planning.

Y-E-S! I am getting married in the spring and I could not be more excited!

I got engaged towards the end of 2013, but have not really done any major wedding planning up until January of this year. With everything that goes into planning a wedding, I thought that it would be great to periodically share my experiences with you.

THE ENGAGEMENT;

The day I got engaged was nothing short of a dream come true. One time my fiancé asked me how I wanted him to propose – I said that all that mattered to me was that he got down on one knee. Well, I got that and so much more. It took months of planning and distraction, but in the end I got a very special mash-up, a musical number with a dance break, and a proposal at the aquarium. Below is the video my brother and cousins had me watch just before I even realized that my now-fiancé had been at the aquarium the whole time.

I could not have asked for a better proposal. My family and friends are so important to me and he managed to include them all in this video. To be honest, I never truly thanked them all for their part in my engagement. I quickly mentioned them in the form of a sarcastic “I hate you for all of your secrecy” in my Facebook status, but not more than that. To all of my family and friends who were a part of this video, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did – no matter how small. I am so thankful to have you all in my life and I love you.

Whether you are having a short or a long engagement, the first month and a half is nothing short of congratulations, well wishes, and pure bliss. Before you get into all of the planning, be sure to enjoy all of the things that come from being newly engaged! This will no doubt be the easiest part of the rest of your lives together.

Stay tuned for part two – choosing the right venue.

Protect Mauna Kea;

I have been wanting to write about Mauna Kea and the ongoing protests against the building of a $1.4 billion thirty metre telescope on The Big Island of Hawai’i for some time now – as the Hawaiian government has placed a moratorium on the project, this is the perfect time to put my thoughts to paper; so to speak.

It has been almost two weeks since the demonstrations began. On March 30th, protesters in Hilo formed road blocks outside of the Mauna Kea visitors’ centre, and the support has been growing each day since then. Countless numbers of people, not just around the islands and the mainland, but around the world, have been taking to social media to show their support for the protection of the mountain. Many celebrities have also been posting #WeAreMaunaKea photos on Instagram – Jason Momoa, Nicole Scherzinger, Jai Courtney, Lisa Bonet, and Zoe Kravitz to name a few.

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano standing 4205 metres above sea level and it is the highest point of elevation in the entire state. The dormant volcano is considered one of the most sacred areas on Hawai’i as it is the home of the snow goddess, Poli’ahu.

As a Canadian who has been immersed in Hawaiian Culture from a very young age, I have been deeply saddened and upset by the events that are currently taking place in Hilo. While it is a great thing that science and astronomy have come so far that we are able to build a telescope of this capacity, I do not agree with building an additional telescope on Mauna Kea when there are already so many up there, not to mention, the construction site is infringing upon sacred ground. I have been raised in a home deeply rooted in hula and the belief that the `âina (land) has been entrusted to us and it is our responsibility to care for it and protect it. It is not okay for the government and the University of Hawai’i to disregard the importance of this mountain and what has been rooted there for thousands of years – far longer than the existence of any telescope.
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Here is what you need to know:

  1. There are currently thirteen telescopes on Mauna Kea. The basis for the new telescope is that it will be far more advanced than the ones already in existence – “It will be able to see much fainter and more distant objects than is possible with existing telescopes and to study them in greater detail. It will help to maintain Hawaiʻi’s worldwide leadership in astronomy” (www.hawaii.edu).
  2. The protests are not about being “anti-science”. There have been reports that the Hawaiian people are against the advancement of science and as such are forming the demonstrations. This is simply not the case. As I mentioned, Mauna Kea is one of the most sacred sites on Hawai’i – it is not that the protesters are against the progression of science, it is that the protection of the land is far more important to them. Therefore, the demonstrations are not against the telescope itself, but the location of where it is being built.
  3. The telescope will be thirty metres in height, approximately eighteen stories tall and will be roughly the size of a football field – a structure of this height would not otherwise be permitted in Hawai’i.
  4. Governor David Ige announced the week-long halt on construction, beginning April 7th,  as a means to reconsider the construction. “Today I announced a week-long stand down of construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope so I can evaluate the situation from multiple perspectives” (www.indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com). Perhaps Ige will see the best option is move the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) Project elsewhere – replace an older telescope with this newer one. Maintaining the integrity of the university and keeping true to the land.
  5. Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has committed to a partnership in the building of the telescope. While we are unsure of the final numbers, it is said that Canada will contribute approximately $243.5 million. While this will mean an international partnership with the US, India, China, and a few others, I do not believe that this is worth the defiling of sacred land.

Who knows what the outcome will be at the end of the week, but for now we have to continue to show our support for the TMT Shutdown and the protection of Mauna Kea. Please help create awareness for the Hawaiian people and post a photo with the words “We Are Mauna Kea” on all of your social media outlets. You can sign the petition to stop further development at www.petitions.moveon.org or www.change.org.

Stay informed by subscribing to the Facebook page – Protect Mauna Kea

You can also show your support by purchasing a We Are Mauna Kea T-shirt from 50th State Of Mind. $10 of each shirt sold will go towards the fight to protect Mauna Kea. Shirts can also be purchased in youth sizes. 

Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai’i

Being perpetuated (is) the sovereignty of the land to righteousness/ to balance, Hawai`i

A Different Kind Of Valentine’s Day in 10 Ways;

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Valentine’s Day. It’s everywhere and you either love it or hate it – for some people it depends on their current situation. Regardless of how you feel about Valentine’s Day, it’s still going to be on the calendar. To be honest, I have always loved that mushy love-riddled day, but hate the consumerism that goes along with it. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, here are ten alternatives to celebrate the day with your loved ones without burning a hole in your pocket.

#1 Make your gift a DIY project

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Looking for a cost-effective gift that doesn’t scream how thrifty you are? Go for a more thoughtful approach and make your gift a DIY project. Don’t feel discouraged if you aren’t particularly crafty – a home made gift can be simple, so don’t stress. The key to the perfect DIY gift is the thought that goes into it. Fill a jar with his favourite candies or trail mix to keep at his desk, give her a box with some of her favourite beauty items, make a couple of date night coupons or chore vouchers. In this day of Google and Pinterest, there is no project that you cannot undergo if you are unsure of how to do it.

#2 Go for beer and wings

Truthfully, going out for beer and wings really depends on your partner. If that isn’t their scene, then beer and wings is definitely out of the question. This is also true if they really have their heart set on a fancy dinner for Valentine’s Day – but don’t despair! It doesn’t have to beer and wings, but there are less expensive restaurant options out there where you can still have a delicious meal. Go to one of these places instead. If you’re part of the fancy dinner crowd, just wait… I have more alternatives for you.

#3 Go out for brunch

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So your boyfriend or girlfriend, fiancée, husband or wife are looking for that fancy Valentine’s Day meal. Take them out for a fancy brunch instead! Let’s face it, brunch was made for couples and they can get pretty fancy if you take them to the right place, but it’s much more cost effective. Going out on a brunch date also means that you can start off your Valentine’s Day early and spend the whole day celebrating, rather than waiting until the end of the day.

Some of my favourite places to eat brunch that are on the cost-effective side are Panagio’s, The Beast Restaurant (see previous post), Milestone’s, and of course Cora’s.

A few other great brunch places in Toronto that I have been meaning to try are Auntie’s & Uncles, Starving Artist, and Lisa Marie.

#4 Have date night at home

A laid-back, low key dinner is not in the cards and neither is going out for brunch instead of dinner. How about a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at home? Cook them a fancy dinner or their absolute favourite meal in your culinary arsenal. Buying groceries and cooking yourself is a sure way to save some money. You also don’t need to eat amongst the other hundred couples that have decided to venture out and you can really take your time enjoying your meal – no rush to give the table to the next set of diners.

Since you already ate dinner at home, you might as well stay there. Watch a favourite movie on Netflix while sitting on your comfortable couch with a blanket, light some candles and take a relaxing bubble bath together, play some video or board games if that’s something you enjoy – there are so many possibilities.

#5 Buy candy in bulk

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I know all that fancy packaging makes those sweets look appealing, but that’s exactly what you’re paying for with those heart shaped containers. Depending on the type of candy and the size of the box, you’re getting far less than quantity. Head to Bulk Barn and really get your money’s worth. This is key if you or your significant other has a sweet tooth. If you still want it to look nice, package it up yourself in some cellophane bags with ribbon or your own heart shaped container (another DIY idea). Buy getting your candy and chocolates in bulk, you have more variety to give them and to choose from. You also have the option of just buying candy and chocolate in their original packaging.

#6 Take a class together

Looking for something new to do this Valentine’s Day instead of the usual dinner and a movie date night? Why not take a class together? There are many facilities that offer a date night special for the sake of Cupid. This is your change to try something that the two of you have always wanted to try, with out the weeks of commitment. Go to a yoga class, sign up for a paint lounge, try a salsa lesson or cooking class. If the two of you end up enjoying it, then you have found another hobby you can do as a couple.

#7 Use a Groupon

While on the topic of taking a class together, using a Groupon is a great way to try a new hobby with minimal long-term commitment and is always at a discounted rate. Since they have virtually everything on Groupon, you can plan all your Valentine’s Day actvities around it – your brunch or dinner location, date night activities, even a hotel room.

#8 Choose a different bouquet

VDAY IMAG0498Roses are beautiful and they are a symbol of love, but does she even like them? In this case, you should definitely pick something else if you are planning on getting some flowers. Even if she does like roses, there are other flowers you can get that are just as pretty and fragrant but will save you some money. Get a bouquet with different kinds of flowers in it, like wild flowers for example, or her favourite flower perhaps. I have always found a bouquet of daisies in brown craft paper tied with raffia to be quite pretty and romantic, even though they aren’t a blossom that symbolize love or passion in the traditional sense.

#9 Wear something you already have in your closet

Don’t go out and buy a whole new outfit just for Valentine’s Day – pick out something from your own closet. By the time you find a complete outfit, you need to get shoes and a new bag, and since you’re already shopping you might as well buy some jewellery to go with everything else. For my gentlemen buying a new suit is never just buying a new suit. You’ll also need a shirt and tie, maybe some shoes too, or a pair of cuff links. Put a new look together with what you already own. Change up how you wear certain pieces or what accessories you normally pair it with.

#10 Have a post-Valentine’s Day celebration

Everything I have listed so far are all great ways to save a little money when it comes to your Valentine’s Day planning, but celebrating after-the-fact is a great way to cut your costs in a couple of areas at once. The sweets – we all know candy and chocolate are cheapest the day after Hallowe’en and the day after Valentine’s Day. Get your hands on some of that special packaging but at a more reasonable price. Going out to dinner on a regular night means it won’t be as busy and you can order from the regular menu as opposed to some special one is more expensive. The other good news is that you can still use a Groupon or buy an alternative bouquet for your post-Valentine’s Day, which means more money that stays in your pocket.

Whether you decide to go all out for the fanciest dinner with a brand new outfit for both of you, or decide to take a few ideas from this list and go the more conservative spending route, the most important thing is that you have a great Valentine’s Day with the person you want to be with. Don’t forget to let them know how much you mean to them.

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