Family Guy

I love this photo of us.

Every woman wants a man to feel safe with; my guy is the best protector and provider for our little family, and we love him so much for it.

We are so proud of him for so many reasons: Bronze Star Medal for Afghanistan, LRS, Ranger School, Air Assault School, Airborne School (2 jumps away from qualifying for Jump Master…); getting his MBA, his EIB on the first try… the list is endless. He does so much for his country, the Army, his career — but especially for me. ♡

I never felt I needed a man to support me, as I’ve always pride myself on my independence; but do feel sometimes I need a protector, and I love having a man that I feel so safe and protected with. I seriously get so anxious when he’s away from home because I need a man in the house! (And because he fixes everything, gets all the stuff on the top shelves… and those annoying jars that just won’t open.)

I am so thankful to God for such a great man for a husband and father. ♡ — and because I know any children we have won’t end up being short, ha!



My Experience as a June Bride ♡

I am so thankful for such a wonderful mom-in-law, not enough credit is given to these women. Sure, everyone knows about the monster-in-law, and most brides hope for a mother-in-law, but very few are lucky enough to have a mom-in-law.

My guy wasn’t very involved in the planning, so it was his mom and me who planned it mostly; and it gave us an opportunity to get to bond with each other. We had a $10,000 wedding budget (we originally had a $5,000 budget, but then decided that wasn’t realistic for what we wanted).

For those in the surrounding Cincinnati area, our beautiful venue was at Norlyn Manor. They offer an inclusive wedding package that includes everything from linen to centerpieces. The starting price is $4,000 — our venue cost came out to about $7,500 alone; but we had upgraded our menu, included a cocktail hour, and our ceremony on site.

One of our tables in our reception room on the day of our wedding.

I got all my bridesmaids a bracelet from Amazon. (I bought myself one too.) The girls got their dresses from Forever21. I gave them three choices to choose from, they ended up all choosing the same dress. The guys got their suits at Men’s Warehouse, and the Dr. paid for their suit rentals. My reception dress I bought from an online retailer. My wedding dress I bought online from China (if you’re skinny enough, buying a dress from China will save you a few hundred bucks if you don’t mind waiting for the long shipping date).

You can’t tell in this picture, but there is a heart charm on the last link, and when you hook the clasp on a link, the heart dangles from it.

My flowers were the traditional red roses. My mom-in-law could have saved a lot of money if she had went with sunflowers (or any other flowers besides from roses). We used the centerpieces from our venue; so my mom-in-law only needed bouquets, corsages, and boutonnières… and decorations for the gazebo and table-toppers for a few “special” tables (our sweetheart table, the place-card table, etc.) — we had beautiful red roses in vases at these tables too.

Our beautiful red roses that were on our gift table, at the bar, our place-card table, etc.

I made all the prints myself, including the invitations. I used Gartner Studios kits, and they had so many bird themes. (Our wedding theme is lovebirds.) The only prints that I used a professional service for was our rehearsal dinner invitations, and that was a huge disappointment. I used Wedding Paper Divas; they were expensive, and there was a print error on the back of one of my cards; but the cardstock quality was excellent, so I’ll give them that.

I made the place-cards and all our invitations myself (except for our rehearsal dinner invitations). We saved A LOT of money on DIY printing.

Our wedding favors and engagement party favors I ordered online. For the wedding, we got stemless wine glasses engraved with birds on a branch and our names and date; for the engagement we got a lovebird salt and pepper shaker set from Amazon, (I wished I had ordered those for the wedding instead, they’re perfect!).

We got the Dr. and Mrs. a high-end Cuisinart carafe maker… it might be too high-tech for the Mrs. though, so the Dr. will have to program it instead. The guys got a really nice engraved drinking set in an engraved metal case as their gift.

Our wedding website was the Knot, and they even have a lovebird theme that matched our invitations. We registered at BB&B and because they are partnered with our wedding website; and our chosen charity is the US Fund for UNICEF — which is also partnered with the Knot for registry donations.

We went with the recommendations from our venue on the DJ (Steve Bender Entertainment, and our DJ, whose name was RJ, was excellent). My mom-in-law chose a bakery that she’s used before. I let her choose the design; she went with a tiered cake with red roses cascading down, and I bought our rehearsal dinner cake topper on Amazon. It’s two blue lovebirds with a top-hat and a veil.

Our beautiful wedding cake. (We saved the top layer, and it was left un-cut for our anniversary next year.) ♡

With the wedding itself, we did it within our $10K budget; but we had help from the Dr. and Mrs. on some of the expenses, and they also host our other events for us like our engagement party (unfortunately his grandpa got very sick around that time); and our rehearsal dinner was paid for by my wonderful brother John. We were very fortunate that they were able to help us out financially with some of the expenses because most couples have to foot the bill entirely on their own.

The whole thing cost closer to about $25,000 though if we included our honeymoon and things outside of the actual wedding; like all the traveling expenses for our wedding, the hotel for our wedding night, etc.

We are honeymoon-ing on an island resort with its own private beach! (I can’t wait, I miss being by the ocean, even if I don’t know how to swim, ha!) ♡ My hubby is never allowed to book a vacation ever again. I definitely felt he could have gotten a better price for our honeymoon if he had shopped around, but he doesn’t have the patience for that kind of stuff. Oh, well. I guess since it’s a honeymoon it’s okay to be extravagant and over-the-top, and even splurge a bit.

50 Shades of Crazy

I finally got a chance to read this smut. Unbelievable. If I had the motivation to actually finish my book by its deadline so that it’ll be published, I could write better porn than this crap! They actually made a trilogy out of this obnoxious-ness… in book and film!

Alright, I had my fair share of crazy — where I’ve dealt with the crazy, and have even been the crazy. If there’s any ex out there reading this (or even a random guy using Google), here’s some insight for you, the clueless guy… the lacking in confidence guy, the dealing-with-this-crazy-shit guy… you know who you are. You are that geek who tries so hard to get the hot girl in all those teen-flicks, only to realize afterwards that you have all the confidence in the world (Revenge of the Nerds).

There’s the normal jealousy and insecurity that’s even cute and makes us feel loved, and then there’s the does-your-mama-know-your-ass-is-crazy. Yet many of us don’t know the difference.

What separates sweet possessiveness (as seen in the few insecure stages of love) with bitch-be-crazzzyyyyy? (I’m thinking of the movie Gone Girl here.) At what point do we say enough is enough?

When left unexplored and unresolved, possessive relationships can amount to feelings of misery, anxiety, anger, and even physical or emotional abuse — for women and men — hey, I’ve known a few crazy gals beat the crap out of guys who just took the beatings because they felt wrong to hit a woman back. I’ve always followed the mantra: Act like a man, get treated like one. So if women truly believe in equality, then expect to get punched in the face if you’re swinging at a guy. An even better mantra is: Keep your hands to yourself!

At first it can seem adorable and even flattering to be on the receiving end of your partner’s intense love and devotion, but after a while it becomes smothering and even destructive. Is your relationship supportive of your well-being, or a declination to your health and happiness?

Although it can be hard to admit flaws in a boyfriend, girlfriend or partner (except for me, I’m critical of everyone, ha!), it is worth getting real about your relationship for your own happiness. After all, you have to live with your decisions for the rest of your life. Essentially, if you don’t comply with what your partner wants, then comes the nagging, demanding, threatening, and/or emotional blackmailing.

Whenever you want to go out, meet up with a friend or family member, or even just take a break from them (because honestly, sometimes you just want to say I’m sick of looking at your face!), your partner wants to be a part of everything you do. Often they will discourage prolonged periods of going out and try to keep you confined to the house, typically in menacing or manipulative ways… like sex. Men use love to get sex, and women use sex to get love — (Mallory Knox in Natural Born Killers flashes to mind).

Your partner keeps an eye on every little thing you do to the point of stalking you (or when they’re really nutty — they stalk your friends, your family, even your freakin’ ex’s ex). This might include logging in to your social media accounts and checking your private messages, reading through your emails or text messages, checking your internet browser history, etc… I usually just snoop through the papers on his desk like a normal weirdo, ha!

One key sign of a possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or partner is their tendency to remind you that you are the center of their world; so much so that they need no other friends or social connections because they have you… it’s when they display anger or resentment towards your friends, colleagues or family members — or the exact opposite, make “friends” with your friends, colleagues, and family — that the alarm bells should be sounding. I’ve never understood that need to be so clingy; you know, to extend the theory of six degrees by separation, and this from a woman that approves every random friend request sent — who the hell are those 250 people following me on Instagram and LinkedIn!?!

A dark and serious kind of jealousy seems to boil under the surface of your partner’s façade as they try to dissuade you from spending time with your friends, colleagues or family members. They might criticize, character-dissect, bring up old issues you’ve experienced, or even fabricate lies about those you want to spend time with, sometimes even turning you against those you care about. They might also make up stories about non-existent people and events to try to make you jealous; like, telling you someone asked them out, gave them a compliment, anything to try to make you feel as jealous as they do; they equate jealousy with love. This is the most serious and dangerous warning sign of an abusive or destructive relationship, because these behaviors are so hard to unmask or reveal.

In a possessive relationship, personal space is rarely a concept that is valued. If you have a possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or partner, chances are they will impose themselves too much on your need to have time, space and objects that are exclusively yours. To them, they need to know it ALL. What’s the name of your first pet, your best friend’s name, the make and model of your first car — dude, that’s how Russian hackers get your bank info! … Seriously though, they’re just crazy. (I’m thinking bunny-boiling Fatal Attraction.)

If you talk to a man or woman, they want to know why. If you get a phone call from someone, they want to know why. If you get a friend request from someone, they want to know why. If you get spam mail, they want to know why. And God help you if you innocently reveal any kind of attraction to another person! This might lead to severe guilt-tripping, emotional punishment, or even violence. (Think a young Mark Wahlberg in Fear.)

Going out? Better make sure that you get approval from your partner! The possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or lover will always openly invite themselves somehow to anything that you are a part of — oh, you’re going to a men’s prostrate club meeting, bring her along too because you are her world!

For some reason, your partner always seems to call or text you more than usual because you’re out, they know it, and wasn’t able to swindle their way into joining you. (Oh, I’m just texting you for the 50th time in the last 15 minutes to tell you how much I love you, miss you, am sniffing your underwear for the scent of you because you’re so great and I looovvvvveeeee you so much!) Every decision you make — your partner wants to be there. Period. Often you will even feel pressured to do what they want to do, even if the decision has nothing to do with them.

Your possessive boyfriend/girlfriend/partner has a way of diminishing your self-confidence. They might be emotionally abusive, gaslight you and make you feel as though you don’t truly know what is best for you. All of their jealousy, all of their paranoia, all of their controlling behavior… “it’s all just love”. Your partner justifies his/her toxic behavior by pulling the love card on you, thus paving an easy escape route to avoid responsibility and blame. In fact, you might have bought into the “love” excuse yourself, continuing to justify your partner’s destructive behavior because you are unconsciously too scared to face reality. Fear that this person is the best you can do, fear of wasted time and investment, fear of embarrassment in having to explain it all to others. Fear of being alone.

Possessiveness and any kind of controlling behavior in relationships is a clear sign of insecurity. And where does this insecurity come from? From the fear of abandonment, rejection and powerlessness. If your partner is possessive, it is very likely that they have a great lack of self-love and self-confidence, and this is because deep down, they feel that they need you in order to be happy, safe, secure, and successful. This is the main reason why you are their world, they have no motivation or ambitions of their own, and basically is riding on your coattails in friends, status, financial security, and satisfaction. They live by-carelessly through you. They are “successful” because you’re successful, and therefore they see themselves as successful too for being with you (For Colored Girls).

Re-establish your self-confidence and self-respect which might have been crushed or depleted in your relationship. For instance, explore self-assertiveness, how to love and take care of yourself, and if you are quiet by nature, learn how to discover your voice.

Set aside an appropriate time to talk with your partner. Open the conversation by letting them know how and why you appreciate them, and then merge into the problems you are facing with their behavior. Always talk in terms of their behavior. (No one likes to be called crazy; beware of the woman who adamantly denies it, because let’s be real, all women are to some degree crazy — sane is the woman who knows it.) This removes unnecessary blaming and negativity. Provide specific examples of what behavior is disturbing or upsetting you, and what you would like to change.

Be aware that your partner might get very offended, angry, dismissive, or upset. Prepare yourself for this beforehand to ensure that you keep your cool. Be very clear about what you want to change in the relationship. Remember, if you emotionally react, then the conversation is over once egos get involved.

If they agree to change, help them out by drawing attention to any possessive behavior in the future and setting “time out” periods where you sit together and talk about the progress being made. Possessiveness can’t be cured overnight. Give yourself an ultimatum if there’s no real effort to better the relationship from either side. If you can’t carry out these recommendations (e.g. due to abuse, egotism, financial dependency, etc.), it is best to consider ending the relationship, and build a support network for yourself.

Being in a smothering relationship can be really hard and stressful. Remove some of that stress and burden by letting go of unrealistic fears of being alone, starting over, embarrassment, etc. And if you have any advice… please feel free to lend a helping hand, there’s a lot of crazies out there!

Relationship Therapy

So I’ve been studying a lot about psychology and different therapy methods and such, so much that I find I am analyzing people and situations in my every day life.  One of the topics that I am absolutely fascinated about is relationships and the dynamics of our behaviors in relationships.

Successful relationships require hard work.  Every relationship will be faced with challenges, some small and some that really tests the strength of the couple; most relationship challenges can be overcome with trust, open communication, and a willingness to change if needed; however, some relationships are also doom for failure, and no amount of therapy can “fix” it.  These barriers are often left unstated and ignored, leading to resentment, contempt, and a general unhappiness that not only affects the already troubled relationship but can also spill over into our work, family, friends, and other aspects of our lives.

The most common relationship issues involve financial difficulties, communication barriers, routine arguments, and lack of trust. Even marriage itself can be the cause of conflict for an unmarried couple, when one partner wants to marry and the other partner is reluctant to.  This is often the case in long-term relationships where many women start comparing their relationship to others, and they feel the family and societal pressure to get married; especially as they approach their late twenties, and even more so when they’re reached their thirties.

Having chronic conflicts in the relationship can produce stressors that can cause mental health conditions, like depression or anxiety; it can also affect self-esteem and even physical health, as well as contribute to addictive behaviors, like substance abuse. Relationship problems can also unintentionally affect family members, especially children, who may repeatedly witness relationship conflict between their parents, thus developing them to have their own relationship issues to work through in their adulthood.

Couples usually seek counseling for their relationship when the constant fighting has become too overwhelming to be able to cope independently, or to save the relationship; or even to fight in front of a “referee” so that they can get the sought after confirmation of who was right or wrong.

Case Example of a Relationship Conflict
Jane and Joe enter counseling because they have been fighting often. Inquiry reveals the fights are verbal but not overly emotional, it has never been physical. The fights have so far been considered “healthy”, with no traded insults or direct intent to hurt one another; yet, it seems that the fighting has become routine over the same topics.  Joe feels the pressure of Jane wanting to get marry.  It’s a big commitment, and although he loves Jane, he’s not sure if he’s ready for that just yet.  Jane feels insecure about the relationship; she feels Joe is dragging his feet in regards to marriage, but they have been having somewhat of a good communication in regards to getting married.  However, lately they’ve been fighting over an incident that has caused a rift in their relationship.  An ex has contacted Joe, and Jane feels unsure about how Joe reacted to it.  Joe responded to the attempted contact, and this has Jane questioning whether or not there is unresolved issues that Joe needs to work out with his ex.

During the sessions, there are many ways that a counselor can go about trying to help Jane and Joe, including finding out what the “family of origin issues” are. As the saying goes, everything starts from home — much of who we are have been developed from our childhood environment. From our family we learn many of our values, which can directly affect our behavior and actions; as adults we can either reject our family values or enforce them. An example of this is the belief that children who grew up in abusive homes are more likely to be abusers themselves, or be in abusive relationships, thus continuing the cycle. Our self-identity is also defined by our family, which can dictate a strong self if we were loved and felt safe within our family, or a damaged sense of self if love and safety were not shown during our childhood.

When children lack a healthy environment to base love and relationships on, they develop survival skills that are attune to what they perceive is “normal”. Jane shows signs of having commitment issues, despite pushing for marriage. Jane’s family origin issues were revealed to have been a very unhealthy and unsafe one. Of course, since the child’s behavior isn’t the cause of a parent’s failure to love, this created the personality that is now Jane’s.

A client may recognize their family wasn’t “perfect”, but for many individuals it is still difficult to confront our childhood, especially our family. We often feel loyalty to our family. It can be stressful in itself to examine our upbringing, but often it is necessary to get to the roots of our personalities.  However, it should be noted that family experiences doesn’t contribute or explain everything about who we are; genetics often play a role as well, including external factors outside of the family, like friends and school.

Couples bring their extended families into their relationships, whether consciously or unconsciously. The issues that we struggle with in our childhood contributes to our adult personalities. If we sought out our parents’ attention through perfection as a child, we may well continue to strive to achieve perfection for our mate. Additionally, we may put our own unrealistic expectations on a partner that is unaware, unable and ultimately unwilling, to live up to these irrational expectations. Bringing unaddressed family of origin issues into a relationship can create problems that are often confusing and overwhelming to both partners. In order to fully understand the behaviors we exhibit in our adult relationships, we must first become familiar with why we developed those behaviors in our childhood.

Joe stated that he wants to “wait for the right time” to get marry.  He feels that he is not yet financially secured enough to support a wife and ultimately a family.  Joe’s family history reveals that he comes from a large family, where finances were always a cause of concern, as well as his father being the main provider for the family.  With Joe, CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) would be the best approach; it deals with the here and now, and puts emphasis on the present, not the past.  Although Joe’s values might have come from his childhood, in his situation it is best to focus on the present for a solution.

Joe needs to change his current cognitive outlook on what he perceives as his reality.  Unless Joe wins the lottery, it is unlikely that he will ever feel financially secured enough at any point in his life. Other contributing factors to Joe’s values is gender-roles and societal expectations; the man is the provider of the family.  This puts great pressure on a man to be able to support a family, and is often one of the focusing reasons why men are reluctant to get married.  However, with CBT Joe can change his current thinking process — which is that the concept of the “right time” is unrealistic.  There will never be a right time, financial stresses beyond his control will always come up — the stock market crash, he lost his job, he got injured and is now disabled, the car broke down, the roof caved in, the pipes broke — basically Joe needs to realize that he will probably never be financially secured enough to not worry about money, but he has to learn to be okay with that.

(This psycho-babble, Sigmund Freud stuff is actually really interesting, right!?)

Jacksonville, NC

IMG_979772135940138The move to Jacksonville, NC was an expensive one, not just monetary, but also of personal values. Looking back on my impulsive and bad decisions, I feel as if everything that I’ve gained for myself in the last few years all went down the toilet.  It is a regrettable mistake, and one that I must now live with for the rest of my life — such a melancholy statement to make for almost the end of the year, especially when the beginning of the year started off well enough!

Only 2 weeks before getting married, I made the ill-thought decision to quit my job of six years, and then relocate to North Carolina.  I’ve always talked about leaving NYC, but never actually thought I would ever do it.  When I think of the City, I think of everything that it has, and how others dream their whole lives of coming to NYC instead of the other way around.  I had that horrible sunken feeling deep inside of me — you know, that feeling when you’ve bought a home or car, that buyer’s remorse feeling that people get.  So far, my time in North Carolina has been a purely miserable one, and I wish I knew how to turn back time.

The moving company that charged me the ridiculous price of $1,400 to move my relatively small belongings to NC — also stole my jewelry!

I wasn’t being realistic of my expectations.  I’ve come to realize that many other young military couples probably are enchanted with the idea of marriage and for the woman, especially the wedding, but the reality of it just plain sucks.


Even more disheartening to me is that not only did the movers stole the jewelry that my mother gave me as a wedding present, but that I also lost all my other jewelry — some which was just irreplaceable.  Some of those jewelry weren’t just material things, some of them had personal value that could never be priced.

I guess this post was written for me to vent, but also coming to terms with certain sentiments that are gone forever. (Those were just the jewelry items, I have a whole other list of personal items that are basically gone down the toilet as well — but why remember every single misery that I’ve lived through?)