MCLV Weddings | Advice for the Newly Engaged

Welcome to the new MCLV Weddings series!

The number one thing that I realized when we began to plan our wedding is that I had absolutely no concept of the sheer volume of things that would need doing. Things that I didn’t even know existed. I primarily blame myself, 35 years of disinterest in weddings doesn’t exactly prepare you to take the plunge…

That being said, I wanted to keep a positive attitude, stay on top of the timeline, and end up with a fun party at the end of the planning process. And since I am a classic Type A personality, I immediately started drafting spreadsheets, Googling checklists, and making To Do Lists. Since I found some great websites and blogs, and learned some lessons, I thought it would be helpful to round-up those online resources, along with what I’ve learned along the way, to benefit future generations of wedding planners.

As this is the first post in this new series, I thought I’d start with a little {unsolicited} advice for the newly engaged.

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Set Your Intention(s):

Regardless of whether you’re like me and a bit unsure about the whole wedding thing, or whether you’ve been planning a princess wedding since you were a kid, there’s an important thing to remember. It’s not about the wedding – It’s about the marriage.

Especially if you find yourself getting caught up in the whirlwind of momentum and losing sight of the end goal, this can be a helpful little affirmation for you. While we all love a great party, the party isn’t why we all go through this insane process – Building a strong, happy marriage is the ultimate objective.

Bask:

I beg of you – Upon getting engaged, take a moment to stop and smell the roses. It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement and all the questions people are asking and start planning immediately. But you have a lot of planning to do, so why not stop and enjoy being engaged for a bit? There’s no rush. You’ve just found the person that you want to spend your life with, and that’s huge. Hold them close. Enjoy the excitement together.

Communication:

Planning a wedding is an extremely stressful, time consuming process that involves lots of people, and an endless number of decisions. You spend so much time worrying about everyone else that you tend to lose sight of your own wishes and desires. I highly recommend sitting down with your partner before things get underway and discussing what you want. I wrote down a page of questions early on and we sat down and went through them. What’s important to you? What doesn’t appeal to you? What traditions do you want to uphold?

Get an idea of what page you’re on and check back in with each other throughout the process to make sure that you’re still a united front. It was important to me that I not be the one doing everything, so we made sure to schedule appointments and meetings when we could both attend. We were also extremely lucky to have our families involved and helping out.

Make It Fun:

We happened to get engaged right in the middle of a period where many people around us were getting engaged and married. Which meant tons of helpful advice and suggestions and tips. We even got spreadsheets and binders sent to us!

One of my favorite recommendations was about handling all of the details and decision making. Rather than handling it all ad hoc and answering questions as they came in, this couple set aside time to do it all at once. They opened a bottle of champagne, toasted, and worked through the list together. We’ve been doing that and I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to stay united and keep it fun.

Be sure to stay tuned for some fun posts on wedding dresses, accessorizing, beauty & skin care, and more!

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Mindful Morning Routine

One of my favorite parts about the weekends is being able to have a relaxed, mindful morning routine. During the week I get up before 5am and scurry around in the dark getting ready for work, so  I really enjoy the calming nature of my weekend routine in the mornings.

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First up – Make the bed. In our house we have a “last one out of bed makes the bed” rule, but in truth we usually make it together.

Next up – Water! I know that I talk about this a lot, but it bears repeating in my mind. You should be consuming 1/2-1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. That means we each have a perfect amount of water. So, I like to start first thing. I keep a water bottle on my bedside table and I usually finish it before I leave the bedroom.

The next item on my morning to-do list is waking up my skin. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps in my morning beauty routine:

After my face is refreshed and moisturized, I’ll put on the kettle for tea while I get myself ready for the gym or a run. Generally, I head downstairs to my building’s gym on either Saturday or Sunday morning, and head out for a run on the other day.

Gear-wise, I have multiples of all my favorite pieces and tend to wear a variation of the same thing to the gym everyday. And while I love my Lulu leggings, my current obsession is the Fabletics Powerhold High Waist Leggings. They’re sooo good. Throw on a Sweaty Betty tank top and Brooks trainers, and I’m good to go for whatever workout I’m headed to.

Post-workout means breaking my fast and getting some healthy protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It’s also when I take some supplements to start the day on the right foot. Weekend breakfasts can be anything from scrambles to smoothies to protein pancakes.

What’s YOUR morning routine like?

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What’s In My Gym Bag

There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym and realizing you’re missing something that you need. You feel like the whole trip was a waste and it totally throws you off! Below is a peek into my gym bag so you can see all my essentials.

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What’s in YOUR gym bag?

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My Evening Routine

During the week I’m up pretty early, and I truthfully don’t have much in the way of a calming or mindful routine in the mornings. It’s more about getting up and getting out the door. I do, however, have a lovely evening routine most of the time.

I’m a creature of habit, and while I may not do all of these every night, I do most of them, most of the time. What I love about having a relaxing evening routine is that as soon as you start it, your body immediately starts to calm down.

What I’ve found is that the more stressed and anxious I am during the day, the more I benefit from this nighttime regime. So, read on for a peek into an evening at the MCLV headquarters…

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Bath: After making dinner and leaving the dishes for the boy, I head back to the bedroom. I start the water, add the Dr. Teal’s Epsom salts, and then pack my bag for the next day while the water fills up the tub. Once the water is ready, I either light a candle {currently addicted to Nest Grapefruit} or turn on the PureSpa Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser {favorite oils right now are peppermint, lemongrass, and Nature’s Shield, which is AMAZING}. I usually soak for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on what time I hop in.

Skin Care: After my bath, I do my evening skin care routine. You can read a full blog post on my favorite products and routine here. Here’s a super quick breakdown of the products that I use post-bath:

Yoga: Now that I’m relaxed and warm and happy, I like to do a few minutes of yoga. I usually just pull up a Boho Beautiful video and follow along, but sometimes I’ll try another instructor or use the Tone It Up app. Sometimes I only have the time or energy for 5 minutes, sometimes it’s 20 minutes. It varies.

Meditation: Guided bedtime meditations are a favorite of mine. While I don’t always love guided meditations, I’ve found that they’re a good option for me at night because my mind is so busy. If I’m left to my own devices, my mind is racing through my to do list and wedding plans and what I forgot to do that day. A guided meditation is a great way for me to focus on the meditation and get out of my own head. I actually don’t have a favorite, I just search on YouTube for what I need at a given moment, and lay back for 5-10 minutes of meditation.

Bedtime Prep: I used to hate lavender, but now I’m completely obsessed. Before bed I always use a lavender pillow spray, my current favorite is This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. And, speaking of pillows, I’m totally obsessed with my Slip For Beauty Sleep Silk Pillow Case. I’ve been using Slip for years and just got a new one, and I look forward to laying my head down every night.

Reading: I try not to be on my phone in bed as much as possible, though some nights I do better than others… But in general, I read a real live physical book before bed. With my anxiety levels it’s easy to lay in bed worrying and stressing myself out. What I’ve found is that reading something empowering and though provoking before bed helps set a healthier mentality going into the night. I have a tendency to have multiple books going at a given time and here are a few of the items on my bedside table:

I generally like to read for 20-30 minutes before switching off the light. 🙂

What do YOU make a part of your evening routine?

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MCLV Mange| Blueberry Banana Bread

I love zucchini and banana bread, and I’m always looking for yummy new variations to try out. So when I had some leftover blueberries in the fridge and some ripe bananas in the fruit bowl, I decided it was time for a new banana bread recipe!

Blueberry Banana Bread Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Recipe

Blueberry Banana Bread {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Make flax eggs and set aside (Combine warm water + ground flax seeds in a large bowl and let them sit)
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium bowl
  4. Add the lemon juice, coconut oil, sugar, and mashed bananas to the flax mixture. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Finally, fold in the blueberries, just mixing until combined.
  5. Spray + line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Cook for 1 hour, and check if they’re done by inserting a toothpick or fork. If they come out clean, you’re done. Otherwise leave in the oven for 5-10 more minutes.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven, and then remove from the pan to finish cooling on a rack.

Happy Baking!

Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange installment and check out the previous posts from this series here to see what you’ve missed so far.

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