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My Secret Shame

I’ve only told a few people about this because I feel completely embarrassed—ashamed even—about what Dan and I have done. It’s something I feel we haven’t earned yet because we don’t have children, or a pet, or anyone besides ourselves and a few dying plants to look after. But nonetheless, we’d both rather watch episodes of Falling Skies than be on our hands and knees cleaning anything, so Dan and I have hired a cleaning lady. Or rather a cleaning crew, which sounds even worse! 3 people to clean up after us? What are we, slugs that leave a trail of slime behind us everywhere we go?!

We only have 1150 sq. ft. to keep clean. And so far, in the 10 months that we’ve lived here, we haven’t even been able to accomplish that! So, with some resignation from Dan about letting strangers into our home (not like we have anything to steal), we bit the bullet and called “Call the Mrs.” I mean, the name is just so convincing! I fully expected a woman in a polka dotted dress, high heels and a Lucille ball wig to show up, but alas, that didn’t happen.

I never want to be “The Mrs.” in the traditional sense of the word, so I’m really happy to be able to pay someone else to play into this outdated stereotype and clean my condo FOR ME! The only downfall so far has been that they don’t have dinner ready for you when you get home. Also, let’s be real, there aren’t a lot of super thorough and affordable Polish cleaning ladies in Southwest Michigan like there are in Chicago.

The cleaning crew comes once a month, so for 29 days, I struggle to keep up with the clutter and then on day 30, our home magically becomes the condo I’ve always dreamed of! Sparkling floors and windows. No dust. Anywhere. And an empty sink (they’ll put your dishes in the dishwasher for you if you ask nicely).

Did I mention I haven’t had to scrub a toilet in, like, 3 months? That’s a great feeling and totally worth the $65 that we spend to have somebody come in and do the dirty work once a month, which I think is super affordable for the peace of mind it provides. Also, if there is any clutter on the countertops, they just pile it all up in one spot, so you’re basically forced to go through it to remember what used to be spread out all over the kitchen counters or to find that thing you were supposed to mail 2 weeks ago.

If I’m being honest though, and I am, I still get terrified that people are going to just decide to “pop over”. If you do decide to spontaneously pop over, please do it on a day that we’ve agreed upon in advance, or on the 2nd Tuesday evening of every month, because if you do, our condo will smell fresh and all of my clutter will be piled up in certain areas of the house leading you to believe that we’re neat people. I mean, we are really neat, but it’s more like the groovy kind of neat than the OCD kind. I wish I was the latter and I keep holding out hope that it will happen before we add another human into the mix, but after almost 29 years of being alive I’m starting to doubt it!

On making small town living feel like home


The other day I was thinking about how hard it is to go from a city like Chicago to a small town like St. Joseph and feel like you fit in. I’ve heard that people can feel alone in a city of millions when it comes to Chicago, but I never felt like that. I liked the anonymity of being in a big city. I liked being able to flip someone off who almost hit me in the crosswalk and then NOT finding out that I had to work with them later, or that they were someone from a prominent family in town. I liked going to Walgreens with dirty hair and no makeup and not seeing someone I knew. I liked writing totally TRUE Yelp reviews because I knew I’d never have to see that bar owner again. You can’t do that when there’s 1 degree of separation between everyone instead of 7 and only a few bars/restaurants to choose from.

There’s always something to do in Chicago—people to meet, free events to attend, and friends who wanted to hang out, even if we were just watching crappy chic flicks and drinking wine on a Wednesday night while my husband was out playing rugby and hopefully not getting his handsome face bashed up.

But here, in a city of under 8,000, people have their routines. They have friends who they’ve known since birth, and at first I found it really hard to break into those inner circles. I started focusing my befriending efforts on the ones who were also transplants. Who may have been in St. Joe longer than I, but who aren’t from here. They went through the same struggles I have and eventually found their place, which I’m just now starting to do. Then I realized how limiting that was and found out that there are some great local people here too, who’ve invited me to join their book club, invited Dan and I out to the local karaoke bar, given us recommendations of places to explore and things to see, and generally welcomed us with open arms. I’m so thankful for who I’ve met and become close with in the seven short months we’ve lived here.

When I first moved here, especially before I started working and meeting people, I was so starved for conversation and attention that I’d tell my life story to anyone who showed me a slice of kindness. I’m pretty sure the cashier at my favorite grocery store here knows where we live. Okay, I’m not pretty sure. I’m positive, since I told her in a fit of word vomit when she said something nice to me.

I’ve always had a soft spot for people who seem lonely, or look like they don’t have anyone. I hate being alone and oftentimes think that others do, too, even though that’s not always the case. Some people like to eat alone and don’t want to talk to anyone! Some people even VACATION ALONE! Huh? That concept is so foreign to me because I love being around people. The elderly man sitting by himself at breakfast breaks my heart. And the lesbian bartender who I met while out with my mom one night, didn’t show up for Easter at our house in Baltimore, but she could have because I invited her when she mentioned that she didn’t have anyone to spend Easter with. WHO DOES THAT?! She could have been a serial killer and murdered all of her friends and family and THAT’S why she didn’t have Easter plans. But in my head, no one should be alone on Easter! Especially my new friend who was serving up very strong shots.

Even though it didn’t happen as quickly as I would have liked or anticipated, I already have a gym buddy, a book club/writing buddy, a friend who likes to talk about her feeeeeeeeelings like I do (that’s what a blog is for, right?) and a fun group of people who are usually up for a drink after work. To our new friends in St. Joe, I say, “You’re good eggs. (Easter reference?) Thanks for being you.”

The Marriage Bucket List/Mostly what I want to do in the next 50-ish years

garter toss trickI’ve always wanted to create a bucket list and never have, mainly because the thought of accomplishing a bunch of things before I die brings up the idea of…dying. But now that we’re almost 6 months into this marriage thing, rather than worry and be fearful, I thought I’d take the optimistic route and imagine that I will have at least 70 more years on this earth, plenty of time to accomplish all of the things I want to do with Dan by my side.

When I asked Dan to contribute, his very uninterested response was, “I don’t make resolutions.” And since he totally missed the point of the list, I decided to guess what he’d want on here if he wasn’t being such a grouch.

    • Make a meal from scratch together (homemade pasta?)
    • Flip a house (This will happen within the next few years. I’m really itching to buy something and fix it up!)
    • Ride a tandem bike (I’ve heard you need coordination to do this successfully,     hence why I’ve never tried it)
    • Travel to Europe (We’ve both been different places in Europe, but never anywhere together)
    • Own a Scooter (Me)
    • Own a motorcycle (Dan)
    • Start gardening and eating more organic food
    • Babies (2, maybe more)
    • Hike around a volcano in Hawaii
    • Montreal in the summer
    • Encourage each other to be healthier (more gym time, less TV time, eating better, sleeping more* etc…)
    • Celebrate the holidays someplace warm (Virgin Islands maybe?)
    • Go back to Costa Rica with a big group of friends
    • Learn something useful (Sewing? Knitting? Or maybe just being handy?)
    • Write a novel
    • Stay connected with family and friends (It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own little cocoon, especially when family and friends live far away. I really don’t want us to let this happen.)
    • Continue our Sunday night TV tradition (When our favorite shows, Boardwalk Empire, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones & True Blood play on Sunday nights, we hunker down for the night and watch them. When they’re not on, we pick a show off Netflix and dive in. Right now, while HBO is pretty bare, we’re watching Breaking Bad).
    • Volunteer somewhere together every few months (I had every few weeks here and then decided to be realistic.)
    • Start a business
    • Refinish a piece of furniture together  (Our coffee table looks pretty bad-ass. I’ll post a picture of it here sometime.)
    • Master grad school (Dan)
    • Go on a cruise
    • Explore Australia/New Zealand
    • Get a dog! (Me)
    • Learn to really appreciate wine (not just the taste, but the process of making it and enjoying it)
    • Throw one big party every few years (2012, it was our wedding. What will the next one be?)
    • Do something for the other person that really scares you (For me, it would be anything that had to do with heights. I’m sure Dan would say nothing scares him, but becoming a parent probably counts.)
    • Stay in a B&B  (Ever been to the Inn of the Six-Toed Cat? Because we have and it’s creepy and amazing all at once.)
    • Set foot in every state in the U.S.A.
    • Never fit into the underwear that Dan’s holding above.
    • Save. Save. Save. So we can do all of the above without stressing about money.

This is intended to be a very fluid list that will change and grow as we do. I’ll cross things off as we accomplish them and try to update it regularly. But for now, I’m glad to just have it down on virtual paper. It feels more real this way.


What about you? Do you have a bucket list or goals you want to accomplish, married or otherwise? If so, I’d love to hear them!


**For the record, I’m a pro at sleeping. It’s actually one of my best talents. But my husband could use a few more hours every night. Maybe he’d be a little less grumpy and actually think lists like this are fun to write! A girl can dream, right?

New Year’s Past

Every year on New Year’s Eve, we get dolled up. I spend MONTHS picking out a dress, (that I’ll decide I hate the day of) jewelry, shoes and a hairstyle. Then, 5 minutes before we head out the door, I’m frantically running around trying to make sure that Dan doesn’t look like he just strolled in off the farm and that he’s wearing something acceptable. Sometimes I win, and sometimes he wears a captain’s hat anyway.

captain's hat

We eat a ridiculously delicious dinner somewhere expensive that we’ve never been, get fantastically drunk at either a house party or a bar, drinking our combined body weight in alcohol, and wait 2+ hours for a cab ride home because you cannot drive in Chicago on New Years. Nor can you walk, like you do the rest of the year. It’s usually snowing, I’m wearing heels, it’s below 30 degrees and there’s nowhere to park. If you’re lucky enough to even find parking, you will pay out the nose for it.

We’ve done some really freaking fun things on New Year’s Eve in Chicago. Danced through midnight at concerts, partied with cousins, eaten enough Italian food to make us sick, thrown our own parties that left us with streamer dye stamped into the floor. And while I LOVE our New Year’s past(s), this year we’re doing something completely different. Something unheard of in my book. In fact, I can’t believe I even agreed to it, because New Year’s Eve has always been such a big deal for me. Maybe it’s because this past year was such a crud bucket, that I was okay with ringing in the new one differently.

We’re packing up the Prius, driving 6 hours to the UP in Michigan and spending a few days in the in-laws “cabin in the woods,” which is actually a beautiful house on Lake Superior. Seriously, the lake is your front yard.

“You’re going to be in THE WOODS?” you incredulously ask because you’ve heard of my indoor kid reputation. I KNOW. But don’t worry about me, folks, they have high-speed internet.

And even though it’s currently freezing and we can’t go out on the aforementioned lake, there’s something to be said for drinking a cup of hot cocoa, spiked with some sort of booze, looking out at the lake, while wearing cute PJ’s and knowing that you don’t have anywhere else to be, unless you want to be somewhere else. But if you’ve been to this lake house before, you won’t. And if we do decide to frequent the local bar, called the Yukon, on New Year’s Eve, I have a feeling the prices will be just like they always are: $3 for a vodka cran and another $4 for a fried ham and cheese sandwich. No NYE price hikes here, said the always-friendly people of Paradise, MI!

Here’s to my first Michigan New Year’s with my first* husband, Dan, his wonderful family and some of our friends. Not going overboard on the last night of the year is new to me, and depending on how this one goes, it may or may not get old pretty quickly.

*JK, he’s my one and only!


As 2012 comes to a close, all I can say is GOOD RIDDANCE. This was one of the toughest years of my and Dan’s life. A lot of wonderful things happened, but a lot of shitty things happened as well. And I’m excited to start fresh, if that’s even a real thing. In theory, it’s a nice thought. But as much as people like to say, “Don’t carry it with you.” There’s a reason it’s called baggage! And sometimes, it’s really hard to unload.

The year started off with so much excitement! Dan had just started a new job and we were planning the next year of our lives together and 6 days into the year, Dan’s best friend and one of our groomsmen passed away suddenly. And this devastating event set the tone for the rest of the year. My grandparents, who have both been as strong as oxes since I’ve known them, developed a blood disease and early stages of dementia. My brother was hospitalized for a mental illness that he’s been struggling with since he was 17 and almost wasn’t able to walk me down the aisle. Another friend was diagnosed with a disease that will affect her for life. Another lost her first love. Another had a miscarriage. And THREE friends went through divorces. And let me tell you, that doesn’t help you have faith in marriage.

So while we were ecstatic to be getting married, to buy our first place together and to really start our lives as a family unit, it felt like a gray cloud was hanging over us. Like were weren’t supposed to fully allow ourselves to be happy because as soon as something good happened, we’d be smacked in the face with equally bad news.

And on top of all of this, I left a super fulfilling and fun job I loved in Chicago to be with Dan here in MI. I felt like such a loser and had so much anxiety over this. I felt like I gave up my career for Dan and I never wanted to be the “trailing spouse” who just followed her partner wherever he went. It took me a long time to get used to the idea that we were moving to MI so we could continue on to the next stages of our lives. And that I could have a career in MI, it might just be a little different that the path I was on in Chicago.

It’s something that comes up every now and then. Did we make the right decisions this year? And while we should be enjoying all of the things we’ve worked so hard for, it’s hard when our friends and family are struggling. Or when we miss them terribly.

But we also have a ton of good things to look forward to in the New Year.

Settling into our jobs and our lives here in MI. Traveling. Trips up to the in-laws lakehouse. Making new friends. The wedding of our best friends, which has been a long time coming! I’m going to be an aunt next April. And maybe we’ll start trying for some babies of our own (who knows?!). So for the first time ever, I’m toasting to the New Year without making any resolutions. And just being hopeful that we can wipe the slate clean for 2013.

Oh, Happy Day!

Happy Birthday, Mom! I won’t tell everyone how old you are. Just wanted to say that I’m lucky to have you. Thanks for always giving me good advice and for not letting me move in with high school boyfriend when I was 18.

THEN (What’s with my Amish kid outfit?)
AND NOW (We both got a lot cuter with time 
and a hairbrush, eh?)

When Life Throws you a Life Twin

I’m just going to come right out and say it. I met my life twin at my new job in Michigan and it’s freaking us both out.

About a month into starting my new job, I found out that one of the account girls I had just started working with was also from Chicago. Okay, that’s not too weird, a lot of people in my new agency are from Chicago. I mean, we’re only 1.5 hours from the city. Then I found out that she too worked at a kick-ass agency and gave up her job to move to St. Joe, MI to be with the love of her life (who is ALSO from MI).  She too thought she would never find a job in advertising in this small town of only 8,000 people, and low and behold we ended up at the same place.

But the similarities don’t stop there. We were joking one time about how we’re basically the same person. So then we started TRYING to find differences just to make ourselves feel better. Because you know, everyone wants to feel like an original and I definitely do not anymore. But we ended up finding more similarities than differences.

We like to shop at the same places. We both love scallops. We both order Hawaiian pizza from the only good pizza place in the area. We both workout (or will soon start working out) at the new gym that just opened in our town. We both wear glasses, although I wear mine more often. We both use the same brand and color of lip gloss. I mean, COME ON. There are probably 959,000 lip gloss brand and color combinations to choose from and we both use an appallingly expensive Laura Mercier lip gloss (I seriously only own ONE lip gloss and it’s the same as my life twin).

But this is the real kicker.


Same day. Same year. Same everything. How ridiculous is that? It’s like the universe decided to create the same person, split her in half and one ended up in a suburb of IL (her) and one ended up on a farm in IL (me) only for both of them to end up in the same small town in MI, working at a creative agency, frequenting the same bars, and marrying business men with similar haircuts. It’s getting so bad, in fact, that we actually cheer when we find out that she likes something that I don’t, or vice versa.

The one comfort we both have is that while her fiancé and my husband went to the same college, the similarities end there. For instance, her fiancé is I-used-to-sing-in-a-band good at singing. My husband LOVES to sing and will often do it in public at karaoke bars, but as far as being ABLE to sing, that’s a different story. Her fiancé loves to cook. My husband loves to eat what I cook. Also, her fiancé is all for getting an indoor dog, while my husband is still being the biggest stick in the mud ON EARTH when it comes to the subject. He will only concede to an outdoor dog, but we have no outdoors of which to speak since we live in a condo. Which means, no dog for Mrs. Peat.

I’m hoping one day his heart will stop being two sizes too small, and he’ll change his mind, but until that day I’m at least comforted by the fact that my life twin and I married different men!

Has this ever happened to you? Because this is seriously some single white female stuff happening here, only we’re not single and we already have each other’s lives without trying to murder the other one for it. 

The BEST DAY EVER, until another really awesome day comes along

Guys, I’m a wife now. And it’s really freaking fun. But since I’ve been mum on here for quite a while, so long it’s actually shameful, I thought I’d write a long dramatic post about the wedding and how the best thing that happened to me on my wedding day (besides marrying my best friend OF COURSE) is that someone said my wedding looked like Pinterest. I mean, could you GET a bigger compliment? I loved hearing that almost as much as I loved hearing Dan say “I will,” but not quite.

So here are a few pics from the wedding that I was so busy planning I forgot to blog about! A lot of stuff at the wedding was DIY, which actually doesn’t stand for Do It Yourself. It stands for Don’t even try It, You loser. But try, I did. I failed at a lot of crafts that didn’t make it to the wedding, but a few turned out to be acceptable enough to throw on a table! THANK GOD. Actually, no, don’t thank God. Thank my bridesmaids, especially Dianna. Because without them the wedding would have been a disaster, or at least looked like one.

Here’s a little background. I lived in Chicago when I met Dan, my now husband. He’s from Michigan and is a farm boy through and through. A farm boy who likes to wear suits, no less, and who can sell the pants off a camel. So after 5 years of “The Sell,” we got married in a barn in Watervliet, MI, but I made it my mission to somehow get this barn wedding to reflect both of us. That means, where there was burlap, there was lace. Where there was a slate gray color, you also saw pops of mint green and coral. Where there was local michigan beer, there was also sweet wine and a fun signature cherry drink. You get the picture. And now, you get the PICTURES!

Here are some of my favorite details from the day, mixed in with some of my favorite pics and people from the day.

The Barn.
The favors, cherry jam from Jollay Orchards in Coloma, MI, which also doubled as table numbers. 
 The food menu. Our wedding was catered by C.K. Catering in Coloma, MI and it was fabulous! Scallops cooked on a himalayan salt block, bacon wrapped dates and homemade potato chips topped with pulled pork and coleslaw were part of the appetizer round. While some lighter options and comfort food rounded up the dinner portion.
The bar menu. A mix of local and imported beer and wine
 and two signature cocktails! The Peat-chy Keen (my new last name is Peat) 
and the Cherry Surprise. Dan grew up on a cherry farm and I have a cherry 
tattoo on my shoulder. That’s how I knew we’d get married 5+ years ago. 
 Our customized ring holder from my sister in-law, complete with
cherry blossoms. So thoughtful!
 Invites front: By Mary Elisa from DIY-ish.
 Invites back: designed to match the vintage fabric on the tables.
Dancing Shoes and my gorgeous bouquet from V.S. Flowers in Douglas, MI 
Ceremony backdrop: It’s 4 strands at alternating lengths and uses 
hundreds of yards of vintage ribbon collected over the course of a year. 
And it’s for sale! If you’re interested, leave me a comment.
The inside of the barn. 
Dessert table: Love is Sweet Banner from BHLDN, Cake and desserts 
from Bit of Swiss in Stevensville, MI and cake toppers from Esty!
Cake toppers by Knottingwood. They looked like us! 
Mr. & Mrs. forks from BHLDN.
Sweetheart table with Mr. & Mrs. Banner and vintage lace 
tablecloth over burlap.
Our hilarious, fun and good-looking bridal party. 
Gorgeous bridesmaids in different shades of greens.
My beautiful and tiny Italian mother. Surprisingly, she made it through
the whole day without a crying fit! haha
I just love this picture.
And this one. He’s a sweetheart.
My long ruffly train that I kept tripping on all night after  
my bustle broke.
Last but not least, me and my ridiculously handsome groom. I mean, seriously.

Man it feels good to be blogging again. In the past 5 months, I quit my job in Chicago, got married, bought a condo, moved to MI and started a new job here. And since life has finally settled down, I can start telling you guys all about it!



I know it’s been a few (okay 5) months since I’ve posted. But I received this email at work today (from a coworker whose future husband is the same height as her) that was so blogworthy, I had to post it…immediately!

The copy reads: So I just was on Zappos looking for new Pumas & thought I’d look at wedding shoes (they have a wedding section). I clicked on 1” or under heel & these are the ones that popped up. There is a good selection though;) I think I’ll need to look at regular shoes…maybe some flip flops.

Apparently, if you don’t want to wear hooker heels, or TOMS on your wedding day, options are scarce.

Also, if you know of any other great shoe brands/sites that don’t specialize in the 5” shoe or child variety, feel free to leave them below!


The honeymoon conundrum

Let’s talk about The Knot and their insane list of wedding to-dos. When I first signed up on the site, I received an email that said something along the lines of, “Yay! You’re engaged (finally)! The fun part’s over. Now get your ass in gear because you only have 407 DAYS to plan the best day of your life and there are a ton of people counting on you, and let’s face it, judging you…SUCKA!”

I mean, at that point, I didn’t speak WEDDING yet, so that’s what I assume it said between all the flower and cake vendor reccos.

So, I’ve been diligently attacking this list of 189 TASKS like a semi-interested pitbull, and I’m finding out that my usual LOVE for making a list and checking it twice has been overshadowed by just how overwhelming this list actually is. I mean, they have everything down to the Nth degree, including “Getting in shape for your big day!” According to the Knot that was supposed to start about 4 months ago…way to be realistic, knot. (Did you see what I did there? I used “knot,” as the sarcastic zing from the 80’s known as “not.” Dan’s so lucky to marry someone so clever!)

So after getting all the huge things out of the way, like venue, photographer, and my dress (which I’m having serious second thoughts about), I decided to take a little break. As in, I deleted every email The Knot sent me for about 2 months and pretended the ring on my finger was just a ruse so I wouldn’t get hit on in bars, or by creepy people on the train who ask me if I’m Russian, to which I smoothly reply, “No, I actually left on time today!” because I thought he asked if I was rushin’. (True Story)

Anyway, it’s time to get back into the planning groove and I just checked “Find a DJ” off and I’m thiiiiiiiiis close to checking “find a florist” and “eat some cake” off the list, so now I want to move on to something FUN. But living in Chicago and planning a wedding in Michigan, means all the FUN stuff, like eating cake or picking our flowers has to be done in trips to MI. So I thought…what could I do that falls under the FUN category and includes the internet? EASY. Look up honeymoon destinations!

The thing is, Dan and I differ immensely on our ideas of what a honeymoon should be.

My idea: Go somewhere you’ve never been and experience together. I don’t know when we’ll have another week or two to just spend on vacation, especially once we start having kids, etc…so we should use this time to do something crazy our out of the ordinary!

Dan’s idea: A honeymoon is about spending alone time with each other and having your first week or two as a married couple be uninterrupted and relaxing. Basically, he wants us to be in some honeymoon love cocoon for 2 weeks straight…which, in theory sounds romantic, but I’m afraid it may get a little boring after day 3!

So we’ve narrowed it down to a few places:


Dan has been promising to take me to see a volcano since we didn’t get to go on the excursion in Costa Rica. But I’ve heard Hawaii is just ridiculously expensive. And the thought of trying to narrow down which Island to go to gives me anxiety. If you’ve been and you have suggestions, let me know!

St. Lucia

We have friends who went here on their honeymoon and loved it. If we decide on the all-inclusive experience, this is probably where we’ll end up. And a island hopping from one Virgin Island to another might break up the experience a little so it doesn’t seem like we spent all our time in one place.


I’ve been dying to go back to Europe since I backpacked with my cousin in 2006 and I’ve never seen Ireland! Our honeymoon would be the perfect excuse! Dan’s already been to Ireland, but I think we could have a nice mix of relaxing and sightseeing here. Plus, we could kiss the blarney stone and start our marriage off with some “eloquence,” whatever that means!


We’d start at Niagara Falls for some romantic picture taking, and then head into Canada. Montreal in the summer? I’m not sure any of the other places I’ve listed could be better! And Dan and I have both never been, so it would be new for the two of us.

A cruise to…somewhere

Is it tacky to go on a cruise for your honeymoon? I’ve never been on one. And I’m afraid it will be so structured as to what you can and can’t do/see, that we’ll have a miserable time. I don’t want to be on a schedule, at all, on my honeymoon, but this is a VERY economical option. P.S. Doesn’t this look like a cruise from the future?

I also suggested Greece, but that was shot down IMMEDIATELY, although I’m still not really sure why.

Where would you go if the decision were up to you? Or, if you’ve had a honeymoon, where was it and was it everything you BOTH wanted?