First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com

Our First Wedding Anniversary

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com
We took the ferry across to Toronto Island

Nic and I got married June 20, 2015 in Ottawa, where we grew up. For our first anniversary, we decided we would go to Toronto Island for a beach day, and then have a delicious dinner out. Our original plans were much more grandiose-weekend hiking trip in Algonquin or on the Bruce Peninsula, bed & breakfast and a show in Stratford… But we realized that with a grad student and and under-employed-future-grad-student income, it made more sense to stick close to home.

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com
Always use a protective pouch if using electronics at the beach!

Neither of us had been to the Islands before, so this was a lot of fun. We packed up all our essentials, and spent a really hot, relaxing day in the sun. Yes, I got a terrible burn despite repeat applications of sunscreen.

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com
I love building sandcastles

Since Nic had strained his shoulder, we knew we wouldn’t be able to play any sports at the beach. We decided to pick up a bucket and some shovels to make a sandcastle-it was a lot of fun. People kept passing by it and saying how awesome it was, probably thinking it was made by children, not two twenty-five-year-olds. We had some good laughs.

We walked from Ward’s Island to Centre Island, which was much busier, and got some fresh pineapple juice.

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com
Nic bought me peonies, my favourite flowers
First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com
Our friend Winston recommended Byblos, and it was delicious

Byblos is a Mediterranean restaurant in the Entertainment District, and they’re phenomenal. We each got a fancy cocktail (my cucumber, mint + vodka was perfect) and then shared some plates.

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com

Our last dish arrived after I took this picture, and we had eaten too much of the food for me to take another one. Oops! We had the best, spiciest olives, cauliflower, fried chicken, and pide.

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com

The waitress brought us some Turkish ice cream because she knew it was our anniversary-so sweet! The booth we sat in was also super romantic. I’m so glad we went there.

Our first year of marriage has been so wonderful. First and foremost, obviously it’s been awesome living with Nic-we don’t have to be long-distance anymore, or be worried we’ll miss the last bus home because we’re having a great conversation, and there’s always our favourite person to hang out with when we get home. Second, it’s been really cool to see our relationship evolve-we’ve seen each other through tough times, dashed hopes, and joys, and have learned how to be humble about our mistakes. Third, we’ve gotten to explore places together-not just our temporary city of Toronto, but our honeymoon in Nova Scotia, bringing Nic to Manitoba for my Grandpa’s funeral, and our dream trips (B.C., New Zealand and Australia…). I’m so happy we found each other, and I can’t wait for every single anniversary after this one.

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com

Sunglasses: thrifted
Top: Forever 21
Skirt: Suzy Shier
Heels: JustFab

First Anniversary - JanessaMann.Com

After dinner we walked (I limped, I haven’t worn heels in months, and those four-inch babies were killing me) to the waterfront, shared a drink at the Amsterdam Brewery, and watched the sunset on the first day of summer.

Wedding Wednesdays: What You Should and Shouldn’t Register For

What To Register For: What You Do and Don't Need - JanessaMann.Com

For 9 months leading up to my wedding, I worked full-time as the main customer service person at the nearest Bed Bath & Beyond to me. No, it wasn’t a great job, related to my field, or particularly fulfilling, but I did learn a lot about how to set up your home.

People will tell you tons of things about what you need, pressure you into certain brands or gifts you’ll never use, and make you get ridiculously priced items. Depending what you ask for, you won’t get much of it. Registries are a pretty conventional wedding thing, so some people are trying to step away from it. However, it’s really helpful for guests to know where to go for things you will actually use-it saves headaches, and is less up-front than “please give us cash.”

Here is a standard checklist from TheKnot.com, which as some great references, but there are some pitfalls.

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1) Items you already have

If you’ve been living on your own or together for a while, you probably already have lots of these things. You have two routes: request replacements/upgrades of your current stuff, or stick with what you have and save gift requests for things you wouldn’t/couldn’t buy on your own.

For instance, my brother and sister-in-law had a terrible toaster that burned the toast all the time since it was like 20 years old. They registered for a new one. However, their microwave was fine. Why bother asking for another one?

2) Things you don’t want

Sometimes your parents, in-laws, or someone else will try to pressure you into requesting gifts that you don’t foresee yourself using. Stay strong. If it’s a gift they really want to give you, compromise is fine. If it’s something they think you need, but wont’ get you, why do they want you to get it? It’s just a waste of someone else’s money.

Nic and I did our registry at my store, and the whole time my managers were pressuring me into registering for china. They figured I would regret not asking for it, and that the IKEA set we wanted would not cut it. To get them off our back, we put it on the registry. Later that night I logged in and deleted it all. I have half of the Royal Dalton Old Country Rose set, and Nic doesn’t like it. Why would I bother getting more or another set? My plan for the long run is to mix in nicer pieces with the IKEA ones, which fits our current lifestyle.

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3) Things you don’t need

I will admit that a KitchenAid standmixer was the first thing on my list, and I was super pumped when I found out that my Dad’s family bought ours for us! No, they’re not necessary. Have I loved it completely? Yup. But you don’t need one.

If you’ve never  made juice in a Magic Bullet, you don’t need a juicer. Neither of you bake? You don’t need very much baking stuff.

As greedy as it sounds, the registry should be things that you really want. Don’t fill up a registry of things people are buying for you with things you don’t actually want. Some guests might remember what they got you, and when they visit, will be happy to see you’re using the item on a regular basis.

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4) Consider different routes

Nic and I needed towels, sheets, some cooking stuff, so we registered at Bed Bath & Beyond. However, we also registered on ehoneymoonregistry.com and MyRegistry.com.

Honeymoon registries are super cool: if you’re planning a honeymoon, you can get some of your activities paid for! Our camping in Cape Breton was covered, we got money for dinners and ice cream breaks, and whale watching. Writing those thank you cards were so much fun, because we had such a great time doing it all. Honeymoon registries are even more helpful for couples who already have all their home stuff, and don’t want to just get cash.

We used MyRegistry because we wanted a universal registry where we could put our camping supplies from MEC, various items from IKEA, and our Nikon DSLR fund. If you don’t have a specific store you want many things from, this is super helpful, and makes sure gifts aren’t doubled. Are you super into rock-climbing and want some more gear for the two of you? That’s your time, and guests love to give gifts they know you’ll really enjoy. Like to go to art galleries? Request year memberships to places on your universal registry. The sky is the limit.

5) Gift budgets

If you only have gifts above $100, you’d better hope all your guests are rich. For the rest of us normal people, you need to have a variety of budgets so that no one is uncomfortable.

Once I knew some ladies from my church were throwing me a bridal shower, I added some cheaper baking supplies that were $5-20 so people could choose whatever they were comfortable spending. For most of my friends, we all spent an average of $50 per person, so we had a bunch of gifts that were around that range. Relatives who could spend more chose the pricier items (standmixer, towel sets, sheet sets).

Don’t be like many of my friends who requested super expensive dishes, got maybe 2 dinner plates, one soup bowl, and no cutlery. If you request only expensive things, your guests won’t be able to buy them for you unless they all go in together. And you’ll be stuck eating on your old dishes. Giving wedding gifts should be a fun process for the guests-it’s always exciting (for me at least) to look at what they’re asking for, and see if I can top up the gift with something special (gift receipt included, of course).

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Resources:

It comes down to being considerate of your guests’ budgets, what will help you and your partner set up your home together, and what the two of you find important in your lives. Make sure to write in a spreadsheet what gifts you got from whom so you can write a thank you card or email-one of the wedding traditions that I hold firm to!

My Goals for 2016!

I haven’t made new year’s resolutions for a few years, I like to do goals. Goals are usually way more achievable, since they’re usually pretty specific. I don’t get upset when I don’t achieve them (like stopping to crack my knuckles), but I do usually try pretty hard.

My Nova Scotia honeymoon mug and my KOBO Aura

Reading:

  • Re-read old favourites: The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Read all 5 Canada Reads 2016 Finalist books. 
    • The short list will be announced January 20th, but for now I can start to think about the 15 that are currently listed. 

Canada Reads 2016 is all about “starting over.” The show will feature books about transformation and second chances, stories of migrants, immigrants and others who are choosing – or forced – to make major changes in their lives.

  • Goodreads 2016 Challenge of 100 books. 
    • I was proud of myself for achieving 200 in 2015, but at the end of the year when I was working full-time, I felt like I was rushing myself, and that I didn’t have time to read more literary novels. 


Fitness:

  • Work up to a forearm stand and then a handstand! I’ve been able to do headstands for a while, but haven’t practiced the functional arm strength to do a handstand instead. Want to do it too? Here are some steps
    • The picture on the left is my second time managing to balance for a few seconds, and now I’m working on transitioning from a headstand directly to the forearm stand!
  • Cardio 2-3 times a week.
    • I’m very good at getting in my daily yoga practice (30-60 minutes, depending on how my body is feeling), and getting weights in (since that’s my favourite part of my fitness routine), but cardio is a fight. 
Before the Christmas Eve service with my wonderful husband

Relationships and Marriage:

  • A date outside our home at least twice a month. 
    • While we love spending quiet evenings at home, (and saving money!) it would be great to explore a little more of our city. I also miss going for long walks like we did for a while. 
    • Next Wednesday we’re going to take advantage of Wednesday night free admission to the AGO for our date!
  • Have one (or more!) friend date a month, to strengthen those relationships and get me out of my head

Personal:
  • Continue my daily gratitude practice in my journal. I write in 3 things I am grateful for that day.
    • It’s a great way to find the positive things in your life if you’re feeling a little down. It really helped me when I was in my latest depression rut. 
  • Take myself on one date a month.
    • I used to do that before, I’d go read in a coffee shop or check out the National Art Gallery, but I haven’t done that since moving to Toronto.
  • Cleanse my closet. 
    • Even though I got rid of a truckload of clothes before moving to Toronto, I still have lots of stuff that I don’t wear and don’t want to get rid of. I need to. Maybe I’ll do a capsule wardrobe!


Blogging:

  • Find ways to engage my readers so that we can get a dialogue going
  • Make blogger friends!
What are your goals for 2016?