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One.

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We attended one of the apparent zillions of 10/10/10 weddings last night, and as we watched the happy couple share their promises of a life together, we held hands and thought of a very similar night nearly a year ago, when we did the same. A year ago today, I woke up early (before the crack of dawn, believe me), had coffee with my dad, spent the morning getting ready with my mom, friends, and soon-to-be sister-in-law

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met up with my soon-to-be husband

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made a promise, sealed with a kiss

Marriage accomplished

celebrated

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and was pretty much the happiest I’ve ever been.

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Happy anniversary, love.

The "Oh, snap. Remember when we got back from our honeymoon A MONTH AGO?" post

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Uh, yeah. I don’t know how this happened, but somewhere in between flying home, unpacking, going back to work, attempting to catch up on schoolwork (sidebar: this semester? Not my best performance), getting through two-thirds of our thank-you notes, adopting a kitty, changing my name, getting back into the swing of cooking rather than eating out all the time, and gorging myself at Thanksgiving…I sure did not finish my Very Exciting Honeymoon Recap. Sorry. So what you get now? Is just a small explosion of my favorite pictures with a sentence or two thrown in for some extra tastiness.

Leaving Sydney, we headed up to tropical North Queensland– Cairns and Palm Cove, specifically. While there, we hit the beach (which was about 50 yards from our hotel lobby– pure bliss)…

trekked, took a gondola, and finally rode a train through the rainforest…

and, knowing that we had to take advantage of the fact that we were so close to such an insanely beautiful natural wonder, went out on the Great Barrier Reef. Our underwater pictures ended up sort of lamely, but! There was tea and cake time on the boat. I died.

and champagne! Or sparkling wine, at least. Whatever, there were bubbles.

And then it was on to Melbourne, complete with my fancy new sunburn (because it is some sort of law that no matter how much high-factor sunblock I slather on, I will be charred, while GP barely dabs it on and he is just fine). I really loved Melbourne because it’s so neighborhood-y and really rewards you for just walking around– there is a lot of cool stuff down some of those alleys! (Including a duty-free shop in Chinatown where I scored a ton of cheeeeeap Jurlique products. Sigh.)

We found our first dinner in Melbourne down one of the alleys– delicious Chinese, complete with lots of wood paneling. Thanks, Fodors!

The next day, a walk down to the Yarra River that runs through the city.

Then a trip to the Old Melbourne Gaol, where Ned Kelly was hanged. (Note: the Ned Kelly movie with Heath Ledger is free on Hulu! Total win.)

And lo, the walk back to our hotel from the Gaol included a pass by the Victoria State Library! Another win.

We took in a performance of Chicago at a theater down the street from the hotel. I was worried about the accents, but the actors managed well– is an American accent an easy one to imitate? I wonder…

Our last full day in Australia was occupied with a tour of the Yarra Valley, one of the country’s wine-growing regions. (Like we were not going to go wine tasting on this trip. I mean, come on.)

GP tried kangaroo at lunch–turns out it is sort of a cross between beef and venison. (I had the vegetarian entree, a better-than-usual lasagna. You’re welcome, animals.)

We ended the day at Chandon– sort of funny, considering we haven’t been to the one up in Napa yet.

Ok, that’s the Official Honeymoon Wrap-Up! Now we can move on to more important things, like me complaining about the shipping of all the Christmas gifts I’ve ordered online, talking about my cat (I can’t stop, I’m sorry), and being crazy-excited about the finale of Top Chef (Team Kevin, all the way. Or Jen, I love her, too. Really, anyone but the obnoxious Voltaggio brother.).

Oh, and my birthday is tomorrow. Yay!

The one where we went to Sydney

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As you may be able to imagine, this honeymoon recap is going to span several entries. What is slowly dawning on me, however…is that it’s likely that Sydney alone demands multiple mentions. Don’t worry, though, they’ll be picture-filled (we did, after all, take 585 pictures)!

We departed SFO late Tuesday night, and, through the magic of flight and time travel, completely missed out on October 14th. After landing in Sydney and dropping our bags at the hotel, the exploring began! We started with some tea and scones (I knew I could expect great things from a country with The Queen on their money)…

…and proceeded to explore much of the major tourist area in Circular Quay, The Rocks, and the CBD. This included a tour of the Opera House (which we could not stop photographing),

a walk across the Harbour Bridge,

and a short stop at an amusement park (you’re welcome, GP).

We arrived back to the hotel to find our room had been prepared with some champagne and a note– Marriott must have known that alcohol was the way to secure our loyalties.

Our first dinner– tapas at a Spanish place called El Capitan Torres– was not as magical as it could have been, because it was then that all the exhaustion of traveling halfway around the world and traipsing all over the city of Sydney caught up with us. As we munched on crispy chorizo and chilled white wine, it was all we could do not to pass right out, sitting there at the table.

However! (And here is the great thing about flying west versus flying east, we discovered.) When we woke up the next morning, we were well-rested and ready to go. Some activities that filled the remaining four days that we had in Sydney included a trip to the Taronga Zoo…

(Those giraffes have no idea how good they have it. Check out those insane city views!) There was also a little wallaby-petting:

(GP maturely pointed out that I was touching the wallaby’s butt. What was I supposed to do, buy it dinner first?) Also, a trip out to Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains, was in order. Apparently “hiking” is a thing people want to do on their honeymoons?

Well, someone should have told me that, because I hiked for miles and miles in flip-flops. Comfortable, lovely flip-flops that drew numerous sideways glances from other (actual) hikers who were trekking along with those ski pole-like things that somehow make what amounts to slow mountain climbing easier (and also double as weapons against whatever terrifying creatures were rustling around in the underbrush). Oh, and might I add that, while there were stairs to help in the climbing of the Three Sisters (pictured above), some of these stairs were over thin air? Not cool, Australia.

But we lived to tell the tale! Coming up next, valuable Australian lessons.

The first of many: remember that time I got married?

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I’m trying to get Blogger to let me change my “identity,” but it looks as though the best that’s going to happen is adding my married-lady Google account as an author to the blog. So don’t be confused…there is only one Megan around here, she’s just in a weird, between-names place. (What a great excuse to have ADD and just create a new blog, though, right? I’ve been toying with the idea of naming a new blog “Hot MES,” because those are my initials and I am often in ridiculous situations. I feel like it’s dumb to call myself “hot,” though, so that is a problem. Opinions?)

Anyway, to the task at hand! Since there was very little blogging lead-up to Wedding Day, let me fill you in on some key stuff: the event coordinator at the venue (cute downtown hotel) hadn’t proven herself any more useful as time passed, I had a completely disastrous post-alterations fitting in which it was a challenge to get the zipper up (tears, shockingly, did not ensue), and I had completely lost the ability to sleep past, ohhh…5:30am? And yet, as it got closer and closer, I got more and more calm. I was able to tune out the idiocy of the coordinator (and ended up loving the hotel’s day-of person), I went on this crazy (and probably pretty unhealthy, though I was still eating) diet and lost enough weight to be comfortable and attractive in my dress (and haven’t gained back all the weight since, yay!), and I made the most of my all-the-time wakefulness with a ton and a half of craft projects. I was ready!

We got married on a Sunday, and people started getting into town around Thursday, which made my decision to only work Monday a pretty easy one. Things really started on Friday, when my mom and stepdad threw a wedding-weekend-kickoff cocktail party at their house. It was a lovely evening, and a good reminder to me that, since I wasn’t eating much, maybe I shouldn’t drink a ton. Unlike an engagement party that my mom and stepdad had thrown for us last August (well, last-last…it was August 2008), my dad wasn’t invited– not to be hurtful or exclusive, but I would say that it’s the norm for divorced couples not to invite their exes to parties. This isn’t terribly important now, but will become more so later. (Just trust me, ok?)

On Saturday morning, I took my maid of honor and bridesmaids out to breakfast and had scheduled a mass mani/pedi appointment for any in-town ladies who wanted to get together pre-rehearsal dinner– this included out-of-town people and friends of mine and my mom’s, etc. However, when we were on our way to the nail salon, I got a call from the owner, confirming my appointment for Sunday. As in, the day of my wedding. This would not do! Luckily, we all got our nails done and no one was the wiser– and I think that was my only episode of “bride brain.” Thank god. We arrived at the hotel later that afternoon for the rehearsal, during which my dad spotted the very meticulous timeline I’d put together on a bridesmaid’s clipboard. Pointing at the entry for the Friday cocktail party, he asked my friend, “See that?” Gulp. “I wasn’t invited.” Fun, dad, thanks for that.

Saturday night was our rehearsal dinner, a delicious and less-stressful-than-I-feared spread put on by MaGP and PaGP. As the spokesperson for the couple, I got to be the one to give the thank-you speech and kick off the slideshow, a tearjerker complete with Ben Harper soundtrack (seemed more appropriate at the rehearsal than the wedding). I (unlike a certain spouse of mine) wrote all my cards to parents and the soon-to-be in-laws and husband, and finally managed to get some sleep.

Now, I could give you a blow-by-blow of the wedding day, tell you about hanging out in the hair-and-makeup room with the girls, listening to music from Glee to pass the hours and hours before the ceremony, waiting anxiously to do the “first look” photos with GP, and mildly panicking when I was told it was time to go and my fricking dad was nowhere to be found, but all you really want are pictures, right? Well, who am I to deny you? (NB: these are just stolen pictures from Facebook, not the lovely ones that I anticipate from my awesome ninja photographer.)

I had both my dad and stepdad walk me down the aisle.
I surprised myself (and GP, and many others) by not crying my eyes out during the ceremony. Instead, because it was so surreal, I had to stop myself from giggling a little.
Then, what seemed like about 2 minutes later (seriously, our ceremony felt so short!), we were married. Good thing we had practiced that kiss!
What we had not practiced was appropriate hand-holding. Let me explain: by the time we were getting closer to the kissing part of the ceremony, GP had developed a death grip on my hand, and my ring was digging into my left pinky finger. It did not feel awesome. But as the kiss got closer and closer, I knew I couldn’t pull back, pause, and go, “Ow! Nice hands, please, sir.” So I just went with it. And, not to bombard you with pictures of us kissing (I assure you it was an appropriate kiss), but come on… (and look how happy GP’s sister looks!)
With all the kissing and finger-mangling done, we were ready to take our triumphant walk back down the aisle as husband and wife.
I had to pause for a second to collect myself…
(don’t judge my double chin! I love this picture despite it)
After the cocktail hour, we had the dad and stepdad toasts (respectively short and blessedly tear-free, and long and sentimental), we ate our delicious meals, had the best mens’ and maid of honor’s toasts…and at some point got to eat cake. I love this picture because it shows a fraction of the awesome job our florist did.
He also made us some gorgeous centerpieces (there were three styles in all, distributed among our eleven tables). That program, though (and the ninety-nine others just like it)? All me.
Here we are cutting the cake– less awkward than I feared, and with an Ingrid Michaelson accompaniment– with our super-sweet photographer all up in our grills (oh yes I did).
When I have the much-anticipated pro pictures, I will share some of my favorites, but for now, I leave you with this: one of the more adorable ones of my brother, who was so sweetly teary the whole day. (And called me the previous Thursday to say that the Jim/Pam Office wedding made him cry because he was thinking of us. That kid!)

Up next: some honeymoon recaps!

NaNo…not even going to attempt

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I don’t think that the best way to welcome myself back to Blogtown USA after taking a “Hot damn, I’m getting married and going on a big fat honeymoon, y’all!” break for the last month and a half would be to try blogging every single day (witness my previous failure to do this), but I promise you this, blogfriends: you will have the wedding preamble, wedding day stories, and honeymoon recaps by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Well, I guess I can push it back to my birthday if I’m being realistic. But that’s it! December 2 is my self-imposed deadline for getting all. These. Stories. Into writing!

The short version? I got married! It was awesome! Then? We went on our honeymoon. Also awesome! But then, last Friday, we had to come back home, and today…they made me do work. Which is not as awesome as vacation, even though I enjoy my job and coworkers. So at this moment, all I really want to do is play with my duty-free Jurlique products and come closer to finishing My Life In France.

In which I feel like a narcissist

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(Which is sort of moot, this being a blog and all.)

Anyway. Last month, my mom and Grandma threw me a gorgeous shower at a local mansion, and asked everyone to wear hats. It was an adorable theme, and I got some sweet gifts. I hadn’t blogged about it yet because I was waiting on the pictures from my photographer, who came to shoot us for about an hour. Much to my great delight, he had the pictures ready yesterday– and here are some of my favorites:

Um, ok. I make this face a lot. I am, probably thanks to (and much to the great chagrin of) my mother, a terrible eye-roller. Like, to the point where she would say, “Don’t roll your eyes at me!” When my back was to her. Moms are magic, aren’t they? Anyway, now it is something I do to convey strong emotion of any kind. In this case, joy. Or maybe anticipation, who knows.

Between my mom and GP’s mom, who made the trip across the country to come to the shower. Bet you can guess who is who!

Seriously, how cute is my Grandma? If you answered, “Quite,” then you are correct.

Here, two thirds of my bridal party are seeking shelter under my enormous hat. (Notice that they both wimped out and are wearing fancy headbands.)

The only bouquet I will ever throw, because I think that it’s sort of a mean tradition. At the wedding, we’ll be giving the “toss” bouquet to the couple in attendance that’s been married the longest (might be my aunt and uncle, or maybe even GP’s parents!).

Finally, all the ladies together! I am usually sort of “meh” about group photos, because invariably someone is blinking or making a weird face…but this one ended up very nicely, I think.

The Best-Friend Problem

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Warning: this post starts mushily, and will end even more so. For the faint of heart, click away now!

Ok, so for the same reason that I do not have a favorite color (I am not nine years old), I do not really have a “best friend.” I don’t want my friends to think that they have to compete for my affection (because you know there would be fistfights if they did), and each friendship is so different that I wouldn’t even know where to begin choosing a “best.” A related problem to this is that I am fairly uncomfortable even using the term “best friend”– I don’t describe anyone as such, and can’t really bear to say that I am “marrying my best friend.” Just like “journey” and “soul mate,” “best friend” sort of makes my skin crawl. I can’t explain it…and, because we are writing our ceremony with a lot of help from our awesome officiant, I don’t have to. What I do have to do, however, is find adequate words to express what we’re feeling. Commence brow furrowing!

And then. Last night, amid cheers and agonized cries brought on by the beginning of college football season, GP turns to me and says, “You know how you are trying to find another way to say ‘best friend’ for the ceremony? What about…constant?” He assured me that he was about 40% joking, and it may have been the combination of beer and cheap riesling responding, but I was instantly won over. Sure, it is a fairly dorky term from a television show. But! People who know it in the context of Lost are likely to smile along, and people that don’t know the connection are likely to still “get it” and appreciate the term for its own, non-sci-fi-tv-show-related, meaning. Right? Is this a terrible idea? Because right now, when I look at our ceremony and I look at this clip, I feel like it just…fits.