Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Matrimony Wednesday-A Wedding Breakdown Structure

Once Mike and I got engaged, I started making a Master list to get my thoughts in order...what do we need to have a wedding? It was scrawled on 4 pages of looseleaf and shoved into a binder. Then I went to pinterest and started pinning pretty pictures of center pieces.

Obviously a wedding just doesn’t happen from making a list and pinning pretty pictures and since the months are ticking by we decided it was time to get organized.

In project management there is a term called work breakdown structure (WBS). You look at a project by area, and then break down that area into small manageable pieces. It helps manage the schedule and budget.

Being the nerd that I am, I decided to create a WBS for the wedding.

The overall areas are:

6000-Wedding Party

Within each of the areas I have started breaking them down to small manageable pieces based on my giant list:

  • 0000- General
    • 0100 Decorations
      • 0110-Lighting
      • 0120- Center Pieces
      • 0130-Flowers
        • 0131 Decorations
        • 0132 Bouquets
        • 0133 Boutonnieres
      • 0140-Fabric
      • 0150- Misc
        • 0151 Mason Jars
        • 0152 Cake Stand

You get the idea. If anyone wants the full WBS just let me know and I can email it you!

After we made the WBS (on excel), we made a tab for each general area, and started making to do lists for each sub category. We gave each task a date based on a few key Milestones from wedding planning websites: (lots of info here), but we choose our own key points based on things “needed” for a wedding.

18 Months- Book Photographer/Caterer/Location/Officiant (DONE YAY)
12 Months- Save the Date
6 Months-Invitations
Then we can look at what needs to be done to make those milestones happen (for example, for the Save the date we need engagement photos and our guest list mostly finalized, so we can start working backwards from those points, as well as making the ongoing lists (collecting decorations etc.)

Now to the play on words part- Wedding “Breakdown” structure. After making this very detailed list that has everything from Cake to Portapotties (and so far is almost 100 items long), it could induce a breakdown! Ha!

But there are few things keeping me calm. First of all, I actually like big event planning, and I’m lucky because so does Mike! He got equally excited when I suggested a WBS style to do list with progress dates and milestones. Second of all, breaking the whole thing into “bite sized” chunks helps us stay focused. The past two weeks we have been focused on starting the guest list and choosing the wedding party. Next will come preparing anything we need to do when we are home this summer (engagement photos, meeting with the caterer etc.). So if my brain starts to wonder about wedding favours, or even wedding dress shopping, I just calm myself down by saying it’s not time yet!

The most important thing that is keeping us calm is the fact that we have a list of must haves: an officiant, family and friends attending, and a photographer to capture the moment, and food and shelter to keep our friends and family happy. Anything above and beyond that is nice, but it isn’t what the day is all about. Keeping grounded and not stressing about what exact flowers we are going to have, or what exact suits the groomsmen are going to wear hopefully will continue to help us throughout the planning. And when those items come up on the to-do list we will make a decision and move to the next item!

Will my logical project planning side of my brain fade away as the wedding gets closer..stay tuned to find out!

Anyone else have tips on how to handle the mega to-do list? Anyone else make a WBS for their wedding?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reaching a Fitness Milestone- 12 Week Challenge

Fitness Friday Saturday:

As I mentioned in this post, since the end of January I was doing a Healthy Living Challenge with a few friends. Basically we all put in 20 dollars, and then collected points over the span of 4 and then 8 weeks for doing healthy things and then at the end whoever had the most points gets all the money. After 12 weeks of monitoring my fruit and veggies, water, exercise, and "treats", I am happy to report that finished the challenge tied for 1st for points...yay money!!

Lets back up a bit though...
Last winter/spring I kind of fell off of the healthy food and fitness routine. Not too bad, but I decided that it wasn't the main priority in my life at that time. Then to get back on track I started my triathlon training and started counting calories. After a summer of intense exercise and seeing results I was so scared that I was going to fall off the wagon again. I didn't want to lose the fitness level I had developed, I wanted to keep going. So I continued going to the gym 3-4 times a week, and as usual tried to eat healthy 85% of the time (I stopped calorie counting and focused more on general healthy choices). Around August I started tracking my weight more regularly, and from August-January I was losing about 1lb a month.

 In January I was at my low "plateau weight" and needed some motivation to keep going (no upcoming runs/fitness challenges were scheduled), so the challenge was actually perfectly timed for me. And as much as I complained the whole time while doing it there were things I liked and will keep doing:

  • The challenge encouraged me to exercise more! I went from 4x a week to 6-7 times a week.  In fact for March, I did a little challenge within a challenge and moved every single day! My exercise routine now is 3x hot yoga, 1x intense Cardio, 1x Strength, 1x boot camp, 1x Active Rest (walk or bike ride).  It may seem a little intense, but I actually love working out this much, especially when it is outside!
Sweaty mess after a NTC workout

Recent bike ride views, much better than the gym!

  • A treat should be just that...a treat (vs a cheat...I don't like thinking that a dessert, or a glass of wine is a BAD thing, it is just something to be enjoyed in moderation). We have free cookies at work...everyday, and even though it is only 100 or so calories, I don't need it! I should save those 100 calories for something I really Birthday PIE, or homemade brownies!
Scaramouch Pie...Best. Thing. Ever.  

All about the balance!
  • I feel better when I drink more water/eat more veggies. Tracking water was actually something I had started doing before the challenge, and I want to keep up with, and eating vegetables and fruit makes me full and healthy (even though people at work thing I am a BIG health freak with my daily carrot sticks and hummus!) 
All the waters, and all the veggies!

With the weight lost during the challenge I'm now at my lowest weight that I can remember (probably end of highschool/first year). Since the end of university I have lost 20lbs, and about 10% body fat. (WHOA). Since August alone I have lost 12 lbs, and 2-3% body fat. And its only been with the last five pounds lost on the challenge that I feel like my body "changed overnight". Suddenly all of my clothes are too big, and suddenly, I have muscles in places I didn't even think I could have muscles (whatt...I have muscular definition in  my stomach now???). 

And it is weird, people are noticing it! In just the past week quite a few people have commented on how much weight I have lost, as if it happened overnight. I read on-line that it takes 4 weeks for you to notice changes, 8 weeks for your family to notice, and 12 weeks for others to notice..and I guess that is right! 

Going out for my Birthday! Finally figured out the whole red lip trend!
And I don't want this to come across as braggy..but I'm posting these results because I am shocked by them too!  I haven't restricted my diet or my calories (in fact I wrote this post while eating tortilla chips and salsa), I'm not working out countless hours a day...I'm just trying to make small healthy choices most of the time! Getting down to this weight and being this healthy was not during a 100 day challenge, or some short term I want to lose x by y date challenge, or by doing some sort of crash diet (no cabbage soup for me!). It was just a decision I made to keep eating healthy and working out. I want to be healthy my whole life, not just during a challenge or training, and I think making that life long commitment to being healthy is what has actually allowed me to get to my healthiest (so far...I'm not stopping now..I still have a fitness bucket list that includes one day doing a pull up!)

And here is a obligatory before and after picture from me in 2011, about 10 lbs heavier than I am now (so about my same weight this past summer)! Once again...I am shocked of the change myself!....I keep thinking it is just the photo angles or something :).




Anyone else have success stories/work in progress stories? Anyone else now craving coconut cream pie???

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

5 Truths about Being a Grown Up

So I had a Birthday this week. For some reason something about being 26 seems a lot older than being 25… and I don’t like it.  I tutor a lot of high school students, most are 10 years younger than me, and I have heard them say many times "I can't wait to be an adult"...and maybe it is because the "older" I am getting the more I am realizing that being an "grown up" isn't all we thought it was cracked up to be.

Jenna Marbles already covered this in her “I Hate Being a Grown up” video, and there are multiple buzzfeed lists about the topic but I thought I would share my own 5 Truths about being a Grown Up:

Truth # 1: You have so many appointments, and they all cost money.

Appointments always sneak up on me and are always during the busiest week or at the most inconvenient times/locations.

Why yes dentist appointment I made 6 months ago, thank you for having me reschedule all of my tutoring. And there are always hidden costs. Go to the dentist (even with insurance): 50-100 bucks. Bring the cats to the vet: 200 bucks, Get winter tires off car: Couple Hundred bucks. (Being a grown adult: priceless. Ha.)

Truth #2: There are no magic house elves to clean for you
It is a tough life lesson to realize that if you don’t pick up your stuff, no one else will. You now have to deal with things like CLEANING THE BATHROOM. And DOING DISHES. And dealing with MOUNTAINS of LAUNDRY!
And all that stuff takes so much darn time! You could always try to delegate if you have a sig.other...but sometimes their version of a clean bathroom is just taking everything out of the bathroom and leaving on the "den" floor.
To be fair, the bathroom was clean!
Truth #3 Responsible life choices become mandatory.
A couple years back a responsible life choice would have been studying for a midterm...or doing an assignment before the night before it was due. Now responsible life choices include things like saving for a house, or even saving for retirement. Or planning a wedding! Some way more grown up people than me are even starting to have to be responsible for living human beings! Terrifying! (Note that I am currently blogging to avoid making a responsible life choice and finishing my taxes.)

Truth #4 If you aren't tired, you aren't doing adulthood right. 

I would say I have an average energy level, get my 6-8 hours of sleep, eat healthy etc. (see truth 4 above, responsible life choices), but in talking with EVERY OTHER ADULT, everyone is just so darn tired. Working 1 or 2 jobs, or working towards a post grad, or caring for other human beings means that adulthood is full of yawns, and lack of naps. Also there is caffine involved. When I was a kid I would resist going to bed so much that I would make myself sick just to get to stay awake longer, now I'm like "I can go to bed early...yess!"

Truth #5 Having a social life and/or hobbies takes effort.
After working, cleaning/cooking, making responsible choices, saving money, and loving going to bed early, you realize it takes even more effort to make MORE PLANS! In school/university, there were many (mostly free) clubs to join, and you just basically showed up. You could try anything you wanted (sports, musical theatre, debate, trivia club..yes that was a thing and it was awesome), and have time to do your homework and go to class. Yes there are still a tons of things to do now as a "grown-up", but now it just takes more effort to find it, most of it costs money, and its hard to find the time to fit everything in! Also, in school/university, you are around your friends all the time, now you actually have to put in effort to see people IRL. And getting everyone together when you all have free time, that takes some serious planning!

Basically,if any teenager is reading this right now 16 is probably more "fun" than 26 but I will include a caveat though. At 26 I am (and I think most people are), more confident than 16, know more about who I am, and know what my 5 year plan is. And I can do things cool things like order a pizza at 3:00pm just because, or book a trip to calgary to visit my friends without consulting my parents.

And if you are a "more grown up" person reading this you are probably laughing at me and saying "oh you think it is bad now, just wait until you are 36/46 etc!" I get that part of life is growing up, and getting more independent, while at the same time being more responsible...but that is something I don't like thinking about too really puts a damper on my nap time!

What Grown Up Truth would you add? Anyone else ride magic carpets to dentist appointments?