1 Year Ago

A year ago today, a blizzard had descended upon the mid-Atlantic region. Snowfalls of up to (and beyond) 30-inches were forecasted. People were hunkering down in their homes, ready to tough it out for the long haul.

Oh, and also I was getting married.

Reflecting back on that day, a year later, aside from the fact that I’m still amazed that my wedding actually happened at all, what sticks out to me is basically this:

Of course I got married in a blizzard.

I mean, if it was going to be anyone, of course it was going to be me. I just had to be that little bit extra, don’t you know? Besides, with my penchant for overthinking, people-pleasing, and general anxiety, I think that throwing a blizzard at me on one of the already-most-stressful days of my relatively young life was probably a pretty smart choice. It really helped me put things in perspective.

After all, I got married in the midst of the biggest blizzard to hit the DC area in a century, and everything still turned out okay. And here we are, exactly one year later, still standing strong.

Not to brag, but I think Sean and I kind of crushed this whole first year of marriage thing. I’ve heard it said that the first year of marriage is the hardest, which — if true — must mean that he and I are in for a pretty smooth ride! Sure, we’ve had our verbal tussles, great moments and less great ones, and for the life of me I still don’t understand what is so hard about putting your dirty clothes IN the hamper instead of right next to it, but this past year has still, without a doubt, been the best one yet.

I can’t wait to see what this coming year — and then the fifty after that — bring as well. The adventure has still just begun!

All Smiles

I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. After years of toil, trouble, and pretty much constant tooth soreness, I am officially done with my braces!

Some of you may remember that back in February 2014, I got lingual braces behind my top teeth. I got them removed a little over a year later, and then, because I just have to do everything as inefficiently as possible, a couple months later I started Invisalign.

My bottom teeth were still quite crooked, and I decided that I wasn’t actually as satisfied as I thought I’d be with just a straight top set (this happened right around the same time as Sean’s proposal, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence.) I posted an update on my whole braces journey back in June, so I won’t repeat everything again, but as you can probably guess, I have one final update for you:

 
I’m done!

I had my final Invisalign appointment at Smiles at Fairfax Corner last week, after a year of my initial Invisalign treatment, plus an additional 5 (?) months of adjustment trays. Phew! It sounds like a lot of time, of course, but the reality is that time is going to press on anyway, so why not perfect your smile while you’re at it?

It definitely took much longer than I thought it would, considering how I had already gotten lingual braces on top, but that just goes to show that you really should just take care of your top + bottom teeth at the same time. A lot of the reason that my Invisalign treatment took so long was to correct my bite — which may or may not have gotten more out of whack due to my linguals-on-top-only. It’s hard to say.

Regardless, I’m thrilled to be able to finally say I am D-O-N-E. No more switching out aligners. No more attachments on my teeth. And you better believe I will be wearing my retainer every night until the day I die. I’m not letting these puppies backslide the way I did in college! Putting your own money into your smile really makes you value that retainer, I tell you what.

I may end up getting a permanent retainer (a wire glued to the back of my teeth) if it’s deemed necessary in the future, but for right now, I’m just going to relish not having anything permanently attached to my chompers. If you have any questions about either Invisalign OR lingual braces, I’m happy to answer them! Because I can! Because I’M DONEEEEEEE!!

If It’s Pretty, I Will Buy It

I think I may be developing a bad habit.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D: The unphotographed Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette that just came in the mail and I literally am chomping at the bit to try it out. Something tells me that testing out a palette at 1 AM (when I’m actually writing this post…) is not the most necessary of moves, though, so I shall wait…

I think we’re going to go ahead and file these under the category of #DONTTELLSEAN and move on… to the usage of these newly acquired beauties. I filmed my second makeup tutorial using my new Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glowkit, which you can check out on Youtube now!

I did this one as a voiceover tutorial (as opposed to the talk-through style of my first video) and I’d love to know which type of video you prefer! Happy makeupping!

Channeling Something New

Happy New Year!

It’s 2017 and a full of year possibilities is ahead of us. I have a lot that I want to do this year, and I’m hoping that by jumping in full-force, I’ll actually be able to say I’ve done a lot of it by this time next year!

I’ve openly admitted that I’m a starter of projects, but not all that great at finishing them. (Pretty sure it’s smack-dab at the top of my “About” page, lol.) I know that makes me sound flaky, but it’s just part of my personality that I’ve come to understand. I’m a passionate person, and I get excited easily. As such, I love jumping into things full force, and I love following my passions wherever they may lead. Unfortunately, what that sometimes means is that a new passion might steer me away from a previous one (see: Zumba, knitting, and my unfinished book sequel…). This ended up with me feeling guilty about leaving unfinished business behind (even if just temporarily.)

Worse than the guilt of knowing I’ve left loose threads dangling, however, is the fear of what people might say about it, say about me. Blogging and working for Yelp has definitely thickened my skin, but I can still be hyper-sensitive to criticism and critique. I’m also a Monica Gellar-level people-pleaser.

But, c’mon, I’m 28 years old! I can’t live my life based on the fear of what others might say about me. And anyway, I’m growing up… kinda! While I’m pretty sure I’m just as passionate and excitable as ever, there are a lot of steady, firm, decidedly not-flaky parts of my life as well.

The average length of time I spent at all of my previous jobs was exactly 1 year. And then I found Yelp, and now I’m fast-approaching my 4-year anniversary! I’m a married lady with two fur-children, I’m older, and, hey, maybe even a tiny bit wiser.

I mentioned in a previous post that one of the things that I’ve been continuing to get more and more interested in is makeup. I’ve been getting more experimental and showcasing my looks on social media more often. I actually have received a few inquiries about whether I’d ever considered making tutorial videos, and the truth that I’ve actually considered it quite a bit. But, you know, the timing wasn’t right, or I wasn’t well-equipped, or it just seemed like too much work… and I didn’t want to start another thing that would just peter out and disappear.

Alas, all of those things might still be true, but as part of my “resolution” (I kind of hate New Year’s Resolutions, so I use that word with caution), I’m taking 2017 by the horns and testing the waters anyway! I went ahead and filmed my very first makeup tutorial video! It’s kind of a mess — evidently putting me in front of a camera makes me unable to pronounce words anymore, and the amount of times I uttered the words “uh,” “like,” and “anyway” made me want to punch myself.

That said, if you’re in any way interested in seeing what goes into an everyday glam look for me, you can check it out on my Youtube Channel:

And we’ll see where it goes from here! If I stick with it, awesome! And if not, hey, I’ll probably have chronicled at least a couple of really cool makeup looks, so that’s still cool.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Happy Monday, folks!

‘Tis a great Monday indeed, since it’s the very last Monday before… CHRISTMAS!!!!!!1!!!11!!!!!!!!!!1!!

If you’re thinking, “Gretchen, ease up on the exclamation points and formatting, it’s just a holiday…” then you obviously don’t know me at all. Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday, my favorite time of year, my favorite everything. I’m totally that girl when it comes to Christmas. And this year, my whole fam is heading down to Atlanta to ring in Christmas morn at my sister Jen’s house.

It actually feels like the Christmas festivities have kind of already started, though, because even though we’re all going to her house for Christmas in just a few days, my sister and my nieces were actually up here this past weekend!

 
This may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also certainly the busiest! This past week has held my work holiday celebration, my brother’s birthday, a photoshoot, and a baby shower — as well as plenty of time spent with the best kiddos in the world, of course. 🙂

Wednesday night, I went out to dinner with my coworkers to celebrate 2016 and the upcoming holidays. We don’t have an actual office here in the DC area (I work from home), but I’m luckier than a lot of other remote Yelp employees in that there are actually quite a few of us in the same area! This gives us the luxury of getting me out from behind my computer screen every once in a while to love on each other in person (and gives me an excuse to get dolled up, too!)

 
I know I probably humblebrag about my job far too much already, but I just have the best coworkers. We went to this new-ish restaurant in DC called Mythology that I loooooved, and ate, drank, and chatted the night away. I don’t go into the city all that often, but this place already has me thinking about my next trip, it was so good! The deets are all on–you guessed it–Yelp, so take a gander if you’re interested:

Read Gretchen F.‘s review of Mythology on Yelp

Thursday was my brother’s birthday, and was also the day that Jenny and the girls came into town. We had a family dinner at my parents’ house, and then went to see Rogue One on opening night (no spoilers, but it was awesome.)

 
Saturday morning was spent twiddling my thumbs waiting for the insane ice that had taken over the Metro Area to melt. It was insanely icy that morning — I almost fell flat on my butt just stepping out my front door, and there were literally dozens and dozens of terrible traffic accidents throughout the morning (including a THIRTY CAR PILEUP on the beltway. :()

Luckily (and weirdly), it warmed up and the ice was all but melted by noon, so I still got to fill the majority of the day with fun stuff… and even had a special guest star that some of you may recognize:

Anne! My brother and sister-in-law were shooting some photos for Anne’s business, so I played the role of makeup artist for the day. I can’t wait to see the finished shots!

 
Getting to test out my makeup skills is always fun for me, especially as my interest in makeup artistry has continued to grow. I’ve been getting more experimental with my own makeup lately (perhaps I’ve been getting bolder as a side effect of chopping off my hair, hehe), and, much to Sean’s chagrin, have been investing in a broader range and breadth of products.

Maybe one day I’ll get confident enough to start a side hustle beautifying folks, but for now, it’s enough to showcase my extreme vanity all over Instagram. And here, too, I guess. 😉

Finally, my weekend capped off with my beautiful friend Lara’s baby shower! This was the main reason Jen was back in town, as she was co-hosting it, and it just worked out really well that it was around the same time as Ben’s birthday.

Lara is a big Crossfit nut, so the shower was actually Crossfit themed! I helped Jen out by trying to replicate some of the things that she found on Pinterest. Some were a big win (the barbell diaper cake!), some were passable (the kettle bell cake balls), and some were a huge, time-wasting fail (WHY ARE SUGAR COOKIES SO HARD TO DECORATE?!?!). Regardless, I had a ton of fun prepping with Jen and, of course, loving on Lara and her soon-to-be baby girl!

So, that just about catches us up! Jen and the girls head back to Atlanta today with my parents, and the rest of us will be following suit later this week. So the next few days are sure be super busy as I try to wrap up work stuff, personal stuff, and try to keep my raging Christmas spirit in check ’til I make it to the ATL! And if I don’t make it back for another post before the end of the week, we wish you the happiest of holidays and merriest of Christmases!