Christmas in Florida
Back in 2019, Thomas and I were in London a few days before Christmas and flew back to NJ on Christmas Eve. From there, Thomas jumped on a plane down to Florida to celebrate Christmas with his family & I ventured back to my parent’s house in Jersey. Although it was nice to be with our respective families on Christmas Day, I told Thomas I didn’t want to celebrate without him in the year 2020. Not because I expected we’d be engaged or anything by then, but it was time for us as a couple to start sharing holidays with each other’s families should one of them not be in town during a bigger celebration. We’re SO LUCKY that both our parents live in the same hometown (seriously hit the jackpot) so it’s never been difficult to be with both families during a holiday before. But Thomas’s parents decided to remain in Florida for Christmas in 2019 and most recently in 2020. So we decided that we’d celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents and celebrate Christmas with his, and just plan to switch every year if we can’t all be together in the same state.
I’ve never celebrated Christmas without my family, ever. This would be the first time in my 29 years of life that I’d be without them on this day, and that was a weird thing to think about. But the moment we arrived in Marco Island, FL, I couldn’t have been more happy to be there. The warmth, the sunshine, the escape of the chaos up North – I needed ALL OF IT & didn’t realize how much so. This was also the first time in YEARS I took one week off from work, only checking my emails 1-2x and posting for fun (not partnerships) – BOY DID I LOVE THAT!
Thomas’s parents have a private residence in Marco Island, located Southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve only ever been to the east coast of FL so this was a big treat to explore something new in a state I’ve been to (& temporarily lived in) multiple times in my life. We spent our days fishing, swimming, and enjoying the peacefulness of our silenced phones. After what feels like an eternity of nonstop stress, this blessed time away to use each day/hour/minute as I pleased was incredibly therapeutic. I can’t wait to get an opportunity to go back!
It’s important for me to disclose that we traveled to Florida safely and responsibly. Given the fact we’re coming close to one year of living in a pandemic state of chaos, we were especially mindful of what the CDC has been recommending we do during these heightened times. At the time of the start to our trip in December, New Jersey did not a stay-at-home order & we made sure to get tested before and after our flight, remaining in quarantine until receiving a negative result. On our last day in Florida, I received an alert through the Covid Alert NJ app (highly recommend it if you live here!) that the State of New Jersey is strongly discouraging all non-essential interstate travel. Given that we were returning to our home state (& responsibilities of work/home lol) we obviously had to take the flight home. Of course, we made sure to test again a few days after returning & before resuming our very much (already isolated) normal routine. Why I’m sharing this is moreso to explain that we traveled safely and responsibly, and that we didn’t “break the rules” nor were being absent-minded about what’s going on. We understand how lucky we were to be able to get a change of scenery and recognize how grateful we are to have been able to spend the holidays with our families, and feel sympathy for those who didn’t get those same opportunities last month.
We all know that 2020 encouraged some bad habits, rightfully and unapologetically so. Personally, I’ve noticed my weekly glass of wine with dinner &/or beer on the couch turn into a daily routine. Not that I’d indulge more than 1-2 (also no judgement if 3+, that happened often too) but the start time became Monday not Wednesday/Thursday. I know I’m not the only one in this boat, 2020 peer pressured us entirely, but I’d like to personally go back to my pre-2020 intake routine. And after a solid 9.5 months of forming this new intake habit, the only way to break it and reset might be doing Dry January (or at least attempting to do so.)
Please keep in mind, this is a decision I’m making for ME – by no means am I encouraging anyone to do the same. I’ve never done Dry January before and quite frankly, I’m nervous I won’t be able to see it through without a cheat day (or 5.) Luckily, Thomas has also decided to participate on his own so I’ll have some accountability to maintain. We’re starting officially on Jan 8 (after my sister’s bday and a cocktail-based partnership lol) and will see this through until Feb 8. In the meantime, I’m working on getting all the existing alch out of the fridge so there’s zero temptation & researching different brands of non-alcoholic beers to try. If successful, maybe I’ll write about it. Stay tuned & wish me all the luck.
Along with Dry Jan, I’m also hoping to get back into a normal, scheduled routine of weekly exercise. Another thing 2020 robbed me of was my fitness regiment (again, something most of us can sympathize with) and no matter how many indoor at-home workouts I did, it never felt “successful” enough of a workout for me (personally.) Pre-pandemic when we moved to Hoboken, I struggled to find a new local gym that fulfilled what 30/60/90 did for me in the city. Someplace I can go to 2-3x a week and be told what to do, rather than be left up to my own devices where I always don’t push myself to the extent of my known capabilities (I’m very aware of how lazy I can be while working out, lol.) But because I didn’t move quickly enough to find a local gym & then Corona came to town, I missed my shot of finding a local Hoboken gym to follow workouts from that I genuinely looked forward to doing. Maybe it’s a slight excuse but pretty much the frustration of not feeling fulfilled working out from home really got to me, and deterred me from doing anything other than running.
Now that we’re in the suburbs, I’m SO thankful to have the ability to return to a weekly workout routine by going to one of my favorite local gyms in the area. Whenever I was home from college or during the summer weekends, I’d take classes at ABFit because they’re not only effective but also time-sensitive. In 35-45 minutes, I can get an express circuit workout in that kicks my ass and makes me feel like an all-star human. The best part is that I can go super early in the morning, allowing me to finish up/shower/change and be ready for the workday by 8:30-9am. I’ve also signed up for a Beginner’s Group Paddle Tennis every Wednesday morning this month, which I’m also very excited about doing. Just had my first official lesson today and LOVED!
Thomas and I are also intending to get better at meal planning and cooking with cleaner ingredients this month. I think with the lack of alcohol and increase in workout drive, it won’t be too difficult of a new addition to our weekly routine. We’ve decided to pick out 4-5 recipes out of our cookbooks and determining one day during the WORK week will be deemed “grocery day”so we don’t dread having to go on weekends or make excuses not to do so. This is brand new and we’ve only started this meal planning thing this week, but I’ll be sure to check back in with an update on how it’s going later this month.
Now that it’s officially January 2021, the time has come to start putting things into motion! I’ll admit that although I said we weren’t going to do ANY planning until this time, in-between getting engaged to now, we ended up doing just a tiny bit of mental & physical planning that naturally came up during December.
It started with just casual chat about where (physically) we envisioned getting married and slowly turned into serious consideration to figure out sooner rather than later. Honestly, the fear of waiting until now got me anxious because 1) Lots of people on my feed(s) announced engagement in December, and 2) Venues were already competitive given many couples had to postpone/reschedule their weddings in 2020 to 2021. Thankfully, I can confidently say that we not only decided on a date but also found an amazing venue that we’re hopefully going to finalize in the upcoming week(s). Being superstitious, I won’t be sharing the date/venue until everything is signed/sealed/delivered on written paper. But I will say, once we decided on a date and told some of our close friends/family, it all started to feel so real and the excitement has been so wonderfully joyous to experience already.
What We’ve Gotten Done [So Far]
✓ Decided on a date & potential reception venue
✓ Secured ceremony venue/location
✓ Explored potential brunch venue(s)
✓ Created our (rough draft) guest list
✓ Made (1) floral consultation appointment
✓ Made (1) dress consultation/try-on appointment
✓ Created a (secret) Pinterest Wedding Inspo Board
What’s Next On The List
Confirm the reception venue (awaiting contract!)
Finalize the guest list & send save the dates
Ask our bridal party members (working on my bride tribe proposals)
What’s To Come Later
Decor/Flowers/Centerpieces (we have a theme in mind, but just floating potential ideas)
Cake or Cupcakes (+ Groom’s Cake?)
In terms of sharing wedding planning content, I definitely would love to go more in-depth with certain specifics of the process through dedicated blog posts. I have several ideas in mind that I’ll personally be going more in detail with, but I’d also love to know what you are interested in reading as someone following my journey. Knowing the topic of wedding planning isn’t for everyone, I want to be mindful of that and only share what could become a resource for years to come (aka not “how to plan for a wedding during a pandemic..”) Because as much as that can be helpful for some now, it’s not going to be relevant a year + from now (let’s hope, lol.)
If you’d like to weigh in, please let me know what wedding content you’d appreciate seeing in the comments below!