Just Life

There’s so much to just randomly observe and comment from a fresh perspective. I never want to stop looking with these eyes.

~See Lemons Just Live

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30 Micro-Resolutions

seelemonsonline : February 5, 2016 7:00 am : Just Life, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #542: Breaking out of bad habits is hard, but not impossible.

microresolutions

Why This List?

Little actions can make big changes. This is true for all positive and negative aspects of life. You didn’t just wake up overweight – it was probably a string of inactive months and holiday parties that crept up over time. If you want to improve, then realize these little actions can reverse those bad habits and develop a solid platform strategy.

As explained in the previous blog post, we must put in the effort to form autopilot habits and resilient sub routines that keep you from burning out at the end of the day. Willpower should be saved for the important things. Be in a state of mindful constant improvement and form a platform that breeds this style.

A good resolution has a few properties:

  • It focuses on small behavioral changes
  • The change is easy (you think it can be done and you have no excuse not to do it)
  • The change is limited (it’s not a blanket statement of exercising everyday)
  • It focuses on actions – what can you do? – not what result do you want
  • The change is specific and measurable

How to Write this List

First, take a look at these categories of micro-resolutions to spark some ideas. Next, reverse engineer your behaviors throughout the day and really find the pain point little habits you can change to improve any of those points. This could be reshuffling the order of tasks, using better resources, or setting up different stop points.

Here are a few of my micro-resolutions:

  1. #MeatlessMondays – don’t order meat foods
  2. Sit down lunch Thursdays – to reduce eating food at a desk for every meal, sit down at a restaurant or in the park and enjoy lunch on Thursdays
  3. Coffee Chat Fridays – have coffee with someone on Friday and don’t talk about work
  4. Dinners at home should be eaten at the table and on a plate
  5. Say “no” to the first beer at Spin / or / No happy hour beer before 6PM on weekdays
  6. Store the phone, wallet, keys, headphones, and scarfs in one location for easy access when leaving in the morning (e.g. adjust habit to place these items in this area when I first get home)
  7. Remove all notifications from social media applications on phone
  8. Do not look at phone when walking in the morning (e.g. walk from apartment to subway and subway to desk) – increase awareness and also pay attention more to traffic
  9. Do not look at work email before 9AM at desk – instead, map out your micro-accomplishments for the day
  10. No more than 15 minutes of device use in the bedroom on weekdays / Write in a physical journal instead or sketch an idea
  11. Pay attention to what you can compliment about someone (a stranger or significant other). Tell them (or don’t, but telling them is much better).
  12. Look at your list of tasks and find what you can delegate once a week
  13. Make small talk (< 5 min) with someone different in your team every day. Ask them how they are and do less of the talking.
  14. Give credit to someone for a job well done. Send an email or spread a good rumor.
  15. Look on slideshare once a week for inspiration on infographics and presentation styles
  16. Do some type of physical activity (that builds up a sweat) at least once every 3 days
  17. Before getting out of bed, sit up, straighten your back, and take 3 deep breaths
  18. Write down the thing that lead to a good laugh or happy moment. Create a happiness jar for this (blogpost of this to come)!
  19. Share something useful with your community in the morning
  20. Before you buy something, also think about what you can sell/replace with this new item
  21. Instead of buying coffee in the morning, brew some from home or alternatively drink tea
  22. Set-up 5 minute breaks in your calendar (3x a day) to get up and go drink some water
  23. Do not watch more than 3 episodes of anything in a row (reduce binge watching or balance it with something productive)
  24. Join at least 2 conference calls a week at least 2 minutes early and use that time to chat with anyone else on the call early
  25. Remove 1 thing from a to do list for every 2 things you put on (I tend to add too many things on my to do list)
  26. Brush teeth before 10PM as to reduce late night eating
  27. Kiss your significant other when you see her for the first time at night
  28. Eat a piece of fruit for dessert instead of cake
  29. Try to answer with a joke instead of a judgment (find out what you can smile about in a bad situation)
  30. Come up with a new list of 30 or write 30 items in a list once a week (Try to do at least 2 lists a month)

~See Lemons Further Resolved

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Lessons Learned from Moving

seelemonsonline : January 29, 2016 7:00 am : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #540: Filtering through every corner of your apartment is always a walk down memory lane.

bad robot

Continuing my series of “grown up stuff,” we’ve made the move to a slightly larger space with a bedroom door. While filtering through all the things we’ve accumulated, we developed a few strategies and learned a lot more about our relationship. Some of these are also lifted from watching HGTV and Tiny House.

Start with Decluttering

You don’t have to be moving to do this. We all have way too many things and the easiest way to determine what to get rid of comes with two questions :

  1. Do you still use this item? (functional)
  2. Does this item mean something to me? (emotional) – Vinessa is a big Marie Kondo fan and she phrases it as “Does this item bring you joy?”

If your answer is “no” to either of these, then you probably don’t need it.

Souvenirs/Mementos

From all my travel, this is a big consideration. If it is specifically memorabilia of sorts (e.g. ticket stub from a first date or trip tchotchke (woah, it’s spelled like this)), limit it to one thing from the trip and think of ways to make an emotional item also functional. When all else fails, digitize it. In future trips, try postcards – they’re thin and don’t take up a lot of space. There was an episode of Tiny House where a travel couple bought blankets from different countries and they turned all the blankets into pillow covers (browse Pinterest for ideas).

Digitize your documents (with camscanner)

You can also buy a scanner, “test out” a large scanner with a feed top and return it afterwards, or borrow one. I also somehow amassed a large number of floating receipts. Has there ever been a case where I needed to prove I bought a doughnut? We decided going forward that we’ll go through the receipt pile at the end of month in budget review. In Clean House, there was also advice to digitize any memories for scrap-booking (this is another post all together).

Go Green and Paperless

It’s not just good enough to remove historical junk, but also ensure that you don’t have to do this exercise again 6 months later. I originally thought of this for physical mail, but this also applies to books. While I do like the feeling of turning pages and smell of old paper, books are freaking heavy. If you haven’t read that physical book in the past 2 years, then you can probably donate it.  Also, I want an “unsubscribe” to my physical mail.

Donate What you Don’t Need

I like getting new phones every 18 months or so, but we had 7 old phones, 3 laptops (1 running Windows 98), and 10 USB keys. We wound up clearing all the data on these and then donating them.

Plan Ahead for the New Space

Even if you’re moving into a bigger space, it’s always a good idea to pare down large furniture. In our case, we really envisioned our new color scheme and core pieces that make our place still feel like home. For me, it’s that Japanese room divider in the corner of the top pic – I love the painting and the color palette. From there, we picked the items we wanted to keep and the ones we thought would probably just buy from Ikea.

When you’re at your new place, I highly recommend measuring everything – Heights of counters and little nooks by the corners. These will definitely come in handy. We created a few online home design models, but I feel drawing on paper and possibly cutting out drawings of furniture is a better method.

Planning for the Move

Packing is definitely not easy and it’s best done in batches. Before you start, however, you should consider:

  • Who’s helping you move? – if professional, you’ll need to box everything
  • What are the biggest items you’re moving? – this determines the moving vehicle specs; smaller cars should probably use small to medium boxes with lots of tote bags
  • Approximately how many boxes do you think you’ll need? – Studio needs around 20 boxes or so (you will almost always underestimate)
  • Are there restrictions to your new building for move-in? – you may not want big boxes if you’re in a walk-up

We used professional movers because we didn’t want to bother our friends on a weekday. Within 2 weeks, we packed our stuff in the following order:

  1. Books
  2. Electronics (although we did the AppleTV and chargers last)
  3. Fragile artwork/ornamental
  4. Bathroom stuff (save some soap and makeup)
  5. Bedding (we used some of this for stuffing fragile stuff)
  6. Kitchen
  7. (1 week before) Clothes that you won’t wear that week
  8. (day before) Last minute clothes, bathroom, and food into plastic bags

Make sure you give yourself enough time to move. It’s not an easy task unless you’re just throwing everything out and starting new.

Essential items to buy/borrow:

  • Boxes (we did 3 wardrobe, 3 large, 5 medium, 5 small, and 3 random storage boxes)
  • Packaging tape (3-4 roles is useful)
  • Box cutter – super useful!
  • Sharp scissors – super useful!
  • Newspaper – for stuffing boxes
  • 35+ Quart and Gallon ziplock bags – we used this for bathroom and electronics stuff

Tips for Staying Organized with Your Packing

  • Look for boxes in your building recycling or post in your neighborhood board (or from work, liquor store, or Starbucks)
  • (If you didn’t find them) Buy wardrobe boxes for moving clothes on hangers – it’s worth the price because it was definitely more convenient
  • Spreadsheet your boxes – number, content, and fragile (y/n)
  • Label your boxes – put numbers on them and do checks to make sure all boxes are accounted for
  • Place your boxes so it’s convenient for a move
    • Large items in the front
    • Fragile boxes in the back
  • Move some of your clothes that you’re not wearing out first
  • Do a walk through of the apartment
  • Use your clothing and towels to stuff some of the fragile items (keep in mind that they’ll smell like cardboard and get dirty)
  • Color code your boxes (if you’re feeling neurotic)
  • The heavier or more fragile the item; the smaller the box
  • Do the box test
    • Lift to make sure it’s not too heavy
    • If it’s fragile, shake the box to see if you hear movement. If you do, then stuff it with newspaper or other things
  • Avoid tangled necklaces with straws
  • Contact the post office for your change of address a week ahead of time since it usually takes 5 business days
  • Check other things you get in the mail (e.g. newspaper subscriptions, credit card statements, etc)
  • Have a separate carry-on or luggage for your most valuable items (e.g. expensive jewelry, passport, important docs, etc). You should not let anyone carry this except you or give even better, give it to a trusted friend to hold onto until after the move.

Moving In Day-Of

  • Make sure you have someone watch your pet for the day (because Henry gets scared)
  • Keep a box for your Day-Of Go-To bag that you keep separate so you don’t need to completely unpack everything for the first week of moving in
  • Bring extra tote backs for last minute items
  • Once you have the key, make sure someone is at the new place to help people with arranging the boxes in the right areas
  • Provide movers and friends with the details/directions to the new place (remember to ask about parking)
  • Have cash for tipping your movers or bring beer/pizza for your family/friends

Post Move-In

  • Create Phases for the move so you take care of the essentials first
  • Take your time to get new furniture and fill in those gaps
  • Enjoy!

~See Lemons and Nessa Moved

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Favorite Photos of 2015

seelemonsonline : January 6, 2016 7:00 am : Just Life, Photography

Random Observation/Comment #538: If you never stop dreaming and planning new and exciting things with the people you love, each year will hopefully be the best year of your life. It’s another year growing closer and forming unbreakable bonds.

whole crew

When you’re doing a year-end review, there’s a mandatory road down facebook/instagram lane where you almost instantly relive your life through photos. While these photos may not be the best composed (or even taken by me), these are the favorite ones that made my year.

~See Lemons Say Hello to 2016

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Favorite Blogposts of 2015

seelemonsonline : December 29, 2015 9:00 am : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #537: 67 blogposts in a year is pretty darn good. Maybe these lists of 30 are just an easier format.

wanessa

Every year, I read through all my blogposts and find the top ones that describe my year the best.

[Career Advice] Figure Out Why
[Career Advice] Figure Out Why

Lessons Learned from Writing 500 blog posts
Lessons Learned from Writing 500 blog posts

 

Kindness Revolution #DisruptTEDActive
Kindness Revolution #DisruptTEDActive

 

My TEDActive FAQ
My TEDActive FAQ

 

The Art of the Meaningful Followup
The Art of the Meaningful Followup

 

List of 30 Work Culture Wins
List of 30 Work Culture Wins

 

A Groom's Responsibility
A Groom’s Responsibility

 

Questions of the Day #Qofd
Questions of the Day #Qofd

 

my life in lists of 30
My Life in Lists of 30

 

~See Lemons Love 2015

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Reflecting on 2015

seelemonsonline : December 24, 2015 9:00 am : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #536: I have 1 more year until I’m 30 and so many more things to do on my list. Each year has been the year I wish could last forever.

001-DSC_2650

In 2015, I:

  • Traveled to: Vancouver/Whistler (TEDactive), Florida (to ask for her hand in marriage), Japan, Hong Kong (Viv’s wedding), Phuket, Bali, Sag Harbor (MiniMoon), Austin
  • Triumphantly: Got engaged (using a modified version of my life in lists of 30), helped plan a wedding in 5 months and got married!, Published My Life in Lists of 30, Shot 4 weddings, attended TEDActive (and TEDxGondala), helped organize TEDxBushwick, presented in blockchain panels and coursework, presented career advice to Carnegie Mellon, saw a RoboShow in Tokyo, rode an elephant, became Blockchain Technical Lead for Credit Suisse.
  • Ate/Drank: amazing brisket and general BBQ in Austin, authentic Thai curry, Street pad thai, Balinese street boxes with chicken and rice, incredible Loco Moco in Phuket, Huge drinks in Hong Kong, Japadog from Vancouver, Sushi burrito
  • Read/Listened to: The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins), 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami), Old Man’s War (John Scalzi), The Ghost Brigades (John Scalzi), Grey (E L James), Ready Player One (Ernest Cline), Tomorrowland (Steven Kotler), As You Wish (Rob Reiner), The Last Colony (John Scalzi), Hard Magic (Larry Correia), Spellbound (Larry Correia), Brooklyn (Colm Toibin), A lot of podcasts! (Hello from the Magic Tavern, Mortified, Lore, The Adventure Zone, Seth Godin’s Startup School, The Art of Charm, Serial, Your Best Just Got Better, How to Do Everything, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), Bob’s Burgers Live Reading,
  • Completed: another jigsaw puzzle, presentation at TEDactive, 12 studio photography headshot sessions, question of the day (#Qotd), Started tripadvisor reviewing, Continued yelping (yelp elite 2015), physical crosswords during morning commute, Covered 40+ events for CS, started Actions of the Day (#AofD), wrote over 500 blogposts!

2015 was the year I took the big plunge. We planned a wedding within 5 months, and oh man was it a fun night to remember. My memory isn’t the best, but I will always remember how she looked walking down the aisle. 2015 also marks a bit of an end to an era of traveling. I know there will be fewer bear travels, but 20 countries in 4 years is one hell of a ride. I sense there will still be at least one trip a year as vacations permit, but the expenses are certainly going to start skyrocketing. In terms of career, this was the year I found a new spark of passion for working on fun POCs. I feel like I work at a start up within a corporate innovation environment, and it’s such a huge learning experience.

In 2016, I’m looking forward to:

  • Travels: Bermuda weekend trip, Honeymoon in Turks and Caicos, weddings in Florida, save time for an Indian wedding at some point. I think we’ll have fewer travels in 2016 due to the higher costs of living and focus on career
  • Challenges: Writing “Our Life in Lists of 30” with Vinessa, Further build out a Blockchain Working Group and complete more Blockchain POCs, move into a one bedroom, Complete my 30 under 30.
  • Adolescent Career: I’ve established a great foundation within the company and looking forward to taking more risks and delivering more value. This is definitely the buy or bust year for blockchain in financial institutions.

My 30 under 30 is posted and I will be posting updates from there. I think I’ll be able to make it. Reviews of 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 are linked. Also, more lists of 30.

~See Lemons Love 2015 and Look forward to 2016

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[List of 30] Sleep Hygiene Practices

seelemonsonline : August 14, 2015 9:00 am : Just Life, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #522 : Sleepy time is one of my favorite times.

sleepy henry

A lack of sleep is devastating to all aspects of life. How do you get through the day when you’re physically exhausted? Besides heavy caffeine dosage, you’re probably going to want a few naps throughout the day and hopes that sleeping earlier will “make up for yesterday” (it almost never does).

Instead of constantly catching up, improve your systems and keep a healthy sleep hygiene.

  1. Keep consistent sleep times and patterns
  2. Try to go to bed at around the same time each night to synchronize your internal clock
  3. Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  4. Keep your bed for sleeping only
  5. Do not bring screens to the bed
  6. Set a curfew for using devices overall
  7. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, go to another room until you get tired again
  8. Avoid going to bed on a full stomach (give 2 hours to digest to also prevent acid reflux)
  9. Avoid going to bed hungry (it’ll bug you all night)
  10. Avoid naps in the evening
  11. Get some sun during the day so it helps you sleep better at night
  12. Some experts recommend working out in the morning rather than at night to keep the energy going for the rest of the day
  13. Create a relaxing sleep and bedtime routine – I like to stretch for 2 minutes before sleeping and cuddle with a large body pillow
  14. Remove things in the bedroom that distract you from sleeping
  15. This one is tough: try not to go to bed drunk. You may fall asleep faster first, but you’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night feeling thirsty or hung over
  16. Don’t talk about emotionally upsetting topics while in bed
  17. Try not to listen to music with lyrics too close to bed
  18. Don’t bring your problems to bed
  19. Change your sheets and pillow cases often so you get that fresh smell before going to bed
  20. If you’re sniffling and sneezing from allergies, take an antihistamine
  21. If this works for you, get a white noise machine so you stop paying attention to all the little sounds around the world while you’re trying to rest
  22. Even if you can take a nap with music playing, it’s recommended to have a quieter sleep environment so you don’t get disrupted by different beats or familiar lyrics
  23. Make your room as dark as possible
  24. Change your bedroom so it only makes you sleepy – associate it with sleepy time
  25. Know what temperature you love sleeping in. I personally like it cold with a warm blanket (and then half way through the night I kick off all the blankets anyway)
  26. Make sure you have a quality mattress that matches your personal preference to firmness and bounce
  27. Wear the same pajama clothes that make you feel sleepy. Change into them right before you go to bed or make it a part of that cooling down routine.
  28. Get the right pillow. I just bought one that has this cooling foam on one side and it’s amazing.
  29. Convince your sleeping partner to follow the same rules
  30. Make sure the Henry cat doesn’t wake you up at 5:30AM by nuzzling in your ear and batting your hair

~See Lemons Sleep

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[List of 30] The Little Things

seelemonsonline : August 7, 2015 5:20 pm : Early Career, Just Life, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #521: Enjoy the little things – the details are what make life unique.

Taken by: B.A. VanSise Courtesy of The LilyPad Agency (http://thelilypadagency.com/)
Taken by: B.A. VanSise
Courtesy of The LilyPad Agency (http://thelilypadagency.com/)

 

Happiness comes in little doses. If you see it, stop whatever you’re doing and commit it to memory. Store it in that happiness cache and bring it up whenever you need it.

  1. A genuinely selfless deed
  2. A hug that lasts a little bit longer
  3. A look from your fiance that you know means she/he loves you
  4. A random high five
  5. A clever quip or pun (I see what you did there)
  6. A nod of understanding from students
  7. An obscure reference you understand online
  8. A father teaching his son how to read
  9. A son swelling his father with pride
  10. An amazing set of table tennis rallies
  11. A compiled piece of code with no errors
  12. An old song comes on and you know all the lyrics somehow
  13. A long inhale of fresh air when out in nature
  14. A smell of a home-cooked thanksgiving dinner
  15. A message from an old friend
  16. Anything handwritten addressed to me that’s not solicitation
  17. A sense of appreciation of your work from a complete stranger
  18. A toast between friends to celebrate the special moments
  19. A look of sedated happiness from friends who ate your home cooked meal
  20. A smell of the ocean and heat of the beach
  21. A soft purr and nuzzle from your favorite pet
  22. A surprise gesture of friendship
  23. A feeling of exhaustion after pushing yourself further on a workout
  24. A shared inside joke said just at the right time
  25. A really good laugh about seemingly nothing at all
  26. A feeling of productivity by 5pm
  27. A playful squeeze while holding hands and walking in the park
  28. A helping hand that relieves stress and burden
  29. A helping ear that heard your final complaint about work and doesn’t think differently of you
  30. A glance at your fiance sleeping in the morning

The interesting thing about this list is that most of it has almost nothing to do with personal accomplishments and everything to do with other people’s appreciation and observing such a bond forming. Maybe that’s the meaning of life – fortifying bonds to bring us all closer together in harmony.

~See Lemons Love the Little Things

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[List of 30] Wedding Body Tips

seelemonsonline : June 16, 2015 5:22 pm : Just Life, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #514: I want one photoshopped fat wedding picture so just in case I get fat in the future, I can look at a younger fatter me and feel less self conscious.

kyoto nara ears

My fiance and I are pretty competitive with each other – it helps both of us improve and benchmark our growth. For the wedding, we’ve set our realistic health goals revolving around diet, habits, and routines. Here’s what I’ve been doing differently (and I’ve already lost 4 lbs).

  1. Before you start, buy a shirt and pants you want to fit into (or look for clothes you used to fit into, in my case). These are your goal clothes. When you take weight measurements, also try on the clothes to gauge your focus.
  2. Set a goal weight that is realistic within your time period. Healthy weight loss is no more than 5 lbs in 3 weeks. Healthy workouts will replace body fat with muscle (which is denser and weighs more), so it’s tough to maintain this burn rate.
  3. Check/Weigh in once a week on a Wednesday. Weekend cheat days take some time to catch up.
  4. Set goals for specific workouts (e.g. Run 3 miles, do 50 push ups in a row, do 50 sit ups under 1 minute, Palm the floor on a stretch)
  5. Up your fitbit step goals to 12,000
  6. Track your food intake with Calorious (yay!)
  7. Stick to a workout routine – morning exercises are great. Gets the adrenaline pumping for the day.
  8. Replace coffee with tea – sugar and milk add a lot of calories
  9. Replace beer with wine – beer has a lot of empty calories
  10. Replace elevators with stairs
  11. Drink a lot of water – I am for 2L throughout the work day
  12. Replace red meat with fish for lean protein
  13. Cook food Sunday night that you can bring into lunch for the weekday
  14. Get smaller Tupperware to portion better for meals
  15. Eat more salads with less dressing
  16. Try #meatlessmondays
  17. Hold some meetings in the park so you can walk around a bit
  18. Stretch twice a day
  19. Get a workout partner or join a community
  20. Play a sport regularly that you can train to get better at – the training exercises show more measurable progress with the sport
  21. Eat smaller portions more frequently – 5 meals a day
  22. Do not eat less than 2 hours before sleeping
  23. Go to fewer happy hours
  24. Vary your workout routines to focus on different muscles to keep it interesting
  25. Make an awesome playlist to get you pumped
  26. Listen to a Ted talks while jogging so you train your mind as you train your body
  27. Limit carbs in the afternoon
  28. Stay active throughout the day
  29. Being healthy is a marathon and not a sprint – yo-yo diets are terrible for your metabolism, so make sure you pace yourself appropriately
  30. Look for your inner motivation and refer to it whenever you need to push yourself

I got some advice from a friend training for a tri-athalon and he gave me this crossfit workout:

Lumberjack 20:

  • 20 Deadlifts
  • Run 400m
  • 20kb swings
  • Run 400m
  • 20 overhead squats
  • Run 400m
  • 20 burpees
  • Run 400m
  • 20 pull ups
  • Run 400m
  • 20 box jumps
  • Run 400m
  • 20 DB Squat Cleans
  • Run 400m

Let’s aim for getting through this with no weights first :\

~See Lemons Get his Wedding Bod

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[List of 30] Wedding Planning

seelemonsonline : April 13, 2015 11:32 am : Just Life, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #509: If life flashes before my eyes, her smile seen through my tears of joy will be one of those memories forever in my heart.

see lemons engaged

 

That book I’ve been writing for the past few months was finally finished and a shortened version was printed for her to read at a small get-together in LIC. With the help of some very awesome friends, we had an incredible home-cooked meal and a very elaborate proposal. I’ll write the details in another post, but first and foremost – Thank you all for making it so special!

I gave it about 16 hours of not thinking about planning and simply enjoying the feeling of calling her my fiance, but once I stepped on that subway on a commute, the ideas started flowing. Without reading any posts about weddings, here’s what I think I’ll need to do before getting married:

  1. Pick a time frame for when we want to have the wedding (consider seasons and ask our “MUST” guests what dates absolutely don’t work)
  2. Determine our budget and how many people we can invite
  3. Pick a type of wedding (e.g. destination, trendy, traditional, chic, low key, eloping in city hall, etc) and shop around venues for availability in time frame (e.g. brewery, distillery, backyard with food trucks, etc) – Yay Pinterest
  4. Form a guest list and add spreadsheet columns for whether or not they’re invited and probability of accepting invitation (Thanks, April and Jason!)
  5. Look at our resources and see who can help (Mandy for wedding cake design? B.A. for photographer recommendations? B.A. for negotiations?)
  6. Type of ceremony – We need to decide if we’ll do the marriage license stuff earlier and then have a much shorter ceremony for the day-of. We’d also respect the Chinese traditions.
  7. Bachelor and Bachelorette party locations and invites – provide a guest list for your maid of honor and best man; Set rules for strippers.
  8. All groomsmen are wearing suits – I have already decided this. We may all get custom made ones. Maybe we’ll wear superhero t-shirts underneath.
  9. Bride may have two dresses – one for a Chinese ceremony session
  10. Flowers and theme – I personally don’t mind for any of these and I think it’ll also be determined by the venue look
  11. Website – I’ll probably be making something to keep people informed of the dates and such – maybe a separate tab here to make it easier on the hosting
  12. Host an engagement party – maybe at SPIN?
  13. Invitations and Thank you cards – I’ll probably make a cool web one, but also do physical ones just because I think it’s the thing you’re supposed to do
  14. Registry of things – We need to decide on what we would want to buy for things: a Japanese knife is definitely in there. I think there are a lot of options in this space: http://www.womangettingmarried.com/best-online-wedding-registry/
  15. Catering/Food choices – The best part is trying out all the food. I personally would love food trucks of different types. I’d be great if we had mashed potatoes in there.
  16. Cake – A Lady-M Crepe cake would be awesome, but we’ll probably make a thing out of trying all types of great stuff
  17. Photographer and Photography style – luckily my best man is a photographer
  18. Gifts for groomsmen and bridesmaids – I didn’t even know this was a thing, but maybe I’ll give everyone a new custom made suit from Hong Kong
  19. DJ or Band? – We could just have a spotify playlist, but it would be really nice to have someone play separate for the ceremony
  20. Grooms and bride wedding bands – The material is important. Maybe someone from machine shop can make a design for us. Yay Cooper connections!
  21. Honeymoon locations – this is super fun to plan. I already have tons of ideas of where we can go to have a good time and relax. I’d normally rough it, but honeymoons seem like we should be relaxed
  22. Go on a diet and lose 10 lbs – We both decided to do this, but I think it’ll be much easier for me
  23. Publish the book – We’ll probably include this in the gift bag? Are we having a gift bag?
  24. Find an officiant – someone’s going to get us married
  25. Put together a full schedule – Maybe I’ll use an app for wedding connecting and a way to publish the schedule for everyone like in TED. Sounds like a great app idea.
  26. Check up with all vendors and make sure our ducks in a row before the final days
  27. Write marriage vows – I wrote a book, so this shouldn’t be too hard. I’m more conscious about staying not having the audience fall asleep or not crying through the whole thing.
  28. Write Thank you speech – I think before the dancing happens with traditions, I say some words to those who came to the event
  29. Take dance classes – V will be very happy about this
  30. Do a 30 day challenge with personally meeting all the people we’re inviting – this is more of a personal touch for me

There are probably a lot more things that will come up, but for some reason I’m not at all stressed. We like organizing events and this one will be pretty awesome.

~See Lemons Happily Engaged

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[Travel Advice] Where to Stay (AirBnb?)

seelemonsonline : March 30, 2015 2:59 pm : Just Life, Travel

Random Observation/Comment #508: I wish I just knew people in every major place I wanted to travel to so I could crash on their couch, hang out at a local pub/coffee shop, and get introduced to the local customs. I’d get the underground culture and also see an old friend.

see lemons eat drink be honest

People always ask me, “Where do you stay when you travel?”  For me, its’ changed depending on the company, location, and time of my life.  Here are some common accommodation choices based on your age and desired type of vacation:

  • Budget and Young. You’re probably going to be backpacking through Europe and staying at youth hostels or couchsurfing with random people. Good on ya! I think I’m too old for that already.  If you do couch surf, it is crucial to get to know your host and make sure they have good reviews. I personally loved couchsurfing when I was backpacking through Europe and found no issues through those 10 major cities.
  • Beach/Resort destinations. No matter the age, I think everyone who goes to beachy/Caribbean island areas want a nice hotel with a great view and included spa. It will cost extra money, but you’ll probably find great vacation packages. If you’re going to do this, I would recommend just taking a cruise.
  • 30’s and just want a vacation. If you’re at that age where you work hard and play hard, sometimes you don’t want to plan that much. It’s usually easier to just get a hotel room and have someone make your bed.
  • Work travel. If you travel a lot on someone else’s dime, it’s most likely that you’re staying at a hotel and getting points on your credit card. Don’t forget to save those receipts!
  • Old people travel. No offense to old people, but the amenities at a hotel are certainly better than ones in homes. Locations may also be more convenient for transportation or travel.  Time shares may also be a good option since I find most old people have time shares for some reason.
  • Couples traveling to New England states. I think the sweet thing to do is get a bed and breakfast run by someone who could be your grandmother or aunty that spoils you greatly. Especially in New Hampshire skiing areas, I’ve found these rustic looking places to be really romantic. I’ve also gotten some great deals through Groupon/LivingSocial.
  • Adventurous travel and groups.  This is where I think Airbnb really shines. I’m sure it overlaps with the other niches in some ways, but those who are web saavy and look for slightly cheaper prices than hotels will use Airbnb and connect with a local.  Almost 80% of my travels, I’ve stayed at an Airbnb place and had a wonderful time. I’ve found that when people own their place and trust you enough to leave keys with you, it says a lot about overall good will. They’ve also usually given me great local advice on places to eat and hang out for night life.

For those who are trying to understand the demographic and why we use it:

  • Slightly cheaper prices. Especially for a long term stay, I think the prices are much better. There are usually hidden costs with paying for cleaning and taxes afterwards, but overall I think it’s worth it.
  • Better locations. Except for those beach resorts, I’ve found better locations for Airbnb than the regular hotels. Since there are hostings everywhere, I think you can probably find one next to a hotel too.
  • Excited hosts. Hosts are usually really cool people. They’re sometimes representing the people who own the apartment to take care of the Airbnb necessary Identifications, but they also sometimes just have an extra place they can rent out for a great price.
  • Local advice. The hosts will not give you some hotel touristy answer. More often than not, I’ve gotten some excellent recommendations.
  • Much better for big groups. I personally think splitting a big place is much better than getting 3-4 separate rooms.
  • Kitchen. This should have been number 1, but I love it when I have a kitchen and I can cook with some local groceries.
  • Excellent customer service. For places that haven’t worked out, I’ve gotten at least 50% refund on the trip. It took some stern emails and a review as a loyal patron of the site, but I get points back for any places that don’t show what they advertise (which is the least of what I can say for some hotels – cough, Kathmandu).

~See Lemons Love AirBnB

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