6 Tips for Online Dating

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Hi, guys! Happy Tuesday! So February is one of my favorite months because it’s just such a LOVE month.  Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the month that Nick and I started dating AND got engaged (he would want me to tell you that it wasn’t all on the same day). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Nick and I actually met online! I know, crazy, right? I still can’t believe it. We always get a million questions after someone finds out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we are normal adults (kinda) and we found love on the internet. Online dating seems to have a negative stigma sometimes and it can be overwhelming, frustrating, but also very rewarding! It’s not for everyone but it is for you if you want a different way to meet people. It’s 2017 and we use technology for just about everything else, why not this? An algorithm gave Nick and I a 97% match. Mind. Blown. And my biggest reason you should try it is simple… What if it works!!!

Here are my 6 tips for a successful online dating experience:

  1. The username
    • You finally talked yourself into this and now you have to think of a username? Eek. Don’t stop here. Because I would constantly delete and remake a profile, I used a few different names. The last one that I used was song lyrics that I liked at the time. I was “LittleTalks” and it was one of my better ideas because it attracted people that liked the same music as me. Try thinking of a hobby or interest you like when coming up with a name.
  2. How to pick your profile photo
    • Use current photos! Catfishing is real, folks. You can ask Nick about his story. Thankfully, it never happened to me.
    • Don’t go overboard. Post one head shot, one body shot, and one with family/friends.
    • Keep your clothes on ladies and gents if you’re looking for the real deal.
  3. What to say about yourself
    • Don’t give everything away! This makes it easier to ask questions in messages so that you can get to know one another.
    • Be honest! I remember rolling my eye’s at Nick’s profile when reading that he taught his grandma how to golf, funny story… he actually did!
    • If you have a sense of humor, try to show it! If you’re serious, show it!
    • If there are questions offered from the dating service, answer them. This is how their algorithms work in finding you the best matches.
  4. Messages
    • Who messages who first? Blah, I know. If you’re interested show it, but be a little creative in your first impression. If you can sense their sensor of humor and you’re attracted to that, compliment it. If they are a foodie, ask what their favorite place to eat in the city is.
    • Don’t overthink it, just be yourself.
    • This is the point where it’s okay to be picky! If you met everyone you messaged with, you’d be very busy.
    • If you’re not interested at any point, let them know.
    • If you’re interested after some messaging, get their information for one of their social media accounts if it makes you feel more comfortable. No, this isn’t creepy, they shouldn’t have anything to hide. Add them on Facebook, that way they can see you’re somewhat normal too.
  5. Meeting
    • Are you still not sure about this whole online dating thing? I wasn’t either. Though I knew I was interested in Nick, the whole idea of meeting him was very intimidating. So I highly recommend Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever to see each other’s faces and talk for a bit. This makes the first meeting feel so much more normal.
    • Don’t meet someone unless you are comfortable with it and genuinely want to meet them. This makes the whole experience way more fun!
    • Be smart! Go to a public place and tell a friend what you’re doing, ya know, just in case… or have your sister stalk you on the Find my Friends app (Heather!).
    • Grab a coffee or a cocktail. Don’t commit yourself to an entire meal or activity for the first time meeting. If cocktails lead into dinner, then perfect, things are going well!
  6. Happily ever after… or not… but maybe!
    • Be patient, your dream man or women isn’t always online waiting for your profile. It’s like real life dating still, you’re just using a website to help introduce you to people. If it doesn’t work out for you, at least you tried!

Are you considering online dating, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Here are some other things you should know:

  • Online dating can be like a second job. There’s a lot of people out there. If you’re serious about it, it can take a chunk of time to weed through the masses.
  • Do you want to wait until you meet someone in person? Yea, I did too. But, just do me a favor and keep in mind that when you meet someone at a bar you know nothing about them. When you meet someone from online, you at least know something about them! It should be less intimidating.
  • Try a free online dating website to see how you feel about it. There is no harm in canceling it.
  • You are going to see someone you know on the site, maybe even an ex… and maybe even your ex’s best friend who will message you. That’s a true story. But, get over it, everyone wants to find their love!

I want to conclude and give a special thank you to OkCupid for allowing me to find the man of my dreams!

Have you had success with online dating or not so much? What advice would you share?

XO, Anna

6 Things My Mom Taught me

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Hello, again!

I wrote this blog post a few years ago on my old blog, it was one of my favorite posts. I edited it a little, but ultimately, it all still holds true! What better time to share again than with Mother’s Day right around the corner? It’s so important to pause sometimes and appreciate the people you have and have had throughout your life. This blog post is dedicated to my mom who is very special to me in many ways. She has taught me 6 very important things… okay probably way more than 6 things, but this is a good start!

1. The importance of creativity.
No project is too small to take on. See it in a store? We can do it that better. Doesn’t look like the one in the picture? That’s your creative spin on it. The amount of creativity and talent my mom has always impressed me. As I grow older I have more of an appreciation for it and strive to be like her in this way.

2. Better to be overdressed than underdressed!
Self-explanatory, and always held true in any circumstance. If you know my mother, you know she is always looking her best!

3. Live life to the fullest.
Follow your heart, go for it if it feels right and don’t miss out on any adventure… just go! (but be safe!)

4. Family is everything.
My family, we all have each other’s backs and have so much love for one another. Who do you think is at the heart of that? Mom. She treats us fairly (though my brothers may disagree for the one time I had a later curfew and don’t have to cut the grass… don’t blame me for being the baby) and will treat the deserved like our family. She always reminds us to accept one another despite any differences because we’re family. When things get tough, I think of family because I know they will always be there. The person who makes me realize that is mom.

5. Always be honest.
It’s always better to tell people how you feel and to talk it out. This will lead to the best relationships and will show who matters. Honesty can hurt, but it’s the best route. I was taught at a young age to practice this and growing up I realized this isn’t always something people’s mothers teach them.

6. Mom’s know everything.
They really do. She gets protective towards those she feels will end up hurting me, she knows where I can find that one pair of shoes, and she knows how to do just about anything else I end up asking her. Who needs Google? Mom knows. Lucky for her I use Google so I’m not bothering her all the time!

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I appreciate you mom and love you very much.  Happy Mother’s Day!

What’s something your mom has taught you?

XO,

Anna

6 Tips for Online Dating

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Hi, guys! Happy Friday! So February is one of my favorite months because it’s just such a LOVE month.  Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the month that Nick and I started dating AND got engaged (he would want me to tell you that it wasn’t all on the same day). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Nick and I actually met online! I know, crazy, right? I still can’t believe it. We always get a million questions after someone finds out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we are normal adults (kinda) and we found love on the internet. Online dating seems to have a negative stigma sometimes and it can be overwhelming, frustrating, but also very rewarding! It’s not for everyone but it is for you if you want a different way to meet people. It’s 2017 and we use technology for just about everything else, why not this? An algorithm gave Nick and I a 97% match. Mind. Blown. And my biggest reason you should try it is simple… What if it works!!!

Here are my 6 tips for a successful online dating experience:

  1. The username
    • You finally talked yourself into this and now you have to think of a username? Eek. Don’t stop here. Because I would constantly delete and remake a profile, I used a few different names. The last one that I used was song lyrics that I liked at the time. I was “LittleTalks” and it was one of my better ideas because it attracted people that liked the same music as me. Try thinking of a hobby or interest you like when coming up with a name.
  2. How to pick your profile photo
    • Use current photos! Catfishing is real, folks. You can ask Nick about his story. Thankfully, it never happened to me.
    • Don’t go overboard. Post one head shot, one body shot, and one with family/friends.
    • Keep your clothes on ladies and gents if you’re looking for the real deal.
  3. What to say about yourself
    • Don’t give everything away! This makes it easier to ask questions in messages so that you can get to know one another.
    • Be honest! I remember rolling my eye’s at Nick’s profile when reading that he taught his grandma how to golf, funny story… he actually did!
    • If you have a sense of humor, try to show it! If you’re serious, show it!
    • If there are questions offered from the dating service, answer them. This is how their algorithms work in finding you the best matches.
  4. Messages
    • Who messages who first? Blah, I know. If you’re interested show it, but be a little creative in your first impression. If you can sense their sensor of humor and you’re attracted to that, compliment it. If they are a foodie, ask what their favorite place to eat in the city is.
    • Don’t overthink it, just be yourself.
    • This is the point where it’s okay to be picky! If you met everyone you messaged with, you’d be very busy.
    • If you’re not interested at any point, let them know.
    • If you’re interested after some messaging, get their information for one of their social media accounts if it makes you feel more comfortable. No, this isn’t creepy, they shouldn’t have anything to hide. Add them on Facebook, that way they can see you’re somewhat normal too.
  5. Meeting
    • Are you still not sure about this whole online dating thing? I wasn’t either. Though I knew I was interested in Nick, the whole idea of meeting him was very intimidating. So I highly recommend Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever to see each other’s faces and talk for a bit. This makes the first meeting feel so much more normal.
    • Don’t meet someone unless you are comfortable with it and genuinely want to meet them. This makes the whole experience way more fun!
    • Be smart! Go to a public place and tell a friend what you’re doing, ya know, just in case… or have your sister stalk you on the Find my Friends app (Heather!).
    • Grab a coffee or a cocktail. Don’t commit yourself to an entire meal or activity for the first time meeting. If cocktails lead into dinner, then perfect, things are going well!
  6. Happily ever after… or not… but maybe!
    • Be patient, your dream man or women isn’t always online waiting for your profile. It’s like real life dating still, you’re just using a website to help introduce you to people. If it doesn’t work out for you, at least you tried!

Are you considering online dating, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Here are some other things you should know:

  • Online dating can be like a second job. There’s a lot of people out there. If you’re serious about it, it can take a chunk of time to weed through the masses.
  • Do you want to wait until you meet someone in person? Yea, I did too. But, just do me a favor and keep in mind that when you meet someone at a bar you know nothing about them. When you meet someone from online, you at least know something about them! It should be less intimidating.
  • Try a free online dating website to see how you feel about it. There is no harm in canceling it.
  • You are going to see someone you know on the site, maybe even an ex… and maybe even your ex’s best friend who will message you. That’s a true story. But, get over it, everyone wants to find their love!

I want to conclude and give a special thank you to OkCupid for allowing me to find the man of my dreams!

Have you had success with online dating or not so much? What advice would you share?

XO, Anna

St. Lucia Day

 

St Lucia Day

Can you believe we are in the midst of the holiday season and that next weekend is Christmas?! It’s the time of year where the word tradition is used more than ever and families have their special ways to celebrate the season. Some people look for the pickle ornament in the tree, some make cookies, but ultimately a lot of traditions come from a family’s heritage.

My mom is Swedish and my dad is Italian. Basically, the Italian side of things is celebrated all year long since everything Italian is readily available and scrumptious. The Swedish side of things, however, is always put a little on the back burner. There was one day a year my mom wouldn’t let that slide and it was every December 13… St. Lucia day. Here is a quick video on what the heck this day means: Swedish Lucia For Dummies.

One of part of this tradition is that the youngest daughter is “Lucia” aka me. Which for many years I thought was cool because my favorite American Girl doll, Kirsten was Swedish and had an outfit to match me. Eventually, I was too cool for it, but hey, I came back around. In our family, we typically decorated the tree, drank hot chocolate and ate the delish St Lucia buns (Lussekatter) that my sweet mother slaved over. Those buns were the best part! I remember helping my mom shape the dough in the shape of an “S” and sneaking some extra bites of the Swedish pearl sugar.

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As the years go by I develop a deeper appreciate of where my family is from and how it’s molded us. This year I decided I wanted to give the whole St. Lucia Day thing a go, as the youngest daughter is supposed to, and also test my baking skills. I was super nervous but my mom gave me the recipe, some special key ingredients and I was off to the kitchen to give this a go, with a little help from Goggle of course. But really, who scolds milk before using in a recipe and why?

It was a fun and long (5 hour!!!!) challenge, these buns really pushed me out of my baking comfort zone! To my surprise, they were just as good as I remembered! Okay maybe not… everything my mom makes taste way better when she does it, but still, I did it!! I had family over to our apartment and we spent the afternoon munching on Swedish food and enjoying each other’s company to recognize St. Lucia Day.

We may not celebrate it as traditionally as they do in Sweden, but it’s nice to spend a day acknowledging our roots! I don’t know anyone else besides our family that celebrates this day. Does your family have any unique holiday traditions?

Happy St. Lucia Day and God Jul!

Xo, Anna

Thankful

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Thanksgiving it’s always a fun day to stuff our bellies, drink wine and laugh. Nick and I have been on a rotation and this year we will be in Michigan celebrating the day with his family. No matter which side of the family we are with, it is always so nice to have everyone in one place. Since I’m a sentimental gal, I always find myself reflecting on the past year and what I’m thankful for. If family would let me, I’d have everyone say what they are thankful for around the dinner table!

Nick and I have said multiple times that the best part of the wedding besides marrying one another, is that for one day we were lucky enough to have everyone we deeply care about in one room.  So this year, I am so thankful for that moment. We had guests in from 10 different states… for us! From the year leading up to the wedding to all the days in between, we have been so fortunate to have such a supportive and loving group of people in our lives.

Here is a photo of all of these special people standing up and making their promise to support us throughout our marriage. I hope they all know we how much that means to us and we will be forever grateful.

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I could go on and on about all the things that I feel thankful for, but this one is by far the best moment of the year. What memory are you most thankful for this year?

Wishing you a fun and safe Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

Xo, Anna

 

 

(Image by Veronica Varos Photography)

6 Ways to Save on Your Wedding

6 Ways to Save on Your Wedding

Being a newly wed I constantly find myself thinking about all the things I learned from wedding planning that I’ll never use again. With that being said, I wanted to incorporate some wedding posts to share our special day with you all and how we made decisions in the planning process. Nick and I wanted to make our special day about us, with traditions and details that were actually important to us as a couple, not the wedding industry.

It’s really easy to get sucked into the dream weddings that are the cost of a house because well, they are EVERYWHERE! These weddings truly are stunning, but the majority of the time they are only good for one thing and that’s inspiration for the majority of us. A lot of vendors do an excellent job of upselling you, which I totally get it. It’s their job and they want to help make it the most amazing day for you… but it’s gonna cost ya! You need to know when to say no and keep your expectations realistic in what you can afford. Pick what parts of your wedding you want to splurge on. For me, that was food and photography! Because who doesn’t like a good meal and your wedding photos will last a lifetime, right? It was easy for me to decided, but it isn’t always easy for others. So here are some ideas to think about and 6 ways to save on your wedding day.

  1. Interchangeable flowers. This was an idea from the first florist that my mom and I met with that ended up being the only florist we met with because she was so great. Shout out to The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers! Anyway, when trying to stay on budget the idea was brought to us to make the ceremony flowers transportable so they can move inside for the reception! Brillant! We choose urns of flowers that were to be on each side of us during the ceremony, that then would be transferred to another location for the reception (side note; this didn’t end up happening thanks to mother nature, but that story is for another day). This obviously is only easy to do if your ceremony and reception are in the same location. If you need another idea for separate venues, have vases set up on your tables (guestbook, head table, etc), so that your bridesmaids can just plop them in there for decor rather than just sit on the table for the rest of the night!
  2. Ask a friend to play your ceremony music. Luckily my family is a huge fan of live music and some are musicians themselves. Of course, you should still pay whoever is playing for you. But, I guarantee you this will save a ton of money! Thanks, Ed! If you don’t have a musician friend, think about contacting a local college’s music program. Many of their students do freelance work, and which was going to be a backup option for us.
  3. Wedding resale groups. I followed a few of these groups on Facebook, and only ended up using it once for prettiest table number holders ever (see above), that nobody remembers besides me and my mom. But, join these as soon as you are engaged and stay on top of it because the good stuff goes fast! With that being said, always price check what someone is selling their pieces at. I’ve seen sellers get tricky on here and try to make money off these used pieces and that’s not cool. Also, don’t go into this as a free for all, or you’ll end up with a closet full of things that you’re not actually going to use. Have a game plan on what you need and stick to it! And if you’re feeling frisky, see if you can negotiate the price of those chalkboards that you HAVE to have!
  4. Keep the guest list down. This can be really hard for some people who have extremely large families, a big group of friends, and about a million other excuses out there. But honestly, keep it down! How? Pull on your big girl and guy pants and take a hard look at who is relevant in your life today as a couple.
  5. Reconsider the ceremony program. We just totally eliminated this detail expense, even with having free graphic designer thanks to my brother. I went back and forth on it a lot, but after much discussion, we decided with a short and basic ceremony, nobody will miss them. I will add that sometimes it can be an amazing detail to your day. My brother and his wife had a Greek orthodox ceremony their programs were a huge help in guiding guests through their different religious traditions.
  6. Look at your favors in a different light. Favors have gotten out of hand! They can cost a lot of money and a lot of times forgotten at the table! Personally, my favorite favor is a photo booth. Wait, the photo booth is a favor? I think so! They bring so much fun to your guests, and guess what… they have a fun souvenir to take home with them aka a favor! If you already have a photo booth booked, you’re all set! We used Pittsburgh Prestige Photo Booth and had a great experience. Plus if you’re from Pittsburgh, I can almost guarantee your guests are walking out of that wedding with a bag full of cookies. As long as your guests aren’t going home empty-handed, I think it’s a win!

If I added a number 7 it would be to have a crafty family, but I know that I hit that jackpot with that one. My mom and brother made so many of my wedding ideas a reality with their talents. We’ll chat about wedding details another time, though.

I hope these ideas help with your planning process! And to any reading bride’s, take a deep breath, I promise any stress is worth it. What are some things you did to save a buck or two during on your wedding day?

Xo, Anna

 

Day Date- Apple Picking

Day Date- Apple Picking

When you want to get in some fall activities and the budget is tight, what do you do? Our conversation went something like this…

We could pick pumpkins? Eh, that’s fun, but we’ve done it a million times. We could go to a haunted house? Eh, that’s too scary. Then my husband says, “In Michigan, we picked apples in the fall!” And guess what, I never have!! Thank goodness for my smartest friend, Google. She found Norman’s Orchard in Tarentum, PA that was only 15 minutes away from us. Score!

We pulled up to Norman’s Orchard not knowing what to expect. What we found was the owner sitting in his garage full of apples for the less adventurous, a good old fashion scale, and some baskets. We had to sign a waiver (smart!), learned the science of the questionable ladders and about all different apple trees around the orchard. Then finally, we were handed a basket to have some fun!

We had a great time walking around the orchard in the crisp fall air, finding the “good” trees to pick from. After climbing the somewhat scary ladders and collecting the very best apples, we went back to scale our apples. Our fun day date cost us around $14 dollars. That’s including a gallon of fresh apple cider and a lot of apples! Norman’s Orchard is old school, but that was part of its charm. With that being said, if you visit, wear your boots and bring your cash.

We not only took home our apples but a new memory. Nick and I love trying new things together. Even when one of us has already done it before, it’s always a beautiful thing to show your loved one something new. This is especially the case when it comes from your childhood!

With that being said, what is your favorite apple recipe? We have a lot of apples to eat!

Xo, Anna Day Date- Apple Picking