Thursday, May 29, 2014

5 Steps to Find The Perfect Ring

So after almost a year and a half of searching, I finally have it - my perfect wedding ring! It was a long journey (as described in this post) but it's finally here and on my finger! So I thought I would take a moment and jot down what I learned from this experience so that I could pass on my "wisdom".  Here are the top 5 things I learned when hunting for the perfect ring...

1) Don't go with the first thing you find...or even the second or third...give yourself some time to think about it.  If you can't stop thinking about a certain ring, and it's been a few months, that's it.  When you find "the one", find a way...because you won't stop thinking about it...ever.

2)   Take some time to find some alternative options that might help with the price - ex: hire a local jeweler to recreate it using alternate metals, stones types, smaller stones, or maybe different colored stones.

3) Make it an investment. Now I didn't pay what some might say is "normal" pricing for a ring (the average cost in the US is apparently $5,200)...I was happily on a budget...however, I did decide at the end that my expectations were unreasonable and I needed to splurge just a tad to get something I wouldn't ever want to take off. So I spent a bit more, but I know I wouldn't change a thing about the final product.  I also took advantage of heirlooms so that helped a ton with the price ;)

4) Involve your family and fiance in the decision.  If your fiance decides to let you choose, then invite everyone to be a part of the process! I really enjoyed discussing ideas with family and friends and having a support group. If your family is overly opinionated, or doesn't get your style, then you might not want to do this...but I really enjoyed everyone's input.

5) Trust your jeweler! Maybe the stones you love won't work well in everyday jewelry, or maybe that setting won't look good on your finger...who knows...just trust them.  They do this for a living, so they know what they are doing :) A good jeweler will work with you to find the best thing for you in your price range.

So there ya have it. I finally found the ring :) I'm so glad that I stuck to what I wanted and didn't settle...and I'm so glad I don't have to ever take this ring off...YAY!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

SE Asia, Here We Come!

So there's been a change of plans...After years of hoping, I've finally been chosen to go on a monitoring and evaluation trip with my job at Stop Hunger Now!  But there was a problem...or well, a hurdle...I'm getting married in the fall.  They wanted to send me to SE Asia, specifically to Vietnam and Cambodia, but the director of Vietnams program was only going to be there from the end of September to the beginning of honeymoon dates.  After thinking about it and talking with Andrew...we decided to make some big changes to our plans to visit Greece and Turkey and attach our honeymoon on to my monitoring and evaluation trip to SE Asia!
The plan is to leave after the wedding and head straight to Vietnam. We'll do some evaluation visits with our amazing partners at Children of Vietnam and take a few days for touring around. From there, we'll fly over to Cambodia to visit our partners through Reach Now International. We'll be there for about a week since these partners are ones we haven't visited before.  I cannot WAIT to see Angor Wat! So excited! 

The last stop will be Thailand...specifically for our honeymoon.  We haven't determined the itinerary just yet but I have a feeling we will be staying somewhere in Phuket...gorgeous. The hotels are absolutely amazing and cost wayyyy too little. I am particularly excited about riding an elephant!!!! Andrew is excited about going to some shooting range he heard of to shoot off crazy guns....That will be interesting. 

The whole thing is just so overwhelming. I can't believe we're going to get to go to SE Asia! It was the orignial plan to go to Thailand but we decided the flights were just too expensive. With this - I have most of my way (besides Thailand) paid for by Stop Hunger all we pay for is Andrew's flight and food. It's going to be hard working doing all of the planning, evaluating, and follow-up reports...but talk about a life changing experience!  I'm SO excited to share this with Andrew. It will be my first trip seeing our Stop Hunger Now meals in action and I get to share it with the person I love most in the world. I feel beyond blessed.  Tune in for more updates on our trip planning! Yay SE Asia!