Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh, hi!

It would seem as though I completely forgot about this blog. Because I did. Oops. It's not as though it's an entertaining blog so I doubt anyone would notice my lack of updates but I do like to keep it up for whatever reason.

Since my last update, my life has been kind of busy.

Isaac and I went to Portland in August for his biometrics which is really just a picture and fingerprints. Why we had to drive all the way to Portland for that, I don't know. We even had to get a hotel and everything since we were scheduled pretty early in the day and I wasn't willing to try to drive there after midnight. Such a waste of money. We then went again in October for the adjustment of status interview. Another hotel, another long drive, another chunk of money out of our bank accounts. The interview went alright, even though I was so stressed out I started crying at one point :S. The only problem was we didn't have enough evidence of our co-sponsor's income and we were given a month to send it in. Just one month, just one chance. If we didn't send in the right evidence the ONE time, we wouldn't get another chance (unless we started all over again, payments and everything) and that would mean we wouldn't get the $1,000+ sent in for the adjustment of status back, not to mention the money for the HOTELS and DRIVES. We sent in the evidence in November but have yet to hear back from them. This is really stressing me out! How are we supposed to know where we stand?? Or if they even GOT it?????


I love Isaac, though. At least he's here with me now instead of having to do all this while in different countries like with the k1 visa process.

In September we finally moved out of my parents' house. We are now renting a small house and we are enjoying being alone. The reason it took so long is because Isaac didn't receive his work permit until that month and I don't earn nearly enough at my job to feel comfortable. As soon as he got his work permit, we felt more comfortable even though it's hard to find a job anywhere.

In the end of October we also adopted a miniature dachshund from the pound. We named her Penny. We love her! We went to the pound one day just for fun and I kept thinking about her afterward, so after another visit and taking her out of the cage to play, we put in an application. She can be a pain in the butt sometimes but other then that she is perfect for us.

In November, Isaac finally got a job. He kept putting in application after application but nobody was hiring. It may just be a temporary job but it's something for now.
Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. It may not have been a traditional Thanksgiving with family and turkey but we enjoyed it anyways. It was just the two of us in PJs all day. We had chicken, instead of turkey, but we had stuffing and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It was a totally relaxing day which was great since we both worked at 6 AM the next morning.

It's now December and our house is cold. I mean we wear layers all the time and we can see our breath in here - cold. It's snuggle weather, even my birds are snuggling more.

We got a nice cheap space heater to help with that, and it's probably the best purchase we have made in a long time. Penny loves to sleep in front of it.

We bought a small (about 3.5') Christmas tree and are preparing for Christmas. It will probably be just another day with the two of us being lazy but I love that.

I feel like my life has been just surrounding work, which isn't nice when you don't really like your job that much. Ugh. I need to have some days where all I do is create stuff I've been wanting to make and listen to music.

Hopefully I will be updating more than every few months and I plan to make more videos again (another thing neglected). Thank you all for sticking around!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wedding on a budget (no, really)

Whenever I read blogs or articles about how to have a wedding on a tight budget, they are still spending over $5,000 for the whole thing. That is RIDICULOUS.
A reader has asked me to blog about tips on how to save money while planning the wedding so that's what I'm going to try to do.
First, I will break it down to about how much I spent in certain categories. Keep in mind that I didn't keep exact track of everything so these won't be right on but I will do my best. I would suggest keeping track of every dollar spent for your wedding so that you can see where you are.

Invitations and postage: $20
Dress and veil: $250
Alterations: $70
Shoes: $0 (Already owned from being a bridesmaid a couple years before)
Rings: $440 (we splurged a little here, we think)
My other jewelry: $7 (no joke, I bought a set in the clearance at Fred Meyer)
Isaac's suit and shoes: $200
Photography: $300
Hair and makeup: $0
Venue: $500
Cupcakes: $60
Officiant: $70
Music: $3 (we used music we already owned but had to buy a couple)
Decorations: $40
Misc: $40
Total: About $2,000

Areas of which we could have spent less:

Dress and suit.
We could have gotten these used or on a better sale but overall, we also could have spent MUCH more than we did so I am not too worried about that.

Rings. I originally planned on spending under $100 on my ring and was even considering a simple band. But the ring will be with me all the time and once I saw the one we ending up getting, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is perfect for me. Honestly though, there are a ton of beautiful rings out there for under $100. Just make sure you are happy with your purchase.

Venue. We got a GREAT deal on our venue. We had our wedding at a bed and breakfast but since we had less than 30 guests and did not need tables, etc, they lowered the price dramatically. That being said, we would have even loved having our wedding in a nice park.

DIY. Sometimes I got a little over my head with DIY ideas. Before thinking about if I could really finish it on time, I would go out and buy the supplies only to realize I didn't like it in the end or sometimes I wouldn't even get around to it. Really think about what you want to do your self and set a limit on how much you will do.

DIY did save me more money than I lost, though.

I made my own invitations and I was very happy with them. When I see kits to make invites, they are normally in the $40 up range. I just bought some scrapbooking paper, photo corners, and got creative.

I also made my own cupcake picks. This time I just needed cardstock, toothpicks (dollar store) and double stick tape. They added a nice personalized touch, I thought.

I also replaced the idea of a guest book with guest notes. I got supplies mostly from the dollar store but also on sale in craft stores. I set it up so that guest could fill out a note card with a little note, drawing, and/or stickers and hang it from some twine.

I also made my own bouquet and dropped the idea of having real flowers everywhere. Florals can get expensive.

Some people spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars just to feed their guests. This fact made me automatically drop the idea of a dinner and we had our wedding at 2 PM in hopes that people would have already had lunch but it would be too early for dinner. We just served cupcakes and had drinks. This saved us SO MUCH MONEY.

Another area people blow money on is music. Many people will get a live band or DJ, which may be fun. But if you are like us and don't find much joy in dancing but love music, a CD will do just fine. We compiled a list of music that we loved and didn't care if it was "wedding music". My wonderful friend Lindsay was our "dj" and started and stopped the music for a ceremony but during the ceremony, we just let it play as background music.
In case you're curious, here's our playlist:

I walked to the naked version of Across the Universe by the Beatles.

Thank You - Led Zeppelin
Dear My Love - Miyavi
Here Comes The Sun - Beatles
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
Heroes (single version) - David Bowie
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp - Led Zeppelin
1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
Strangers When We Meet (Outside version) - David Bowie
Hoppipolla - Sigur Ros
Music For a Nurse - Oceansize

Another tip I have for saving money is MAKE THIS WEDDING ABOUT YOU GUYS, not about pleasing the guests or following traditions. We did not have bridesmaids, groomsmen, flowergirls, etc. While they traditionally buy their own dresses and stuff on their own, money is still spent on gifts, flowers, and things for them. Guests may expect catering and a giant cake but honestly, is it their wedding? Try not to have the wedding at a time they may expect a meal. If they only come for food, they shouldn't come anyways.

You may have noticed how much we spent on photography. If you have already looked into the average cost of wedding photography you may wonder how we got someone so cheap. Most wedding photographers charge $600 for a basic package and they may not even give you the rights to print the photos yourself. Ripoff. I looked into beginning photographers and student photographers. After a bunch of research, I finally found a girl on craigslist. She was charging only $200 when I found her and then soon after was at $300. I looked at her portfolio and thought she had a natural talent so I booked her without hesitation. If I would have waited longer, it would have cost more. Try to look around. If you can't afford anything, see if your family knows someone that can give you a good deal. If you're lucky, a family member or friend with talent might even do it for free! Don't be afraid to ask.

Well this is getting long and rambly. I'm not sure how much I even helped anyone out. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Immigration is so FUNNNNNN

Everyone seems to think that as soon as a non-US citizen gets married to a US citizen, they are suddenly allowed all the rights of the US citizen. I am here to say that is not true. I wish.

Let's start at the beginning of this process.
First, you have to petition with the government that your fiance should be allowed to come to the US to marry you. This is where you pay your first chunk of money, which is currently $455. This petition is a huge packet of confusing forms to fill out which most people screw up and get a notice that they need to re-do something. Luckily, we were able to figure it out with the help of this website (which is the best website EVARR!)
Next, you wait to get a notice that they actually approved it. If they suspect that you are trying to get them to the US for the wrong reasons, they can deny it. And yes, they keep that money. Jerks.

After it is approved, you fill out more confusing forms. This is also where you prove that you have enough money to bring them in or know someone who does that is willing to co-sponsor. What is "enough money"? 125% over the poverty line. I am not even close but luckily I have parents that kind of are. They also look into your assets so it helps if they own a house or something.
The non-US citizen then sets up a medical and an interview. The medical can't be done by just any doctor, it is chosen for them. Sometimes people have to travel by plane to get to where their medical and interview is done (equaling MORE MONEY!) but if they are lucky, they can get there easier. The interview may be difficult or easy, depending on what country it is in. They may hound you with questions or just ask basic ones.
At this stage, they can deny them the visa. Wouldn't that be fun?

If things go well, they are approved and will get their visa.
The k-1 fiance visa allows for 3 months from their arrival to the US to marry the US citizen. If they do not marry before the 3 months is up, they will be kicked out of the US and not allowed in for quite some time. So just get married, dang it!

Ok, you're married. It's over.


Now you have to apply for the Adjustment of Status (AoS) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If you do the EAD first, you have to pay something like $325 but if you apply with or after the AoS, they drop the fees for that but you still have to pay the $1,010 (!!!!!!!!!!!!) for the AoS. What is the AoS? Basically a green card, I believe. If you need to leave the US before getting the AoS, you may not be allowed back in. You are pretty much in a limbo state before having this. The AoS can take anywhere from a few months to a COUPLE YEARS to process. And yes, it's another huge packet of forms to fill out. And yes, they can deny you can keep your money.

It's pretty much a never ending process. We are not allowed to have a "normal" marriage, we have to worry about all of this on top of every thing else. But I never question whether it's worth it. It's totally worth it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wedding pictures + an update

I've kind of abandoned my blog. VEDA, Isaac, wedding, etc. has kept me very busy and I hadn't even thought about blogging! We even said we were going to do VEWM (Vlog Every Week May), I completely gave up on that idea just a few days into May. I had too much on my plate.

Well, enough excuses. Here are some pictures from our wedding day! You can click them to make them larger.
Photography by Laura Nelson

Monday, March 1, 2010

Soy un perdedor...

With the way things are going, this may be a one-post-a-month kind of year. Wow.
Things have stayed pretty much the same since last month's post. I'm getting more and more impatient with how time is moving and how bland my life is at the moment. Only now I can at least say that Isaac will be coming THIS MONTH.
F I N A L L Y.

Today has been like many days I've been having. My only thoughts are:
"I don't want to be here."
"How much closer until he gets here?"
"Oh I know what to do! ... Nevermind, I will do it later."
"Is it time for bed yet?"

Lame loser.

Also, I keep getting reminded about how awkward I am around people. This makes me feel sick.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Same shit...

I just realized I have only blogged once so far this year and it was on January 1st.
I can't really explain what it is. My head is so full of thoughts and stress that I just don't know what to SAY anymore. I'm afraid it will all come out as, "IDidiof dsif asop hoad aoisjdoi cnduivnfvyf vudfuivfndsnmoi!"

I was excited for this year AND I STILL AM but part of me forgot earlier that the cool stuff doesn't start until a few months into the year. Plus, this cool stuff will be combined with a lot of stress so I'm not sure I will always see how awesome it really is.

As of right now, my life is the same. It seems that the closer I am getting to seeing Isaac again, the more impatient and lonely I feel. It's really exciting, the thought of having him here with me, but I can't help wondering why we have to be so far apart. It actually makes me angry and sick to see happy couples walking around. It's as though I think that if I can't be with my love now, everyone has to feel this pain. I still have to go through my life on my own just waiting. Go to work, come home, eat, sleep, go online. It seems as though that's all I do. Well, throw in some mindless walks around stores just to waste time and you pretty much have my life.

I have a list of things I could do or should do during this time but I end up putting them all off. Writing and re-writing the same shit on my to-do list over and over again. Like my life is on hold, except the few things I have to do every day.

Where did my day go?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to 2010

My room is completely silent other than the sound of Peter and Ziggy shuffling around in their cage. I need music.


2009 was pretty lame for me.

Isaac and I didn't see each other the WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. I mean in person, of course. We still saw each other a bunch on Skype. My whole year seemed to be a waste. There is so much I would like to do but rather do it with Isaac so I didn't really bother doing much at all. I have just been WAITING for 2010 to come. I hardly even saw any friends this year. It has been pretty lonely for me.
Loneliness just leaves me to think about everything and that begins to really stress me out.
I am wondering if all that has anything to do with the fact that I have a bunch of grey hairs that started growing in the beginning of the year. I didn't have any that I knew of in 2008!

2010 just looks nice and friendly and all I can look forward to is awesome stuff now. Isaac gets here in March (!!!!!!!) and we marry in May (!!) then I can finally stop spending so much time waiting for life to start and actually get to it.

Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on...

I will try to be less whiny this year.
Ok, additions to my new years wish list:
  • Be less whiny in 2010.
  • Get clothes I actually like and will wear and get rid of all the stuff I don't even like.
  • Get more girlish clothes, like dresses. WEAR THEM. Stop settling for tshirts and jeans just because it's all I can find.
  • Stop buying fabric until I use at least 1/2 of what I already have.