10 Tips For Making Your Registry

10 Tips For Making Your Registry

Two weeks ago Pai and I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to start our wedding registry. I was armed with Pinterest boards of “What to Register For” and the prospects of eating Mexican food after the shopping was done. We sat down at the desk with a cheery employee who was passionate about all things cookware and she asked, “So have you looked online at anything yet?”

Uh. Nope. Was I supposed to?

 1 – Look online before you go into the store. That way you know what you want, what you don’t want, and how to say no.

She walked us through the store, encouraging us to register for a waffle iron and a $200 vaccuum cleaner. At first I was timid to say No, we don’t need that because what if we really DID need that? And why was everything so expensive?! As the night wore on, we got more courage to say No to things that we know we probably wouldn’t use. i.e. a waffle iron. We never make waffles. Leslie Knope would be so disappointed in me.

 2 – Don’t feel bad. People want to buy you stuff! (or so I’m told. Please buy us stuff. We need a bed frame.)

I walked out only doing half the store that night feeling like a spoiled brat because I registered for 16 sets of flatware that were $40 per set. (Let me justify why 16 plate sets first: I have a family of 8. He has a family of 6. We have a large friend group. If we have both our families over for dinner, we have enough plates and 2 to break spare.) But the more I talked with friends who were already married and who had registered for plates elsewhere, I felt more comfortable in asking for expensive flatware because we want quality flatware that isn’t going to crack within two years.

3 – Prepare to be overwhelmed.

I had been looking forward to registry shopping since I ever thought about getting married, but I was not prepared for how overwhelming it would be. The second time we went to Bed, Bath, Beyond we were set loose on our own and that was even MORE overwhelming. There’s just so much stuff in that store. How do I know which ice cream scoop I need? How often will I use this vegetti? And why is it such an awkward name?

4 – Bribe your fiance.

I’m proud of us, we went to Target this week and did the WHOLE store in 2 1/2 hours. It was hard, but (he) we pushed through. When I do things like this, I get in the zone. I am focused; a woman on the mission. That mission? Throw pillows. (Buy ALL the throw pillows!) Pai said we had to be “strategic” when we went to Target. His strategery involved walking up and down every aisle of Target to make sure we didn’t need anything from each aisle. By the time we reached the throw pillows, he was tired and ready to go home, so he ostriched into the throw pillows.

10 Tips For Making Your Regsitry

Ladies, men have a short attention span. They will start off gung-ho, excited about registering for coolers, and by the time you’re at linens or decor, their minds have wandered elsewhere and they become unusually silly or flirty because they are bored. And then they ask if we can just go home. But you know that you won’t have another opportunity to do this for 3 more weeks and wedding showers are on the horizon, so it is time to get ish done. The best way to handle this? Bribe him. Bribe him with food, bribe him with ice cream. Or say “Let’s go to the electronics section and then we’ll go home.” Once you’ve perused the electronics, say, “Hey, you know we are actually almost done with the store. If we finish that last row we were on, we could be done tonight and never have to come back here again.” It works like a charm.

5 – Scan the fancy sheets.

Pai was all like, “Do we need 500 thread count? Can we just go with the 300 Walmart thread count?” Sure we could, if we wanted to wash them 17 times with a whole bottle of fabric softener. Higher thread count means it will last longer, you will sleep better, and you will have a happier marriage.

6 – Don’t forget the decor!

They say you’re supposed to register for twice as many gifts as people. People, we are sending out FIVE. HUNDRED. INVITATIONS. Not all 500 are going to come. So does that mean we scan for 1000 things? I don’t even know of 1000 things we need. But once we got the necessities out of the way, I thought, Throw Pillows! I’m all for neutral furniture, neutral walls, and then spicing things up with a pop of color – whether it’s a bright side table or a fun throw pillow.

7 – Amazon can be your best friend.

When it is all said and done, online shopping can be your guide. There are things I think are ridiculously overpriced at Bed, Bath and Beyond that I found on Amazon. So while I kept it on the Bed, Bath and Beyond registry, I put the cheaper ones on the Amazon registry. Also, online shopping is more fun/less nerve wracking than in-store shopping.

8 – It’s OK to register for entertainment type things

Pai and I both grew up in families who loved to host. When I was a kid, I remember being sad after Christmas was all said and done because it was just the 8 of us in the house again. There was one point in my childhood we had at least 10-12 extra people staying in our house outside of the 8 of us. Pai has a very similar story. Some of my favorite memories are roasting smores out by the fire pit, or family game night (Clue. is. my. jam.) We added board games to our registry because we both know we will want to entertain a lot of people. What better way to entertain than with board games?

9- Don’t forget the $5 knick knacks! 

I am admittedly the person who buys the cheaper items on a registry then combines it into one little gift basket. It happens when you’re a college student and all your friends are getting married. Pai and I are just starting out ourselves. Lower middle class citizens to the rescue! We made sure to put some more fun, little things on the registry. Case and point: $5 dvds. This goes back to entertaining. My mom bought me a whirly pop when I was 14 so I could take it with me when I moved out (because I loved it so much.) This girl loves to have popcorn and movie nights. Expanding our DVD collection (my DVD tower is primarily pink. I am the queen of chick flicks) is a great way to have people over for a movie night.

10 – Have fun!

Pai and I laughed a lot while making our registry, mainly because he was bored and being extremely silly. We both had to practice patience – him while I meandered cookware, me while he scanned boring stuff (evidently we need tools.) We let each other take turns with the scanner (that thing is fascinating!) and we were able to practice our communication skills about why I thought we needed __ and why he thought we needed __. It was fun to envision and dream what our home will look like and where we will put everything, all the things we will cook with our new cookware, and all the people we get to serve with our new dishes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some online registry shopping to do. 😉

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Things I’ve BEEN in 2016

Things I've Been in 2016


At the beginning of January, I decided New Year’s Resolutions are outdated. Why not make goals? Why not decide to “BE” something? (Ok, because I’m Type A I made lots of lists. And goals. And to be quite transparent, I’ve fallen way behind on those goals. i.e. Learn 52 verses of Scripture: I think I learned and forgot 6 verses. Run a 1/2 marathon: Somehow traveling for work in the fall and planning a wedding gets in the way of that. Wake up early: LOL.)

To recap, I wanted to practice 6 things to be this year. Here’s how it’s going so far.

Be Present.

This one is really really really hard right now because I am elbow deep in wedding planning. And I wasn’t doing so well with this one this spring when I kept pestering Pai about when we were getting engaged. We already had an idea of when we wanted to get married, and I was starting to get anxious about having nothing prepared because I didn’t want to start planning before I had the sparkly ring. Not one of my best girlfriend moments. I keep reminding myself to enjoy the season. I am such a forward thinker that once I reach one level, I’m ready to go to the next. So being present is a practice I am consciously choosing daily. Some days I do this better than others. It helps to list of the things I’m thankful for, or any perks of the present day to keep me grounded. :)

Be Generous

I would like to think I have excelled in this area, but I still struggle to be generous with my time. I am trying to hang out with different friends every week, but sometimes I spread myself so thin that there are days I hide under a blanket with TV remote in hand. I also still struggle to be patient and take my time going from one thing to the next. I’m a busy bee, and if it’s time to go it’s time to go. It’s not time to stop and say hi and find out each person’s whole life story along the way. I need to be way more intentional about being less rigid and schedule oriented and more people oriented. It’s hard, y’all.

Be Intentional 

This year I have reached out and made a new friend-turned bridesmaid. I’m thankful I was bold and asked a stranger over for a lunch of french toast. I can be more intentional in how I spend my time, though. My parents cancelled their Netflix account, so I am seeing how long I can go without starting my own account. Already I’ve noticed I’m reading more and watching TV less. (Obviously, I don’t have cable.) Even when I do add Netflix back into my life, I want to be more intentional about how I spend my free moments throughout the day. I also could benefit from being more intentional with washing my dishes after every meal.

Be a Prisoner of Hope

The news has been horrendous this year. I know bad news sells, but can’t we just hear some happiness in the world?! If there was ever the year to practice hope, this would be one. I’ve honestly had to stop reading a lot of news articles about the upcoming election. If I hear the word “Blame” one more time as a headline. . . And I’ve had to unfollow a lot of people in my newsfeed. The pro? I don’t see much negativity on my timeline anymore. The con? I know the negativity is still out there and maybe ignorance is bliss. My heart is burdened, but being hopeful has paid off. I helped lead worship at church this past week and we sang the song “The Lion and the Lamb” by Leeland (Bethel) and I got to thinking about how powerful the words are. Who can stop the Lord Almighty? No one. And perfect love casts out fear. I repeat this to myself often. When I still worry and still fear, that just means there is more room for receiving perfect love.

Be Fully in Love with God

This is always a work in progress. I have been more intentional about reading my Bible before going to bed. But I could absolutely stand to spend more time than the few minute I do reading and praying as I fall asleep.

Be Healthy and In Shape

Guys. I’ve started to like broccoli. WHO even am I?! I have even purposefully bought it. And purposefully ordered it at restaurants (on very rare occasions. Because potatoes are still the fav <3) I like to sautee the broccoli in olive oil and sea salt, then at the very end, load it up with Parmesan cheese. It may not be the healthiest, but I’m getting my fiber. I work out 1-3 times a week depending on time and laziness, and even though I pushed off running a half until after I’m already married, I’m hoping to do 2-3 5ks in the fall before the wedding.

How have your New Year’s goals held up this year?

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Monday Perks

Monday Perks

When I was in high school I was singing through the halls, like I normally do, and someone said, “Nina, you sound like a Disney Princess!” Possibly the highest compliment paid to me in high school. (It made up for the girls who called me names that rhymed with s’more and snitch and made fun of how I run in gym class [I’m gracefully pigeon-toed.) The truth is, since I was a little tyke, I’ve always wanted to be a Disney princess. I would don my sister’s Mulan costume and make her be all the supporting characters (the grandma, Captain Shang) and I would look longingly at my imaginary pond and musically wonder “when will my reflection show who I am inside?” I highly considered auditioning to be a Disney princess after I graduated college, but my dreams were dashed by height requirements. I’m sorry we can’t all be 5 foot 7 inches. Maybe in real life Belle was only 5 foot 1/2 inch. Just maybe. Anyway, Disney World is not the place where all your dreams come true, I have since learned.

I say all that to say, I wish I woke up in the morning like Snow White or Cinderella, with a smile, perfectly placed makeup, with the birds chirping around me and helping me get dressed in the morning. But alas, I am not a Disney princess, nor do I wake up like one. If birds were legitimately in my house, I would freak out. And I wake up with bleary, booger-filled eyes, yesterday’s make up that didn’t get washed off by my very vigorous facial cleansing routine, messy/greasy haired version of myself. It’s quite attractive, really. Pai is in for a REAL treat in a few months. Any singing that may or may not come out of my mouth is some form of a made up song (because I also like to think that maybe I’m on something like the Truman Show, but a Broadway version) about how late I am.

But here we are, at Monday again, after a fantastic weekend. I feel like everything I did this weekend was church related, including going to church. Friday night I went to my first ever revival – minus the one I had to attend as an awkward 12 year old because our youth choir sang – and it was mostly African people at this revival. Let me tell you, African revivals are WAY different than Southern Baptist revivals. The one similarity? You still have the preachers who may say “Ha!” at the end of every breath-ha. It was an amazing experience, and I love how lively and encouraging everyone was-ha. I wish our church danced down the aisles-ha. Okay that was the last one(ha).

This Monday morning my alarm went off at 6 and I well intended to get up, finally do my dishes, and spend some time with Jesus. But doing dishes is not a good enough incentive to get me out of bed. But you know what is? Donuts. So I actually got to work right on time because I convinced myself to treat myself to a nice sour-cream glazed donut and a toasted almond coffee from the Dunkin. Because Monday.

Mondays are actually sometimes my favorite day of the week because it is date night with my man. Except these days, date night usually consists of wedding planning. Tonight is registry night round two. Woop! #blenders #crockpot #giftsongiftsongifts

So yeah, here we are on a Monday. Let’s make the most of it! What are your Monday perks?




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Gratitude Lately

Gratitude Lately

SO much has been jam packed into life these past few months. Most of it is wedding related, so I’m sorry that 98% of my posts have the words “wedding” or “marriage” or “fiance” or “Pai” in them. What can I say? I’ve got wedding on the brain.

Yesterday I sat down to breakfast at lunch (because it’s important that you understand breakfast can be eaten at any time of the day) and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. This is one of those seasons in life where good things are happening, and I don’t want to take these blessings for granted. I can see God so much in the woodwork of where Pai and I are with wedding plans and marriage plans, and even in the midst of our families. Sure, everything is rosy because of this season of life, but I am going to pluck the roses from this season and smell them as long as I can.

One of my college professors called girls who were ditzy and in love “puffballs.” So I guess you could say I am most definitely a puffball right now. But seriously, my heart is so thankful!

I got to spend Saturday with my family to celebrate my brother’s birthday. My youngest brother asked me to go on the zipline with him, so I did and it was by far the highlight of my day. Now that I don’t live at home, spending time with family is so precious and filling to my soul.

And my in-laws are wonderful. I know a lot of people make jokes or complain about their in-laws or “monster-in-law” but I am so thankful that I get to be a part of a family who is filled with love and joy. Talking to Pai about wedding plans is fun, but when I talk to his mom, she embodies the giddiness I feel and as an extrovert, I feed off that and get even more excited.

Things are falling into place quite nicely right now, too. I’m especially thankful for Amazon Prime Day yesterday because homegirl got some of her wedding decorations/favors and wedding shoes for cheap. Holla!

And my sister – she is awesome. Friday night we got dressed up and took engagement pictures. We started off in this cute little soda shop downtown and moved outside to take some pictures next to some gorgeous brick when it started to get really cloudy. I had prayed it wouldn’t rain, so I was just hoping it wouldn’t. Pai was very distracted by the ominous clouds looming overhead and kept saying, “It’s going to storm. Look! It’s coming closer!” I got aggravated and said, “We’ll be fine! Just pose with me!” and right when I said that Hurricane Moses dumped on us and we were drenched in 30 seconds. I wanted to take a picture out in the rain since we were already wet to commemorate the moment but Pai was cold. Lesson Learned: Don’t try to get your wet fiance to take a cute picture with you in the pouring rain.

But my sweet sister who is a magician with a camera was able to give up her Sunday evening and help us create some gorgeous photos. (We get to see them tonight! I’m bribing paying her in home cooked meals.)

I am also so thankful for friends. Last week I was feeling lonely for really no reason except I hadn’t had some quality time with good girlfriends. The very next day, a friend called me to see how I was doing and another friend texted me to see how she could pray for me. It was the perfect little God hug to cure the loneliness. I have some fantastic friends who sharpen me to become a better person, better friend, and better lover of Jesus.

So yeah. My heart is full today. :)

What are you grateful for lately?

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According to the texts and Facebook messages I received after Thursday’s post on White Privilege, I have officially crossed over into the controversial category. I am so thankful for the encouraging messages I did receive, but I wanted to share more of my heart on why I wrote what I wrote.

I am writing from the perspective of a white woman getting ready to marry a black man. I do not, nor do I pretend to know everything about racism and how this effects our brothers and sisters in our country. What I do know is that my heart is heavy and hurting because our people are hurting. I recognize that anyone can be racist, not just white people. But I am white, so I wrote from the perspective of and to other white people.

Racism is an unfortunate complexity instilled in our country with the founding fathers. I do not by any means believe this issue is resolved with a quick fix. I do believe that we must do what we can to reach out and reconcile within our friendships and communities.

I didn’t “jump” on the Black Lives Matter tagline to support violence. Violence exacerbates violence. I do support the ideology that we have overlooked the pain of our black brothers and sisters. Yes, all lives matter, but right now black lives are hurting. And their lives matter.

My heart is for hope. I was so encouraged Thursday night to gather with my community and pray with each other. In light of the darkness of this past week, I am encouraged by the outpouring of love I have seen from a lot of people.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the men who lost their lives last week – Alton Sterling, and Philando Castille, and the 5 officers – and their families. I wish we could all hug and get along, but I realize that probably won’t happen. So let’s all be hippies and just hug who we can.

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