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Saving Money on Your Wedding: Tips That Really Work!

Weddings can cost thousands upon thousands of pounds. They can send people into debt and even bankruptcy. Is it really worth it, just for one day? You want to have a lovely day, but it surely doesn’t need to be as expensive as that. Try the following tips if you want to save money on your wedding:

Rent Your Dresses/Suits
Instead of buying your dresses and suits, rent them. Your wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, and suits for the groom’s party; just rent them. Better yet, don’t have bridesmaids or any groomsmen. It’s tradition, but it isn’t compulsory. At least limit them if you want to save money.

Buy Your Dresses/Suits Second Hand
If you don’t want to rent your dresses and suits, you can always buy them second hand. Some people will be selling them and will have only worn them once, so you know you’re getting quality stuff. You can look on eBay, car boot sales, and at ads in the paper/at your local supermarket to see what’s available.

Marriage
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Do Your Own Hair and Makeup
Rather than pay through the nose to have somebody else do your hair and makeup, do it yourself. Don’t panic if you haven’t got many skills; Youtube tutorials are there for a reason! With lots of practice, you can develop some great skills and save a lot of money. You’ll also have a little more money to buy quality products!

Reduce Your Guest List as Much as Possible
Make it as small as it can possibly be. For the cheapest wedding possible, don’t invite anybody. You probably won’t want to do that, so just make sure you invite only the most important people. This way, you’ll need a smaller room and less food.

Use Free Invites
You can send out your invites completely free by using free wedding invitation templates. It’s really simple and a big money saver!

Forget the Cake
Wedding cakes can cost a ridiculous amount of money, so don’t worry about it. Instead, buy some cupcakes or a regular cake. You could even get a friend to decorate them for you if they can!

Don’t Worry About Flowers
Flowers are another huge expense at weddings. Instead of buying a ton of them, have just one per table. When it comes to your bouquet, consider picking some yourself or making it yourself. You don’t need as many flowers as you think!

Wedding Bouquet
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Make a Playlist
Forget hiring a DJ. Make a playlist yourself! Just make sure there are enough songs on there to last the duration of the wedding. Include something for everybody. If you want to make it extra special, make sure there’s a song on there for other couples in the room. You could even let everybody make one suggestion and write it on their RSVP card before they arrive.

Don’t Give Favours
Your guests will understand when you don’t give them a favour. Nobody really wants a bag of almonds anyway!

Marry Out of Peak Season
Marrying out of peak season is a way to save loads of money. Marry out of season on a day like Thursday, and you’ll save a substantial amount of money.

What do you think of these tips? Leave a comment!


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loyalties and strength

I keep waiting for a teary phone call or hastily-written email or text from my mother telling me Yusef has been arrested. Then again, it’s now Wednesday and so far, as far as I know, nothing has happened. When the police arrived at my mother’s apartment last Friday afternoon, they did tell me that since Yusef is currently on probation, his parole officer would be notified. And his P.O. told him before that if he put his hands on anyone else (the last incident was against Cat in May) he would be arrested. But as they say, the wheels of justice move slow.

Despite all of this, I do love Yusef, and I do have some sympathy for what he is doing with. I don’t pretend to think mental illness is easy to cope with. From what I’ve witnessed of family members’ struggles, and my own brushes with depression and anxiety, mental illness is a beast unlike any other. It’s unfair, yet doesn’t discriminate, and it makes everything an uphill battle. Still, you can’t wallow in your problems, or worse yet, minimize them or pretend they don’t exist at all. And it’s the latter that Yusef does: diminishes and deludes. And then physically attacks first his brother and now my husband, and instead of making amends makes excuses and justifications.

I saw Yusef the other day, and I told him directly how angry and disappointed I am. I told him I loved him. But I also told him I had no regrets in urging Dan to press charges, or calling the P.O. myself and leaving a message. I’d like to think I am a loving and loyal person: I will do whatever I can for the people I love. I will cherish, nourish, pamper, and protect. But if you turn on me, especially in a despicable, unprovoked manner, then I will turn from you. Don’t test my loyalty in that manner – because when it comes to choosing between my husband and children, or my mentally ill brother who won’t help himself and thus drags himself and everyone around him down into his destructive vortex, there’s no question of where my loyalties lie. And on that note, Dan has turned his back on nearly half his family in order to preserve and protect his marriage and family – do you really think I’m going to question doing the same?

* * *

Sometimes I wonder, if there is a higher power, if He/She truly knows an individual’s personal limits. Some days I think, “I got this”; but there are many days when I stress and spazz over the hits that our family continues to endure: financial stress, family stress, health stress, and minor things that are on their own aren’t a big deal but when lumped in with everything else that’s going on just make everything worse. I vacillate between feeling strong and weak. But most days I just try to take on one problem at a time, and I tackle whatever is most urgent. That can be easier said than done when there are several urgent matters on my plate all at once, but I do my best not to descend into a tailspin, because I’ll accomplish nothing in that state.

Last week I received my first of many holiday gift guide pitches, which means in the marketing world the Christmas season is here. You know what I want for Christmas? Peace. The ability to get a good night’s sleep that isn’t interrupted by conscious worries or unconscious nightmares. No trepidation when I answer a knock at the door, take a call from my brother on the phone, or open an email from my mom. I want peace of mind for just a little while. Please.


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Get off my lawn.

Seven more weeks of summer... #getoffmylawn

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TV Shows You and Your Kids Can Watch Together

How many of us run out of the room as soon as the kids put on the TV? Chances are, it’s going to be the same cartoons they’ve watched hundreds of times. Hardly something the whole family can watch. However, there are some TV shows that you can sit and watch with them. It doesn’t have just to be Peppa Pig 24/7. Here are some of the best TV shows for the whole family.

SpongeBob Squarepants
I did say that most of us don’t want to watch cartoons, but everyone can make an exception for SpongeBob. It was originally going to be a TV show for adults before they signed a deal with Cartoon Network. It then became a kids show, which also appealed to adults. There’s some excellent humor in there that only grownups will get. Yet it’s still perfectly okay for children to watch. It’s a win-win.


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Doctor Who
This programme has been running since 1963, with a whole host of famous people taking over the Doctor’s legacy. It’s a British TV show so it may be quite hard to track down. However, look for cable TV and broadband packages in your area. It may just be on an obscure channel or an online streaming site. This is the perfect show to get the whole family gathered around for. Although some of the episodes can be a little spooky!

Hannah Montana
Everyone loves seeing Miley Cyrus play an innocent young woman, in this Disney Channel classic. Although she may be a little wilder now, it’s quite nice to see how sweet she once was. Hannah Montana is a real hit with kids and it appeals to adults too. There’s a whole lot of wisecracks and some extra special performances from Billy Ray Cyrus. What’s not to love?

Jackanory
If you have younger children then this is a great show to watch with them. It’s another British programme, so it may be a little difficult to find the episodes. However, you may be able to download the series from places such as Amazon. You can them put them on your iPad too! It’s a simple story telling show that ran for over 30 years. There are plenty of guest appearances and some truly beautiful stories. It’ll become a quick favorite in your household, with both the adults and the kids.


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The Muppet Show
It may seem a little dated now, but you can still find reruns of this classic on various cable channels. The Muppet Show was a programme designed for children, but with the adults in mind. It’s packed with great comedy and some rather fantastic characters. Not to mention the on-off relationship of Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

Adventure Time
We’re going to end on another cartoon! Again, this is a show that could easily have been made for adults as opposed to children. There’s a lot of jokes in there that seem to be targeted at grownups rather than kids. It’s actually earnt itself a cult following of adults too. If your children want to watch cartoons, then this could be your best bet.

Now you don’t have to make yourself busy whenever your kids turn on the TV. Just switch over to a show that all of you can enjoy together, instead. It’s just another few hours you get to spend with your little ones – and that’s what matters!


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All’s not fair in love and war

As I write this, Dan is sleeping off the side effects of the medications he is taking to manage the symptoms of the concussion my twenty year old brother, Yusef, gave him. Yes, concussion. And once upon a time I used an alias to protect my brother’s identity, but he’s twenty and has now attacked both his brother and brother-in-law (who happens to be my HUSBAND), so this is me saying I don’t give two fucks for using his real name, or potentially identifying him.

So let’s backtrack to Thursday evening: after doing some grocery shopping together, my mom said Alyssa and Ryan could spend the weekend with her, but since she lives in a 2-bedroom apartment and things can get kind of crazy with three autistic boys (Yusef, my 17 year old brother Cat, and Ryan) and a girl under one roof, she asked me to keep Yusef for the weekend. No biggie – he enjoys spending time at our house where it’s quieter and more structured, and we have faster internet and lots of yummy snacks. No big deal. Whatevs.

Yesterday morning Yusef and I went grocery shopping, and then he accompanied Dan and I first to my ortho appointment, and then to our mom’s apartment, with the plan being we’d be dropping off a few things for the sprogs, and Yusef could pick up his laptop, toiletries, and some extra clothing.

Except Yusef decided he didn’t want to go. And because he is twenty goddamned years old yet acts like a twelve year old, is bipolar and probably a paranoid schizophrenic who on a regular basis will cycle through taking his medications and then abruptly not take his medications, he flipped his shit and physically attacked Dan in response to Dan picking up Yusef’s laptop and saying, “fine, we’ll just take this with us and you can come if you want it”.

The assault — because that’s what it was — took place in my mom’s living room. Dan is 235 pounds and 5’11, so he’s not exactly going to blow away with the wind, but Yusef is 220 pounds and about 6′, and he also has youth (20 versus Dan’s 33) and good health (no Fibromyalgia, unhealed shoulder injury) on his side. My mom and I were initially so shocked we were just frozen in place, but Dan and Yusef were grappling in close proximity to the kids – Ryan was sitting in a recliner just screaming hysterically, and Alyssa was unfortunately on the twin-sized bed right next to the two of them. While my mom and I were screaming at Yusef to stop, she grabbed Alyssa and I grabbed Ryan, and we hustled them into Cat’s bedroom.

I don’t know how long the assault went on for… I do know that Dan spent most of the fight just trying to restrain Yusef and keep Yusef from attacking (punching, scratching, biting) him, and Yusef did whatever he could to punch Dan in the face and head as many times as he could. Dan got a few punches in himself, which we don’t blame him for since Yusef attacked and continued attacking him and you can only take blows to the head for so long before you retaliate. At one point Yusef backed off and Dan moved away, and Yusef took that opportunity to pick up a heavy wooden desk chair and attempt to throw it at Dan – meanwhile my mom and I were screaming at Yusef to stop and for Dan to look out. Yusef did, however, succeed in throwing a heavy wooden end table at Dan. He also sucker-punched him directly in the face while Dan was catching his breath. Yusef later bragged about fighting dirty.

At that point I grabbed the kids and herded them out of the apartment, and both Cat and my mom called the police. The police arrived moments later, followed by paramedics, and Dan was taken to the hospital by ambulance to be evaluated for (and diagnosed and treated) a head injury; and Yusef was taken by police and paramedics to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. While Dan was being treated in the ER, I called Yusef’s parole officer and left a message letting him know what had transpired. I look forward to hearing about his arrest.

Dan has a concussion, a bruised eye socket, and a lot of scratches and gouges all over his face. Alyssa and Ryan were scared out of their minds but physically unhurt. My mom, Cat, and I are shaken up. I don’t know how much longer my mom can handle letting him live with her. That’s her decision to make, but Yusef is no longer welcome in our home or otherwise around us. There’s no question in choosing the safety, comfort, and well-being of my husband (and children) over a selfish prick who sabotages his own life and acts out against the very same people who take care of him. There is no place in our lives for someone who thinks nothing of physically assaulting others.

Yusef, if you’re reading this (and I’m sure you are because it’s not like you do anything other with your life than sit on the internet all day and night): FUCK YOU.


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