Friday, October 17, 2014

#HitchedHagans: Our wedding in photos

We just got our wedding photos back from our amazing photographer Naomi Levit and I couldn't wait to share them. Because this is a photo post, there's a ton of pictures (fair warning!). I tried not to include photos that were posted here or here, and they're in order of when we took them. You can also hover your mouse over the photos to see snarky comments about the photos in case you're curious, but they're presented without comment so that you can choose to make up your own story in your head. 

In case you haven't read enough about her, you need to check out Maui wedding photographer Naomi Levit who clearly has some stunning work!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blog Tour

One of my blogger besties, Erin, tagged me in a Blog Tour that's been going around as a quick introduction to your blog to say what's up! Of course I had to do it, so here are my answers!

Firstly, Hi! I'm Sar (or Sarah, if you're feeling fancy).

What am I working on?
On my blog, I've been focusing a lot on explaining a little bit about why I eloped with my husband (best decision ever) and giving some details about our wedding (a lot less than other ladies who blog about their wedding, just because it was small, short, and simple!). I also talk about my life, love of gratitude, and trying to convince my friends to participate in my blogger lip syncs. I'll probably be starting to talk a little about my job search, as my husband currently lives 2200 miles away and I'd like to live by him. You know, like Adults. 

How does my work differ from others?
Well, I don't blog if I don't have something to say (which, let's be honest, I have something to say most of the time). I don't talk much about material possessions, but more about loving the intrinsic things. I also rarely use .gifs, which is All The Rage right now. I also don't blog about clothes, 'cuz I have no style beyond Ann Taylor LOFT (see here for proof).

Why do I write what I do?
I think Erin said it best--I write what's in my heart, which is mostly love and thankfulness, with the occasional bit of sass. I originally started my blog to let my family know a little more about my life in Texas (I've been a Texas resident for over 6 years, which makes my heart slightly sad but I'm loving the access to delicious TexMex), and it's evolved from there while still keeping the same ultimate goal. 

How does my writing process work?
I write pretty academically for my job, which requires a lot of structure and thought. Because of this, I tend to lean towards no structure or forethought before I write a blog post beyond "What is the message I want to tell today?" and "Do I have enough time to blog this?" I rarely draft out a post before I publish it (I occasionally schedule the day before, but nothing in advance) because it seems completely antithesis to who I am (how do I know what I'll think on Thursday? Probably shouldn't blog 'til Thursday, then).

If you want to know more, let me know! I'm going to pass the buck and hope that the following bloggers give you a little tour:

If you don't live in Minnesota, you're apparently not cool. It's okay, I'm not either. But my favorite group of blogger girls are my Minnesotan ladies, who I not-so-secretly want to be: 

The Minnesotan I've "known" for the longest is Syndal from Synfully Delicious. Her and her husband are relatively new homeowners so she blogs a lot about the house, the gorgeous Minnesotan scenery, and the ridiculous number of weddings she's been to in the past few years (seriously, it's like every month!). 

There's Kelly from Kelly B. J.D. (Among Other Things), who writes about work (she's a badass lawyer), her vacations (she just went to Italy, y'all), and DIY crafts. She's also incredibly kind-hearted with the perfect bit of snark.

Speaking of sassiness, you have to check out Lauren at Our Crazy Ever After, who is quite possibly one of the funniest people I've never met. Her blog talks about life with her husband, her new house, and infertility (which she can make surprisingly light, considering it's such a heavy topic).

(There's a lot more Minnesotans, like Jess who hasn't blogged since June, or Leah who hasn't blogged since August, but check 'em out anyway!)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kahu Kale Ka'alekahi, our gift from Hawaii

When Paul and I decided to elope in Maui, we weren't really sure about how we wanted to go about planning everything. Neither of us had really strong feelings about anything other than photography (not like any of you are surprised), so we hired a wedding planner to take care of all of the details (location, leis, beach permits--she took care of all the paperwork so that we only had to sign our names on the marriage license). I'm sure if I had a list of demands, Leah would have done them all for me, but seriously, we just said that we'd like a beach wedding and she ran with it. 

One of the things she took care of was choosing a wedding officiant for us.

Her website shows 6 officiants we could have chose from, but we didn't have any strong preferences so when we were given our wedding package with Kahu Kale Ka'alekahi as our officiant, we didn't really think twice. Quite possibly the best happenstance thing ever.

Kale (pronounced Kah-lay, he's seen throughout this video and talks at 2:40) was one of our favorite parts of the entire wedding (and if you want to watch someone else's wedding, you can listen to him here). Besides the whole looking-into-your-best-friends-eyes-and-saying-vows thing, Kale made us feel like we were insanely special and not one of the many weddings he's taken part in.  

Kale taught us the official Hawaiian aloha (said with a kiss to the cheek) and chanted some Hawaiian oli (traditional Hawaiian chants, one of which both Paul and I were worried we were going to have to repeat because it was long and full of Hawaiian glottal stops). He also talked to us about the symbolism of the lei exchange (with the beautiful chant, E Lei Kau, E Lei Ho'oilo I ke Aloha) and told us about really feeling the moment instead of just experiencing it.

One of the things I particularly liked (and the photo that accompanies this) is when Kale talked about the life breath of Hawaii, and how all are connected. We share the breath of life with those we love by doing a Honi, a representation of sharing of spirits, by lightly touching the tips of our noses together. 

Besides blowing the conch shell before we started, we also got a lovely conch accompaniment while sealing our vows with a kiss. Our first kiss was short so we went in for another, and Kale blew the conch shell again in excitement. It was pretty impressive and a lot of fun (and it didn't hurt that we caught the attention of some passersby who then clapped for us, which was adorable).

Throughout the course of the evening, Kale mentioned that him and his fiancĂ©e are getting married on our wedding date in 2015, so we celebrated their love in conjunction with ours. It was actually pretty powerful, knowing that we can think of our officiant and his family every time we celebrate our own. 

These I'm sure he does with every couple he marries. However, Kale is one of those people who exudes love and gratitude wherever he goes. You know those few special people in life who are so thankful to be alive that they are surrounded by an aura of sunshine? That's Kale. There was no way we couldn't have loved the ceremony, because Kale was sharing his love for us throughout. There was laughter, hugs, shakas all over the place, and so much love throughout the ceremony.

At the end of our ceremony (but before we took some sunset photographs), Kale invited Paul and I out to a kayaking and snorkeling tour he leads on the west side of the island (we were staying on the south side) as a wedding gift. We took him up on in a few days after our wedding, and both of us agreed it was better than the formal tour we took of Molokini (which was nice but repetitive). An islander himself, Kale's tour focused on tradition and story of the island, along with great snorkeling off a beautiful reef that wasn't too far off the coast but a perfect kayaking trip. It also wasn't nearly as packed with snorkelers, which was nice, and Kale had major skills with naming all the plants and fish  (including a mating wana, the type of sea urchin that Paul had his wedding day encounter with--also, that photo looks like a small version of what happened to Paul's if you dare). It was a blast to spend another day with Kale, learning a little more about him, his life, and the island. 

I know the majority of you who are reading this either are already married or want weddings in local areas (no judgment!), but if you're thinking about getting married in Maui, we wholeheartedly recommend Kale (and if you'll be in Maui, take his snorkeling tour too!). He'll make all the difference.

[All photos are via our stunning Maui wedding photographer, Naomi Levit, who will of course get a dedicated post of her own because she's amazing.]

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sharing the News

As I mentioned last week, one of our favorite parts about eloping was getting to share the news with our friends and families in special ways. We Skyped my family, called Paul's family (they were at work, so different methods were necessary), and texted a few people who we wanted to tell personally.

Paul's original idea was pretty awesome: he thought I should just change my Twitter name and wait for people to reply. However, I realized that I've never had my maiden name as my full name on my Twitter, so most of my blog friends didn't know my last name (unless they signed up for my gratitude project, then they probably have my full name and return address somewhere). Then, I tweeted an innocuous tweet regarding the scenery for the week, and when people asked where I was, we decided to answer people with a photo of us with a banner that said, "Just Maui'd."

The responses came rushing in after that. After Kaitlyn's slightly confused "Is this what I think it is?", my favorite Minnesotans rushed to judgment in the best way possible:
They started the frenzy, and the texts and tweets just kept rolling in from there. We also tweeted out our Instagram and the same photo, and the responses were so sweet:

I think both Paul and I knew that we were loved by our friends and family, but didn't know how loved we were until the crazy influx of tweets/texts/Instagram comments. Seriously, you guys are the best and we're incredibly thankful you're so happy for us.

The texts are still rolling in from those who don't follow us on social media (neither of us have a Facebook account, so my mom's been spreading the word!), and it still tickles us anytime someone is surprised but excited for us! We're a lucky couple, that's for sure.

Anyway, the main reason for this post was to just say thanks. Thank you. For being you, and for being excited for us, and in sharing our joy the best way we could have ever imagined. We're lucky you're our friends.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Chloe's Big Adventure

or otherwise subtitled: 
Why My Parents are Saints

I feel like I should warn you that a midnight rant is about to come because the whole situation is crazy and I miss my best furry friend.

When TPH and I decided to get hitched, we knew I'd eventually be (and hopefully soon-ish!) moving back up to the Pacific Northwest to live with my husband (plus WA > TX every time). Since Chloe and I joyfully adopted each other in Texas, she has only known life here. Thus, we knew I should probably fly Chloe up to Washington when I headed there before the elopement, instead of making her endure a 3-day car ride up there in a few months. A 4hr plane flight with mom is better than a 3-day car ride, right?

Chloe doesn't enjoy car rides. She once suffered through a 3hr drive from Waco to San Antonio in which my mother tried to alleviate Chloe's terror of riding in the car by sticking her hand into the cage. Chloe practically bit it off.  Sorry mom.

The trip to Washington did not start out well, as I've never tried to bring an animal on a plane before. I would never let her ride below with the luggage (because she's dainty and basically my daughter and I'm one of Those Cat Parents, okay?!), so she went as my carry-on. I walked up to security and handed my ID/ticket to the TSA dude who checks to make sure it's actually you and asked him what I was supposed to do with her while walking through security. He joked that I had to take her out of her carrier before walking through the scanner, and I laughed and said, "Yeah, 'cuz that'll happen!"

He wasn't kidding.

They had me take out my cat while putting my purse and [new, soft-sided, airline-approved] cat carrier through the x-ray scanner, and then walk her through the large scanner with me. If that doesn't sound dramatic to you, let me reiterate: they had me pull out a tiny 7lb cat who has only met approximately 10 other people in the prior 6 years and carry her through an open airport. Thank gosh Chloe was too scared to do anything except cling to my shoulder with her claws and look around in terror.

To top it all off, guess who got randomly chosen to get her hands swiped while holding a friggin' cat to make sure she wasn't bringing on drugs or bombs or whatever they swipe for on planes, 'cuz heaven forbid she put the cat down since she could probably wipe off the evidence of any wrongdoing? Give us a break, San Antonio TSA.

Waiting for boarding; traumatized and the trip hasn't even started yet.

I was originally super concerned about Chloe freaking out in the air as much as she did in the car (think non-stop meowing, growling, or whining in a high-pitched kitty squeal), so I took her to the vet the week prior to our flight (also required by Alaska Airlines) to get a bill of health. I mentioned to the vet that I was concerned about Chloe's ability to remain calm, and the vet said she didn't recommend kitty anxiolytics, but she did recommend a cat hormone spray called Feliway. This spray is supposed to help cats feel more comfortable in their surroundings and the vet assured me that Chloe would be just fine in the air as long as I gave her a spray or two in her carrier before the flight.


Seriously, pretty sure that anytime that ish works, it's due to the placebo effect. Chloe whined the whole flight. I wish I was exaggerating, but she was angry and sad and terrified throughout the entire four hours. I brought her carrier on my lap for all of 15 seconds right when the flight first started and a flight attendant scolded me with an explanation that it was "against the law" (even thought she was still in her carrier). My Chloe was so damn scared that she kept meowing, but she would only meow half as much if my hand was in her carrier. I ended up flying for four hours leaning forward with my hand in her cage, tearing up (and twice all-out bawling) feeling horrible that I was putting my cat through this horrible torment.

I passed her off to my parents, who picked me up at the airport and then dropped me off at Paul's. I gave her a huge hug bye and told her I'd see her in a week, but then forgot about the traumatic experience after hugging it out with my soon-to-be husband.

When we got back from Hawaii, I knew I wanted to visit her at my parents pretty quickly. Our schedules didn't line up until two days after we were back in WA, but I had heard that she was pretty terrified and refused to come out from under the bed the entire week. (My parents were keeping her in my old room since they have two other cats and didn't want to further traumatize Chloe.) When I walked into the room, I said her name and she immediately came out from under the bed, which then made me start crying again because I felt so guilty that she hadn't been comfortable or safe enough prior to that. I held her and walked around the house, but she got scared and ran back to the bedroom. She went out a few more times, but ultimately decided the bed was safest.

I left feeling sad, but the next day my parents mentioned she was more comfortable in the house and that she had finally stopped hissing every time anybody came near and was now only growling half the time.

We came back three days later for another short visit and Chloe immediately came to the living room, albeit still apprehensively and on-edge. She seemed more comfortable though, which was further proved when my parents told me the truth: apparently Chloe is a bully.

Yes, I guess my sweet cat is so scared of life at my parents' place that she is now terrifying their two cats into confinement in my parents' catio (yes, they're those people too) or showing her dominance by randomly scratching anybody who dares to pet her in the wrong place. I'm kind of proud.

TL;DR: I need to move up to the PNW ASAP because I can't bear to be away from Chloe any longer, even if she's now the Queen of the Lake Household. It was easier than I thought to usurp my mother.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A #HaganHoneymoon recap

Because TPH (The Paul Hagan, of course) and I decided to Instagram our honeymoon, this may be redundant for anybody who has seen all of our videos. However, if you're anything like me, Instagram's videos either never load, take forever to load, or load when you don't want to watch them so you roll your eyes and skip them. I totally get it. 

Thus, we made a recap video of all of our videos! Yeah, we know how that sounds, but just humor us and watch it, okay? Unlike our elopement/marriage video (#HitchedHagans) that was 17min long (I couldn't cut it down if I wanted to, guys), this one is only 3 minutes full of a fabulous Imagine Dragons song (which also means that no, you can't watch it on mobile devices, but I'm not sorry because I love this song).


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

That time where I married my best friend. Oh, and surprised everybody.

I feel like I have to start out with, "Sorry I didn't tell you I was getting married," but let's face it, I'm not. I mean, I wanted to tell everybody (because who wouldn't be so grateful to get to share their life forever with their bestie that they'd want to tell the world?), but we knew that surprising everybody would be way more fun.

I have no idea where to start. 

Let's see. I fell in love with Paul around July of 2013 during a poorly executed fireworks show in Waco. Meh, I probably fell in love with him before that, but I distinctly remember laying on a blanket and looking over while he was making some sort of witty comment about the bad show, and just knowing that I was so thankful he was in my life. Err, then I moved to San Antonio and he moved to Washington and life got in the way. Luckily, life brought us back together (okay, so we texted everyday regardless) and in June, we decided to elope.

Well, kind of? We decided we should spend the rest of our lives together. I was dead-set on getting married in Hawaii since my parents got married there (also an elopement!), and Paul was alright with just walking into a courthouse in downtown Seattle. I convinced him it'd be more fun to make a vacation out of it, and he shrugged and said okay. You can see how well this partnership is working thus far. ;) 

We first got plane tickets, then hired a wedding planner to take care of everything. We chose Maui because there's a direct flight from Seattle, plus it's a little less touristy than Honolulu. Our wedding planner took care of the beach permits (you have to obtain permission from the government to perform any event on the beach; permits because she had a backup one in case weather on our side of the island wasn't great), the wedding license application, leis, and hooking us up with an officiant (more on him later). She also recommended the hotel we ended up booking, a Marriott that had an infinity pool we went in only twice. Besides a Hawaiian wedding, my other only stipulation was that we hired an amazing photographer, and with a little Googling, happened upon Naomi Levit. More on her when we actually have our wedding photos, but let's just say nobody else could have made Mr. I Hate Photos as comfortable and willing to smile. 

All of these were booked in late June or early July, so all of July, August, and September were anxiously awaiting our trip and keeping the secret (My parents knew for logistical reasons; my mom actually went wedding dress shopping with me but didn't see me in the dress I ended up wearing. Oops). It was the longest 70-odd days ever.

And then we got married.

This photo is from before the wedding, and I can tell because you can see my right hand: I'm wearing my mom's engagement/wedding rings (ring finger) and my grandmother on my mom's side's ring (pinky) to have a little bit of my family with me for the ceremony. If I had a bouquet, I probably would have tied them to the ribbon, but we ended up going super simple and just held each other throughout the ceremony.

And, also before the ceremony, with palm trees in the background.

Our ceremony was beautiful (see the recap video below if you want a description), and we exchanged leis (a Hawaiian tradition). Our wedding was right on the beach (we were barefoot in the sand!) and got to feel the sun on our faces while exchanging rings and vows. It was perfect.

After the ceremony, we took what Paul considered "18 hours of photos" (more like 45 minutes'  worth) and then walked back to our hotel (all of a 6 minute walk) where we passed two other couples getting married and a bunch of other people who told us congratulations. It was getting dark and we weren't hungry so we went up to our room to call my sister-in-love, who I had told I needed to "talk some things through" with her so that she would be available for my call. I'm giggling just thinking about it.

We called Sandra (with Scott in the background, who mostly hid off camera) and had a hilarious FaceTime conversation in which Sandra thought 1) Paul was in Texas on vacation to visit me, and 2) we were going to announce a pregnancy (no, we're not pregnant). Once we announced that we got married, Sandra started at us with an open mouth and my brother was less than excited ("But we don't get to dance at your reception?!" Don't worry, that didn't last long.). We waited to call Paul's sister, father, and mom Wednesday morning (since Texas is 5 hours ahead of Hawaii time and we kept waking up at 4am) who were all super supportive (although I've never met any of them!), and then decided to grab some breakfast and break it to people.

We talked a lot about how we wanted to share the news, and came up with a few plans. Paul's genius idea was to make an Instagram account of our trip and then share it with people after the fact. We kind of did that, although we shared it almost immediately once we announced that we got married.

The announcement was supposed to be sly--I changed my twitter name to @thesarahhagan and tweeted this photo with the caption "My view this week. Life is good, y'all."

Immediately, Syndal and Kaitlyn asked me where I was, and I responded, "Maui, HI!" with this photo:

And it erupted

Insert A TON of our friends immediately text messaged or tweeted us, and we kept sharing our marriage Instagram (which then got similar comments, the most often was, "WAIT, WHAT?! Congratulations!" or something similar). We sat at breakfast and wore down our phone batteries reading tweets and comments to each other mid-bite, or predicting reactions out of certain friends/family members. It was so much fun to continue receiving phone calls, emails, texts, and tweets throughout the week when someone new realized we got married, and I imagine it's going to continue being fun when I introduce Paul to my very large extended family (luckily he's already wooed the matriarch of my mom's family, my Aunt Heide, so I'm not worried about him). 

If you missed our FAQ video that we made during our honeymoon, here it is. We both answered a few questions that our friends kept asking, then mashed up our answers together in this 17-minute clip (ugh, sorry it's so long guys, I tried to cut it down shorter). We're going to be making a recap video of our trip and some fun times we had together soon (long story, but my iPhone won't connect to my computer and a trip to the Apple Store is in order), so be on the lookout for that. I'm also sure that my blogger husband will at some point grace us with his side of the story, so be ready for that too!

Thanks for loving us and being so interested in our story, y'all. We're so lucky to you a friend, and so grateful to have you in our lives.