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Looking back, looking forward: Goals

At the end of every year, I review the goals I set for myself for that year; and in that process, I also set new goals for the upcoming year. These are not to be confused with “New Years Resolutions”, which everyone forgets about by February (I’ve written about this here).  These are SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and tangible.

I began setting yearly goals back in 2008, with that year being written on the back of an envelope and stuck on my bulletin board. It’s evolved now to a longer thinking process, spreadsheet, and regular check-ins. David (and Chris Guillebeau) got me thinking about and in the habit of setting goals. Why set goals? I have this fear that in life we often say “oh yeah, we should ______ sometime” but that ‘sometime’ just never happens because life is busy and we wake up 20 years from now and that opportunity passes us by. So each year, I intentionally think about, what is it I want to happen this year? What do I want to make sure I do this year? Then every month or two, I review the goals and make sure I am working toward them.

My goals are broken down into:
– Health & Fitness
– Creativity
– Finance
– Friends & Family
– Learning
– Outdoors & Travel
– Other
– Work
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2014 Goals Review

I’m not going to list out and review all 37 goals (which is way too many); I fully met about 15 of them, vaguely met about 8 of them, and totally missed 14 of them. Some good ones that I met were bike to Attleboro, hike 2 new mountain, spend time with my parents, and max out my Roth IRA.  I fell just short of reading 15 books for the year, and totally missed playing guitar 5 days in a row 2-3x. But, it was a busy (that whole wedding thing) and good year.

2015 Goals

This year also ended up with 37 items listed out! Again, too many, but some are small, simple things, and some will take a lot more work. This year I will finish the blanket I have been knitting for the last 9 years; I will write at least 10 blog entries (get ready!), get my wedding pictures printed, and visit a National Park. There’s more, but I will spare you the long list.

What about you? What are your goals for the year? Even though it’s late January, it’s not too late. I challenge you to think about what you’ve been meaning to do, write it down, hold yourself accountable, and make it happen!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Lifestyle Design

 

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Wedding Recap Part 2: Vendors

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series recapping our wedding. The first entry was about all the awesome memories & moments. This second part is more practical – a list of our vendors/services so that when someone asks me, I can direct them here. The last part of the series will be general wedding advice and tips. And then I think I will be ready to walk away from writing about wedding stuff!

jenny+david-258Venue: Camp Wing in Duxbury, MA. Gorgeous summer camp with a lot of options for a whole weekend wedding. We loved it, but it definitely did not turn out to be any cheaper than having a wedding at a more traditional venue (and was a lot more work!).

Photographer: Sara Smile Photography We really liked her – she was friendly and fun and easy to work with. Prices were reasonable and lined up with industry cost. Our wedding is on her blog.

Food: KO Catering & Pies, supplied the appetizers, dinner, and brownie ice cream sundaes. Their food is amazing, incredibly friendly and helpful staff, and great prices compared to others. We can’t say enough about how awesome they were to work with, and the fresh, delicious food. One catch is that they don’t bring the silverware/plates/table clothes, so you have to rent those separately – but you get a discount through them. The ice cream was from Christina’s Homemade Icecream, based in Cambridge.

Linens, cups, dinnerware: We rented all this through Rentals Unlimited. Their website was kind’ve clunky and the ordering process a bit of a hassle, but it worked out fine. We used them because we got a discount through the caterer so I can’t say if their prices are good or bad.

Booze: We got two cases of wine on sale at the NH Liquor Store Outlet. The rest of our beer and wine was delivered by Gordon’s Fine Wines & Liquors. It wasn’t discounted and was a bit of a hassle to pick out, but it was worth it to pay to have someone bring it all to the venue and be able to return what we didn’t drink. We hired a bartending company, Professional Pour, to serve during the cocktail hour and reception. We were happy with their services and felt like they were the best of all the options we researched.

jenny+david-105Music:

For the ceremony: a friend played banjo while guests arrived. We had a friend with an iPod and speakers do the music for the processional and recessional.

For cocktail hour and the reception: we planned to do our own playlist on an iPod with the camp’s speakers until about 4 weeks before the wedding, when we realized we just had too many other things to worry about and this just wasn’t something we wanted to mess up. Hiring Ryan Kelley, ohryankelley@gmail.com was one of the best decisions we made with all of our wedding planning. He turned out to be fantastic – we got a lot of compliments on the music/dj. Prices line up with industry cost.

Tandem bike: We bought it off Craig’s List the weekend before the wedding!

Flowers: I didn’t order flowers until about a month before the wedding, from the florist closest to the venue, Consider the Lilies. We only got a bouquet for me and the best woman, corsages for the mothers and grandmother, a basket for the flowergirl, and boutonnieres for the dads, groom, best man, and ringbearer. We had a mason jar of black-eyed susan flowers at every table and these all came from my sister’s yard.

Videographer:  We didn’t have an official one. A few days before the wedding I asked a friend who does a lot of video work if he could set something up to film the ceremony. He set a tripod and microphone, and I’m SO thankful I asked him to do this. We didn’t want to hire a videographer for the whole day, but you might want to consider at least asking someone to film key moments that you’ll want to relive and see on film.

jenny+david-195Ceremony: We wrote our own ceremony. We looked at ceremonies of friends’ weddings, and heavily relied on The Wedding Ceremony Planner – a book that helps you with layout and ideas. We were able to use a lot from that and tailor it to make it our own. My brother-in-law said the ceremony; he is a teacher by trade but was able to get a One Day Designation through the state. We also had a friend be in charge of the ceremony – she ran the rehearsal and made sure everything ran smoothly on the day.

Decorations: We mostly borrowed decorations from people whose weddings we’ve gone to over the last few years (benefit of getting married when you’re “older”). We also picked up additional stuff on Amazon, Ikea, and Joanne’s Fabrics. We got flowers pots for the ceremony area from a garden shop.

Guestbook: I made it from a pre-made template on Shutterfly. It was pretty easy and not too costly. I used pictures of us together from throughout the years, with a lot of pictures from our engagement photo shoot.

jenny+david-264Wedding planner: We didn’t have one. But a few days before the wedding, we shared all of our crazy spreadsheets and notes with a friend made sure things ran smoothly on the day of the wedding and made decisions if vendors had questions. This was key – to have someone else know about everything and help keep things on track.

Clothing/bride: My dress was from David’s Bridal – it’s the one I said I wanted when I looked ahead of time online and the one I got. The shoes were also from David’s Bridal, and jewelry from Ten Thousand Villages.

Clothing/groom: His suit was custom made by Indochino. The shirt and tie were from Macy’s, and the shoe’s from Zappos.

Hair & make up: It was done by my awesome sister (who is a Mary Kay Consultant), just like when we were little girls J I didn’t want anything fancy, and we did a test run ahead of time. She is a Mary

Save-the-date: We did simple post card save-the-dates from a photo template through VistaPrint. They were cheap and mailed directly to our guests…but the website was painfully clunky and some of them never arrived to people.

Invitations: We used a template with Minted. We loved the design and simplicity (single card double sided + a postcard RSVP). They weren’t terribly expensive compared to the norm, and there are always coupon codes and discounts available (just search for them). Our invitations did get messed up and come in late (with big discount), so order early!

 

Phew – I can’t believe we pulled off all of this! I’m also happy to share spreadsheets with anyone trying to plan their own wedding!

 

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Wedding Recap Part 1: Memories, Moments, and Feelings (and pictures)

This is a post by Jenny. 
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Our wedding was just over three months ago and I feel like I am still debriefing myself (clearly a sign of someone who was in AmeriCorps!). The wedding, and whole weekend, was nothing short of magic.  At the bottom of this entry you will find a link to the pictures from our photographer, with some favorites sprinkled in!

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David and I took some time and thought about the whole weekend and wrote down “Memories, Moments, and Feelings”. We often keep journals or superlatives while we travel, and we wanted to have everything from the weekend written down so we could remember and hold on to it.

jenny+david-177Here are some highlights:

 

  • Singing around the campfire on Friday night, with David and Chris somehow turning Santeria by Sublime into some kind of ballad
  • Doing archery on Saturday morning and looking around at our family and friends all there and being so happy to have everyone together and doing something fun. Alice & Amy win slow dances with Jenny by getting bulls eyes (though they never take up their prizes). Dan impressively shoots through an apple target on his first try.

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  • The whole wedding party walking together down the path in the woods toward the wedding ceremony. It felt perfect, fun, and exactly what we wanted. David and I were in the back holding hands, and all of us excitedly walking together before quieting down and getting in order for the ceremony.
  • For me (Jenny), walking in to the ceremony with my parents and immediately choking up, overcome with emotion. And my dad leaning over and saying “keep it together!”

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  • The entire ceremony was like we were floating – relaxed, excited, happy, in the moment, and emotional. We wrote it ourselves, but we forgot about some parts until they happened!
  • Riding away from the ceremony and seeing our dj and him saying “Oh hey guys! What are you doing?” “We just got married!!”. Then riding further into the woods and it being just the two of us, quiet, peaceful and beautiful.
  • Riding back into the cocktail hour and seeing so many people we knew were coming but we hadn’t seen yet and don’t see often (Dianne, Fish, Brian & Erin, Amanda..and many more!). It was overwhelming and exciting to see all our guests – all our friends and family, all there for us!

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  • Our first dance, to Our Song by Elton John, was probably the pinnacle of the magic. There we were, married, looking beautiful, dancing in a beautiful setting with glimmering lights to a beautiful song. While everyone was there and watching, we felt like it was just the two of us in our own magical world. It was so fun and perfect.
  • Dancing with our parents (with Dolores wanting to learn to do spins after watching us dance) and secretly transitioning into In Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues, a song for which my dad and I used to watch the music video while playing cards when I was a kid.
  • The most epic “skanking” dance party! “Skanking” is a type of dance move, usually done to ska music – sort of like running man meets aerobics. We had all our family and friends doing this crazy high energy dance to Reel Big Fish’s Sell Out, and it was awesome.

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  • Starting off dessert with an unintentionally, perfectly timed song dedicated to David from me – Your Love is Better than Icecream (if you were there and had our brownie icecream sundaes, you know that’s a pretty bold statement!).
  • Getting sat down for our families to perform a special dance for us, The Wobble, which we at first thought was some sort of Bollywood dance. It was awesome.
  • The very last song of the night was Home, which is one of my favorite songs, and fit into a message from our ceremony – “home is wherever I’m with you”. The remaining people created a circle on the dance floor and David and I danced together, much like our first dance but with more energy and more playful. We high-fived every one in the circle and simply glowed in happiness. And, I did a cartwheel in the middle of the dance floor in my wedding dress.

jenny+david-64Here is a link to the pictures from our photographer. Enjoy!

And, thank you to everyone who came to the wedding. You truly made it magic and perfect!

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

99 bottles of…

Today is exactly 99 days until our wedding (according to Bed, Bath, and Beyond anyways)!! A lot of people have been asking how wedding planning is going, so I thought I’d blog about it as a break from planning!

But first, let me share some really fun pictures, all courtesy of Sara Smile Photography (click the link to see her blog entry about us!).

 

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We adventured around downtown Boston a bit with our awesome photographer before making her pizza at our house.

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You can see all of the engagement photos here (look for the bonus “Pizza” section!)

So, wedding planning…this is what we have so far: date, location, caterer, dessert, booze, bartending, supply rental, wedding dress & shoes, best man/woman, flower girl/boy, wedding stage manager, photographer, wedding website, save the dates, registry, mini-moon, and honeymoon flights.

Wow, writing that list made me feel good!

Yesterday we went to do a site visit of the camp and it got me really excited (except for the part where I slipped and fell down the stairs – but good to get all that out now!). I forgot how beautiful it was there, as well as how big! We brought our moms with us, which was a relief to have other people see it and start thinking about all the things we need to think about and do! After we got home, I wrote a detailed list of all the things we need to do – it has now crested 60!! I’ve been grappling with the amount of tangible stuff we need to think about/get/bring – iron/ironing board, board games, center pieces, decorations, lights, bathroom kits, and who knows what else (hopefully my spreadsheets know?!).

Some of the “what we still need to do”: invitations, get officiant, get David’s clothes, Jenny’s jewelry/hair/make up, center pieces and decorations (a lot!), flowers, playlist, wedding rings, marriage license, design ceremony, write vows, cabin assignments, seating charts…ok, I take back the part about feeling good about what’s already done!

We’re definitely going to need to ask friends and family to help us…We just need to get organized to figured out what to ask for help with!

Lastly, the camp is going to be totally awesome. It’s not hotel accommodations, it’s better! It’s not really roughing it – the walls are sealed, there is heat, electricity, plumbing, etc. It’s going to be like a big sleepover with adults, or like being at college, but our family is there too!

Now, back to spreadsheets!

 

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Marriage/wedding

 

What’s in a Name?

Exactly 6 months from today (basically, exactly to the hour that I’m writing this), my wedding will be coming to a close. It will have been a beautiful day full of emotions, fun, laughing, and special moments. But I’m not writing about my wedding right now. Instead, I’m writing about my name.

For some women, there isn’t a question of if they will change their name or not once they are married – it’s not a decision to be made but more of an obvious of course. For others, some of my friends included, it’s been a decision they’ve wrestled with, basically deciding to just not decide (aka do nothing, as changing your name can be quite a hassle). So, what about me? Will I change my name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.” – Juliet

Well Juliet, I think there is a lot in a name. For the last 31 years of my life, I have been Jenny Duquette. I am Jenny Duquette. That is who I am, that is my identity, that is who my friends and family and colleagues know me as. My many nicknames come from my name – Dukey, Dukes, jDukes, Sweaty Duquettey, etc. Who is Jenny Marie Norcott? Who is Jenny Marie Duquette-Norcott? Who is Jenny Marie Duquette Norcott? Who is Jenny Duquette Norcott?

I don’t think I can completely drop the Duquette name. It is too much of who I am. Too much of my identity, my pride, my family, my history. I know my identity will change as a married person (a wife!), but I feel like losing my name would make me feel like there was someone that I was and I am no longer. On the flip side, David and I are going to become a family, a unit together. I like the idea of being “The Norcotts” – a family together. For many women, they are their married name identities longer than their maiden names, which seems crazy to me.

So, perhaps we could just become Jenny & David Norquette? I like the ring to that…..

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Marriage/wedding

 

A Great New Adventure

This blog was originally started to chronicle Jenny’s journey of quitting her job, lifestyle design, and seizing new opportunities. It morphed into a travel blog when Jenny & David traveled to Asia & Europe for months at a time. We’ve talked about a lot of great adventures on here and now we’re at the start of a new adventure: we’re engaged!!!!

That’s right, David asked Jenny to marry her yesterday, and she said yes! Here’s what happened:

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From Jenny’s point of view:

We were on a long bike ride on the South Shore, from Wompatuck State Park through Hingham, Scituate, Norwell, Cohasset, and Hull. We stopped at the light house in Scituate to take a break and eat some granola bars. I decided we should get going when David said something like this “I’ve been thinking, I have enjoyed going on all these adventures with you to Spain and Thailand and everywhere else, and I want to go on a lot more adventures with you.”

At this point, he started pulling out a box and I gasped.

He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him (and I gasped again) and said “is this really happening?!” Then I said yes! I put the ring on and stared at him, and about 10 seconds later some ladies walked by and I yelled over “He just asked me to marry him!!!!!”. They came over excited to see the ring and take our picture.

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Picture I texted to my sister with no message – boy did she call fast!

Was I expecting it? No, definitely not! We talked last week about getting married and David asked if I had any idea of what kind of ring I might like. I hadn’t the foggiest idea and figured we’d spend a few months browsing. This is a man who is late to everything and a woman who has serious analysis paralysis decision-making problems. He had already gotten the ring when he asked!

David’s point of view:

A few people have asked me if proposing was a difficult thing to do. But the way I see it, I only had to follow a few simple steps:

  1. Get a ring
  2. Ask Jenny’s parents
  3. Get on one knee
  4. Don’t pee my pants

Getting the ring actually was the most difficult part. I spent many weeks going to different jewelers and reading about different stones. Not being much of a traditionalist, I decided to go with a sapphire because it was unique and beautiful. Just like Jenny!

Asking Jenny’s parents wasn’t too hard because they are so great and have always been very welcoming to me. And asking Jenny was even easier because I knew that I loved her and wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. Well maybe it wasn’t that easy, but I knew it would all work out.

Solitaire diamond-cut sapphire – a rare tint of blue mounted onto a platinum ring. For the record, Princess Diana & Kate got sapphires!

After the proposal, we had about another 20 miles of bike riding to talk. We’ve already selected the date, location, dj, photographer, dresses and tuxes, and cake. Just kidding!! We’ll take it as it comes and just enjoy the excitement. We’re not very traditional (hell, we quit our jobs and moved to Thailand for 2 months) so don’t expect us to follow too many traditions.

Random musings:

  • We’re going to have two Moms, both named Dolores/Delores!!!
  • David will get to be an uncle.
  • Jenny will go from grandparentless to having two grandparents (though I wish Memere, Pepere, Vovo,and Vuvu were here for this!)
  • David will have sisters and brother-in-laws for the first time.
  • Jenny will be a big sister for the first time (meaning I can beat up Dan and give him noogies!)
  • We’re excited to begin this new adventure together and look forward to a lifetime of crazy adventures.
 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Marriage/wedding

 

What if Money was No Object?

Some food for thought. What would YOU do if money was no object?

While everyone in our society doesn’t have the opportunity to just do what they’d like without regard to money, it’s still something to ponder and reflect on…If you were to die tomorrow, what regrets would you have?

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Lifestyle Design

 
 
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