Tag Archives: about us

Happy Anniversary /Ode to Marriage

Today marks our third-year anniversary and I am not sure what it is about marriage that makes each year feel tougher and harder than the previous one yet the returns are just as fulfilling. I love being married and I love my husband and even after all these years together (nine this year) I am still remarkably happy that we are together. He is certainly my person.

What have I learnt so far?

  • Communication, yes, it’s great and truly the key. Half of communication however is being mindful of how you deliver the message. It is possible through how and when you say something to break the other person or get a response that you were not prepared for. True Story.
  • Regarding in-laws, that can be managed. There is a happy coexistence that you can attain. A fine line between respect for them and firm boundaries for your relationship. Also, one of the ladies that spoke to me before I got married reminded me that I can never be the best daughter in law and so I should not work on that but focus on being respectful.
  • Marriage is better when you have a crowd with whom you experience it together. This calls to mind mentors, other happily married couples of all ages and even people that are dating and hoping to also settle down. Being surrounded by happy couples in different seasons of life keeps you connected and encouraged to strive more within your marriage.
  • The move to the Mother City was also beneficial because it helped us build a firm foundation for this new phase of our relationship and to help the “crowd” around us begin to see us as a unit and to respect that.
  • Though we had known each other since our early twenties, we only got married in our late twenties and in the last three years we have spent a lot of time integrating our single lives into our new entity. In true us style, this has involved a lot of “business” meetings to plan, dream, forecast and review our future plan. Although we are closer now than when we started we are still not done. Urggh.
  • My husband is my best male friend and probably someone outside of my family that knows me best BUT having said that, I still believe it is important to keep other friendships going strong in your lives and to continue to meet new people and maintain old friendships. This is important because of the “crowd” I spoke of earlier but also the fact that when we interact with other people it draws out another side of you and also allows you to miss your partner that you look forward to seeing them.

Having said all the above, it is a fact that marriage is work. You only reap what you put in. Also, that both of you must work on it or the other party eventually gets worn out and might lash out. Each year has brought us something additional to work through / focus on and that has been interesting and kept us both connected.

What will I work on this year?

Firstly, on the words I use. I know that as a wife, I can either build him up / tear him down and I have to be very careful not to do the latter. Secondly, in the Love Dare  the authors speak of  guarding one self against spending time in your mate’s depreciation room. This is basically the place where we keep stock of all of his bad traits and all those things you do not like about him. I also have a depreciation room that he could dwell on but that won’t take us anywhere if we both fixate on it. Lastly, to work on making more couple friends and hanging out with those we currently have.

In closing, one piece of advice we received that I always remember is that marriage is what you make of it. Just as no two marriages are the same, you can get out of yours the things that you want and that works for the two of you despite what other people out there might feel/ have to say.

So here’s to many more and loads of love.

 

I Hear Myself Everywhere

I consume a lot of stuff online or on television and I know that the stuff I like best is anything that I can read and feel in some ways that it represents my inner voice. Like what you ask?

  • Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. In many ways she is my inner voice from when I was 16 until now at 32 – she is what the inner me wants to be.
  • Cup of Jo. This blog is what I wish that my own little corner of the internet would grow up to be.
  • Call your Girlfriend. This podcast reminds me of conversations I would have with my best gal pal and sans the cursing. As the tag line promises, it is the podcast for long distance besties which we happen to be.
  • Julia Braverman and her family because I REALLY loved the show Parenthood.
  • Tamar and Vince. Something about this show reminds me of the Mr and I . I also say that Tamar is the inner last born I always wish my family allowed me to be.
  • Randal and Beth Pearson from This is Us is another portrayal of how I think the Mr and I relate to each other. If ever there was a couple on TV that I would happily squeal #Relationshipgoals it would be them.

And you, who/ what represents that inner voice?

 

 

Hosting Long-Term Guests?

This blog has slowly become a firm favourite. I thought this was a whimsical post but it definitely gave me ideas of how to prepare our guest room when we have visitors.

What do I currently do?

Growing up, my mom always made us pack a towel a face cloth and other personal items we might require when we go visiting. I have slowly learnt that not everyone packs these so I  have since had to include guest towels when I prepare the room.

I also ensure the guests have a set of keys and boy does knowing that there is extra toilet paper help a tonne.

I also stock the house with food and then on the second or third night when the guests arrive, I take them along to the shops so they can shop for food and personal effects that they might need that I do no have in the house – it certainly helps guests to feel at home. This and knowing where the breakfast cereals, tea and coffee is in the house.

From this post, I have since learnt to include the following items for that home away from home feel.

  1. A luggage rack, I read this and the simplicity but indulgence of it made me happy.
  2. A mirror so that guests can prep themselves once they get up.
  3. A box of tissues.
  4. Clearing out shelf and hanging space and providing a few hangers for use
  5. Stocking up the sugar bowl – I don’t add sugar to my tea/coffee so it’s an

    issue to remember that other do.

    How do you prepare yourself to host guests?

    Change of Plans

    I recently read a post about things you would change of your wedding. I loved my wedding and though, mhhh nothing. On second thought, I do know some things I would do differently:

    • I would have worn blue or yellow shoes, just because I could.
    • I would have insisted the DJ play more Kenyan music.
    • As a guest book, I had wanted to buy a new bible and ask people to sign against their favourite verses as a prayer for us the new couple.
    • To ensure that all my plans were accomplished and our families could relax and enjoy, I should have paid for a day-of-the-wedding coordinator.
    • I still would not have any kids on the line up.

    Are there any changes you would have made to your wedding? Why?

    So what did you expect?

    This morning the Mr and I had a little fight. I had to take my car for a service – something that in my horror, totally feels like a dentist’s visit what with the information asymmetry, pain (actual and to the wallet) and the fact that there is a specialist whom you trust but then again, information asymmetry. At the root of the fight though is that ugly word: Expectations.

    Any one about to be married, or married for a day and an hour will long have heard the mantra that expectations kill a marriage and that the counter is communicate, communicate, communicate. Our little fight had me reassessing all the different expectations that I had regarding marriage and an assessment of all other expectations I have held since our marriage started.

    1. I expected a partner that would take charge of cars and who would directly engage with mechanics and basically inform me when I needed to do any car-related changes.
    2. Ergo, any fixing of stuff around the house. I would highlight any issues and he would oversee to the fixing – whether directly or outsourced, I am ambivalent. To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff I was happy to delegate away.
    3. All newly weds are told that they need to set time for date night or else … Consequently, I too came into marriage with this (fear-driven) expectation and very early on we both figured out that given the pace of our lives it would be infeasible to designate a specific evening to always hang out. Having said that, when one of us is hectic, there is no expectation to do stuff but when things simmer down, we often hang out.
    4. My family has a habit of starting to plan for Christmas from as early as August/September. His family? Not so much. Initially this made me feel slightly helpless. Besides the family tradition, my personality is such that, you can never be too prepared OR start preparing too early. What we now try and do to incorporate both our idiosyncrasies is to have a lose discussion in September and refine it in the following months. This is certainly imperfect (according to me) but it definitely helps somewhat.
    5.  I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
    6. Sometimes as wives we expect that our husbands will become our best (female) buddy. That’s not the case and surely it’s not the reason that we fell in love to begin with. So keep your buddies and work on building a friendship with your husband too.
    7. Before the wedding I had heard of brides that often felt a bit sad after the wedding because things had gone back to “normal”. Did I feel the same way? Emphatically, NO!! After the energy and time spent planning the wedding, I was only too happy to settle for normal.

    I must say these lessons are over and above learning how selfish I am, how much space and time alone I require. All of that. Marriage is certainly not the penultimate goal, neither is it my most defining relationship but I must say I have learnt a lot and it has been very fulfilling for me.

    So we would like to date you

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    One of the things that I thought would happen with marriage is that we would automatically become part of a group of other couples and we would often hang out and as the babies came, they would all grow up together. Why is this important for me? Well, I believe that as a couple, it is important to have a community that you can learn from and you can be open with. Not the entire world but some people that hold you both accountable and keep you both encouraged in this game of marriage.

    Two years later, I can’t really say this has been the case.

    If I think about our friendship cycle, we have either had that one couple that always invites us over to theirs and that we have occasionally hosted or the ones we always invite to ours/ out to dinner but upon our initiation and not theirs. Very binary. We are both really puzzled as to how  other couples go about befriending other couples. Where are the best kinds of places/activities to meet and interact? In the past, we have invited people for dinner or lunch but it has tended to revolve around food. Another possible place is church but our local church has less than 40 people (clergy included) and is very old. Where else?

    Who would our ideal couple be? This has been the toughest bit in truth. As we have no kids this rules out the flexibility of having another couple with one or two kids in tow to pop by at random. With single people, we have observed that they sometimes project third wheel vybes when we hang together. Which means that we either chill with our single pals separately or host few people sporadically. Our ideal couple would be similar in age, committed to being married and fairly authentic – separately and jointly as a couple.

    So, have you got a couple pal? How did you meet and what is the benefit to you to dating/being married and having a crowd of witnesses?

    Get Lifted …. version 2

    For the longest time I have wanted to try my hand at updating an old post.

    A colleague gave me John Legend’s Album to listen to the other day and it just made me wonder! Its really nice  and it just made me wonder,is any of that stuff for real? That whole chick when I see you, I feel …. or what, do people really do that? Do they really feel that way about someone else? I have caught myself wondering how two people meet, fall in love and STAY that way? Isn’t that just the greatest mystery of all time- My folks have been together for 33 years and I just wonder at the resilience of that whole thing? How does that work? Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely loyal but to what end? This is why I don’t listen to R n B coz for me,it just isn’t about the beat BUT the words as well!

    I wrote this post nine years ago, very single and obviously questioning the whole notion of love. It also doesn’t help that I was only 22 years old at the time.I obviously don’t have the answers but I think maturity has brought some comfort and some clarity.

    Is love real? Yes, absolutely and definitely. I think at the time, I had never fallen in love or fallen for someone that loved me back, honestly and authentically which accounts for all the doubt and the skepticism.

    Love is real.

    Love I have come to discover is what works for two people that are committed to one another and who wish to to continue to be committed. Love is in the little things. Love is the opposite of apathy. Love is a process. Before I planned my wedding, I thought I loved my husband but then we went through the wedding planning process and moving cities and all the other countless things we have experienced together and I discovered I love him more now than 8 years ago. Love matures and love develops. Love has to be based on something or it can shrivel and die. Love glorifies God and inspires other people to also believe in God and that they could also love like that.

    Love is what works for the two concerned people.

     

    Date ideas

    This is a working list that I will probably keep editing and referring to.

    • Dinner Date at Home
    • Series / movies marathon – Our favourite Series are: Modern Family, Empire, Scandal, Suits.
    • Go on walks around your neighbourhood.
    • Explore the restaurants in your local neighbourhood.
    • Massages at home and professionally.
    • Learn a new hobby or activity together.
    • Play board games.
    • Talk through stuff both the profound and the simple things. Talk.

    What do you and your loved one enjoying doing together?

     

    My weekend in food

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    Went to a fancy Stellenbosch restaurant for lunch with the Mr this past weekend and this is what I had.

    XOXO

    Monday Pinterest Love

    Below see some pins that have been getting some love on my different Pinterest boards.

    Locs......:

    I love their glasses first of all and then the beautiful locs styles – low maintenance but stylish!

    Source

    I loved the curls and the size of the locs.

    source

    Oh to have the patience to colour code my bookshel ...  Southern Newlywed: At Home with Emily and John:

    This actually challenged me to colour coordinate my bookshelf. So beautiful!

    Source

    Natural Haircut Style:

    I would cut my hair this short if I got bored of my locs.

    Source

    after a long day (2011) its national #hug day! go and hug...:

    I love Nidhi’s cartoons and I love how she expresses love between herself and her husband. ❤

    Source

    Belated Valentines Day dinner menu

    This year I fired the Mr from Valentines Day and decided to plan a three course in-house dinner for the both of us. #iSlayedV-Day. I totally did. I obviously took no pictures but below is the selected menu.

    Starters

    Warm winter greens with Ceasar dressing, smoked bacon and a poached egg.

    Mains

    Steak au Poivre, Creamy lentils with rosemary and tomatoes and sauteed rosemary and garlic potatoes.

    Dessert

    Poached pear with lemon sorbet

    I used Rachel Allen’s Entertaining at Home for inspiration.

     

    Before making it a home …

    …. this is a list of things I have to do!

    Breath out slowly ... Fun times ahead …. xoxo

    21. Love and some artwork that captures it

    I love this lady’s artwork – Nidhi Chanani and have shared about that previously. I love her work because it reminds me of the Mr and all the stuff that makes us meaningful so enjoy these pics. Her work is available here.

    We Dream #illustration #print #love #hope #couple #nidhiart:

    So carefree …

    after a long day (2011) its national #hug day! go and hug...:

    Nothing a hug can’t fix 

    Recent love-inspired illustrations - I am super comfortable with...:

    I would rather be caught in the rain with you

    Enjoy and let your loved one know you love them, today, tomorrow, always ❤

    20. And now for an announcement

    Seems like October is the month when I announce or detail changes in my personal life and this year is no different!

    The Mr and I are headed to Cape Town and while a part of me feels meh! about it, I am also looking forward to it because I feel it will be a lovely time for us in this phase of our life. So packing, moving and getting used to a new city!!

    Story of a Wedding: Vendors used

    This is the last of the post where I shall be reviewing different aspects of the wedding. Please let me know your thoughts. 

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    PS: I deliberately avoided rating the suppliers because I appreciate that experiences will differ one markedly according to the individual. However, vendors marked recommend, I would readily use, time and again.

    Cake: Mel from Luvvies Bakery in Cresta.

    Dress: Great Weddings in Melville

    Stationery: Angelique from Everything I Do (More here) RECOMMEND

    Caterer: Candice from Maple Drive Catering RECOMMEND

    Decor: Thato of Camelot Hotel RECOMMEND

    Photography: Kagiso Legotlo RECOMMEND

    DJ: Mpho from Ipheladi

    Makeup: Katlego from Lashed Make up RECOMMEND

     

    Story of The wedding

    Over the next few days, I shall be reviewing different aspects of the wedding. Please stick around and let me know your thoughts.

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    This is the one post that will make me wish repeatedly that I shared pics of myself online/ for this blog. The outline of the questions are inspired by one of my favourite blogs, Southbound Bride.

    Love Story

    The Mr and I met at Wits University while undertaking our Honours degrees in 2008. I had recently moved cities and he was one of the people I soon became friends with.

    The Proposal

    We had spoken of getting married and so I knew that he would ask just not when. I sound like a control freak but I had also given some guidelines, not in a public place and not in front of any of our families and I didn’t want something over the top. One Thursday after work, I went over to his place and he met me at the door, seated me comfortably then he knelt and asked me to marry him. Knowing it was coming and seeing it happen, two very different things!

    The Venue

    Well funny story. We selected a venue, paid a deposit went for the decor set up and all of then then life happened and we changed our venue to the Spruitview Multipurpose Park where with three months to go, we started to plan the wedding afresh.

    The Wedding in 3 Words

    Happy, relaxed and personal

    Wedding Style

    We really had no style, we just knew we didn’t want it to be too stuffy, we wanted it to reflect our personality and we certainly did not have anything that 30 years from now we would look at and think, why did we select that? I’d say elegant and timeless is something we strove towards. Our wedding colours were yellow and navy blue with touches of white.

    DIY Elements

    We proudly had none. We didn’t have time as both of us were working full time and planning the wedding. We opted to pay vendors to bring to pass our vision.

    The Flowers

    I happen to be that one bride that doesn’t like flowers much. I had a small bouquet of blush proteas for me and yellow arums for the girls.

    The Dress

    I had a mermaid style sleeveless dress with an illusion neckline. Early on, I knew I did not want a strapless dress because I am not so big on top and I didn’t want the dress to look like a towel on me. I wanted (and got) a plunging back which greatly appealed to me. My sister lent me her veil, which my mom lovingly fixed up for me.

    Memorable Moment

    Walking down the aisle and having my mom hand me over to the Mr and the moment when the guests realised what our first dance was.

    Proudly South African / EA details

    • We served traditional cakes and traditional ginger beer at the reception.
    • We presented cakes to our respective in-laws.
    • On the menu we had a Kenyan salsa (kachumbari) and South African dishes such as samp and ting‘.

    The Honeymoon

    We spoke about the budget and then the Mr went ahead and booked us 7 glorious days in Mauritius. It was winter and off-season but we enjoyed it just as much and I cannot sing enough of the country’s beauty. The hills and how lush it is reminded me greatly of Uganda.

    Advice for Future Brides & Grooms

    • Compare quotes from two or three suppliers, make a decision and stop looking.
    • Determine your budget and try as much to stick to it – see what your negotiables and non-negotiables are.
    • Hire a wedding planner if you can, if you can’t don’t work with family members.
    • Have an engagement shot with your photographer, it helps to relax you and you practice for the big day.
    • Relax on the day itself and savour each and every moment because it goes by very quickly.

    Tomorrow I will share about the special vendors that made our day possible.

    Story of a Wedding: South African boy meets East African girl

    Over the next few days, I shall be reviewing different aspects of the wedding. Please stick around and let me know your thoughts.

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    So you know how you meet a boy at school, think his difference is fascinating, get to know him a bit and then you say yes when he asks you to marry him and the difference in culture suddenly becomes stark? No? Well, this is what I learnt from planning the wedding about the difference between a wedding in the East (of Africa) and those in the South.

    1. Something as simple as how does the bridal party make their entrance into the reception. In EA, the guests come and join in a single dance with the bridal party and they all dance in together. In SA, the bridal party has to perform a routine that they rehearse and all the guests look forward to. In hindsight, it wasn’t too bad but as I don’t really like to dance, it was a bit of a bummer in the period leading up to it.
    2. Dowry. Obviously both communities pay dowry and I am actually not opposed to it’s payment in case someone wants to comment about how backward/ sexist or whatever else. In Teso, the girls family will usually pick 100% of the dowry from the boys home and that’s the traditional ceremony. Only men are involved and particularly from the paternal side. In SA, the malumes (maternal uncles) can and often get involved, there are quite a few stages to it, gifts are given to the girls and boys family and part of the dowry is paid. This was a very contentious issue and I shall not say anything further about how it was resolved.
    3. Parental involvement. I thought this was more of a family than a South African thing. My parents weren’t super involved in the planning, they just asked about the highlights and the mega details, his parents and family were VERY involved. In EA, we plan weddings with peers who give time, money and their effort to make it a success, I can’t speak of what they do in SA as I never found out.
    4. I found out at the traditional wedding that in Tswana culture, the bride and groom have to spend some time at the boys home following the wedding. I have never heard of this practice back home ! It’s nice to know we can stay over but in reality, we will probably drive home in future rather than stay over at the in-laws just because home is not that far away off.
    5. I always knew that the groom kinda saunters down the aisle with his groomsmen, not so here where the mom/ a sister or special cousin gets to walk him down the aisle.

    I am sure there were so many more lessons and I might update this list at a later stage/ as they occur.

    Story of a wedding: Music list

    Over the next few days, I shall be reviewing different aspects of the wedding. Please stick around and let me know your thoughts.

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    The Mr and I really love our music and it’s something we do separately and jointly. Below is music that means a lot to us and that will always remind us of our special day. Hope you enjoy!

    Grooms and Best men entry song

    Bridesmaid’s procession

    Bride’s procession

    Bridal party exit

    Bridal party march into reception

    First dance

    AND

    Bouquet toss

    Garter toss – the DJ played something here but this is the song I wish I had the nerve to play!

    I LOVED all our songs and if I do say so myself, the first dance song(s) was epic!!

    Story of a wedding: Sites that inspired

    Over the next few days, I shall be reviewing different aspects of the wedding. Please stick around and let me know your thoughts.

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    Every Last Detail. Lauren is a former wedding planner who gives very good tips about the day itself, how to interact with vendors in terms of what to expect and questions to ask. She also features beautifully styled weddings that gave me a lot of inspiration.

    Munaluchi Bridal. This blog features predominantly black weddings and until I found this blog, I didn’t know just how few of these exist. I love the cultural mix and the diversity it represents. The weddings featured here are also amazeballs!

    Southbound Bride. She is a South African blogger and features local vendors – which is an added plus.

    Southern Wedding Magazines. They have weddings from America’s South (?) but what I loved best about this blog is the different features they run. First “Sweet Tea Sunday” where couples that have been married loooong dish out advise on what helps them in their marriage and, second is the “Southern Newlywed at Home” feature  where they speak to couples that have been married less time about how they transitioned in the earlier days of marriage, their décor style, roles in the home and stuff like date night. This helped me focus on the marriage and relational bit of the marriage more than just the wedding day.

    Ben and Gathoni Kiruthi. I like this husband and wife couple because, well, they feature Kenyan Weddings. A pet peeve of mine is the husband constantly “bigging up” his wife’s beauty or something about her. No man, it’s about the wedding that you are featuring!

    Pinterest. Obviously! But to keep the sanity, I developed my voice or what I wanted and then I went onto Pinterest and looked at different suggestions to bring my idea to life.

    Other sites:

    100 Layer Cake

    Grey Likes Weddings

    What sites did you rely on for your wedding planning?