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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Repost: How to Raise a Trail-Blazing Daughter by U.S. Supreme Court Justice R.B. Ginsburg

Hey People!

I came across this article yesterday and just loved it. Originally published by Inc. magazine,  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives valuable advice about how to raise trail-blazing daughters! Popularly known as "Notorious RBG" for her fierce advocacy for women's rights, Ginsburg was the first tenured female professor at Columbia Law School, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project, and second female Supreme Court justice, appointed by President Clinton in 1993. 

Ginsburg, a daughter to immigrants, is the very definition of "trail-blazing" herself....from conquering several instances of gender-discrimination to knocking down barriers, Ginsburg cleared the path by walking it...all the while raising her children.  If she's speaking, I'm definitely listening.

My journey is still long but I can say confidently that my mom did everything Ginsburg advises and more!  We are just still waiting to see all its fruition lol! A part of me is blogging this, just so hopefully (and by God's grace) one day, my future daughter can find this and say the same :-)

Even though the advice was geared towards mothers raising daughters, it is valuable advice, no matter how old you are. Our mothers may have done their best to raise us to be outstanding women, but there is no limit to self-growth! 

Here's to trail-blazing women, everywhere! 

1. Foster a love of reading.
No matter what you hope for your child, or what she hopes for herself, there's no better thing you can impart than a love of reading. It's truly a passport to explore the world, barely discriminates between rich and poor, and can expand and train her mind. It's important enough that it's the first thing Ginsburg mentions in her article, and she credits her mother, who "by her example, made reading a delight." 
Sadly, Ginsburg's mother battled cervical cancer, and died young, reportedly the day before Ruth's high school graduation ceremony. Ginsburg later called her mother, "the bravest and strongest person I have known, who was taken from me much too soon."

2. Teach them to be independent.

This is truly the second most important thing: ensuring that they learn who they really are, and remain true to themselves. Society pulls people in so many different directions, trying to shape us into roles that we might not really want for ourselves. I'm speaking as a man, but it's easy to see how this is even more challenging for women.
Again, Ginsburg credits her mother for fostering this streak in her. It was her mother, she writes, who "counseled me constantly to 'be independent,' able to fend for myself, whatever fortune might have in store for me."

3. Encourage them to seek out great teachers.

Many of us can remember one or two teachers who made a real difference in our lives. Ginsburg cites two: a college professor and a law school professor. She credits the latter, Gerald Gunther at Columbia Law School, with helping her achieve her first big career break--a clerkship with a federal district judge.
It's of note that Ginsburg graduated near the top of her class in 1960 but was not able to get an even more prestigious clerkship with an appellate judge, because she was a woman and the mother of a 4-year-old child.

4. Encourage them to turn a deaf ear when needed.

The best advice she ever received, Ginsburg said, was from her new mother-in-law told her on her wedding day in 1954: "In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf."
Sure, it helped in marriage, Ginsburg said, but added: "I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade."
One of the best examples comes from an equal rights case Ginsburg argued before the Supreme Court as a lawyer in 1979. Having made her argument, one of the justices--they were all men at that time--asked her (perhaps jokingly) whether she'd be willing to settle for having Susan B. Anthony on the then-new dollar coin.
Ginsburg thought of the perfect quip--"No, we won't settle for tokens"--but later said she decided to turn a deaf ear, and simply didn't answer the justice's question.

5. Encourage them to set aside their worries--and simply achieve.
In retrospect, most things in life seem inevitable, but this would be a good time to consider just how unlikely Ginsburg's assent and career have been. She didn't grow up with money, and her family faced tragedy twice before she was 18--the death of not only her mother but also her 6-year-old sister.
When Ginsburg decided to go to law school, only 3 percent of attorneys were women, and there was only one female appellate judge in America. Moreover, there were no laws prohibiting employers from simply firing women who became pregnant--heck, we were still 20 years away from laws ensuring that women could open credit cards in their own names.
Ginsburg writes about how some simple advice her father-in-law gave her at the time that inspired her: "Stop worrying, and find a way to manage."
At the time, this meant that she and her husband both started law school while simultaneously caring for their infant daughter--an extremely unusual circumstance at the time. (By the way, their daughter grew up to be an attorney as well, and is now on the faculty at Columbia Law School.)

6. Teach them that they can make their own luck.

Young Ginsburg
Ginsburg describes herself as very fortunate to have been born when she was, but as we've seen, it was actually quite unlikely that she would ascend to the successes she ultimately did. A few facts put this in context:
  • Before law school, Ginsburg was demoted at a job for becoming pregnant.
  • Sexism was so systemic under the law that one of her first cases as a lawyer before the Supreme Court challenged a state law that set different legal drinking ages for men and women.
  • And when she became a professor for the first time at Rutgers University, she was paid less than her male colleagues, because it was expected she could always rely on her husband's salary.
As she puts it, though: "I was ... alive and a lawyer when, for the first time in United States history, it became possible to urge, successfully, before legislatures and courts, the equal-citizenship stature of women and men as a fundamental constitutional principle."
All of this reminds us that while circumstances may play a part in terms of opportunity, it's also your reaction to those circumstances that spins fate. People who understand that are more likely to succeed.

7. Pray that they marry the right person.

My fellow columnist Jeff Haden has written recently how important it is to marry the correct person. In the most touching part of her advice column, Ginsburg leaves no doubt that she did choose her spouse wisely.
She met her husband, Martin Ginsburg, while they were both students at Cornell. He became a lawyer as well, and as his wife's judicial career took off, he sacrificed for her--moving from New York to Washington, for example, and getting rid of potentially lucrative investments that could have created conflicts of interest for her. Plus, he did all the cooking.
The newlywed Ginsburgs in 1954
Martin Ginsburg died in 2010. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote:
"I have had more than a little bit of luck in life, but nothing equals in magnitude my marriage to Martin D. Ginsburg. I do not have words adequate to describe my supersmart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse. ... Marty coached me through the birth of our son, he was the first reader and critic of articles, speeches and briefs I drafted, and he was at my side constantly, in and out of the hospital, during two long bouts with cancer. And I betray no secret in reporting that, without him, I would not have gained a seat on the Supreme Court."
If I were to use this to advise a grown woman (but still growing) like myself, I would say:
1.     Read MORE books!
2.    Regardless of which direction life pulls me, never loose trust in your    independent capabilities!
3.    Find good mentors who are where you want to be and stay in touch with them!
4.    Not every rude comment requires a response at all. Focus on the goal!
5.    Worrying never solved any problem. Stay focused!
6.    You will never know unless you try!
7.    Marry a partner who is your biggest cheerleader!

I'm Inspired. Are you?

Be Confident! Be Fierce! Be high-achieving!

Stay Inspired,
NwaVic||| |||Instagram @dearnwavic  ||| Twitter @nwavicesq

Source: Article written by Inc. Magazine.  All  rights reserved by Inc. magazine. 
Google Images. NY Times.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Old Man Without Rhythm Who Inspires Me

I've been watching an old man. Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. Not in ThAT way. But yes, I've been watching an old man for days...okay, weeks, more like months. He's in my Monday Zumba class. He looks Asian. About 5 ft 4 inches in height. Bald. He's always already there when I get there. Well, I'm always a just a  tiny weeny little bit late. I often watch him, not because I stalk him but because he inspires me.

My Zumba class is not for Beginners. In fact, when I first moved to Texas and joined, I was utterly overwhelmed. The average person in the class was not only hitting the moves without missing a beat, they were doing it with passion, exaggerating each step, like there was a medal to be won. There IS a medal to be won. Fitness. A good hour long Zumba class could rid you of 1500 calories and give you at least 8,000 steps (for Fitbitters like me). I've been an avid "Zumba-rist" for at least 4 years. It's the one exercise I can do and thoroughly enjoy it, pain included. It's dancing but with purpose.

I may be digressing. But my point is that, notwithstanding my experience, this class floored me. And still does. But every time I feel like I have had it for the day, I look up at the mirror in the front of me and glance at
behind me.

And he is still moving.  Even when it seems like the routine has left him breathless.

He never stops.

I glance over at his thin legs as they try to make the four-count turns and I watch his as he attempts to jog in place when the rest of the class is doing sit-ups, squats and a mid roll, all in sequence. He always wears the same thing...the oversized cranberry t-shirt, black gym shorts and old shoes 3 sizes bigger than him. The old man shakes his hand when others are shaking their hips and his hands are often still in the air when everybody else's is resting on their knees. His rhythm reminds me of....never mind.

But you. get. the. point.

The old man never stops moving. He shows up to class early and stays the course.  His goal is to complete a one hour Zumba class and even when he is 10 steps behind everyone else, he keeps on moving. And he never even looks right or left to know what everyone else is doing. He's always so focused on dancing, he didn't realize when I took this candid photo shot of him.

Because he doesn't care what I think. And he very well shouldn't.

I like this old man. He inspires me. Sometimes, I focus so much on being in sync, that I loose perspective. I dwell so much on rhythm that I become deaf to the music. But I need to keep moving.

And you do too. Don't worry so much about the little distractions life throws at you. Don't worry about whether or not you are rhyming with the guy who graduated the same year as you. Create your music, dance to it, and
keep moving.

 Stay Inspired,
NwaVic||| |||Instagram @dearnwavic  ||| Twitter @nwavicesq

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hope: Not Just An Arbitrary 4-Letter Word

If you google the word "Hope", you'll find that it can either be defined as a noun or a verb. As a noun, it is "a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen... a feeling of trust."  Alternatively, as a verb or action word, it is "to want something to happen."

If you ask me, the definition of hope is simply the decision to not give up. As a Christian, hope means more than any dictionary can define. It is a sense of security that no matter what tornado you find yourself in, there IS more...that there has to be.

Life is a chaotic journey. At one time or the other, we have felt like we've seen the end of the rope. Sometimes, you build and build and just when you begin to see a structure forming, the whirlwind comes and blows it all away. The very moment you look at the shatters of what "could have been"... in that split second when you feel the emptiness that used to be the awesomeness you had planned, you almost can't help the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. That feeling, that if you let simmer, would become all too familiar. 

To find hope means to recognize it. To have hope is to understand what it takes to get it. Once you can recognize it, find it, and hold onto it, you can stand above life's most challenging seasons.  

 1. Hope is a Choice

Hope is not just another feel-good four letter word. It is a personal conviction to hold on. Hope does not naturally come by instinct. It is a choice you have to make to overcome fear...a decision to believe in an end result beyond view. 

Hope means changing your perspective. It is that little silent warmth you feel when you stop glaring at your "situation" and start staring it down. Whenever the road ahead seems dark and gloomy, hope means choosing to see the light at the end of the corner.

2. Lasting Hope is found within

During hard times, we often look  for hope in outside occurrences or things or people. It may be the Doctor's words or expressions. It may be in the sum of your bank accounts. You may seek it in the promises or actions of others. A doctor's words or another persons' promises only gives a false sense of security. 

Solid hope is found by zooming past the circumstance or situation and even the people around you.  Finding hope requires a deep understanding of what drives you. For me, my hope is based on my Christian faith. When I need hope, I remember that my life is not mine to plan or run. I remind myself that God mapped out my life before I was born and that if I truly believe in Him, I have to trust that the He is working to align my stars. In every moment I feel less than secure, I shift my focus from the situation and onto Jeremiah 29:11 and that's where my grip rests till the tide is over.

Despite the very weakness that as humans we are born with, we are stronger than we know. If you look hard enough within, you will find strength that goes beyond what anyone or thing can give you.  You may not recognize it, but you ARE strong. Find it, recognize it, and never let go.

3. Hope Changes Things

When life beats you down, hope is that little voice that says, "Get up, you are not done yet." The still small voice that says, "keep the faith". Hope does not just overcome fear, it builds your character and resilience. With every situation when you choose "hope", you become stronger. You become fiercely stronger and more equipped to handle 

Remember strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will. 

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact”- Henry Thomas
Stay Inspired,
NwaVic||| |||Instagram @dearnwavic  ||| Twitter @nwavicesq

Monday, April 25, 2016

NwaVic's Wed2Plan Series: 10 Tips for Creating Your Wedding Guest List


I must first apologize for the long hiatus on the series. It's not that I forgot you blessed people. It's that I took a job that short of all- mentally-consuming. And trust, that's a mighty good story for a different day. Thank you to all those who emailed and sent me private Facebook messages. I write purely for fun, so it is incredibly rewarding to know that I inspire you and that I am missed :-)

This post is about the Almighty Guest List....After the budget, the Guest List determines everything else and so they go hand-in-hand. It is one of the most important EMOTIONAL decisions you'd make in your wedding planning. It may even make you reconsider making a lunch break trip to the Justice of the Peace. The process of putting together the guest list is one of the most contentious issues for brides and often creates friction not only between couples and but between the couple and their parents as well (especially if you're Nigerian or Indian lol).  

Creating (and managing) my guest list was a constant hassle, up until the night before the wedding for a few reasons. First, I really wanted to limit the guests in my wedding to people who genuinely loved and cared for G and I and who I would look at photos 10 years down the line and still appreciate that they were there that day. I wanted to look out into the crowd that day and have no question that the smiles I saw were genuine. I did not want my wedding to be a community show-up and show down. I wanted an intimate event that I would value for the rest of my life. Second, I was having my reception at a hotel and was paying per head. Third, I had a lot of guests coming from Nigeria and London, so the number was constantly changing. Third, both G and I we are from pretty big Nigerian families.  Boy, was I glad when I sent off the final Guest List- never to be dealt with again.

The following tips, based on my experience, will  help you survive the mess that is, the guest list;

1. Determine a Number: 

The first thing that you need to do is sit down with your fiancé and determine the number of guests you'd like, based on your budget. Do NOT assume that you are both on the same page on its issue.  It won't be pretty if you ignore and realize a bit too late that you want a "big" wedding while he wants something more intimate. Talk it out and if you differ, find a middle ground.  This is especially important early on because the guest list sort of determines almost everything else in the wedding. It will help you determine a reception venue, budget, etc. When you're negotiating with vendors, they will first ask you "how many guests are your expecting?" 

2. Prioritize: 

Practically, It may take a little while to determine a good number. But the best way to do this is to each jot down names of people you'd like to invite. Categorize them in groups and according to priority. While this may not sound so "nice" to have to prioritize people, it IS a necessity, unless you are willing to have a wedding for the masses. 

A- "Staple" Immediate Family members including Parents, siblings, Grand parents, close cousins, Aunts, uncles, closest friends (the ones you can't imagine your special day without), close in-laws, the bridal party, and of course spouses of members of the bridal party.
B- Family friends, close "church" members, parents' close friends who have added value in your life in someway and the like
C- High school friends, family members you don't talk to often, co-workers and the like
D- Distant cousins, parents' other friends, neighbors and everyone else. 

When grouping people, keep the following questions in mind:
  • On a regular day, would I feel comfortable taking this person out for a meal that cost me $100?
  • Can I imagine having dinner with this person one on one?
  • How much value has this person added to my life?
  • How much has this person contributed (emotionally, encouragingly, financially, etc) to the person I am today?
  • When last did I speak to this person?
  • when last did this person even ask how I am doing?
  • Years from now, when I see my wedding photos, would I want to see this person in them?
A fun and helpful way to prioritize
Another one :-)

3. Worried about Forgetting Someone? Use a Cheat Sheet:

When I was putting together my list, I was lucky enough to have three older siblings who already had weddings. That meant that I could use their guests lists to my favor. I asked each of them for their guest lists and used that as my starting board. I copied the names and addresses of "staple" family members and mutual friends. If you have a sibling or close cousin who did a wedding recently, you could ask for their guest list. It will save you so much time, and energy that you'd have used to ask for addresses and eliminate the chance that you'll forget about Aunty Liz who lives in Montreal.  It would also help to sift through Facebook friends list and phone contact list, to make sure you're not missing anyone. 

4. Kids or No Kids? 

This is something a lot of couples struggle with. When deciding whether or not to include kids in my wedding, I considered three issues: 1. Time of the wedding 2. Cost 3. Because they are Kids. For these very reasons, my decision to not include kids (besides those in the bridal party- direct nieces and nephews) was one I decided very early on

First, I was having an evening wedding which involved dinner. My wedding reception was scheduled to last past midnight and past many kids' bed time. As such, it was easy for me to exclude kids- I reasoned that the parents could use the night off to drink and dance, without anyone worrying about tending the needs of their kids. 

Second, there was also the issue of cost. A lot of reception venues, mine included, charge per head. More so, the prices are fixed, regardless of whether you include a 3 or 30 year old on the list. This meant that to include kids on my list, I needed to add at least 50-100 more seats, considering most of my 400 guests had an average of 2 children. Decision made easy. 

Lastly, there is the common knowledge that kids will be kids. Anyone who knows me knows just how much I adore children. However, they are still kids and would act accordingly. Before mine, I had been at weddings with kids and my general opinion was that most times, it was rowdy. I've been at three (3) different weddings where a child started crying or making a fuss in the middle of the vows. Once, a 2 year old ran to the altar and pushed down some decorations along the way, creating a mess. As selfish as that may sound, I wanted an intimate ceremony and did not want interruptions in my photos or videos. 

Of course, I got a lot of back lash. I have a beloved aunt who I really wanted to attend the wedding. She declined. Her reason was that she was so attached to her daughter, she could not imagine leaving her kid in the care of someone else. There was also a family friend of G who cornered G and I to express his disdain at our decision to not include kids and how heartbroken his 6 year old daughter was because she could not attend the wedding. I really felt bad but like with all other rules, we had to apply it across the board. :-/

And if you decide to exclude kids, make it clear in your invitation AND call those you suspect may have difficulty with this. Just say, "I was just calling to make sure you received our invitation. I would love to have you join us but I just wanted to give you a heads up so you can find a sitter. I hope you understand." Again, nice, fair and FIRM.

An alternative is that if you have a good number of children you'd like at your wedding, you can hire baby sitter(s) to watch the kids at a separate room close to the wedding or in one of the hotel rooms upstairs (if the wedding is at a hotel). My sister did this for about 20 kids at her wedding. I did this as well but only for the kids that were in my bridal party. Regardless of the scale you decide to do this, it could be a perfect alternative because the parents could enjoy the wedding but also check in on their children periodically. The parents were even more than willing to pay for the baby sitters. 

5. The Parent- Factor:

Regardless of the vision you have for your wedding, I bet you it is no match for the vision your parents have for your wedding. Most parents envision your special day (and all the guests in attendance), even before you attend your first day of high school. This issue will show its face severally in your wedding planning....but the first time you may face it head on is when you ask for and receive your parents' guest list. You may want a 100-people wedding but your parents want to invite that lady that watched you once when you were 1 year old, a coworker whom you've never met but to whom they've shown your photo and raved about your accomplishments, their neighbor's uncle who saw you once and commented that you are beautiful, and an old classmate who they ran into at another wedding recently and who said they "heard" their child is getting married. 

The latter is true story for me. My mom ran into an old classmate just around the time I got engaged. He mentioned that he "heard" her daughter was getting married and offered his congratulations. In "Nigeria-speak", that's language for, "you better invite me to come and chop rice". When I saw the name, which I didn't recognize on the guest list, I asked her and she said it felt awkward not inviting him, since he mentioned his willingness to attend and catch up with all their mutual friends who will also be at the wedding. I was very reluctant but I conceded (because you have to pick your battles, right?) I sent him an invitation and he RSVPed for one. Three weeks before the wedding, he emailed me telling me that his "lady friend" will be in town at the time and that he will come with her. He also offered to pay whatever it will cost me to add her to the list. Take note- that to brides, while money is a big issue, there's also the bigger issue of not wanting strangers at your wedding or in your wedding photos. I kindly responded that the guest list was closed, that we had finalized with the reception and vendors and that I already went over with my budgeted guest list. He did not respond. I heard later that he still showed up with his "lady friend" and when he could not gain access, caused ruckus at the door. He eventually entered and "chopped rice". Needless to say, when I took a log of gifts later, there was none from him. I should have said no from the beginning. 

 If your parent doesn't drive you crazy with their guest list, you are very lucky. The thing a lot of parents don't understand, especially immigrant parents who are not used to the way weddings are organized in the United States, is that every wedding cost is charged per head, period. In Nigeria, for example, weddings are free for all and food is cheaper so you can order for everyone. Unfortunately, unless you want to have your wedding in an open soccer field and don't mind not be able to personally interact with your guests, we don't have that luxury here. 
After you explain to your parents just how much the wedding is costing you per head, you can do a few things to ensure our relationship with them is still intact. Remember, the wedding will come and go- so ensure your relationships with the people you love survive the storm. You can allocate a definite number of seats for your parents and let them bring whoever they want within that number. ut of course, if your or your fiancé's parents are paying for the wedding, this may change the situation just a bit. In that case, you may need to find an equitable way to account for or better still, show appreciation for who is bringing in the big bucks!

Also, as with any delicate situation, Pick your battles VERY wisely. Stay calm, polite but FIRM in your decision- refuse to be emotionally blackmailed. 

5. The Plus- One:

Oh, this is a very sticky issue. Again, unless you plan to have a bunch of people you don't know and who could become irrelevant next week in your wedding and photos, you can't possibly allow every single guest bring a plus one. You have to draw the line somewhere. When doing so, consider the following questions:
  • Is the guest married ? Wife/husband Plus one is a must
  • Is the guest engaged to be married? Fiance/Fiancee plus one is a must
  • Does the guest have a long term girlfriend/boyfriend that you know of? Significant other plus one is a must
  • Does the guest live with significant other? Significant other plus one is a must
  • Will the guest be traveling far for the wedding AND/OR not know any of the other guests? Significant other plus one is a must
For my wedding, I excluded new or casual boyfriends and girlfriends. Needless to say,  a lot of single people were not delighted, to say the least. One of my guests cancelled out the "typed" number of guests allowed on his invitation card and added his girlfriend (oh yea, this happens). Another, asked me to bring a date 2 weeks before the wedding and when I politely declined, he tried to sneak her in, then got mad when my wedding planner refused her entry. A cousin of mine told me she wouldn't attend the wedding, if she couldn't come with her best friend, so I politely took her off the list. 

So much drama. For nothing.

I understand that until you plan a wedding, you don't know the sweat and dollars that go into it. But if you are a single guest reading this, please put yourself in the shoes of the couple and try to be considerate. If you genuinely care about the couple, the fact that you cannot being a plus one should be the least of your worries. Go, because you care about them. If you can't stand it, then just send a gift and stay home- no hard feelings. 

And if you are reading this and you are the bride or groom inviting a single person, be considerate as well. Make an effort to communicate the reasoning to everyone who is not allowed to have someone to accompany them. Be nice, polite but FIRM. No matter where you draw the one, stick to it.

6.  The Wedding Crashers:

I'll go straight to the point with this one. This one especially applies to my Nigerian people. There WILL be people who just want to get out of the house to have fun. They may know of you or may have heard about your wedding from a family member or friend and just want to attend, just because. They WILL crash YOUR wedding at YOUR expense. They DO not care that the wedding will cost you per head. They do not care that you may go in debt trying to accommodate them. If they have social media access to you, they may contact you close to the wedding "just to say hi and see who your planning is going", to take a stab at being invited. They will add you on social media in attempt to follow the "wedding". Do not fall for it. The same way they stalked their way into your wedding, after "chopping" your rice and flaunting their goods at your wedding, they will unfollow you to make space for the next wedding. Dazzall. Oh and they probably won't even bring any gifts lol

7. The Social Media problem:

This is simple. Although not apparently related to creating your guest list, it WILL jeopardize the guest list you are trying to create and maintain, if not handled properly. Unless you want to attract strangers and undue pressure on yourself, do not over-publicize your wedding date. Engagement photos are great but I would not share the wedding date and I would keep the daily count down to a minimum, unless you are or plan to invite every single Instagram follower or Facebook friend. If you cannot invite them, try not to rub in their faces, and then get upset when they want to crash your wedding. Of course, the news of your wedding will spread and there's nothing wrong with posting pictures or expressing excitement. I did that because I was genuinely excited. And regardless, if your wedding is at a popular area, there will be crashers. All I'm saying is, keep it in mind and do not over-hype. Leave that for the club night promoters.

8. To Add or Not to Add? On the fence guests:

In choosing people to add to your guest list, there will be people you struggle about.  When it comes to people you're on the fence about, I would say air on the side of inclusion but seek counsel from someone who has planned a wedding before. For example, you may worry about those who invited you to their wedding but your relationship has faded since then. For me, I had my sisters to look to for advice and  I invited everyone who invited me to their wedding, except one but that was because in that case, "faded relationship" was an understatement.

You may also be on the fence about people who sent early wedding gifts before the invitations went out. In that case, there is no obligation to invite them, UNLESS you can "afford" to.

Another on-the-fence issue is when dealing with distant cousins or family friends with large families. You have to consider whether to just invite one (who you are close to) or the whole family. This issue, I'd say, largely depends on the dynamics of the situation. If you want to invite only one, just consider the message you want to send and be sure to stick to it. 

You may also be at loss on whether or not to invite co-workers. Unless one or two are friends wit you outside of work, you either have to invite all members of your department or none at all. As for your boss or manager, consider the office environment- is there good rapport? Do you work for a small organization? Also, consider the nature of your celebration- are you having an intimate wedding or is it a large affair? If you are having a large affair, air on the side of inviting the boss, at least. But if it's intimate, just nicely hint that you are having a very small wedding. They should understand.

9. Don't Create Premature Expectations:

Be careful about the message you send, before you send out invitations. Don't send a "save-the-date" to anyone who you are not sure you want to invite to the wedding because by sending the save-the date, you have virtually said, "Check this date off your calendar. I will be inviting you". I really tried to manage expectations prior to sending out the invitations. I remember a distance family friend sent me a message about how he had to take off work for my wedding and so, I needed to hurry up with the invitations so he could give his managers ample notice. Even though his concerns were logical, he already had an assumption that he would be invited. I simply responded thanking him for reaching out and explaining that we were still in the process of finalizing the guest list. 

I made one mistake though. When I was doing my initial compilation, I asked a distant family friend for his address which he gladly sent. Unfortunately, when it was time to finalize the guest list, for cost-reasons, we had to cut him and some others out. Even though I never sent as much as a Save-the-Date to him, he was offended that I even asked for his address. I genuinely felt bad, but at that point, I had already gone over my life by 70 guests and was only seeing dollar signs :-/  So yes, don't even ask for a person's address, until you are sure they will make the list.  

10. Use Excel or an App:

The last tip is practical. To make things easier for you to manage, use excel or a wedding guest list template/app on your iPad or phone. Being able to easy change the guest list will be very beneficial in the long run, considering, for e.g. If you are at work or at a cake tasting when you learn that Aunt Becky and her 3 sisters can't make it, you can easily go to your guest list and make the necessary adjustments and possibly, make a note to invite 3 other people. It's not enough that making the guest list is undoubtedly overwhelming, managing it may be more so. The guest list is one of the most dynamic aspects of wedding planning. Because of life changes and unexpected events, guests will drop in and out up until 2 days or even the day before the wedding. Having an easy and accessible way to keep track of the Save-the-Dates/ invitations sent out and the RSVPs will save you a whole of stress. For me, I used excel and was able to manage it on my iPad.  Hit me up on and I'll gladly send you a template.

As a bonus tip, send out invitations in batches, based on priority (see above). Maintain a back-up guest list for those who don't make the original batch. No matter how beautiful and special your wedding day will be, not everyone you invite will be able to make it for numerous reasons: cost of travel, work, something going on their lives, a scheduling conflict, or even one of your rules. So, you have to be on top of your list in a way that as soon as you find out someone can't attend your wedding, you can note it and send out another batch of invitations accordingly (and of course tactfully in a way that doesn't make any guest feel like an afterthought). You'd have to either be on top of this or hire a wedding planner who is.

Putting together your guest list can be overwhelming and bring a lot of pressure. Just keep in mind that anyone who genuinely loves you and wants to be at your wedding, whether or not, they agree with your rules, will respect them, just for you. Focus on making sure that the people you care about the most are around you to witness you take a big and beautiful step in your life. Trust me, on that day, you want to be surrounded by love and support. Everything else shouldn't matter. 

All in all, take a deep breath, it will be okay.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Stay Inspired.....
NwaVic||| |||Instagram @dearnwavic  ||| Twitter @nwavicesq

Image(s) Source: Google Images

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dear NwaVic: Unexpected Proposal: I Thought He Cheated, I Cheated, then He Proposed

Dear NwaVic,

I am a 23 year old female. My boyfriend is 28. Last week, we were watching TV and randomly, he told me he thinks I'm the one and asked if I would marry him. I was so shocked (because we have been having some issues) but I said yes. He didn't have a ring though but promised we'll pick it out together. I love him and I want to marry him but I find myself wondering if I'm fully ready. The thing is that I didn't even know he had been thinking marriage because for the past couple of months, he's been acting weird. I thought he was cheating because of his unusually close relationship with his female best friend. I figured we'd break up soon so I allowed my male co-worker/friend go all the way after the company Christmas party in December. We were both drunk. I never felt guilty about it until now. Now, I can't sleep. My family is excited I'm getting married (my mother especially has been calling the whole world announcing my engagement and planning my trad) but I'm not because of this burden I'm carrying around. Your thoughts?

Unsettled in Ontario

Dear Unsettled in Ontario,
Thank you for writing Dear Nwavic at Your email really touches my heart because I remember myself at 23, even though not 'too' long ago time-wise, is a world away for me in wisdom.

While there very well could be details that may alter my perspective, based solely on the details you've given me, I advise that you not only have a honest conversation with your fiancee, but seek professional counseling (preferably with the church, if you are part of one, BEFORE you walk down the aisle.) Here are the red flags:

1. You were shocked he proposed because you've been having issues: First things first, you should never get married until you have resolved any and all outstanding issues you have with your significant other.  Marriage is not a solution and whatever issues you have BEFORE marriage (starting from the most minor thing like the annoying way he chews to the biggest thing like how insecure he makes you feel) WILL be magnified AFTER marriage. Pay attention to issues (his 'close' relationship with his bestie, your 'insecurities", infidelity, etc.) and signs before you make that commitment because once you do, flaws become heightened and what you thought were "minor" issues will probably become "major".

2. You are wondering if you are fully ready: It's normal to have a few jitters right before tying the knot but if you are "wondering", then it's time to do some self reflection. There is no rush. You are only 23 years old. It's better to be sure, than to enter a marriage for the sake of being married, only to be divorced a few months later, possibly pregnant.

3. THE CHEATING!  I'm sure you know this by now but I'll say it anyway. TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT.  Even if he was cheating on you, cheating too couldn't possibly be the solution. Because you didn't say so, I assume you never even confronted him about it AND you didn't even feel guilty about doing what you "thought" he was doing. Please don't mistake my honesty for judgment. The burden on your conscience is heavy enough on you and I'd hate to add to it. However, in order to lift the burden you feel, you must face your truth.

I also understand you are probably worried about embarrassing or disappointing your family especially, since your mother is excitedly spreading the word, but you need to be a little "selfish" here, and tell her to stop. The sooner, you talk to your mother, the better you'll save yourself looming heartbreak.

A marriage built on lies will only fall apart with time. Like I said, It's better to be married at 30 and for a lifetime, than to be married at 23 years old and miserably divorced shortly after. Having said all this, my cut and dry advise is this- You should only get married only when you both feel that the other has a complete understanding of who they're marrying and what they're getting into. Because you're not there yet, if you love your fiancé, put some brakes on the wedding planning, come clean with your fiancé and seek professional counseling.

Best of Luck!

Stay Inspired.....
NwaVic||| |||Instagram @dearnwavic  ||| Twitter @nwavicesq

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Red Carpet Fashion + Complete List of Winners: 2016 Academy Awards (The Oscars)

See the stunning looks from the red carpet and the complete list of winners from the 88th Academy Awards!
  Kerry Washington
                                               Sofia Vergara in Marchesa
 Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh
 Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell
 Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney
 Jennifer Lawrence in Dior
 Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton
Jared Leto in Gucci
Andra Day in SAFiYAA
 Rooney Mara in Givenchy
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Eddie Redmayne
 Naomi Watts in Armani Prive
 Mindy Kaling in Elizabeth Kaling
Zuri Hall
Maria Menounos in Christian Siriano
Ryan Seacrest in Ryan Seacrest Distinction
Liz Hernandez
 Olivia Wilde in Valentino
 Charlize Theron in Dior
 Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein
 Jennifer Garner in Atelier Versace
 Amy Poehler in Andrew GN
 Rachel McAdams in August Getty Atelier
 Brie Larson in Gucci
 Emily Blunt in Prada
 Chrissy Teigen in Marchesa and John Legend in Paul Smith
 Kate Winslet in Ralph Lauren
 Julianne Moore
 Cate Blanchett in Armani
 Margot Robbie
 Reese Witherspoon
 Tina Fey
 Leonardo DiCaprio in Armani
 Heidi Klum in Versace
 Isla Fisher
 Whoopi Goldberg in The Danes
 Olivia Munn in Stella McCartney
 Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin
 Priyanka Chopra in Zuhair Murad
 Patricia Arquette in Marina Rinaldi
 Kelly Ripa
Sarah Silverman
The Revenant  - WINNER
Mad Max: Fury Road  - WINNER
The Revenant  - WINNER
Mad Max: Fury Road  - WINNER
Son of Saul  - WINNER
Mad Max: Fury Road  - WINNER
The Hateful Eight  - WINNER
Mad Max: Fury Road  - WINNER
Stutterer  - WINNER
Mad Max: Fury Road  - WINNER
Mad Max: Fury Road  - WINNER
Ex Machina  - WINNER
The Big Short - WINNER
Spotlight - WINNER||| |||Instagram @dearnwavic  ||| Twitter @nwavicesq

Source:, HuffingtonPost and EOnline