November Goals (2016)

Hey World,

A lot of bloggers post at the beginning of each month what they want to accomplish in the upcoming month, and then check back a few weeks later to see how they did, and reset once again. 

I really love the idea of this, particularly because I'l be launching into my Powersheets starting November 1st until May 1st. Powersheets help drive you to achieve ten goals across six months so I think these two things will go together really well! Aside from more details on my Powersheets goals later on, you can expect some monthly goals (and recaps) through my birthday month too!

November Goals:

1. Select a wedding photo & template from Minted to use for our Christmas cards (and order!)

2. Host my best friend Kelsey & take LOTS of BFF pictures on our adventure to Victoria Falls

3. Organize and cook a small Thanksgiving Dinner here in Iringa (& co-plan a community one)

4. Attend a book sale / host a book swap to refresh my bookshelves

5. Buy our flights home for Christmas (and book NYE accommodation in Amsterdam!)

6. Send two "just because" cards & one postcard to a lucky few friends :)

7. Finish reading three books! 


*Special shoutout to Canva which allows for FREE templates & images! I'll be using Canva for all of my monthly goal images :)

I Have A Brand New Name

Hey World,

While I am now weeks & weeks behind my marriage posts (they'll come slowly but surely, I promise!), I am just on time to share a bit more about settling into my new name!

If you haven't changed your name before...well, I'll let you in on a little secret:
  It's weird. 
Like, really weird. 

And for at least a month (and the foreseeable future), you're kind of in limbo of being called something new in some circumstances, and still being your old name in some circumstances. 

The only other time I've felt like this is when I looked in the mirror for the first weeks after I dyed my hair dark back in college. I remember every time I looked at the reflection, I could only give the Donald Trump NO! to the reflection I hardly recognized. Me? Brunette? Never! Then it hit me, no...I was brunette! AND to boot -- I chose it myself! 

Getting married and changing your name is more of an eventual shedding, while still hearing both names and saying somewhat-confidently "Wait, that's me!!"...but with a delayed response.

 First, you'll change your name on the marriage license, but it doesn't get processed until after you're pronounced husband and wife, and introduced to dozens, if not hundreds, of your wedding guests. Technically, your new name starts now!

Signing my new name for our marriage license! 

Then, you'll change your Facebook name (duh), and people will invariably contact you asking how they know you, and you'll have to say you just got married, and then they'll all respond "OMG! It didn't even register!" and (unluckily) don't unfriend you. Within the first week, this happened to me three times!

Then, you'll submit your documents to change your Social Security Card, which you'll soon find out is the Holy Grail of all things name-changing. Only after you get that card can you begin changing your drivers license, your credit cards, and every other thing that's printed with your name on it. I'm telling's a process.

(( Luckily, there's HitchswitchIf you have a printer, a confusion on how to change your name, and a love for putting things into the mail -- this website is for you! It will be worth every single dollar of their $29 package, and save you hours of second-guessing your sanity & ability to fill out government forms. This will now be my go-to gift to all of my female BFFs as soon as they get engaged! ))

At work, you'll ask to change your email address, and all of your work login accounts, and you'll get confused if the password will be the same, or different, and you'll realize you really shouldn't have so many different passwords everywhere, because you're quickly getting locked out of everything! Eventually, you'll figure it out. Eventually...

Finally trying out my new name at work! 

Meanwhile, as you dance all across the world wide web, you'll realize that your 18-year-old self clearly never expected to get married, because she used your last name on absolutely everything (who was that girl anyways!?). You also realize that this whole "name change" thing is going to take you at least a year to really align on...(and that there's really no reason for you to have a Nordstrom Rack online account when you've literally never bought anything from you also have to delete online accounts too :)

You also -- for the first time -- now realize you are not the only person with your new initials &/or your new name. This means you are, in fact, now very late to the online name game, and everything simple is taken (MarisaGrimes, not the first). This will only further delay much of your social media changes, until you manage to come up with something somewhat clever, somewhat you, and 100% not-yet-taken (I'm still taking ideas!!).

But aside from all of the craziness, you get to share a name (!) with your life partner in crime, and hopefully, all the future little ones who will be joining #TeamGrimes later down the line. That's surely worth every headache and form :)

Now, I'm off to practice writing pretty Gs.


#BecomingTeamGrimes: Getting to the Right Continent

Hey World,

One of the challenges I posed to myself before we left Tanzania for our stateside wedding celebrations was to try and capture every single moment because I didn't want to forget a second. 

While I'll be sharing lots and lots of the wedding day & wedding receptions in the coming weeks and months, I also want to try and capture the memories sandwiched in between them (because I write to remember). 

So the first part of our journey was leaving our house and getting to New York...which sounded fairly straightforward (and we packed light bags!) however from start to finish, we were in transit for more than 36 hours. They were mainly spent chattering away with one another about things we may have forgotten before we padlocked our front door & wondering out loud (and loudly) if anyone could tell we were on our way to getting married.

Brady also managed to take a few hours at a cafe in Dar es Salaam and write his vows (I'm not going to brag...but I started back in March). I also managed to go over to his table only three times, and did NOT peek, even though I really really wanted to!

The picture we sent our friends and the airport in Dar es Salaam at 3am -- ready to fly back to the United States!

An amazing rainbow ring around our plane's shadow -- I think it was a little good fortune following us home. 

It was also the first time we went through all of the immigration, customs and security lines a family of two! I know it might sound crazy, but I loved it.  I've been traveling for almost eight years by myself around the globe and it's so nice to not have to answer all of the immigration questions by yourself (particularly since we work abroad...and in agriculture)! 

In Syracuse, we landed, collected our bags, and headed straight to the Sherwood Inn's Seafood Fest to see my mom, and get a little post-flight snack. Skaneateles factored heavily into the coming week, so there was really no better place to enjoy a couple of hours of sunshine before starting to unpack!


Piga Kilele! (Our Tanzanian Send Off Party)

Hey World,

A few weeks ago I shared ten 'must haves' for a great Tanzanian Send Off party (as well as explaining a little bit what a send off party is).

 I'd now like to present some photo evidence that we in fact included ALL of the above, and hosted a truly amazing event for almost 100 guests! I'll let the photos below do most of the talking, but I can't stress enough what an amazing way it was to kick off our wedding month!

We hired a decorator and she transformed a drafty meeting hall into a spectacular send off party venue!

...Complete with table chandeliers y'all! 

Two of the best tailors in town created these for us - love them! 
We had some special guests in town for our party too -- all the way from Houston!

The entourage begins! 6 motorcycles, 2 trucks, a large minivan, and at least 4 cars.

Traffic circle dance party!

Parades and traffic circles = best friends! We went around and around...and around. 

Somewhere on our 3-mile long parade 

Our parade before sunset -- it lasted over an entire hour, and darkness did not stop the dancing!

Dancing the champagne into a frenzy...

Champagne - e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. 

Cutting our cake (and not knowing where to start!)

One of the maybe 2o-25 people we hand-fed cake bites too!

Dancing up the goat cake :)
 Brady in his happy place now that the goat cake had arrived.

Dancing up the gifts to the bride and groom - we ended up with a lot of gorgeous fabric, and some other great gifts for our home here! 

There's just no way to capture just how much food there was! This is maybe 1/3 of what was on offer. Of course, dinner was served last (after 10pm) because everyone knows people leave after the food! 

We are so so so lucky to live and work here in Iringa with so many amazing people -- this entire party was put together with many of our colleagues donating their time, money, and connections to make sure 9ur celebration was one for the books!


Monthly Mantra: Grace, Not Perfection

Hey World,

It's time for the second edition of monthly mantra! 

In case this is your first time stopping by, at the beginning of the month I share one quote I've come across to give a positive frame of reference for the coming weeks. They will be shared without explanation, as inspiration comes to each of us differently!

If you have any suggestions for a single sentence mantra, leave it in the comments, and you may see it in an upcoming month! You can check out previous monthly mantras here


Image Source: Grace, Not Perfection