Hvala, Danke, Merci, Köszi, Grazie, Spasibo, Mahalo, Gracias, Thank you.

*Bosnian, French, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, Hawaiian, Spanish, English. "'Thank you' in many languages"

I'm trying very hard to get my thank you notes before the holiday. I was going to buy card stock and stamp them, but my suggestion for a 28 hour day hasn't been approved yet, so I bought some simple blank thank you cards and have begun to address them. I have around 50 gift thank you's and maybe 20 "thanks for coming" thank you's. I needed some inspiration on what to write without sounding impersonal or cheesy and I found a great essay/advice column on Thank you etiquette. Here is a summary, for your viewing pleasure. This article was originally published at The Morning News.

"...I will also grudgingly tell you the hidden secret of thank-you notes: They improve the frequency and quality of the gifts you receive. People like being appreciated, and if they feel you actually notice the nice things they do for you, they’re more likely to give an encore performance.

1. Greet the Giver
Let them hear their ow name and see it in ink. No typing or pre-printed.

2. Express Your Gratitude
Avoid the "just writing" trap. You are not ‘just writing to say’ as in I am just writing to say; that's stating the obvious. Write as if whatever you say is happening in the moment.

Never directly mention money. All cash denominations become ‘your generosity’ or ‘your kindness.’ If you feel the giver overspent, the farthest you can go is appreciated: ‘Your generosity is appreciated,’ or ‘It is such an extravagant gift—your kindness is appreciated.’

If you’re writing to thank someone for an intangible (such as them putting you up at their place while you were in town for the weekend), first define what the intangible thing is, and then make the gift sound as attractive as possible. Don’t say: ‘Thanks for letting us crash at your place.’ Instead say: ‘Thank you for your hospitality.’ The point of writing the note is to create a simple expression of a heartfelt sentiment.

3. Discuss Use
Say something nice, but don't lie, find something positive.

4. Mention the Past, Allude to the Future
Fit the giver into your life.

5. Grace
Say thanks again.

6. Regards
Wrap it up.

A thank you is for thanking the giver. It isn't a life achievement newsletter.

Don't forget to mail it.

-Leslie Harpold, 1 October 2003

I think there is incredibly sound advice here. I was clueless what to write in each, but I actually feel a bit better now.


Planning Advice

I've always loved planning things. I'm a bit exacting (read: anal) at times, so planning events or activities is my idea of a good time. I'm finding that one the most important factors in planning is others' opinions. I definitely have my own vision, but it's so helpful to hear stories from friends and coworkers about venues and vendors. I realized last night that I've heard one thing over and over again:
"If I did it over, it wouldn't have been so elaborate."
It's so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of wedding planning. I remind myself constantly not to lose focus. I want to have a wonderful party with good food, booze, and music. I'd like it to be pretty as well, but the first three are truly the most important.


Engagement Party Recap

What a great day we had Sunday. So many people showed up, many stayed a while, some for a quick hello, but we had such a blast. The first guests arrived around noon (while I was still in shorts, trying to unfold chairs), and the last few party goers got going at 10:30 pm or so. I'm pretty sure I said no more than hello and thanks for coming for the first 3 hours. We decided to cater and cook, which worked out wonderfully. Mike's dad and sister ordered a sheet cake and we also made some sweet plates. Even though we've been engaged since Christmas Eve, it's strange how I feel "more engaged" now. 2 more years to go before the big day, or sooner if my money tree starts blooming.
From top to bottom: Mike and Sam (Me); Me, my sister Erica, and my future sister-in-law, Lauren; brother and sister


It's My Party

We're heading over to the house in a minute. I'm anxious about the weather. It's pretty damn gloomy outside. Oh well, we'll just get 'em all drunk and no one will notice. I made the icebox cake last night. I thought it came out well, I guess we'll see who vomits first. See you in a few hours.