Our One Year Wedding Anniversary

one year wedding anniversary nando and german

 

It was one year ago today that German and I slushed our way through the snow and said “I do” in front of an impatient city hall worker in New York City and got married. Our official witness was one of my best friends, Charlene but also present were her then boyfriend and our Russian immigrant photographer Vlad who would constantly spit out phrases like “Put heads together like so” while bringing his hands together in a clapping motion. It was romantic, it was intimate, it was rushed as there were 200 other couples waiting to be married after us. Our officiant, after telling us we could now seal our marriage with a kiss, yelled “Next!” and we rode off into the sunset…or in our case, took a flight to Miami Beach and said goodbye to the snow.

This year won’t be any different — we leave for Miami tomorrow, except it is different, we’re an old married couple now, with a baby, our little Leona. She’s our 1 year old shih tzu puppy who’s taken over our lives (if our instagram and Facebook accounts are any proof). She’s already been to Texas and Iowa and now it’s beach time and we’re super excited. But we like to think we’re a modern married gay couple living in Brooklyn New York. We Snapchat to communicate important messages to one another like, “Don’t forget the Nair tonight!”

And while German was Nairing my back last night, I couldn’t help to think how our lives have changed in just one year. It’s easy to get caught up in every day crap and the stress of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” so I’ve developed a calming device for myself and it’s speaking to myself as my older-wiser-self. I’m sure there’s a study somewhere cautioning this as an early cause of a personalty split, but for now it works. I talk to myself from “the future” in order to not stress out and put things into perspective. Let’s say I have a presentation to give and I’m freaking out about it. I talk myself down from the edge and pretend it’s a week later and say something like, “That presentation was so sexy hot, I’m thinking of changing careers…thanks Nando! And who does your hair?” Or if I have to give an update on a project I’m working on and I haven’t received all the content I need to show much progress, the conversation in my head goes something like, “Wow, you’ve really taken being the lead on this project to the next level Nando. I’m so glad we hired you! Best decision ever! And who does your hair?”

I figured I could use this device in the positive and it got me excited to think about the future with German and our 10-year wedding anniversary. Here are the things I’ll be discussing with him as he Nairs my back on that trip. (And by now you’re probably wondering just how hairy is my back — well, let’s just say, it’s a Zach Galifianakis situation…don’t judge)

 

  • Do you remember our wedding day? No it wasn’t raining, it was snowing, read the blog!
  • Geesh, can you warm up the Nair in your hands a little more?
  • I can’t wait to hit the beach and nap. Do you think they’ll bring us Jell-O?
  • Did you buy the extra metamucil packets?
  • Joe’s Stone Crab is only a few hours away.
  • Yes, clip your toenails before we leave.
  • I don’t know, who am I? A weather man?
  • Oh yeah, take the blue one — you look extra sexy in that one!
  • Should I take the red one? You know, the red one? The red one? THE RED ONE? Forget it.
  • Leona on our 1st wedding anniversary…remember how she peed in the pool?
  • I love you.
  • THE RED ONE!
  • We saw Frozen on our honeymoon in Miami.
  • Wanna do that spa thing we did with the torture chamber water thing that goes across your back that we did? Did you like that? It was weird…but in a good way, right?
  • Damn it, you always miss a spot! I’m walking around the beach with Donald Trump’s head sticking out of my back.
  • Should we try going somewhere different next year for our anniversary? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
  • Our first date? Yeah, of course I remember it. I called you Santiago when I wrote about you because I wanted to protect your identity.
  • Don’t forget you have 3 photography sessions when we return and I have a consultation with Shonda Rhimes on the show she wants to do on my life called “Nando.”
  • Is Snapchat still a thing?
  • You really don’t remember the red one?

The 10 Things I’ve Learned from Being Married

Let’s get one thing clear — I’m not a marriage expert. Nope. I won’t wear that hat. But I will wear the hat of someone who’s been in a relationship for four years and still loves (almost) every minute of being around German. Let’s face it, we’re all human. Mothers need space from their kids, kids need space from there mothers, teachers feel the need to break free from their students and employees all need vacations away from there bosses — so why can’t we be honest when it comes to marriage? GIVE ME A BREAK!

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To Tell The Truth: Dating or Married Blindspots

Recently, I’ve been getting phone calls from women asking for dating tips/relationship advice. Everyday for the last 2 weeks, it’s a clever question disguised as a conundrum but my response to them all is the same, which is, “What does it mean to you?” And then we get to the real issue. A few weeks ago I received a message from an old high school friend who had been married for over 20 years. Yeah, that’s not a typo, that’s the number 20. As my friend Claire nervously asked her question, this was the exchange.

Claire: I’m sorry for calling and bothering you, but I just had to ask you a question.

Nando: No bother, what’s going on?

Claire: I’ve been married for 20 years and my husband doesn’t really pay attention to me, know what I mean?

Claire: Okay.

Claire: And when we talk, I feel like he’s not listening to me, know what I mean?

Nando: Yes.

Claire: I feel like I’m invisible and not sure how to make myself visible again, know what I mean?

Nando: Sure.

Claire: My kids are getting older and they’re off doing their thing and I’m left alone, know what I mean?

 

By this time, I wanted Claire to see what I saw. So I let her keep talking.

 

Claire: Is this making sense? I don’t want to be a nag or anything but I need help, know what I mean?

Nando: No, I don’t know what you mean.

Claire: What?

Nando: Yeah, what did that just do for you?

Claire: I felt like you weren’t listening.

Nando: I was listening, I just didn’t validate you.

Claire: I’m lost.

 

Nando: Do you realize you’ve asked me over five times, “Do you know what I mean?” Why do you need so much validation? You say what you say and that’s all. You don’t need anyone’s permission or validation when you speak. The world only happens in language, and it’s the most powerful way of communication if it’s done right, but you’re too busy making sure everyone “gets you” that you lose your message and effectiveness.

There was a pause. Then I heard a muted cry. Then the waterworks came. Then it all broke down. Which made me happy because only when we break down, can we have a break through.

 

Nando: What’s going on in your head?

Claire: I’m upset.

Nando: At?

Claire: Myself.

Nando: Why?

Claire: Because I have been like this all my life, know what….(she stopped herself) I’m mad at myself because I’ve been like this all my life.

Nando: Why did you stop yourself from another, “Know what I mean?”

Claire: Because I realize that I no longer need validation for my feelings. And I feel a relief.

Nando: Empowered?

Claire: Yes! That’s is! Why is that?

Nando: Because you just discovered  a blindspot.

 

In our lives we have mastered many things for our personal development, careers, etc. and that makes up about 5% of what we know. Another 10% is made up of things we know we don’t know, you know? I don’t know how to make a a pie from scratch, but that means I need to know enough about how to make a pie to know that I don’t know how to make one. Think about it. First I need to know what a pie is, then I have to know what goes into a pie (filling — which I don’t know how to make) and I know there’s a crust involve (but also know enough to know I don’t know how to make one). Clear?

But the bigger portion of our lives is made up of stuff we don’t know we don’t know. We call these things, blindspots. Claire’s blindspot was seeking validation in life as noted in her conversation. Now, this is not going to fix everything in Claire’s life/marriage, but it’s a major start. When we look outside ourselves and into another person for validation/permission for thinking what we’re thinking, feeling what we’re feeling, or simply existing–that’s not the best place to find ourselves because we won’t always be granted validation. And it’s not fair to the person we’re married to, dating or in a relationship with. That’s not what they signed up for. Instead, we need to take a step back and realize we are creative beings who were made in “creation” therefore we create–and there is power to that but you can’t allow anything outside of you to power you up, only you can do it. The conversation in your head needs to stop being, “You know what I mean?” to “This is how it’s going to be.”

 

Nando: Claire, you’ve always had a radiant smile, and when you smiled, your light was so bright that people wanted to be around you. Try to find at least 3 reasons to smile each day and give the world your smile–let us enjoy it. And trust in yourself enough to know that you are your own power source. And just as the sun doesn’t need permission to shine, it just shines….so do you.

Do you seek constant validation in life? Where is that getting you? What are the conversations in your head?

 

How My Boyfriend Inspires Me


Anyone who’s heard me talk about my boyfriend Santiago knows that he wasn’t what I was looking for “on paper”. But from the moment we met, the chemistry couldn’t be ignored or contained. And although we’ve had a quarrel or a bickering moment every now and then, this guy honestly inspires me to no end. Yes,  he has his idiosyncratic quirks like:

1. He laughs at Baskin Robbins commericals.

2. He walks four blocks for a Chase ATM that charges $1.99 as opposed to going to the ATM below his apartment that charges $2.00.

3.  Folds his underwear in little Nazi-like squares.

4. Loses his chapstick every other day so we constantly have to buy packs of them on a weekly basis.

5. And his favorite color is white.

And yet, despite all of the above, he inspires me. He inspires me to stop and breathe. He inspires me to slow down. He inspires me to be me, only better. Santiago has the ability to find the beauty in the little things. You know how I discovered his talent? (Oooh, don’t be dirty!) It was in his photography. Hand me a camera and I’ll bring you photos of slutty men on the streets of New York City showing off their manly bulges (where ever they may be: arms, pants, etc) or photos of badly-dressed people to make fun of them later. Don’t judge.

And only after one photo lesson, his passion for photography grew and he returned home with an amazing array of photos that looked like they were taken with passion, patience, and heart.
he inspires me

Out of all his photos, three really stood out which captured his innocent way of seeing life in this hustle and bustle town we call New York City.

1. A colorful butterfly that looked lonely on a tree branch until he came up and discovered it.

2. A tiny ant carrying a piece of watermelon back home.

3. A close-up shot of delicate flower petals near the Brooklyn Bridge .

And so I give all the daters out there Nandoism #68: Even if they don’t seem “good on paper” at first, don’t discredit them so early on, they might shine their creative sexy powers on you later in the game.

 

Update: The post above was written May 21. 2010 – Today is June 7th, 2017:

I wrote that post when I first started dating German. Why does it say his name was Santiago? When I was single and dating and blogging — I never wanted to disrespect any one of my date’s privacy so I used to call him Santiago in my blogs. Eventually — when things got serious, I stopped referring him to his blog name and he was revealed as German, the awesome guy he is today.

Why I felt like an update was needed after all these years? This is one of my most popular blog post and it’s gotten so much love with people sharing it and posting it all over their social media accounts and I came across this post not too long ago and read it. Do you know what happened after I read it? It made me realize that in 7 years, he hasn’t changed. He still that sweet guy that stops and not only smells the roses, he also takes a picture of them. As I read the blog I stopped and reread the part of the photos he took (a tiny ant carrying a piece of watermelon back home) because that sentence/photo represents who he is in a nutshell-a person who sees the beauty in everything and is curious enough to photography it and make it a moment.

German and I got married in 2014 and to this day, he continues to inspire me. I guess I should change the title to: How My Husband Inspires me. German is my favorite person in the world and I thank God that I had enough sense to not let my deal breaker list becomes my “I’m still single list” because we are told that we should keep ourselves to a certain standard and the people we date should also be at a certain level but sometimes life doesn’t work like that. Let’s be real, I’m not talking about dating someone who makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but you’re going to turn down a guy because of his height? Because of his income? Because of his job title? really? Well, I hope that deal breaker list keeps you warm at night because that’s all you’ll continue to embrace as you steadily hold onto your image of what’s right for you.

In my deal-breaker list, I had must be a creative or artist. He was a barista as a cafe. And it wasn’t even the well-known cafe that’s on every corner of New York City ( and cities across the world) it was a tiny place tucked in between a frozen yogurt shop and a locksmith. But when we started dating, I couldn’t get enough of his kindness and how he went the extra mile to be sweet. Oh, you want me to have the last french fry? Oh, I can sip the last of the Pepsi? You insist that I eat the left over pie? Yes! I hit the jackpot.

German and I have been together for 7 years now, going on 8 and our love story continues to develop. I’m so lucky that I blogged about our early dating life because it serves as a reminder that love does win and love is out there for us and love is love is love. But I wouldn’t be here blogging about an update if I hadn’t made myself receptive to receive him as he was, not as how I pictured him. I didn’t see the potential in him, I just accepted him for who he was and what he stood for. I didn’t try to change him. I didn’t even suggest it — he did it all on his own. He went from barista to business owner and honey, I’m reaping the benefits!

My husband continues to inspire me — now, in more ways than ever. 

  1. He’s an amazing daddy to Leona (our shih tzu)
  2. He speaks to my mom on a weekly basis and loves when my sister calls him
  3. German’s photography career has taken off and not only does he have a studio in our apartment, he works with the top dating coaches and matchmakers in New York/LA for photo gigs
  4. German will still let me have the last drink (i just have to ask for it now) LOL
  5. His heart remains kind and naive
  6. He continues to see the innocence in life
  7. He searches for the beauty in things that may appear ugly to others
  8. His continual love of self-growth
  9. He’s open and compromising
  10. He shows me he loves me daily
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