How to get married in Las Vegas

“What are we doing today?” Anthony asked me from the bed at our Las Vegas Hotel. It was the morning of our last day before we headed on to Los Angeles after a quick trip to show our kids the infamous Strip.

“I’m not sure. Maybe take the kids to The Venetian. What do you want to do?” was my response as I kept my eyes on my phone, trolling through my emails and sipping a double shot Starbucks whilst Eva watched cartoons and Jack had his morning sleep.

“I think we should get married”

That certainly got my attention away from the phone “Are you serious?” I asked…about fifteen times. After 12 years together and two children, getting married hadn’t really been on my radar.

“Yes, I am serious. Are you serious?” Anthony questioned me.

I asked Eva if she thought her crazy parents should get married today and she gave us what can only be described as a three year old’s eye roll.

“OK then. Let’s do it!” I exclaimed as I grabbed the laptop to check out the legalities (ever the researcher!).

Anderson-Falahey-7-6-17-EG-19

A wedding in Las Vegas is legal in Australia, and pretty easy to do – but requires a bit more effort than we expected. It’s not possible to just turn up at the Little Chapel of Love and have it all over and done with in five minutes. But you can do it in seven hours!

First you need to obtain a marriage license from theClark County Marriage Bureau. You must do this in person, however you can fill out the application online to reduce your wait time (we did this, and only waited in line for about one minute). The marriage license is valid from the moment you receive it for one year and cost US$77. You still need a marriage ceremony to complete the process, and this can take many forms in Las Vegas.

As we wanted a casual, fuss free wedding, we were happy to find any venue that looked half decent and preferably didn’t have Elvis as the Minister.

For the ceremony you can wear anything you like, within reason, and we decided to put in a little bit of effort which meant a stop at Fashion Show Mall. Eva was the self-appointed flower girl so she needed a new dress, along with a white dress for her mama. Thankfully Macy’s is prepared for this as we were surrounded by white dresses within a few metres from the entrance. Clothes sorted, it was on to the rings. We later discovered that you don’t have to exchange rings during the ceremony, but I am glad we did. There is no shortage of jewellery stores in Vegas, so your options are endless. You might also want to get hair and/or make up done whilst you’re at the Mall. I didn’t as we were juggling two kids who wouldn’t have the patience to sit still whilst Mummy had her face painted.

After we received our Marriage License we found a venue that takes “walk ins”. Some people choose to be married on certain dates so there is a chance that the venue you want is fully booked – for example on Valentine’s Day. We were married on 6 July and were told that the venue was fully booked the next day – 7/7/17 – Lucky numbers in Las Vegas.

We chose Downtown Vegas Chapel which is bright and modern and exactly what we were after. They provide wedding packages but like most things in America, includes plenty of add ons. Make sure you clarify what you are getting for your money. Our package included nine photos taken by a professional photographer. We couldn’t choose just nine photos from the 90 taken, so we ended up purchasing all of the photos – for $800! (told you – add ons!)

The Minister spoke with us before the ceremony to make sure it was exactly as we wanted. The Wedding Planner from the Venue, Whitney, was wonderful and she even located a basket with fake petals for Eva to spread down the aisle.

We hadn’t expected to get professional photos taken, thinking a few selfies would suit us just fine, but now that we’re back home it is wonderful to have those photos to look back at what seemed like a whilrlwind.

You will receive a signed marriage certificate after your ceremony, and the Minister has ten days to register it with Clark County. Once it’s registered you can order a certified copy online. You will need this if you intend to change your name in Australia. You may also need an Apostille, which is obtained from the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.

Anderson-Falahey-7-6-17-EG-41Whilst legal in Australia, a marriage in Las Vegas cannot be registered with Births, Deaths, and Marriages. This means that if you would like to take your new spouse’s name you will need to apply to change your name.

 

Getting married in Las Vegas was a fantastic decision for us, as we love the place and used to visit every year pre-children. It was simple, and for this stress head, was the perfect way to get married. Even if I was engaged for only seven hours.

 

Have you been married in Las Vegas or Overseas? Is there anything you would have done differently?

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Is being an entrepreneur the modern working mums equivalent to selling Tupperware?

Growing up I had a stay at home mother, as did most of my friends. One friend from high school had a mother who worked at a bank four days a week. This was so far out of the norm for me that for years I assumed she was the Bank Manager as there could be no other explanation as to why she worked so much!

I admit that I had very few working women as role models when I was younger, but I have always been incredibly driven and ambitious. I guess that drive is part of my personality, because it wasn’t something that I witnessed and wanted to emulate as a child. Perhaps it was the lack of financial freedom and little money that my family had that has ensured that I want to avoid financial stress.

During the 80’s my own mother and her friends would often have side projects to give them ‘pocket money’ as they often referred to it. This was usually as part of a multi level marketing business such as Tupperware or Mary Kay. Some of these women were very successful with these businesses and continued with them long after the children had gone to school.

I started my business, The Tenant Company, when my daughter was a little over a year old, as working full time in my corporate job put a lot of pressure on my home life. The job was very demanding with little flexibility but I was paid well for it. I had the business plan done, the financial forecast and website up and running. I didn’t intend to earn the six figures that I previously had, but I anticipated that by working around my daughter I would still make a comfortable income. Fast forward two years and I will honestly say that the financial predictions I made have not eventuated. So what’s going on? I see entrepreneur’s spruiking themselves as having made a fortune almost overnight – how giving up the corporate world set them free (and let them tell you all about it – for a fee). Is it just me going through this?

Instead of beating myself up about this I approached a group of female entrepreneurs and asked the question “Who earns enough money from their business to support their family?” It might surprise you – perhaps it doesn’t – but most don’t. Most of these women are working to cover business overheads, pay staff or pay themselves ‘pocket money’.

So why do we do this to ourselves? With my own adventure into running a business, and sharing insights with other mothers doing similar I wonder

“Is Entrepreneurship the modern day equivalent of selling Tupperware?”

Why is it that women are busting their arses to run businesses that aren’t making any money? Some of the women I spoke with told me it gave them a level of freedom they wouldn’t otherwise have working for someone else. Others are laying the foundations of a good business whilst their children are young, with the intention of expanding on this when the children go to school. The very few who told me that their businesses are providing them with a substantial income are those that have been operating the business for a number of years and their children are now older.

It seems that some women are spending 4 -5 years running businesses making very little money instead of working part time for someone else because very few part time positions exist. These women are highly skilled and want to make a contribution to the work force, but their request for part time or flexible working hours aren’t being fulfilled.

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Do you think it is possible to pay yourself a market wage from a business whilst working flexible hours? Are we just working for ‘pocket money’. Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West is just like any other two year old – so why are grown men allowed to take photos of her?

This week I watched a video that disturbed me. That wasn’t the intent of the video, it was actually meant to be cute and funny, but instead it left me feeling concerned and compelled to write about it.

It was a video of a little two-year-old girl in her tutu on her way to ballet class. This little girl was surrounded by about twenty grown men calling out to her, taking her photo and filming her when she clearly didn’t want to be filmed. She can be heard saying, “I said no photos” and putting her hands up.

As the mother of a two year girl this video makes my skin crawl as I’m sure it would most other parents. How is taking a photo or video of somebody’s child without their permission ok? Even more so when the child clearly doesn’t want their photo taken.

Now, if I told you that little girl was North West, daughter of the world’s most famous celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and the grown men with cameras were paparazzi would that change anything? Should it? Just because North’s parents choose to be famous, does that mean that she should be hounded and harassed by grown men? I wouldn’t think so. There is no registration to be a paparazzo so how does know the names of these men following a two year old? We know the great lengths they will go to take the photos – but who are they selling them to?

Imagine your child dealing with this every day
Imagine your child dealing with this every day

In 2013 Senate Bill 606 was passed in California, which made it illegal for any person to intentionally harass a child due to their parent’s occupation. The Bill was supported by high profile celebrities Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry, who have reported times where paparazzi, aka adult men, have sat outside their children’s school waiting for the child to come out. Whist the Bill seems like a step in the right direction, especially in a state where a high majority of celebrities reside, you have to wonder what effort would be required to actually prosecute under this law.

We’ve seen similar issues here in Australia recently, with Lara Bingle and husband Sam Worthington calling the police on paparazzi that were taking photos of their infant son. I can assure you that if a man were taking photos of my two-year-old daughter, having the police called would be the least of his problems!

Kim Kardashian with daughter North West. Pic Credit: Instagram
Kim Kardashian with daughter North West. Pic Credit: Instagram

The main argument from the paparazzi about taking photos of the children of celebrities is that ‘the public wants to see them’ which may be right, but shouldn’t we leave the decision of what photos are shared up to the parents? Kim Kardashian and her family share plenty about their lives, including photos of their children, and this should be enough to satisfy public curiosity. I for one do not want to see the video of a little girl being harassed by grown men on her way to a ballet class.

Next time you go to buy a magazine with photos of a celebrity’s child inside, consider how you would feel if that were your child. Perhaps if we stop feeding the beast, it might just stop snapping.

Simone

Most of us look back fondly on our childhood and I have wonderful memories of growing up in Grace Street with an amazing group of friends. Over the years I lost contact with a lot of these friends, but it doesn’t change the memories that I have of them, and I kind of like that they’re frozen in time.

I received the tragic news last week that one of my childhood friends, Simone, disappeared and human remains believed to be hers have recently been located. This is hard to fathom when my memories of her are as a pre-teen playing with her dogs and eating condensed milk (we used to eat it out of the tin back in the day). Unfortunately life can take some truly awful turns and my heart goes out to Simone’s family and her two young sons.

I understand that the final years of Simone’s life may not have been her best, but that is not how I remember my childhood friend and I am fortunate to have treasured memories of the fun times that we had. Simone has two sons and I think it’s important that they know about their mum when she was a child, and a friend to many. We are often told that it is not the dates on a headstone that matter, but the ‘dash’ in between, and that is certainly true. We should not only think of how a person was in adulthood, but also how they were as a child and a friend. These are my memories of Simone.

Simone’s family had a flock of pigeons, which would fly in formation over our street each afternoon. We found it incredible that they didn’t try to fly away and every time I see a pigeon now I am reminded of these ones.

There is no doubt that, being the only daughter, Simone was gifted with everything she could possibly want and she generously shared this with my sisters and I. Simone would go to the Royal Melbourne Show each year and bring home just about every show bag they had, and would invite us over to share the Bertie Beetles with her.

She was an avid dancer, and her costumes were incredible. I would attend some of the concerts with her and we would spend most of our time running around the hall before she had to get her hair and make up done. She leaped into any task with a huge smile on her face – she thoroughly enjoyed life.

There was the time her parents hired a spa, I can’t remember what party this was for or if it was simply because they felt like it, but we had so much fun in that spa! Even when our skin was wrinkly and we were freezing cold we didn’t want to get out.

Simone had a kind nature and absolutely loved animals. Her small dogs had pups and she hated the thought of giving them away, they became her babies. We would play for hours with those pups that would share a bed with Simone. When a dear school friend of mine passed away at age 12, Simone was there for me. I can recall one time when a song came on the radio that was played at my friend’s funeral and Simone was quick to change the station as she knew it would upset me.

We spent most of our time outdoors (until Simone got a Sega and we obsessed over Sonic the Hedgehog), riding our bikes at ‘the jump’ – the block of land down the street that we turned into a bmx track – or at the park swinging as high as we possibly could on the swings.

I imagine that those who knew Simone as an adult would probably say that her caring and fun loving nature carried into adulthood. This is how I will remember Simone.

Simone’s family have organized a fundraiser for her young boys to access when they are 21. You can donate to the cause here.

What in the world were they thinking?!

Whilst flicking through my Facebook feed this morning, this little gem popped up. It’s an advertisement for a real estate company in the US with a picture of a mother and her children with mess and chaos around her on one side. On the other side are two men in business suits casually smiling. The slogan reads “Part Time Agent VS Full Time Professionals”.

What idiot thought up this campaign?
What idiot thought up this campaign?

I can sometimes overreact (ok, perhaps often), and shouted a tirade at my computer whilst reading about this ad, which of course is not the creator of such foul, chauvinistic and narcissistic thinking – it is the idiots who drafted this flier and actually thought it was smart.

I considered drawing up my own meme, possibly with the Agents at a long lunch, at the strippers, a marquee at the races or cruising around in their car but realized it would only feed the demon. To pigeonhole anyone is not going to make the world a better place. The Agents, or Marketing Company or whoever the bright spark was that came up with that ad were trying to suggest that Time = Quality and this is very far from the truth.

Not surprisingly, the Agents of this advertisement have received considerable backlash on social media and have since shut down their Facebook page.

This advertisement isn’t just disrespectful to every working mum out there, but to anyone who works outside of the 9 – 5 norm. We need to free ourselves from this ridiculous ‘clock on-clock off mentality’ and a culture where turning up to the office means 80% of your work is done. A study conducted by John Pencavel at Stanford University last year found that increased hours led to decreased productivity, especially beyond a 50-hour work week. We should focus on productivity whilst at work, rather than how many hours get clocked up.

Let’s hope that we see fewer of these ridiculous stereotypes and more acceptance and implementation of flexible working conditions.

How to work from home with a toddler

Working from home with a child or children can be difficult, exhausting, inspiring and exhilarating! It all depends on how you manage it and of course what type of work you do. Being in charge of my calendar means that on the days I work from home I schedule calls at certain times when I’m least likely to have a toddler at my feet.

Whether you work from home full time, work for yourself, or your employer allows you to work from home, it’s all about being organised. I certainly don’t have it all worked out, but I am learning, and as time moves along so is Eva.

Eva doing her 'work'
Eva doing her ‘work’

She understands that when mummy is in the office on the computer she is working, and she also knows that I have an open door policy.

Here is what I’ve learnt over the past twelve months of working from home.

  • Your child will cry at the most inopportune time – usually during a phone call. Be open with those on the other end of the line that you are home with your child, as most people will understand and appreciate your honesty. I often say to clients, lawyers, real estate agents or whoever I’m on the phone to “I’m working from home today so I apologise now if you hear the nabber of my toddler in the background” This usually gets a giggle and the other person won’t be surprised if you suddenly have to put the phone down.
  • Be productive during the ‘quiet’ time. Eva still sleeps for around two to three hours of an afternoon (I might cry when she eventually drops this sleep), and during those hours I am more productive than the rest of the week! I also know that she loves to watch Doc McStuffins at 8am so here I am sitting at my desk hammering out this blog post before the show finishes at 8.30!
  • Use technology to your advantage. This is a topic that seems to elicit strong opinions from parents around the world, and people feel differently about this. We allow Eva to have an iPad and I give this to her at times during the day whilst I’m working. She is extremely proficient with it (she’s actually taught us a few things – I never knew you could switch between apps using four fingers) and we’ve downloaded a number of educational apps that she loves to play with it.
  • Try not to make your child hate your work. If Eva comes into the office whilst I’m on the computer I will stop what I’m doing and pay her some attention. Usually all she wants is some acknowledgement or a quick cuddle. The two minutes to look at a toy or have a little chat will be shorter than arguing with a toddler to let mummy finish her work.
  • Stop feeling guilty! Whatever your reasons are for working, own them and accept them. We put so much pressure on ourselves as it is; we need to stop the mummy guilt.

Do you work from home? What tips or advice do you have for other working parents?

Venturing Out of the House With a Newborn

As I sit here at the cafe at David Jones amongst the designer women’s wear, I’m reminded of how much department stores can be a refuge for new mums. In the half hour I’ve been here working on my laptop enjoying my coffee and almond croissant (you must try one) I’ve seen at least four prams go past pushed by mums with a relaxed smile and a sleeping newborn.
I remember how hard it was, in those first few weeks after having a baby, to get out of the house. The preparation required to leave the house usually outweighed any requirement to go out.
Our first time taking Eva out was to a specialist appointment when she was a couple of weeks old. We allowed so much extra drive time in case we needed to pull over and change a nappy, and I expressed enough milk to feed her for three days! I was so nervous about breast feeding in public as I found it so difficult. When we finally found a park and made our way to the appointment we realised she needed an urgent nappy change and panic ensued. Where do we change her? Do we put her on the grass in the park?
My anxiety only increased when I asked at a cafe if they had anywhere to change a baby and they told me I could do it on the toilet floor!
We made it to the appointment and thankfully they had a baby change table. This seems trivial now but it was a sweat inducing drama at the time.
Shopping with Eva at eight weeks old
Shopping with Eva at eight weeks old

When Eva was eight weeks old I took her on a shopping trip to Highpoint, as I needed an outfit for an upcoming party and none of my pre-prenancy clothes were fitting me yet. This was my first adventure on my own with Eva and I was both nervous and excited. A few stops on the drive to find her dummy but we arrived safely and content. That is, until I discovered that I had not brought any bottles with me. I was no longer breastfeeding (that’s another story) and I would pre-fill sterilised bottles with boiled water and then add the baby formula as she needed it. On this particular day I had forgotten the bottles. I knew she would be needing a feed within half an hour, and the drive home was one hour so I had no chance of getting home in time. I went into the centre and to the first pharmacy I saw. In between tears I explained my dilemma to the sales assistant. She assured me that it was ok, took me to the baby section where the same brand of bottle was stocked and pointed me in the direction of the parents room where I could wash, sterilise and fill Eva’s bottle. Coincidentally, I walked past that same pharmacy only last week and had a little chuckle to myself as I remembered this event.

To the women pushing their prams through David Jones, well done! I know the effort it took you to get out of the house. I promise you, it gets easier.