2012 US Tour Part 1: New York

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles! I’ve been on the road (and rail and air) for a while. I think I need to break this epic journey into smaller parts, so for now I give you Part the First: New York!

It all started mid-March when I flew to NY to launch our new gay wedding invite business, Queer Getting Married, at the GLBT Expo. (You can read my last post to read all about that). Some highlights that I didn’t mention were hanging out with my girls, Julia and Allison. We’ve been supah-dupah tight since our freshmen year at Syracuse. That reminds me, I really need to share some of my college misadventures, though they are not for the faint of heart. Granted, though I was the goodie-two-shoes of the bunch, I bore witness to many a tale. I also need to do a post about Julia, who happens to be an amazing artist. Till then, I will toss you a link to her site for your viewing pleasure.

Julia & Al, my special girls

The Monday after, I stayed in the city long enough to finally walk around Highline Park and have launch with my good friend Cathy. The picture below really doesn’t do the park justice. It’s something you have to experience. It was so gorgeous out–nearly 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky. Coming from Seattle, this amounted to a divine blessing. I gave thanks by making an offering of fresh macarons…which I ate.

Highline Park

Later I hopped a train to my hometown of Nanuet, which the photo below does plenty of justice. I learned that the old Nanuet Mall is being torn down to be rebuilt as “The Mall at Nanuet.” And you asked yourself why I moved. I had some good quality time with the fam as I recovered from some form of bubonic plague that I managed to score the week prior. I’m usually a “rest and tea” sort of person, but since I was travelling for the next few weeks, I didn’t mess around and got me some grade A antibiotics.

Nanuet, home of "nothing really interesting at all"

I did manage to do a little work while I was home. For an hour. On my parents’ patio. I really needed to sop up as much sun as I could while I was outside of Seattle.

My new "home office"

MacGyver Season 1: Blowin' $#!t up, mullet style

Other highlights included sleep and a Blockbuster going out of business sale, where I scored $2 copies of Inception, Mad Men Season 4, and one disc from Season 1 of MacGyver, which my brother, sister, and I promptly watched upon returning to the house. I remember learning a lot from MacGyver when I was little, and I’m still learning from his big Hollywood brain. For instance, I never knew that nuclear power plants are run by three scientists and a security guard, that there are only two people employed as freelancers by the US government who know how to disarm “complicated” bombs, and that the inside of a nuclear waste disposal chamber is a good hiding place for top-secret documents. Something I did already know was that a supporting character who appears in an action show during the 80s who is either– 1. a happily married minority with children or 2. the prettier girl’s roommate– are doomed to die in some kind of horrific explosion.

The next morning, after an onslaught of hugs and kisses and stuffing a homemade Irish soda bread into my luggage, I was off to Penn Station to ride the train to Baltimore. With my new-found MacKnowledge, I was ready to face any eventuality with my friend, Lara. Tune in next post to hear all about Maryland, homemade cupcakes, and ferrets!


We Have Lift-off!!!

Hello dear readers! So sorry I’ve been away for a while. I have been a bit busy. Since last May, my friend Jenny and I have been working on a new business venture, and we just launched this past Friday!

Queer Getting Married is a wedding invite company geared towards the gay community! Our mission is to create new traditions in wedding design for queer couples and allies with damn good taste.

Yes, I know –>GASP!<– But wait, there’s more!

Since we believe that gay marriage (or what I just like to call “marriage”) is a civil right that belongs to all people, we are donating 5% of all profits to organizations campaigning for marriage equality.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

“Why should gay people shop at Queer Getting Married? What’s the difference between these and other invitations?” Aside from donating money from each order, Queer Getting Married wants our customers to feel secure that the invite company they are ordering from believes their union is as meaningful as anyone else’s and that their order will be treated with the utmost respect and care. Also, there is no such thing as “traditional gay marriage.” We’ve waited a very long time for this reality, so why should we be tied down by some cumbersome outdated designs? Your save the dates and wedding invitations are printed declarations of your love! We want to help you celebrate your marriage with ridiculously stylish designs that break the mold of traditional wedding stationery.

“So…do you only do invites for the gays, or can a straight couple ask you for your services?” As I said in our mission statement, we serve queers and allies. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an “ally” is someone who does not personally identify as queer, but supports queer people. If you’re reading this right now (and you’re not queer) you’re most likely an ally, otherwise we probably wouldn’t be friends. Don’t worry, if you’re a hetero, we won’t judge your lifestyle choices 😉

Very Versailles

“This is amazing, Mike! What can I do to help?” Awww, thank you so much for asking! You can help by posting on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, talking to your gay friends who are getting married, or your gay friends who aren’t getting married, or your straight friends who support marriage equality, or your barber, or your Brazilian waxer, or your nosey neighbor that won’t stop talking to you even though you’ve given them all possible social queues. The point is, share, share, share whenever you can. Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. We are really looking to the community to help us get this off the ground. Amazingly, within an hour of posting our new site on my Facebook page, a bunch of my friends already started re-sharing without me even saying anything. You all know who you are, and I’m truly touched. Thank you.

“How the hell did you think up this delicious brain nugget?” Good question. Last year, my friend (and now business partner!) Jenny was getting married to my other friend Nate. They are so ridiculously cute together that I throw up in my mouth a little bit every time I see them. For a wedding gift, I offered Jenny and Nate my design services to make their save-the-dates, invites, etc. When Jenny sent out her save-the-date, she had an amazing response. People liked it. A lot. Someone even scanned it in and posted it on Facebook. It was very flattering.

Wheel Love – designed for our first customers!!!

Soon after, Jenny and I were having dinner, and she said that I should really consider getting into making wedding invitations as a business. I had made several wedding packages before, and really enjoyed it, but I could see myself becoming very bitter making other people’s wedding invites when I’m not allowed to get married (which hopefully will become possible in Washington state this November once we get through REF 74). The next day I was working on their invites, and something clicked. I’ll just make invites for the gays! Now that would make me smile! I texted Jenny my idea, she said it was brilliant. We had always wanted to start a business together, and here it was! And there was much rejoicing. (yaaay)

Super Homo

Since then, it has been a long, windy road. I left my very stable job as Design Team Lead at Groundspeak at the end of October so that I would have more time to work on QGM (that’s cool-speak for Queer Getting Married–get with the lingo!). We’ve done a crap-ton of paper-work and searched high and low for the right printer (and it looks like we’re still looking for a long-term printing partner).

Working on all of the designs was so much fun. I loved experimenting with different typefaces and layouts, and pushing the limits of what a wedding invite can be. All of the samples on our site were printed on digital press, but we’ll be offering offset and letterpress! The site features our ready-made designs that people can purchase (I’ll be setting the type), and we also offer custom orders! The current site is temporary. We put up the temporary site just in time for the GLBT Expo in New York this past weekend.We have some super-duper web guys working on a more robust site, where you can actually place an order and personalize online. Matthew Elsea from Clutch Design is doing the web design, and Marc Bonne from Design Nebula is working on web development. They are such good guys and easy to work with.

Victor Victoriana

Jenny and I are both thrilled to finally be able to share our vision with you. Feedback is always welcome, so please do let us know what you love or dislike about the current site or products. Here’s to new beginnings!!!