Monday, August 30, 2010

Sometimes I Surprise Myself!

I am no DIY queen.  But the idea of being a DIY queen is alluring, and every once in a while things fall into place just right and it's like the universe is telling me to get crafty.  This happened recently when the Mister and I were working on our centerpieces.  Our original intention was to pretty much copy this centerpiece.

(From The Knot)

But I soon discovered that large succulents can easily run $5+ a piece, which adds up to more money than I want to spend on something that will get thrown away.  So long story short, I decided to make the ubiquitous tissue paper flowers instead.

(photo from Martha Stewart, via Elizabeth Anne Designs)

I followed Martha's tutorial, which was my first mistake.  It leaves a lot to the imagination, which is fine if you are innately crafty.  But as we know, I am not.  So, my first "flower" came out looking like this

What Martha's tutorial failed to tell me was to make the accordion folds using the short side of the paper.  I folded the paper lengthwise, which resulted in approximately 5 folds and this deformed excuse for a flower.  

Realizing my mistake, I gave it a second go around and produced this lovely

I made one more and then did a mock up of our centerpieces.

Whaddaya think?  Hope you like it because I bought a ton of ivory tissue paper this afternoon from The Container Store!  I'm thinking maybe we'll do three flowers and scale back a little on the river rock.  I'm also wondering if maybe I should put some stuff inside the lantern around the candle too, but am unsure.  I think it will look better, but since we plan on lighting the candles I don't want hot wax to ignite flower petals or whatever we decide to put in there.  Most likely we won't end up putting anything inside the lanterns, though, because the wedding is a month away and I have enough on my plate!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's crunch time!

We've accomplished so many wedding to-dos over the past week that I've barely had time to blog about them!   I thought about writing separate posts for each of these items, but that's a lot of work.  So here's a run-down of all the major things we've accomplished over the past week.

We bought the Mister's ring on Saturday.  Our jeweler called us late last week to say that they had gotten some samples in from the manufacturer of the rings the Mister was considering so we swung by to check them out.  They had samples of two out of the three rings we were debating over.  Unfortunately, the one I liked the most was the one that was missing.  But as it turns out, the ring I hated before actually is really nice in person!  I liked it way more than the other ring we were considering that they had a sample of.  So we bought the ring I originally hated!  Honestly, I really do like it now.  In case you forgot, here's what it looks like.

After we left the jewelers, we realized that just a couple of doors down is a really well known (and really delicious) bakery that would be the perfect place to order the cakes for our dessert buffet.  I originally thought I would bake all of the desserts myself, but quickly realized that baking four different flavored cakes and frostings from scratch was way more work than I wanted to undertake the day before our wedding.  I tried asking friends and family to help and the response was "ummmm, how 'bout I buy you a cake instead!"  So we scrapped the friendors route and decided we will be buying the cakes and baking the cookies and brownies and other desserts for the buffet, because cookies and brownies are way easy.  So we set up a cake tasting for this coming Sunday.  I am really looking forward to it!

While we were out and about on Saturday, we browsed around some nurseries and garden centers for succulents for our centerpieces.  Long story short - large succulents are mad expensive.  Realizing we didn't want to drop that kind of coin for plants that would most likely get thrown away after the reception, I considered my options and decided to make tissue paper flowers instead.  No, they're not as nice as real flowers, but they're cheap and can be made ahead and don't wilt.  My adventures with tissue paper flowers deserves a post of its own, because the initial results were comical, to say the least.

We also bought two sets of patio furniture for the lounge area we want to set up near the dance floor at our venue.  We went with this set from Wal-Mart (I know, I know...but it was affordable and goes with our colors and had free shipping).
(The Delahey 4 piece conversation set.  Picture from

Yesterday, we checked a biggie off of our to-do list:  we got our marriage license!  A good blogger would have pictures of this event, but seriously, standing in a crowded waiting room at the County Recorder's office doesn't exactly make me think "oh, I need a picture!"

I also scheduled a makeup trial for Friday afternoon.  I'm doing my own makeup, so I'm just going to bring my inspiration photos into Sephora so they can help me figure out what products I need and show me how to execute the look.  I took the day off from work on Friday because...


I'm getting my makeup did just in time for the party the Mister is throwing for me Friday night.  Then Saturday morning we're heading up to Vegas to hang out with some friends of ours who live there.  So with that, I'll check back in with y'all on Monday, a year older and hopefully a little more relaxed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What would you do . . .

for ceremony decorations?  Right now, we have none planned.  Our venue is outdoors and very pretty on it's own, so I have no problem with having minimal decorations.  But for some reason I'm having a hard time getting passed the idea of having *no* ceremony decorations at all.

Here's a picture of the aisle.  Pay no attention to the white fabric.  It won't be there when we get married because we didn't want to pay $475 for the tacky "decorations package" that consisted of fake flowers and some tulle.

(personal photo)

See how I'm pointing to something in the picture?  I have no idea what I was actually pointing at, but for the purposes of this post let's say I was pointing at the hooks on the outside of each post.

(personal photo)

So, if I were to do some ceremony decorations, the obvious thing to do would be to hang something from these hooks.  I could do the ubiquitous tissue paper pomadors, but the Mister isn't a huge fan and I am hit or miss with them.  When they're done really well, I think they look great.  But I'm not going to fool myself into thinking that I'm capable of turning out pomadors as awesome as Heather's.  Plus, the styrofoam balls at Michaels' ain't cheap, and I'd be pissed if I spend a ton of money (and time!) on something that I don't end up liking that much.

(image by Julie Wilson)

Then I saw this picture of the "altar" at our venue on our photographer's website and thought about maybe putting some large potted plants on the steps.  I'd have to buy them right before the wedding because I have a black thumb.  And I don't have freaking tree trunks to put them on, nor do I know where I would go to get tree trunks.

So I turn to you.  What would you do if you were in my place?  Right now I'm leaning toward doing nothing because I'm 6 weeks out, have enough to do already, and am so over all things wedding.  This is one of those situations where I have to assess the time/effort/money/stress involved in doing ceremony decorations and compare it to what kind of benefit I think I'll get from it all.  I want a pretty wedding, though, and fear that my laziness/over-it-ness may be clouding my judgment.  So it's your job to smack some sense into me if I need it, m'kay?

And just in case that last paragraph didn't hint enough at the answer I want to hear, here's some pictures of a lovely wedding at my venue that was blogged on Green Wedding Shoes where there were no ceremony decorations in sight!  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hairy Decisions

I've talked about my updo inspiration before, but I've got another hair issue I've got to figure out: hair color.  My hair is naturally a medium to dark blonde and I'm not a fan.  Over the past three years I've gone from super light blonde to a dark reddish brown, and currently am au naturel with partial light blonde highlights.  As I have been growing my hair out, I haven't been to the hairdresser in a while so my roots are beyond ridiculous.  I'm thinking about going in for my final cut and color before the wedding at the end of this month or the beginning of September and I am on the hunt for some hair color inspiration.  I know I want to stay blonde, and don't want anything that is too much of a change.  But the question is whether I want to stick with the highlights or maybe do some allover color (with or without highlights for dimension???) because I'll admit it - I'm getting gray hairs - and the highlights alone don't really cover them.

So I turned to my trusty friend Google, and my newer friend Bing, in search of some inspiration.  The first photo that struck me was one of the newly minted blonde Miranda Kerr.  She recently went blonde and looks fab.  I love her color because it is not one-dimensional.  Since she has a mix of medium and light blonde, much like I have right now, I think I could pull this look off, though I worry that it might not be as flattering on my ultra fair skin.  Though now that I look closer at her skin, I'm loving her makeup look too!

(Via MSN)

Then there is my longtime girl crush, Gwenyth Paltrow.  I love her, even if she comes off as cold and snooty sometimes.  She has rocked the ultra light buttery blonde hair forever and in my opinion few celebrities can work it quite like she can (except for maybe Reese Witherspoon).  I love an ultra light blonde who doesn't look like a bimbo!

Then I saw this image of Uma Thurman and I died.  Since I'm doing an updo for my wedding this image really hit me.  I would be on cloud nine if my hair looked exactly like this on my wedding day.  I guess Uma is also working the non-bimbo light blonde angle.  As a side note, I had a professor in college who was good friends with the Thurmans and would tell stories about going on vacation with Uma and her family when she was a kid!

(Image from Beauty Riot)

Or I could take it in another direction and go more toward the "brond" look.  You know "brond."  It's hair that you can't quite tell if its brown or if it's blonde.  Jennifer Aniston and Gisele Bundchen are the quintessential bronds.



Decisions, decisions!  I love the brond look, but I'm not sure I have the skin tone for it.  Jen and Gisele both have that golden tan going on, and let's just say that I bought some new foundation this weekend and my shade was "Fair 0" - the absolute lightest shade Smashbox makes.  When I was a kid, my hair was close to the color Gwyneth and Uma have, so maybe that would work for me.  But there's something about Miranda Kerr's hair in that picture!  Ugg, I can't decide.  At least I have some time to make up my mind.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Ring's The Thing

After two weeks apart, I've finally been reunited with my engagement ring!!!  Saturday morning around 10:30 I got a call from our jeweler that my wedding band was done and that I could come pick it up whenever I wanted.  Naturally, we booked it to Claremont Village so I could have my engagement ring back on my finger for our shower later that afternoon.  

The Diamond Center did a great job.  They are a family owned company that has been in business for 40+ years and they make all of their custom jewelry on site.  I found them online and they had great reviews.  I was also influenced by the fact that they are located in a primo spot in Claremont Village and have been for years.  Claremont Village definitely caters to a more upscale market and you can't survive there as a business without having good work.  And after visiting them, I know the secret to their success:  the best customer service I have ever experienced in my life.  

So, without further ado, my wedding band and e-ring, together at last.

(personal photo)

While we were there, we looked through their catalog for men's rings.  The Mister is actually really particular about what he's looking for, and we've narrowed it down to three contenders.  All of the rings are from Unique Settings of New York.  
The M365.  I don't particularly care for this one, but the Mister likes it.  I think it's cool looking as an accessory, but it just doesn't seem like a wedding ring to me.  
The M442.  The finish on this one looks a little funky, but you can customize the finishes you want, so he'd probably get a brushed/satin finish in the middle with a higher shine finish on the outer edges.

The M1217.  This one is my favorite.  We'd also get it in a satin/brushed finish instead of the high shine finish.

So, what do you think?  Which ring do you like best for the Mister?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bring on the pretty!

Remember how I said in my last post that the reason why we went up to the mountains last weekend was to meet with our florist?  Yeah, so I figured you might want to know what flowers we decided on!

Unlike many brides, I do not have strong opinions about our wedding flowers.  I think that all flowers are pretty and you really can't go wrong.  So when we showed up to our meeting with the florist and she asked me what kind of flowers I was thinking of for our wedding, I didn't really know what to say.  Luckily, I had printed my flower inspiration board and she was able to identify some of the flowers in the pictures and lead me in the right direction.  She had these handy little booklets that we could flip through and just tell her when we saw something that piqued our interest.

In the end, we decided that the main flowers we'll be using are white/ivory dahlias and roses

Though she may throw in some pale peach or lavender dahlias if she thinks they look good.  Green hypericum berries will give a pop of color, along with lemon leaves at the base of the bouquet and some small aster flowers.

I'm going to be honest.  I left the meeting feeling a little uneasy about my flower selections.  But after sitting with it for a little bit I'm good now.  I think that the uneasiness stemmed from the fact that I don't have a specific vision for our flowers, so I felt like I was just picking random flowers I thought were pretty from the booklets without any regard as to how they would look together.  But then I realized 1) our florist is a professional and knows how to make pretty flower arrangements; and 2) flowers are pretty, and one pretty flower put with some other pretty flowers, equals a pretty flower arrangement.  In other words, it's not rocket science and I needed to chillax.  So I did.  And now I'm just happy that I'll have pretty flowers on my wedding day and that I don't have to arrange them myself.  

So now the only floral-ish item left on my to do list is to find succulents for our centerpieces.  I'm cool with doing the succulents myself.  I can buy them way in advance, ignore them for weeks and they'll still be alive and kicking.  Now, that's my kind of plant.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gratuitous Venue Pictures

On Sunday the Mister and I took a trip up the mountains to meet with our florist and finalize our flower choices (more on that later) and while we were up there we swung by our wedding venue for the last time.  We have a floor plan with measurements of our venue at home, but we wanted to see it in person again to figure out how we want to lay things out.  We also timed how long it takes to walk down the aisle so we can figure out how long the processional needs to be (oh the joys of iTunes weddings!).  Of course, I took a bajillion photos while we were there so we won't forget what it looks like.

This is the "entrance" if you will to our venue.  I'm standing in a small parking area looking toward the venue.  The guests will proceed down the staircase at the center of the picture.  You can kind of see on the right edge of the picture another walkway.  That takes you straight to the second story of the lodge.

A little landing area on the way down the stairs that I think is adorable.  It looks like this is where the smokers will go, though I don't think we have any real smokers coming to our wedding.

This is the top level of the three level deck.  The stairway we were just coming down is at the top right of the picture.  We can fit 6-8 tables up here comfortably.

This is on the second level of the deck.  That's the sweetheart table on the right and the gazebo is where we will put our dessert buffet.  I'll spare you the other pictures of the second level that just show empty tables.  We can fit 4 or so tables on this level comfortably.

This is the lower level, which obviously fits only 2 tables comfortably.  We're probably not going to put any tables there and instead set up the bar and card/gift/guest book tables.  That's the ceremony area off in the background.

A view of the three levels from the bottom (aka the dance floor).  We're going to string white Christmas lights through the arbor so the area has a nice glow at night.

The dance floor, with the gorgeous little walkway over the creek.

A better picture of the creek, bridge and swing!

The back of the lodge taken from the dance floor.  I think we're going to set up patio furniture as a lounge area where the table and chairs are set up in the foreground.  I'll be coming out through the door you see to start my walk down the aisle.

The ceremony area taken from the dance floor.  I wish I had gotten a better close up picture of the alter area, but maintenance was there re-staining the wood.  The creek you saw above runs along the left of this picture so if you are sitting in those chairs along the far left you are essentially sitting creekside.  It forms a small pond that is right behind the alter area.

Monday, August 9, 2010


The Knot's checklist is my b*tch.  Oh yes, people.  I have that crazy ass list on lock down.  For the month of August, there are only 6 items remaining on the list.  Of course, I went through it and got rid of all the stuff that doesn't apply to our wedding or that's duplicative, which got rid of probably 50% of all of the items, so that helps.  Here's what I have to conquer in the month of August.

Choose and reserve all tables, chairs and any other wedding rentals you'll need for the reception (unless the caterer or site is taking care of it).

This is almost done.  The only rentals we have to secure are heat lamps and a sound system, both of which we can rent through our venue and they told us that since they only do one wedding at a time is no big deal if we wait until the last minute to rent them.  We might need to rent some extra heat lamps from another place though, because our venue only has five.

Shop for and purchase wedding bands.
Again, almost done.  Mine is purchased, the Mister's is not.  We've been looking for him, but turns out he's actually really particular about the style of ring he wants...he just can't seem to find it.

Order enough liquor, wine and/or champagne to stock the reception bar (if it's not included in the catering contract.)
This item is actually way overdue, which seems crazy to me.  Why would I purchase this stuff before I have a close to final headcount???

Brides:  Have your first wedding dress fitting
This will be done TOMORROW!!!

Set aside some time to write thank you notes for gifts received at the bridal shower.
Our co-ed shower is this coming weekend!!!

Brides:  Attend final wedding gown fitting
Wait, what?  This seems really early to me.  But I'm hoping my first fitting will be my final fitting since my dress already fits me really well and doesn't even need to be hemmed.  I think all I'll need is a bustle.  I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that I can check this one off tomorrow too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I haven't worn my engagement ring for over a week now.  Because the band on my engagement ring is offset, we are getting my wedding band custom made so they fit together perfectly.  I dropped my e-ring off with our jeweler two Fridays ago and they told me my wedding band would be ready in 3 weeks and that they'd give me back my e-ring as soon as they didn't need it anymore.  So, it is entirely possible that I won't have my e-ring back for two more weeks.

It's funny how this time apart from my e-ring makes me appreciate it all the more.  I love my e-ring, but it was not love at first sight.  As I've told the Mister, the ring is beautiful but if I had been the one who picked out my e-ring I probably would not have picked the one I have.  What makes me love my e-ring is the fact that the Mister picked it out for me after much thought and deliberation.  It reflects his style as much as it reflects mine.  I love that he bought the ring because he felt it was the right one, even though his sister and the sales girl at the jewelry store told him not to buy it.  For all these reasons, I could never see myself "upgrading" my ring down the line when we have more money, or trading it in for a different style.  I love my e-ring because it's the ring he gave me as a sign of his commitment to me, and any other ring just wouldn't have the same meaning behind it.

I miss my ring.  I want it back.