Sunday, October 31, 2010

ROMA!!! part I

As promised, thank you Jordan for being so impatient, here are pictures of Rome! Because my sister is so impatient, I am posting more pictures than you'll know what to do with! As Kyle took 500... I won't be posting 500, but I had such a hard time narrowing it down that I'm just posting my favorites; I have no idea how many there are, you'll see once they're all posted! Here goes!

Saturday we walked to the Church Trinita dei Monti, in the northeast corner of Rome
Outside Trinita dei Monti, and the top of the Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps, absolutely teeming with people

Piazza del Popolo with the twin churches

Spectacular View of the Piazza del Popolo, Plaza of the People
The altar in Santa Maria del Popolo, most unfortunately, the Chigi Chapel, which was designed by Bernini was under restoration, so I don't have pictures of it :-(
The Triton Fountain in Piazza Barberini...Bernini, Piazza Barberini was very close to our hotel, so we often strolled down to have lunch or dinner here!

The spectacular Ecstasy of St Theresa by Bernini, thanks to Kyle for the artistry of this photo

The church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, the small, little known, out of the way church that houses St Theresa's Ecstasy
On Sunday, we walked to the center of Rome. Here's we're at the Piazza Navona. Representation of the Rio della Plata (South America), part of the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini
Representation of the Danube (Europe) of the Fountain of the Four Rivers

Representation of the Ganges (Asia)

Finally, representation of the Nile (Africa), Bernini carved him with his face covered because he didn't know where the head of his own river was!

Now we've moved onto the Pantheon, unfortunately it was undergoing some restoration as well, but look how awesome it is, possibly one of our best lunches we enjoyed was at a little restaurant right outside of this fantastic building; the oldest Christian church in Rome
The world famous Oculus or Demon's Hole at the exact center of the ceiling in the Pantheon.
Raphael's tomb in the Pantheon

One of Kyle's many panoramic photos of the inside of the Pantheon.

Moving on again, we're now at the Trevi Fountain, where you're supposed to throw coins in over your shoulder, everyone's got their theories as to why... I just did it for fun!

The panorama feature on our camera gives the scene a little bit of a fisheye effect, but I kind of like that.

Yes! we were actually in Rome!
For Monday, we booked a day trip to Pompeii and had to go through Naples, which was a crap hole, but the Bay of Naples leads to the Isle of Capri, I've only been there once and we didn't get a chance to go this trip... it was Capri or Pompeii... luxury at the beach or history in the ruins? Well, we consider ourselves intellectual individuals... and it was going to rain that day
Vesuvio!! Translated from Oscan, ancient language of Pompeii and Naples, it means Mountain that vomits Fire or something like that. This and the next photo are the only shots we got of Vesuvius unfortunately, before it was swallowed up by clouds.
The mountain used to be almost twice as high before the eruption in 79 AD ripped it apart so badly that it now has one crater (the right side mound) and the rest that forms a gigantic valley that you see in the photos, the left mound is just what's left of the original mountain.
Before entering the ruins, we entered New Pompeii for lunch, there, there was a monument to the victims of September 11. Pretty respectful, eh? It was a pleasant surprise.

Finally entering the ruins of Pompeii. That angry looking person on the right is not angry, that's her thoughtful face

The gymnasium in Pompeii where the gladiators trained. Little bit of trivia: the dust, ash, and very small stones that covered Pompeii preserved the city so well that all the gladiator equipment found under the 20 some feet of debris are the only accurate models of gladiator equipment that exist. The equipment in the movie Gladiator (Russell Crowe, you know the one) is modeled from that found in Pompeii!

The theater where most people spent their time because of a retractable roof!

Ancient graffiti!!! How cool is that??
The next several photos will be of ruins, this post is long enough already, and we're only half way done, soooo, for now, the rest of the Pompeii pictures, and Rome part deux tomorrow!

So, that's about half, and my computer is getting a little glitchy over how large this post is, so, as I said, Roma part II tomorrow!! Ciao!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The magic number...

New items in my google reader...


I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to write at all while I was in Rome... which was fantastic!! But I also didn't get a chance to stay on top of all the blogs I subscribe to... which is obviously too much, because I have 800 new blog entries to read.

As soon as the laundry is done, I'll post pictures of Roma!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vacation and photographer meetings to look forward to!!

I am extremely excited about just about everything right now. But, to business, I have to inform all my friends and very gracious readers that the fiance and I are taking a vacation to Rome for a week starting tonight and going until next Thursday night. I have free wifi in my hotel room, but I'm not sure if I'll have time to blog or even read any of the countless blogs I subscribe to/follow.

I'm finishing up at work now and just have a few things left to do at home before I can head to the airport! Kyle is already in Germany with his company and he's going to meet me there! We're just going for fun, site-seeing, and a one day guided tour of Pompeii. I'm pretty psyched! BUT there are other things going on I'm equally as excited about! I've been e-mailing back and forth with Shea Roggio for weeks, it's hysterical, and I'll have to share some excepts when I get back, but he's a really sweet, funny, goofy dude, and we finally settled on meeting... two hours after Kyle and I land back in Philly. I can imagine the man is not going to be super thrilled, but it was literally the only time we could do it; we've got to go pick up Bailey from Kyle's mom's next weekend (she's watching her for us) then Kyle goes straight off to Denver for a few days. I really wanted to meet with Shea before he got booked up on our date! Well, he'll be even angrier at me because the only time I could get a meeting with Ben Weldon was an hour after he gets back from Denver... Sorry, baby!

Oh yeah, finally heard back from Sweet Pea Photography and they said they won't know if they'll be available for our wedding until NEXT SUMMER!! due to some conference they might go to... Yeah, no matter how much I liked them, no one's worth that much trouble and worry.

Well, I must go get things finished up here at work. I'll be back with pictures!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010


As promised, I had fun trying on make-up tonight! So I will give a quick run through first, because the pictures I managed to take weren't that great... in that I think they made me look a little better than I really did. Call it modesty if you like, but whatever the pictures may show on the wedding, Kyle and our family and friends will be able to look close and see every crease and blemish.

So, I mentioned the roller foundation yesterday, and I am happy to report that I think it's a pretty top rate product! It went on even, covered up skin unevenness and felt really lightweight; which really surprised me. However, as soon as I put on powder (which may mean I need to get new powder) my skin looked a bit cakey, and a little flaky. Also, I think I need new concealer because when I put it on under my eyes, it made me look like I had under-eye wrinkles, which I definitely don't usually have. All in all, the point is the new makeup seems to be in good working order, while I need to replace my powder and concealer. Next I used the new CoverGirl smokyshadowblast and it was kinda' weird because it's a cream eyeshadow and it felt a little heavy, but I used the green one and it was a cool effect in the inner eye corner and under the eye. I used some purple I had in the outer corner for a little more smokyness because the copper color that comes on the other end of the smokyshadowblast was too coppery to be used by itself. I used liquid liner for the first time! And while I didn't blind myself, and while it did give me a much more defined line above the eye, and while I didn't keep the makeup on for very long, it seemed as if it was staying put really well: when I use regular liner, it usually transfers from my upper lid line to my bottom one as soon as I blink, and that didn't happen! I already had blush, I already had mascara. Last but not least was the CoverGirl lipstain. AWESOME!! I love the stuff, it felt like I was painting my lips with a magic marker. It went on light and stayed put, didn't crack, didn't cake, didn't budge. Highly recommended!!

Right, quick recap, I recommend the L'Oreal roller foundation, liquid eyeliner, in general, the CoverGirl smokyshadowblast, and the CoverGirl lipstain. On to the main event!

Notice the shadows under the eyes, my cheeks are a little pink, uneven, a little pale.

Now, once I put all the makeup on, I felt it was a little bit much, but the pictures (I think) look kind of just right! Let me know what you think!

Like I said, when I looked in the mirror, it looked like there was too much eye makeup and it seemed like I was already getting a little flaky, but the pictures I think turned out pretty nicely.

Also, here's a shot of the eyes:

SOOOooooOO, I think it was a very successful first make-up trial! I think maybe I didn't blend the eye make-up enough, so that's why it looked like too much to me, and I will work on that, again, I'm kind of just sort of learning. I think I will definitely take my sister's advice (whoa!! shocker!!) and use brushes to blend more effectively. Overall though, one more note about the Revlon roller foundation, their true match system was basically spot on, check out the same shade between my face and my neck:

(this is also a side shot so you can see the purple and the green on the eye)

Again, please let me know what you all think, I'm open to anything, I'm a blank pallet!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Make-up time!!

I had to go to RiteAid today to get milk, and I found myself spending, oh I dunno', at least 30 minutes in the make-up section. I want to go ahead and say, I suck at putting on make-up. The main reason is because I just don't wear make-up regularly, so when it's time to get made-up, I either do too much or not enough. If I do too much, it gets cakey and stuck in my smile lines and all; I don't even have wrinkles, but it makes me look like I do! If I don't wear enough, I keep needing to reapply AND then I can't effectively cover my slight skin unevenness.

So, what is the solution?? I consider myself a pretty low maintenance woman, I don't wear make-up because I, personally, can't see the point of spending God knows how long every morning putting make-up on just to go work in a lab, with a bunch of scientists who wouldn't notice if I sprouted extra ears overnight, let alone if I was wearing eye shadow. But under formal circumstances, I do get a little self-conscious if the little red spots on my cheeks aren't covered up, or the little shadows under my eyes aren't lightened. The whole low maintenance thing though, totally rules out processes like airbrush make-up, or make-up artists in general... yeah, no way I am hiring someone to cake make-up on my face.

I found some stuff at RiteAid, I saw a comercial for this roll-on foundation and it made me laugh more than anything else, so I bought it:
The last product that fooled me was the Almay stuff that starts white and adopts your skin tone once you rub it in, but it was incredibly thick and cakey, so I am going to try out this stuff and see how it feels, but my hopes are not high. I also got some liquid liner, which makes me nervous as well because I've never used liquid liner, let's pray it stays only on my lids! I'm also very excited about some CoverGirl lipstain because I HATE lipstick... with every fiber of my being! And when CoverGirl came out with all their Outlast lip 'paints' for lack of a better word, I was at first excited because it wasn't oily and... get-on-your-teeth-y... But when that stuff dries, it feels like cement on your lips, then it cracks and you end up eating it. It does last though! I'll give it that, and I suppose if my lips were more moisturized, it would go on more smoothly. BUT I am very excited about the concept of thise lipstain that very well may not feel like anything at all!! I can't wait!

The only thing I'm not too enthusiastic OR unenthusiastic about is eye shadowing. I have blue-green eyes, and if I wear eyeshadow that's green, it'll bring out the green in my eyes, problem is, if I wear blue eyeshadow, it somehow also makes my eyes look super green. There's no major green in my color scheme for the wedding, but I can't very well make my eyes do something they don't want to do! I was first thinking I would do something in blue to match the blue in Kyle's tie... but then I remember this:

HAHA, not good. Also, the reason I know my eyes turn green when I wear blue eyeshadow is because my class color in high school was blue and we had a school spirit day once a year and I always wore blue eyeshadow, just like Mimi's. So with blue out, I thought maybe I would try to bring in a little more of the deep plum/burgundy color, and because I don't want to look gothic, just make it subtle... So I bought a few deep purple eyeshadow kit things to play with, even though I then realized I already had one at home...

So, it's late now, but tomorrow, I'm going to do a trial(!) and post some pictures and hopefully get some opinions??

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Photog Phrenzy

Hey ya'll!! I've been dying to talk about photographers because, well, I have a confession to make... I think photography might be the most important part of any wedding!!

Let's go over a list of things that fade over time:
The dress's shine
The bride's figure
Everyone's memory of everything that happened at the wedding

Let's go over a list of things that DO NOT fade over time:
The photographs...

Nuff said! So, in short, the photography has been a quiet obsession of mine for awhile. Let me tell you, it wasn't always that way, when we were first developing our budget, photography was on the bottom of our list, and it had a very small allocation of our total moneys. I started shopping around on the knot and in the yellow pages and I found out my budget was ridiculous. It scoffed at me as if to say "what were you thinking???" In a later post, I think it will be funny to go over my initial budget and my current budget. It's for fun.

Well, I had NO IDEA photographers were so expensive, even my mom was surprised because I guess she thought I was looking at all expensive photographers, and when she started looking, she was like, wow, they really are that expensive. Yup! The lowest prices on a basic photography package that I can find are about $2000. I could have a photographer who only stays for half the day and whose package includes absolutely nothing except a hi-res DVD of the images and those prices were closer to $1000, but I came to realize that only the photographers that were not that good offered packages like that, and furthermore, I realized I do want every moment captured, edited for the vein in my forehead, and preserved for all time!

Now, I've narrowed my ideal wedding photogs down to three. This didn't take too long because of the ones I e-mailed with back and forth, if I only kind of liked the photog and the price was too high, they were immediately dismissed. And of course, everyone's prices were too high, so, if that makes any sense; they had be be awesome, and the price just is what it is.

I found two awesome photogs, one a husband and wife team, and the other just one guy. The husband and wife comprise Sweet Pea Photography, their motto is "Photography for Awesome People." How sweet is that? Their style is a little grainy, a little antique-looking, candid, cute, quirky. Maybe perfect for me but maybe not right for Kyle? Their basic package includes an engagement session and the two of them, not just one photographer, for the whole day, for $2500. Yikes, I know, but in a minute, you'll see they're pretty high quality photogs and if you compare those prices to others in the area, they become all of a sudden pretty cheap. The second photog is Ben Weldon, based on his photos, he's also got a really great antique feel to his photography, again, kind of grainy and raw, but he's more romantic in the atmosphere of his photography, not that people don't still laugh and have fun. His package is just him, no engagement session, no extra camera, for $1900. Hmmm. Well, let me know what you think, below will be side by side Sweet Pea, then Ben Weldon of some key pictures:

Obligatory lower body shot:

And of course the groom's party with an adorable ring bearer:

So, now that you've seen my two favorite more modestly priced photographers, I want to introduce you to my hero. Ladies and Gentlemen, my hero, the one and only Shea Roggio!!
He used to be a photographer for the NY Times, he's photographed Jose Garces, Danny Bonaducci, and other famous people that I don't know. His wedding photography is spectacular, due in part to his editorial eye and in part because of his obvious talent for editing AND because he's obviously got the best cameras. Shea doesn't have quite as many cute Daddy or ring bearer/flower girl pictures, but he makes up for it with spectacular scenic beauties. His packages are a little bare as well, consisting of just him, all day, and no engagement session for $3500... but take a look at what you could be getting!
Whew, breathtaking right??? How the hell do I make this decision when I've got this to choose from?! How could anyone go for the cheaper options (by the way, guess who photographed Ben Weldon's wedding... none other than his good friend Shea Roggio) when Shea Roggio is available?? Now, I know it's ridiculously expensive and you're going to say "The other two look good enough to me to save $1000-$1500" and you'd be right! Of course! But could you say no to Shea Roggio?? I forgot to mention the story of how I stumbled across Shea Roggio:

I was on the knot looking up photographers and I specifically put in a more modest price range, well, the knot puts their featured vendors along the right hand side of every window and Shea Roggio happened to by there, so I clicked on the link because the thumbnail that was shown was gorgeous, and I was like 'yes, yes, call him, call him, must have this guy right here!!' And so I hastily pulled out my phone, got his voicemail, and left him a very flattering message about how amazing his work was... Sooo, then I went to his website, and realized he was like... basically famous. He has management and everything. I just called a famous person. I was mortified! After a day I was like "whew, looks like he won't call me back, probably just deleted the message along with every other crazy voice mail he gets every day." I also figured there'd be no way I could afford him. Well, about two days later, my phone rang and I picked it up all non-chalant, like 'who could this be?' Well, it was Shea Roggio himself, just as sweet and down to earth and humble as can be. Of course, he was well out of my price range, and as I mentioned earlier, I should have felt completely embarrassed, about an inch tall, but not so! He made me feel so comfortable, we instantly fell into easy conversation and he was totally helpful and kind. We've been e-mailing back and forth ever since, he recommended some other photographers, but told me to get back to him when I start having babies so we can do family photo sessions! He was amazing, and I felt like I was talking to a famous person!!

Well, once I found out that my dress might be a good deal less expensive than I thought, and once I talked to Kyle who graciously offered to help pay for photography (maybe not $3500 help, but help nonetheless), I e-mailed Shea again, and I will keep you posted as to what we decide, because I think no matter how I feel, we have to meet with all three of these wonderful photogs (technically 4, you know what I mean) and figure out who we mesh with best. And of course, keep in mind Kyle isn't as easy to please as I am... just a fact.