Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal pain in the a$$

First... Been crazy busy! Work, friends, work, wedding.

Second... I have no predictions about the royal wedding nor do I care about the royal wedding nor am I getting up at 4 in the morning to watch it. Otherwise... Will was always my favorite prince, Kate is adorable and I wish them the best of luck.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Because I've been so excited about cake, I keep pronouncing it like Franck from Father of the Bride
Because he always sounded really excited when he said "I suguust that we select a cack first." The only difference being that I didn't think it necessary to select a cack first. But now, we've got a date and time to meet with a cake artist near our venue (one on their preferred vendor list) and so now we have to figure out what we're going to ask her to make!

My feeling is still that I don't put a lot of stock in the cake. That being said, while what I think I want is simple and easy, it's still what I want; as opposed to some random, busy, been-done-before design. So, where does that put us? I have found designs I like parts of, so let's take a look:



Plays on proportion:

For several reasons, I think I want the cake to be chocolate fondanted/frosted; the entire reception hall is white, we love chocolate, it's different... just to name a few. By the way, I've given no thought whatsoever to what's on the inside, we'll definitely see what the flavors are before getting into what we think we want the cake to taste like.

So my vision is clearer than I realized. I literally have three guidelines: Simple, Asymmetric, and Plays on proportion. The only other thing I want to add is that I love the way the right hand simple cake (a Maggie Austin of course) sort of looks like it's coated in cocoa powder like a truffle. I don't like shiny. Ah, I also don't know whether we want round or square... think I might leave that one up to Kyle.

Well, in the meantime, we've got Mia and Dan's wedding on Thursday. So I might be quiet on the blog for a few days, I figure I'll be busy as a bridesmaid and with Kyle as a groomsman.

Anywho, did everyone have a clear cack vision? Did you want a classic big beautiful wedding cake or something a little less traditional?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I never win anything!!!

Hello Friends! I am excited to give an update on favors. It's been a few weeks now and I pulled my four bottles out to see what they look like and what they smell like! For a few weeks, the booze just smells like booze, but now that it's been awhile, the booze smell starts to get replaced with the sweet, wonderful smell of vanilla.
They're so dark! Check 'em out up against the light:


The vodka amazingly is the darkest. It also smells the most like the vanilla extract you'd get from the store. The next best smelling one is from the brandy. It's rich and has a nice spice smell. My least favorite smelling one is the Bacardi gold... it still smells like alcohol, so maybe that will change in a few more weeks. Otherwise, I don't think I like it. Surprise of all surprises, the Captain Morgan's doesn't smell like anything! I can't smell the vanilla or the spice. Again, maybe a few weeks will change the smell of my two least favorites. And of course, none of this holds any water until we somehow taste test them. I was thinking pancakes or maybe muffins; make the batter with everything but the vanilla and then add the vanilla into each muffin tin or pancake. We've got another month or so before we start testing!

One more thing... I won something!! Anyone who's getting married or just likes wedding blogs knows that they have giveaways all the time. I enter periodically just for fun, and because of course, sometimes they give away really cool things! Well, I've never won anything UNTIL NOW!! Green wedding shoes was giving away a Plum Pretty Sugar robe and I WON IT!!
Now I've got a reason to partake in the adorable pictures of the bride with her party while getting ready:
Don't look now bridesmaids but you may be getting a sneak peek at your gifts! Anyone else who likes what they see, check out Plum Pretty Sugar Robes!!

Speaking of bridesmaids, I'll be getting together with my mama soon to window shop for bridesmaids dresses. I can't wait to get some pictures, to see dresses in person. Until then, Save the Dates are almost done and I have almost all the addresses... I cannot wait to get this phase to completion, because it's so real after that. I'll have to start thinking postage within the next week or so!

So has anyone else won anything unexpected? Anyone have any great ideas about how to test my vanilla extracts?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I am the worst blogi ever!!

First of all, I just made up a word (you know how someone who does yoga is a yogi? well why can't someone who blogs be a blogi?!) and I like it!! Also, new blog title!! I'm biting from some other blog I saw somewhere else, but it's also a Philadelphia thing. We have restaurants named 'nineteen' and such. So... I like my new title, but now that I know it doesn't affect readability in google reader, who knows how many times I might change it still :)


New Title Test!!

Guessing Seconds

I haven't forgotten anyone, but I'm feeling restless. When I feel restless, I think about everything I want to change for no reason... things that don't even need to be changed.

It got me thinking about all the decisions we've made about the wedding and what I have or have not had second guesses about... here's a short list of all my second guesses:

  • Blog url and title
  • Wedding gown
  • Hair
See, I wasn't lying... that was a short list (I thought it was going to be longer...). I can't think of anything else, what I can definitely attest to is a much longer list of things not second guessed at:
  • My groom :)

  • Photographer

  • Venue and subsequently the wedding date

  • Florist

  • Invitations

  • Favors

  • DJ

(I had to show not just a DJ picture because Nick is our friend because I was friends with Julie first... it seemed wrong to have a pic of Nick without Julie)

  • Jewelry (engagement ring, wedding band, wedding jewelry... I'll show you soon)

  • Color scheme

  • Honeymoon

Now, I know there are a few on there (venue and honeymoon) that if you're a loyal follower, you're saying 'Whoa whoa whoa! Remember when you wanted to get married in Hawaii and then honeymoon in Hawaii?!?!' Wanting to please and be close to my family was what changed that decision, and once I found Riverdale and discovered Casa Chameleon in Costa Rica, that was all she wrote.

The reason I wanted to bring up color scheme is because while I love my color scheme, there are color schemes everywhere and they make you think about second guessing your color scheme.

See, I don't know where I came up with my color scheme. I love chocolate and wine and cream/ivory is a great neutral color for those two. I was thinking blue ties on the groomsmen, as well as blue napkins in the reception. Why?? You may ask, why the incongruity?? Well, Kyle and I both have blue eyes, you could cover us in chocolate, wine, and cream and we'd still have blue eyes. And because all those colors are very deep and rich, I think the light blue adds a freshness and lightness to the scheme.

I just reminded myself though that dangit all I did second guess my color scheme! When we were first engaged and I picked up my first bridal magazine, I fell in love with the orange/purple/teal scheme:
From The Inspired Bride. I let it go pretty quickly for two reasons: Any orange/yellow/red combo automatically seemed too stereotypically fall-like for me, and Kyle hates the teal/turquoise. There was no getting around it, I let it go pretty quickly. Since then, I've had these doubts about our color scheme not being contemporary or modern or cool enough. I was sitting in a very boring talk once and looked out the window to see a gorgeous ginkgo biloba tree with all its little leaves turned bright yellow. The talk was on UPenn's campus, so the tree stood right in front of an old brick building with slate-colored shingles and turrets the color of the Statue of Liberty. 

I was so struck by that color scheme for a few hours afterwards I almost changed my whole game plan! I think the only thing that stopped me was that it was too modern and too stringent; for example, try to throw some green in there... can't do it can you?! Can't fit blue either... It's an incredibly militant color scheme... everything would have to adhere perfectly- flowers, attire, decoration, and I felt it would take away from the beauty and tranquility of the venue and the simple sort of elegance we were striving for.

So, in the end, we are still in love with our wholesome, maybe a bit old-fashioned or boring, but rich color scheme. I'm happy with it, as I am with everything else so far. This whole exercise has just helped me to be so much happier with the whole process (I mean, I was already happy, but now I'm super duper psyched about everything!!); when I trust my first instincts, I'm usually happier with them. For example, there are a few things on my list that I made very quick, impulsive decisions about and they're the ones that I've felt best about: ummmm, my future groom, duh! (Winning!); I knew I loved Ben Weldon, I still had to make that tough decision because Shea Roggio was equally awesome, but I knew it would be Ben deep down from the beginning; the invitations just happened, I didn't even think about those; Tara Keister was the first and only florist I went to see; and I booked Riverdale as soon as I saw it, before Kyle had even seen it.

For all the other ladies reading who have been through similar processes thus far, was your decision-making easy? or did you waffle a little (or a lot)?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I just wanted to comment that I've done absolutely nothing to address the to do list I gave myself in my last post...

I'm almost done the Save the Dates!

I almost have all our addresses!!

I got address labels from Shutterfly:
I just want to comment that I love Shutterfly... I really really really love them!

Let me tell you a short story... I once mentioned Shutterfly a few months ago because they sent me an offer for free address labels. Out of the Blue! I was very appreciative, I got my free address labels, I was very excited. Reason #1: Shutterfly likes to give out free stuff every now and then!

A representative from Shutterfly reached out to me because I didn't properly link up my Shutterfly reference when I made it. I am usually pretty good at this, so I felt really bad, and offered to do whatever I had to do to fix the situation. Turns out all I had to do was link it up proper! I said yeah, no problem. And what did they do? After I messed up and didn't give them due credit at first? Gave me a $25 credit on Reason #2: Pretty self-explanatory.

Then, I decided that I liked our address labels so much that I would use them at least for Save the Date return labels, and maybe even for RSVP envelopes. The only thing that sort of ate at me a little bit was that the color of our names is a tad pinkish for me. It's not so pink in person, on the labels, but on the screen it looks pink. I decided I would experiment with a deeper maroon/burgundy color for the script on the top line. I was able to customize the label and make the script darker:
That was more like it! Almost wine-colored. I was very satisfied, ordered enough for Save the Dates and RSVP envelopes (just in case) and applied my code; got the labels free. Thanks Shutterfly! Alas, they arrived and I couldn't even read the script, the color was too dark and blended into the brown background. I was very ticked at myself because they were good enough the way they came first. I swallowed my pride and crossed my fingers and e-mailed customer service, saying that I know it was my fault, but on the screen, it didn't seem like the script was going to be too dark and could I pretty please get replacements.

They said sure thing! Reason #3: Awesome awesome customer service. Now, I know it seems like I'm taking advantage of Shutterfly, but I don't think so. And I'm not meaning too. This is the kind of business model I appreciate above all others. I have given them business (lots of prints, and a photobook of our vacation in Rome, and a link in my blog) and as a reward, or a thank you, they gave me a free offer, and even fixed an order that was kind of messed up by me anyway. And you better believe that I will now continue to give them business anytime I need address labels, prints, photobooks, calendars, etc... because of this experience. This in my opinion is precisely how you build loyalty. So Shutterfly, if you're reading, I'll never leave you! and I would never take advantage of you!


Anyway, all this is to distract all of you from the fact that I'm avoiding this cake decision stuff. I am really just grossed out by the whole thing. Why is cake so expensive?! Why is everyone so bad at it?! Kyle has threatened to call Duff Goldman at Charm City Cakes, to see if we can get fellow UMBC alum props :) but Duff is crazy expensive (probably not as expensive as Maggie Austin, but... who is??) and his cakes are still a tad cartoony for me... sorry Duff. Not that any of it matters anyway, because for whatever reason, they're not taking any orders for our wedding date; probably Thanksgiving has something to do with it ;) Also, I take it back, I looked at his pricing info and his cakes are actually MORE expensive than Maggie Austin cakes. All of this is pointless to talk about anyway because I'm just going to settle for a cake made by someone close to our venue and just shut up already!!

Gooooooooosssssfraaaabaaaa... Anyway, I e-mailed another cake company near our venue and got a form e-mail back telling me I had to call to get any information, and that really ticked me off. No one would even have the decency to write me back to even let me know if they were available on my date. It's a shame I like their cakes, because that was a huge turnoff. So I have one more resource up my sleeve; and I'm e-mailing them as soon as I post this! If this is a no go... I don't know what I'm going to do... Maggie Austin, here I come...

Bridesmaids dresses soon. Final reveal of the StDs. More gorgeous wedding hair... and hopefully we'll have cake at our wedding...

Friday, April 8, 2011


I know, I gotta' be happy for small steps. And I think we're on the right track! Save the Dates are halfway done, and I've got half of my addresses. And I might have mentioned this already, but the ones I'm waiting on are all on his side, so the pressure is off me :-)

Favors are coming along nicely, very nicely. The booze is getting darker and darker and it's starting to smell less boozy and more vanilla-y!
(I'll have my own picture soon, show you how far it's come)

I received foreal foreal confirmation from my florist that she is indeedy my florist; I had sent my deposit but now she has it, has deposited it, and has reserved herself for my wedding date!

It isn't all cake though... Literally, I didn't even mean to lead in like that... But seriously, the cake artist I wanted is no longer taking any more orders for the rest of 2011!! Please no 'I told you so' from Tara up there, I wasn't too surprised because she was only one cake designer, not a big company with a whole bunch of bakers/decorators. Her name was to be Faye from Sugar Petals. Her designs were simplistic and had those fun, unexpected tricks that made the cake not-so-traditional. Here's a taste... but not literally unfortunately:

Clean, sharp, modern, simplistic, and fun!

I found another one on some blog somewhere (I really need to cut back on my blog-reading, I get them all so confused!):

I don't think I can say enough about how awesome I think this abnormal tier size is! I mean, it's one trend that I am totally on board for. Here's one more Maggie Austin cake for all of us to drool over and be really really sad for that she's so expensive:
Not because I like bees, but this one has disproportionate tiers AND is off-center. *Le sigh*

Anyway, all my other options in the Lancaster, PA area are pretty awful, so if I have to settle with cake that's ugly, it better not cost a lot... That's all I have to say about that. There are at least a few with clean work, that seem like they'd be able to appreciate and execute our vision. But I'm no longer psyched about cake. It just has to taste good and be there as a symbol. As soon as anonymous 'cake baker' gets picked, I can't think of any major decisions that need to be made. There are some smaller (NOT small, but small-er) things to think about, and I need to start thinking about them:
  • Bridesmaids dresses, as soon as sister Jordan gets back stateside from Germany
  • Music - do I get ceremony musicians? or just use speakers and our existing DJ? I honestly don't know if I want to go through the hassle of finding ceremony musicians... and then how do you tell them I HATE PACHELBEL'S CANON!!! They'd disown me and quit.
  • Hair!! I want everyone to know that their comments had nothing to do with this (certain family members looked at me like I was a demon when I said I was going to go straight-haired). In the end, I finally got Kyle to admit that he would prefer my hair curly, so Kyle gets what Kyle wants, especially after I saw this:

More and more... well twice now, I'm seeing girls with some colour letting their hair out (is everyone aware that I'm half black? I wouldn't say "girls with some colour" if I wasn't). I mentioned to Kyle just yesterday that while going through a Victoria's Secret catalogue, I saw NOT ONE girl with curly hair. This isn't about being an individualist either, this is about recognizing that I'd be doing the same thing all those other curly-haired women out there are doing already: trying to change myself. Also, I'd be an individualist ;) That was a comment for my Mama who will call it affirmation that I am an individualist wannabe because I've only changed my mind now that I've seen a few other gorgeous women do the same thing. Well, whatever, confused? I am too. I'm still not 100% on this, but I was thinking too that if I had crazy hair on top, it would balance out the skirt on my gown... which I picked up from David's Bridal a few days ago!

Continuing with the checklist:
  • Invitations, which should be a breeze now that I've developed a system with the Save the Dates. However, I need to order the supplies for them, SOON!
  • Make-up/hair; I haven't decided whether I will get a hair/make-up artist or two to come to the venue on the day of the wedding to do my party's hair and make-up. Mostly because I don't know if there are salons in the area that have traveling make-up/hair people. I know they exist in Philadelphia, but the travel fees are ridiculous. Put it this way, it costs as much to get your hair done as it does to get the person to come to the venue! And what kills me about the whole thing (not trying to be cheap, it just baffles me!) is this: why does it cost me about $50 to get my hair done in a salon and three to four times that to get it done for an "event"??? I'm just too baffled to contemplate it right now.
  • Registry! This is becoming a little overwhelming because I decided to switch our registry over to Bed, Bath and Beyond because I didn't realize how much stuff they had, and of course, most of it's half the price of Crate and Barrel's stuff. I still love some of the cute Crate and Barrel stuff, but I figure we're more likely and humble enough to get a $30 awesome butcher block than a $800 dining room table. Well, the stressful part is that BB&B has a crapton of stuff! It's taken me hours already to go through not even half of their registry items online. Blegh, and what it's done is made me put things on the registry in the moment that I realize a day later I don't need. I spent so much time on my soap box saying I didn't want toasters and blenders; well, there's no toaster or blender on the registry, but salad spinners and cutting boards are right up there. I also swore I didn't want fine china but I've got a china set on there too. I can't decided whether to just give in or stay strong...
  • Groom and groomsmen attire. They went to Men's Wearhouse and I didn't like the suits there, and there were virtually no options. So I would like to go with Kyle to Macy's, JcPenney, and/or Sears and look at their suits. They're well-priced, and in my opinion, much better quality and selection because they make suits that they want men to wear more than once. Our one experience at Men's Wearhouse was not pleasant. Kyle told his best man and the salesman that as soon as I saw it, I would shoot it down, and sure enough I did; the suit was poop brown. There were no chocolate tones in there! I suppose, if it wasn't for everyone else being there- trying to help, mind you- it would have been fine, because Kyle and I understood each other immediately... Just one more positive test of our compatibility.
  • Decorations/DIY: The guest bench (hello there Daddy!), the garter (that's you Mama!) and the fabric backdrop alter (here's looking at me, kid!) are my big DIY things that have to get done, because I'm super excited about them, and they must be there!! No pressure.
Sorry, I know that's a lot of stuff. I think we can stop there for now. Some of these things just need time, I wouldn't expect them to be completely finished right now, because we still have a good amount of time. Right now work must be focused on! I must get out of here before November 25th!! I must start looking for jobs!!! I must get out of my crappy townhouse in Philly!!!!

The only way to move towards all those goals is to sign off and get back to work. So, without further ado...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do me a favor

My vanilla beans came in!!! EEeeeeeEEEEEE!!!!!

(please excuse my dirty stove)

And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I opened the box, that wonderful vanilla aroma hit me smack dab in the nostrils. But as I suspected, it wasn't overpowering. In fact, if you ever stick your nose into a bag of vanilla beans, they don't smell like vanilla. They smell like earth and roast... like they've been roasted... I don't know how to describe it, you'll have to try it out.

ANYWAY! I ordered three pounds, plenty for testing on different liquors, making the actual favors, and having a few beans for each place setting (hopefully... our guest list has grown a little since starting the Save the Dates... which are halfway finished BTDubs).

That's a lot a lot of vanilla beans!

Cutting them open was actually a hell of a lot easier than I thought it would be. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. All you have to do is hold the bean flat on a cutting board and carefully stick the point of a knife into the side of the bean. The skin is pretty easily broken, but strong enough that you won't just crush it with a knife blade.

The flecks of caviar (all those seed things on the inside) got EVERYWHERE, including up my nose which made me smell vanilla and that 'roast' smell for the rest of the day. So beware of that if you want to attempt this.

(Like my mani?!)

I thought I would have cut my finger off by this point... it was something I was willing to consider dealing with. Fingers grow back.

Anywho, here's the booze!!
Captain Morgan's spiced rum, Bacardi Gold dark rum, E&J Brandy, and Absolut Vodka, 200 mL each. 200 mL is about 6.667 ounces, and I almost put in 1 bean per ounce but instead I just put 5 beans in each bottle because I don't need to test run to be super strong, I just want to get a good idea of which booze is going to make the best vanilla. I suppose I could have even used less, BUT I also don't want to wait any longer than necessary for it to be ready, since I still have to make a big batch in time for the wedding!!

So, I cut up all my vanilla beans and put them all in the bottles of hooch, and shook 'em up real good! The caviar had already started to break from the beans and was floating around (not sure if you'll be able to see it, but here's a post bean shot):
The alcohol immediately started getting darker, this can be seen most noticeably in the vodka, being the only alcohol that started out clear... obviously.

Anyway, that's it!! I have to shake them every day for the first few weeks... or maybe every other day, but as I think about them everyday, it's no big thing for me to shake them everyday. I'm so excited yet again just because something's happening... I'm really doing this!! I'm very happy about it too, I think this will make a really sweet favor.

Anyway, on to another bit of very exciting news. My quasi-MOH is pregnant!! Now, Kyle and I are very very happy for Mia and Dan, but as soon as they told us, they got these guilty looks on their faces and told us that the tentative due date is a week before our wedding. So over the course of our most recent weekend with them (it was Mia's bachelorette for her wedding, we had a spa day and dinner and game night while Kyle and Dan and Dan's other groomsman went out to a strip club... I know, no imagination in those guys ;-p ) Mia kind of demoted herself from being maid of honor, which is of course a defense mechanism so that I don't demote her (which I wouldn't do... that's why they call it a defense mechanism).

I was upset pretty much the whole weekend that everyone kept saying they were sorry if it messed up our wedding. Now, I can understand you want to be conscientious, but don't apologize for bringing new life into the world! I am happy for you! Let me be happy for you!!! You're not sorry you got pregnant, you wanted to get pregnant! They kept saying "Well, I just want to make sure everyone's happy." Ummm, you're happy you're pregnant, I'm happy for you that you're pregnant, end of story, our wedding has nothing to do with it. Period! Exclamation point!! If one more person asks me if I'm upset about it, we're not friends anymore.

Anyway, enough with the tirade. The point is, Mia will either have a newborn baby, be in labor, or be ready to burst on the day of our wedding. So I told her if any of those three scenarios is the case, that she can't come, in order not to jeopardize the health of herself or her newborn/being born/unborn child. That's that... literally, and there is NO MORE to discuss. If we can really drop it, like, for real, as in please, then I am incredibly psyched for her and Dan! Kyle's already rehearsing all the curse words and annoyances he's going to teach the poor child in order for said poor child to torture its parents. We all know how much I love Pearl:
Watch out Mom and Dad, Aunt Ashley and Uncle Kyle are bad, bad influences!