Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Much better

After some Sudafed Sinus Headache and a good night sleep, I am feeling 50 million times better today. Last night, it took a few hours to not feel so crappy and nasty...
No, it wasn't that bad, unless you actually crossed my path. But then I started feeling normal and actually got a lot done (it is amazing how much you can get done when you're completely and totally lonely and bored). I got three more yarn orbs done:

Inspiration versus reality...

I started stringing up the burlap bunting:
Yay!! When I talked to the man yesterday and he asked me what I was up to and I tried describing this to him, he got very confused, but he still seemed receptive; see, I don't want this to start being too kitschy/carnival-ly/childish, so I need some feedback as to whether ya'll think this would look rustic on the cake table or just silly.

I got some knitting done:

Please excuse my old people pillows and wrinkled sofa cover.

It's about 4 feet long now and I was hoping for more like 5-6 feet. Thankfully, when I set my mind to it, I can get a few inches done a night, 6 inches on a weekend day. I started out slow and steady in the beginning, it took me almost a year to do 3 feet (jeepers!), but then when I took a gander at my timeline I got another foot done in two weeks.

Point is, gimme a month, this sucker will be toast! Did I mention I love the color, although it doesn't come through correctly in this picture, so I took another:

Not only can you see the pattern (simple knit-purl block) but this picture much more clearly represents the color. Not sure why it's coming out so cranberry above, it's much more blackberry in real life.

Anywhozits, we also got our very first RSVP!!! Yippee!! Now, I'm not opening any until the man gets home, not only do I want him to be here, but I also hope to have a nice little pile to open all at once. Anyway, first RSVP goes to my aunt and uncle in Virginia!!
Hopefully they're coming ;) I have already resigned myself to the reality of the fact that not everyone is going to make it, but it will still be a bummer to get that first no.

Lastly, I wanted to vent about something that's officially the first thing that's stressed me out a little bit about wedding planning... the fun to do list and the not fun to do list. The fun to do list is pretty self-explanatory, it's full of crafty things and blingy things and things that require little effort or little money or little thought. I realized, now that we've hit the two month mark, that another to do list has to be created, the not fun to do list. I'm scared of this one, why? Because it's full of things that require decisions! or money! or research! Ahh!! These things are going to seem silly, but bear with me:

  • Parents' gifts - no clue what to get them (except my mom ;) heehee)
  • Attendant gifts - some clue, but still mostly clueless
  • Hotel booking - just plain lazy
  • Marriage license - no big deal, you say? Well, it is when your fiance is divorced and you have no idea what the state of Pennsylvania means when they ask for a "divorce decree" and you're a little upset that your fiance, you know, the one whose divorce it is, doesn't know whether or not he has any proof that the divorce has been decreed.
  • Bridesmaids accessories... ohmigod shoes!
  • Lots and lots of big checks to write soon... :-/
Not sure yet but I will probably be adding to this not fun list. Anyway, the point is, I'm getting a very small taste of why brides-to-be get stressed. However, with the exception of the divorce decree, everything on this list is really not so big a deal, but does require attention soon. My stress level is still only at about a 3, but two months will quickly dissolve into one month, and then one week, and then one day. Wish me luck, pretty please!

Do you have a to do list that you display proudly? with all the crossings out and ambitious, impressive things? and another that you shamefully hide away? because nothing on it is getting done??

Monday, September 26, 2011

Go Ukraine!

Can I just say, since the new Blogspot design has been unveiled, I've discovered the world of "Pageviews by Country"

Ukraine is beating France, Russia, India, and Italy! Get 'er done, Ukraine! Thanks for viewing, thanks to all the countries near and far for reading.

BTdubs Ukraine, Australia, the UK, Germany, Canada, and US are beating you! Not that I want to encourage an end of ze world scenario, but... represent!

Told you, loopy.


I've not been in this bad a mood in quite some time. I've got some sort of weird sinus headache; my head, neck, eyes, and ears hurt. Kyle is in Russia! And science isn't my friend these days. Retail therapy anyone?

I just found these Badgley Mischka's marked down from $200 to $68 on Amazon. I had to buy them, on general principle. I'm sure I'll regret it but with free two day shipping on Amazon Prime, this is a no risk situation for me, and I need something pretty.

That's completely wedding-UNrelated. So, on to something that is wedding-related...




If that can't bring me out of the funk, I don't know what can. I got a lot of good stuff done this weekend... but not yarn orbs...

I don't know why I can't muster up the motivation to get more of those things made! But I have to. The knitting is going along very well, and it just occurred to me the other night that I have never shown you the progress on my shawl! I'm so sorry. I am going to take some pictures tonight. I also finished a task that I forgot to put on my to do list in the first place (and then forgot to take pictures)!

My whole living room still smells like vanilla beans as I spent this weekend tying two beans together with twine to go on top of each guest's napkin at the reception. It'll look good, trust me. I'm slowly seeing the table coming together, but still can't figure out the color of the linens. Mayhaps you can help! The ladies are in burgundy, so that's out, the men are in chocolate brown, so that's out. There will be burlap squares in the center of each table (about 2 feet by 2 feet... they're finished by the way!), then a wood slab on top of each burlap square, and moss strewn around the slab. There will be amber-colored wine bottles and off-white candles, wheat stalks and burgundy calla lilies in the wine bottles and guinea hen feathers in the moss. The vanilla beans will sit on top of each napkin. I can see most of it so clearly, but I still can't figure out what color to have the linens as.

Kinda' looks like this, but add moss and burlap, and a wine bottle. Oh, did I mention, white/off-white is completely out because the whole ballroom is white... Limits the options a tad. Which sucks because that was what I was going to pick... if it hadn't been for the white walls... I'm frustrated by the fact that I can't see it come together in my head...

I'm frustrated by hair and makeup because the more I look at the hairstyles that I like the most the more I feel that anyone could do these hairstyles in their bathrooms before the wedding (please don't misinterpret me, that's the way I want the looks! I'm not upset with the looks, just the price tag of paying someone to do a hairstyle that I could do).
I love these looks, but when people tell you they dropped $75+ on a hairstyle, you expect something a little more like this:

Yeah, I'd pay $75 for that, but I don't want that. Bridesmaid Keri brought up the possibility of playing with each other's hair at the bridal shower. Yeah, I'm game. That picture of Kristen even came with a tutorial. And Keri, if you really think your hair might still not cooperate, I found a tutorial for DIY curls, that can't hurt to try. With the right hairspray or mousse or something, any hair will curl... maybe... hopefully.

I know what it seems like; cheapskate Ashley is too cheap to shell out the money for hairstyles... No, I'm actually not, at all. But I almost feel that the fuss that's going to be made when a professional does the hair is actually going to make it look too polished... There's also the time thing. I feel like a professional would fuss and fuss over those hairstyles and take an hour, at least. Unnecessary!! Erroneous!!! Uncalledfor! (not a word?? what do you mean not a word?!) These looks are supposed to look hastily put together... like you just got done tumbling in a barn, and then had to be in a wedding... get it??? Anyway, must play with hair!

Furthermore, I have no problem paying for makeup; my desire to DIY my makeup comes from my desire to DIY my makeup... period. Exclamation mark! I just like the idea of it, I like the pictures of brides doing their own makeup:

Yeah, OK, fine, I couldn't find the picture of her doing her makeup - although I know I've seen it - but she's the famousest (another non-word?? what is wrong with the English language?!) person I know of who did their own makeup. It was no big deal for her. She was all like "Bring it on!!"

Anyway, I'll stop there, I'm getting loopy. Before I go home and take sinus medicine and a nap, I did one more thing this weekend to cap off my wedding task list:
Burlap bunting! I was not originally going to write on it, but got carried away. I was thinking of using this one for the cake table (obviously I still have to string them up, I'm just showing my progress so far), making a "Thank you" one for the gift table/guest bench, a "Just married" or a "Mr. & Mrs." for the head table. Well, that is a decision for another day. I'm going to go home and wait longingly for my Badgley Mischka's. I promise I'll be in a better mood tomorrow!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A little Harry Potter reference to start you day out right! Our invitations are making their way into homes all across America (yay!) and so it's time they were properly revealed! I want to start though by saying sister Jordan, if you don't want the surprise ruined, skip the rest of this post. But not yet! I have more wonderful news first! I got something special in the mail...
 A big scary box!! That bubble wrap was almost the death of me, but I wrestled it away to reveal two, fairly tiny boxes...
 What could be inside?? Bottles for homemade vanilla extract favors possibly? With matching adorable corks mayhaps? Because that would be awesome...

 Oh my gosh I was totally just guessing! It is bottles for homemade vanilla extract favors with matching adorable corks! Yay!!
Aren't they sweet?? They hold 1.7 fl oz. The vanilla extract you get from the store is one ounce, so I know those bottles look a little on the larger side, but I didn't want to just give our guests one teensy ounce. Were these bottles a touch more expensive than getting plain old amber glass bottles with black screw tops? Yeah, but it's worth it, these bottles with their square, irregular shape and tiny imperfections fit better with our theme and I'm so happy we went with a corked bottle. So Yay!!! They're here!!! I figure one more month of letting the extract stew with beans and I can transplant it into these bottles. Next stop; get some sticky labels for the bottles.

OK, back to business, the reason my sister has to go away is because she is at college and I didn't have her school address so her invitation is sitting in my parents' house :( I'm sorry sister Jordan but you'll get your invitation very very soon. So, I also have to continue starting out by saying that I know you have all seen bits and pieces of the invitations. Probably all of them actually, but not officially. Now that they are sent and I've gotten confirmation by several people that they got theirs and none have come back to us yet, here they are! The AshleyKyle invitations!!

So the first presentation to our guests is their names of course, in my fancy handwriting (after this I also started putting dots in between the numbers of the zip just like in our label) and on the back is our return address that Kyle worked so hard on.
Once the envelope is opened, the burgundy liner is exposed and the informal inner envelope comes neatly out into the world!
Can't pass up this opportunity to give our seal a little extra blog time. This one is not so great because it's a practice one we did when we first got the seal (the edges are very rough), once I had figured out what I was doing, the guests' seals looked much better :)

Once opened and carefully extracted, the invitation presents itself (our practice one held up very well, I hope everyone else's made it just a nicely... those outer envelopes are very sturdy). It says 'Hello lucky, open me up and read about the awesome party you're invited too :D
'But before you do, we have a gift for you! That's right, without you even having to do much, you get a present!' I am so happy we went with the plantable envelopes (I just hope they grow), I am so happy to give our guests a little thank you just for making it through the invitation!
 I'm very pleased with the way I was able to put them together so that you don't have a lot of stuff flapping all over the place, feathers falling off, etc... I was able to glue everything to everything and it stays in place! Sorry, had to pat myself on the back a little there. ANYWHO... take off the vellum over the invitation itself and pull out the inserts and voila!
The invitation wording ended up as follows:

Together with Karen and Gary Mentlik

Ashley Mentlik


Kyle James

Invite you to come celebrate with us
As we exchange vows!


Dinner and Rock 'n' Roll to follow
in the Riverdale Manor Ballroom

I couldn't resist a little fun. The hotel info is included, we have blocks of rooms reserved at two hotels right next to each other and these are the hotels that will provide shuttle service to and from the venue! The RSVP comes next:

And I couldn't resist filling out one for us :) I asked Kyle and he said he would definitely be there with bells on, I didn't even force him to say that! And of course I will also be there with bells on, so our first response is in... I know it's cheating, but still exciting. In the real invitations, of course, the RSVP envelope is stamped, but I was too lazy to stamp ours, even for authenticity purposes. I couldn't find a stamp at the time.

So there you have it! I'm still a little... 'meh' about the fact that there's not a cute little map or directions insert, but people are coming from so many different places and it just seemed like too much to read. Also, if I got a directions insert in an invitation, I would still google map it. Regardless, we were running out of time for me to keep waffling over whether or not to try and put the map in. In the end, the labels on the map all looked too itty bitty and hard to read and I reasoned that most people that have ceremony and reception in two different places include maps for convenience, but everything's in one place for us... So in the end, I think the invitations are all that we could hope for, and I'm very happy with them.

I want to thank everyone who has given us sweet comments. They were received better than I thought they would be, and my boss even made me blush complimenting them (do not tell him I said that!).

So what do you think? I gotta' say, it wasn't easy per se but I would recommend DIY invitations to anyone who has the time. Would you ever DIY your invites or are you going to leave it to the professionals?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A decision

After talking with two out of three bridesmaids (I'm too lazy to do anything other than gmail or gchat. You want to talk to me, you better be signed in) and we've collectively come to a decision. I also talked to the man last night who took time out to listen to me blabber on and on and on about hair and makeup and about the options I posted about yesterday.

As of right now, our game plan is going to be go to the salon in the morning and get our hair done and then have a makeup artist come to the venue to do our makeup closer to the wedding start time. What is that, option 2?

I still have to talk to the salon to iron out these details, but in the meantime... INSPIRATION!!

This is what sister Jordan wants:

I instantly saw the merit in this because we could have cohesion amongst the girls even if they have different hair lengths. So since I can't keep track of how long anyone's hair is, I like this for all three of the girls. Unless Mia messes everything up by chopping her hair off, which she randomly decides to do every now and then. Mia, don't do that.

I found some more that I like even more after that:


My favorites are Kristen Bell's and Lauren Conrad, so those are the two I am going to show to the salon. Mia and my sister's hair is very cooperative but Keri's hair does not like to hold curls. The good thing about these styles is that they don't have to be curled. Jennifer Garner's look is not really curled, maybe moussed to give it that scrunched, just-got-out-of-bed look. Same with Uma Thurman's look. I think either of those would work for Keri. Even Kristen's look would work with straight hair or moussed hair.

This brings me to makeup. I have a new style icon, but I hate to admit to it. She's my most love-to-hate-her celebrity icon:

That's right, Keira Knightley. I just wanna' tell her to close her mouth and put her head down, and open her eyes a little bit more... and eat a damn cheeseburger! But I love her makeup.

Even, on occasion, her hair:

This might be one of my favorite of her looks, but with just a touch more color added to the cheeks.

Here's my favorite of her looks for the bridesmaids, along with this one to the left:

Still a little drama to the eyes but not so overwhelmingly dramatic. And most importantly it's clean and simple, with a good lip and cheek color.

As far as my look is concerned, that I'm experiencing a lot more indecision over:


I would like more drama please! I want a smokier eye and a slightly darker lip. I can't decide though if I want to go full out smoky eye like the next to the last image or a little less smoky like the last image. I also really like the use of color in the third to the last image.

Regardless, I think this is a good place to start. I know I've been all over the place, but I think Keira presents a much more unified idea of what I want to look like at the wedding; nothing fancy but the eyes.

Hair should be carefree, not look too put together, I don't want massive amounts of gel, mousse, or hairspray. I'm showing you all of these images of course, but I am going to pick only a few loose updos and only a couple makeup pictures to show to the salon because I think I've already narrowed my choices down exactly as I just laid out to you.

Kyle will be happy, he loves Keira Knightley, but I refuse to say my vows with a British accent while showing too much teeth:
I know I know, that's unfair, but she cracks me up when she talks.

Anyway, who is your style icon? How did you decide how to wear your hair and makeup?

People have started getting invitations (yay!!!) and I've gotten a lot of compliments. Thanks! I'll be posting a full invitation reveal hopefully tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Make me up before you go go

Of all the decisions that we've made, all the vendors that we've hand-picked, this process has been pretty easy peasy.
First came Venue, and while it took me awhile to find Riverdale (by find I mean become aware of the existence of, not, like, physically finding it on a map), it took me no time whatsoever to fall in love with it. Highlights include in-house catering, day-of coordinator, chiavari chairs (no chair covers!) and amazing hardwood floors (no old, tacky carpet!!), and most importantly, a venue that is experienced and equipped for weddings, as opposed to weddings being an afterthought. And it's soooo preeetty!

Next came Ben:

This decision was a tad harder, because of the more experienced, more expensive Shea Roggio as competition, but when it came down to it, we knew Ben's personality melded with ours as soon as we met him. And he has continued to seem really eager to please us and make sure we're satisfied.

Next, you all know the ridiculous process that is trying to find that dress, but in my heart, I always knew that the dress was not the most important part of this day. Obviously, Kyle is going to get a little heated when I walk down the aisle no matter what I'm wearing, and he will love me and not run away no matter what (unless there's lace :))

Then came Tara of Splints and Daisies:

This was another insanely easy decision. She has a very unique approach to flowers and is also very eager to please. She seemed really excited by my inspirational photos and is really well-priced. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with. This was the first vendor where I started using the word trust; even though I don't know exactly what the flowers are going to end up looking like, I trust that she is more than competent to make them absolutely perfect.

Now enter Renee of Bella Manse:

Her cake tasted great, I mean really, honestly, I didn't give a crap what it looked like as long as it tasted good. But here again, she seemed totally in tune with our vision for the cake and so I trust that it's going to be great, and taste awesome.

I know you've been with me through bridesmaids dresses and suits. Bridesmaids dresses were my first occasion of Bridezilla-dom. I didn't want to force anyone to wear anything they didn't want, but when I saw my sister in the one we picked, I said 'that's it, that's the one, no more looking."

It flatters her and the fabric and style compliments my dress, end of story. My original plan was the let everyone pick their own as long as it was deep burgundy/wine-colored, but then I said 'no, order this.' It took me awhile though to build up the nerve to say 'do this!' I don't like forcing my girls into things, but I finally realized that everyone was waiting on the decision and that for all the weddings that I've had to wear a dress that I would not have picked myself, there is no way you can please everyone. And it won't be the end of the world... hopefully.

Suits was just a matter of finding the right color. I knew what I wanted, but finding it seemed impossible, annoyingly impossible, but I feel very content with our choice, and my man looks sexy in it :)

Our DJ choice was very easy as well, because Nick has known Kyle and I for five years and we already know he plays good music, so the only thing that mattered was when we said 'are you going to play what we want, not play what we don't want, and not be annoying and try to get everyone to do the chicken dance?' when he said yes, we were sold (we're so easy). I just hope he also has a good time as well. I don't want him working the whole night.

Rings were easy.

Theme was easy.

Attendants were easy.

Menu was easy.

So many other things were easy...

Why is makeup so gall dern hard?!?! Rikki, the cheapest and sweetest makeup artist so far, turned out to be a huge flake. When I found her, I thought to myself 'wow! here's one more wedding decision that turned out to be super easy!' and then it stopped being easy. It seemed like no one else would travel, and the only other makeup artists that would travel were way way too expensive. I started calling or e-mail-bombing all the salons in Lancaster and it turns out, a fair few of them will travel to the venue, but then several started worrying me about time, saying that three hours was not enough to do 5 girls' hair and makeup (me, my mom, three bridesmaids). Fair point, but what now??

So I've been wrestling with a few different options:

  • Option one: Found a great salon/spa in Lancaster (will tell you more about it when and if I choose them); get hair and makeup done AT this salon the morning of the wedding. Do touch-ups on our own.
  • Option two: Go to the salon late morning of the wedding and get hair done together, then have makeup artist travel to venue to do makeup there.
  • Option three: Go to the salon late morning of the wedding and girls get their hair done, DIY makeup.
  • Option four: DIY all the way baby!
My mom is doing a simple, wavy down-do, and I like it. So now I'm trying to figure out what everyone else wants, because I actually need to tell this salon what I want done, or not done, because maybe some hairstyles are simple enough to DIY:





Oh, I've got more, and they all have braids in them. When you've got hair like mine, you've mastered braids over the years, and I love how these looks are technically boho, but they don't look boho to me, they look low maintenance and chic. Maybe braids can be a tie in, like if one girl wants her hair down, she can do a sort of Jennifer Aniston look but if another wants a side ponytail, she can do a Molly Sims look. And if anyone likes the fishtail look, I know how to do fishtails too, and I love them; love Ashley Greene's look. Am I way off base here?

This subject has become too big for me to think about. Do we DIY makeup but not hair? Hair but not makeup? I'm getting no feedback because everyone keeps saying 'just do what you want to do.' No, now I need real answers. I found the salon, now they need the laundry list of who-needs-what. I've got too many contradicting thoughts going through my head. Tell me what you want! Help me to help you! I have been in a wedding where I was given freedom to do hair the way I wanted and I was in a wedding where my hair was done the way the bride wanted it. I found that I didn't care either way, but, at the former wedding, we all helped each other with hair and makeup and that was actually really fun. But at the latter wedding, the stress was taken out of it because a professional was tending to you.