Friday, October 28, 2011

Sure to make you lose your mind

Things are still moving at a pretty fast pace. Things discussed between me and the man as of late:

  • Final cake design
  • Order of ceremony
  • Processional order (that was hysterical: "OK, which Grandma are we talking about now, yours or mine?")
  • Final flowers
  • Final decorations; how we're going to make our alter work, how we're going to get everything to the right place
  • Where we're staying and what we're doing for Thanksgiving
  • When we're going to go get our marriage license (I don't care if you call me cheap, marriage license in Philadelphia costs $80 but only $40 in Lancaster... am I missing something?? But of course that means we need to make a special trip...)
  • This dumb timeline stuff with our venue... 4 hours for a reception just does not seem like enough time, add dinner and speeches and cake cutting and you're talking about 2 hours for actually dancing on tables and acting like a fool... Neither of us is happy about that.
  • Who's coming and who's not and the surprising RSVPs that are still absent.
  • Ties... ridiculous.

I'm also getting e-mails left and right from our wonderful vendors who are writing to make sure we're all set with final preparations. Photographer, florist, baker, coordinator, DJ, Grampa.
(Do you have any idea how neurotic I am?? My inbox has never looked like that nor will it EVER look like that... this is an over-exaggeration courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half)

I'm surprised how easily it's being handled. Obviously these people are professionals, they know how to take care of business. I have to comment again on how I know I don't have to be nit picky with every detail because they know what they're doing. It's comforting.

I am, however, having trouble talking to our DJ and my Grampa as "vendors" or whatever you want to call them. They're friends/family! I'm trying to ask Nick if we're cool for watching football on Sunday and then I'm like "Oh, by the way, I'm going to bring over some ceremony music I need you to edit" and I feel like such a jerk... so then I try to overcompensate by being all like "How's that disgustingly cute kid of yours?! (Nick and Julie have a young son)" and it feels disingenuous to me. I trust he knows I mean it but... it's hard. Am I still happy we're going with a friendor? Absolutely, because I know he's going to do a great job, etc...
Aforementioned disgustingly cute kid

It's beyond weird asking my G to do things and telling him the way we want things. I feel like saying "You're the grampa, you tell me how it's supposed to go!" I can't consider him a vendor at all. How do you pay your grandfather?? He certainly hasn't brought it up, but I thought we could donate to a charity in his name.

Lastly, I have a progress report! I think I already ruined this surprise, but just in case:

The rest of this post is not for the brideslovelies!!

Please go away... There's nothing interesting to see here!

I know I've brought up the personalized hanger idea right? Well, did I mention that I want to make one for each bridesmaid? I might have, but I don't remember. Point is, hopefully they don't remember either, because then I realized it should be a surprise... but I suck at surprises, obviously. Anyway, I tried my hand at this personalized hanger thing because a personalized hanger costs $25-$30! And I managed to find wire at Home Depot for $7. Did I have any clue what I was doing though?
Sadly no. I don't think it looks horrible, but it doesn't look all that good, and up close you can see more flaws than you can in the picture; mainly that I couldn't make the wire straight. I started panicking right off the bat. I had passed the point where I needed to order them (they have some crazy production time) but I still loved the idea. I think I mentioned last week that I was thinking of getting a wooden hanger and just personalizing the wire at the bottom, but then I went to Home Depot last weekend and forgot to look for hangers, so I got impatient and tried again last night to do a better job.
The hanger is hanging at a funny angle, which makes the right side look wider than the left, but don't believe everything you see in pictures. It turned out MUCH better this time. With some patience and steady hands (and a glass of wine out of a box), I made a hanger! And spelled a name!! (I'm not going to tell you the name, you have to tell me if it looks like what it's meant to say)

This made me feel so so much better. I cranked out one more last night and it looked great too. If made well, they also feel sturdier than my first attempt; everything is straighter and tighter. I still think I want to use a wooden hanger for my dress with just my name in wire at the bottom because my dress is so heavy, but the girls all have lightweight, short dresses.

So we're back on track. I ordered the pashminas for the girls and with the pashmina, the hanger, and the hair flowers I think I'm pleased with the gifts I have to offer my girls. I didn't spend a lot of money on them, true, but I spent a lot of time, and each one is more personalized because of it:
So what did you guys get your bridesmaids?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life in the fast lane

Will you all forgive me for being so absent? I don't remember when I posted last but it was last week. This is Wednesday. I don't usually like to go so long without posting... I miss you.

Anyway, I've been a little distracted... by this:
And by my to do list, which I keep adding on to like some insane idiot. But we've been getting so much done. Remember the door I mentioned last week?
Meet door! Isn't she pretty?! Kyle cut this sucker in half while I was out grocery shopping and then started sanding it down without me even asking for his help:
Like some big sweet helper man. Anyway, it was a LOT of work sanding through all those layers of old paint but we're getting there. The funny part is that the door is solid oak and is actually gorgeous under all that craptastic paint. It almost sucks because once we started sanding them I noticed that the door started looking newer and nicer... that wasn't the point. We're going to stain it and then let it sun bleach some. I want the grain to come out but I don't want it looking too polished. Meanwhile, the edges and corners of the door are still in rough shape, so at least there's that ;) I think it's hysterical how excited I got every time we chipped the wood or something, I would keep saying "Oh, good, that adds to the character!" and Kyle kept shaking his head and telling me to be more careful.

Oh, I almost forgot, when we started sanding, we found this buried under the paint layers too:
Skeleton key hole... what is wrong with people? I scraped the rest of the paint off and we're going to attach it back to the door once we're finished.

So... onto everything else! We also picked up materials at Home Depot for our alter backdrop support system. We found the shirt (thank you Van Heusen! You rock!!) but not the ties yet for the groom and groomsmen. There's too many options online and their prices make me nervous... if a silk tie costs $35 at a department store, why does it only cost $10 online from some "tie warehouse"? Not sure why but girls are easier in most respects. Like shoes, we have our favorite brands of shoes and if I see them online, chances are I've tried them on in the store or tried on another type of the same brand. The price online is usually similar to the price in the store. Easy. Simple.

Anyway, I won't rant anymore, it's just ties, they'll get taken care of. We've settled on linens:
The brown rectangle on top represents the covered outdoor area where cocktail hour will be... the walls are all ivory or brown, so I made the floor brown, just for reference. The big off-white square in the middle is the ballroom, obviously, where the walls are all off-white... that last little rectangle is just the hallway where bar and gifts will be, also all off-white walls. Anyway, so we're going very simple rustic; a few ivory table cloths (just at the head table because all the wedding party will be in such dark colors) but elsewhere all chocolate brown table cloths. There will be burlap squares on every table and the little burgundy dots I artfully placed on each table just represent how the centerpieces will have burgundy in them with the calla lilies. Phew! Like I said, the linens appointment was not much fun, and neither was making up with diagram to visualize them... although it took much less time, I'm mad I didn't do this to begin with.

We're about the make the final plunge on cake and flowers!!

So, so excited knowing that she's capable of this to see what she'll make of ours... picture this cake but with ombre fondant; cream up top slowly blending down into dark chocolate at the bottom!!

Flavors will be white chocolate mousse + strawberry with yellow cake or chocolate mocha mousse + peanut butter with yellow cake (picture tastykakes kandy kakes!!)

Whoo hoo!!!



These are all examples from my awesome florist. She has plenty of examples of perfect round bouquets, but I was obviously drawn to her wild, random arrangements. It's like she has no concerns about constraint, and I say more power to her! I'm going to perfectly wed her contemporary design to her rustic design.

I think I mentioned before too, I have so much confidence in both the baker and the florist, that I just love/thank my lucky stars that I found them and now I don't have to worry about these aspects of the wedding, at all, because they're such awesome professionals!

So, as far as my to do's, I'm down to knitting (more than 5/6's done!!), hangers, yarn orbs, and bunting! Of course alter arch and chalkboard goes on there too... I've been separating those things that Kyle's helping with because they don't feel like my to do's but OUR to do's :)

Kyle is this close to having his divorce decree and then we can go get our marriage license! Yay!! And EVERYONE'S gifts have been ordered }:-) Muahahahaha!!! I can't wait for everyone to see their gifts, which are all super secrets!!

I found a few other awesome things (stupid Etsy is going to bankrupt me) that I then bought:
Four old vintage crates in all from The Beez Kneez Vintage, just about the coolest shop name on Etsy. Let's not neglect vintage Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper!

Have I mentioned I'm in love with stacked boxes? Because I am, and I'm not just a crazy spendy lady, I've been lured in by wedding blogs:

Lovely, no? Now who's got wooden crates?!?! Right here! And I know how to us 'em!

I'll now have 8... I've been thinking about everything that I'm accumulating and worrying that I'll go overboard, but I'm just too excited. We have a very large space to work with, inside and out, and what I had initially I felt was not going to cut it... almost like 'she had an idea, but then she ran out of material' scenario... Well not me, better too much than not enough. All extras can hang out in a car trunk somewhere.

Getting. so. excited!!!

Lastly, I found a sweet sweet eBay auction for this lot of vintage Ball mason jars:
(I found some on Etsy that I spoke of last week, but these are crazy crazy cheaper!) Looking back over this post, I'm so much more excited even now, all these details we're working on are really going to come together. I can see them clearly in my head. I could not be more excited! Kyle has made himself a music list so now our day even has a soundtrack... his is funky and old school and mine's a bit more poppy and a lot indie.

Although there are definitely things that need to get done, I feel like we are definitely on track, and there's still no twitch in my eyelid, so I'm still enjoying myself. Keri, my thoughts are with you, hang in there!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm interpreting your silence as tacit compliance

I'm super crazy excited right now. Last night, on my way home from work, I almost stumbled upon an old door that someone had on the corner for trash pickup... Yeah, I took it. So, I didn't take a picture because it was getting dark by the time I had it in my possession last night, and I left for work today when it was still dark out. Sorry, but anyway, I couldn't wait until good picture-taking time to tell you! It's about 6 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide, so like a half door. Here, it looks like this:
Obviously minus the door frame and there was no handle in it. Also, it was white and peeling. Kyle just shook his head when he saw that I had it dragged home (noticed I said 'had it dragged home,' yeah, I made our roommate go get it... it was two blocks away, I would have looked retarded. I'm just a helpless female ;)). Anyway, but this was our exchange:


"Yes, you did."


"What the hell are you going to do with that?"


"Oh... Okay, that sounds cool."

Well, enthusiasm (or lack thereof) aside, he agreed that it was a problem-solver, and the best part was that it was totally and completely free. I just hope the people who threw it out don't get jealous because I had a better idea for it than they did. Although the chances that they read my blog are really... slim to none... I would think.

It made me feel even better, though, because it meant that I wouldn't feel as guilty spending a little money here or there to get some other things I've had my eyes on because now I don't have to buy something like a $50.00 reclaimed cupboard door chalkboard. Two for that matter.

Also, I was walking home yesterday and I came across this scene:
No, it's not a crime scene, it's a fern bed. I was struck immediately by the dried up fronds that stick out after the actual leafy parts of the fern are dead for the year. I remembered, and laughed out loud, that I had seen these last year at this same time and thought 'Oh, how cute, I should use those somehow at the wedding.' At the time, I was leaning towards dried flowers and these are appealing to me because they're unappealing to most people, they're brown and weird-looking, they have these little arms; they almost look like they're alive and wriggling. You want a closer look?

Yeah, that's right, I picked a whole bunch of 'em and took them back to lab. They'll stay here for a few days so I can be sure they won't explode and spread their spores all over us, devour us and decompose our bodies at supersonic speed... Who else saw last week's Fringe? It's made me quite paranoid around mold and spores.

(By the way, that little pink thing beside the rubber chicken is not what it kind of looks like. Not saying that you all have dirty minds and I don't either, but it did strike me that it could be construed as.... anyway, it's a little pull my finger keychain that makes fart noises... I mean, you see the rest of my collection of ridiculous gag gifts... so get your minds of out of the gutters people!)

Anyway, I like the idea of mixing soft, feminine elements with this hard, sort of dead element. I like the color and I love that it has texture and it's interesting.

I had recently been feeling nervous about how minimalist I went with flowers. Our centerpieces are literally going to have maybe one flower and a few wheat stalks per table. I was starting to worry that it wasn't going to be enough; that I would have to call her and add a few more elements to make me feel... not soooooo minimalist. But here came another break in the form of these free, dead ferns. I know it's morbid, but it cracks me up.

When I saw them last year I knew in the back of my mind that I was going to forget them. Obviously I couldn't pick them then, who would want these things hanging around, dropping spores all over the place for a year? But I think it's funny that a year later, I saw them again and had the same idea and I'm psyched that I stopped and picked some this time around. I guess everyone (including me) will have to wait until the wedding to see if they actually make it into any arrangements.

With all this in mind, I'm too excited not to buy my Amish milk cans:
(especially because that trash-door and those dead ferns saved me so much money!) But I'm still on the fence about these Mason jars.
No one has dissuaded me yet... one more day of this and I'm just going to have to buy them... I can't stand the suspense!!

Are there other DIY brides out there? Did you ever catch a break by finding old (or dead) stuff and making something out of it?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To spend or not to spend...

... Apparently there is no question.

I need some help, I mean, because it is a good question, and I don't just impulse buy everything I see on Etsy... just mostly everything, and this is my latest squirm-inducing, itchy-credit-card-finger obsession:
Not just blue mason jars, authentic blue mason jars (notice I've not linked it up, you can't have them, they're mine! Just kidding, she has more than enough for everyone). Real live antiques, and only $8 each. But do I need to spend $80? Do I need 10 antique blue mason jars?

I know that I would love to use them to hold bouquets, but then I would only need 4, but if I use them to hold bouquets, I would want to incorporate them elsewhere too, just because they're awesome and fit our rustic theme. I dunno' I'd love to hear what you all think.

It's not just mason jars either, the man's come up with a plan for making a structure for my fabric backdrop and suggested the Amish milk cans:
Because they are a taller support than a flower pot, even a large flower pot. I won't go into the details of his idea yet because we have to see if we can even make it happen (and I need to wrap my head around it) but the point is, I didn't buy these when I went on my big trip to the Lancaster Flower and Craft Warehouse because they're something like $35 each. Just seems a bit steep to me, but I cannot find them any. where. else. And I like the idea of spending $70 more than buying flower pots that might not go with our whole look regardless of how much those are going to cost... and large flower pots are never cheap... quick research time!!...


$40 is the cheapest I found, say for a 16" flower pot (that's not big enough, I can't pretend it would be) so any bigger and prices jump up to $80+.

Point is, I'm kicking myself now for not buying these... really kicking myself, because this is now the smartest, most cost-effective option and I can't find them anywhere else (in a funny twist, I can't even find these cans on the Lancaster FAC website! I know they have them, but not on their website for shipping; apparently I have to physically go buy them).

To come back around full circle, I love how now that our time is drawing near, all of a sudden these sudden (self-induced) expenses are popping up. And because we're getting closer, I keep telling myself 'Oh, you don't have time to think about it, just buy it already!' ....... Silly spender. Don't even get me started on Etsy finds like this:
But I keep telling myself that it's all enhancements to the theme, and I will love looking back on these details if I can have them... and of course I will never remember in a few years that they weren't there if I can't have them.

Kyle says money comes and goes. What do you guys think?

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm not so crazy after all

Holy Moley did we get a lot done this weekend! I'm happy to report that I did a lot of stuff so that I could tell you I did a lot of stuff... That's right, if it wasn't for you awesome followers/subscribers, I would have sat on my ass all weekend! I just got the new George R.R. Martin book... so... everyone's very lucky:
But instead of reading the whole book in two days, Kyle and I went all over our great city of Philadelphia getting rings and altering suits. I also got my dress back and tried to make hangers on Friday. And on Sunday I did another makeup trial after buying makeup on Saturday. We also looked for groomsmen shirts and ties but didn't find any to our liking yet.

Getting Kyle's suit altered was the easiest thing that I've ever done. Man puts on pants, man stands on a platform, tailor makes a little chalk mark, man pays $20, man is spent... He didn't even have to put the whole suit on, that's why I didn't take any pictures... In fact, when we got to Men's Warehouse, I had to go to the bathroom, so by the time I got finished in the bathroom, he was almost done. If you blink, you'll miss the male tailoring process.
You have to hide in swamps and use a high powered camera to capture the process. Be very stealthy.

Saturday was gorgeous, so we walked the ten blocks to Barsky for our wedding bands:
Awww, I know, we're so sappy. But if you prefer a non-blurry close-up:
I was worried about his not going with mine because mine is platinum and his is tungsten carbide, but I love how they look, both silver-colored but his looks brushed and manly-er and mine's shiny and girly-er. I'll be honest, and probably sound disingenuous, but I was shooting for smaller diamonds in the band, but Kyle convinced me he liked it better with the diamonds in the band being the same size as my sidestones and since he was paying for it, I didn't argue. He was then worried I didn't like it. I love it, it's just a little overwhelming because those are decent-sized rocks in that band!

I hope no one thinks it's a bad omen (and we didn't really care) but we wore them for a few hours that night to get accustomed to them. Kyle's is almost too small, it was hard to get his off, but mine fit perfectly, and if I wear them in the wrong order (engagement ring closest to my heart) the wedding band holds the engagement ring in place. Not sure how I feel about wearing them in the wrong order, but I loved Kyle's take on it: "Are you kidding me? You put the most expensive one on the inside! Who cares about convention?!" *Eye roll* We'll see. It was super weird seeing him with a wedding band on. Really super weird.

So I "forgot" to take pictures but I tried to make some hangers this weekend. I found some 14 gauge galvanized wire at Home Depot and used pliers to bend it to my will. It worked... I mean, I can do it, but I have no idea how people make it so straight. Mine were certainly more homespun-looking and... bumpy. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's not very professional-looking. I then reflected that even though the wire I got was the sturdiest they had at the store, it still wasn't going to be strong enough to hold up my large, heavy dress. So, plan B:

I'm going to assume for the time being that the wooden hanger will not be difficult to obtain nor, hopefully, too expensive, and personalize the bottom. This, to me, solves two problems; ridiculous sagging hangers, and sloppy work. Maybe some day I'll show you my first attempts at the actual hanger part... it was pretty bad. HOWEVER, my initial attempts at writing Mrs. and bridesmaids' names has been successful, so I still want to do this!

With nothing much else to do at work today, I just did a little research and yeah, both Home Depot and Lowe's sell hangers for a buck each. Score.

Anyway, moving on, speaking of the dress, I went on Friday to my second fitting. Maggie wasn't as excited as I was, can't imagine why. I needed it taken in some more (whoo hoo!) and I had the ruffles pulled up all the way to my hip on the high side so the asymmetry is really played up in the waist. I know that probably doesn't make any sense, but it will once you see it... you only have about 39 more days to wonder what the hell I'm talking about.

I will stop there specifically to stop taunting. Suffice it to say that she fixed it right there while I waited and I took her home (the dress, not Maggie) and my dress is ready!! Yay!! Now, on to more pictures!! I organized my makeup on Sunday while the man was watching football.
Yes, that's my toilet, but it's clean, I promise. The top consists of all my Bare Minerals, brushes, and primers. The bottom is Sephora eyeshadows and brushes, Maybelline liquid eye liner, and Covergirl mascara and lip stain. I watched some tutorials because I truly suck at eye makeup. Part of it was the fact that I didn't have these fancy brushes, but anyway, I'm just saying, there's no shame in my game, I googled the heck out of "smokey eye tutorial." Anyway, I washed and moisturized my face...

While my bright bathroom lights wash me out, I assure you I have some redness and skin tone unevenness here and there as well as under eye circles.

I primed and put on the Bare Minerals foundation:

Again, it's funny but you won't really see a change here, because my bathroom lights make everything look the same. However, the foundation does a good job covering up blemishes, under eye circles, and uneven skin tone... which it did here, trust me.

Next comes the powder that's the equivalent to your pressed powder and then mineral veil, I'm not showing a picture because it's laughable how much that looks exactly the same as the foundation picture. My bathroom is really the best place to do makeup for me so that I can really see how much of everything I'm applying, but natural light? Fagetabotit. Anyway, I did my makeup with this look in mind:

Ready to see what I made of it? I don't know if I'm ready, but here goes nothing:

I took two (obvs), one out of my direct blinding bathroom light and one right in it. I don't know which is more representative... by that I mean, I don't know which is more like what our wedding pictures will come out as... probably the one that looks more natural though, I figure. So I took close-ups out of direct blazing burning light:

Now that I'm seeing them, I still feel that they're not captured well (besides the fact that they're not focused well) I got close-ups in high light as well, just for scrutiny purposes:
I dunno' I like it better now than I did looking at it on Sunday. And Kyle thought it was too much (which it is) but it photographs well. I think it's bended fairly well. I actually think I managed to copy the image I had in my head, but I promised I would be less heavy-handed... :D It's not as luminous as I had hoped, and yet the Sephora eyeshadows caused massive fallout all over my face, I can't believe it didn't show up in pictures because I couldn't get any of it off. So yeah, it was a little frustrating, but still fun. I'm going to try again soon with some other eyeshadows I already had plus different combinations of Sephora and ones I already had. All in all, my verdict is (and this might seem really really obvious to some, bear with me) you really need those brushes... And yes, it's not lost on me that that statement is coming out of someone who's planning on doing her own makeup for her own wedding in a little over a month.

Lastly, I took stock of what I have left to do and each task's difficulty level, and I started getting a little panicky that things are going to possibly start getting cut from the plans. Amazingly, this didn't stress me out, at least I don't think so based on the absence of a certain stress-induced, never-ending eye twitch. I did dream about makeup, but other than that, I haven't had any more weird pre-wedding episodes. Everything important is falling into place and I've got to take everything else one day at a time.

I'll leave you with our most recent restaurant review! The man and I had such a wonderful day on Saturday, we decided to end the day in style at Salt and Pepper Philly:
They don't take pictures of their food, and I didn't either, but our appetizers were the highlight of the meal; I had a fantastic butternut squash soup and Kyle had awesome crab and shrimp spring rolls. Our entrees were still really good and the service and ambiance were excellent. The best part was getting the best seat in the house:
That's right, second floor window seat. We ate and drank and got fairly tipsy and talked about all sorts of stuff. It was a fun night, and a practice I recommend, as both of us initially said 'No, let's not spend the extra money' and then were really glad we changed our minds. It certainly took my mind off wedding planning. Although this one is clearly still wracked with stress:
What are you gonna' do?

So does anyone have any makeup tips? DIY stories? Are any of you having trouble containing your fiance's excitement?