Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free Online Ordinations



One of the coordinators on Whose Wedding is it Anyway got ordained online to officiate the wedding ceremony of her bride and groom.


I am so excited they said the name of the website - Universal Life Church - and was pleased to find out how easy it is.


Months ago I thought this was not an option for us because the laws in my state (NC) say:


In the presence of an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church, or a magistrate; and b. With the consequent declaration by the minister or magistrate that the persons are husband and wife;


I guess I just assumed a minister associated with a religion or church would not be an Internet ordained minister. I was wrong!

Bye Bye April....

It was a tough April. I hope and prey May is a better month.

My mom has been in and out of the hospital. There is a chance she will lose one or both of her feet due to circulation and vascular problems. And, in case I haven't mentioned it before, the past 10 years she has battled (daily) acute Leukemia and Crohn's disease. This woman can not get a brake.

With both the mental and financial strain (don't think if you have medical insurance you are "covered") the only wedding thoughts I have had the past few weeks is to cancel everything. Just have the ceremony at Justice of the Peace with our parents and siblings. No reception party. No professional photog. No bridal shower. No bachlorette celebration.

And really, that's ok. My mother is much more important then any of those things will ever be.

The one positive thing I can pull from this situation is it really gives you a perspective on what's really important in life....and it is not centerpieces or buffet menus.

Sorry to be a downer.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Holy Shoe

Imagine wearing these babies under your dress.


They can be yours for only $1695.00.

Oh Christian, why do you torture me?

Monday, March 30, 2009

We Have a Date

After almost 3 months of not traveling I somehow ended up with 2 back to back trips. I was in NJ for my SIL's baby shower over the weekend, got home Sunday night, and 12 hours later back in the air to travel to Atlanta for a 3 days business trip. I'd complain, but its sort of nice to be out of the house and back on the road again.

We have a date! Friday April 9, 2010, HMMM 4/9/10...first time I am seeing that in writing.

My SIL is a teacher and that is her spring break next year...so it works well for them to come Wednesday or Thursday prior to help out with last minute stuff.

We have began planning our honeymoon and we get so excited everytime we talk about it. We are planning on flying to Seattle and driving the West Coast...ending up in Vegas. We hope to spend time in Seattle, Portland, Sonoma, San Fran, Monterey, Santa Barbara, LA, San Diego, Laguna, and Las Vegas.

We want to go to baseball games, eat at resturants we see on the Food Network, hear local live music, and see beautiful sites. We've done the resort beach thing a ton of times, and although we love that, we wanted to do something different for our honeymoon. I think this will not only force us to spend quality time togther but we will create great memories for many years to come.

OK...so we have a plan, and date, a dress....next up: Photog and Catering.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March Madness...Is it Almost April?

Tonight I sit in pain. Yesterday I had surgery to remove 2 wisdom teeth. Thank god for Vicodin. Its the only thing getting me through.

See, I was suppose to have the surgery 2 weeks ago. But the night before I developed a cold, and when I arrived the surgeon wouldn't operate on me.

Problem with all of this: its March in North Carolina. NCAA basketball. So that Eric wouldn't have to take yet another day off in March, I thought it would be fine to have my surgery the morning of day 2 of the tournament. Yes, we host this event. Yes, that means up to 20 people for 4 days in a row at our house from noon until midnight. I don't know what I was thinking.

On the bridal front I do have a few small developments

1. Ran into a friend-of-a-friend at Target this week. Told her about our Justice of the Peace plans. She told me that is what her and her husband did. And (here is the good part) the city of Raleigh has many locations that they will marry you at....not just some cold-courtroom-like-room. They choose the NC State Rose Garden on a Saturday afternoon. And it doesn't cost anything more than if we did just want the court house.

2. My Target wedding dress came. Wow - its gorge. Tried to take a picture of it (while wearing it) but I just couldn't get a good shot. I'm still watching a few J Crew dresses. I read somewhere online their wedding dresses go on clearance each Spring, when they release a new collection. So I'll keep watching.

3. My NC girls want to do my bachlorette party in NYC...which is so exciting. Not only because NYC is always a blast, but my NJ girls won't have to fly here.

Next weekend I will be traveling to NJ for my sister-in-law's baby shower. I will also get to discuss with her and my brother possible dates for our wedding ceremony. Since we plan to do this on a Friday, which means they will have to take time off of work, we want things to be as easy as possible for them. SO hopefully in the next few weeks we will have an actual date.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Plan...So far

This past weekend I started to put together a plan and budget for the big day.

Friday (Wedding Day)
Since we will most likely have guests staying at our house, the night of our wedding we will stay at the Umstead hotel – your basic local 5 star establishment. So mid day Friday we will check in, get ready, and hire a photog to take pictures of us on the hotel grounds for 1 – 2 hours. Unsure if pros or myself will do hair and make-up.

Then drive ourselves to downtown Raleigh (Justice of the Peace) and get married in front parents, siblings, and very close friends. After, we all go to dinner. Place to be determined.

Friday Budget
Hotel: $300
Photog; $600
Dinner: $1000
Total: $1900

Saturday
The party will probably start around 5ish – this will probably depend on what date we pick and time sun goes down. Our house has an open kitchen into a large eat in area into our family room…which all of this is off of our deck. So we will probably move out some furniture and rent a bunch of high tables to be scattered in and outside.

We will hire a caterer to provide all of the food, as well as serve. I don’t want to be stuck in kitchen that day. So I am hoping we can have 2 people – 1 person warming food, putting it out, passing it out, cleaning up, ect…and the other person as a bartender.

I don’t think we have room for a DJ – especially if it rains – so iPod will be fine.

Saturday Budget
Table & linen rentals: $300
Catering Food: $1200 (50 - 60 people)
Alcohol & other drinks: $400
2 Servers: $300
Plates, glasses, utensils, ect rental: $200
Other d├ęcor: $200
Total $2600

So that would bring grand total to $4500 – which doesn’t include EVERYTHING. I still have to research prices and create budget for things like invites, dress/altering, cupcakes and favors. But I think there is some room to save some more money in a few other places:

1. Don’t rent tables/linens…use what we have and supplement with borrowed friend’s stuff

2. Buy and cook the food ourselves…just hire the people to warm and serve

3. Use paper plates, cups, utensils…not very Green, but if we had to save money

4. Friday night dinner – either cancel or not go as fancy…future father in law wants to pay but we really want to pay for everything ourselves

Our next step is to pick a date. Since my brother and his wife will need to travel here early Friday, I need to talk to them and see WHAT Friday works for them. Because we want to follow this up with a 2 week honeymoon, Eric will need to wait until 2010 to have the time off. So Most likely April or May of 2010.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dress. Check.


Well, maybe.

I ordered last week a wedding dress from Target. Yes, T A R G E T.

Clearance price less than $50.

It got rave reviews. I figure if I don't like it I can return or use the material to construct something else.
They only had brown sashes for sale, so I figure I can make my own.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

WW: I'm Back: Week 1

Back on the saddle. Or is it back in the saddle?

After this post last week, I finally got on the scale. I did gain about 2 lbs from my original 10.5 loss, but I am happy to say I lost those 2lbs this week with little effort.

Tomorrow I am having surgery to remove 2 wisdom teeth. Since I won't be able to chew much for a few days, hopefully I'll lose a few more by next week.

And Monday my friend and I are starting a walking/running regimen.

So things are good.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now...

Finally.

Mr. We'll Figure it Out has came back down to earth.

Its decided. We are planning to get married on a Friday night, at city hall...then have a small dinner with our closest people...and the following day (Saturday) throw a party for the rest of our friends at our house.

I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted.

The decision was made this weekend. We had a long (all day on and off) discussion about our short-term and long-term goals.

Short-term: We want to go on a cruise with our friends.

Long-term: We want to buy a vacation home in the NC mountains.

These goals are more important to us then having a traditional wedding. Even if we could do something for $5-10K...that's money taken away from our goals.

Just typing this, I feel so much better. I just think this fits us better.

And I know we made the right decision, because since booking the cruise, we are so excited. Its all we can talk about. We NEVER got this excited over wedding stuff.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I've Fallen...and I Can't Get Up

I have officially fell off the weight loss-ww-point-counting wagon.

It started with Valentines Day and went downhill from there. Last week a wisdom tooth started breaking through, leading me to not be able to open my mouth very much or chew salads and fruits. It was just the excuse I needed to eat macaroni and mashed potatoes.

I am afraid to get on the scale, in fear that I gained back most of, or all the weight I lost prior (10.5 pounds).

Reading this post and remembering how I felt that week, so motivated and energized, makes me more depressed.

I think what I am lacking is accountability. I am accountable to noone but myself. Which obviously isn't working.

Eric - Friday Night: "Want to stay home, watch a movie, and make calzones?"

Me - thinking: hhmmm...calzones are probably like 35 points each - "OK!"

I have lost all self control.

So I am pledging to blog weekly about my progress, challenges, failures, and emotions.

No more excuses.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Craig's List Wedding, Really?

Who is this Craig guy, and why does he have all these lists?

Last year, when I was personally banning eBay (because I didn't want my money to go to Meg Whitman and her campaigns for Prop 8) I started using Craig's List. The drawback with using CL is timing. Every time I found something I wanted to buy, I contacted the seller, and the item was already sold. So when Meg stepped down from eBay, I went running back.

My most recent eBay obsession is looking at J Crew wedding dresses. Yes, the dresses are already affordable, but why not get it even cheaper? But after a few weeks of the J Crew dress I am hunting for, not appearing on eBay, I wandered over to Craig and his list to search for it there.

I haven't found it there either yet...I am still searching his other city's lists...but I was shocked to find so much wedding stuff on CL.

Now, i don't mean dresses, rings, decor....all that I expected.

What I am surprised by is all the vendors. Do a search for the word wedding under gigs or services and there it is...venues, caterers, DJs, musicians, photogs, planners, and so much more.

And, I saw a lot of free services....such as planners and photogs just starting out and needing to build a book of their previous work.

I am actually in contact with one vendor who advertised this:

Plan your wedding with ease.

All inclusive wedding packages available for as low as $10,000 for 100 guest.

Package includes:
  • Wedding/Reception Location in Raleigh NC (all in the same venue)
  • Wedding Photography (photojournalistic style)
  • Invitations ( a lot to choose from)
  • Wedding Cake
  • Catering
  • Wedding Flowers/Reception Centerpieces
  • Wedding Officiant
  • DJ for wedding and reception
  • Wedding Favors (a lot to choose from)
  • Transportation from Reception
  • Wedding Coordinator for the entire day

2009 dates are quickly booking up. Email today for a consultation.

And over email she said I can bring own alcohol for a one time $50 fee (for permit from city). I am going to meet with them later this week and see what they have to say. It sounds to good to be true, so I am skeptical, but I am going in it with an open mind.

So for all the budget brides still looking for vendors, if you haven't already, check out your local Craig's List!

Friday, February 20, 2009

We'll Figure it Out

During our lovely v day meal, I thought it would be a good time for us to rank the priorities for our wedding day. I was hoping that after this exercise, we’d have a clear vision of what we both wanted, and what we were willing to sacrifice to get it.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

We are both not negotiable when it comes to 1. fab honeymoon, 2. parents, siblings, and close friends, and 3. a “really good time”. But that is where our agreements stop.

Important to him – all family and friends, live band, buffet

Important to me – photography, live ceremony music, not going into debt to pay for 1 day

He said things like “I can get a second job” me: uugghh no.

“We can take out a home equity loan” me: in this economy are you kidding me?

“I think we can swing $25k”
me: explain how
“We’ll figure it out”

What? This is his solution…We’ll figure it out….and he is an Accountant?

And he thinks we can go on the cruise this year as well as pay to have a bunch of trees removed from our property. Not to mention the TV he is thinking about getting (because only 2 of the 4 in his man room are HD) or tickets to the UNC-Duke game, which aren’t cheap.

So the conclusions we came to…
1. He will do some research to find a venue that we can bring in any food, liquor, etc ourselves (yes, I wished him good luck).

2. In the meantime, we will have an engagement party. Something small at our home.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

v day.


This was our 8th Valentine's day together. I don't think in the entire 8 years we ever went out once for dinner. Vday has always been a night that Eric cooks for me, since I do the majority of the cooking every other night of the year.



Eric cooked a salad, yummy marinated sirloins, and double stuffed baked potatoes. I supplemented with a cheese plate and dessert. Oh dessert....I got 6 different flavors of cupcakes from the Cupcake Shoppe in Raleigh. OMG. We put each on its own plate and passed around so we could try each. So good.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yeah I Won!

I have been MIA for a few days...Our home lap top crashed last week, still getting fixed. Then on Friday night my work laptop screen went 90% dark. I finally got a brand new shiny one today! I have a lot of catching up on both posting and reading!

I am so excited to find out that I won the contest I posted about in my last entry. I LOVE all Philosophy products, so I sure this one won't disappoint!

Thanks again Wedding Peephole!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Give Away

The Wedding Peephole blog is giving away a Philosophy Kiss Me Lip Scrub to one lucky reader.

The rules are very simple:

Leave a comment to get entered.
Leave a comment and become a follower to get entered twice.
Leave a comment, become a follower and mention the give away on your blog to get entered three times!

If you have never checked out her blog, and you like to shop, you are missing out! She has a great eye for fashion...and bargains!

Good luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Decisions, Decisions.

Ok, so Eric and I are use to traveling a few times year. We usually take 1 big trip, then a few long weekend type trips. Last year, for example, we did a cruise, plus long weekends in Asheville, Chicago, and Miami. Oh yeah, and 2 trips to NJ/NY to visit friends and family.

Since I travel for work and have a ton of miles and hotel points, usually the money we spend on food, drinks, and entertainment is more than what we paid for airfare, lodging, or rental car.

Last month we decided to not plan to travel for pleasure this year. This would allow us to save money toward the wedding, but also save our miles and all points for a fabulous honeymoon. In addition my brother is having a baby…well, his wife is…in May...so I have to do a trip for the shower, pay for half the shower, then go back for a week once the baby is born. And don’t forget all the gifts I will have to buy since I am a first time aunt.

On Saturday Eric’s parents dropped off their 3 (yes, 3) dogs for us to dog sit while they are on a cruise. On Tuesday I made the mistake of saying Let’s look up your parents cruise and see where they are today.

Which lead to us looking at cruises for several hours.

Then, to make matters worse, on Wednesday our Chicago friends that we met on our last cruise, called to see if we wanted to book a cruise with them.

So most of Wednesday was spent looking at more cruises.

We can probably fly economy for free, but the cost of the cruise and our bar tab will take a chunk of our savings….that should be for the wedding.

Or should it?

This is what we seriously have to consider…

Are we willing to make sacrifices to our lifestyle to have this wedding?

Or, is the way we live more important to us, therefore should the wedding event be our sacrifice?

I think we seriously have to sit down and make a priority list.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just Have to Say IT

Slumdog Millonaire....

Best movie I have seen in a long time.

Sorry, just got home from the theater and had to share.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Registry Review



Warning: This is a long one…

My girls and I have begun planning a garage sale for the spring. The past few weeks I have started to make a pile of items I want to sell…and how ironic, many are items that a typical soon-to-be-bride would be registering for.

With that said, I thought it may be helpful to other brides-to-be to give my opinions on some items that are found on many bridal registries.

Since most of these items are kitchen related it’s important to note that I do enjoy cooking and entertaining. We eat in at least 5 nights per week, entertain our friends monthly, and have several large parties per year (40-50 people).

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer – Sold mine on eBay last month. Not because it isn’t wonderful, it was. It’s just too big. I hate having stuff on my kitchen counters, especially stuff I do not use everyday. So I had it in its box tucked away and I would forget about it. It usually made an appearance if I was baking a ton of Christmas cookies, other than that is was too much hassle. The mixing bowl wouldn’t even fit in the dishwasher. Instead – I recommend a small hand mixer…I use mine at least one time per week.
Food Processor (mine is a Mini 5 cup chopper) – Another item I use weekly. I have gotten better with cutting veggies and herbs, but this thing is so quick if I have to cut up more that one or two things I pull it out. Just this week I used it to make breadcrumbs, shred chicken, and make fresh salsa.

CrockPot – Throw a few ingredients in, shut the lid, turn on. 8 hours (or less) later dinner is ready. Cleanup easy – especially if you use slow cooker bags. Need I say more?

Plates/Flatware/Glassware – My one comment on this is to register for sets of 12 or more. I love everything I currently have but when I purchased it I got sets of 8. As holidays and dinner parties expanded, I needed more, but everything I have has been discontinued. If you are like me, and like everything white, at least its pretty easy to find similar pieces when you do need to add to your collection.

Wine/Martini Glasses – I’ll be selling plenty of these at the garage sale. Only because I over bought. Since you can’t stack these things, keep in mind how much you can store. And unless you are a wine conosuier, red wine tastes just as good in a white wine glass.

Cookware – If you cook a few times per week or more, register for good quality cookware. I know it may seem expensive, but the good stuff will last you for 10 – 20 years, if not longer.

Knives – Same as cookware. Once you use good knives, you’ll wonder how you got along without. But, if you don’t cook often, stick with the basics.

Grind n’ Brew Coffee Maker – Another item featured at my garage sale. This thing is loud…no, really loud. If you are sleeping it will wake you up. Our bedroom is upstairs on other side of house and it wakes me up. If you live in an apartment your neighbors will hear. We are serious coffee drinkers and have found that our $20 Mr. Coffee is wonderful; it’s the coffee we put in it that makes the difference. And if you like using fresh coffee beans, your food processor can chop those too!

Folding Tables – If you look under every bed or couch in my house you will find a folding table (and probably a few dog toys). You can never have enough of these if you like to entertain indoors or outdoors. I also buy twin sized flat sheets as my tablecloths…they are long enough so you can not tell they are folding tables.

Towels – I have a closet full of good towels, yet use the same 2 or 3 over and over. If you register for towels buy one first – make sure you love it and will want to use it. Wash it ten times before you make a decision – some look great when you buy them, then after a few washers look like you have had for ten years.

Pottery Barn – Years ago I would flip through the pages and be in aww of the furniture…and in 2004 I purchased a couch and large mahogany coffee table from them. Where is that furniture now? Banished to the man room, because it looks like something that belongs in a “man room”. It has not aged well. Two years after I bought it I got cheap Rooms To Go furniture – which still looks pretty new. I have a ton of stuff from Ikea that has lasted longer. I would not recommend buying PB furniture. In fact, many things I have gotten from them, like bedding, have that old, worn look.

Wine Fridge – If you enjoy wine, this is a must have. However, beware of the size. Think about where you would put it and get out the measuring tape. They tend to be very long…which can be difficult to put on top of a piece of furniture. I have a small (10 bottle) one and had such a hard time finding a place for it. The only place that worked was the kitchen counter – which I hate – but at least it fits my rule of “using it everyday”.

Rabbit Corkscrew – Words can not describe my excitement for this product. Wine lovers, this is a must must must have.

Cookbooks – I couldn’t live without my classic Joy of Cooking…it covers ALL of the basics…or my many Barefoot Contessa books. All others are going to the garage sale.

And how could I forget one of my favorite items – Huggable Hangers. I purchase mine from HSN (home shopping network) but now they are sold at Target. I promise if you buy these, you will want to fill every closet in your home with them. Nothing falls off – not the tiniest tank top or the heaviest coat. They are so slim you create so much room in your closet (which means time to buy more clothes).

I think I have taken up enough of your time…I hope this will be helpful…but remember, everyone is different. What does or doesn't work for me, may or may not work for you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Please Take Your Seat


While watching another episode of Whose Wedding is it Anyway I saw these seating cards. The bride in the episode actually did not use them because they were too expensive. She obviously didn't know what an easy DIY project they are.

Old reliable Google found the directions for me immediately on Martha.

If calligraphing the names and numbers, do so after the chairs are formed. If printing, do so before cutting the paper. The name goes on the panel for the back, and the table number on the panel for the seat.


1. To form each paper chair, you will need one 11-by-2 1/4-inch strip of card stock; you can fit 3 on an 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet. Use a bone folder to score each strip into 4 sections: a top one that's 4 1/4 inches long, then 3 equal 2 1/8-inch sections.

2. Fold the strip at the top score line; the short section of the L will be the chair's back.

3. Bring the horizontal part of the strip down as shown, and fold at the next score line, forming the chair back and starting the seat.

4. Fold the strip down at the front of the seat to make the front legs. Use a glue stick or double-sided tape to secure the 2 layers of the chair back together. Set right-side up, and trim, if necessary.

If this design is to simple for your event, you can add ribbons that look like your chair sashes or other details that reflect your design elements.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh What a Night (and its not about the song)

I am sorry if I ramble on during this post, its my pain talking. But please read on if you will need to book hotel blocks for your wedding.

Yesterday at 5pm the power in my house shut off and I heard a loud noise. I assume a transformer blew up or a car crashed into an electric pole.

When the power wasn't back on by 5:30 I called the electric company. They said it would be back on by 7pm. After sitting in the dark for an hour, the cell phone rang to tell us the power would be back on by 9pm.

Would they keep pushing the time back?

Should we go to a hotel?

1. Eric's fourth and very important CPA test is on Monday, he needs to study every hour he can...no power, no Internet, no studying

2. Our dog, Taylor, is neurotic. No really, he has a prescription for Zanex. The silence and candlelight was freaking him out.

3. It was cold. Our heating system is electric. And we just used last pieces of firewood last week. What if the power never came back on - it was already 58 degrees in the house - would we just freeze to death?

I called a hotel I thought allowed dogs - they did - so we packed a few things and left for the night.

This could be fun, right?

Wrong. Very wrong.

I won't bore you with the details but to sum it up:

1. Eric's laptop crashed at the hotel, he spent all night trying to and finally fixing the problem
2. Our dog was not a fan of the hotel thing, drove us crazy for the first 2 hours
and
the
worse
part
.
.
.
3. the bed.
OMG the bed.
And the pillows.
UUGGHH...we both barely slept, and today are both is so much pain. My lower back and legs OMG. Its difficult to sit or stand up from sitting.

So finally...to my point...if you need to book hotel blocks, I recommend staying away from Extended Stay America. Their service was excellent. Their price you couldn't beat - $90 for King with kitchen. But the bed....eehhh...your guests will not be dancing at your wedding.

Now, maybe it's just the beds at this property. So if you are interested just ask to see a room and feel for yourself. I travel heavily for business, 75 nights in 2008 alone, and have never had this bad of an experience.

Should have stayed home and froze to death.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Music in the Soundtrack of Our Lives


One detail of our wedding I can be certain of is the favors – CDs. These can be produced DIY rather cheap, which is just a bonus on top of the other reasons we love this idea.

First, because music is so important to us. I grew up going to concerts from when I was a tot. I can remember playing in Central Park during Simon & Garfunkel and sitting on top of my father’s shoulders while we walked for what seemed like 50 blocks to get to No Nukes at Madison Square Garden. Thanks to my parents constantly playing music in our home I probably know every word to every song sung by James Taylor, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, the Beatles, and the Grateful Dead.

Second, because it is a favor some will use for years to come. I have a 6 CD changer in my car and I can tell you right now at least 2 of those 6 CDs were favors from friend’s weddings. And every time I listen to them, I think about their wedding. Isn't that the point of a wedding favor?

Someone said “Music is the soundtrack of our lives”. So here are the songs we have so far…Each one represents some memory to us…and many our friends and family will identify the songs with us as well. I am sure like everything else this list will change 20 times before our wedding.

Something, the Beatles (will be played as Bride Entrance at ceremony)
All You Need is Love, the Beatles (played during processional)
Once in My Life, Steve Wonder (first dance)
You’re My Best Friend, Queen
Wouldn’t it be Nice, Beach Boys
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Nothing Else Matters, Metallica
Picture, Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow (not sure about this, depressing in parts, but Eric & I love to sing this when we are driving)
Late in the Evening, Paul Simon
Gone to Carolina, Shooter Jennings
Livin on a Prayer, Bon Jovi (come on, I am a Jersey girl, got to have Bon Jovi)
Elvis – TBD
Elvis – TBD
Britney - TBD

Eric is a huge Elvis fan, as I am a Britney fan, so no CD of ours would be complete without them.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why is Everyone So Loud Today?

My head will not stop pounding. I forgot I can't drink as much wine as I am use to, since I am not eating as much as I use to. So I have to stay home tonight. I prey when I wake up tomorrow it's gone. After all, I have a Superbowl party tomorrow, and obviously need to practice this drinking and eating less thing so I can get it right.

Usually when I wake up hungover that means a day of staying in my pajamas, parking myself on the couch, and watching hours of TV. But today I had an early waxing appointment. Which was perfect, because having your hair yanked out is just what a very hungover girl needs.

There is a silver lining in every cloud.

I am walking out and my esthetician says "Do you shop at Ulta?"

"Sure"

"Would you want a 40% today only discount"

"UUMMM...OK"

Turns out they were having a family and friends sale. 40% of just about everything in the store. All I had to do was give the name and 4 digit number of my Ulta friend.

Ulta is really growing on me. Every time I go it looks more and more like Sephora. I spent over an hour browsing all the isles and stocking up on everything I use. Even my headache seems to temporarily go away...guess the natural high I was getting saving so much money made it feel better.

With the 40% off, plus a coupon the check-out person scanned, plus the clearance items I spent $88 and got a make-up bag, 5 bare essential eye shadows, 2 lip glosses, 1 mascara, 2 hair accessories, and a bottle of Chanel perfume. I saved $60.

So glad I left the house today!

Friday, January 30, 2009

No Longer Accepting Applications

Eric came home from work the other day and said

"Turns out that new guy I am working with is pretty cool...I thought maybe we should..."

"No...we are not going out with them or having them over. Stop making new friends or contacting old ones on Facebook".

Seriously, this is what my life has come to. We have too many friends, and way too much family. Our small, intimate affair wedding guest list is up to 45...our larger guest list is up to 189...if we cut non-adults we are maybe at 151.

"Oh, all your family from the northeast won't come"

No, they will. My brother got married in Maine and thought the same thing about the NJ guests. But they all came, every last one of them. They complained how far it was, how expensive the hotels were, and how terrible it was that the young children weren't invited. But, none of these grievances stopped them from coming.

I love my crazy Italian-Polish family to death, and we are so fortunate to have a large group of close friends, but the madness has got to stop.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ring Insurance. Check.

Finally after 1 month and 10 days of getting the bling, I got my ring insured. I guess I can count this as my first official wedding “check”.

It was pretty tough too. Email our insurance agent. Drive 3 miles to jeweler to pick up certificate of insurance. Drive home. Fax document to insurance company.

I was shocked at how little it cost. The total per year is a tiny bit less than 1% of the diamond’s value.

What does it cover?

“It would cover theft anywhere in the world, a stone falls out, you drop it down the sink, you misplace it, lose it in the ocean on your honeymoon, etc. – basically anything that would happen to it.”

Those are the exact words from my agent.

Now I have the freedom to visit high crime areas, bang my hand on concrete until the ring breaks, forget where I last took it off (this has happened already…eehh) and swim in the ocean without worry.

Side Note for North Carolina readers - We love our insurance agents. They were a referral from our real estate agent, and noone can beat their rates. All of our friends use them. If you would like their information just email me.

Postpartum Wedding Depression

Let's rewind about 2 years ago....

I was at a bridal shower planning meeting for my now sister-in-law. The bridal party was getting together to discuss date, location, food, decor...and so on.

Walking in late, saying my hellos to everyone, I ask my SIL "Where is {insert bridesmaid name here}?"

"She's not coming, she can't "handle" (there was air quotes) it".

"Can't handle what?" I asked, wondering if she had some type of allergy to all things girly....oh wait, was she just trying to get out of the pain-in-the-ass these things can turn into?

No and no.

My SIL went on to explain that said bridesmaid was having difficulty seeing my SIL in the wedding planning bliss. She was married about 3 months earlier, and since "all her fun was over" that it was too heartbreaking to experience it from the sidelines.

I blurted out something like "Is she f-ing kidding me?" What a bitch.

And fast forward back to present time.....

Ok I get it. I still think it was wrong of her to not suck it up and support her friend. But I get it.

I am not even in the stressful planning stages and yet I dedicate 1 - 2 hours each day doing wedding related activities - writing my blog, reading other's blogs, browsing wedding sites, watching wedding tv shows...or just find myself day dreaming at work about it.

It must be strange, when its all over, all of the free time you have. That is why it is so important to (1) don't let the planning take over your life, (2) focus on the purpose - to marry the person you want to share your life with, and (3) don't get married just to have a wedding - or you'll be pretty disappointed when the honeymoon is over.

Oh, and no matter how depressed you are, smile and pretend to enjoy your friend's wedding bliss. You can bitch about it when you get home, that's what your husband is there to do - listen and support you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

For Richer or Poorer

You can not turn on the TV or flip through the newspaper without hearing about the depressing state of this economy. Phrases like "Economic Tsunami" aren't just business buzz words that we make fun of. Grim, crisis, recession, depression, uncertainty, unhealthy....try watching the News for 5 minutes and NOT hear any of those words.

And yet, the wedding industry moves on. Couples look to save money where they can. More brides are taking on DIY projects. Less people are taking extravagant honeymoons.

After a long stare at my Q4 401(k) statement that came in the mail this week I had a sort of Oprah ah-ha moment. I don't have to know where/when/how we are going to get married right now. We don't have a date. We knew it wouldn't be until 2010. So why not just wait?

Just wait and see what happens. Maybe things will improve. But in case they don't, we have our money in our hands, and not sitting in the bank account of a vendor.

If the economy starts to improve we can reevaluate. The most important thing is that we get married. The two of us can do that for the small cost of the marriage license and it would be just as fabulous.

With all of that said, I am still going to move forward with collecting ideas of how I want the wedding to be...after all, I am not the girl that dreamt about her wedding since she was a little girl...so I will use the next few months to be that girl.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Earlier this week I blogged about not having a clue what colors our wedding would be...every thought in my head was just the colors of a room in my house. But thanks to The Indecisive Bride blog...I have a ton of inspiration.

She blogged about this fab site snippet & ink. They must have hundreds of inspiration boards. I probably spent 2 hours scanning the pages...stopping at ones that popped out at me.

Here were my finalists. I was shocked how much I liked all of the bright color combinations - its usually not my thing.









If You Need a Good Cry...


Totally off the wedding topic...but after crying for the last 10 minutes I thought I would share this article. It is written by Bill Simmons, a writer for ESPN. If you have never read his stuff, and you like sports the slightest, I highly recommend him. He is a huge TV fan and makes lots of great references while talking about sports...like comparing team rivalries to that of LC and Kristen in the Laguna Beach days.


Last year he wrote about creating a bucket list for his dog that was diagnosed with Lymphoma. And last Friday he passed away.


If you are not a dog lover you may not understand or shed a tear. In fact you may not have interest at all.


The article is just a reminder how much a dog, or any animal, can fill our hearts.

Our little boy, Taylor.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Love Tax Time

To my surprise I got my W2 yesterday. 10 minutes later I was on turbo tax.

For the past 4 tax seasons I dragged my feet much longer. Until January 2008 I was a NJ employee working in NC. This meant I paid taxes to both states, had to pay an accountant to file for me, and usually owed over a thousand dollars. I say usually because last year I broke even because we purchased a home in 2007.

Since my company pulled some strings last January, I have officially been a NC employee. I couldn't wait to do my tax return!

I never used turbo tax (because an accountant did it for me) but I love the way it tells you your refund as you go. Its so exciting (wow I am really admitting I am this boring?).

So a few hours later I very happily electronically filed my taxes. The money was more than I expected and will definitely be put in wedding savings.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gosh Damask

As you can tell I have been playing around with the colors of my blog.

If I had my wedding colors figured out, I would probably choose those, since after all this is a blog about the big day.

I am draw to the green with small accents of black & white damask. But, after realizing that I am drawn to that because its the colors of my living room...I am having second thoughts. In fact every color combination I think of, is somewhere reflected in my house.

I guess that is natural, what i like is what i like.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Finally it happened. I didn't think it ever would....but it finally snowed here! I have lived in NC for almost 5 years and have never seen more than flurries.
All my friends are off of work and playing in the snow....no snow day for me...which is one of the drawbacks of working from home.

Front Yard

Back Yard/Pool

Saturday, January 17, 2009

WW Rocks my World

Just like 80% of the rest of the world, one of my New Years resolutions was to drop some LBs. But this year was different. It wasn't the usual thoughts of fitting back into jeans I wore 6 years ago, or to lay by my pool in a bikini....instead the driving motivator is a wedding. More specifically, the wedding photos. I will be looking at these pictures for many, many years....so of course like every other bride I want to look my absolute best.

Oh yeah and to be healthier and all that other stuff.

Yes, I can be shallow, I can admit that.

I am the type of person that has to eat well and exercise to lose/maintain weight loss. All my life I have been up and down. I have been on every diet. I can tell you the calories in just about anything. I spent most of my early twenties on diet pills (that, by the way do not work with me any longer....my body must have built up a tolerance). I think somewhere in the past few years I came to terms that I just have to work at it - it is what it is - hey, everything that's worth having is work, right?

So with those realizations I think I just said hell with it and gave up. We un-joined the gym in an effort to save some money...while saving us the guilty feeling of not going as often as we should. Then the ring came. And as it was goodbye fattening foods...and hello healthy lifestyle!

So I didn't want to do any crazy diets I couldn't stick to. After all, I do have 1 year+ to get into shape. So I just figured I would eat better and walk as often as possible. And that's exactly what I did the first week.

To my surprise 6 days into it I didn't lose any weight. Why is this happening? Aren't I suppose to lose the most weight week 1? Those people on the Biggest Loser drop like 20 pounds in 1 week...and I can't even drop 1? I was discouraged but what could I do? Just keep trying.

Then, while cleaning my office, I stumbled upon my Weight Watchers stuff from a few years ago. I started flipping through the pages of my journals - wow I had alcohol every weekend? And went out to dinner constantly? And in those 2 months lost 20 pounds? Why the hell did I stop this?

With that I wrote down everything I ate the first 6 days of my diet and added up my "points". HMMM, guess I wasn't as smart as I thought. I was eating about 8 more points each day then I should have been. OMFG - how did I not see this?

So 10 days later here I am, loving my WW points. I have lost 5.5 pounds since I started counting points. Andthe best part is - I can fit it into my life. I can drink and eat what I want as long as I fit it within my points. So I ask again, Why did I stop this?

So Eric and I are off to see the Sheraton. Tonight it will be setup for a wedding - last week it was just an empty room. It will be Eric's first time seeing the Sheraton - fingers crossed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Drew-Tastic




I am just in love with how Drew Barrymore looked at the Golden Globes on Sunday. The dress, the hair, the jewels. I am holding on to this for the wedding dress folder. If I have my dress made (which I am seriously considering) this could be inspiration.




Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recap of Week

Its been a tough week. First I got a very nasty virus on my computer. I swear it had to come from this bridal survey I was taking - because I didn't visit any websites I don't usually stalk, or download anything at all. Late Sunday night it just started taking over my lap top. It was downloading on its own, and was smart enough to not let me go to websites that would update my virus protector or get instructions of how to remove. So I was sans lap top until Friday.

In addition, my first day back to work, I was given the news we were laying off 27 people, including one of my employees. So Friday morning I made the dreaded phone call (we both work from home, her in NY, me in NC). Over the years I have laid numerous people off. This time was different. Previously, I knew my good employees would be fine, and they would get a job, possibly even better or higher paying. But in this economy, that's not the case. You know when you are letting someone go, there is a really good chance they will not be able to find another job, for a very long time. Its like sending your troops into battle without weapons.

See, I work in the staffing industry. I can gauge the job market on the number of friends and family that bug me to help with their resume or ask me to help find them a job. When the market is good, they contact me saying they want another job because they don't like their boss, or want more money. But when its bad, and these are the calls I have been getting weekly, their reasons are because they got laid off or think they are about to.

I did mention to do more wedding research this week. First, I had a great call with Ruth Chris. We love Ruth Chris. We try to go as often as we can, which is usually a handful of times a year. We tell friends and family members that buy us gifts to get us RC gift cards. Its our first choice when celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. This year we spent New Years Eve there. The service and quality is worth every cent....so why not share this love with others? Ruth Chris looks like our #1 option for a small wedding. Which keeps growing, we are up to 40 people. Although I find it funny when I speak to other brides and use the word "small" many think that means 100 people.

Their ceremony fee is only $75...yes seventy-five-dollars. The per person meals are $50-60 per person, which includes salad, protein, 2 sides, and dessert.

So if you have eaten at Ruth Chris, you know this is a steal. And, after knowing what your average catering people charge per head, this is REALLY a steal. This is a meal people would remember.

Of course we can add hot/cold appetizers, which we probably would, to have a sort of cocktail hour. And the event planner suggests we choose bottles of red and white wine, then create a customized drink menu of beer and mixed drinks that the guests can order. This way no one orders a $300 bottle of wine or a 200 year old Scotch.

So if you spoke with me on Thursday, our minds were basically made up. Ruth Chris it is! We would pick a date early spring (after NCAA basketball tourney was over....I know, don't ask) then plan to host a party in NJ over the summer. Years ago I was at a company hosted event on the beach at Jenkinsons in Point Pleasant, NJ. It was a blast. So got on the phone with them, they still did it. $40 per person, BBQ, beer and wine. Done.

And then Saturday came. Last week at the wedding show I met the event planner for the Raleigh Downtown Sheraton and set an appointment for Saturday (yesterday). I sort of dragged my feet Saturday and then felt bad cancelling. I had nothing to do, so why not check it out.

Before I go on, let me explain something. If I had a wedding fairy god mother, who would grant (eehhem pay) whatever wishes we had for a wedding, I would get married at a fabulous loft in New York City, at night, overlooking the city lights and hustle and bustle. Now, Raleigh is not New York. Not even close...not even a little. But, the Sheraton gives you the illusion that it may be.

They have this great room with floor to ceiling windows, that overlooks the city. I fell in love with the pictures of previous night weddings. The hotel itself is nice. The decor is clean and simple, no bad floral wallpaper or pink carpets. They have black and white linens that I would defiantly use. They even have candles for centerpieces. With 94 possible out of town guests, it would be very convenient. And the wedding coordinator is wonderful...we really hit it off, and turns out she lives about 8 houses away from me.

So, once again here we are. What to do? How to decide? Weddings are so personal....It's so easy to get caught up with ideas, hence why we change our minds every 48 hours.

So let's see what this week brings!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Advice from Friends

So after a few days of gathering pricing information from several vendors, and hearing from friends "Your spend will be double of what you think because of hidden fees, service charges, gratuity, and taxes"....we are back thinking about a small affair. Now, I am still going to continue to look at the large-affair-typical-reception venues, but now more seriously consider the small ones.

Our idea for a small wedding would be 30-35 people - our parents, siblings, and closest friends - an intimate ceremony and fab dinner. Then, within a month or two, have a "party" (minus the word wedding will hopefully be less expensive) somewhere in NJ, so that our NJ and New England guests will have no problem attending.

I spent time the past few days speaking with friends and co-workers about their wedding. While they had "no regrets", all of them basically said if they could do it again they would either elope or have a small event. "WHY?" I asked....most common answers were:

(1) Would rather have spent that money on a house down payment (fortunately we already have a house, and don't have to choose between wedding or house...by the way, house would win if we did have to choose)

(2) The bride and groom spend most of the wedding greeting/thanking guests for coming...and little time to enjoy the event themselves.

Hmm...125 guests, 3 minutes each = 375 minutes = Over 6 Hours!!!

Well, maybe if we only spent 60 seconds with each = That would only be 2 hours. Then we would have 2+ more hours to eat, drink, dance, etc. I can see it now....as we walk around to each table we can bring a stop watch...and a big buzzer can ring when their minute is up.

One of the main reasons we considered having a large event was to see all our families and friends from far away....but 1 or 2 minutes with each person? A short phone call or long email would cover more territory!

And the (3) reason - Stress over the details. Lighting, linens, flowers, favors...blah blah...as one bride told me "I spent days designing and thinking about my centerpieces...I am sure if a week after the reception I called my entire guest list, not one could describe for me what they looked like. What a waste of time and money."

We have a lot of thinking to do...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Night Blues

Wow. I should not have had those home-made-with-tonight's-dinner-chili Nachos an hour ago. I mean, they were worth every calorie. And since tomorrow we go back to eating healthy, and I am planning (cross my fingers) to start a running/walking regime, I don't feel guilty. But, now I really don't feel like getting my ass off the couch. I KNOW the clothes in the dryer are done, I just am avoiding the thought of walking to the laundry room and then having to stand and fold. UUGGHH.


To add to the Nacho beat down, I am just so depressed to go back to work tomorrow. Its been way too long, and although I thought I would do a little work on vacation to catch myself up on a few things, it never happened. And the worst thing is going to be opening the door to my office (I work from home). See, its been a mess. I can not stand clutter, or rooms being messy, so I have shut the door and ignored the problem. Well, I have opened it a few times in the past 2 weeks to put MORE SHIT in there. Oh, then on New Years Eve when I couldn't find our collection of Ruth Chris gift cards (that we were planning to use New Year Eve) I frantically tore the room upside down making more of a mess. At least prior to that, the crap was in piles - now the room is just one big pile. My office has become "Monica's Secret Closet" (friends reference).


On the wedding front, I am taking the Millennium Hotel in Durham off my list. A close friend of mine who works at Duke told me they get complaints constantly about the hotel. Which is fine, I really didn't want to travel to or have our guests have to travel to Durham. Not to mention it's not in the greatest of areas.



OK, I guess I better go get that laundry (siggghhhh)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wedding Show Review


First, I need to start off my saying I have very little patience for crowds. Maybe it's because I spend a lot of time in crowded airports behind people that seemed to never have been to an airport before in their life. You know, the people that are in front of you walking then just stop and forget they have many people behind them trying to walk to their destination. Or the people in line at security that are not "ready" with shoes and belts off, lap tops out, and 4oz liquids in their plastic bags. And of course my favorite are the people that don;t care about the order the plane is boarding and even when the gate agent tells them they can not board, they just wait right there. In that very spot. So they can be on the plane as soon as possible.

With that off my chest I am very happy I got to the wedding show early - by 10am. I was done by 12:30, which was just about perfect because at that time is when it was very crowded, difficult to walk down each aisles without saying "please excuse me" 10 times, and felt like it was 90 degrees. Not to mention all the vendors I spoke with gave me a ton of lit, and I collected 5 magazines. The plastic bag they give you when you enter is a joke. They should give you a piece of small luggage (with wheels....omg this place IS like an airport).

It seemed like half or more of the vendors were photographers, with bakers ranking a close second. Perhaps I'll visit another wedding show in the future to see them, but my mission was venues. First, I was surprised that not 1 vendor I spoke to had their 2010 calendar with them. Do that many people plan a wedding within less than 1 year? Second, a lot of the venues are really just space. You pay $3k - $20k (yes, $20k) to just rent the space. You bring everything in....some did have tables and chairs. I don't think that's the route we want. Too much work.

So after my chats with everyone I have a small list of places we will look at more closely:

1. Sheraton Downtown Raleigh - appt next Saturday @3pm
2. Caffe Luna, Downtown Raleigh - will make appt for early next Saturday
3. Sisters Garden, Raleigh
4. Millennium Hotel, Durham

And there are a few others that were either not at the show, or perhaps I missed while just trying to pass a troupe of mothers and daughters oohing and aahing.

5. Raleigh County Club, Raleigh
6. One Eleven Place, Cary
7. 1705 Prime, Raleigh (and the other restaurants this group manages)

So tomorrow, while I am sulking about going back to work on Monday (at least Gossip Girl returns to TV Monday night...I am having such withdrawal) I will start emailing all the vendors to setup appointments over the next few weeks.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Forever Bridal Wedding Show Prep

So tomorrow (Saturday) I am heading to the Raleigh Fairgrounds for the Forever Bridal wedding show. My goal for attending is to have a list of ceremony/reception sites that Eric and I can then start looking at. Right now I have seen 20 - 25 on the Internet that interest me. So I figure chatting with each for a few minutes tomorrow will help get the target list to 5 or so.

The requirements for us our
1. Must be able to have a band (we are only doing a big reception if we can hire a band)

2. Available Sunday of Memorial Day or Labor Day weekends of 2010 (this gives out of town guests plenty of time to travel to and from without taking time off)

3. Price to not exceed $100 per person - unless the venue offers EVERYTHING we need

People I talk to keep telling us to set a budget first, but that's hard for us to do. We are paying for the wedding ourselves and yes we could afford to spend up to $20k, but it really depends whats out there. We are on the fence about having a big affair, so if we don't find a great venue for the price that we feel it is worth, we are 100% fine with doing a small, intimate, 30 person dinner.

I am going to go buy and create labels for the wedding show, so my carpel tunnel does not act up filling out my name, address, phone, etc a thousand times. I am going alone, which my esthetician made me feel bad about (why I don't know) but I hate forcing my friends to tag along. I know if I wasn't engaged I wouldn't want to go. Plus, I can get it, find what I need, and leave. This is how I prefer to shop as well.

Just took down all of the xmas decorations, now I have to pack everything up and put in the attic. Where did my vacation go?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Story

I am orginally from New Jersey....moved to Cary, NC in 2004. I still work for my NJ employer - I work from home and travel frequently. When I travel too much I am sure I will have many posts complaining about traveling and what a pain in the....well you know.

My fiance (that's so weird just typing it) Eric and I have been together for almost 8 years. Neither of us was overly concerned about getting married. We own a house together and share everything, not sure about the kid thing, so we were never in a rush. As we got older we did see the legal benefit of getting married....then when my brother got married last year we both felt that it was time for us to share our love (omg this is so corny) with our family and friends.

So at this point we have no clue about "our day". It seems that each day our ideas change. Since both our extended families are from the Northeast, we would love a big celebration so we could see everyone and spend time with all of them. But then when we see the cost of everything, we think lets do small and a long honeymoon.

First Post

So here it is...my first post. Since getting engaged a few weeks ago I have gotten so much information reading through various blogs of those that have planned, or are in the process of, planning a wedding.

Can I plan a wedding?

Well first, can I create a blog?