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?"


"Would you want a 40% today only discount"


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 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 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 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 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 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


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 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 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 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 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 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?