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
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.