Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Follow-Up

Remember my virtual to-do list? Well, here's how I did this month:

  • Work out 5 days a week. (I've been trying on this one, and about 50% successful in March.) Okay, so I failed miserably at this one. But in my defense, I couldn't move my knee for the first half of the month (nasty infection!), and for the second half, I have been taking the puppy out on long walks...
  • Gocco the invitation suite. Man, another fail. But I have the printouts at the house, and should be attempting my first Gocco on Sunday...
  • Spring clean. Yay! A success! Since we moved a bit early, I've been cleaning the new house, and was able to clean and pack up at my parents...
  • Pack for the new house! Yes! Success! See previous bullet point...
  • Keep "fun" spending to under $100 this month. (This one's going to be majorly tough, but this girl needs new tires.) Ummm...fairly successful. I did get new tires, so let's count this one as a success, too...

So, here are my tasks for the month of May:

  • Workout 5 days a week.
  • Schedule bridal fitting for June
  • Gocco the invitation suite
  • Address all wedding invitations
  • Paint the house!

Hopefully my success rate will be 5/5 for this month...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I've been DYING to post about our ceremony music choices, but oddly, have refrained for quite a while.

It's of no surprise to any of you that Tom and I are not taking the orthodox music route. Even when we were looking into getting married in a church, the admission of secular music was something I refused to budge on (and similarly, the Catholic church refused to budge, so there went that...).

I'm not a "Bridal March" kind of girl. It's not who I am. Instead, Tom and I have tried to find music that we feel embodies us and our relationship. To me, music is such a personal and emotional thing that I couldn't see choosing from an arbitrary list of standard wedding songs. I knew that when I walked down the aisle, and Tom saw me for the first time (the one thing he refuses to budge on), I wanted music in the background that fit.

So, onward with our unorthodox playlist:

As guests gather, chat, and are seated, it's important to me that we set the mood. Rather than play Canon in D (not knocking, I love me some classical music), I want upbeat, sweet and silly music. A few choices thus far:

  • This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole
  • Love Story - (Taylor Swift) - partially an inside joke with a coworker, partially because for no sane reason I want to cry during the last verse, and partially because Tom sings a rousing rendition of this song where he changes the lyrics Weird Al style :)
  • Walking on Sunshine - Katrina & the Waves
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) - Stevie Wonder

...and the like. I'm just shooting for a really fun, sweet atmosphere.

Onto the processional: I have my heart set on 2 songs for the processional. The first you should recognize from my handy, dandy music player on this blog. 1,2,3,4 by the Plain White T's is not only a fun, cute song that I fell in love with the instant I heard it, but the band itself has some significance as Nic (my Maid of Honor) and I went and saw them in concert almost 2 years ago. They were one of my favorite bands before they got popular! :)

To begin the processional, we're switching the order around a bit. After the mothers walk down the aisle, my nieces will walk down. Normally the flower girls directly precede the bride, but since Tom has been such a huge part of their childhood (Madalyn was 3 weeks old when we began dating, and Tom met my family for the first time at her christening), we felt it was only appropriate to have them walk down first, walk straight down to Tom, and give him a hug before they sit in their respective places. Then, my sisters will follow (and possibly hug Tom as well), to round out the processional.

As I begin my walk, my FAVORITE song ever will play: I'm Yours by Jason Mraz. (You can also hear this on the music player to the right of your screen). I first heard this song around the time that Tom and I were debating moving the wedding up, and the lyrics just spoke to my heart:

I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

Le sigh. I LOVE it. Whenever I hear this song, I practically melt into a puddle.

In the ceremony, I don't believe we'll have any other music. Since the ceremony is short, there's really not much need for it...

So, for the big finish, my maid of honor has something up her sleeve. Because there's no practical way to keep this a surprise from me, I know the basic gist of it. I know it involves another one of my favorite songs, a live band, and is derived from my favorite scene from my favorite movie. I don't know the exact details, but I do know that I am SO SUPER EXCITED for this, and think it will be one of my favorite moments of the day. But since I can't really ruin my own "surprise," I'll recap this after the wedding!

So there you have it. Our completely crazy, non-standard ceremony soundtrack. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baby Steps...

If any of you have stuck around thus far, congratulations. I'll be rewarding you with some wedding updates today.

According to the ever-present, always looming Knot checklist, I have 61 things left to due, with four of them being "overdue." Truthfully, we are right on schedule --- the four things overdue being 1) book honeymoon arrangements (flights booked, waiting on hotel prices to drop, so no worries there), 2) arrange tuxedo rental and let the guys know (since we're just going with suits, we don't have to worry about this), 3) verify menu with caterer (not time pressing -- will determine MUCH closer to the wedding) and 4) book rehearsal dinner site (I think we'll be hosting a BBQ at our new house, so this isn't an issue, either).

With the move this month, I've left all my Gocco supplies at my parents' house, so I might not do that all this weekend, but definitely soon. I'll be starting to address the invitations shortly, and will post pictures of our work.

I'll be scheduling my first dress fitting now, but that won't be until June (gotta be quick during wedding season, though).

We'll have to take Tom (and his suit) for alterations, because he hasn't actually worn it since last October, and his muscles have grown and his waistline has shrunk...We'll also need to get him some new dress shoes (I'm crossing my fingers that he'll get some REALLY shiny ones!). He also needs to get his passport, or else I'll be flying to Oz by myself!!

Our first wedding shower is in less than 3 weeks, and I am soooo excited! My mother has been doing an excellent job planning, and it sounds like it's going to be a fun time. Tom's mother has also verified the date for our second shower, which will be in late June. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to start eating off of real plates, instead of glad ware! :)

More soon!!

Friday, April 24, 2009


I think I'm suffering from heatstroke.

My thoughts are swimming, I'm sweating from every pore, my speech is slowing, and I'm making rash decisions.

The air conditioning in my office is broken, and we're at a sweltering 80 degrees. Because I don't trust myself to write coherently for my clients, I figured there was no better time to update this blog. ;)

So, when I say what I'm about to say, keep in mind that my brain is 15 minutes away from frying.

I think I'm going to nix handing out favors altogether.

No, really, I'm serious! I know I've spent a lot of time debating about this, and I've even purchased $50 worth of favor boxes (what was I thinking?!?!), but it's just SO not necessary. I think the fact that this hasn't been an easy decision speaks volumes to its importance (which is none).

Plus, the more I think about spending upwards of $200 on cookies, the more I get sick to my stomach. (Though that could just be because of the heat...). I'd rather take the $200 and get our bridal party/parents fantastic, thoughtful gifts, or be selfish and use that money for a great dinner on our honeymoon.

Truth be told, I'm sad I won't have those cute little boxes tied with ribbon. BUT, I certainly don't want to spend that much money just so I can have attractive pictures.

More DIY postings to come...Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd devote a few moments to talk about one of the hottest wedding trends right now: eco-friendly affairs.

A lot of couples have taken sustainability to a whole new level by using local business, locally-grown food, and recycled items for their wedding. There are companies devoted to recycling old jewelry and gold to create unique wedding bands and engagement rings. Couples use either recycled paper or go completely paperless with their wedding invitations. More and more wedding menus are going organic, and favors, if there are any, are tree seedlings, plant seeds, or local products (i.e. organic honey, tea, etc.).

I think the concept in and of itself is pretty cool, especially when you consider how much waste that this one day will generate. One of the major drawbacks, though, is the cost of going eco-friendly.

Tom and I are trying to take a "less is more" approach to our lifestyle (though we're not always successful!), and the same applies to our wedding. Below are a few eco-friendly ideas that I've come across in the wedding blog world:
  • Ditch the inner envelope. The tradition, dating back to when correspondence was delivered via livery, was started so that the butler could remove the dusty envelope and present a clean one to the lord/lady of the house. (And while you're at it, ditch the silly tissue paper included with invitations. Again, the origin of this "tradition" used to serve a purpose, but somewhere along the way, the purpose was eliminated and the paper wasn't.)
  • Rent. It might save you $1 or $2 to purchase vases from a wholesaler, but renting them from a florist is much more eco-friendly. (Ditto this on linens, too!)
  • Skip all the fancy packaging for favors. Not only is there an abundance of it, but most of the time, it isn't biodegradable.
  • Serve beer from a keg. You can hide the keg behind the bar, eliminating all the bottles that have to be produced, recycled, and disposed of.
  • Forget the stretch Hummer limo. Pretty self-explanatory...

Anybody else have any good tips?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DIY Month: Update 1

So a while ago, I mentioned that I was working on lots of DIY projects, though not all of them were for the wedding.

As my newest niece, Charlotte, will be arriving shortly, there is a sense of urgency surrounding projects relating to her bedroom and my nieces' new "big girl" bedroom. A few weeks back, I completed a set of 6 or 7 throw pillows for their room, and just recently, Becca and I tackled a few more "decor" elements. Take a look at the lamp below, as well as the letter plaques that we spent almost 8 hours on:

Pretty awesome, no?

Kudos to my brother-in-law Rick for the lovely wall paint job (as well as the dresser, chair rail, and mirror, in addition to the bunk beds and custom closet, too!). AND, major kudos to Bec for all her work refining and creating her vision. It's really turning out awesome, and I hope to be able to show off the rest of the room later (including the SUPER awesome reading corner, complete with seating & a chandelier!).

PS - I love the reflection in the mirror ;)

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Wedding After My Own Heart...

Does any of this look familiar?

Blue, green & ivory bouquet and blue shoes?

Blue & green Gocco invitations?
That might even be the same the same font as our invitations, too!

Friday, April 17, 2009

So It's Safe to Say...

...that I love our dog!!

He is so absolutely sweet and lovable! He's pretty well trained already, which is amazing considering he's only 13 weeks old. He's playful and rambunctious, but he listens well when we tell him "no."

Last night was an adventure for all of us. Here are a few good pictures I managed to get:

(He sits very politely for pictures, because he thinks my cell phone is a treat. We're working on that.)

(My two favorite boys!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Here's something they never tell you in the "What Happens When You're Engaged" book:

Sometimes, you're so engrossed in the wedding that you forget there are other areas of your life.

But you know what? There's more to Tom and I than color swatches and the occasional track meet. In fact, there's a whole other world we live in, complete with people, jobs, houses, and cars. And while I tend not to delve too much into those "teeny, insignificant details" (Nicole, name that movie!), I can't ignore our good news much longer!

This week will be one for the record books for us --- we're moving and adopting a puppy!!

I took a straw poll (Nicole, name that movie again!), and it turns out, we are certifiably crazy for trying to do both this week. But, we've fallen head over heels in love with this puppy, and he needs a home. By chance, it turns out, we have one to offer him.

So, lovely readers and wanderers, I'd like to introduce you to Murdock:

I know, right? He's absolutely, eat him with a spoon, pick him up and squeeze him, adorable!! He's a 13-week old Australian Cattle Dog, or Blue Heeler. He's extremely intelligent (already sits on command and is housebroken), he's great with other dogs, cats and kids, and from what I hear, he's quite the cuddler!

So, dear readers, please forgive me if my postings become sporadic and sparse. It's highly likely I'll either be a) engrossed with my new DVR, b) trying to figure out how to paint a vaulted ceiling without hiring a professional, c) teaching Murdock how to make my morning coffee, or d) attempting to move my multitude of boxes labelled "wedding" from my parents' house.

We're bringing our new boy home on Thursday, so I'm hoping I'll have some fresh pictures of him soon!

PS - Does anyone have some great puppy training tips? We've pretty much read everything we can get our hands on, but are always looking for more suggestions until we've gotten him registered for "Puppy School."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

What's Easter without some Peeps?

And what's 2009 without a reference to the pop-culture phenomenon, the Snuggie?!?!

Peeps on Parade finalist, via the Chicago Tribune.
Happy Easter, everybody! Signing off until Monday...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Shopping For Oz: Part 3

No outfit, or trip, really, is ever complete without a good handbag. I learned this the hard way when I travelled to Ireland a year ago. The purse I had brought (stupidly, a leather Coach bag), just wasn't big enough to hold my wallet, passports, rental car paperwork, guidebooks, and random souvenirs.

I like big bags. I can't help it. So, on day 2 of our trip, Nicole and I ventured out in search of a new purse. And I found one that was fantastic, and used it for the next 3 months! :)

So, I've decided that I have to travel with a big bag. Maybe it's a security blanket of sorts, but I find it really, really helpful.

I Love Love Love this one from Banana Republic:

But, I can find a lot of better uses for $230.

And what trip is complete without a pair of oversized sunglasses? Yes, these are also a weakness of mine. I've owned at least 5 pairs in the past 2 years.

They're on sale for $68, down from $98, but I already have a pair I love and will stick with those for a while longer...

And I LOVE these sandals:

From Piperlime, coming in at $45.
So there you have it --- the accessories to round out the travel wardrobe!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shopping for Oz: Part 2

You know that feeling you get when you're just browsing for clothes, but you find something you love and then you find out it's on sale?

Yeah, not such a good thing for your wallet.

I experienced it this morning, when looking for fodder for this post. I fell in love, saw everything was on sale/clearance, and before you know it, was pressing the "confirm" button on the order screen. Whoops.

But, I think I picked some great pieces that I'll be able to wear this spring/summer, as well as on the honeymoon, so I guess I don't feel soooo terrible.

Love it! And for $7.99, I couldn't pass it up.
Remember yesterday when I was talking about a lightweight cardigan/sweater? Mission accomplished! (Oh yeah, and for only $15!)

And how can I forget these? Aka, the greatest pants ever? I bought a pair of these my senior year of college, and I've worn them so much that they're starting to get see-through in some spots (not a good thing). So, I bought a replacement pair for $15. Did I mention that I was wearing these when Tom proposed? True story. I had bought the cutest cream and black halter to match, and was wearing a pair of hot red stilettos. It was my "just in case he happens to propose this weekend" outfit. It totally worked!
Oh, and I've decided to go ahead and buy that dress from yesterday. I received an Old Navy 20% coupon yesterday, which I'm deeming as fate. That brings the dress down to about $25. Holla! At this rate, I'll be almost finished with my shopping before May! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shopping for Oz: Part 1

I saw this idea on another wedding blog, so I'm stealing it.

We're going to do some window shopping for the honeymoon!

Background Information:
The weather in Sydney will be about 60-65 degrees, and 65-75 in Port Douglas. In Sydney, we'll be doing a lot of touristy stuff, so I'll need appropriate clothing. In Port Douglas, however, we have very few plans, and most of them include fruity drinks and lying on the beach.

Since we'll be traveling for 12 days, we're going to have to pack smartly. Because we're flying international, we can bring 2 suitcases each (plus a carry-on and purse/laptop bag/briefcase) without being charged extra. But, this doesn't mean we'll have a ton of extra space. In my previous travels to Europe, I've always brought 2 suitcases, each half-packed. On my way home, my suitcases always end up mysteriously filled to the brim! In short, I'll need a few pairs of jeans, a few breezy dresses, a few skirts, 1 or 2 lightweight sweaters/cardigans, shorts, a few bathing suits, and shirts. Then, I'll need to pack all my comfy clothes for the dreaded 28 hour flights. :(

With that said, I'm searching for pieces that are easy to dress up or dress down (as we'll be at the beach in the day and in town by night), pieces that are universal (i.e. cardigans), and pieces that are lightweight (for both the weather and for packing!).

So, here's a dress that I LOVE! I think it would be great to wear to the beach as a cover up, but would also be great paired up with a thin sweater, metallic sandals and a cute purse to wear into town for dinner.

And for under $30, this is sooo worth it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Leave a Message...

I'm not sure if it's spring fever, my aforementioned apathy creeping up, or just my interests moving on towards other projects, but I'm starting to hit a wall, here.

So, if you would do me the kind favor of leaving a message with ideas/topics of what you'd like to read about, I'll give it the good ol' college try at writing about it. Really, I'm pretty flexible, as you all know. :)

So, please leave a message after the beep.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Big Money Debacle

So let's talk about a topic that I tend to dance

I read a great article yesterday from the Wall Street Journal: With This Debt, I Thee Wed. It discusses how finances, and specifically debt, can cause strife within a marriage, and how important it is to have a similar philosophy.

I just gonna put this out there: I love money. I love studying it, I love having it, I love budgeting it, I love reading about it. I own 4 books on personal finance, investing, etc. Because it's something I have such an interest in, it's become a central part of my relationship with Tom. When you combine that with weddings and moving out/starting a life together, money becomes a big factor.

We always tend to err on the side of caution, always spending less than more. This isn't to say that we're misers, because we certainly spend our money and have a good time with it, but we're careful to save and invest, always with the future in mind.

We have lots of honest, open conversations about money: how much we have now, how much we need, how much we want, etc. Because of all these conversations, we're completely on the same page in terms of saving, spending and investing. One thing that's really helped us has been setting concrete goals for where we want to be, not just "dreaming" about it. When planning the wedding budget, we figured out a rough estimate of what we'd need, then figured out how much a month we had to put aside for it. We're doing the same thing for a house --- we've figured out how much of a down payment we want, and we set aside a certain amount of money a month for it.

One book that's really helped is Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, Revisited. While the book is really geared towards couples with debt, it did help teach us a few certain principles about money management. One of the biggest things he preaches is about savings. He advocates that every couple should have 4-6 months of living expenses saved as an "emergency fund." While that can quickly add up to a startling number, it makes a lot of sense (especially in this economy!). Once that is saved (assuming you have no credit card debt), you begin maxing out retirement savings, paying down mortgages (and other "good" debts), and investing your money in other places (stocks, child savings accounts, etc.).

I'm extremely glad that Tom and I began having conversations about money early on in our relationship. It's really saved us a lot of trouble, because now, as we really "combine" finances, we're finding it much easier. It's so exciting to see our savings build and our student loans go down. :-)

While we're not experts by any stretch of the imagination, here are a few things that have helped us:
  • Being completely open and honest with each other. You can't make any headway when one partner is hiding something, and that's certainly no way to start a marriage.
  • Being honest with ourselves. Don't kid yourself into thinking you can afford something if you can't. It gets you nowhere.
  • Having fun. Just because you're saving money doesn't mean you don't have fun. Spend some, just not more than you have.
  • Communicate constantly. Set up clear understandings of what it's okay to buy or not buy with consulting each other (say, purchases under $50 or under $100), and check in at certain times of the month (we like to do it on pay days!)
  • Set goals. Figure out what you want to have/do in the future, and set financial goals accordingly (i.e. if you want a certain amount of money in savings, if you plan on buying a house, even if you plan on financing future children's educations --- it's never too early to starting thinking/planning/saving)
  • Don't forget about retirement. The more money you save earlier, the better off you are. Compound interest is your friend. You don't have to have a company 401(k) to start saving, either. You can open a Roth at a variety of places and start saving as early as 18. Also, discuss when you both want to retire. Make sure you're on the same page (or at least understand the other person!)
  • Get help. When you're really planning long term (retirement, IRAs, stocks, etc.) a good financial planner is worth the cost. Plus, having some accountability can't hurt either.
  • Automatic savings are your friend. Payroll deductions have saved us some serious strife. We don't even have to think about setting the money aside --- it's already done for us.
  • Set up separate savings accounts. We have separate savings, house, and travel accounts that help us keep track better. It's nice to know in 1 click where we stand.
  • Think twice before you purchase anything major. Do you really need it, or do you just want it? Chances are it's probably a want.
  • Live below your means. Just because you make a certain amount of money doesn't mean you have to spend that much.
  • Figure out what works for you. I can preach until I'm blue in the face, but if you don't find a solution that works for you, nothing ever will.
  • Relax. In the end, it's just money. Sure, it will make your life more comfortable, but having a savings account won't stop you from being miserable and unhappy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I thought I'd try something new this month, in the form of a to-do list. I'd seen this done on a new blog I've been following, Imperfect, and wanted to give it a try.

I'll start the month listing what I want to accomplish, and report back at the end of the month on what I did. Here goes:

April's To-Do List

  1. Work out 5 days a week. (I've been trying on this one, and about 50% successful in March.)
  2. Gocco the invitation suite.
  3. Spring clean.
  4. Pack for the new house!
  5. Keep "fun" spending to under $100 this month. (This one's going to be majorly tough, but this girl needs new tires.)

I'll let you all know in a month how this goes! :)