Friday, May 29, 2009

May Checklist - Semi-Successful!

I think I was pretty successful this month... Without further ado:

  • Workout 5 days a week. Umm...I worked out 4 times this week. Does that count?
  • Schedule bridal fitting for June Check! Meeting Sue on June 20th!
  • Gocco the invitation suite Uhhh...let's go with check on this one. At least they're "finished"
  • Address all wedding invitations Also a check...sort of...
  • Paint the house! No painting, but the dining room is halfway prepped...?

Okay, so May (with all of its outsourcing) was much better than April. Here's to hoping June is even better!

June goals (and there's a lot of them):

  • Workout 5 days a week.
  • Assemble, stuff & ship envelopes.
  • Celebrate birthday!
  • Make sure Tom gets his passport (or else I'm honeymooning by myself...)
  • Attend 2nd shower, write thank-yous, unpack new stuff!
  • Confirm men's attire with the groomsmen, and hound them until they've figured out what they're doing...
  • Paperwork. Arrange new insurance policies, draft will, etc.
  • Remind Tom to figure out day-of transportation...
  • Begin working on writing ceremony and vows (!)
  • Get new accessories for Thomas (shoes, shirt, cuff links, etc.)
  • Finalize bridal party gifts...
  • Decide on veil...(?)
  • Make rehearsal dinner arrangements
  • Finalize wedding timeline and photographer schedule
  • Finalize floral selections & send to florist
  • Draft program & get quote from printer
  • Reserve & confirm honeymoon hotels

Okay, so it's going to be a busy month. But I'm SO excited that we're almost there!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


The invitations are ordered!

It took a few polite but pressing emails, and then wouldn't you know it, I was quoted, checked out, and processing within 15 minutes! I was really happy with the quote, too. The paper for the white part of the invitations, the green mat, the green RSVP cards, and all the printing (both color, double-sided, and full bleed) cost me $110. Including priority shipping. Holla! That brings the total, with the envelopes and blue paper to about $140.

For comparison sake, this invitation below, along with the envelope and a response card would cost me $316.28 to order.


Despite the frustration of dealing with these, I think we have by far, still made a good decision.

I hope to have these in hand by the end of next week, which would mean that I'll be spending my birthday assembling and stuffing envelopes! :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Semi-Productive Weekend...

Well, I'm not going to bother copying my weekend checklist here --- the important thing is that yes, I did get all of our gifts unpacked, cleaned, and organized! It felt SO good to have that done and have our dining room back! Unfortunately, the invitation nonsense STILL hasn't been cleared up yet. I was able to get the designs to the printer, and they promised me a quote ASAP, but I'm still waiting. I sent them a polite email today asking for an ETA since this was supposed to be urgent, and I'm still waiting. (Common theme here, apparently). I told Tom that I was going to give them until mid-day today before I scrapped that and found someone else completely. We'll see. I may turn to my always trusted

While I didn't complete some of the more craft-intensive projects I thought I would, I was able to get more stuff done around the house, which is more important to me now anyway. I spoke with the calligrapher today...she's making lots of progress on the envelopes, and we should have those back soon!

So, back to the waiting game. I'll update when I know more. Until then, I'll just be working out and sitting by my email...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

He Did It!

First, he did this:

Then, he got this:

...and ended up here:

Three must be his lucky number...In his 3rd collegiate track season, Thomas threw 16.33', shattering his previous PR (and school record) of 6.08'. Jumping up from 11th to 7th in the nation, Tom won his 3rd All-American title in the Men's Outdoor Shot Put. With these three titles to his name, Tom is tied with one other athlete at his university to have the most career All-American titles, and he still has another year left next year (which means the possibility of 4 more titles!).

I am just absolutely bursting with pride and happiness for Tom. I've seen firsthand all the work that he's put into the last 6 months of track (and the 4 months of training prior). He spends an estimated 15 hours a week practicing, 10+ hours a week lifting weights, and another 5-6 hours a week running and doing other drills at a separate training facility. I can't even begin to count the number of times he's come home caked in mud and sweat, only to find a layer of sunburn underneath. He works so unbelievably hard, is so constant, unwavering and diligent --- I've never met another person with the determination he demonstrates.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm not happy track season is over. I squealed out loud when he told me he was taking off the summer at the gym! It's just nice to have him around more. There have been a few rough spots this year, trying to balance our time together, his time practicing, his time competing, and then trying to fit everything else (school, work, family, etc.) in. But, weekends like this make everything make sense again. They make all the time apart, the 6+ hours I spend at a track meet, the strain of having another major priority in his life, all of it, worth it.

Who knows what the future will hold for us...this weekend alone he's had people approaching him about job and training opportunities...but the one thing I do know is that I'm happy to just be with him, chasing dreams together. :)

And thus endeth my sappiness. Sorry, but there has to be one of these posts every once in a while.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Weekend of Tasks...

With the holiday weekend, I have much more spare time than I'm used to. So, I plan to take full advantage of it all and accomplish some of the smaller tasks that I've been ignoring.

What I need to do this weekend:
  • Pick up and paint dowel rods and accessories for the girls flower wands
  • Pick up, paint & assemble ribbon wands
  • Unpack & organize all our new kitchen toys from the shower!
  • Mail shower thank-yous (they were finished Wednesday, but I'm just now getting around to getting to the post office)
  • Finalize invitation nonsense

This last one, the invitations, have obviously been killing me the last few days. But as always, I think I've found a solution that I'm happy with and won't break the bank.

Before I go into specifics, here's a visualization of the new invitation with my oh-so-lovely Photoshop skills.

Using the blue invitations I still have, I'll be layering green and white mats, the white containing the printing. The text will be black, and our names and the design will be blue to match the backing. I'll be returning the original RSVP cards I bought (luckily they're all still in the package!), and having the company custom cut and print the new ones to match the green of the mat. The printing on that will be black.

Despite all the new paper, and the double-sided and color printing, this will probably only run about $100 or so total. The company I've found is absolutely fantastic, and has promised me a 2-day turnaround on printing, and 3-day shipping! So, if all goes well, I'll still have the invites a week before I wanted to send them. Awesome!! :)

Even though these have ended up costing more than I originally planned on spending, when you add in the cost for the Gocco, this new route, including the professional calligraphy, will probably only end up costing an extra $50. Not too bad, right? When you take into consideration that the average invitation costs $3.50, and ours will end up right around $1.15, I don't feel so bad!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wakeup Call.

Today marks 80 days out from the wedding (not that I'm counting or anything...).

I had a slight freakout yesterday, and somehow got it in my head that we were 6 weeks away (mathematically impossible, no matter how you calculate it!).

Then I looked at a calendar, realized I was freaking out for nothing, but kicked my butt into gear anyway.

On my way to meet the calligrapher, I called my seamstress to schedule my first dress fitting. Our conversation went something like this: (To help you visualize, picture a teeny, tiny, sweet little Asian woman)

Me: I'm calling to schedule a fitting for my wedding dress. It needs to be hemmed, I believe.
Her: When your wedding?
Me: August 9th.
Her: Oh. You come in soon. June work okay?
Me: Yes. Do you have anything available at the end of June?
Her: End of June no work. Need more time. 13th or 20th?
Me: The 20th will work fine. (Silently one more week would really make a difference in how it fits?)

Now that there is a solid date on the calendar, I've been hit with a wakeup call. There is no more rationalizing a cookie at work, a stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee in the's all gotta go.

1 month and this dress needs to fit, and fit well.

Before Tom left for Nationals, we decided to start a competition. Since I need to look good in my dress and he needs to shed a few pounds to help his speed in the ring, we're going to do it together. Sort of. (When I'm not sabotaging him with butter in his food! :P -- I kid, I kid.)

The goal: To obtain the highest weight loss percentage.
The prize: Winner gets to pick our annual New Year's Eve vacation spot!

Wish me luck! (Though it's certainly not helping that today is a coworker's birthday and I'm surrounded by cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, coffeecake, and headed to a celebratory birthday lunch, right?).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good Luck, Thomas!

At 4 am this morning, my dear boy departed on an 8 hour journey to Marietta, Ohio.

What's in Ohio, you ask?

NCAA Division III Outdoor Track Nationals, you see.

Again, despite the odds stacked against him, Tom qualified for Nationals in the shot put. They took the top 15 from the nation, and Tom is going in ranked 11th. To get his 3rd All-American title this year, he'll need to jump to 8th place.

I like to tease Tom and call him a procrastinator. He didn't qualify once for shot put until the very last meet on his VERY last throw. Talk about a last chance! As in his nature, this throw shattered the existing the school record.

He competes on Saturday, so we'll be unfortunately waiting on pins and needles until then. I believe that if he captures another title, he'll be the first three-time All-American in the history of his college.

I am so VERY proud of him! I can't wait to report back to you all on Monday with updates! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Knowing When to Throw the Towel In - THE FOLLOW UP

It's official -- we're definitely going the professional route on the calligraphy.

I am SO pleased with this decision. I know it's going to turn out absolutely fabulously, and don't regret the price tag!

This is the script we're going with:

Flourished Copperplate:

Our calligrapher, Katie, of Belles Lettres Designs, is fantastic at what she does, obviously. I think it's quite a gift to be able to do calligraphy, and have always admired those that could.

We've opted to go with the white ink on the blue envelope, even though it will cost more. There are still just a few aspects of my vision that I'm unwilling to relinquish.

I'll be dropping off the addresses tomorrow, and in lightning speed, they should be ready sometime next week!! Pictures will definitely follow! :)

PS - I was able to successfully sell my Gocco, so we're not incurring any extra costs here! Holla for the budget!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fabulous Shower!!!

Yesterday was our first bridal shower, hosted by my lovely and talented mother! Years ago, I called "dibs" on a recipe-themed shower (Hey, in a family of four girls, sometimes "dibs" is the only way to be sure you have a chance to get what you want!). My mother created these super-cute recipe card invitations, and asked the guests to send in some of their favorite recipes. She then compiled a huge book of them for me. I LOVE it! I've probably read through it twice, mentally dog-earing the recipes I want to try!

We are so very grateful to have had all the guests, gifts and good food that made up yesterday. As the very first "wedding event," it was pretty surreal, albeit fun!

It was also a major plus that we made out like bandits!! Everyone was unbelievably generous, and we now have SO much stuff, we don't know where to start the unpacking!!

Yeah, there's a table under there.

And within 20 minutes of unloading the truck, this is what Tom was doing:

He LOVES that goofy vacuum! And it really is as good as the commercial makes it look. Totally recommended! :) (Thanks again, Marie & Omer!)

He also got his vegetable peeler, which he was pretty stoked about! (Way to go, Bec!)

We also received dish towels and oven mitts... favorite tablecloth (from my amazing Maid of Honor!)

Yay! My tea set (along with a date for tea from the gifter!)

And lots and lots of plates from my lovely grandmother, aunt, and godmother!
We got TONS more, too, but these are the only pictures stored on my computer :)
Off the top of my head I know we got a spice rack (2 actually), a few awesome serving sets, a coffeemaker, pasta pot, grill pan, drinking glasses, wine glasses, beer glasses, silverware, a grill (including charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, and every accessory known to man), and our Kitchen-Aid mixer!!

Overall, it was a super fabulous afternoon! Many thanks to my parents for throwing our shower, and to all who attended! We're looking forward to our next shower at the end of June! It should be a lot of fun --- it's going to be co-ed, which should be interesting! :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Knowing When to Throw the Towel In...

So I feel pretty bad about making such a fuss about the Gocco and our invitations only to have it all fail. Or as my coworker pointed out, failed a tiny bit.

I've come to the conclusion that the amount of time it would take for me to fix the problem, however, is not worth the stress and time involved. As an estimate, the invitations and reply cards would probably take 10+ hours because of the embossing involved, and the calligraphy, because it would have to be written twice to show up, would take upwards of 15 hours.

Determined to stay on budget, I've sought out other solutions. It's tough to give up on my vision, as I've always pictured this a certain way. Below is our invite, so you all can see what I'm talking about as I reference it... (some parts of blurry for privacy sake. You never know who's out there...Be assured, however, that we do have last names and addresses on the real invitation...)

(Designed by my trusty graphic design ninja)

I had always pictured the background paper as blue, the swirl and our names in white, and the other text in green. Since white ink won't print with a basic printer (hence why I purchased the Gocco originally), I'm forced to re-think the color scheme.

What I plan to do now is print the invitation on white card stock, and mat it on the original blue invitation panels we bought. The swirl will be printed in blue to match the backing paper. I haven't decided on text yet. I'm leaning towards keeping the text black and our names in blue, but then there is no green there, and it might look a bit jarring to have a green response card...?

I might do all the text green and our names in blue, along with the swirl. I think this would "fit" better, but I just think the text would look "better" in black.

Le sigh. Any opinions?

Now, since I've decided not to do calligraphy myself, but still have my heart set on it, I've been searching for a deal.

I've found a FABULOUS calligrapher who works out of Wheaton, and is willing to give me a 15% discount, due to the recession.

Isn't it dreamy??

She's also willing to do it all in white ink!

The problem comes that it's expensive. BUT, if I sell my Gocco (and I've already had 2 offers on it) and the favor boxes that I bought recklessly (again, already had an offer on those, too!), it won't cost me anything out of pocket. It's still $250, though :(

Another calligrapher based out of Evanston would be about $75 cheaper, but I just don't think her work is what I'm looking for. I figure if I'm going to spend this much money on something, I might as well get what I want.

So, in the end, the invitations aren't turning out to be what I originally pictured. BUT, I think I may end up with something just as fabulous, or even more so! Stay tuned!

Oh, and leave a comment on which colors I should use to print -- blue and black, or blue and green?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I'm about thisclose to completely giving up on invitations all together and just visiting people door to door informing them of the wedding.

Seriously. Thisclose.

Yesterday, I had time off work, so I thought I would utilize it by beginning the envelope calligraphy. It sounded easy enough: format the envelope, type in the address, print in a light blue, trace in white India ink. Done.

But really, nothing is ever easy for me. EVER.

I began by formatting the envelope and entering in the address. I was using my parents' address as my test dummy, because I knew (hoped) they wouldn't mind a lame attempt.

Everything was set, the printer was formatted, I hit the print button.

I heard printing. Success!! I was so excited!

Until I saw what was printing on one of my beautiful envelopes that I had spent HOURS lining:

Tom's PowerPoint presentation. Seriously?? Why don't printers automatically reset once they're unplugged and moved 30 miles?? I don't get it. But, I figured I would take advantage of the mistake to practice using the calligraphy pen and white ink.

You guessed it --- another FAIL.

Ugh. I spent $15 on 2 bottles of this stupid ink. WHY is it not appearing dark? And WHY is it so runny?

Whatever. I'll try printing another envelope and tracing it and see how it goes.

What?? Paper Jam??? You have GOT to be KIDDING me!?!?!?!?

Apparently the envelope is too thick with the liner to feed properly.

So now we have a few choices. We can trek over to my parents' house who have a nicer printer (albeit a little moody) and give it a shot there, we can buy a new printer (which we've been discussing anyway), or we can just kick and scream and cry, then pay a calligrapher $2 per envelope.

What should we do?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Haven't Obsessed in a While... I think I'm entitled to devote this post entirely to a very small, insignificant detail.


So as of yesterday, the U.S. Post Office decided to raise postage. This is extremely unfortunate, because I loved the 42 cent stamp with the red heart that was out for Valentine's Day. It was bright, multi-color, and sweet without being gag-worthy or cliche.

So, here are my choices for 44 cent stamps:

Uhhh, lame.

Meh. This is part of their "Love" line (you can see it towards the bottom of the stamp). This is probably what we'll go with, but I don't love it.

Even though the envelope only needs the normal 44 cent stamp, we could spend the extra money to a) ensure delivery, and b) get a nicer stamp.

The standard "Love" stamp. Meh. 59 cents.

Wedding cake. Also very blah. 61 cents.

I like the colors on this one, but it has no relation to anything. 57 cents.

And last, but not least, the stamp for the response card:

Lame. Very, very lame. But unless we want to put 14 2 cent stamps on one card, we have to go with this for the response cards.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Crunch Time!

With LESS THAN 3 MONTHS TO GO, I'm really started to feel the crunch! This week/weekend, I'm going to attempt to finish the invitations. If it doesn't work, I'm going to have to go professional with these, as I have 2-3 weeks before they're mailed. Since the cost of stamps went up yesterday, I was waiting before I purchased over $100 worth of postage. I have to begin the calligraphy for the envelopes, and then I can finally relax. Sort of.

I don't perceive June to be much work, just beginning to track RSVPs and I'll have my first dress fitting, but July will be where it all happens!

We are SO looking forward to our first shower on Sunday!! I feel like this pretty much kicks off summer for us -- and it's all downhill from here!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Add Another Flower Girl...

Congratulations to my sister Becca, my brother-in-law Rick, and my nieces Madalyn and Amelia on the arrival of our 4th flower girl!

Introducing the very sweet, precious (and fresh from the womb), baby Charlotte Joanne:

Tom and I will be meeting her tonight for the first time! We are so VERY excited to meet her and cannot wait to welcome yet another sweet little one into our growing family!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Fail.

What do you do when a DIY project fails?

I, for one, leave it on my kitchen table, in hopes that when I wake up the next morning, it will be magically fixed.

Usually, it's not.

Check out this cute design that my awesome graphic ninja (again!) designed for me. They're thank-you cards for our wedding shower. Get it? Raining kitchen appliances??

This would be so cute and clever IF THE PRINTING WASN'T UGLY!

Stupid Gocco.

I'm half-tempted to sell it. I can recoup my money, at least...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Money Celebration!

So I know the last time I posted about money, I made a lot of eyes glaze over.

Sorry. I just like to talk about it. A lot. But I promise, this will be MUCH shorter!

As we found out early on in the planning, having a budget and sticking to it is key. Okay, fine. Sounds fairly straightforward, right?

But in reality, where does that budget come from? How in the world is a young couple just starting out supposed to come up with upwards of $20,000???

For us, our budget was set by what we could afford to put aside everything month, while still saving for other important things (cars, house, vacations, etc.). When we decided to move the wedding up an entire year, we lost 12 months of savings. While the cost of the wedding has decreased, it still is costing us a fairly large chunk of money. But, we've been diligent in putting money aside every month, and Tom and I are very happy to announce that...

We're OFFICIALLY done saving for the wedding and honeymoon!!!! It's SUCH a great feeling (especially because we're 3 months early!!).

The good news is that now we have a bit more flexibility with our budget. We'd been debating about an after-party, and now know that would be easy to do, or we can spend the money on some FANTASTIC bridal party gifts we had nixed because of cost...

We'll see! For now, Tom and I are just thrilled to have this taken care of and off of our minds!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gocco: Step by Step

So I'm betting that 99.9% of you had never heard of a Gocco before reading this blog. I hadn't heard of it until last summer, either. Once I saw the magic that it produces, I knew I had to have it.

So, I scoured eBay for a great deal, and had this baby shipped all the way from Japan:

As a wedding gift to us, one of my coworkers who is a graphic design ninja, designed our invitation and response card.

On Saturday evening, I got to work:

Little did I know (since the instructions were in Japanese), that this sucker needed new batteries. After a quick trip to the local gas station, we were once again ready to make our screen.

Voila! Now you just peel the design off of the back, ink it up, and begin printing.

Okay, kids, now what have we learned? Now we see that a) the blue ink is too dark, so we'll have to custom mix a lighter shade, b) the white ink doesn't appear well on the green paper, and c) the font is much too small --- it's blurry and doesn't take up much of the card.
Since I was still trying it out, I thought I'd see what the design on the actual invitation would look like:
Aaah. Another "teachable moment." Design too blurry, needs to be sharpened. White still a little light, should probably be embossed. Also, must work on centering skills.
In short, we'll be reworking the design a teensy bit, I'll sharpen it up, and I'll get back to work. Also, I've decided to emboss the entire suite so the ink is raised, which will add many, many more man hours to the project. Good thing Tom's done with finals on Wednesday... ;)
Anything I missed? Questions, comments, compliments??? :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

In Commemoration...

Does anyone know what today is?

Yes, May Day, but that's not what I mean.

Today marks 100 days until the wedding!!

In commemoration, we're launching our new blog. This will follow our non-wedding adventures, and will become our only blog once the wedding is over. You'll probably find that I'll begin posting more over there than here soon, but I'll try to be diligent and fair!

So, I humbly present to you: Living with Murdock