Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Burning River Bride, mainly because she gives me the courage to negotiate with vendors and we're in the same place job-wise right now. Thanks again, Em, you made my day!
Marrying, Marathoning, and Milestones, because Emily and I both run and we both have husband/fiances who run...this means that we know what insanity is and regularly participate in it.
Luzel over at iDIY because she is so diligent and wonderful about posting free goodies.
Shay at That Sister, That New Bride.
I read Jenna every day, and I think she counts in this list because I got hooked on her blog when she was a bride: That Wife.
A Practical Wedding....Meg keeps me sane.
Sara at 2000 Dollar Wedding is so encouraging, I stop by her blog every other day or so.
I am so excited to be a part of the blogging world!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Ryan and I went to see Transformers (it was really good, definitely a good movie for ladies and gentlemen both). I had just switched out my birth control the day before, so I was on the hormonal side anyway. On the way back to Ryan's apartment after the movie, he brought up his moving out this week. Ryan hasn't found a distance running coaching job...people just aren't leaving their jobs in the current economic climate, and there haven't been nearly the amount of openings this year as in years past. He is moving out of his apartment here in my hometown and moving back home to St Louis, about 2 hours away, to try and find a teaching job. Seeing his apartment empty out is depressing, and I had been squashing how sad I was about Ryan's impending departure for a week or so. I'm also really sad that Ryan can't find a coaching job...he's such a good coach, and I know that he was put on this earth to coach. So if you take the hormones and ignored feelings into account, and emotional meltdown was imminent.
Anyway, after the movie he brought up something or the other about the moving process. Here's a re-enactment of the conversation:
(Ryan says something about moving away).
Stacy (me): I don't want to talk about this. If we talk about this I will cry. (starts to tear up, blinks rapidly to try to stop the torrent)
Ryan: (Says something else about moving, I was too upset to remember)
Stacy: I will cry, seriously, so talk about something else.
Ryan: (Continues talking about impending move, clearly asking for emotional meltdown)
Stacy: (wailing) I don't want you to go.... (turns into a 5 year old girl and crys for an hour, wailing things such as/but not limited to "I don't want to come home to an empty house...I don't even want to live in this stupid town.....I need hugs everyday.....")
Oddly enough, I feel so much better now that I got it all out of my system! I'm certainly not excited about the fact that Ryan and I are probably going to be living in separate cities for the year before we get married, but I feel less panicked about it now.
I bottled up my sadness all week because I hate getting really emotional in front of anyone, especially Ryan. I want to be the best that I can for him, and to me that means not losing it emotionally. I have always taken some pride in the fact that I am not a big crier, and I don't have a short temper, so I tend to hide big emotions from people. To Ryan's credit, he was as sweet as can be about his normally well-balanced fiance losing her sh*t for a while. He let me cry it out and talk, which is what I needed. He even rubbed my shoulders and hugged me for a long time, which was icing on the cake.
In conclusion, I learned lots about my relationship with Ryan. I need to not try to be so stoic, and not be afraid to show big emotions in front of Ryan. He's not going to think I'm stupid because I'm crying, which I guess I was afraid of, deep down inside! I think I'm afraid of that with everyone, not just Ryan. I'm marrying him, he's someone I need to be emotional around, even if the emotions aren't nice. Ryan is wonderful, he can handle it and handle it in a way that it makes me feel 1000x better...he knows me so well. I also need to acknowledge my feelings before I have a meltdown. All week I've been telling myself how stupid I was for feeling the way I've been feeling. It's not stupid to be upset that my fiance's moving away, it's perfectly reasonable.
Did you have any meltdowns that helped you learn something about your relationship with your fiance?
Oh, and while you're over there, check out this beaded headband tutorial. I can't pay $30 for these, and I want one, so I guess I will be trying my hand at these as well!
Is your DIY list getting out of control? I am up to DIY bouquets and boutonnieres, DIY table runners, DIY ring bearer's pillow, DIY invites, DIY corsages, DIYmake up, DIY centerpieces....
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Has the heat of the summer had any effect on your workouts, or is it just me?
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Potential Invite #1. Pro: Relatively simple, leaf motif in initial. Con: One initial looks kind of weird to me, I feel like it should be the full mongram. Also not crazy about the flower on the bottom.
Potential Invite #2. Pro: Nothing but script, looks like a vintage typesetter gone crazy. Con: Kind of on the busy side, maybe not so readable due to the variation of fonts.
I am definitely leaning towards Potential Invite #3. Even though Ryan wasn't crazy about it, it does fit his all text preferences while still making me happy inside.
The only thing I am confused about with the printable invites is how much the online printing service is going to cost. We'll need to print about 200 invitations and response postcards, 300ish programs, and 200ish thank you cards, and probalby 200 direction cards. The online printing services use lots of lingo I am not familiar with, so I am having a hard time getting a clear idea of the price. I am afraid that after printing, these might be cost prohibitive. By cost prohibitive, I mean over a dollar per invite. I know that's not much, but invites are just not high on my spending-money list, what can I say. I would be perfectly happy with these printed on some nice 80 lb paper instead of letterpress and custom maps.
I never thought programs were really necessary, but since Ryan and I are having a Unitarian ceremony that many family and friends might now be familiar with, I think we need it. Also, I have more readings than I can fit into the ceremony, so I want to print some on the programs! I know people can Mapquest, but I have really made use of the direction cards for the last couple of weddings I've gone to, so I think it would be helpful for our guests.
On the other hand, I could just whip up an invite in Microsoft Word or Publisher and be done with it. Why not simplify matters on something that isn't high on my priority list?
Any tips on online printing services? What did you do for you invitations?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
The venue I had my heart set on, Memorial Hall, is just too small.
Ryan and I stopped by on Saturday, and a very accomodating bride let us sneak a peek. Even though the website says it can seat 300, there's no way it will hold 250.
I'm sad, and I am not super pumped about looking for a new venue. I'm checking out the parks and recs departments of St. Louis as well as different universities.
What disappointments have you come across so far?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
How cute and totally unexpected is that? I have no idea where I put these or what I would do with them, but I want them and I am going to try to find a place for them.
I've been thinking about doing a late night snack of cookies and milk, and these envelopes would be a great way to package them.
I think we're going to end up with rectangular tables at our reception due to space constraints. I wanted to make napkins out of patterned fabric in our colors, but then I realized that table runners would look fabulous on rectangluar tables. And then I saw these:
It's a leaf motif! I think this would add so much visual interest to the tables.
Did you ever come across projects that you had to find a place for?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Cheese-&-Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
4 large portobello mushroom caps
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Place marinara sauce in a small bowl, cover and microwave on High until hot, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes.
4. When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps. Return the caps to the pan gill-side up. Spread 1 tablespoon marinara into each cap; cover the remaining sauce to keep warm. Mound a generous 1/3 cup ricotta filling into each cap and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining marinara sauce.
Doesn't it look yummy? I am happy I finally remembered to take a picture of something I cooked!
I am not a mushroom fan, and I thought this was delicious. First of all, I googled "how to clean mushrooms," because having never cooked with them, I had no idea. Some recipes mentioned cutting the gills out, which I was tempted to do, but didn't. It seemd like the whole purpose behind cutting the gills out was to cut down on the amount of gray juice, but that happens when you cook the mushrooms on their own in the first part of this recipe. I did make some changes to the recipe. I only used 2 mushroom caps, as it was just Ryan and I, and I made some pasta and garlic bread to go with it. I also steamed some snow peas that I had just gotten at the farmer's market, but those were in a separate dish. I really just eyeballed the amounts here. I wanted the mushrooms to be really full, so I used about the full cup of ricotta. Ryan and I use the part-skim kind, so I didn't feel guilty about it. I didn't put any parmesan into the dish, and I skipped the olives. I also used lots of marinara sauce, because I love it. I think I put at least 3-4 tablespoons on one mushroom cap alone. I used double the spinach, too. I am really happy with how it turned out, and probably will stick with the changes I made. This seems to me to be a very adaptable recipe.
I chopped off a chunk of my finger when I was chopping the spinach for these, and I was cooking at Ryan's while he was helping out at cross country camp. I couldn't find a band aid, so I had to tape a paper towel to my copiously bleeding finger. I had to wear lots of band-aids for the next week or so, because it was on the side of my finger, which is not fun to cover with a band-aid.
Monday, June 15, 2009
This book was SO GOOD! It reminded me a bit of "The Time Traveler's Wife" in that the main character haphazardly jumps from one time period to another, except in "Flight," there is a purpose behind it. It was a really quick read, so I think it could be done pretty easily in an hour and a half or so. The main character, Zits, is a juvenile delinquet with nothing to live for. Poised on the brink of a terrible decision, he is jerked into the body of someone else, and the story goes from there. The author, Sherman Alexie, has also written "Reservation Blues," "Indian Killer," "The Toughest Indian in the World," and "Ten Little Indians." I will definitely be checking out more of his stuff. I was kind of hesitant to pick this book up...it just didn't look like it was for me. I am so glad I read it, I highly recommend it.
Have you read anything by Mr. Alexie?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The weekend was so much fun. We shared a hotel room with a friend of Ryan's and his girlfriend, and they are so easy-going and fun to be around. The weekend went by so fast, and it got me thinking....the wedding is just one day (I know, duh, right?). One day! Sure, I didn't think her centerpieces were super cute and I probably wouldn't have chosen the venue that they did....but even as a woman planning her own wedding, that stuff didn't matter to me. What mattered was what a fabulous party it was, and how much fun everyone had. What mattered was the bride getting down on the dance floor, and my man who hates to dance busting some serious moves. What mattered was how emotional the bride and her father were during the father-daughter dance, and the groom singing the words of the first song he danced to with his wife into her ear.
The whole weekend made me rethink some things. For instance, Ryan and I have been bickering about bow ties. I love them, he doesn't. I think compromising and having the ushers wear them is fair, while he thinks I am not respecting his wishes by insisting on bow ties. I wish he could just say "I love you and if you want them that badly then fine," and I'm sure he wishes I would leave his friends alone and let him pick out a damn tie! Needless to say, by the time the father-daughter dance had rolled around, I grabbed his hand, smiled and said, "If you really don't want bow ties, we don't have to have them. We're getting married and that's the most important thing." I would rather have blissfully happy faces than bow ties any day.
Did you have any moments like I just did that made you reevaluate some wedding plans?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The guy who runs the site is Ian Lawton, and he has a progressive Christian church in Michigan. I e-mailed him to see if he had any suggestions on how to craft a spiritual wedding ceremony, since Ryan and I aren't really into organized religion. He e-mailed me back and he's trying to get a website up just on resources for spiritual weddings, and asked if I would participate in a dialogue with him concerning how to structure the website, etc. I am so pumped! I've been lurking around lots of spiritual blogs, and I am so excited to participate with something that means so much to me. The ceremony is the most important thing about the wedding to me, and I really want it to represent Ryan and I's spiritual beliefs. Ian Lawton is also huge in the world of internet spirituality. He has taken worship to a whole new level with the way he has used the web to spread the message of his church--he Podcasts his sermons every Sunday, how cool is that?
If any of you wonderful people have any suggestions for spiritual ceremonies that are not necessarily linked to organized religion, please let me know, and I would can pass them on to the fabulous people over at SBNR.org.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I chopped up some mint and crushed some lime, and added Sprite and Mango Rum.
I poured the delicious concoction into my Orla Kiely for Target glass and slurped away. You can mix this drink totally by taste--I like lots of mint, so I had more of that in there. It will look like a jungle in your glass, with all of the mint leaves floating around. This is a very flexible drink--you could easily switch out the flavor of alcohol or add other flavors that sound good to you.
If you've had a bad day at work, this will make it all better.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Anyway, if you're looking for a book that is out of the ordinary and non-fiction, check this one out, you'll learn a lot--unless you're a sexologist, like the ones in the book, and then you already will know all of it.
What have you read lately?
We shopped, shopped and shopped.
We ate at one of my favorite restaurants ever-Thai House. If you're in or around Springfield, it's on Campbell, and you should probably get in your car and go there immediately. I have honestly been craving this food since my last year in Springfield....3 years ago. We had salad with fresh ginger and peanut dressing and chicken dumplings. Alli had mango chicken for her entree...and it was unbelievable. I had never tasted anything like it, it was so unique and yummy. I had spicy fried rice for my entree (with tofu), and it was good, but the basil was way too strong.
Here's Alli enjoying a chicken dumpling:
I didn't bother taking a picture of the dumplings until I had scarfed a couple....
I am in total bliss at this point. I look positively maniacal!
After Thai House, we shopped some more! We wedding dress shopped at one store in downtown Springfield. I had gone on their website and looked up all of the designers they carried and written down style numbers, so I was prepared. When we showed up for our appointment, they welcomed us and told us to pick out whatever we'd like to try on. We could only find 2-3 dresses to try on that weren't huge balls of pouf, and they didn't have a single style number that had written down. I tried them on, and none of them were right at all. The staff was really great though. The appointment took us maybe 30 minutes, and I had blocked off 2 hours for it. Alli and I had the name and phone number of another bridal salon also in downtown Springfield. I didn't want to call them, thinking that it's a Saturday and they'll be busy, but Alli told me to give it a shot. I called, and a girl I used to share a dorm with picked up the phone! She told us to come by in 45 minutes, so Alli and I killed some time in cute shops downtown.
We got to the appointment and picked out some dresses. At this shop I had at least 10 to try on, so we were already more successful than at the last shop. This place was so cute--pale pink walls, white chandeliers, etc. Mary Louise, the girl who had gotten us the appointment, was wonderful. She knew we were just trying on, on so their was no pressure at all to make a purchase. This is where I tried on that lovely lace Romona Keveza gown.
After the fun at the bridal salons, Alli and I headed to some antique stores before dinner. We found the neatest little shop that had work from lots of local artists. Alli got a way cute goldenrod yellow yarn flower pin, and we got our youngest sister Mary a felt cheeseburger pin.
We still weren't done shopping, so we headed back to Dillard's....where all of the clearance racks were an extra 30% off. Yay! Alli got a gorgeous cornflower blue silk dress, and I got a black silk top.
We checked into the hotel and headed out to dinner at Nonna's, a fantastic Italian restaurant.
We stuffed our faces. I got a caprese salad, which is fresh mozzarella drizzled with pesto.....drool. I also had lasgna, and Alli had some delicious chicken parmesan.
After Nonna's, we headed to a bar. Alli turned 21 last July, and she really isn't the bar hopping type. It doesn't help that all of the bars in our hometown are dirty frat boy bars. They're all smoky, too, which I can't stand ever since I quit smoking. So in light of this, we went to MudLounge, a smokeless bar that is fabulous. It's clean, they have great drinks and appetizers, and it also has a great atmosphere, so I knew Alli would like it.
We got chocolate fondue, because we wanted to stuff ourselves silly. This was supposed to be for two people, but it had enough food for at least 5-6.
Here is Alli giving MudLounge the thumps up. How cute is that flower pin!
I had a strawberry drink that was yummy, but strong. Ryan has made me drinks like this before, and I like his better.
The next day we woke up and lounged. We hauled ourselves out of the hotel, got some coffee from the delicious MudHouse (OMG Wild Tribe Dark Chocolate Mocha, I have been craving you ever since Sunday), and hit up Marshal's. After our final bout of shopping, we got on the road (with our sacks of rock candy and dark chocolate covered raisins from Mr. Bulky) and headed to Laura Ingall's Wilder's farm in Mansfield, Missouri. She wrote all of the Little House books here. Alli and I had been when we were younger, but I think we got more out of it this time. They showed a short film and lead you through the house. There was also a museum with lots of articles mentioned in the books, like Pa's fiddle. Laura collected pink and green Depression glass, which I actually have a few pieces of! Ryan's mom collects the pink glass, so I know that she would've enjoyed seeing that.
We had such a good weekend. We did what we wanted, and it was so relaxing. I'm trying to talk Alli into going to Chicago for a 3-day weekend, since it's only a 5-6 hour train ride from Carbondale, IL, which is only an hours drive for us. Chicago has a J Crew wedding store! Anyway, I wish this weekend never would have ended, I had such a good time. You're the best, Alli!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
It was really good. The author is a journalist, so you can pick up on that from her writing style. The gist of the book is the author's search to find a person that she knew during her time at Beijing University during the Cultural Revolution that she denounced to the authorities. It's the author's first time in China in years, so she talks quite a bit about the dramatic changes the country is experiencing. This book really covered a wide range of topics--Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics, the Cultural Revolution, Communist China then and now, her kids' reaction to China, migrant workers, the environment...it was an incredibly educational read! I would certainly recommend it to anyway interested in learning about China today, and I think I might check out some of her other books. She's very honest and forthright in this book, and I like that. A very good read overall.
I think what I appreciate most about this book is the down-to-earth vibe it gives off. It is a fabulous reality check from the world of Platinum Weddings and Brides magazine, and a reality check that I certainly need. It helps to remind myself that the down-to-earth, no fuss wedding truly is the norm, and that I will not be a colossal failure if I don't have an invitation suite with 17.5 pieces, 6-foot tall orchid centerpieces, and taffeta pintuck linens. Though the linens would be nice.
Kelly Bare, the author, has also penned The F Word, another book relating the wedding planning experience, but I haven't read it. I will be putting it on my to-read list.
What wedding books have you picked up? Were they (un)helpful? Any I should be reading?
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I tried this on, and it was great. Ignore the bolero, the veil, and the big flower. Insert wide ivory satin sash pinned with a rhinestone clip. This is the silhouette for me, my friends! As soon as my sister puts the pictures from this weekend on the computer, then I can show you a picture of me in this dress. I am still unsure about the all over lace. I never would have picked this up off the rack, but Alli told me I should at least try it, and am I glad I did! I thought Ryan would hate this dress because of the lace, but I showed it to him and he didn't have any complaints. I'll talk more about this later, but I had to show it to you asap!
Did you try on a dress that you ended up loving that you never would have picked out yourself?
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Have a great weekend!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I love the simplicity of the single flower, and I love that it isn't the typical rose. Have I told you how much I adore polka dots? This couldn't be hard to put together-you cut the flower, stick a pin through it, done. I am all about simple.
I love the embroidered initial on the leaf of the boutonniere. I know how to embroider, so this would be an easy project for me.
Simple, silk flowers. Do they look a little too fake to you? Once again, it's super simple and I like it, but I'm concerend that the blooms look too artificial.
I'm not a big purple person, but I like the cloth leaves of these. A subtle pattern would look really nice, I think, and I could embroider the leaf with the initial's of the groomsmen.
I need to share these with Ryan so I can get a grasp on what he likes. Typing boutonniere however many times I just did has cemented it in my memory, so I now I won't have to look it up every time I need to spell it!
Are you adding any special touches to the boutonnieres for your handsome groom and groomsmen?
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
This is a Christina Wu gown that goes for anywhere between $600-$1500 (thank you, The Knot, for giving me a price range so I know if I can afford it or not!). I love the way the fabric is wrapped (rouching?), and I love the train.
This dress is from Lazaro, and runs you at $3,000-$5,000, so it is way, way out of my price range (I'm trying to keep the dress under $1,000). I love the back of it, but the tiers of lace might be a bit much, I'm thinking.
Jim Hjelm does this gown. It is between $3,000 and $5,000, so once again, out of my price range. I love the neckline, and I adore the way the fabric ripples along the hemline. I can't quite tell if the dress is all-over lace or not, but I am not a fan of lace everywhere.
I really like the neckline on this Augusta Jones dress, it's almost 50's-60's looking. This dress hits on the right amount of embellishment, I think.
This is by Kirstie Kelly, and I hope it's the back of the dress! I really like the deep v in the back with the chiffon flowers. I also love the way chiffon moves.
I am really attracted to a sheath shape. I tried on a poufy a-line at David's bridal, and it was just bad. I am not a big girl, coming in at a towering 5'2, and the bigger dresses really overwhelm me. I want to wear the dress, not the other way around, and all of the sheath dresses I have tried on worked well with my body. I would also like the dress to be tight on my butt, as I am not blessed up-top and would like to emphasize my assets. Heehee, no pun intended, I promise! My sister/roommate/best friend/maid of honor, Alli, and I are hoping to head to St Louis to shop up there soon, as we tried on every non-poufy dress in a 10-mile radiues of my hometown in less than 2 hours. We're also planning a trip to Springfield, MO , where I spent my first 2 years of college to shop this weekend, and we have an appointment at a bridal salon there. Shopping for the dress has been the most fun part so far.
What has been the most fun part of wedding planning for you? How long did it take you to find your dress?
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
By the way, I got all of these pictures off of the St. Charles Parks website.
The hall itself was built in 1929. Here is a picture of the interior with no tables or anything. I love the simplicity--white walls, natural light, hardwood floors. Does it get any better?
And here's a picture of the room above all dressed up for a reception:
I LOVE IT. It's the only place I've looked at that I have been excited about (so we've only looked at 3 places total...but I get excited, and I know what I want!). It would be so easy to make this room look really pretty, and the site fee is only $700. Compared to the other stuff we're looking at, it's as good as it's going to get. Ryan seems to think that St Louis is going to be more expensive than my home town, but Memorial Hall is cheaper to rent than many places in my home town, and all of the catering I've looked at in both my hometown and St Louis is about the same. I personally don't think there would be a huge price difference, but Ryan thinks there will be.
So what do you think? I need opinions. Can I make this building look pretty? Price-wise, do you think it's reasonable?
On a totally different note, I have an extremely promising job interview today....I would very much appreciate any prayers/happy thoughts/finger crossing being sent my way!
Monday, June 1, 2009
Ryan and I have agreed on something concerning the wedding.
I'm exaggerating. We agree on some things, but we still cannot agree on a color, a city in which to have the wedding (not so much that we can't agree, we just can't decide), bowties for the groomsmen (please Ryan, pretty please?), etc. I do love having an involved groom, because it's his day just as it is mine. I'm super indecisive, so having Ryan actually care it very helpful.
So how did Ryan and I come to agree on something for the wedding? It came about as I was researching photographers last week. Remember in my post when I talked about how expensive photography was? Well, Gail Fleming has come to the rescue. I found her on the WPJA's website. I love her style, there are some incredible candid shots that I can't get enough of, but she also has some great posed pictures too, so you truly get the best of both worlds. She is a top pick from The Knot and she is in St. Louis. Even if we got married in my hometown about 2 hours south, her traveling fee is only $100. She is reasonable, too. Her packages all come with a CD of high-resolution images complete with printing rights, and her prices are extremely doable for Ryan and I as the ones we would choose are under $2000. Besides all of this practical stuff......I really, really love her pictures. This is the first thing on the yellow brick road of wedding planning that I have gotten kind of emotional about....I am attached to this photography, what can I say.
Anyway (I am long winded, aren't I?), I showed her stuff to Ryan last week and he was all about it! He likes that the pictures aren't all posed, and he particularly likes her prices. He told me to go ahead and call her and set up a meeting. It was so easy, and we were both totally on the same page! He has no weird emotional attachment to her stuff like I do, though! It was just a wonderful breath of fresh air. Enough talking, onto the good stuff (all images courtesy of Gail Fleming Photography):