Thursday, July 30, 2009

To See or not to See

I am torn!

I'm trying on those J Crew dresses on Saturday....should I let Ryan see them or not?

I don't want to ruin the "first look," but I really think that seeing him on our wedding day, with my hair done and all that jazz, is going to be such an amazing moment regardless of if he's seen the dress before or not.

This article on Lovely Morning reinforces this, I think.

Curse my indesciveness! Maybe he shouldn't see anything until the wedding day....ugh, I don't know.

Ladies, advice please!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exciting J Crew News!

So Saturday I was shopping with Ryan, and we stopped in J Crew. I always ask if someone's returned a wedding dress to the store...I heard from someone who used to work at J Crew that they usually have a handful in the back, waiting to be shipped, and they'll let you try them on.

They had one dress there, but it was someone's who just hadn't picked it up yet. They brought out their wedding consultant who said I could just pick out whatever dresses, they'd have them shipped to the store, and I could come in a try them on.


I have been ogling these dresses online for ages...I thought I'd have to buy them just to try them on, so I am way pumped. These are the dresses I will be trying on next Saturday:

The cotton cady Alexa

The cotton cady Erica

The metallic rose Madison

The metallic rose Madison is the one they had in the store....and it looks 1000x better in real life than it does in this picture. The silk was a creamy rich ivory with not a lot of silver.

I will fill you all in--Ryan's hopefully trying a suit on while we're at, and my mom and his mom will also be there. I am sooo excited, this will keep me going this week! I've been missing Ryan pretty bad lately, and this will give me something else to think about. We will open a J Crew card to buy Ryan's suit/my dress (if it works out), and that will save us at least 10%, if not 20%.

I just want to add that the wedding coordinator we worked with was lovely. For you St. Louis brides, her name is Claire and she works at the Galleria J Crew. E-mail me if you'd like her phone number at the store. Also, she said that J Crew is getting a wedding consultant on staff for each store, so head to your local J Crew and see what happens!

P.S. All images are courtesy of J Crew.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I just finished reading....

This was good! It's about a high school sex ed teacher who is forced to teach an abstinence-only program at the insistence of a conservative Christian church in town. The book dealt with some really great faith issues, namely that of an evangelical Christian whose faith is changing. It was a really fast read, I got in done in a day or 2 and I didn't have a ton of time to devote to it. I definitely recommend it. I read it on the elliptical yesterday and today (I think I have a hairline fracture in my big toe, so I can't run!) and definitely enjoyed it.

What are you reading right now?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Follow up to the Great Bouquet Mock-Up of 2009

So, due to the lovely remarks from Miss Em and D. Marie (thanks ladies, you really helped make up my mind!), I am set on doing my own flowers. My mom is not. She thinks I am going to be losing my sh*t in the days before the nuptials and that flowers have to be done way to close to the wedding for me to worry about it. Anyway, I want to do it because of the amazing amount of money I will save...and I just want to do it. I feel like I can do a good job, and I don't think it will take me much time.

Ryan wants mini Calla lillies for the boutonnieres. Nothing but Calla lillies will suffice (apparently it's a masculine flower, which I kinda see). I found mini white calla lillies at Blooms by the Box for $3.41 a stem. We need about 10 stems, so this would run us around $35.

I want white hydrangeas, as you lovely ladies know, and they are $2.85 a stem, so for the 30 stems that I will need, that will run me about $85.50.

Throw in $20 or so for ribbons and pins, and that is under $150 for the flowers. We aren't doing flowers anywhere else, so this would be it. Under $150!? There's no WAY I'm paying out the wazoo when I can do it for under $150. I might want to do something floral for the church....but that is very undecided.

Anyway! I am too good at digressing. I really think I could handle this. The calla lillies are just getting trimmed and having pins stuck in them (Ryan doesn't want any ribbon to touch these. At all.), and the bouquet I did took maybe 5 minutes, and it wouldn't take me more than 10 or 15 to do a really nice one. When I did the mock-up bouquet it held up very nicely (and I abused it on purpose), and calla lillies are supposed to be very sturdy and they have a vase life of 7-10 days.

I have heard excellent things about Blooms by the Box also. P.S., the photos are from their website.

So ladies, am I kidding myself? Will I be able to do this the day before the wedding or do I need to let it go and accept defeat?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

European Gifts

My BFF, aka my maid of honor and sister Allison just got back from Europe! She shopped more for me than for herself (for shame Alli!), and she got me gorgeous stuff!

First up is this way cute gray felt wool mini purse. It'll be perfect for keeping little things together in the depths of my big handbag. The green silk clutch is to.die.for. I am planning an outfit around it for this weekend. I think the bag 100% deserves it, don't you?

Alli also got me this killer pashmina. #1, I love pashminas. #2, I love pink. #3, Polka dots rock my world. Pretty much a match made in heaven, methinks. I planned my work outfit around this for today!

And last but certainly not least, Alli got me this great Calligraphy how-to book and a quill and ink. I am going to feel so cool writing with a quill! She knows I've been wanting to learn how to write pretty for wedding stuff (invitation addressing, place cards, blah blah blah), so now I can do it!

Alli and my other sister Mary had such a great trip, but I am so glad they are home, I missed them both like crazy! Alli totally spoiled me, obviously, but I will think about her every time I write a nice looking letter or wear the lovely pashmina or slip something out of the green purse.

Thank you Alli, you're the best and I am so glad you're home!

It's Really Real!

We booked a date!!!!

July 24th, 2010.

How real is that? I really wanted to jump up and down and squeal when Ryan called to say this was the only date the Polish Heritage Center (our reception site) had left, and did we want to go for it?

We did, and it looks like we're getting hitched on July 24th.

Everything's been so vague, so "I hope we can do this, or this, or maybe this too" ever since we got engaged. And now something is 100% set in stone!

This is how I feel right now!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My New Place of Work

Did I tell you guys I have a new job?

I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Public Relations in December of 2008. I had a part-time secretary job at a big hospital in town that paid my bills in college, and I have been working there while searching for my first career-oriented job.

I started at a video production and marketing firm here in my hometown about 2 weeks ago. I write scripts for real estate TV shows and I do some voiceover work for the same shows. I might (a big might) get to do some on-camera work too.

It's a really laid back office, and so far I like it. They really like what I'm doing writing-wise and my voiceover work is coming along....I even got to record my own show this week!

Me having a full time job has enabled Ryan and I to start planning this wedding, and it's valuable experience for me career-wise. I am sooo glad to be done with the hospital and working on my career!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Did you know that Beliefnet has a weddings section? This link will take you right to it. It is packed with fun stuff. They have wedding traditions from every faith you can think of listed, as well as meditations for brides and some great articles. They have sections helping you to write your own vows and offer a fabulous and loving toast.

I thought this bit was especially worthwhile. It's from an article called "Goodbye Bridezilla, Hello Wedding Goddess" by Laurie Sue Brockway. You can find the full article here. I thought it was a really neat way to look at the huge life transition that planning a wedding happens to be.

What is it that brides-to-be should be mindful of in between appointments with the caterer and dress fittings?

This is about you going from being a single woman with a boyfriend to becoming a married woman with a husband. This is about growing up and growing into the kind of commitment you once only dreamed about. It is about taking two complete and whole individuals with their greatness and their flaws and merging into a partnership that is beyond any union you have ever had in your life. It's about stepping up to the plate to say, "I do," and being ready to step up to the plate in marriage. The details of planning and the sometimes blinding stress that comes along with planning, I think, are often a diversion from the feelings related to this commitment. Fear and occasional panic are not uncommon.

What are some websites that surprised you with their wedding content?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weddings and Weightloss

I have been thinking about weddings and weightloss lately.

The day I switched my Facebook status from "In a Relationship" to "Engaged," the ads on my profile page totally changed. At all times, there is at least one weight-loss related ad, usually going something like this:

"Do you want to be a skinny bride? Lose those flabby arms for your wedding dress! Look like you've always wanted to on the day of your dreams!"

You get the picture.

Anyway, I was talking to Ryan about how I'd like to lose about 5 pounds before the wedding. I'm on the higher end of my ideal weight range, and I'd like to be in the shape of my life for the wedding. But it got me thinking today, about how I need to treat my body like a temple, especially in terms of what I eat. And then I thought, it's not all about me anymore. I need to keep myself healthy for Ryan too, because he's counting on me to be there in the long run. I'm not going to be if I shovel grease down my throat with abandon. This puts a whole new perspective on toning up and eating right for me. I need to be healthy not only for myself, but for Ryan too, just as he needs to take care of himself so that he can be there for me. Also, I've always wanted to be lighter and more toned anyway....but I keep putting it off. No day but today, right?

There is so much hype to lose weight specifically for your wedding day, but I am viewing it as a motivator for refining lifelong habits. I run and I try to eat well, but I could be doing much more strength training and I could certainly eat better than I do now.

What do you think? Is the wedding-day weight loss too hyped up? Have you fallen prey to it? How do you view your health and fitness?

Have you ever thought about health and fitness like this before?

I Just Finished Reading...

It was good, but it was so sad. I am not at all in the mood for sad right now, either! Ryan moved back to St. Louis and my sisters are in Europe for 2 weeks, so coming home after a day at work is pretty empty-feeling. Anyway, the part of the book that stood out the most were how strikingly realistic the characters were. It was very well written. I had picked up about 5 books before this that ended up that not the most frustrating thing? It drives me nuts! Off topic again, sorry...I liked this book and I might read it again if I feel like being melancholy, but it's quite the tearjerker.

What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quizzing the Day Away

So I took the "What Kind of Bride are You?" Quiz at Beliefnet. Here are my results:

The Off-Beat Bride: You are someone who dances to her own beat and wants a wedding to reflect that. You see your wedding and a special and personal creation and intend to put your signature touch on every part of it. Because you are so creative and have so many ideas, you probably are an independent operator and would not enjoy hearing the input of others about what you should do or how you should do it. In fact, you probably want to just surprise them all with the result. Since you will probably be paying for it yourselves, you have some assurance of being able to create what you want on your own.

I'd say this is pretty much accurate. Ryan and I are not paying for the wedding ourselves--if we were we would be getting married in like, 5 years. I do enjoy hearing the input of others because I am so indecisive, so it's helpful! The rest is spot on.

What kind of a bride are you? Did the results surprise you?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Great Bouquet Mock Up of 2009

For my bouquet, I basically want white hydrangeas. That's pretty much the extent of it. I clandestinely "borrowed" some hydrangeas from a vacant house down the street...I know, totally wrong, but it's not for sale and no one lives there.

Anyway, I picked about 4-5 blooms. The hydrangea plants were not in good shape, as they haven't been watered at all this summer. I stripped the stems of leaves, first.

I didn't do anything fancy like angling the blooms....I just kind of stuck them together. I wound some ribbon around the stems, and voila.

Are you underwhelmed? Because I am. It looks so.....underwhelming. I really want to do the bouquets myself, but I don't think this is going to cut it. I will say though, that I made these Saturday morning and kept them in water, drug them over to my mom's and manhandled them, and they still looked really nice by Sunday afternoon. At least I know they'll hold up!

To be fair, I need to try this again with floral tape. I think that would've helped quite a bit. I still think it's missing something, though.

What do you think?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Polish Heritage Center

Let me just start this off by saying that Ryan and I are not Polish. We're Italian, Belgian, Dutch, Irish and Native American, but we are not Polish.

Thankfully, the Polish Heritage Center in St. Louis could care less how Polish you are. They'll let you rent their hall regardless of where you originated. Here is a view of the hall from the back wall:

These are the windows on the side of the hall:

And this is the stage:

This is a veiw of the back of the room:

For $1100, you get the use of the hall for 9 hours, and you have to be out by 1 a.m. This is fine, because I don't think Ryan and I can stay up that late anyway. The fabulous thing about this hall is that we can bring in whatever caterer we'd like, as well as provide the alcohol ourselves! This will save us boatloads, I think, considering that the cheapest price we've seen for a bar is $12/head. Also, the couple who is in charge of renting the facility is lovely. They were wonderful, and were very accommodating of us being late (oops!).

When we started looking at halls, I really gravitated towards rooms that had natural light (the other ones felt like caves) and hardwood floors (I just love them). Who knew I'd get all picky about that, right? It got to the point where if the hall didn't have those 2 qualifications, I thought it was ugly. It's stupid, I know, because who actually pays attention to the floor? Probably only me. And it's going to be DARK out for most of the who cares if there are windows or not? Needless to say, the pragmatic part of my mind took a vacay whenever we talked about halls. I wanted window and hardwood floors, end of story.

Anyway, I'm 99% sure we will be booking this hall. Ryan is graciously going to check out one more location this week, since I am stuck in my hometown, so if that doesn't work out...then the Polish Heritage Center is where we will be putting on our boogie shoes next July!

I had to do quite a bit of digging to find this hidden gem. Was your reception venue easy to find?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wonton Ravioli

I made spinach and ricotta raviloi the weekend before last, but I deviated from the recipe so much that I'm not even going to post it! This recipe is super easy and very accomodating of variations, so don't feel like you have to stick to it 100%.


Frozen spinach, thawed, drained, chopped (do not skip the draining part, or you will have some watery ravioli!)

Wonton Wrappers

Ricotta Cheese

Garlic powder

Parmesan Cheese

Sauce (I used marinara, but I'm sure a cream sauce would be good too)

Mix the ricotta (I used about 1 cup for about 20 ravioli), parmesan (to taste, I used maybe 1 tablespoon), and spinach (I used about 2 cups) in a bowl. Add garlic powder and mix.

Place about 1 teaspoon of filling on a wonton wrapper, and wrap it up. Wet edges with water or egg white to make sure the sealing sticks. (You can wrap it hundreds of different ways. Ryan made his look like little presents, and I just went for a plain triangle).

Boil ravioli for 4-5 minutes. Be sure that you don't crowd the pot or ravioli will stick together.

Draining the spinach.

Wonton wrappers! They have very little fat in them, and are very light.

Ryan's wrapped ravioli.

I drowned mine in marinara, it was really good. Ryan and I were on the hungry side, and these were not particularly filling. The next time I make them, I am going to add some seasoned and cooked ground turkey or chicken, to make it a more substantial meal.

What have you cooked lately?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How Many of Me

You should check out How Many of Me. Go ahead, it's fun! You type your name in and verify that you are over 13 years of age, and it tells you how many peolple share a name with you. It ranks your last name in terms of popularity. For instance, my maiden name is the 58,856th most popular last name. There are 430 people with my last name in the country. Isn't that neat!

I am the only person with my name. Unfortunately, when I get married, I will be the 114th person with that name. Also, my married name is the 173th most popular last name in the country. Who knew!

So how many people share your name? What about your married name?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wedding Planning Extravaganza

I just got to St. Louis, and Ryan and I are having a wedding planning extravaganza today. We're meeting with a photographer, a caterer (we're doing a tasting with them), and we are viewing two different venues.

Maybe today we can set a date!!!

I'll have lots to tell you all about, I am taking plenty of pictures.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Church Shopping

We found a church! Ryan and I visited Eliot Unitarian Chapel in St. Louis (Kirkwood area) a few Sundays ago. We went to their Sunday service, and I loved the service itself. Ryan wasn't offended by anything (this is saying a lot for him), and he really likes the building. I think it's gorgeous. I love the natural light towards the front of the church. The chapel was built in 1852. Here's what the inside looks like, from the balcony:

And here's the outside:

All pictures are courtesy of Eliot Unitarian Chapel. This was one of the easiest wedding decisions we've made so far. I loved the church so much that I will be going up for as many services as I can (it's a 1 1/2 hour drive from my hometown). I am so excited that Ryan and I are getting married in a church that reflects so many of our values. We're going to try to meet the minister the next time we're in St. Louis. The site fee is not too bad: $795 includes the use of the building and the minister's time. I met the music director on Sunday and she told us we were welcome to bring in whatever musicians we'd like.

Did you have a hard time finding a place to get married in that reflected the values of your fiance and yourself?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I just finished reading...

Lying Awake by Mark Salzman. It was pretty good. I don't know that I'd read it again, but I don't feel like it was a waste of time by any means. It's about a nun who has severe headaches accompanied by spiritual visions. She is faced with the fact that her spiritual gifts might be the result of a serious illness. The book goes into what choice she makes concerning her illness and the ensuing spiritual struggles. I think I just like reading about that weird? I loved A Nun's Story by Kathryn Hulme. This wasn't as good as that, but it's a good fast read, short and well-written.
What are you reading?

It's Here!

Yay! I went and got it the second I could. I am so obsessed, that both of my sisters called me just to tell me it was available. I've been checking for it at Barnes and Noble for the past month. I know, I'm ridiculous. If you knew me, you'd think it was even more ridiculous, because I'm not a Martha Stewart kind of a girl. Her stuff is so classy, though, and while some of it is outrageously expensive and superfluous, her projects are typically easy to do, approachable, and cost effective. I just can't ask for anything better right now! I already printed out the templates to a project in from the magazine, so I will be blogging about my attempt at that soon.

Ooo, I also did a bouquet mock up! I'll post on that later on this week.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day of rest. Ryan is in St. Louis, and I'm planning on sleeping in, having a nice long run, completing a project I have been putting off for a while, maybe attempting a new Martha project, having dinner with my fam, and going wedding dress shopping with a friend from work. How are you whiling away the hours today?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

75 Best Wedding Websites

I found this article on that has a great list of the 75 best websites for planning a wedding. You can find the list here.

There are lots on here I haven't been to before, so I am excited to sit down to an afternoon of surfing the web tomorrow!
What has been your favorite wedding planning website(s)?

The Art of Greek Cookery

I picked up The Art of Greek Cookery at a random used book store in Ryan's hometown mall while he was getting his hair cut a weekend or so ago. The cookbook is published by the women of St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church. I have found that the best cookbooks typically come from church women, so I knew this had to be good.

I found some great recipes I cannot wait to try. The braised eggplant looks good, as does the baked zucchini and the moussaka. I will definitely be attempting some of these recipes in the next few weeks, so we'll see how that works out! I love greek food, so hopefully I will end up with a new dish to add to my repertoire.

Ryan said the Caramel Custard sounded good. I read through the recipe and it looks hard. It involved carmelizing sugar and pouring it into a warmed pan. This sounds deceptively simple, but the recipe warns you: "don't let the sugar get too dark or it will become bitter." What's too dark, and what's too light? I am pretty sure that you have to add butter in order to carmelize sugar, but the recipe doesn't mention that. I do want to attempt it the next time I have an afternoon off.

I love ethnic food and I am excited to try some of these recipes.

I was surprised to find that there was no hummus recipe! Maybe it's not such a greek thing?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Name Change

I am really struggling with changing my last name.

I'm not a big fan of my maiden gets mispronounced constantly, and if people pronounce it correctly, then they want to know if I know so-and-so, or if I am related to whoever. It gets kind of old, especially when I tell people that the person is, at best, a very distant relation. People get mad! They insist that I must be related to whoever, and then the conversation gets kind of awkward.

It's more of an identity thing, I think. It's been my name for 23 years....and there is only one person with my name--me. If I change my name, I will be the 114th Stacy MarriedName. I also feel like I shouldn't have to change my name, but I feel like I do have to. I know I could hyphenate, but I don't like the way it sounds, and it feels clumsy. I want my kids to have the same last name as me, and if I don't change my name, then that won't happen. I also don't want the name situation to be a royal pain.

Don't get me wrong, I love Ryan's last name. It's short, not super-common, easy to spell, and nearly impossible to mispronounce. The name change really has nothing to do with him, it's all me. I'm 96% sure I am going to change my name, but it's not going to be an easy thing for me to do. Going into the wedding planning process, it's not something I foresaw myself have issues with.

How are you feeling about changing your name? Are you hyphenating, keeping your last name, switching to his?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hi, My Name is Stacy, and I am a Shoe Addict

I am jumping on the colored shoe bandwagon.
Now that we've finally decided on colors, which are red and aqua, I have begun my search for some stunning shoes that are or aqua.


These lovelies are the Nina Electra at Zappos. They cost a mere $89.00. I love the vintage-y feel...kind of 50's pin up, no? I have some short legs, and Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear say that ankle straps are a poor choice for the small ones among us....but do you think that only matters if my dress is short? I'll be wearing a long dress, so it's not like my legs would be showing.


This lattice-number is the RSVP Yvette, and they cost $65. I love a good peep toe, and how cute will these look with red toenails? I found these at Zappos as well.


RSVP, you are rocking my little world! These are the Hart's for $69. Another Zappos find.

Of course, the Carmen satin peep toes, courtesy of J Crew are on my radar, but the colors are all kind of...blah. I'm not paying $265 for blah colors. I'm too scared to have a $265 pair of shoes dyed, so that's not really an option. I'm thinking, though, all of the shoes above are very affordable for me. I would save enough money to purchase a pair of these beauties for the reception...

J Crew, of course...and $118. I love me some ballet flats, so they would get lots of use post-nuptials.

Are you jumping on the brightly colored shoe bandwagon?