Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guest Book: Nope

During this weekend's great wedding debate, Mr. T and I decided to do away with the guest book. We can't imagine ever looking at it again, and we think the entries, although sweet and sincere, end up sounding identical and remniscent of high school yearbook entries. We thought it just wasn't worth the money.
So, there you go. We did cut something.

Review of Shadow Kiss

Just a quickie review; I'm about 4 books behind! Note: Spoilers ahead!

This is the third in the series and was way better than the second. Rose finally hooks up with Dimitri, who promptly dies...but not really. She figures out he's been turned into an undead, so the end of the book shows her dropping out of school to track down and stake her ex-lover. Romantic, huh?

In this book Rose also realizes that she's taking on Lissa's madness when Lissa uses her powers. That realization certainly took long enough, but you can't complain when you read YA fiction, I guess. Yet I persist.

It was fun and trashy and a really quick read. And everyone knows vampires are the new black, right?

I think I found our ring pillow!

I found this on Etsy. Cute, huh? We also have a bat flower girl bucket, so this would fit right in.

The seller had a bride pillow too, but this one looks so much more dashing...if a bat can look dashing.

More List Woes

This weekend I made an actual personalized to-do list for me and Mr. T. I know, it's long overdue, but we were getting by using the lists in our various wedding books. However, it became obvious that not only are we unusual in terms of the normal wedding in terms of what we're NOT doing, we're also unusual in that some of the things we ARE doing were nowhere on these lists. And I started to get worried that if I didn't get all that stuff out of my head and into a list, I'd forget something at some point.

So, I sat down and spent a good hour or two creating a list that had well over 100 things on it--more like 140! Mr. T and I promptly started bickering as he tried to eliminate things ("Do we need favors?") and I tried to keep them on there. Sigh. There's definitely a not-so-pretty side to wedding planning, and its name is stress. I admitted to Mr. T that my stomach has been hurting every night for the last week, and I think it's wedding-related. He told me he'd been feeling the same way. As it is, since we only have 4 months (OMG FOUR MONTHS) until the wedding, so our list would seem to have us doing more than two things per day, which realistically is never going to happen. But we're keeping everything on it for now.

The list did motivate us to check off a few tasks; I booked our photographer's flight, and Mr. T started legwork on the alcohol quantities and the mini-moon. I told him I don't want to know anything about the mini-moon; I just want it to be luxurious and I want at least one massage. Despite my protests, he's told me that he's considering Big Sur, but I stopped him before he could get any further with the information disclosure. Really, after planning this wedding, I have zero desire to plan anything after the wedding! I just want to show up and be pampered!

The other super-fun task we did was sit down with the budget to find out what the heck was going on--my reconciliations showed a difference between our spreadsheet and what the bank statement was actually telling us. Sadly, the bank was right (as I figured they would be!); I'd misplaced a decimal point in one entry and entered two entries twice! This is why I work in publishing, not accounting...anyway, we're not done saving money, as we'd hoped, but we're pretty close.

We are still looking for rehearsal dinner venues, and are leaning toward Chinese or Vietnamese, because they're local and have banquet rooms. And, we eat a lot of both, so they reflect our style and aren't random choices.

Next weekend I made it our goal to register and also to go suit shopping, part two. It's a three-day weekend, so hopefully we can get both done! The clock is ticking...

OMW Week 26; WW Week 16

I lost one pound this week, making a total of 21 pounds! While it's better than gaining, I feel like whatever momentum I had has evaporated...I guess it's one of those "plateaus" as they say.

Anyway, I persevere...I even got up earlier this morning so I could pick up my rings on the way to work!

Mr. T has also lost weight, not from dieting exactly, but from eating better and of course from the morning workouts. We're leaning more toward 4 times a week these days. Both of us are drying our jeans in the dryer so we can take advantage of the temporary shrinkage!

Bling: Check!

I got my beloved e-ring back today! I forgot how sparkly it is. I really need to use the jewelry cleaner more often, apparently. I can't stop looking at it!

In other exciting news, I also picked up my wedding band!!! Hooray! The rings look awesome together, in my humble opinion. The MOH said, "You know you have to put that away until the wedding, right?"

I told her she couldn't make me. And here they are together; please excuse the crappy iPhone pic and the chipped black nailpolish!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

I read about this book on Wedding Bee and figured it was worth checking out. Look at me, I'm turning into a new-age self-help addict or something! Yeah, probably not.

Actually, I quite enjoyed the book and am considering actually buying it! It was well-written, and came at relationships in a different way than I've heard about before.

Basically, the authors have studied thousands of couples (and you hear about how they've done these studies many times...I know the academic way is to prove you've done your homework, but sheesh, we get it already) and figured out what the couples with successful relationships were doing differently than the ones with unhappy relationships. It's not whether you yell while you're fighting, or even if you communicate about every single thing, which I thought was interesting.

I don't remember all seven principles (because I'm so behind on book reviews, and at this point it's been awhile since I've read this book!), but the first one was knowing your partner--their background and interests, and then staying up to date on what's going on in their lives. There are little activities for you to complete with your partner, so I asked Mr. T one of the questions as we were laying in bed one night: "Where was I born?" and he had no idea! We laughed and laughed. Mr. T was joking that he'd failed on the first question, which of course wasn't true. It's actually nice to think there are things we can still learn about each other after nearly 12 years!

Anyway, even though I'm lame and can't remember all the principles, I do think I'll buy this one and I recommend this book highly, to anyone who's curious about improving their relationship or keeping it strong. And you know I can't stand most self-help books, so that's saying something!


I'm dying for my rings to come in!! Brilliant Earth said they would probably be in around now, but could take longer.
Dying, I tell you!

OMW Week 25 and 15

I gained a half-pound this week. Sigh. Sometimes it seems like there's no rhyme or reason about the weeks I lose versus the weeks I gain.

Anyway, not a huge setback, just annoying.

I have been getting lots of comments about looking smaller lately, perhaps because I have been bemoaning not getting any comments. But, at least a few people that I haven't complained to have commented. ;-) I just gave a huge stack of jeans to a friend; I have about 3 or 4 pairs that I can still wear. It's nice to have room in the drawer (I love jeans and can barely close my jeans drawer most of the time), but as I don't have much money for clothes shopping right now, I'm feeling mixed about it. My belt is on its last loop, so it's either drill new holes or buy a new one!

The MOH and I are going to Hawaii next month to teach and perform, and I figure I have to buy new clothes for that--I literally have no summer clothes that fit me at this point, except for maybe one dress. I'll be hitting up cheaper options like Old Navy and H&M since I plan on still losing more weight. Mmmmshopping.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dressing the Maids

This weekend the MOH and I flew down to LA to visit the other bridesmaid, go dress shopping, and have a fun girls' weekend.

We went makeup and perfume shopping first, which was great and totally deadened our noses, but the MOH did find a nice scent, and I got some awesome peacock eyeshadows. After that we had a yummy vegan lunch, then we got down to business and went to a store that sells reproduction vintage style dresses.

Now, I'd like to note that I have no attachment to the ladies wearing the same dress; I just specified a black dress, not too short. However, they decided they'd like to coordinate, so we thought they could each find their own style from this store. Here are some of the ones they tried on:

The BM really liked this one.

The MOH tried this one on. It was a little too sailor-y for us.

The BM tried this one on and it looked adorable on her. It's still in the running to become America's Top Bridesmaid Dress!

This was the MOH's favorite dress, but alas, they only had black and pink, not black and red. I love pink, but I just don't think we'd all look good together with these dresses. Too bad!

I had the BM try this one on just for fun. It was as hideous as it looks in the photo! We laughed.

So, we didn't end up buying anything, but we found some strong candidates, and are going to do some more looking at online options. I think they're going to look adorable!!

Review of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn (Spoilers!)

I'm way behind on book reviews, so I'll make these short and sweet. I actually bought both of these, so I shouldn't be reviewing them as part of my budget library bride series, but I did review the first two, and I like to complete things.

Eclipse: Jacob and Edward fight over Bella, but in a whiny, snarky way. Really terrible dialogue. Big vampire showdown at the end between two rival clans.

Breaking Dawn: Contains more action than the first three books combined, but that's not saying much. Bella and Edward finally get married, have sex, and spawn a half-vampire, half-human child. The birth kills Bella (I think her refusal to abort the kid that's killing her is a religious anti-abortion message) and Edward just barely manages to turn her into a vampire before she's all the way dead. Jacob falls in love with the child, who ages abnormally quickly, and he also forms his own werewolf pack. Big vampire showdown at the end.

I'm glad I read these, but I can't see re-reading them; nor do I think I'll pick up this author's next book, since I don't think she's that great a writer. Still, these were entertaining, if frustrating. The second one was the worst!

The Irony

Last week I got an email from The Knot titled, "Feeling overwhelmed? Start a Wedding Checklist!":

Start Your Personalized Wedding Checklist
Feel overwhelmed by all your wedding planning to-dos? Stay organized with our week-by-week wedding checklist (it's free!).
  • Track all your important wedding planning tasks; plus, get expert tips on how to handle every detail.
  • Create customizable reminders and add your own notes, to-dos, and appointments

Ah, the irony of this message. The Knot's checklist is the reason I feel overwhelmed!

OMW Week 24, WW Week 14

Last week Mr. T and I both had colds and didn't work out at all. Well, Mr. T might have ridden his exercise bike one morning. I laid around and watched TV for two days straight. So, I didn't have high hopes when I weighed myself this morning after skipping last week's weigh-in...you can imagine my surprise when the scale told me I'd lost 4.5 pounds over the past two weeks! That makes 20.5 pounds total that I've lost!

20 pounds sounds like a real accomplishment, huh? Very exciting.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wedding Ring: Check!

Or, at least one of our wedding rings, anyway. Mr. T and I went to Brilliant Earth so I could try on wedding rings. I picked out the one I wanted (imagine the set above with dark pink sapphires), and we placed the order!

I felt just a tiny bit duped because apparently they have the pink sapphires in stock, whereas they'd led me to believe they had to source them, and it would take months, which is why we rushed in to see the wedding rings...but whatever. It's off our list!

Unfortunately they had to take my engagement ring so they could color-match the sapphires and also so they could custom-contour the band around my e-ring. They are also re-sizing my e-ring (again!) back down because now that I've lost weight, it's a little too big (should've left it alone the first time...)! So...FPO is back on my finger, for now. I can't wait to see the finished band! It's supposed to be done by the end of the month.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Invitation Inspiration

On Friday night I printed out samples of a bunch of free fonts I'd downloaded off the interweb, mostly from Dafont.com. There was a great Edward Gorey one in there that I loved...we might use that font for the insert, but not for the wedding invitation itself.

For the invite, I had also printed out a bunch of posters from this one site; they were all hand-inked and hand-lettered (no computers involved! Crazy!). Mr. T loved them as much as I did and started drawing an invitation loosely based on the posters. Gotta love that art school education! Here are some of our inspirations:

Amazing, right? I can't wait for our invitations to be done. This was a nice antidote to the practicality of the Knot checklist blues; I needed something to push me back into being excited, rather than overwhelmed!

I talked to our invitation printer today and they put a little bit of a damper on my high spirits...it seems these are going to be tricky to letterpress (when they started saying technical mumbo-jumbo like "double-bump" I tuned out a little. Mr. T can deal with that). Not impossible, but tricky. We're stubborn, though, so we're going to see it through! I have faith in our stubborness. :-)

And for fun, I'll add a Hello Lucky! Halloween card that we also really like:

Our goal with these designs is to increase the wedding/love related imagery and decrease the creepy/gore/devil related imagery, in order to hopefully find a nice Hallowedding balance that won't cause our relatives to call in an exorcist. That would put a damper on the ceremony. Or, it would be really, really funny, but still, it's probably best avoided.

Wedding Ring Redux

I got the nicest email from Brilliant Earth three days after they'd crushed my hopes for a pink sapphire wedding band to match my engagement ring:

I just spoke with my production team and they informed me that we would be able to find pink sapphires in that size, given enough time. Was there a specific time line you had in mind for when the ring would be completed? I hope you found this information helpful and will look forward to your response!

I was super excited and emailed back right away asking if October was a long enough time frame...and it is!! So tomorrow morning Mr. T and I are going to look at wedding bands to make sure the one I think I want is really THE ONE.

Look at that, we're even ahead of schedule on that one. Take that, Knot checklist!

145 Days to Go and OMG, We Have So Much To Do

I finally joined The Knot because they had some articles on Halloween weddings I wanted to read. The articles weren't really worth it, it turns out.

I had to put in our wedding date as part of my registration and I got an automatically generated checklist. These are the things we haven't done, and many of them are overdue according to The Knot:

  • Make sure to insure your engagement ring. [We do need to do this. We also need renter's insurance. Sigh.]
  • Decide on and meet with your officiant to discuss ceremony structure. [We've emailed some stuff, but no real discussions yet.]
  • Brides: Start shopping for bridesmaid dresses. [Actually, the MOH and I are going to visit the other bridesmaid in LA this weekend for girl fun and dress shopping! I can't wait, it's going to be such a fun little trip.]
  • Register for your wedding gifts, and don't forget to include some choices appropriate for your upcoming bridal shower as well. [GAH. No progress. We decided to register at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but aside from agreeing that we need new knives, we don't know what to register for.]
  • Brides: Decide on the bridesmaid dresses. [See above...maybe we'll get that done this weekend, or maybe the girls will just be left to their own devices. My only stipulation is that the dresses be black, and not too short!]
  • Book a baker [done], choose your wedding [cup]cake[s] design[s] [to be done], and send a deposit [done].
  • Start planning the rehearsal dinner. [No luck on this front. I've researched a few places, but we've only tried one, with disappointing results. We need to get back on this. I would love a more informal dinner, like Mexican food with margaritas, but there's not much near our wedding venue/hotel. Sigh.]
  • Start working on your invitation wording and design. [I am happy to report we started doing this last weekend, even though Mr. T had a cold. That's info for a separate post, though.]
  • Finalize your invitation wording. [TBD]
  • Finalize menu and service details with caterer. [We still need to pick a vegetarian main dish and a passed appetizer. We're not doing that until October, though, so The Knot will need to scream at us until then.]
  • Order your invitations and announcements (don't forget plenty of extra envelopes). [Again, TBD. Invites will take 2-4 weeks to print after a proof is approved, so we're thinking we'll send them to the printer mid-July or so. I'm torn on the envelopes...it's tempting to just have the printer do the return addresses for us, but another part of me would love to do either black envelopes with orange lining or vice-versa. And that means ordering envelopes and doing custom liners. Hm.]
  • Start thinking about flower arrangement styles you like, and figure out what flowers will be in season on your wedding day. [Well, I guess I have thought about it. But I'm not entirely sure about the seasonal thing.]
  • Decide on a floral scheme, choose flowers. [Not really done. Except I'd like Fall colors, and primarily reds, burgundies, and a bit of orange.]
  • Reserve tables, chairs, and/or other rental equipment you'll need (unless caterer or site is taking care of it). [Mostly this is done, but we have some stereo equipment stuff to sort out.]
  • Grooms: Start looking to buy or rent tux, suit, or other formal attire. [We did start...we just didn't see much! And other plans have prevented us from going shopping again. Can you hear me hyperventilating yet? This list is a mile long!]
  • Book rehearsal-dinner site. [Um, no. See above.]
  • Book hotel room for your wedding night. [We haven't done this yet. I think Mr. T would like us to stay at a high-end hotel near our wedding venue, whereas I would just like it to be easy, so I want us to stay at the venue (although The Claremont is sounding mighty tempting). So we're still discussing.]
  • Compile packages for out-of-town guests with hotel reservation (done) and city information, and mail them out. [Our "wedsite" gives hotel info, but no city info. I'm undecided about mailing out packets, but I suppose I could put something together...in all my free time.]
  • Grooms: Decide on your groomsmen's attire. [I doubt if Mr. T has put much thought into this. He only has one groomsman, so it's a little easier. I think he'd like his brother to wear a suit, but who knows what color suit, or what color shirt, or tie!]
  • Book your honeymoon flights (if not using frequent flyer miles) and make all your other travel reservations. [I'm putting this one in Mr. T's lap...the mini-moon, that is. When we take a real honeymoon trip I'll be recovered enough to help plan it. For the mini-moon I'd like relaxation, good food, and a massage or two. And some nice scenery.]
  • Brides: Choose your bridesmaids' accessories (shoes, gloves, etc.) and either purchase or pass along purchasing information. [Well, my girls can pick their own shoes, and they don't need gloves!]
  • Grooms: Give all of the groomsmen the information they need to buy and/or reserve their attire. [Nothing done here; see above.]
  • Pick out or design a ketubah or other marriage contract required by your religion. [We don't have to worry about this one. Check!]

Note that this checklist is not everything we have to do...it's just everything we should be doing during this timeframe...next month, there will be even more items looming over us! It's feeling a little insurmountable at the moment. One thing at a time, right?

Monday, June 1, 2009

OMW Week 22, WW Week 12

Hooray! 3 pounds lost this week. Actually the scale kept wavering between 2.5 and 3 pounds, but I'm choosing to believe 3. That makes 16 total pounds lost since I started.

Mr. T has been doing 30 Day Shred pretty consistently and has guns of steel, but I need a little bit more, so I've opted for the gym. I've been going some Saturday mornings, which has pros and cons. Cons: getting up early on a weekend, the gym being crowded, esp. with tons of kids. Pros: I get such a better workout if I've slept longer, I typically get to work out longer and do more weights on Saturdays, parking is free on Saturdays, and the women's gym area is typically not too bad even if the rest of the gym is packed with screaming children.

So, since the pros outweigh the cons, I'll probably keep incorporating Saturdays in; I might pick up a yoga class at some point with the MOH once her sprained foot heals (long story!).