Friday, November 30, 2012

Get in my Stocking Version 2.0

So great was the success of my bloggie Christmas list last year, I've decided to get ahead of the game and write my wants for this year! My husband is the BEST gift-giver! Would you believe me when I say he went out and picked out a beautiful purse for me not once, but THREE years in a row!! Love him and his great taste!!! He also hates going to stores, so this handy guide will help him find all that my heart desires, without leaving the comfort of our home! Without further ado...

This beautiful jacket from BB Dakota... in medium. I have been coveting a mustard yellow peacoat for several years now, and this one looks like the perfect fit!

Our first dance song was 'This Must Be the Place,' by the Talking Heads, so of course I MUST have this necklace, in the oxidized silver finish. Absolutely beautiful!

 I didn't get the Marc Jacobs watch I wanted last year, and now hubs is claiming he doesn't like the look of rose gold... WHAT?!! So I had to pick out a new watch that is less blingy, and I think The Georgia Leather watch in Bone, by Fossil, is just what I want!

Although our household is still waiting patiently for the return of hockey season and our Detroit Red Wings, I think I need some new swag to look the part of a Wings fan! This hoodie, in medium, will work perfectly!

There are so many other things I have rattled off that I want for Christmas, like a new bladder and hose system for my Camelpack, a butter cutter thingie for baking, and some padded cycling tights, like these from Specialized. 

I have also been rekindling my love for yoga lately, so a new mat with a bold pattern would be much desired!

And last but certainly not least, I would love some fuzzy new slippers! I love a pair with a hard sole, since I run around outside with the doggies all the time. I love the Wicked Good Moccasins from LL Bean! The reviews are all over the place, so a pair like them would do just fine too.Size 8, in red please.

Now for stocking stuffers... I would love some thin gloves for walking the dogs or staying warm while driving home late from work. A new wallet is also needed, something wide enough to hold my checkbook. Go to Clutch hubby! I'd also love some seeds to plant in our garden next year... wildflowers, sunflowers, cosmos... whatever. I am already ready for spring and it hasn't even snowed here yet.

So whats on your list this year?! Spill!

Monday, October 8, 2012

{Special Party} Life After Wedding

Heeellloooooo Blogland!!!

We have survived the wedding! After an almost 6 month hiatus from blogging, hubs and I are back and better than ever! Why?! Cause we are married!!! And it is awesome. I thought I would feel the same after the big day was all said and done, but the truth is, I feel different. I feel like a wife. I have my own family now. And that is a beautiful and powerful thing.

Today, I'd like to chat a bit about my advice for planning and executing your wedding. What an experience it is. Here are my top ten bits of advice for an awesome celebration of marriage!

Number One: Be Willing and Able to Hand Over Control
I am a bit of a control freak with a smidge of bossiness. Haha. I am super bossy. Your wedding day will verge on chaotic, no matter how many people you have on hand, and how well you plan everything. There will come a time when you simply have to let go of the reins and let other people handle all the menial stuff. You (the bride) are the most important person on this day, and you must focus on the task at hand, marrying your best friend and one true love!!

Number two: Take time off after the wedding with your significant other
I can not stress this enough. Nowadays, many couples choose to take their honeymoon a few months after the big day, and we are one of those couples. But we refused to give up our traditional 'honeymoon' in favor of our annual trip to Whistler. So we headed out two days after the wedding for 12 days up North, and it was AWESOME! Don't get me wrong, all of our trips to Whistler have been awesome, but this time was perfect. The quiet time to ourselves was perfect to reflect on our big day, and help cement the memories which will surely fade over time. The break from the stress of planning, family in town, work and real life in general, was just what we needed to refresh and truly appreciate what we had just accomplished. So whether you take off 4 days or 4 weeks together, that time after the wedding is so so SO important in the growth of your new relationship.

Number Three: Hire a GREAT photographer 
This is probably one of the most quoted pieces of wedding advice, and all the photos you will see on this blog today are proof. Once the wedding is over, all you have left are photos and memories of the day. Memories fade over time, photographs are timeless. We went with a dear friend and extremely talented lady, Nicole Eisert of N-E Photography, out of Portland. All the photos I am sharing today are captured by her, and were shared on her Facebook page. Nicole was a lifesaver and a true professional on our wedding day. She was funny, but kept business moving along. She stuck to a perfect schedule, and captured all of our requested photos, as well as hundreds more! She was there to witness every moment, but noninvasive. I am thrilled with the photos so far, and I am dying to see the rest of them! 

Number Four: Step back and take it all in
As mentioned above in number one, your wedding day will literally fly by!! You are so busy flitting between guests, drinking, dancing and enjoying the merriment, that at the end of the day, you almost feel like you missed half of your own wedding! This advice was given to me by my best friend, who was married in August. At several points throughout your wedding day, take a moment of pause (and remind your hubby too), and just survey the scene. Take in all the smiling, joyous faces of friends and family who are with you. Admire the beautiful day (and it will be beautiful no matter the weather). Savor the delicious food and drinks you chose to share with those you care most about. It happens so fast. And then you never get those moments again. Lock the memories in as best you can.

Number Five: Be gracious and say thank you!
People will help you in ways you never dreamed of! My florist was unable to complete our centerpieces, so I tasked that to my Aunts, who were visiting from across the country! I probably thanked them a hundred times, and I still question if I did enough to let them know how much I appreciate their help. This day is all about you, so don't act like a diva. Thank the many people who will share your wedding day with you! Make sure each and every one of them hears it direct from your mouth at least once. (Best time is during your speech) Also, be sure your bridal party hears it from you and your partner personally. These people are your best friends and your support system. They are lifesavers on the day of your wedding. THANK THEM!!
P.s. I am a notorious over-thanker.

Number Six: Don't sweat the small stuff
There will be things you planned to have happen on your wedding day, decor you wanted a certain way, songs you wanted played at a certain time etc... that will not happen. Its just the way it is, and it's not a big deal. If you don't raise a fuss about it, no one will even notice!Honestly, you might not even notice! The day is too short and too fun to waste freaking out over things. Kick back, let your hair down, dance, be ridiculous, it is your day! And in hindsight, it doesn't even matter anyway.

Number Seven: Give your significant other some tasks
As I mentioned before, the day flies by and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Don't even try to do everything yourself, you simply can't. You chose to marry this person because you love them and trust them. Give them a job! I am sure James felt even more satisfied and proud of our wedding, knowing that he built the centerpieces, picked up ALL the flowers, transported the guest-barrels and all the alcohol etc. Men are creatures of pride, so the more tasks you assign them, the more opportunities you will have the compliment their job-well-done. My hubby KILLED it on our wedding day.

Number Eight: Hire a Wedding Planner 
Do it. Check your pride, your impeccable planning and organization skills, and your pocket book and just DO IT! You want to enjoy your wedding day, right? You simply can't, if everyone is looking to you as the person to solve all the problems that arise. You want your family and friends to enjoy your wedding day right? Your planner will assure your days runs smoothly and on a schedule (so important), as well as make sure the champagne in your glass is always cold. Donna Cole, of Pearl and Roses Wedding Planning was our planner, and she was 110% worth it.  There is a planner to fit your every need, from someone who handles everything, to day-of coordinators who help execute your event. Hire a planner. You simply will not regret it.

 Number Nine: Relish the family time
Your family will travel from all over to join you on your special day. As I mentioned above, THANK THEM, and take extra time to spend with them. Family is so important, and having as many of them together as possible for such a joyous occasion only happens for weddings! Make sure you carve out time in the days leading up to and after the wedding to spend special time with your family.

Down the aisle with my papa. This photo was captured by a friend, but perfectly represents our day. So much joy!

Number ten: Stay true to your style
Over the course of planning a wedding, you will be pulled in my directions and lose focus more than one time. Always keep in mind who you and your partner are and stick to that. James and I's wedding was a perfect reflection of us as a couple and anyone who was there could see that. Above all, you want to enjoy your day, so fill it with things you love and let the rest happen naturally.

Any sage advice you received? Or how about the worst advice ever? Lets hear it!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

{Special Party} Flower girl Bucket

Hey lovely lover friends!!

Hope you are having a glorious day! Spring seems to have finally sprung here in Central Oregon, and I am loving it!! We don't really have seasons here, just winter and summer with blips of fall and spring, but this year we are getting a real treat!

Today I present to you, another wedding DIY, a bucket for my little sister/flower girl Sophie! This is sooo easy to do folks, and the result is do effing adorable I want to keep it for myself! Or at least make a matching headband...

First we need some supplies. How bout a metal pail from the Target Dollar section, a length of coordinating ribbon (purple for our wedding of course), some fake flowers (hydrangeas from the Dollar Tree), beads of your size and choice, and a needle and thread!

note: I spraypainted my bucket Oil Rubbed Bronze, I like that color better than galvanized metal.

Begin by removing the flowers from your stem. No need to worry about centers we will sew them on using beads, which are much prettier.

Layer flowers to your liking, and sew onto ribbon, adding a bead to the center of the flower on each pass.

Oooh pretty!!

Continue the process until you have a desired look. I added seven flowers clustered together, and a leaf and flower bundle where the seam lined up on the bucket.

Attach ribbon very carefully using a hot glue gun and you are done!

Simple, sweet and coordinating! And dirt cheap! This project was under five dollars (I already had the spray paint and I have about 200 beads left over...), so definitely budget friendly and one of a kind.

I can't wait to see my sister walking down the aisle tossing petals for me... Less than five months till the big day!!

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

{Special Party} The Great Wedding Dress Saga

Seriously, planning a wedding is such an emotional journey! True, I am quite an emotional person, usually shedding sappy tears of joy at least once a day. I can't be the only person who gets choked up over random internet videos of dogs and weddings. Anyhow...

I have a dress. I can't believe I haven't mentioned that yet. Its stunning, and definitely not that I  had originally been looking for. Since my hubby-to-be reads the blog, I can't post pics of me in the winner, but I will share of the ones I at least tried on, and an almost winner!!

In the past six months, I have shared a few pics of dresses I liked. I have always loved a one shoulder silhouette, and a slimmer fit through the midsection. But then I found myself pinning lace and fuller gowns.

Fluvia by CYMBELINE Paris

Vera Wang Emmeline, photo from this wedding

Reem Acra, photo from this stunner of a wedding
So when my best friend, who is also getting married this summer, called me to go try on dresses (for the first time) I was pretty open minded. One of our friends pulled this dress for me. It didn't look like much in the bag, but I was smitten when I put it on.

I LOVED the whimsical flowers on the bottom, and the way it hugged my figure. I put in on hold for 2 weeks, for a measly $10, which was a worthy sacrifice, as it gave me a good direction for the future. My concerns with the dress were:
  1. My mom wasn't there to see it, nor would she be for several months. The dress was a sample, so there was no ordering a custom one. Buy it or risk losing it sort of deal. 
  2. Ivory. I'm not a pure white person, however, it was a little more dingy than I was wanting. 
  3. With the fullness of the skirt and the fabric, where the bustle would have landed would have been quite uncomfortable while sitting down. It was also quite heavy for my September outdoor nuptials. 

It did pass the dancing test though!

But I did have an amazing time with my girlfriends, and learned a lot about my style, which helped immensely when I travelled to Portland to shop with my mom a few weeks later.

I got an email from The Knot, informing me of two bridal events on the same weekend I would be in Portland. One was Brides Against Breast Cancer, which is charity event. It was held at a downtown hotel, and basically was a conference room full of gowns, organized by size, with a couture section. Nearly all the gowns were under $1000. Score.

We hit the racks, and pulled about seven gowns for me to try on. The fitting room is not for the shy, with curtained, flimsy dressing rooms. Ladies were staking out corners with their entourages, to try on as many gowns as possible. Only a couple were memorable from my session.

This was a halter, I would have removed the straps if I had chosen it. 

Stunner of a train

Ivory whimsical lace number. I would have removed the straps again, as well as that d*#n bow...

Loved the flare on this one

Back of a Maggie Sottero destination series gown. I had actually pulled this dress out of a magazine. It ended up being too flowy for my country wedding. 

While I loved the Maggie gown, my thoughts kept going back to the lace gown. For some reason, I loved the originality of it. I have no idea who the designer was and thus wasn't able to track it down after the fact. I do however, highly recommend any bride to check out Brides against Breast Cancer. The staff of volunteers was extremely helpful, with seamstresses on hand to make recommendations about alterations and help with fit. A very professional group, dedicated to a great cause!

After lunch and a glass of wine to ease my anxiety over the thought of NEVER finding a gown, my mom and I ended up at Anna's Bridal in Lake Oswego. There was a Matthew Christopher trunk show going on that day, and Mister Matthew himself was there! Such a handsome charmer. My mom immediately saw a dress she loved, which was one of his designs The Peggy Sue. Keep in mind, he is a couture designer, my budget was $1000. Apparently my mothers was a little higher. We pulled a few other dresses, including a light grey lace gown, and a whimsical A-Line.
While the Peggy Sue was fabulous, it was much, much fuller than I wanted, and I wasn't feeling it, although my mother teared up instantly. You can't force a dress though.
I loved the lace gown as well, but we weren't quite there.
Whimsical A-Line was next, and we had pulled it since the skirt was similar to the one I loved in Bend. As soon as I saw my reflection, I couldn't stand still. I always do this move called 'wagging my tail', where I kind of shake my booty around (weird dog person), and it was out of control. I was in LOVE!!!
My mom loved the dress as well, but the sample MC fit me so well, Anna offered us a little deal off the original $2700 price tag. I tried it on one more time for mama, but it wasn't it. I loved the A-Line. Back on it went, and thats when the tears came and I knew.
You always hear about that 'feeling', and it is true. In my gown, I feel like the most beautiful version of myself, ever. It was also under my budget of $1000, which made me very very happy.
I can't show you all the dress just yet, but here is this link, so you can use your imagination. It is #2048, by Casablanca Bridal. Since this is a dress you custom order, I omitted the rhinestone belt and made a change to the back as well. It should arrive in early June, I can hardly stand the wait!!

Oh and if you're wondering about my bestie, she ended up ordering a dress from Anna's as well!! Hers is a Paloma Blanca, with a fuller skirt, a belt and pockets!!

Wow, that was fun to recap that exciting time in my life. My advice for brides shopping for a gown is stay within a budget YOU are comfortable with (don't forget the cost of alterations), and don't let others opinions cloud your vision. There IS a dress out there for you, and you WILL find it. Don't give up!!
Only a couple more months till I see my gown again! Now I am hunting for accessories. Any tips or advice? Thanks for the help!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

DIY Save the Date Postcards

Hey hey lovecats!!

From today, our wedding is exactly six months away. Holy moly, where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday this happened...

And now we are halfway there already. Crikey. 
I didn't plan it this way, but we mailed out our Save the Date postcards a couple days ago, and they will be arriving exactly 6 months ahead of our wedding. What natural timing I have. I'm not sure what proper etiquette calls for in terms of getting save the date cards out, but since we are having a destination wedding, I think giving guests an early heads up is helpful. 

Anyhow, back when we first got engaged, I set up a bare bones budget. After a few brief chats with my parents and James, we set our budget, which is in the neighborhood of 13k, about half as much as the national average for a wedding.   So far, so good, but when it came to planning wedding paper products, I realized how easy it would be to blow the budget here. 

After playing around on Microsoft Publisher for a couple weeks, we were able to design our own Save the Date postcards, and get them printed locally for $55! Thats whats up! Here's how we did it... 

Pinterest browsing led me to create a paper products 'board', which all of my early inspiration landed on. I discovered an awesome website called The Wedding Chicks, which has free templates to create entire wedding invitation suites! Amazing right? So we played around with that for a while, and eventually circled back to our early wedding inspiration... 

The Aspen tree we carved our initials into back in 2008. So I googled Aspen tree clip art, and found a lovely image that reminds us of a drawing.
Here is how the front turned out...

So many Save the Dates are the same. A photo of the couple, which doesn't necessarily reflect what the wedding will be like. James and I really wanted our guests to get a little sneak peek of what our wedding day will look like, and we feel that this shows it.

Without further ado, here is the back.

We did make a wedding website, which is that lovely blur on the bottom right. Sorry stalkers. Love you all.

My suggestions here are play around with layout and format until you find the right look. Under Page Setup on Microsoft Publisher, you can set margins and custom layouts. This is also where you flip between Portrait (long page) or Landscape (wide page). I also suggest having a glass of wine or two, it makes the successes sweeter and the failures (you KNOW I have lots of those) easier to handle.
Overall, just do what makes YOU and your fiance' happy.
Lately, I've been struggling with too many hands in the wedding basket. I am an approval seeker, and am also surrounded by people who mean well, but offer too many opinions. After a couple minor meltdowns, I have decided to stop asking for so much input, and just do what makes me happy. And it is making wedding planning sooo much easier.

So that's where we stand folks! Coming right along. Have a wonderful weekend, and lets pray for some spring-like weather!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making me Smile

Today is one of those days where I just can't keep the smile off my face. Sun is shining, its warm outside, and I am feeling very satisfied with my life and the direction its headed.

James showed up with a Cardamom latte from Backporch Coffee Roasters this morn. They make BY FAR the best coffee I have ever experienced, and that's saying something, since I hail from the great Pacific NW. We buy their coffee bulk to  make at home as well.

My bulbs are sprouting!!!!!! The grape hyacinths (top 2 photos) are usually the first to bloom, but its looks like my tulips are pushing for that this year. So So So exciting!!!

Our baby Cash will be 6 months old on Saturday. Where does the time go? He is turning out to be an awesome pup.

Sophie is officially my little sister. And my little brother is kicking ass at his first 'real' job, straight out of engineering school!! I'm so proud : ) Love these two with all my heart.

Just bought the new Band of Skulls album, SweetSour. Its amazing, of course. And Edgefield has released the first of their summer concert tickets, Foster the People and Florence + The Machine. Seriously now.

I have a feeling its going to be an amazing, whirlwind of a summer!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

{Special Party} One day at a time

Hello lovely bloggie friends!! Oh me oh my, J and I have been so so busy!! It's crazy how fast time flies, our wedding is now less than 7 months away, and Cash will  be 6 months old on the 25th!! Say WHAT!!! I know, my mine is blown as well. The weather has been spring-ish here in Bend, so J and I have gotten out on the bikes a couple times at HorseRidge.

someday we will get a good family photo...

Anyhow, the planning process is getting more enjoyable each day. A few weeks ago, we went down to Portland for the final adoption ceremony, yep, Sophie is now my little sister for life!!! Pretty cool. During that time we met with our wedding planner, Donna from Pearl and Roses Wedding planning. I must say, choosing to hire a wedding planner was one of the best decisions I have ever made. After our meeting, I feel so relieved and am confidant our wedding will be perfection. I mean look at some of these photos from her website, simply gorgeous!!

We also met with a potential caterer, and are waiting to receive our quote from her. Some of the quotes we've gotten thus far have been absolutely outrageous!!!

Here is a photo dump of inspiration I've been loving these days...

Loving these rustic, stuffed with flowers centerpieces. Hood River is quite windy, so I am thinking low centerpieces, and candles that are protected from the gusts. We also have decided to do family style dinner service, so we will need lots of room on our tables for platters of tasty food!!

Loving the simplicity of this aisle decor. I'll hang mine from shepherds hooks rented from Something Borrowed in Portland, then move the jars to tables or the bar after the ceremony!. Donna recommended we check out this company, which lets you "borrow" wedding decor for a nominal fee!!! Such an amazing concept, and budget friendly as well as low impact to the earth. Win win!!!

James is pretty much obsessed with mason jars, so we will be drinking out of them for the reception. We can rent these from Something Borrowed as well, super cool!!! 

Purple everything is our color scheme, and I love these bouquets, slightly wild and all different. I can't wait to see how ours turn out!!

We've also began to order some of our details for the wedding. My garter set came in the mail a few days back, ordered from Sew Unique garters on Etsy. I'm not going to post a picture, but if you check out the site, I bet you can guess what type I ordered. (spoiler: my hubby is from detroit and loves hockey!!!) I tried them on the other day, and must admit... garters make thighs look sooo sexy!!!

I also ordered my shoes for the big day, from Modcloth. I've wanted my shoes to be my something blue for a loooong time, and found these babies for a reasonable price! Score!!

They are quite comfy, I think I'll be able to dance for at least 4 hours in them, then its on to flip flops for this bride.

We also chose favors. We decided to go with these plantable wildflower hearts from Botanical Paperworks. As you all know, we lost our dog Cruz to cancer just over a year ago, (see time flies!) and planted a wildflower garden in our backyard in his honor. We decided these simple favors would honor him, and we are also making a donation to a canine caner foundation in his honor. Its simple, affordable and a perfect reflection of what we care about as a couple.

The ones we ordered are purple... duh

So thats where we're at these days with wedding planning. We have been starting the search for menswear, but haven't found the right clothes just yet. Any tips or suggestions out there?
I've been stalking Style Me Pretty every day, it is such a beautiful site with tons of inspiration. And if you need to see tons of pics of my dream wedding, click here. If I could transplant a wedding into my life, this would be it. Rustic perfection.

Happy weekend loveys!!!
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