Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Feet

Previously, I shared a video from an epic first dance. Remember how I mentioned that I'm a seasoned dancer? Because of this, Jake and I do not dance together much. We'll do the obligatory hug-and-waddle once in awhile, but it's not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with others doing it, I just have a problem with doing it myself.

Anyways, enough about me. Jake wants to dance at our wedding. After some research, we found a private instructor that specializes in teaching beginners AND teaches one of my favorite dances. It's not the waltz, foxtrot, or evolution of dance. But it's awesome. We're not going to reveal anything more. You will just have to wait till the day of to be surprised.

We've had two lessons with Karen to date. Jake is picking the stuff up like a sponge! I love watching him break down the movements, both footwork and arm/hand positioning, until he understands. It's fun to watch him "debug" dancing like he would software.

I love how much Jake is getting into swing of things (sorry couldn't resist the pun). He is considering learning a few other dances!!!!

Karen, our instructor, working with Jake during our first lesson.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home Improvement

What girl didn't have a crush on JTT back in the day? And now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Last weekend, Jake and I helped our friend M fix up his newly acquired home. It's not a brand new home or an old fixer upper. The house just needed a bit of TLC before he moved in. Along with his parents and other friends, we spackled, sanded, painted, and assembled an entire dining set (8 chairs!). M's dad refused to paint, so he was off working on electricals and plumbing.

All this work inspired me to spruce up our place. Not long after we moved into our current place, we hit up Ikea. In addition to all the bookshelves, we also purchased some diode lights. I had intentions to install them under the cabinets in the kitchen for two reasons: 1) more lighting over the counters and 2) a light source at night time. I HATE the overhead kitchen lights because I can see them from the bedroom. Ever since we started living together, I've become a light sleeper. I used to sleep like a rock too!

It's been almost 6 months, but the lights are finally up.

Not too shabbyand I didn't even drill any holes. I hid all the ugly wiring behind my mixer :) 

Friday, August 20, 2010


One year.

12 months.

52 weeks.

365 days.

Those are all ways to say the same thing. On this date next year, we will be surrounded by family and friends. We will be promising a lifetime to one another. We will be starting a new chapter together. But most importantly, we will be partying the night away with our friends and family!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dressing the Women Folk: Bridesmaids

All but one bridesmaid is wearing Alfed Angelo. Photo by Jason Angelini.

That's exactly how I envisioned my ladies to look: fabulous in mixed, black, chiffon, knee length numbers. There are a bunch more examples of complementary bridal party garb on a fellow bride's blog here and here. I thought it was going to be easy. I pick the designer, pick the color, pick the fabric, and let the girls choose the neckline and shape.  Good LORD I was wrong. PSA to all brides out there: your bridesmaids want more direction than that. They basically want you to tell them what to wear. They want to please you! Or maybe that's just my ladies, they're the best.

My ladies and I hit up a bridal boutique called Charolotte's Weddings in Beaverton, OR. They carried both Jasmine Bridal and Alfred Angelo. I had looked at both lines and they seemed to have what I thought I was looking for. As it turns out, while the dresses that had caught my eye were chiffon, they had way too many layers and were heavy. What's the problem? The wedding is in August, in Boston. Hello heat and humidity! New England natives may think that humidity isn't that bad. Remember, it's called relative humidty for a reason. Compared to Oregon, any amount of humidty in the summer is too much. The girls need light airy dresses that are breathable.

We also hit up David's Bridal since it was just up the street and this would be the last chance we had to shop together. This time we put the kids in the stroller (I forgot to mention our ring bearers were there too!) and I was able to interact with the girls more and actually pick through dresses. Talk about slim pickings. Apparently chiffon dresses are hard to find. Bridesmaid dresses are mostly satin, some other shiny fabric, or even worse...jersey. Jersey knits are not flattering unless you are Gisele Bundchen. And I do not want shiny bridesmaids.

The girls humored me and tried on some dresses at David's. No winners here. BM J is obviously not excited about me and my camera.

For the time being, I'm going to forget about the bridesmaid dresses until next year. Maybe JCrew will have new stylings released by then. And until then, I'll succumb to the idea of matching dresses. They're not so bad right?

Photo from The Knot.
Photo from The Knot.

Wedding Train: Stop #4

Hannah and Ben
July 31, 2010
Cannon Beach and McKeown's Restaurant
Cannon Beach and Seaside, OR

We can officially say that we've been to a barefoot beach wedding. It was a simple but awesome wedding ceremony, complete with the bride's sister reading The Princess and the Pea, a champagne toast (on the beach), and a giant sword. I don't have a picture of the sword, but was used it to cut off the top of a champagne bottle.

Ben is a long time friend of mine from college. We first met (this is everyone's favorite story of Ben) at a scholarship banquet dinner. While everyone was dressed up, he showed up in ratty jeans and a dingy white under shirt. This was to be Ben's uniform for most of scholarship related events for years to come. Who guess that we'd become roommates and great friends?

All photos by me.

I can't tell you how amazing the food was. It was buffet style, but I've never had salmon served that tasty and perfectly cooked before. They also had a carving station with melt in your mouth pork tender loin.

Ben and Hannah also had a DIY photobooth! A bunch of us piled into the photobooth and tested it out. I've got bunny ears on in our photo.

Aboard! Next stop: Voorheesville, NY

Wedding Train: Stop #1
Wedding Train: Stop #2
Wedding Train: Stop #3

HOT Bride Award

What a way to start off a Monday then to be nominated for the HOT Bride Award. What is it? HOT stands for Helper Of The. The award is for thoughtful and practical wedding advice. My friend, fellow 2011 bride, and also she-who-keeps-me-sane-at-work cohort, Val of Youngs and In Love, nominated me. Thanks Val!

As part of the award, I need to share 7 pieces of wisdom on wedding planning. I'll do my best. Some of this I have learned on my own, and some of it is from observations from other people's weddings.
  1. Create a separate email that you will use for wedding related items only. This is a repeat of what Val wrote. But it is the best piece of advice anyone can give. If you don't, your email inbox will get spammed with crap. You get signed up for email distributions that you didn't know existed.
  2. Have a budget (and stick to it). Sit down and list out the top three items that are most important to you both and the bottom three items that you are willing to let go of. Keep this list in mind as you plan. It's easy to get lost in the details. You get inspired from blogs and such and want to incorporate the ideas in your own wedding; details add up (in cost). You don't want to blow your budget on something that wasn't important in the first place.
  3. Stay true to yourself (and your fiance). Let's say that you wanted 4 bridesmaids, but you fear that you'll offend someone if you don't ask them, so you just go with 2. Screw it! Do what makes you happy. You wanted to be supported by your closest friends and family. These are people that are going to stand by your side as you begin a new chapter in your life.
  4. Customs and expectations from each other and from the parents. Get this information up front. It doesn't matter who's paying for the shindig. Just get everything on the table so that everyone is on the same page. Hopefully this will help avoid drama later. This can also help with balancing the budget.
  5. Don't buy the first dress you try on. Go home and sleep on it...for awhile. There are so many two dress brides out there because they thought the first dress was The ONE. Two dresses means more money, drama, and stress. I almost bought the first dress I ever tried on. It was The One, but not quite. I almost purchased it a few months later. But I kept dragging my feet and then I found THE ONE.
  6. Keep a blog. It is a bit of work, but it's a great way to document the trials and tribulations of wedding planning. It's basically a virtual scrapbook. It's also a great way to jot down your ideas. A lot of my ideas stay in my head, but there are countless blog postings, photos, and other inspiration I've come across, but I can't find them now for the life of me. Let me tell you, I really wish I had some of them on hand.
  7. Think outside the box. This applies to multiple things. Find ways to get what you want, but not pay full price (use a credit card with rewards or off to pay in cash for a lower price, haggle with vendors). Find ways to personalize items to reflect you and your fiance. For example, you don't need to have a box, basket, or birdcage to collect cards in. I saw a couple that traveled together extensively use a stack of suitecases for their cardbox. We're going to have a papermache penguin!
Clear as mud? OK, moving on to the next thing I need to do, which is to nominate 7 or more bloggers for the award.
  1. Val of Youngs and in Love. Val is one of my wedding buddies. I love being able to just mention square tables and she immediately knows what I am talking about and understands how they make my heart hurt.
  2. Abby of Peaches by Plums. I met Abby at a local Weddingbee meet-up. She's a wonderfully sweet person with a super cute blog full of inspiration. She recently married in Ireland, too. I can't wait for the recaps.
  3. Lucia for Jason Angelini Photography. Lucia is the wife of Jason, our photographer. She's force behind their awesome blog. I love seeing Jason work at all the different weddings and e-shoots. Lucia also posts incredible finds on Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Mrs. Mascara over at Weddingbee. I found Weddingbee after stumbling across Mascara's multi-post on DIY save-the-dates. Her craftiness and detailed recaps convinced me that I could DIY many of our wedding projects.
  5. Mrs. Piglet on Weddingbee. Mrs. Piglet made me think twice about having a videographer. I'm still on the fence, but I can't stop watching her first dance over, and over, and over, and over....Also, don't get me started on her amazing DIY talent.
  6. Mrs. Coconut also from Weddingbee. This is how I found my photog. Her engagement photos introduced me to Jason Angelini. I couldn't get him out of my head from that point.
  7. Stacy and Kelly of Letters from a Pissed-off Bride. This blog is different from all the rest in that it's not a personal blog talking about their trek down the aisle. It's a compliation of letters written by irked brides from everywhere. You can pick up a glossy wedding magazine and see beautiful pictures, but this blog has the real story behind the beauty.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Put a Ring on it

I haven't had a chance to share our adventures in Oregon just yet, but I do want to talk about one of the wedding related items we did while we were on vacation. Yeah, I know, vacation and wedding planning do not belong in the same sentance, but we were in Oregon and Oregon = no sales tax!

We stopped by Shane Co. on a whim. I figured it couldn't hurt to just take a quick look around. Jake and I hate, HATE, pushy sales people. Let me tell you, Shane Co. people are the type of people we like! They let us peruse to our hearts content and then asked when we were ready for help! On top of that, there was ZERO sales pitch. Our consultant, Michelle, was awesome. It was a bit amusing to us when she saw my ring. She must have thought that we were just some young kids messing around in the store. Her eyes almost popped out of her head when I showed her my ring. Yep, Jake did a good job on it.

We started by checking out bands for Jake. As it turns out he just wants a plain band, just like his dad. Standard men's bands are 6mm to 7mm wide. Jake has smallish fingers and wanted something thinner. As it turns out, the 3mm band was too thin. The 4 mm band was still just a touch too thin. The 5 mm band was a touch on the wider side, but OK. 

(Visual sizing is more than likely inaccurate. Images from Shane Co. edited by me)

I asked Michelle if they had something in a 4.5mm. What do you know, the 4.5 looked pretty darn good. The ring is a different style, European fit as opposed to the comfort fit above.
Jake's potential precious. (Image from Shane Co.)

Next, we checked out potential bling for me. If you don't know, I'm one of those people that knows exactly what I want. Sometimes I can't articulate it and sometimes I plain just don't know until I see it (case in point, my wedding gown). With my wedding band, I've known [since getting my e-ring] that I want a channel set band with princess cut diamonds, and not an eternity band. The problem has been in finding one that is small enough. GASP! Yes, I said small enough. My e-ring is pretty loud on it's own. Neither one of us wants something that will compete with it or overshadow it. In addition, I also want it low profile so that it sits flush with my e-ring to avoid rubbing into the prongs. Shane Co. delivered!
My potential precious! (Image from Shane Co.)

I'm sure this looks like a lot of wedding bands that are out there, but believe me when I say that I'm picky and none of them, previous to this one, was it. We walked away that day without making a purchase. We still have a year to go, no rush. But we left with pretty good ideas on what we were looking for. Don't worry, I have Michelle's contact information ;)

Funny story, while we were looking for my band, I had one on each side of my e-ring for comparison. Jake was afraid that I was going to want 2 bands! Not a bad idea! My friend Amy has already dubbed it the "Hug" and is waiting for her 5th anniversary to get her second band.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Milestone: Invitations designed!

With just over a year to go, I've finished designing our invitations. Now you may think that I'm crazy or very head of schedule, but the thing is, I'm right on track, at least in my head.

One of the first things I did was research wedding stationary. One can easily drop 1K on paper products alone and we're not talking about the fancy letterpress stationary either. At the same time, there wasn't a pre-made design that captured what we were looking for. I researched printers and paper pricing. With a 24 month engagment, we should have plenty of time to print and produce our own invitations and for much cheaper to boot. I've heard too many horror stories of couples staying up till 3am trying to make their deadlines only to have them look like crap.

You are probably about to ask "How does one even know how to design paper products?" I've got a little bit of training. In high school, I was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. It wasn't a big publication, but I spent more time on the layout and asthetics and left all the copy editing to the copy editor and our advisor. I always had to tell myself "white space is your friend." And just to nerd it up some more, I went to yearbook camp for a week the summer before my senior year. During camp, I actually ended up coming up with the theme and layout for my senior yearbook. Unfortunately, I never got credit for it because the co-yearbook editor (there were two of them) told everyone that it was all her. I'm not bitter about it, not one bit.

Moving along. I want to give big kudos to Jake. He was instrumental in helping narrow down the design and helping me incorporate the million and one ideas that I had floating in my head. Also big thanks to my brother Harris. He was a graphic design major for part of his college career. I was able to use him as a sounding board to talk through what I felt that something wasn't working. I'm proud of my work and I feel that it represents Jake, myself, and the feel that we're going for. This is what Paula, our planner, had to say about them: "I like the whimsical style combined with the formality combined with the funness!"

Sorry, no images will be revealed just yet. We're going to keep them a surprise for now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Boom! Boom! POW!

We had a very different 4th of July experience this year. For the last 3 years, we've always been in Boston to see the fireworks show on the Esplanade. The first year, which was also our second date (I think), we had to go early and "camp-out". We both remember this being a very wet and somewhat of a cold night. Luckily the rain let up and the show went on. The last two years we lucked out since Jake's apartment overlooked the Esplande AND had a roof deck in which the tenants could watch the fireworks from.

This year we spent the 4th down in CT hanging out with Jake's parents on their awesome deck. Burgers, hot dogs, sides, family, friends, and bean bag toss! It was just a lazy day, although it couldn't have been any other type of day since it was the first day of the heat wave.

We also had a second 4th of July BBQ two weeks later. Well, we didn't, rather, Jake's parents did. This time it was for the other side of the family. Thank goodness for much lower temperatures. Remember our first post on Little A? She's HUGE now; 6 months old and cutting teeth. Of course, we naturally played Pass the Baby. While Jake was holding her she started using his arm as a teething post. Let me tell you, she really liked the arm! She was went to town on it. During my turn, I blew really slow raspberries at her. I've never seen a baby so confused and fixated on one thing in my life. Her little brow would furrow and she'd focus on my mouth.

Nom nom nom nom, Jake arm.

The face says it all: what the heck are you doing crazy lady?