Thursday, December 31, 2009

As promised

So, for our new year’s celebration, we opted to stay in….where it’s safer and more affordable. I made a special trip to central market yesterday to acquire tasty indulgences. We’ll be having a red and yellow vine ripened tomato bruschetta with fresh basil and garlic on toasted bagette for a starter. Dinner is a bit surf and turf: stuffed crab shells and a shared New York strip (both from their phenomenal fresh meats case!) with roasted fingerling potatoes. (Thanks for the idea Celia!) I took the easy way out for dessert and picked up one of our favorites from the bakery: crème brulee! Yeah, I know I should learn to make it, but then I’d make it far too often! I’ve already gained two pounds this holiday season, I don’t need to learn to make crème brulee and add to that number exponentially! After all, I only have seven weeks to lose this plus the bit of pudge I was trying to rid myself of in the first place! Oh! And the cocktail for the evening….another thanks to Celia. I’m making the Canton Royale she posted near thanksgiving with the Prosecco that was given to us as an engagement gift! My mouth is already watering.

But first, we are attending my baby cousin’s wedding this afternoon. I’ll try my best to get photos. I know I am wretched at that!

Have a safe and happy new year, all!

Photo from Photobucket.


I'm late, I'm late.....but I'll update you later this morning on the lovely New Year's Eve dinner I have planned for, just for two.

Okay, so I was going to post the old classic Disney Mad Hatter, but instead give you the utterly hot Hatter fro SyFy's miniseries Alice. My love looks very similar when he shaved! YAY!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


One more poll.....if you all don't mind. I need something on our honeymoon to keep my ears from freezing off my head. I found two absolutely lovely options on Etsy! Oh how I am loving Etsy. we like this? Found here.

Or this? Found here.

They both come in several colors, so be sure to check them out!

Thank you for indulging my shopping cravings!

Photos from Etsy and the lovely hand-crafters behind it!


Okay, so I have a confession. Though I am frugal to the point of being painfully cheap.....I love shoes, and boots are my favorite. I have a little holiday cash to spend. I think I want to spend it on a pair of boots for our honeymoon. After all, it is going to be very cold, and we will be walking a ton! We're going to Baltimore and Washington DC, and we love to sight-see. My usual skinny-heeled boots simply are not going to cut it. I think I've narrowed it to two options.

Do you like this?

Or this?

Opinions greatly appreciated!

Boots from Zappos.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shape up or ship out....when's the boat leaving?

So, I promised to stop my eat-anything-I want-because-it's-the-holiday madness and hit the gym with renewed vigor this week! After all, I want hotness under that dress, even if it is winter and no one by my betrothed will be able to even tell I've done any good. The gym bag was packed as I set off to start this week. I hit the gym at lunch and felt pretty darn good about myself afterward. Got that tiny burn going in the back of my thighs. Oh yeah, that's the stuff! brother suggested we do Monday Night Football together. And dinner. And by dinner that didn't mean something small or light. We had wings. Piles of Buffalo Wild Wings. Oh my goodness, that are so good! And there are left overs. Dear me. How do I not eat them?!

So, I will hit the gym again tonight, but am I really making any progress if I work out then eat fried foods?! I think not!

So much for will power.

Hilarity from Photobucket.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Confessions of a lazy bride

Well, friends, I'd hoped to tell you about all that I accomplished over the holiday weekend! Sadly, unless you count the usual laundry and grocery shopping my weekend entails, I did very, very little. I caught up with most of my close family. I napped with my honey and kitties. I caught a live band with some very good friends at an Irish pub. I did not do one iota toward the wedding. There are eight weeks until my nuptials, and I didn't so much as open my craft closet!

So, instead I'll share the craft project I used for my Christmas presents this year. I made refrigerator magnets. Yep! Customized refrigerator magnets. I used photos that my betrothed took at the botanic garden at Moody Gardens in Galveston and engagement photos for my family and personal photos with the flowers for my coworkers. They were a huge hit! And very, very simple. Love that. All they take are the appropriate sized photos (I cropped mine using Gimp), floral marbles (the kind that are flat on the bottom), round magnets, and silicon sealant. I got the magnets and marbles at Hobby Lobby, printed the color photos on cardstock at Office Max, and found the silicon sealant at Target. I found this idea on a really cute site called Not Martha. The only "issue" I ran into is that the magnets were so strong that they literally kept leaping across the table to link back up. Scared the bejesus out of me! I packaged the little magnets in holiday tins....which made them behave in transit. Very fun, simple, affordable, personal craft which garnered lots of oohs and awes and how'd you do this's.

Photo by me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paper perfection

Allow me to introduce to you the lady behind the lovely twine-wrapped invitations! I found Jill with Ruff House Arts on Etsy. She was a delight to work with, and the invitations are truly beautiful. We exchanged a string of roughly 50+ emails in the process. She was prompt and pleasant, and you really can't ask for much more than that, now can you? I'd highly recommend you check out her Etsy store next time you need to send out paper goods. She doesn't limit herself to wedding invitations. Some of her moving announcements are absolutely adorable!

Photo from Ruff House Art's Etsy shop of the damask letterpress invitation suite.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-marked Christmas Eve

Determined to mail our invites before Christmas, we really kicked it into high gear Wednesday night. My betrothed put all the tabs on the envelopes with the fresh supply of glue runners I'd brought home with me while I made four quiche for the family Christmas morning. Then I had to tie the lovely silk ribbons I'd ordered just for this onto each invitation. The silk ribbons are so beautiful but so flimsy and hard to tie. With enough time to still eat dinner, our invitations were complete! I was so happy. We'd done it in about three hours total.

I took my lovely little envelopes to the post office on Christmas Eve, and just to be certain, had them weigh them. Sure enough, one stamp wasn't enough. So, I had to stand in the post office with more stamps and re-post each envelope. So, now, they each have a king and a queen of hearts on them instead of one or the other. Postage in total was over $50. about additional costs!

So, at this very moment, our invitations are making their way to our closest family and friends from Texas to Ireland and Italy! I can't wait to get our little RSVP cards back! They're a touch funny, and I hope that everyone embraces the light-hearted humor.

King and Queen of Hearts from the USPS.
Very messy table with ribbons being cut, spooled on a contraption of my betrothed's by my betrothed....then he snapped a photo of my cleavage. :)

Snowy holiday fun

Sorry for failing to write a Christmas blog! I got caught up in holiday madness....which really just involved fighting a snow storm to Oklahoma. It was stunningly pretty, but a tiny bit treacherous. We had a lovely time with far too many sweets and large games of chicken-foot dominoes and Skip-bo. Then we came home and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet. It was a good holiday. I hope yours was too!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Assembly line

When I say we set about assembly, I really mean my betrothed set about setting up a contraption to make sure that the little squares for the tabs on the outside of the pocket envelopes were glued together perfectly in alignment. It involved a T-square and sketching pad. Here I thought we could just eyeball it, and he's assembling guide rules. I have to admit I was extremely amused by this. Mostly because I should have known. I really, really should have known. While I was excited to be putting these together with him, I also know that he makes things far more complex that I ever do.

Once his template was complete, assembly of the tabs was done in now time. The template made the work quick and uniform. sealing the actual invitations to the pockets were next. We discovered that he can place things far straighter and I can use a glue runner far more effectively than he. Within an hour of starting, we'd assembled all the tag closures and sealed all of the invitations to the pocket envelopes.

Sadly, the little glue runners really don't hold much. I bought three fresh runners, and we used them all plus the half of one that I had at home already. We'll have to finish them later with a fresh supply of glue.

Photos by me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The arrival

We received the peachy-pink little post office tag declaring an awaiting package arrived on Monday. It was our invitations. They've been delayed a bit in the holiday shipping clog. My betrothed picked them up at lunch and waited till I got home to open the box of goodies. I think I let out a little squeal when I saw all the components wrapped in twine! Twine! Yeah, you see that in pretty pictures on blogs, but when do you actually receive something wrapped in twine!

The colors just pop. Everything is lovely. We are hoping to get them postmarked Christmas Eve.

We set about assembly immediately, and I'll give you all the details tomorrow. Quite funny stuff, he and I crafting.

Photo of my box of goodies by me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Little traditions

Every month near the 15th, my betrothed takes me to the restaurant that we had our first date at. It was something he suggested we do, and it has been something that he has made sure we do, without fail. We don't always make it on the 15th, but we always go as near to it as we can manage. It's a very, very sweet tradition to me.

And on one of those traditional outings....he gave me a ring.

We went last night, exactly two months out from our wedding. Very appropriate and very fun to raise a glass with my love in the place where we started to fall and where I changed from girlfriend to fiance.

(And now I've teared up. Let's see if I can manage to keep my mascara from running. Ugh, I'm such a sap!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Guess what today is?!

Okay, yes, it's Monday (THE most dreaded day of the work week).'s also the 21st!!!! We are officially only two months away from the wedding! HUZZAH! I get to marry this man in just two months! Two MONTHS. 62 days to be precise! There is so much to do, but I am so ready and enjoying every step of this process. Things will come together. Or they won't. But either way.....we'll be married in just two months. I'm just so excited!

Tick, tick!

Countdown provided by Photobucket.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday musings over coffee

Today, I think I'll finish my grandmother's jewelry for the wedding. I'm making it out out of citrine chips and deep gray seed beads. Very nice contrast. The clip on earrings (my first attempt at clip ons) are quite lovely. I's also going to let a big crock of beef stew make the house smell insane all day.

Any fun plans of your own out there?

Photo from photobucket.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Shake what your momma gave you!

I was not looking forward to Thursday's Haffla AT ALL. All day, I felt truly much so that I forgot where the letter G was in the alphabet and was too tired to go through the ABCs to find it. Yeah, that's tired. I'd sincerely flubbed every dance at the rehearsal the night before. Plus, I realized that the new costume I bought was truly the cheapest, most poorly made thing I could have bought. I was very disappointed and regretting my decision to continue dance class this season, as my heart just must not be in it.

I'd decided to pin the skirt to my old costume (See, we were performing a piece that requires a large, full circle skirt, and the skirt to my other costume is split, as in two totally separate pieces. That was not going to cut it for a routine where the skirt WAS the main attraction.). As I said, I'd decided to pin my old green skirt to try to make a continuous skirt without it looking too shoddy and wear it, as I know for a fact that it is a quality piece. Alas! I forgot to buy safety pins at the craft store while I was there at lunch.....told you I was tired.

I rushed home from work after my boss graciously let me leave work half an hour early. I slapped a coat of polish on my nails, grabbed a glass of wine for the nerves and started getting ready. I was left with the cheap, new costume that I hated since I forgot the safety pins. I made the most of it by adding some really beautiful pieces of jewelry: namely a Welsh dragon brooch to cover where the top had already shredded itself and a large hand-blown glass pendant that my betrothed's mother brought back from Venice for me after having only met me one time. The brooch was a hit. At least ten people asked where I got it. That made me feel wholly better about the costume blunder.

My gothic, hairdressing, lifelong bridesmaid friend had the dance before me. She performed it center-stage, front row and KICK BUTT MAN! I knew where she made a little error, because I know the dance, but I seriously doubt any of the audience would have caught it. I was like a beaming momma and hugged her as we swapped the stage. Plus, she had a killer outfit that she made herself.....wonder if I can get her to make me one?

Then it was the advanced class' turn. Thankfully, there are a lot of us....we filled the stage front to back and side to side. So, I knew I would not be a focal point for anyone that did not really know me. That meant that only my friend, my betrothed, and my very proud step-dad would be paying me a lick of attention. I suddenly felt better, relaxed. That made all the difference in the world. I made it through the skirt piece (on the front row even though I was not supposed to be there but on one would take it, so why not step up?!) without a single discernible error! HUZZAH! Now for the piece that kills me.....the short drum. Sounds simple right? It even has short in the name! Yeah, it's a lot of complex moves that require your arms, legs, hips, and ribs to work completely separately while smiling at your audience and steering their attention by directing your eyes were they should be looking. It's a very difficult two minutes. To make it more difficult.....the song started before we had reset! We were all still moving to our spots. HOLY CRAP! Well, something about being caught off-guard and having a flub that you were not responsible for seemed to help my performance. It's like I'd gotten my one error per dance quota in early. I think I had the biggest cheesiest grin on my face pointed right at my man when I finish (in the right position and on time free of any other notable mistakes....okay there was one other but you couldn't see it from the audience. There I said it.) Last dance, and this one I know by heart. I jumped to the front row and killed that thing! I also killed my ankle. I sliced it open when I crossed my other foot over for the bow and nearly fell. Wouldn't that have ended the show well. Bow and boom! I didn't though. I bobbled a little then popped right back up with the rest of the ladies. PHEW! Done.

That is it for belly dancing till after the wedding. My instructor breaks for the the month of January and picks it back up in February. I'm not going to delude myself into thinking that I'll be cool and calm enough the month of the wedding to attend classes. I think trying to attend them would likely just add to the stress, so I'll let myself off the hook for this one. But I should still be able to do the next Haffla in May! Woot.

Sorry this was meant to be Friday's post.....but I was caught so aback by my baby-faced man that I got distracted. Remember, we've had no sleep this week.

Also....tired to find a better photo but someone decided to sit right in front of my betrothed, even though he sat in what was the front row when we got there. A new row in front of him was added, last minute, and a guy with a big hat took the seat directly in front of him. Most of the photos contained said hat. Photo by my man.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Treat #5

This Friday, I’m going with a classic for my betrothed and I….something simple and simply delicious! We’ve got hummus from Sabra, multigrain pita chips from Stacy’s, and bagel crisps from New York Style. I absolutely love the creamy nuttiness of hummus. We got roasted garlic this time (and I wish I was devouring it right NOW!). Of course, if you’re feeling ambitious, all of this can be made at home. With Christmas just a few days away though, I think I’ll leave the ambition to finishing up presents and starting on the table decorations for the wedding.

Happy Friday! Enjoy!

And as a side note: Colts won again last night. That’s right….it’s 14-0, baby!

Photo from the ambitious.

Who is this man, and what have you done with my fiance?!

So, my betrothed decided to air out his face. I've never seen him without facial hair. I happen to like facial hair, so this really wasn't a problem for me. He walked into the restroom a 29 year-old-man. He sent a 16 year-old-boy back out when finished! The difference is astounding. I sort of feel like I shouldn't be kissing him because I might get arrested. He's going to get harrassed when he buys a six-pack, especially since he doesn't look a thing like his drivers license anymore. So, two months out from the wedding, I get to date a completely different looking person. How fun!

Photo from Photobucket and what an adorable little man!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Performance anxiety

Tonight, I dance! I'm in all three of the advanced belly dance routines, and I screwed them up massively in rehearsal last night. I was horrible! Wow. So, here's to a better memory for the actual performance.

The next time I'll be standing in front of a crowd, I'll be exchanging vows with the man of my dreams!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Temporarily out of sorts

Yesterday, I was talking to someone else getting married. The topic of registry came up, specifically a brand of dinnerware. I'd never heard of this brand, but my ears perked up at the mention of handmade and Italian. I looked it up later, anxious to see what I've missed out on! I must admit, it is beautiful dinnerware. Then I noted the would cost me over a week's pay for a set of four without any extra pieces. Over a week's pay. For plates and a bowl.

I realize the point of a registry is that I don't buy the stuff, so why should I care, right? No. I care. If I wouldn't spend that much on it (or even half that much), then I don't find it fair to ask my loved ones to pay that. I have never quite been comfortable with gifts, especially of an elaborate nature. So, registries are sort of awkward to me anyhow. The shower scares me to death. Center of attention. Gifts that I didn't do anything to earn. Hmm. Yeah, I'm odd. I think my girls and I figured out a way to make the shower more comfortable though.......I'm going to make food the center of attention! That's something I can work with. So, I do have a registry, but it's full of simple items that I would buy for myself at a store I shop at on a regular basis instead of a specialty shop that I rarely set foot in. That's what feels right for me, but not everyone has my hang-ups! So, I put my registry envy aside for comfort and practicality. That's how I do.

Did anyone else feel this way about registries?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Madness amidst mayhem

It is as I expected. The holidays would come, and they would eat precious time needed for wedding tasks. By this I mean that I need to find time today to mail out the homemade gifts to the folks I won’t get to see over the holidays by tomorrow or they won’t get them before Christmas. This means purchasing cards and packaging, as I have not done this yet. II have to fit that around workouts and rehearsals and, well, I still have a job, so that too. Our invitations have fallen victim to the holiday postal clog. The printer cannot complete her task and send the invitations to us because a portion of her necessary supplies are late in arriving. Then, when they do land in the mail to us, the overload of holiday cheer already in the system will likely mean that we’ll get the raw invites after Christmas, still in need to assembly. This weekend, none of my wedding tasks were checked off because the reunion consumed the weekend along with all of my energy. Next weekend, we’ll be in Oklahoma for Christmas. The weekend after that is New Years. I just don’t see much getting accomplished in that time frame, especially since I only get Christmas day and New Years day off of work.

I’m feeling a bit back-logged at this point. I am attempting to stay calm, because I expected this to happen. Yet, there is this tiny little buzzer inside of me sounding like mad that “Things. Simply. Will. Not. Get. Done.” Shut it, buzzer! I’ll have you know that I was anticipating this, which is why I’d done more than I needed to do on the front end. You will not undo my hard work, and you will not hinder my glorious plans! Oh no, you won’t. I’ll see to that.

Photo from Photobucket.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week of shimmy

This week, I have to divert my attention from the wedding to focus on a performance! I take middle eastern dance classes, and our Christmas Haffla is this Thursday evening. We have rehearsals tonight and Wednesday night, so that's three evenings of basically nothing but belly dance. I almost quit this season because planning this event sometimes seems so all-consuming. Thankfully, my betrothed talked me out of it, emphasizing the importance of seeing things though. I'm so glad he did too.....because I absolutely love dancing!


Me at the Summer Haffla taken by my betrothed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The reunion is a blur. Not one person asked to see my ring. Sort of confounded by that one. Now for the clean up. But more coffee first.

Photo from Photobucket.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reunion day

So today is the annual family reunion. That means lots of food, lots of little kids, and lots of great aunts prodding me for info. When I was married it was "when are you gonna start having babies already?!" When I got divorced, it was "good, he wasn't any good for you when are you gonna find a good man?!" I literally skipped the last reunion while single because I couldn't handle being asked 30 times successively about my marital status. Like I needed to feel any worse about being a year shy of thirty and a single divorcee! Trust me, I had it covered all by myself.

This year, I am TEN WEEKS away from being wed (again). This time to the good man they were harassing me about! Amen and Hallelujah! I'm not subjecting him to a whole day of my extended family, but he will have to make an appearance later today. And it will be his turn for the great aunts to prod him in order to "deem him worthy". No, I am not kidding.

Of course, they will start asking about children right now, even though we aren't even married yet. Ugh. Lord give me strength! Heh.

Photo from Photobucket.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Treat #4

We get to have one of my favorite party offerings tonight for Friday Treat.....and this time it's for a party of two. I'm making baked brie. If you haven't made this, let me tell you how awesomely simple it is!

For a basic no-nonsense version, arrange crescent rolls so that the bases of the triangles meet up. It will look like an eight-pointed star. Place your brie in the middle of the star, and wrap the points around the brie. Bake at whatever the package of rolls said until it's golden. Pretty darn simple, huh?

Of course, there are way fancier methods, like this one by Rachael Ray. It looks to die for.

This stuff is fantastic on crackers or apples slices. But to be perfectly frank, I like cutting it into wedges and eating it all by itself....letting nothing get between me and the ooey-gooey goodness!


Photo from

Evolution of a nickname

I think I can safely say I’m feeling sentimental. I’ve cried over the last two blog entries I read here and here. Literally. Cried. And now I’m going to share the second sappy story about me and mine in a week. Perhaps it’s that the wedding is growing near. Perhaps it is that neither he or I have slept this week. Again, quite literally. Exhaustion does bring out my emotional side, I must say.

So, here is the story of one of my favorite nicknames.

He usually just calls me baby. Occasionally he calls me babydoll, and for some reason that one makes me melt a little. But I know I’ve done something truly enduring to him when he calls me “my banana”. It started out as “go banana” when I did something silly. He’d use it when he did something silly too. The phrase comes from a Simpson’s episode. I’m not a huge fan, but sometimes things just stick, right? The episode had all the kids on a bus, and they were racing fruit down the aisle of the bus. All the kids rolled ROUND fruit……except Ralphie the paste eater. He “rolled” a banana. So, as I said, it was a proclamation of doing something illogical or uniquely silly, as I am wont to do. Then it gradually morphed from “go banana” to “my banana”, and it was usually said in the same way that someone would pat you on the head and let you know that they loved you in-spite-of-your-silly-self.

A week ago, while reading Celia’s blog, I found that she too is a banana! I was so excited that I sent my betrothed the link. His response was “though you are my banana, you are not the only banana.” Quite so! She has a far sweeter story about how her nickname evolved. I shared my story with her, and I think it brought a chuckle.

Last week, he called me his banana…..but this time it was said with pride for mastering something technical that I would previously been unable to do. So the story of being his banana just keeps growing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How inviting!

We have finally ordered our invitations. We're at least a week behind the mark I was trying to hit. I wanted them sent out this coming Monday. Well, that just isn't going to happen. I'm chalking it up to "oh well". They'll go out when they go out, right?

I just feel that need to issue a disclaimer about wedding invitations. It will take longer than you think to get all of the information necessary. For example, I wanted to secure a block of hotel rooms. That took three weeks! Some of the hotels never responded. Some said they were researching it for me and never got back with me after that. Also, our printer is doing our addressing as well. Getting all of the addresses by the time you order your invitations is not an easy chore. Perhaps this happened to us alone, but this is my official warning just in case it isn't just us.

Now we wait for the box in the mail. I'm excited to see them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Small gifts

I met my betrothed when while working full-time and going to school full-time. I was completely my bachelors (a thing I’d promised myself I’d do when the divorce was final). That should tell you how unsuccessful I thought internet dating would be! Who looks for the man of their dreams while working and going to school full-time! I got up at 5am and went to bed around 11-12 every day. I had evening classes every night. Insanity!

Anyhow……we were walking through a craft store, fairly early in our relationship, to get something for a project he had going. We meandered through a couple aisles into the beading and jewelry making department. I pointed to a kit of tiny seed beads in about 20 beautiful colors and said that maybe when I got out of school I could have hobbies just like he has hobbies. That was a goal worth working toward. I’d never had a real crafting hobby, and I’d like one.

I proceeded to forget that conversation. Two days before my graduation, he told me he had a gift for me. A graduation present. I was confused, because he was taking me on a week-long trip for my graduation. Surely that was present enough. Why on earth did he find it necessary to give me a gift too? When I got to his apartment that night, there on his desk was the exact kit I’d pointed to. He had to go to two stores to find it. I burst into tears when I saw it. This was for two reasons. The first was a horrid reason! I’d picked a fight that night. I was stressed out from finishing up my classes and the fight was entirely my fault. The second reason was that it showed that he paid attention and actually listened to my hopes and goals, and I cannot say that I’d ever really experienced that.

For almost a year I was afraid to touch the little kit. I felt I’d tainted it somehow by picking a petty argument the night he gave it to me, after he’d done something so incredibly thoughtful. I was also slightly petrified that I wouldn’t be able to master the tiny beads….that I wouldn’t be any good at it or be capable of making anything wearable.

Then, after we became engaged, I felt it was time to put all that aside and dig into this most thoughtful of gifts. I have enjoyed every minute I’ve spent with those little beads. I’ve made my earrings and bracelet for the wedding. I made my mother’s as well. My grandmother has now requested a set (and she wears clip-on earrings so that will be new!). I also made the earrings I wore in my engagement photos. His “small” gift has meant more to me that I think he could possibly know, and I will continue to use it with great delight!

Mom's me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ear to ear

I've got a smile I cannot seem to wipe off! Even after getting stuck behind a wreck on my 26 mile drive home, I was singing and doing the car dance with a huge, broad grim on my face. And why the smile?! WE FINISHED OUR VOWS!!! And they are so perfect for us. I'll share them with you after the wedding, because I read everyone's that shared to get inspired for mine. So, I definitely want to pay it forward. I feel like this is really happening now. Our promises are in place and they are the exactly right promises for us and what we've learned through our life experiences.

(All together now).....PHEW! Glad that's done! It's emotionally draining.

Oh to be wed in this place! Photo courtesy of Photobucket.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A perfect fit indeed

Today I am singing the praises of my Alteration Expert! The fitting on Saturday went smashingly. The new length is exactly right. All four layers - which included an underskirt, satin, then two layers of lace, the top layer of which had a lovely beaded and sequined scalloped trim that had to be removed then reattached - looked like they'd been sent from the manufacturer at that precise length. The French bustled was really amazing though. She made the satin sit at one height and the lace at another creating this really dramatic double bustle look. Stunning. If you are in North Texas, go see Linda at Perfect Fit Bridal Alterations. I honestly could not be happier with her work. As a bonus, she's totally sweet and endearing, even though I was way too giddy and probably a little loud. Diana tends to bring out the hyper in me like no other person on the planet.

I took the opportunity to try on the jewelry I made for myself, since I doubt I'll have the dress on again before the wedding. That's when I discovered the that gown has tiny crystals just like the Swarovski crystal elements I used to make my earrings and necklace! I'd never noticed them before. Quite a pleasant discovery.

My jewelry for the wedding....frustratingly made by hand.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday morning

....and the coffee pot is sputtering away. Hurry up little coffee pot! My betrothed didn't sleep last night. He got up at 2 after laying awake. He got up so that he didn't keep me awake. Now, how sweet is that? He came back to bed and didn't sleep. I hate it when those sort of nights hit. We've been trading them off lately. I think it's a mix of a bad mattress and a lot on our mind (mostly good stuff but we are both the sort that often aren't able to turn out brains off long enough to get a good night's sleep).

So, here's to an extra lazy Sunday with lots of coffee. Oh....and two good football games! Colts are looking for 12-0 vs. the Titans, and Cowboys vs. Giants is always fun. Ahhhh.....a day of Mannings. YAY!

Enjoy your lazy Sunday too.

Isn't my beautiful girl the best Christmas gift ever! Photo by me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Giddy as a bride ought to be!

Today is going to be fantastic! Oh yes, I do believe it will be, because today I am picking up my dress from the Alteration Expert. She's had it since October to be shortened to fit my 5'2" frame (with killer 3 1/2" heels, of course) and added a French bustle, at her recommendation. Seems the American style is too hard on the lace and likely to tear a hole and fall out by night's end. Not the ending I want to the kick-*ss ceremony after party. I cannot tell you how elated I am to get back in my dress and not have to hold it up! Plus, there's something about putting it on that just puts me over the moon. Guess that's how you know you chose correctly, huh?

Even better still.....I get to spend time with two pretty amazing women. My maid of honor (I'll call her Diana. She's used to that. She calls me Anne. I hope some of you get the reference!) is joining me at the fitting. She's just such a vibrant, spiritual, positive person that you can't be around her and not feel better about the world and yourself and your choices. That is just the little pick-me-up that I need. Then this afternoon, I'm going out with another life-long friend and maid in search of a super-flattering brown dress. The bridesmaid dresses simply are not flattering on girls with curves. The makers of those things must thing that making it in the correct size is all you ever need to do for it to look good. Psshhaaa! It is not so! And I won't have her in something that doesn't make her feel fabulous. I simply won't have it! The other girls picked dresses that they feel hotter than Aphrodite in, and so shall she! Then we'll like catch a drink somewhere for good measure!

Yes, this will be a glorious day and I cannot wait to be smack in the thick of it. So happy Saturday to you all out there. I hope you have wonderful plans of your own to relish.

Photo from Photobucket.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Treat #3

Sorry this is so late! So....I thought perhaps I'd entice you to stop and pick some yummy goodness up for Saturday morning! I love breakfast on Saturday. It's usually so very decadent. And this recipe for french toast casserole looks right up my alley! I'd never eat it during the week, but I certainly would it on a Saturday morning with lots of coffee!

Bon Appetit!

Photo and recipe from

Stress and coping

Is stress during wedding planning necessary? I’m beginning to think that it is. Or maybe I’m just overly sensitive because of the emotions a marriage congers up. I know for certain that I’m more emotional. I can read a touching wedding recap or a line of poetry and well up these days. Usually those are the really warm-fuzzy sort tears, but crying at the drop of a hat is not really my M.O. I’m not generally one ruled by emotion. I’m a Libra! I’m logic-driven. Yeah, that’s all out the window these days. I just let ‘em flow! I’ve ceased trying to hide it, since I find something touching enough to make my eyes water several times a day at this point. It’s a very unique sensation for me. (And I just literally started crying from the episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" in the background that I'd already seen. Oh brother.)

While it’s nice to be overwhelmed by the good “Oh my God this man really loves and wants to marry me and be my partner is awesomeness” feelings, I am desperately trying to avoid the “what were we thinking trying to have a wedding?!” feelings. So, I am doing things to avoid panic and reduce stress whenever I can. One thing I am trying to be very diligent about is going to the gym. I joined DURING the planning process, and oh my goodness does it ever help! Have a bad day…..go zone out running or pushing something around. Yeah, that works for me. I’m also trying to be on-top of tasks as they pop up instead of pushing them off. For example, my homemade Christmas presents were done the day after Thanksgiving so that they didn’t get lost in wedding chaos and never done. I try to do something for the wedding every day, and that helps me feel like I’m current and in charge of it instead of it being in charge of me. Oh, and wine and friends help too. Then there is my best friend, the therapist, in the background of my mind saying....."Are you breathing. You don't sound like you're breathing to me. BREATHE! There, does that feel better?" Gotta love her.

So, here’s to as low-stress-as-possible planning and living. Think it’s possible? Yeah, me either! Heh. But it’s worth a shot.

Very cool image from Photobucket.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Yesterday there was this strange white stuff falling from the sky! It fell in huge, fluffy puffs that lead to mounds in the yard and on my little box of a car. I squealed back into the house when I opened the garage door and saw it....."BABY GET OUT HERE! THERE'S SNOW!!!!!" And so came my betrothed, in a slight disbelief, shirtless into the cold.

There was indeed snow falling, and heavily, in the snowless land known as Texas. I was absolutely delighted! We haven't had snow since March 2008 (which is when I took these photos...which is when I was falling very hard, very fast, in love with this wonderful blue-eyed man). I drove to work with a very broad smile on my face as the little flakes continued all twenty-six miles with me.

Sadly, it was all completely gone when I got home. The ground was too warm, even in the grass, for any remains to survive the day. How sad. I had so wanted to play in it! Or enjoy a cup of cocoa looking at it at the very least. I don't think that it's only the children that enjoy and delight in snow, because I was giddy all day about it. It brings out the little red-headed, pigtailed girl for certain.

I hope we get it once more this year! (Instead of the horrendous icing we usually get in its place! Wretched ICE!)

Photos by me - March 2008 - after a three hour drive home because ice accompanied it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Flowers on the tables

To keep our floral budget low, I decided that having huge floral centerpieces were not in the cards. (And really, they aren't my cup of tea personally). I searched the web for affordable and attractive bud vases. Seems they can really only be one or the other, not both. So, I started looking for items that I could use as bud vases in a less conventional fashion. I thought of tiny mason jars, then I saw mason jars included at nearly every featured wedding on this site or that for about a month. So, I nixed mason jars. I looked through the house, trying to find containers, canisters, anything that can hold water and flowers. I thought of covering tin cans in fabric, but I really love glass. I especially love colored glass. Wine bottles were the perfect fit. I cook with wine all the time (and perhaps drink a bit of it too), so I have the bottles as a bonus. They were a perfect fit.

After realizing I couldn't use the Bells of Ireland in the bouquets, I was determined to use them elsewhere. I believe that this rose/bell combo is just perfect. Imagine beautiful wine bottles in shades of green and yellow surrounded by candles with the lovely rose and bell making the whole thing smell intoxicating. Yeah, that works for me.

Photos by me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Playing with blooms

Sunday afternoon, during my team's game, I decided to tackle the beautiful blooms that had been in my kitchen for over a day. I'd cut them and put them in flower food and water, but now it was time to see if I could mold them into something usable in the wedding. That was the point, after all. I'd hoped for help, but help was unavailable. So, I stepped up to the plate, determined that I was not to be foiled by flowers.

I started by prepping the roses. I removed all the lower greenery from them first. Next, all the thorns. In case you don't already from wholesalers (online or otherwise) are not prepped in any way. They still have all the thorns they had when they were in the ground. Don't let them intimidate you though, and don't buy a silly de-thorning tool. That's just a waste of money. They snap off. Honestly, they do. Place the thorn between your thumb and pointer, rotate following the stem, and SNAP! You'll be holding the entire thorn separate from the rose. Last, I removed the protective outer petals around the rose buds. They intentionally leave a few petals that are not-too-terribly pretty to protect the rose and take the bulk of the damage in shipping. Tug gently and they come right off.

I finally had pretty roses to work with. Now....the Bells of Ireland. They're so pretty, and they symbolize luck. (Orange roses symbolize passion, incidentally.) I so wanted them in the bouquet, but they simply look horrible with the roses. So, I nixed the Bells from the bouquet, but I found another purpose for them. You'll see them tomorrow.

I was left with the delicious Cherry Brandy roses and red hypericum berries, which are coffee beans if you did not know. I made two bouquets. One had 11 roses and the other 14. Each had one stem of berries. The 14-stem bouquet had a much more appealing shape. This was far more because it was the second bouquet I have ever tried to make as opposed to the first bouquet I'd ever tried to make! Experience truly pays off.

And here are some things that I learned:
  • Floral wire is going to work better than floral tape on the bouquets, but the tape will likely be handy for boutonnieres.
  • An extra set of hands would be phenomenal. As would an extra set of eyes. So, I think on the real flowers, someone simply has to be there, even if it's just as a second pair of hands and eyes that isn't actually making anything. I literally took the bouquet into the other room where a friend was gaming with my betrothed via web cam for opinions.
  • Sharper scissors or sheers would be a nice thing to own.
  • Do not use wired ribbon. It just doesn't wrap smoothly, and it's all I had. The look was far too stiff.

And that's it. They took me about an hour and a half to make, prep work included. I'm quite pleased. What do you think???

Photos by me from the top: finished bouquets, 11 rose bouquet, testing the "size" of the 11 rose bouquet, 14 rose bouquet, and both bouquets (11 on the left, 14 on the right)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wholesale flowers, or something close

There isn't a huge open-air flower market in my least not one that I am aware of. There is, however, a lovely near-wholesale shop in downtown Ft. Worth. It's a bit of a drive, but I love excuses to go to Ft. Worth. It's a town with a great feel to it.

I felt we'd put off checking out the flower market long enough. After all, if it had turned out to be a bust, I needed time to order test flowers from an online source and pre-order the flowers that I'd need for the wedding if the test flowers were deemed acceptable. So, we headed out to Ft. Worth in search of the little flower market.

No one was in sight when we walked in. There was a large sign above the floral cooler that said "Please Come In", though, so we did. To my dismay, there were hardly any flowers at all in the cooler. After surveying the area, we were about to leave.

Right then, a lady came out of the back, proclaiming that "there are people out here!" and asked if we needed anything. It seemed we'd arrive right as they were unloading the week's shipments. She invited us to the back to see what they had in stock. I spotted a bundle of orange roses and imediately asked if I could have the whole lot. After checking to make sure they didn't belong to another bride, she said I could. These lovely multi-colored orange, pink, and yellow beauties are called Cherry Brandy roses, and I think I might just love them to bits. I took all 25, 10 stems of Bells of Ireland, and 2 stems of red hypericum berries. Now, it might seem wasteful to buy them when all I'm going to do is play around with them, but I have a feeling it will be funds well-spent for the experience they provide.

Besides.....aren't they lovely?!

Photos by me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A note about DIY

There are a couple compelling reasons to do things yourself. One, you might save some money. Then again, if you aren't as good at something as you thought you'd be, you could end up spending more when you have someone else fix the mess you made. Luckily, I haven't experienced that yet! Second, you probably get whatever you chose to DIY exactly the way you envisioned it. Again, this is dependent on skill level though, isn't it? I have to admit that some of the things I made I put in the "good enough" category, and I'm totally okay with that. The third reason is the best though. It's that you get to sit around a table with friends and create something together that makes everyone feel more connected and involved in your wedding. Everyone gets to take a little ownership in making the day great. Hopefully, they'll see that thing that they made in use at the wedding and give themselves a little pat on the back with a "yeah, I did that" attitude. I find myself wanting to find more things that I can get my friends over to help with. I think I invented a couple chores, just so that we can share some wine and some memories.

This has been a weekend for memory making, and I'll be sharing it with you all very soon!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holidays amidst wedding plans

Sometimes planning a wedding feel so all-encompassing that it's hard to imagine trying to have holidays in there as well. I must admit that this week the wedding sort of got put on the back burner so that the green beans almondine and gravy could be on the front ones. Even yesterday, I worked on crafts for Christmas instead of the wedding. I think I'm afraid that if I don't get them done right now, right as Christmas season has officially begun, then Christmas in it's entirety will be swollowed up by the wedding. I love the holidays. I love the food, the stress, the sincere gift-giving, and twinkling lights. I don't want my wedding plans to overshadow Christmas!

So, I am pleased to say that I literally finished my family's Christmas gifts yesterday at my kitchen table. All they need now is to be packaged up. That feels really, really good. It turns out that the stress and mounting list of wedding-related chores were an aide to rid myself of the procrastination that I usually exert during the holidays. Who knew?! Now, I have to work out a couple more gifts for friends and the nephews, but the bulk of my gifting is done. They're personal and very cute. I'll show them to you.....after Christmas, of course, on the off chance that a family member is reading. None of them have told me they are, but you never know.

Did all of you fight the crowds and get your gift buying done for the season during Black Friday? Did you sit at home crafting? Or will you possibly do what I usually do.....make lovely edibles the weekend before Christmas to give as gifts. Christmas cookies are really just sinful. Mmmm...... Whatever you did, I hope it was with a joyful heart. That's what matters most.

Photo from Photobucket.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Treat #2

For those of you like me that have a ton of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing in their fridge, I offer left-over recipes! Here are some that look fantastic:

Shepherd's Pie
Sweet Potato Pancakes (maybe tomorrow)
Spicy Turkey Soup (I'll be making a tortilla version of this)
Turkey Quesadillas (which I did last night, but a different version with smoked cheddar)
Curried Turkey Salad (okay so this is chicken, but it would work with turkey)
Turkey and Spinach Quiche

I am making the quiche for breakfast, but a different version with smoked jack, ricotta, and plain spinach instead of spinach souffle.

I intend to enjoy every last bit of our left overs this weekend, and I hope you do the same!

Sweet potato pancake picture from


I've always had an odd concept of what makes you an adult....officially. Does being 18 and a legal adult also make you an official adult. I'm going to have to say no. I've known too many 18 year-olds and most are assuredly not adult-like. Does getting married make you an adult? I'm going to have to say from personal experience, it simply means you are of legal age, which again may not be enough to declare yourself officially an adult. How about having a child? I've never considered doing that, so I never put it on my internal list of "things that signify that I have left childhood behind".

I'm 31. I've been married and divorced. Yet occasionally, I still don't feel like I've achieved adulthood and all the responsibilities that go with that title. I felt closer when I finally lived alone.....way out in the middle of the woods in my tiny, cozy cabin. That way, I had to make all the decisions for myself with little or no help from anyone else. Though, even then, if I got myself into a pickle (and boy did I manage a couple huge ones), my grandparents, brother, or my mom would bail me out. Now, that's just what my families does for each other regardless of age or station, but being one of the youngest, I felt it took away some of my hard earned "I am an adult" points.

Well, Thanksgiving marked a significant milestone of my adulthood (in my own mind only, of course). I hosted! Don't get me wrong, I've contributed for quite some time. I cooked the turkey for the last four years, but I handed it off after it came out of the oven and joined the rest of the gang at my grama's house. This time, not only is the gathering at my house, I organized it. I told people what we still needed and what time to arrive. I also invited my betrothed's family, so we have house guests. Holidays are sacred responsibilities, to me, and being trusted with the responsibility for making it run smoothly is huge. I'm very glad I accepted this challenge, and I can mark off "hold a major family gathering on an important holiday" off my list of Adult Accomplishments.

Do you have any non-traditional milestones on your list of Adult Accomplishments? I've love to hear them. We can compare notes!

Achievement from Photobucket.....earned me major geek points with my man!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

With love, from a grateful heart

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm not going to lie, I love a good food coma! And this year, the celebration is at my house and includes my soon-to-be mother-in-law and brother-in-law along with my entire immediate family. It will either be a fun success or completely overwhelming, but I like a good challenge.

But the most important thing today, obviously, is gratitude.

I am grateful.... be in love. have four living grandparents.
...for my friends that truly get me and support me instead of trying to change me.
...for every hardship I've survived because each of them made me the woman I am today, the woman he fell in love with.
...for my second chance to be a wife (and get it right this time).

Enjoy your day, your hearty meals, and (for me) the football!

Photo from Photobucket.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fateful discovery

The very next day, I called my mom. I told her that I had something very important to tell her, but she absolutely had to keep it a secret. Remember, we weren't engaged yet! I divulged that I'd been dress hunting and that an engagement was immanent. She was over the moon, thankfully. Once she calmed down, I let her know that I really needed her to come to this store with me because I may have found the perfect dress at the perfect price, but I wasn't sure.

I played a little game with her. I got the sales rack dress and the Mori Lee. I did not tell my mom which dress was which, so that she wouldn't make the decision based on price alone. I started with the Mori Lee. It had an amazing silhouette.....very, very hourglass. It also had some pretty amazing lace on it. It is by all means, a gorgeous dress. I just didn't feel that emotional tug that you should feel about the dress your going to marry the man you love in. Then the Maggie Sottero sale dress (which was over half off at this point). It's a corset, so it took forever to get into. All the while, my mom is sitting outside the door, staring at the Mori Lee. She's stare, then get up and touch it, then stare, then touch. This continued for the five or ten minutes it took me to get into the other dress. At this point, I am DISTRAUGHT! Touching is a sign that you love something. She didn't give the Maggie a proper chance. I'm not all the way in it yet. Oh dear Lord, my mom cannot hate my dress!

(Que the lip quivering and eye watering)

Finally in the dress, I walk out to the pedestal and wait for the bad news. And then she says it.....

"Well, I know which dress you should buy." "So do I and it's not the right dress!".....(said in a little shaky, creaking voice). "You mean the one you have on it's the dress you'd choose??" Wait, huh? "Well, yes, yes it is.....but you were touching the other one.....A LOT!" "I was trying to figure out what it was that didn't make it perfect."

PHEW! We were in agreement and whole-heartedly so! HUZZAH! I slapped a credit card down before I could change my mind and did the happy dress dance all the way home.

Happy dancer provided by Photobucket.