Thursday, July 29, 2010

We're Moving!

Wow, it's hard to believe that we're moving today, but we really are.  It's kind of incredible to remember how we got to this day.  I bought my condo in March of 2008, tried to sell it between January and June of 2010, failed, and decided to list it on the rental market instead.  In the mean time, J. and I have been working nights and weekends to renovate his house, one we've had a tenant living in for the past 2 years.  It has been a ton of work.  A ton.  We are both absolutely exhausted and that doesn't even count the pending moving exhaustion we're sure to feel later today!

So with all that said, you'd think I'd be too distracted to notice the small part of me that's feeling sad to leave.  I am not a person who feels nostalgic about everything- I have moved many times and never felt much sense of loss.  I try to follow that time-tested cliche: it's best to live life looking forward and not backward.  But something about this move is different... a significant slice of my life took place in this condo- it's the place J. and I first lived together, where we got engaged, and where we began our married life.  I already miss seeing the pictures on the walls, snuggling in front of the fireplace, or sneaking down to the pool after a thunderstorm before everyone else figures out the pool is open again.  And I will miss the way this house is pure, unadulterated "me."


The new house is a force to be reckoned with and together, J. and I have put our stamp all over it.  It has original subway bathroom tiles, fabulous hardwood flooring, adorable architectural features like arches, and period-appropriate schoolhouse light fixtures throughout.  We have demolished, polished, sanded, patched, stained, painted, weeded, and installed this house to near-perfection.  Enough is done that we can move in, and enough is left to do to keep us interested (hello yard!)!  It's the kind of old, shopworn, creaky old house that I grew up in- the kind of house that really gets me.  This house has a story to tell.  I'm excited to figure out that story, even if the story starts out, "once upon a time there was a house whose previous owner was bad at fixing things properly..."

I will try to share some before-and-after photos with you guys soon!  But in the mean time, onward I go!

image source

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Succulents for Norkle

Today, a gratuitous post of succulent wedding inspiration for friend Norkle, who is hoping to incorporate them into her own upcoming nuptials.  In addition to being easy to do in advance, they are adorable, no?  They are sort of vintage, sort of modern, sort of southwestern, sort of romantic, colorful, soft, playful- I think that's why they've become so popular!  All images link to their sources, except the first which is my own photo, from a friend's recent wedding!

Would you incorporate succulents into your own wedding?  How would you use them?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Black Friday Magic- Liberty of London on Sale!

I'm not even going to pretend this is a wedding related post, though Target's Black Friday sale (today, online only) certainly could be the perfect place to score some wedding gear for your centerpieces or favors.  Nope, what I want to talk about is how, as a part of that sale, Liberty of London goodies are 25% off! I am on a spending freeze right now and I already have a LL canister in the guest room so I cannot, repeat CANNOT, buy anything.  It's white knuckle city around here.  So please let me live vicariously through you all!  Go check this great stuff out today if you have a chance!  All images are from Target's website:

I'm going to go to work now and daydream!  But let me know if you score any awesome deals!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Perfect Thanks

A few weeks ago I helped throw a baby shower for one of my besties and bridesmaids, we'll call her E-Rod, and we had a seriously fun time eating, decorating onesies, and joking around about what the baby would look like and which of his/her honorary aunts he/she would like best (I won that contest hands down, obviously).  So with all that fun as it's own reward, I was especially touched with E-Rod gifted us these adorable and thoughtful thank you gifts. 

Inside these adorable (and shower-theme coordinating I might add) bags, E-Rod included a lovely thank you note, along with awesome swag- Starbucks gift cards, Vosges chocolate bars (oh baby) and Mad Housewife Merlot.  Have you ever seen anything cuter?  I love that this is something anyone- even the noncrafty folks- can do, and on any budget.  I'm shamelessly planning to steal this fabulous idea one of these days! 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm a sucker for it...

Seersucker!  Ok, I know, bad bad bad play on words.  But who can help it?  Little ring bearers in summery seersucker suits are potentially the cutest thing I've ever seen.  And more affordable then tuxedo rental too!

You can score this one for $39.99 at In Fashion Kids

My good friend R.'s ringbearers wore seersucker ensembles for her wedding, wearing their vests (sans jackets due to the heat- a great built-in contingency she planned for), and they looked incredibly adorable.  With hot pink bow ties too.  Who is in love?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A 4th of July Engagement Celebration!

Sometimes having a wedding blog is really, truly, awesome.  Like, for example, when I get to share super cute, super fun parties with everyone!  This particular celebration was in honor of my brother A. and future sister-in-law Diana, which was held at my mom's home in Ohio on the 4th of July!  The weather was perfection and we ended up with a huge crowd and loads of tasty food, courtesy of my mom.  I made the invitation-postcards on VistaPrint, my dad brought the red velvet cake and 1931 Packard with him, and the decorations were scored on a budget from the Christmas Tree Shop (my favorite)!  Guests brought some great gifts for the happy couple, including customized honeymooner tees, and a book of family recipes my mom and I collaborated on.  It was such an all-American party too, with bocce ball, whiffle ball, horses, flowers, and lots of family.  Who could ask for more? 

We are so excited to welcome D. into our family and I can't wait to share their upcoming October wedding with you all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Brief Pause From Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

You may have noticed my posting has been a little light lately- my apologies.  I've been SWAMPED!  J. and I are in the midst of some serious DIY renovations in our soon-to-be new home, not to mention I've helped to throw 3 showers in 4 weeks, and now, to add icing to the cake...

My very first niece was born on July 6!  J. and I got to meet her Saturday and she is just absolute and utter perfection.  I'm in love.  While we were there, of course I grabbed my camera and started playing.  Look at this great shot I got while J. was holding her!  I'm just so excited to learn all the things my new camera can do, and I adore this one!  Though, let's keep it real, you'd be hard pressed to take a bad photo with such a gorgeous subject.  Introducing baby Ella Grace!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Those Handy Little Freebies (Part II)

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I blogged about the free downloadable template I used to create a bridal shower invitation for my stepsister.  Well, after figuring out how simple it was to do I was pretty hooked, and I started looking at other downloadable templates.  And that is how I discovered (courtesy of iDIY)  these STUNNING downloadable templates from Download and Print.

These templates have quickly become all-stars in my crafting projects because they are so easy to use- you download them in word, print them on cardstock, and then just use a paper cutter.  Because the background color comes from the paper itself, you have tons of flexibility in terms of color scheme, and I especially love that you can choose your own fonts.  Love!

I used the last ones (Dandelions!) to make an engagement party invitation for my Stepsister's upcoming e-party, and look how cute it came out!  I ended up photoshopping the design a bit in order to make it into a file I could upload to VistaPrint (you knew they had to be involved somehow didn't you) because I knew I was not going to have enough time to print these myself, but I'm still extremely thrilled with the product!

Are you sold yet?

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Psychology of Romantic Love

I definitely agree with the school of thought that marriage takes work- of course it does.  I think everyone can agree on that.  But what's even more interesting to me, is the kind of continual soul searching required by marriage.  I just finished reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and in it, she talks about happiness in the way I think about marriage:
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.

One might argue that my attitude is just another predictable manifestation of the Protestant work ethic we hold so dear on the east coast.  One might argue I've taken too many feminist theory courses.  And of course I've only been ,married for 6 months, so right now I'm still pretty blissful, what do I know?  Then again, as a child of divorce I've always been pretty in-tune to the marriages around me (there are some pros- and enormous cons- to this level of "tuned in-ness" but it is just how I'm built).  So, for better or for worse, whether I'm being fatalistic or realistic, I think a fundamental amount of work is required to maintain a healthy marriage.

And that is precicely why I was thrilled when my bridesmaids gifted me the book The Psychology of Romantic Love.  This is a great book.  A.  Great.  Book.  I'm not a huge book-review-writer so I'll keep this short, but suffice it to say that the book is absolutely chock full of insight into modern relationships and it floored me how I could look around me and see one application after another in my world.  Once you begin reading the book, you probably won't be surprised to learn that the author is one of the leading authorities on self esteem issues.  My favorite insight is that we have to stop fighting the fact of our "aloneness" in order to be ready for a partner.  I also like the discussion of one's partner as a sort of psychological "mirror" which reflects the person you actually are.  I think this is an absolute must-read if you are in a serious relationship or if you like pop psychology.  It is super-duper interesting stuff with super important practical applications.

I'm not saying I have it all figured out- or that Nathaniel Branden does either- but this is a great read!

Have you read any books that have really spoken to you, on the topics of love or marriage?

Friday, July 2, 2010

One Woman's Trash...

Is another's treasure?  This isn't generally a phrase I think of when it comes to weddings.  But I recently stumbled upon a new wedding resource, I Do Now I Don't, and I was intrigued.  The founder first got the idea when his engagement didn't work out.  What to do with the ring?  Well, apparently due to the retail markup on jewelry, the retailer wouldn't give much of a refund back, so he found another way to sell the ring and his website was born!

Of course, not all the jewelery on the website has such a sad story, but it's really such a great idea.  You can buy rings, obviously, but they also sell other jewelery and even wedding gowns.  And the site seems to have a lot of built in protections so buyers and sellers feel safe.

The flip side of buying a ring with a prior story, is that some people are certain to fear passage of a "bad karma" but really, it's just an object right?  The meaning only comes from what you assign to it.  Seems like a great idea to me!  The sellers get more return on their investment than they'd get at a jeweler, and the buyers get more bang for their buck.

What do you think, assuming quality isn't an issue, would you feel comfortable buying a ring from I Do Now I Don't?  I kind of think I'd be ok with it, and then I'd be even more ok with taking the money I saved and spending it on a honeymoon upgrade!  Plus, isn't there something to be said for taking a found object and giving it a new life?  I usually think of this concept in the context of home improvement (salvage an old dresser!) but why not bigger ticket sparkly objects too?

(By the way, I'm not getting comped for this post, I'm just interested!  And all images link to their source.)