21 September 2011

Balancing Act

I've always been pretty klutzy.

I remember writing one of my college essays my klutziness, particularly one time where I slammed the washing machine door on my hand and how much it hurt.

During the many beach weeks my friends and I took after graduation, I remember tearing my foot open after stepping on a piece of luggage, gettign a bloody nose from a surly wakeboard, and taking a flying football to the face while lounging on the beach, Marsha-Marsha-Marsha style. (Okay, that injury wasn't a result of my clumsiness, but still.)

The stuff I've been reading as I progress each week in my pregnancy have warned me of potential instability due to a growing belly throwing off my center of gravity. What I read recommended avoiding wearing heels, even. (A few days after I read all that, the earthquake hit. I thought that was kind of ironic.) But I try not to get too wrapped up in all that stuff as it seems there are approximately 672 potential side effects to pregnancy.

Not too wrapped up until I ran into the door jam of J's office the other night. Smack into it. Seriously. Luckily, I didn't seriously hurt myself but man, apparently some of those side effects are true! Now I can add loss of balance to (warning: possibly TMI): nose bleeds, nasal congestion, back aches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dry eyes, heightened sense of smell, tender breasts, mood swings, irritability, and extra saliva, among others.

Oh, and J and I took a bike ride a few weekends ago and I fell off on the first leg. Literally toppled over. Embarassing!

30 August 2011


A few weeks ago, I got pretty lucky.

I've posted several times about the beautiful bridesmaids dresses we ordered from etsian sohomode. When the shop owner, Louise, asked if she could get some photographs of my ladies in their dresses for her blog, I said heck yeah! I thought it'd be a great opportunity for our photographer to get some added exposure and, well, the ladies looked great, so why not?

By the way, if you're looking for a photographer in the Baltimore/DC area, definitely check out her site. She was extremely responsive from the beginning, sent tons of original engagement session shoot ideas (included in our package), and was very accommodating when our engagement session had to be postponed. She works with her husband, and they're just the sweetest. I could so see us being friends in real life. I'll admit, it's a bit awkward having someone stare at you, waiting for the perfect photographic moments as you're getting your makeup applied, hair curled, and getting down to your unmentionables as you get into your dress, but Serena made it all feel as natural as it could. I can't wait to work with her again.

Here's her blog, too, if you're interested.

But back to Louise and her shop. She requested these photographs, and I agreed to send them to her once I got home from work:

We continued to talk about lovely the dresses turned out in our etsy convo when I mentioned that I loved this dress, available in her shop:

That's when she offered a 99% coupon code to me as long as I provided my photographs. Uhhh what? Her dresses are $110 to $150 typically. This one was $110, something I certainly wouldn't pay for a dress I'd wear once or twice. Because, oh yeah, it's a maternity dress. One that I'm hoping to wear to my baby shower. Because J and I are pregnant!

We're due in February. Of course we're excited, but I'm not going to deny that I'm nervous!

AND I'm super excited about my new dress and the generosity of etsy sellers. Louise, you rock! So go check out her shop. She'll be back from vacation by early September.

12 August 2011

'That's Nasty'

Happy Friday! Sooooo glad it's Friday.

We're off to a going-away party for J's sister tonight - she's moving back to Greece tomorrow - and then to a wedding tomorrow night.

I think there's going to be something weird about going to a wedding now that we're married.

I hope that J and I don't do that whole comparing thing the whole time. Like, 'oh my, I can't believe they used that in the ceremony' or 'what a nasty appetizer, I would have never chosen that'. Though I think I'm being a little harsh on us. We try to be open-minded and realize that everyone chooses what they choose for a reason, and it's not our place to judge.

Y and R are going to a friend from high school's wedding on Sunday. So crazy. It'll be a weekend full of weddings! Hers will be outdoors (right, Y?) in Kent Island, so that'll be really picturesque I'm sure. Y's a bridesmaid. Can't wait to see the pictures!

Have a happy weekend! Try not to attend too many weddings.

10 August 2011

I'm Back

Alright, I know I've been MIA for the past, well, weeks, but my little sister's asked me to start posting again and I think I'm down.

The wedding was a huge success! I know I kind of fell off on the posting right when things were getting juicy, but a poor internet connection at work along with my negative desire to sit in front of another computer when I get home led to zero posts.

So let's see if we can get this party started again.

You all remember that I ordered our bridesmaid dresses from etsian sohomode, right? Well, she recently sent me a convo via etsy asking if she could share my wedding photographs on her blog. Ummm... heck yeah! But also, how in the heck did she find my wedding photos? I've never been big into facebook and definitely haven't posted my photos here so I started to get that eery the-internet's-really-Big-Brother feeling.

I told her that of course she could post my photos but oh, how did you get those again? She said my photographer posted them, and she turned them up in a Google search. Ah, okay, phew.

In an ease-me-back-into-blogging effort to get my first post back out there, I recommend you all go check them out there! And because I can't seem to view or post photographs anymore at work, I'll post some from her blog when I'm home.


10 May 2011

32 Days: The Meeting

So people, only 32 days to the big day. I'm freakin out a bit about my to-do list but am trying to put things into perspective and stay calm.

In lieu of a freak-out post, I figured I'd write about the night J and I met.

A little backstory: Years ago, when R and I would go to restaurants, we would leave our phone numbers on receipts for the waiter with instructions to 'Take his pick'. I know, it's a bit demeaning to ourselves but it was funny and usually we thought it was hilarious. Literally never did either of us receive a phone call from one of those scrawled receipt messages, but we never expected to. It was just funny to us.

Okay, now for the night J and I met. It was the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving of 2006, and my college roommate at the time blew me off. We were supposed to go to the new Green Turtle in our mutual 'home town', but she took a late nap and didn't wake up in time to go out. At the last minute, I called a middle school friend, J, to see if she wanted to catch up. She had plans with another friend, L, someone I had known since elementary school, so we all decided to go to The Green Turtle together.

We grabbed a booth in the seating section and had some girl talk. To our left was a group of people sitting a long table. Most of them were girls with a few guys scattered about. One of the guys was pretty cute, J and I agreed.

After some more scoping, J, L, and I decided that we'd hop over to the next bar for the rest of the night. But before we left, I wrote a napkin note a la the receipts R and I used to leave that said something along the lines of "Hey, cute boy. Take your pick," with a stick figure drawing of our table with our phone numbers. Pathetic, I know. But hilarious, too, particularly because L wasn't into it, so when she slipped away from the table to go to the bathroom, we discreetly added her number. J and I thought that was so funny.

Anyway, a few moments later as we made our way out of the bar, I picked a path past J and slipped him the folded napkin. He looked utterly confused - as of course he didn't notice our table the entire time we were there - but accepted it.

Flash forward two weeks. That's right, two weeks.

My granny - my great grandmother - had passed away, so my mom was in Arkansas for her funeral. I was speaking with my mom on the phone when I heard the call-waiting beep. Usually I screen but was taken off guard and answered. It was J. He said, "Uh, hi. I got your number off a napkin?" [How funny would it have been if I had said, "You need to be a little more specific"?]

I laughed and told him the napkin was a silly joke (because, really, I was a bit embarassed that we did something so childish) and that I hadn't expected him to call. That didn't sound very kind, but we trudged through the conversation and a few conversations later, we set up our first date.

It turns out that he wasn't going to call again as it was his second attempt and he doesn't leave voicemails. And since I screen, it was lucky that I even answered.

After we started dating regularly and people asked how we met, I'd come up with lavish stories, different every time, to conceal my napkin story. Though I don't think I should truly be embarassed about it because it all worked out.

We considered using cocktail napkins as invitations. Would have been awesome.

Perhaps another day I'll share the story of our first date, which was equally as awkward.

05 May 2011

"Hi, I'm the Bride!"

Last Thursday I had my hair and makeup trials. Let's just say I'm happy they were trials.

The salon was nice and the people working there were friendly, so I thought we were off to a good start. My mom came for some support (what? I get anxious), and I was armed with the photographs of what I wanted for my hair.

First I met with the makeup artist. She made me feel confident in her as she told me that she developed a passion for bridal makeup when her makeup trial went horribly for her own wedding.

She started by telling me how I should care for the skin on my face, which I appreciated. Turns out all this time I've been thinking I have dry skin when I really have oily skin that's dehydrated. Now I need to get new lotion, too.

That was all good because I appreciated the help. Then, as she began to apply the foundation, she asked if I was going to get my eyebrows plucked before the wedding.

Irritation #1. I don't pluck my eyebrows. Never have. Okay, so I may have a few straggles, but they're my straggles and I'm used to seeing them, so I don't seethe point. Sure, I've considered it but I try to keep my beauty regime (if you can call it that) as low-maintenance as possible. I humored her and said I'd thought about it and that maybe I'd give it a whirl before the big day.

Irritation #2: Basically immediately following the pluck/pluck-not conversation, she asks if I'm going to get tanned before my wedding. If you've read this far you can probably assume - correctly - that I've never tanned at a salon. Only in the sun. And even that I try to limit nowadays. So I told her that I've considered the spray-on kind. Meanwhile I'm wondering if she's recommending I look completely different for my wedding. An idea that I'm not willing to pursue. I want to look like me in my photos. And I think J wants me to look like me when he says his vows to me.

So she continues on, and about 40 minutes from when she started, I look something like this:

Ha, okay, so maybe not quite that bad, but she took my "I like natural looking makeup with bronzer and defined eyes" a bit too far. The bronzer was nice, but the 'defined eyes' part of my direction was grossly overdone. I mean, I'm not sure she used a shred of gold or yellow shadow on my eyelids. It was all black. Actually, make that blue. The powdered liner she used was blue, and you could tell. Later, when J came in to pick me up for dinner he thought I'd been crying. Not what you want to look like on your wedding day.

I've hunted around for some pictures (am I stupid for not bringing them initially? I thought 'golden' and 'natural' were pretty straightforward. Next time I'll keep my trap shut about 'defined eyes') and found these, which I realize are a bit different from one another but I like them all:

Then I moved over to the hair lady. Her hair is textured about the same as mine, so I felt confident that she'd know how to handle it. We sat down together in the waiting room as I went over the hairstyles I'd been considering. She recommended that we go with the updo (the side bun) as opposed to the side ponytail because she'd have more control over keeping frizz in check in case it rains on our wedding day. Because the side bun was my first choice anyway, I agreed.

Then she pulled out all these crazy old-school books with all these intricate twists and crap. Obviously, Audrina's rockin a pretty straightforward beehive-esque bun in this inspirational photo, so I told the hair lady I'd like to keep it simple. That's when she cranked out a hairstyle that made me look like this (less one mound, obv):

Criminey. Not what I was going for. And the way it looked from the back was even more ridiculous. The 'curl' bun wrapped almost to the back of my head.

My mom and I gently told her that maybe the simple style I chose was a bit too simple and that she should add a twist or two to spice it up a bit and contain it. She was happy to oblige since that was more or less her suggestion in the first place.

The finished product looked much close to Audrina's style, but it still wasn't quite there.

I spoke with my mom about the appointment the day after, and we're thinking I should go in a completely different direction with my hair since it turned out just okay and I want it to turn out great. Now I'm on the prowl for some more images. And hair ornaments - though I've considered making one out of the extra fabric from my dress.

Wish me luck!
This page, like our house, is a work in progress.


Our 1958 ranch was a foreclosure. We had our eyeballs on it a mere two days after in went on the market. The exterior alone (okay, the backyard) had us at hello. But the combination of allowing only conventional or cash buyers by the seller and crunching some numbers brought us to the sad realization that we couldn't afford it, so we sadly shuffled off to scope out other houses.

A few weeks and a few signs* later, the price dropped $20,000, and it was within reach. We used a family friend as a real estate agent, made a few offers, and got it!

At 960 finished square feet, 960 unfinished square feet, three bedrooms, one full bathroom, and a sunroom with a partially fenced 1/2 acre yard and a huge shed, it is just the right size for our baby family.**



This is obviously a shot of the front of the house, complete with the typical foreclosure this-yard-is-a-mess warning sign plastered to the screen door.


{ Coming! }



A huge picture window overlooks the front yard, which is thankfully set back quite a healthy distance from the street. We're only about three houses from a cul-de-sac, so it should be a quiet street. Fun fact: my dad and stepmom live at the end of the street and have since 1991-ish.


{ Coming! }



When we moved in, the room only had a sad two-limbed fan with no light and a fireplace. I LOVE the fireplace and think I will love it even more once it's totally made over. Obviously the fan is going.


{ Coming! }



With its pink carpet, broken fan, and mismatched fireplace, I still love the awkard but cozy living room.

{ Coming! }



The kitchen, with its wood-paneled dishwasher. None of the appliances worked, so we had to replace them all. The wallpaper and the flooring need to go, as well.


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Another view of the kitchen floor and wallpaper, looking into the living room. From this angle you can also see just how narrow the entrance to the kitchen is, since the fridge juts out into the walkway.


{ Coming! }



A view of the french doors leading onto the sunroom. The sunroom-turned-dining room is one of my favorite future projects!


{ Coming! }



That wood paneling and the neon orange trim with the pink carpet and the three-legged fan? Need I say more?


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*My new job was located on a street by the exact same name as the house. And as J and I argued about the expense while running some errands, we passed a Home Inspection vehicle that just screamed "Buy This House!". At least, to me, it did.
**If you haven't, check out A Practical Wedding. Meg is a genius.

Here I'll keep track of our wedding spending for all of you to see. It's going to be scary, so hold on tight!

Click the links to check out posts related to these topics.

Food: $1,150
Dessert: $80

Tealights: $87 (includes 300 tealights and 130 tealight holders)
String Lights: $60 (about 312' worth of white Christmas lights. Still need to buy some more)
Alter Chandelier: $30
Fabric Runers: $20

Paper Goods

Save the Dates: $62
Invitations: $137
Invitation Inserts (with driving instructions, wedding website url): $17
Postcard RSVPs, double-sided: $45
Bridal Shower Thank-You Cards: $17
Thank-You Notes: will order after the wedding
Stamps: $TBD

Table + Place Settings
DIY Napkins: $30
Mason Jars (Glasses): $75 $105
Vintage Vases: $100 (approximately 65 total)
Plates and silverware: $84 (dinner and dessert plates; plastic forks, knives, and spoons that look like real silver)

Wardrobe + Beauty
Wardrobe (B): $797 (includes dress + tax, shoes)
Alterations (B): $150 (includes hemming, breast padding, and bustling)
Wardrobe (J): $465 (includes suit + tax, alterations)
Hair and Makeup: $285 (includes trials but no tips)
White Knots: $6

Tents, Tables, and Chairs, Oh My!: $1300
Yard Work: $2,000


Can't tell you what they are! $630 (for the bridal party, family, Rev Roc)

27 April 2011

Invite Me, Invite Me Not

J and I sent out our invitations last week, and the RSVPs have already begun to roll in. So exciting!

We went with Sarka's design of Citrus Press Co again, and she was fabulous to work with!

She customized her design to include our details and also custom-designed a double-sided RSVP postcard to match.

I also designed two inserts, one with driving directions from a few common routes to our house and one with our wedding website url, in Photoshop. The format for these was actually as one postcard, which I had printed through VistaPrint for about $17, that I then cut into two smaller pieces.

Here's the final invitation (with some personal details blurred out):

Here's the front and back of our RSVP postcards (again, with some personal details blurred out):

The insert isn't nearly as nice to display here as almost all the information is personal, but you can get an idea of the design:

I don't usually push vendors, but I highly recommend Sarka's business for your invitations. They were inexpensive, she's quick to respond, and she provides a tracking number once she ships them.

And the quality of her invitations is amazing! We have gotten so many compliments already!

26 April 2011

Hair Indecision

I have scheduled my hair and makeup trial for this week at a place I’ve never been. It makes me a little nervous, but I didn’t have many options.

I tried using a contact from a friend for makeup, but she’s attending a wedding on June 11th.

Then I tried using a hair and makeup team I found that comes to your house or venue, but they were booked that day, too.

Luckily I found a shop about 7 minutes away that will do our hair and makeup, and their pricing is the cheapest I’ve found. I’ll take cheap if I only have to drive 7 minutes each way.

Now I’m stumbling over what type of hair style to choose. My first inclination is to go with a side bun. A bit messy, nothing too smooth or perfect, like these:

What I don't want when it comes to the side ponytail:

It's a bit too, well, bridal for my taste. Too prommy or something.

Yet my stepmom and mom are encouraging me to leave my hair down. Appealing, since I'd like the feel to be casual to compliment our backyard wedding, but what if it's humid? What if I get hot? What if I need my hair wrangled? And part of me thinks that I don't need to be casual just because our wedding is a bit on the casual side because - hey - I'm the bride.

So then I moved on to consider a side ponytail. It can look a bit dressier while containing my hair and still looking somewhat 'down'. My only fear? Looking like a country music star:

I hate that roll thing in the front. Eeek.

This is actually probably exactly what I want (oh, Keri Russell, how I love you. It's meant to be):


Except I'd probably have the part on the same side as the ponytail. And while my hair isn't nearly as curly as hers naturally, I do think that our hair is probably about the same texture.

This is nice, too. The volume is a little much but then again I think you need some volume to make it look done as opposed to I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-I-love-the-eighties.

I think my favorites are the first side bun, the Keri Russell hair, and the Katie Holmes hair. Any input from you?

Where my WB girls at?