Monthly Archives: March 2010

Ring Conundrum

I was recently let in on a little secret:  one of my best friend’s little brothers is about to get engaged!  He is taking his girlfriend on a cruise this month and he will be popping the question to here while on board the ship.  However, he’s having a bit of trouble deciding what to do about the ring.

The backstory:  N & D have been dating for a few years, and they’ve been very open in their discussions regarding marriage.  D is very particular about the jewelry she wears, and N wants to let her be involved in picking out the ring.  He has a very specific budget he is sticking to, so he wants to let it be her choice whether she puts more into the size of the diamond, the setting, etc.  However, he does NOT want her to know that they are getting engaged—he wants it to be a total surprise.  His current solution is to buy a cheap-o fake ring to propose to her with and then let her go ring shopping with him when they get back from the cruise.

ring shopping(Note:  This is obviously not N&D.  Image from here) 

So where is this conundrum I speak of? Well, my friend K (N is her little brother) brought up this point to him:  “When I get engaged, I am going to feel so sentimental over that moment and that story…that I will feel tied to whatever ring he proposes with.  So I think you should at least consider getting her a real ring because she may love it just because of the sentimental value surrounding it.”  N realized K had a good point and became confused about what to do.  Now, he’s considering these options:

Option A:  Buy a solitaire diamond.  This way she can still pick a different setting at a later time, but gets to have the sentimental value of always wearing the diamond he picked for her.
Option B: Buy a fake ring and take her shopping later.  Obvious pro of this is that she can then choose the ring she really wants.
Option C:  Buy her a birthstone ring, which he can use to propose and then she can wear on her right hand once they return and go shopping for the “real” ring.  A big con of this?  If he buys her a nice birthstone ring, it will cut into the budget for the actual ring—remember, he’s on  a set budget and isn’t moving from there. Option D:  Pick the ring and setting all by himself, knowing that he knows her quite well and wants the opportunity to choose something beautiful for her. 

I’m inclined towards Option D, as that’s what Dr. Groomy did for me.  And he picked out a gorgeous ring that I absolutely LOVE and definitely would have chosen for myself. 

Ring
(I love it so much I used it for my blog header!  Photo by Sarah Immel Photography)

So friends, I turn to you.  How did your fiancé pick out your ring?  If you were in N’s position, what would you do?

*Note:  I received permission from said parties to share this story.  Wanna know how it ends?  Stay tuned!

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Filed under Jewelry, Relationships

A “Taste” of Our Wedding

This past Friday, we had our tasting at the reception venue.  My parents, Dr. Groomy and I headed over around lunch time to sample some menu items and make selections for our reception!  We had such an enjoyable time and I am SOOOO excited for our reception…attending the tasting made it feel all the more real to me.  I was also excited to show my parents the reception space for the first time.  They’ve only seen pictures so far, so it was great to have them experience the space first hand.

We started off by discussing linen options and looking at some samples.

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I asked them to have samples in both gold and red (our two main colors), so I could see how linens could dress up and dress down the tables.  After mulling over the choices for awhile, we decided to sit and eat first and discuss the linens and logistics afterwards.

We started off with the wines.  The house wine for our venue is Grand Cru, and we tried their Chardonnay and their Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both were fabulous.  Dr. Groomy and I love wine and we have started to develop a more discerning pallet—and I would definitely say that these were two great choices!  Unfortunately, Dr. Groomy couldn’t try any wine because he had to go to work afterwards, but I can vouch for how yummy they were.

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Next, we tried the salad options.

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Fresh Herb Salad:  mesclun spring mix and crisp romaine with sweet herbs, grape tomatoes, and rice wine vinaigrette

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Spinach Salad:  spinach greens with a goat cheese crouton and oven dried tomatoes served with a balsamic vinaigrette and citrus garnish

005  Bibb Salad: Boston Bibb lettuce, roasted roma tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan cheese with Italian herbs vinaigrette

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Caprese Salad:  sliced roma tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella with sweet basil, aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

All of the salads were really delicious, but we especially loved the Bibb Salad and the Caprese Salad.  The Spinach Salad was actually Dr. Groomy’s favorite, but we decided not to go with it because goat cheese is such an acquired taste—my dad actually said, “I think goat cheese tastes like a barn!”  In the end, we decided to go with the Bibb Salad over the Caprese, as the groom doesn’t like tomatoes.  The Bibb Salad was absolutely fantastic:  the lettuce was light and slightly buttery, the roasted tomatoes were TO DIE FOR and the whole salad was crisp and delicious. 

Next, we moved on to the entree selection.  The first two entrees we tried were the pasta dishes:

Shrimp Cavattapi:  gulf shrimp tossed in a light pesto cream sauce, zucchini squash, and cherry tomatoes

and

Wild Mushroom Ravioli:  ricotta ravioli with wild mushrooms, truffle cream sauce and a parmesan crisp

You’ll have to imagine what they look like, as we were so busy devouring them I forgot to take their picture!  Needless to say, when we were done eating, our plates looked like this:
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Both of these menu items were so delicious.  The Shrimp Cavattapi, with its pesto cream sauce, was one of the lightest dishes I have ever tasted.  The pesto was simply perfect.  And the Wild Mushroom Ravioli?  Heaven on a plate.  The mushrooms were beautiful and the truffle cream sauce divine.  You would not miss meat in this dish as the mushrooms were perfect:  earthy, meaty, and cooked just right.

After the pasta dishes, we moved on to the meat dishes (meat on a Friday during Lent…bad Catholics!  Don’t worry, we all made it a point to abstain earlier in the week because we knew would be eating meat at the tasting):

009   Tuscan Chicken:  one-half chicken, crisply roasted in traditional Tuscan style with rosemary and garlic, served with caramelized Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes

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Hanger Steak:  marinated and grilled hanger steak, mushroom potato cake, glazed carrots, and red wine-shallot butter sauce

Both of these dishes were delicious as well, but we especially loved the Tuscan Chicken.  I am not a big steak eater, so that was not a big priority for me.  It was delicious, and the mushroom potato cake was divine, but in the end it was no match for the Tuscan Chicken.  The meat on the chicken was so tender and fell right off the bone when we cut it.  The flavors were divine and even the Brussels sprouts were delicious.  It was definitely not your average dry “wedding” chicken.

After we were done eating, we discussed the logistics of our event:  things like how many bars we’ll be having (answer: 3!),  tables needed, and the timing of the evening.  Then we went back to discussing linens and after asking our venue’s coordinator what would give us the most drama, cohesiveness, and bang for our buck, she suggested a great idea.

First, this is the traditional place setting (photo taken before we started eating).
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But, with Maria’s suggestions, we’re going to up the ante a little and have our tables set like this:

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Ivory floor length table cloth, with a light gold table runner (we compared to my swatches and the gold is almost an EXACT match with the bridesmaid dresses).  Each place setting will have a gold charger with an ivory napkin folded on top of it, and a menu card (designed by me, of course!) tucked inside.  Beautiful, no? (Note of clarification:  All of the place settings will still have the same silverware and set up as the previous picture, just with the added additions of the chargers and upgraded linens.)

We decided against doing chair covers, for several reasons: 
1) They are expensive, and no one really notices them.  We figure we’ll get more oomph with less money by opting to upgrade to floor length linens, use a table runner and add chargers to give the place settings some pizzazz instead. 
2) Truthfully, I’m not that big a fan of chair covers in the first place…if you have a lot of guests, and thus a lot of chairs, I feel like chair covers can really overwhelm a space.
3) Our venue’s banquet chairs are actually quite decent and fit with our color palette anyways!  Behold:

Wedding Venue 016

So, what menu choices did we choose?  Originally, we didn’t think we would offer a menu choice.  We thought, “We’ll just pick one entree, and if there are special dietary requests or needs from our guests, we will work around that on a case-by-case basis.”  In the end, though, after discussing it with our parents, we decided…we just couldn’t decide!  So we’re offering a menu choice to the guests, so they can pick exactly what the want.  Our preliminary menu is:

First Course:  Bibb Salad
Entree:  Choice of either Shrimp Cavattapi or Tuscan Chicken

We still have to decide on hors d’oeurves for the cocktail hour and make final selections for our children’s menu, but we are so excited about the adult food.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it! 

The reception hasn’t felt real to me, until we had this tasting.  Now that I have seen linens and tasted food and drink, I realize that all this is finally happening.  My ideas and plans are all coming to life—and they are going to look good together!  We are so excited about everything and can hardly wait to celebrate with family and friends. 

Did you do a tasting at your venue?  How did you choose your menu items?

*All photos in this post by me.

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Filed under Colors, Decor, Food & Drink, Venue

Welcome!

Welcome, family and friends, to my wedding planning blog!  By now, you’ve received your save-the-date and if you’re here, it means you’ve checked out our wedding website.  Thanks for visiting me as well!  To catch you up on the wedding planning process:

You can read about our venue here.

Find out about our photographer here.

Find out about our DJ here.

Interested in flowers?  Read my Flower Power series here, here, and here.

Want to see some of our engagement pictures?  Check those out here.

Check out how I’m staying organized here and here

And if you want to find out about anything else, you can either use the search box on the upper right side of the screen or click on any of the categories (lower right) to find out more.  Also check out the tabs at the top of the screen to find out about me and this blog as well as some of the DIY projects I’ve been working on for the wedding. Please check back often, as I update three to four times per week. 

Thanks for visiting and we can’t wait to see you all in October!

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STDs, Part Two: The Reveal

Our Save-the-Dates are finished!  Hallelujah.  They are going in the mail today so I am revealing them to you now!

Save-The-Date 001 Here’s what our guests will see when they receive their envelopes.  On the front is a custom envelope label that I made and ran through my Xyron.  The two fonts we used for the STD design are Girls Are Weird and Century Gothic.  Originally, I had wanted the labels printed in the Girls Are Weird font, but we decided to use Century Gothic instead because I was concerned that the GAW font would cause delivery problems.  On the back of the envelope are the custom monogram stickers (also created and Xyroned by me) with our initials and wedding date.  I LOVE these—I think they’re so fun!  I am hoping to incorporate them into our Out-of-Town Bags.

Save-The-Date 003
When guests open the envelope, they’ll hopefully take notice of the lovely envelope liners I slaved over made.  Who am I kidding?!  They probably won’t notice but that’s ok—I love the way they look.  This is one of two designs (I used two different types of wrapping paper). Pull out the Save-The-Date and…

Save-The-Date 004  Tada!  We went with design two, which had the dotted border.

Save-The-Date 005  Flip the postcard over and you’ll see the magnets my dad and I attached.

Save-The-Date 006
And here it is altogether!

Overall, I am thrilled with the way these turned out.  There are a few things I would change—namely, the font size.  I had the same issues Miss Scissors did in that when you create a design, then turn it into a PDF, then upload it to a website, a lot of times the fonts and resolutions will change.  I think the writing is a little small on the postcards, but overall, it’s not that big of a deal.  The dotted border didn’t work out as planned, either…it is way to the edge of the postcard and not framing the photo as I had hoped.  Oh well, these are both small things in the long run and I don’t really care!  These babies were a labor of love and I definitely learned a big lesson:  I will NOT be DIYing our invitation suite. Way too much work for my tastes!  However, I love how our Save-the-Dates turned out and I hope our guests will be super impressed love them too. 

Did you send Save-The-Dates?

*All photos by me.  Sorry the blurring sucks…does anyone want to teach me how to make those snazzy white bars or fun swirls to cover up personal information?!

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Filed under Stationery

Another Milestone

Guess what?  As of today, there are only

200 Days

Wow, I can’t believe it!  Time is really flying.  Yay!  

*Graphic created by me in Microsoft Word.  Can I just say how much I love the Windows 7 Snipping Tool?!  SO awesome…it can make JPEGs out of anything on your screen!

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Filed under Just For Fun

Crate and Barreled

On Saturday, Dr. Groomy and I headed to Crate and Barrel to start our first registry! 

Registering 001

I’m not going to lie—I was super excited about this and kept thinking, “I don’t understand how anyone could get overwhelmed…this is going to be a blast!”  HA!  I was slapped with overwhelmed-ness (is that even a word?!) right when we walked in.  If you haven’t registered yet, listen up:  there is SO much to choose from that it’s damn near impossible for you to NOT get overwhelmed.  Tip #1:  Just remember to take a few deep breaths, and have fun.  You can always change your registry later and you can always return things you decide you don’t want after all.  So have a blast!

Dr. Groomy wielded the gun, while I wielded our checklist. 

Registering 003
(Doesn’t he look just thrilled?!  Haha!)

Tip #2:  Bring a checklist!  There was another couple there registering at the same time as us, and they were just wandering the store aimlessly.  That’s definitely fun to do, but as I said before, it can quickly become overwhelming.  If you have a checklist, it helps focus things down a bit.  The girl from that couple actually joked that she was going to bother us to ask what was on our checklist…so I definitely recommend bringing one.  It made me feel less harried as we wandered through the store, because I knew specific things to look for!  I downloaded our checklist direct from the Crate and Barrel website.  It is a pretty comprehensive list, so I didn’t feel the need to look elsewhere. 

Registering 004
(I am clearly more excited than he was, haha!)

Tip #3:  Register for anything and everything.  Dr. Groomy was better at this than I was—he scanned everything he could possibly think of.  It feels greedy, yes, but the point is to give your guests lots of options in a lot of different price ranges.  Some of the tiny dumb things we registered for that I am excited about:

Avocado 3-in-1 
Avocado 3-in-1 Tool*

Breakfast Mug & Saucer
Breakfast Mugs and Saucers, perfect for cereal and oatmeal*

Strawberry Huller
Strawberry Huller*

*(Source for above three photos)

Tip #4:  Don’t be afraid to register for the big ticket items.  We didn’t register for any furniture, but I think eventually we will end up registering for a patio set or some bookshelves.  Unlikely that our guests will purchase them, but remember—most registries do a completion discount, so you can go back and buy anything that wasn’t purchased.  Big ticket items are also great for group gifts!  Here was my favorite big ticket item we registered for on Saturday:

Registering 002 
Dun dun dunnnnnnn…the famous KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  Actually, I am going to switch mixers though.  This is the 90th Anniversary edition, and the reason I registered for it was because it was the only one there available in red (my favorite color).  We are doing a second registry through the Bon-Ton stores, so I will register for a standard mixer there (also available in red).  I am not crazy about the glass bowl on this one or the extra $100 it costs because it is an “anniversary” edition.

So there you have it—our first adventure in registering.  I’ll offer just one more tip, ladies:  take your man to lunch afterwards!  Especially if he goes to register with you on the first Saturday of NCAA March Madness.  Now that’s love!

How was your first registry experience?

*All photos by me or Dr. Groomy unless otherwise noted.

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Fitness Fridays

I recently signed up for a year’s worth of personal training sessions at my gym.  Frankly, I wasn’t feeling happy with how I felt or looked, and I always have a hard time pushing myself.  Yes, I ran a marathon, but it seems that in handling a  day-to-day fitness & health routine, I sort of mail it in.

A bit of background on my health & fitness history:  I have always been thin, but lately, I have gotten a bit pudgy around the edges.  My arms, abs, and thighs have seen the worst of it, and I definitely don’t want to look back on my wedding day pictures and wish I had done a little extra to take care of myself.   Back in February of 2008, I joined a weight loss site called Calorie King.

CK(Source)

There, I logged my food and exercise and blogged daily about my feelings on my weight, health, and life in general.  Calorie King is actually what got me started on blogging…and I still blog there daily. I quickly lost 10 pounds and felt great.  Around this time, I also took up interest in distance running, which led to participating in several 5Ks, a half marathon, and eventually the marathon I ran last fall.   I have made many wonderful friends on Calorie King (several of whom read this blog), and have even met some of them in real life.  I cannot tell you how much I love the community, the ideals and the science behind the Calorie King website. 

Recently, though, I’ve fallen a bit off the wagon; hence my want for personal training sessions.  Are they expensive?  Yes.  Are they worth it to me?  Yes.  Why?  Because it’s not about getting toned for the wedding, it’s finally about getting to a healthy weight and shape to maintain for the rest of my life.  Combined with regular cardio, my personal training sessions, and logging my food on the Calorie King website, I finally feel like I am back on the right track to health and fitness.

 Buff Bride
(Source)

So, now that you have the background, I thought I’d introduce Fitness Fridays once a month here on the blog.  Every month, during the week that I weigh in, take my measurements and fitness tests, I will post my results for you here…sort of a really public form of motivation, I guess!

Here’s my starting stats:

General:
Height:  5’3” (this obviously won’t change!)
Weight: 141
Body Fat Percentage: 33.4%

All of the following measurements are in inches:
Neck: 12.5
Chest: 35.5
Shoulders: 40
Waist: 30.5
Hips: 40
Biceps: 11.5 (evenly matched on both sides)
Thighs: 21 (evenly matched on both sides)
Calves: 13.5 (evenly matched on both sides)

Fitness Tests:
Upper Body Strength: 40lbs is my 1 rep max
Lower Body Strength: 230lbs is my 1 rep max (Thank you, Marathon training!)
Flexibility: 0" (This is piss poor for being a dance teacher. I will say that I was not warmed up at all and their flexibility test is weird. You stand on a step and bend over, and they measure how far from the top of the step your fingertips extend. I could touch my toes but not extend beyond, so that’s why I got 0. Sort of dumb, right?!)
Muscular Endurance: Sit-Ups 27 in one minute, Push-ups 25 in one minute

I have had three training sessions so far and I LOVE IT.  It’s torture…but I somehow manage to look forward to it?  Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Are you doing a shape-up for your wedding and beyond?  Share your motivational tips and tricks in the comments!

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