Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kendall, Candle, Candle, Kendall

With Dave in New York this week I'm taking advantage to getting Lots of Wedding Things Done (that deserved to be capitalized). Today, Dave registered us for Pre-Cana, I emailed our "personal registry consultant" (really!) at Bloomingdale's, and I contacted Team: Wedding (aka my bridesmaids) about dress fittings. Tomorrow we're checking out Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Thursday we plan to go shopping for wedding rings. Also on the agenda: sketching out our save-the-dates and invites and sculpting our cake toppers (version 1 was too big, version 2 too cartoony, version 3 will be abstract and sculptural. I...think.).

But tonight! I am thinking about candles. My kiddo loves candles almost more than me (which is funny! because my name sort of sounds like...y'know...). We're currently in the middle of the Great Tablescaping Debate (flowers? hurricane glasses? moss?). Right now, in the dead of winter, I'm feeling the no-flowers thing, nothing but simple, beautiful candles.

I'm all for simple greenery and pretty white candles.

Colored candle holders! I actually sort of want this in our house.

Beeeautiful! Although you'd sort of have to say good-bye to the person on the other side of the table. Still, pretty, no?

Not for tables but still gorgeous. These I'm actually pretty sure we'll do.

Big, bold, beautiful.
I love the simple statement of a row of oversized white candles.
Plus then Dave can take them to study by
(which he really does! I think he thinks it's cozy..?)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Very Merry

Merry Christmas blog-o-sphere!

Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is to sing very loud for all to hear.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bling Bling

Comes with free pen/carrying case

I noticed something today that got me thinking...

A coworker recently got engaged, and after I congratulated her and shared post-engagement stories, I asked to see her ring. She seemed a little embarassed as she held it out--it was pretty, and huge--and right away she said she had to get it made smaller because "it looked like costume jewelry." I don't know if she meant the ring band or the diamond, and I didn't ask, but I thought it was a little strange. The diamond in my own engagement ring is smaller, and I got the sense that she was worried that she was showing off or embarrassing me because hers is so much bigger.

It's bizarre, but it's not the first time it's happened (another was a friend of a friend who got engaged a week or two before me. We made the mistake of holding out our hands at the same time, she blushed, said something about the size, and pulled her hand away). And every time it does happen, I feel weird. I love my ring, L-O-V-E it. There is absolutely nothing I would change about it, including the diamond size--it is so exactly what I want that I keep trying to pressure Dave into picking out the wedding band, too.

So why all the weird feelings about comparing ring sizes? I don't really know where it comes from, and I'm not the best at making anti-Tiffany's rants or raging about the consumer-driven mindset that's led people to equate size of diamond with amount of love and happiness afforded to a couple.* Still, it bothers me, and I don't like feeling like I have to defend my beautiful ring every time someone pulls out something bigger (which I don't do, because that would only add to the weirdness, but the feeling's still there).

I think engagement rings, unlike almost any other kind of jewelry, are so universal and so expected and so tied up with feelings of love that they naturally lend towards comparisons. And I don't think this is necessarily bad, and I enjoy seeing different styles and shapes and settings, but feeling any kind of embarrassment about rings--yours or someone else's--is pretty silly.

*You know who is awesome at this? Meg, from A Practical Wedding. Along with oversized engagement rings, her blog should be required for all brides- and grooms-to-be.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Roma, Stiamo Arrivando!

Honeymoon tickets bought! Two-and-a-half weeks in Italia with my bambino!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lacy Embroidery

I think celebrity weddings are a little silly in general, but I did love Nicole Richie's lacy embroidered sleeve:
My wonderful talented grandma is making my wedding veil, and I would love love love to include this in the design. What a sweet, pretty, personal detail (to share with German tabloid magazines...).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Christmastime is almost here!

If I knew how to knit well-enough, I would be making these for me and my kiddo:

They are called Smittens and they're for couples to hold hands as they walk. I know, right?

For all you knitters, here's the pattern

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mmm Cake...

Red velvet cake, made by Martha.
Yes, it is perfect and I want, obvs.

This weekend I get to participate in the part of wedding planning that Dave has been excited about since day 1: menu tasting!

Sadly my funny honey will be studiously studying for exams and won't be able to come (more cake for me!!!), so this is a mother-daughter face-food-stuffing.

I used to be (and sort of still am) a pretty terribly picky eater. But ever since I graduated and have had to fend (and cook) for myself, my tastes have broadened, and I've discovered I really like food--cooking it, researching it, and (duh) eating it. Actually, my first foray into the wild world of blogging was creating a cooking blog, Res-o-puh-leese, and still one of the few things that helps me recover from a bad day is going wild at the grocery store splurging on fancy cheeses and artisan pastas.

But while I love cooking, I know I am a far cry from an adequate chef, and as much as secretly dream of opening up my own cupcake bakery (it will be painted bright yellow with a huge plate glass window and antique French brass accents and be called "Sunshine Bakery"), I am sort of only mediocre. Which is why good food made well is one of my favorite things in the world and why I have been counting down the days (three!) until the menu tasting.

Yes, they cater weddings.
Unfortunately I think to pay them you have to spin a whole room full of straw into gold,
plus Illinois sales tax.

Side note on the good food, because Dave says I have to blog about this in some capacity: Last week we had the best meal in our entire lives at Tru, a restaurant in Chicago and current owner of one Michelin star (wha-whaaat?!?). Last year Dave got a gift certificate to go there from his uncle, and we finally decided to take the plunge and splurge on food (I was proud of Dave for giving good food its due. This is a man whose go-to meals consist of hot dogs and tortilla-wrapped PB&Js). Oooooh man... Thirteen courses later we were lost in a happy food coma. I still dream of the delicate caviar, the caramel-flavored foie gras, the roasted venison, the cheese cart (oh the cheese cart!!!). I never wanted to leave, just to spend the rest of my existence beneath those cathedral ceilings, having dapper young men in red suits continually deposit and whisk away (in sync) plate after plate of confusingly-pronounced, precisely-prepared heaven.

mini cobblers haunt my dreams...

I'm not planning to hold my wonderful caterer up to such ridiculously high standards, but good food at our wedding is certainly a goal. As it should be! How many tough chickens and watery pastas must wedding guests endure? The best wedding food I ever had was at a friend's casual back-yard affair, where, she said, about half the budget went just to the food. It showed. All day today I was thinking about the delicate raw sushi with candied ginger, the gazpacho shooters, the delicate cheese puffs... Was their wedding almost three months ago? Yes, and I can still remember every bite--that's a good menu.

So, I can't wait to dive in to all that wonderful wedding deliciousness, especially cake tasting! Oh man, cake tasting... Hear that fiance? While you are slaving away over regressions and algorithms (that's what you do, right?), I will be sampling piece upon piece of wonderful wedding cake... That's what getting married is all about, right?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wanna Be on Top?*

A few months ago my mom sent me an article about people making and selling wedding cake toppers (all you have to do is go on etsy and you will trip over about a dozen handcrafted wooden brides and grooms). She was like, "You should do this!" and I was like, "Yeah!"

And then I realized that would entail making my own cake toppers. Hmm...

I added it to my growing list of DIY-To-Dos and put it out of my mind until December and Christmas break, which is when I thought I would take care of all my wedding stuff (rings, bridesmaid dresses, menu-setting), and then I realized my To-Do list had about 40 things on it and that I was actually planning on having a relaxing Christmas and that maybe I'd better get my rear in gear on some of this stuff.

So last weekend I turned on a movie, curled up in my Snuggie, and sculpted a mini-me and a mini-Dave. It was fun!

Aren't they cute? They will be painted normal people-colors and given real clothes (yeah I'm not sculpting a tux out of clay), which is why the bodies look a little wonky and mini-Dave needs "some meat on [his] bones" (to quote a certain groom I know).

I love their little faces. I designed them after the cartoons of me and Dave I draw.

Note the side bun! I like.

My only concern? They're heavy! Like, might fall through the cake heavy... I'm thinking of lopping off the heads (murder! muurrrrderrrr!!!) and attaching them to lightweight modeling clay, which will be hidden by the doll clothes. I'll post cake toppers v2.0 in a few weeks, but so far so good!

*Apologies to all the straight men/people over 40 for my America's Next Top Model reference. You're happier not knowing...

Saturday, November 13, 2010


sort of want these to be our wedding bands...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Flow It, Show It, Long as God can Grow, My Hair

I'm on a blogging kick! As the big pieces continue to fall into place (did I maybe get my SHOES in the mail today??), I'm having fun checking out miscellaneous pretty wedding details.

I have no idea what I will be doing with the mop-top on my head, but it is fun to look at pictures. I've actually been growing out my hair for the wedding ever since we got engaged. Pretty much the only opinion Dave actually expressed was that he likes my hair down and long. I like it too, but since we're getting married in August, and since my hair (long, thick, curly, dark) basically rivals solar panels for absorbing light and heat, he may have to give up the dream.

Right now I'm thinking lose, relaxed, messy braids, side bun.

I've long been envious of blonde hair
and how lovely it looks twisted up,
and this lady is no exception.
Also, does she not look JUST like Brita from Community?

This was my go-to style for the summer.
A sweeping side chignon with cute, 1920's charm,
it got me through two weddings and an outdoor date.
The best part?
It takes all of 4 minutes (and 40 bobby pins) to do.
Instructions here (from the always-enviable Martha)

Love love love
So sweet and simple and elegant and relaxed,
which make up some pretty nice qualities to have in a bride on any day.

This one might be stretching too much towards casual, even for me.
But I'll take the giant flower pin and delicate necklace, thanks.

Her hair might be closest to mine,
her sexyface not so much.
Still, if I were going to attempt to go hair down,
this is how I would do it:
big beautiful curls, maze of flowers, vavoom volume

So sweet, I love it.
Another one that actually looks pretty near to my real hair
(although sadly I lack the gloss and bounce).

And to top things off, a real bride!
She is adorable, and, if I do say so myself,
kicks the pants off the models up above.
There is nothing quite like a real-life blushing bride,
pretty and happy with that I just got married!!! glow,
to keep things real.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Married Life

Right now I'm in Chicago, taking the day off,
and in between making spaghetti with friends
and wandering around the neighborhood apartment-gazing,
I have been happily imagining my life with my husband-to-be.

If things turn out half as nice for us as they did for Carl and Ellie
(minus, you know, that whole not able to have kids thing...),
I will consider our marriage a success.

In other words,
here's a happy video full of love
to start you off on your week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Sound: Swingadelic

Music being the number 1 thing Dave and I don't agree on, I was a little nervous about having to find music for the wedding. On top of that, I do not love the DJs. I briefly toyed with the idea of an iPod wedding (despite warnings from the American Disc Jockey Association about what will happen if you try to use an iPOD!!!!!), but I have eclectic, unusual, and unpopular tastes (also no sound equipment. also no one to man the iPod, so to speak).

Since I don't really like the music DJs play and people don't really like my music (when will the world learn to love Lotion?), I started thinking about fun music in general that will get people up and dancing, and settled on......jazz!

I am not a huge jazz buff, by which I mean I know absolutely zero about good jazz, bad jazz, modern, classic (are those even terms?). All I know is I like to dance to it and Dave and I can agree it.

We decided on a band versus a DJ--something about live music that makes things more exciting--and found Swingadelic.

We went to go check them out in an outdoor concert in Hoboken, where we were joined by my mom and dad, and as soon as we heard them playing, we knew we'd made the right choice.

They made lovely summer night music that got every two year old within a half-mile vicinity up and dancing like some kind of eight-person Pied Piper. But aside from wowing us with their music, they were polite, friendly, and the ultimate pros (their motto: you get married once, we get married hundreds of times).

I am thrilled Swingadelic will be playing at our wedding and cannot wait to kick off what absurdly high (and cute) shoes I wear so I can git down on the dance floor with my friends and family and brand-new husband (dance lessons?).

Swingadelic plays frequently in New York and New Jersey, including several of their wonderful outdoor shows. Fall leaves, picnic, and jazz? Yes, please.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I was told I need to post more about the wedding...
but I am sleepy...
and I want to eat Halloween candy...
I am a big fan of shoe-shopping, and I'm still debating what to go with. My first thought was bright, cheerful, yellow
I like stylish, comfy, unique (these fit the bill on all three)
And I am aaaalmost 800% certain that these little babies will make an appearance
Fancy cowgirl boots?
Right now these are the front-runners. Hello, adorable. They have giant gold bows on them. Look! Bright red toesies? Flowy white dress? I may have to steal every ounce of this stylish lady's fashion sense.
It's not too soon to buy shoes, right?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Place: Neshanic Valley


is Neshanic Valley Golf Club.

Isn't it lovely? I take no credit for finding it (thanks Mom!), but as soon as I walked through the doors, I knew it was for us (Dave was convinced when he drove up the drive and saw the golf academy). Out in farm country, surrounded by trees and grass and flowers, it has clean lines, big windows, simple, elegant furnishings. The ballroom is on the second floor of the building with a wraparound balcony (cocktail hour!). All together, it is lovely and understated, its many windows and balcony highlighting the amazing views (can't wait to be there during a sunset).

Pretty much sealed the deal for Dave...

Not that it wasn't a trial finding it...

As I started my wedding planning extravaganza, choosing the reception venue was the thing I dreaded the most. I had big dreams for the venue: I wanted simple, clean, an intimate, charming space with soul. Unfortunately, I come from Northern New Jersey, which roughly interprets "soul" as "covered with baby angels made of gold. Also, CHANDELIERS!!!!!" Now, I'm not knocking people who like baby angels made of gold. Different strokes and their own drums and that's what makes the world go round. But Dave and I are not those people. Did the venue website include the word "princess" in the description? Move on, move on.

nothing says "love" like frozen naked babies with wings

After narrowing down the finalists, my mom and I set off on the four (4) hour drive to all the venues. We asked questions, we checked out bathrooms (ladies and gentlemen!), we studied light placement and table size and outdoor options. It was studied. It was long. It took aaaall day (did I maybe get a little cranky and try my kindergarten-teacher-mom's already impressive patience? Possibly...).

In the end, though, it was worth it. I knew right from the beginning that Neshanic was the place for us, and checking out the other venues only reinforced the decision. A few days later I sent Dave off to look at them without me (he said the owners seems to vacilate between pleasantly surprised and pitying), and he agreed: Venue. Check.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Want to Marry Sarah Haskins. Sorry, Dave.

Have you heard of the lovely, talented Sarah Haskins?
She is my cute, funny girl hero,
and I heard about her via her brilliant videos
skewering ads focused towards women
(like yogurt that makes you poop!).

I admit, though, Say Yes to the Dress is pretty awesome,
if only for making me feel like a thrifty McThriftster
for spending just four months' rent on a dress I will wear for eight hours.
I mean, I didn't have to sell a kidney to pay for it, RIGHT???

Also I don't really think I'm a bridezilla,
but I hope to spend at least some part of those eight hours
stomping on imaginary tiny cities while roaring at the top of my lungs.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wild for Wildflowers

With the big wedding things out of the way (dress, venue, color scheme, wootwoot), I'm starting to think of the details. One of the first bursts of inspiration I got, after picking our reception hall, was to include wildflowers. Our hall opens out into these beautiful rolling green hills, and the view is so beautiful I knew I wanted the decorations inside to enhance it, sort of an "outside-in" kind of mentality.

I know. I am soooooo original, and wildflowers are popping all over the blogosphere, usually in some sort of vintagey, Mason-jary-type container. And why not? They are beautiful, elegant, a touch of casualness, simplicity, and personality. But as much as I love my Mason jars for storing sauces and keeping my flour dry, our hall is a little too classy to go with jars.

Something like this big white bowl, with flowers exploding out of it, is so lovely.

Mostly I'm thinking muted colors, long textured flowers mixed in with softly-pasteled roses and small blooms.

There's just something so sweet and classic about them.

The other thing I noticed is that almost all my favorite floral arrangements don't come from professional florists: brides, et al, headed out to flower markets a few days before to pick out some fresh, local wildflowers and made their own centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnieres. If I don't splode from the many other DIY projects on my list, I may have to add this one too (also, assemble an army of artistic, flower-arranging friends. There's a Craigslist for that, right?).

I have no photo credits because I've been saving these pictures for a year+ and don't keep good notes. I am very sorry, professional photographers, to not properly cite your excellent work. If you see your photo up here and are mad at me, please leave a comment and I will add your info and also FedEx you a puppy. Wearing a bouquet of pastel, softly-colored wildflowers. And eating a red velvet cupcake. WHAT A DEAL!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cheese Wedding Cakes: Why am I Just Discovering these Now?

Oh my.Do you know what these are?
These are wedding cakes. And they are made out of cheese.
Yes. That's right. Cheese wedding cakes. Has your mind exploded yet? I am literally amazed to have just found these now, seeing as right up there with my fiance and little red cowgirl boots, cheese is pretty much my most favorite thing in the world (I have six different kinds in my fridge right now: Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, cheddar, brie, and provolone. But who's counting?).

Could I get away with a tower of cheese instead of a wedding cake at my reception? Hmm... Something tells me it would get veto'd by lesser dairyphiles...

But really though, aren't they beautiful? Big round tiers, flecked, white, golden, red wax, topped with fresh fruit, fresh flowers, a monument to love and dairy...

Cakes available at the Cheese Shed. Leave it to the British to come up with such a wonderful way to introduce more and more cheese to special occasions. Wallace would be proud.