Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's Weddings Photos

Leaving her first wedding, to hotel barren, Paris-Hilton-great-uncle Nicky Hilton.
Even though I know there are seven more to follow,
and this one resulted in a not-great marriage,
which lasted for less time than most cheeses take to age,
it's hard not to see how happy and swept-away she is.

Style, class, drama--all good things to keep in mind on the wedding day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Be the Perfect Girlfriend/Boyfriend

While Dave and I are vacationing in South Carolina this week, I'm going radio silent on wedding planning. It's wonderful. In the meantime, please be entertained by these two videos, which despite being humor videos, actually contain some good advice on how to maintain a healthy relationship. Happy Friday!

Dating Humor:
How To Be The Perfect Girlfriend

Dating Humor:
How To Be The Perfect Boyfriend

Also, aren't these two actors adorable?
I want to move to Wee Britain and have them be my zany friends.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bling Ring

Since I've already posted about Dave's future wedding band, I thought it was only fair to post about mine.

It's sort of daunting to pick out your wedding band. I mean, that's the ring you're going to wear for the rest of your life. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIIIIIIFE. Scary, yeah?

I was a little nervous a few months ago, when we started looking around at rings. I knew I didn't want a simple band, but something with a little more flair and personality. I also didn't want something that was only a complement to my engagement ring. I mean, I LOVE my engagement ring, but I wanted my wedding band to stand on its own.

I wasn't sure if I wanted a carved wedding band, like my mom's, or an eternity-style ring with lots of stones. Basically, I was willing to take a look at anything. So, around Christmas time, Dave and I headed to the Diamond District in New York to check out the rings.

Have you ever been to the Diamond District? Those people mean business. You literally cannot stand unattended for more than five seconds before someone shouts at you to check out their jewelry. In fact, that was how we found the jeweler who sold us my ring, when he shouted, "Hey guys, I'm back here!"

I tried on a few things, dismayed as usual that my size-four finger does not fit 99% percent of the rings, when our jeweler pulled out this little baby:

Oooh isn't it lovely? I adored the style, the unique design, the (girly alert!) sparkle. But the icing on the cake? It was a perfect size four.

It took about five minutes for me to decide that this was it, my ring. The ring I'm going to marry Dave with, the ring I'm going to wear forever, the ring that means I'm my kiddo's and he's mine and we're, oh gosh, married!

Here it is with my engagement ring. Complements, but isn't overpowered, subtle but unique--it's my wedding ring! So so so so so so crazy, so crazy wonderful!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Made an Impression

After much deliberation, Dave finally decided to go with the fingerprint ring I noticed last summer (just for his ring: I ended up choosing a different wedding band, which will soon get a blog post of its own). They are so, so beautiful, so much so that I'm willing to lay aside my concerns about giving him a wedding ring in which its main appeal is inside the ring, thereby encouraging him to take it off and (probably) spin it across surfaces like he's the host of a late-night talk show.

Part of the fun of the fingerprint wedding rings is that they send you a kit to get your fingerprints. So, we broke it out last weekend.

Everything came with easy-to-read instructions, although I wouldn't recommend trying to do this on your own. There was a lot of boiling water, running water, moving between hot and cold.

We started with soaking my hand in water for 8 minutes, to raise the fingerprints.

It was very early in the morning, hence my "I am not amused/awake" face and Hello Kitty! bathrobe. Don't judge.

The impression kit came with these three-inch long black strips, which we had to heat up in boiling water so they would be soft enough to take impressions (they sent lots of extras in case of mishaps).

Dave boiled the water, then we poured it into a bowl where we floated one of the black strips.

After a few seconds, I took the black strip off and pressed my finger against it (the strip was warm, but not super hot, thankfully).

Then I had to hold my finger under cold running water for a minute to set the impression. This was, by far, the worst part of the whole experience. I am a wimp when it comes to cold, and I spent the whole minute whining and wishing for time to speed up. Then I did again seven more times.

Meanwhile, as I was incapacitated, my wonderful future husband cooked me breakfast. This was a terrific perk and "Have your fiance cook you food" should be part of the official directions.

By the end, we had a beautiful, perfect impression of my finger, for use in my future husband's wedding ring. Yay!

*Like the ring, too? Check out more designs and ordering info here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Wedding Cake Will Be...

...red velvet!

Ooooh man.
This was good.
Wedding guests: you are in for a (literal) treat.

Last weekend, Dave and I finally got to go to our bakery,
Eat Cake Bakery,
to try our cakes.

We had already decided on red velvet before the tasting,
but, sensing an opportunity to eat amazing cakes,
we asked to try a variety.

chocolate with vanilla buttercream and filling
and chocolate with peanut butter filling and vanilla buttercream

tiramisu with canoli filling and vanilla buttercream
and...the winner! red velvet amazingness

They were...wow.
We could only eat a few bites of each before we started to feel a little...caked out,
but they were all so amazing,
if I wasn't absolutely settled on red velvet,
I don't know how I could have decided.

I think my favorite, for pure taste,
might have been the chocolate peanut butter--
there's just something special about that combination.

Which is not to say there was anything amiss with the red velvet...
in fact, it might have been one the best I've had:
rich cocoa flavor,
pure red color,
oh-so-light cream cheese buttercream,
and a sweet surprise on the bottom,
a thin layer of white chocolate.

We went for something clean and simple for the outside,
sharp corners,
smooth lines,
slightly rough on the outside for a "homemade" finish,
topped off with some fresh flowers,
and our DIY wooden cake toppers.

Can't wait.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

5 Kitchen Registry Tips

There are few things I long for more than a well-stocked kitchen, and so building our registry was something akin to picking out the gates of Heaven (less heavenly? The four-hour schlep through Bed, Bath, & Beyond). I've pined for, researched, and finally decided on my ultimate kitchen dream list, and these are a few of the tips and tidbits I've picked up:

#1 Avoid sets
The pots and pans section can be confusing. Copper, anodized steel, non-stick, aluminum--not to mention sizes, weights, colors. It can be tempting to avoid the mess and go with a set. The problem with sets? All those different metals are good for different jobs and when you get a cookie-cutter set, you end up with big gaps in your cooking. Pick and choose what you feel most comfortable with, but in general you want a huge nonstick pan (upwards of 12"), a small nonstick pan (8"), and a medium cast iron pan (10"). Pots should be in a variety of sizes in a sturdy material like steel--non-stick is usually not necessary. You want at least 1 oven-to-stove pot (a Dutch oven), one very small pot (1qt), and one medium size pot (at least 4.5 qts).

Onion goggles, for all your onion-cutting, eye-protecting needs
#2 Get your gadgets to do double duty
Kitchen stores are full of gadgets that promise to save tomatoes, peel garlic, and cut your corners. What they really do is take up space in your drawer. Some gadgets will definitely be worthwhile, depending on how much you use them, but it can be hard to weed out the superfluous ones. The trick? If the item it's supposed to work on is part of its name (lemon zester, nutmeg mill), you can usually substitute something else (microplane grater will get both those jobs done). Unless you only eat lemons and nutmeg. Then have a ball, weirdo.

Liquidize your 401k in this copper-plated tea kettle!
#3 Most expensive does not equal best
With the resurgence of gourmet home cooking, it can be easy to drop a bundle on the most expensive tools and trappings on the market. For the most part, though, a lot of this expensive cookware isn't necessary and cheaper, just-as-good alternatives can be substituted. Which makes sense! Unless your kitchen feeds into Per Se, you're not going to need full professional sets of anything. Splurge on the few things you really want and plan to use regularly (my big-ticket item? A high quality ice cream maker), but otherwise you don't need Le Crueset cast iron cookware (there are cheaper alternatives from celebrity chef lines like Rachel Ray, Emeril Lagasse, and Martha Stewart) or Japanese sashimi knives (good German steel will get you through most situations).

Still good!
#4 But, at the same time, go for quality
There's a temptation, especially when other people are doing the buying, to edge towards the cheaper versions of things. Remember that this is your time to stock up on the items that will last you for the rest of your lives, and, unsurprisingly, that will cost more than what it took to fill your dorm room kitchen. Before you decide on anything, research it, read reviews, pay attention to the brand and history of a product. Avoid plastic and go instead for wood, metal, or ceramic. Take a look at your parents' kitchens and ask them what was on their registries that they still use--and stick with those brands.

Happy Wedding!
#5 Online shopping is a godsend, but check it out in person
I loooove me some online shopping. And online registry shopping is genius. You have more choices, less pressure, and the ability to look up consumer/professional reviews with the click of a Google. I spent weeks honing our registry list, but in the end I knew I was going to have to check everything out in person, so one snowy evening with Dave in tow, I trekked out to Bed, Bath, & Beyond where I spent the next several hours running down the list and Dave curled up in a corner with his iPod like an abandoned child (every half-hour or so I would pat his head while I walked by, and he seemed to enjoy that...). And as much as I loved the ease of the online registry, seeing things in person clarified a lot and helped me realize what was really quality, what was misshapen and poorly designed, and what everything actually looked like (like, don't buy shotglasses thinking they're drinking glasses...).

Special #6, for the wedding guests!
Remember that everything on your registry that your guests asked for, they want. I get it, you want to be the cool wedding guest who buys the mini deep-fryer (no, Dave made me take it off), but think about the things people will really need. I promise you, a full set of cookware will make more people happy than a cotton candy machine (no, again!), and if you come on the registry late and there's still some essential piece of cookware--a pot or pan or a knife--on the list, your to-be-wedded friends will love you for filling the gap.

Good luck, and happy registering!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Well- Suited

I am constantly amazed at the different approaches Dave and I take to wedding planning. Me buying my dress: 4 bridal shops, weeks of searching, agonizing decisions. Him buying his suit: 5 minutes in Joseph A. Banks because they were having a sale.

We'd already gone shopping once for his suit (in Manhattan's suit district. Yes, it exists.), and it didn't go great. Slightly overwhelmed by the choices, Dave had mostly resolved to either go back to Brooks Bros. when they finally put out their spring/summer suits or get something custom made. Either way, since he was buying suits for his groomsmen, he knew it was going to be difficult, expensive, or both to find something that looked nice and fit four differently-sized guys.

Which is why I'm impressed that, as we were walking to the bank last Saturday, he did a double-take at a sale sign for suits at Joseph A. Banks and walked out half an hour later with his wedding suit, another suit for job interviews/presentations, and 4 matching suits for presents for his groomsmen. Every suit was extremely well-made and, if not for the aMAZing sale, too pricey to consider. His total savings were actually more than the total cost of my gown. AND he even ended up with an absolutely beautiful suit--navy blue, like he wanted, with an interesting herringbone weave to set things off.


I think he was skipping on his way out of the store.

We stopped in a department store to look at shoes and as we passed a row of ties he snatched the first gold one he could find ("Bam. Tie. Done."). It was impressive.

All he needed was a pocket square and his shirt, but he was worried he'd already successfully resolved so many wedding issues ("Lemon, I'm Reaganing.") that he didn't want to tempt fate.

So, suit: check. Presents for groomsmen: check. Jealous fiancee: check.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Pretty Song to Get in Your Head

Had this stuck in my head all day
It is sweet and lovely
Get it stuck in your head, too