12.21.2010

Tradition #2: Bridal "Things"

My finals are at last finished for the semester-I literally just finished about half an hour ago. I then grabbed a sandwich, a tall hot chocolate, poured a mini bottle of gin into said hot chocolate and am now commencing with the celebration known as "FINALS ARE OVER!"

It makes me a very, very happy woman.

Now that my week and a half of a hellish work-load has passed, I can concentrate once again on that time-consuming passion: wedding planning.

I've mentioned before about how excited I am for Santa this year (and Christmas in general-- not just the gift giving/receiving!) because I'm anticipating some wonderful wedding goodies that will help me along my way. However, since it's still a few days away (four! four days!!) I don't yet have some fabulous new pretty stuff to share. I also haven't yet found the time I've wanted to paint my alcoholic lemonade jugs, and so I figured I'd write today to you about...bridal things.

Now, I know the title is rather general, but that's because there are so many things that are chalked up to being a bridal experience. There are some necessary ones (dress shopping, for instance), nice ones (bachelorette party! woo!) and the not-so-needed, but definitely intriguing one on which I will be focusing on: the bridal show.





I have never been to a bridal show. I have been engaged for over a year and a half by this point, and although I've received invitations, heard announcements, read blogs about them, I have yet to attend one. I always thought that the pushy sales people, crazy crowds, and bridal fashion show (although I'm sure it's very neat to watch, I'm not the most *fashion forward* person) just weren't worth the potential gain.

That is, until I realized three things.
1) We have this wedding mostly planned. If I see something that catches my eye, great! If not, well-- it's no huge loss.
2) I've read a lot lately from people winning things from these little gatherings. Not necessarily big things (though I've read a few things about the honeymoon package giveaway...) but things, nonetheless- and I am a BIG sucker for free.
3) Free cake and champagne. Did I mention that it was free?

I want to share with you now, that a phrase used by my closest friends to apply to me is "gypsy"-- if there's an hour long lecture about sub-atomic carpet particles, but there are free cookies? I'm there. Those bags they give out at banks or colleges filled with useless advertisements and a few magnets? Never pass one by. Hell, if someone came up to me and offered me a free kick in the ass, I'd probably consider it, just because it was free. Free is one of my two favorite words, the other one being (if you haven't gathered by now) mini.

Free mini things? *Heaven*

So, the lure of free mini things forced me to really think about the idea of going to a bridal show. If I had attended a bridal show early in my engagement, I think I would have been sucker punched by the experience. So many people telling me what my wedding needs to be, shoving products I didn't know I needed to have in my face, the pressure-- I did not need the stress, and I didn't think I'd find it to be an enjoyable experience.

However, as a bride, engaged woman, and human being, I've grown in the last year and a half. In that time, I've learned to *PUT DOWN THE WEDDING MAGAZINE* from time to time, when the ideas were not my style (even though they were very pretty, sparkly, and enticing), or I started to question my own designs. Mikey and I have worked together to create a wedding that is going to reflect who we are as people, not the cookie cutter ones displayed in magazines.*

*not that there's anything wrong with those! They're almost always exquisitely beautiful-- but they're generally just not who we are as a couple.

So, the other day, I got an e-mail in my inbox (where else?) inviting me to the Bridal Show Expo in Chicago! Now, it's not really hard to get tickets-- you can just google the bridal show, find the discount code (I think it was Chicago10?) and get four free tickets to the show in January.

Well, I decided that I was going to try it out this year. I "ordered" the tickets, and I now have them in my possession. On Sunday, January 9th, my besties Sam, Mom, and my Sister and I will all head to Schaumburg, Illinois, to the expo.

Following the directions given to me in an insert, I plan to be armed with a bunch of pre-printed labels with my name, address, e-mail account and wedding date to hand out to vendors, like a good, prepared little bride. I don't really care if I get wedding stuff in the mail-- I adore getting mail-- nor do I care if my wedding inbox gets flooded with offers. I'm pretty sure that to win things, you need to sign up for information, and doggone it, I wanna win stuff.

I will also be prepared to eat as much cake and drink as much champagne as possible.

Basically, I'm going to treat it less as a day for planning, but a day of feeling special, free food and drink for my special peeps, and an interesting experience which will, I'm sure, entitle you to an interesting recap.

And hey, if I win a Hawaiian honeymoon, who am I to complain?

So:

TRADITION #2: ATTEMPTING, BUT WITH CAUTION.


Have you ever gone to a bridal show? Any tips?

12.15.2010

Finals make me...

...want to drink! And so, this post will be about-- you guessed it-- alcohol. Since we are having the party at our own house, we're able to provide our own alcohol. I've mentioned before that we're making our own mead for the wedding; in place of champagne toasts, we're using the mead, since Mikey wooed me with mead the night we met, as well as when he proposed. However, I haven't said a whole lot about the rest of the alcohol-- and trust me, there is going to be quite a bit more.

First off, we will be having kegs. I know that many people associate kegs with a hick-ish, backyard, shot-gun wedding. The backyard definitely applies, but the shot-gun and the hick-ish? Not so much. The thing is, we both have big families.

Very, very big families.

Very, very big, very thirsty families.

Both Mikey and my family really enjoy having a good time, and we often celebrate with a bit of bubbly, beer, or bourbon (Okay, maybe not bourbon so much, but I couldn't pass up the alliteration).

Two members of my family were involved in rugby (in which the third half of the game [yes, third half] is a social, i.e.- go to a bar with the rival team, sing offensive songs, and get wasted together), and Mikey's family...well, they're Wisconsonites, and the only things they might do better than drinking is eat cheese and love Brett Favre.

A lot of our younger guests are going to be either theatre people, who love to party it up and have a good, alcohol accompanied night, or rugby players. Our parents and families are all going to want to kick back, swig a few (dozen) down and dance, and I can't imagine anyone else we're inviting who doesn't enjoy a little imbibing now and again.

So, now that I've made us all sound like a bunch of raving alcoholics (which, by the way, we're not), it should make a little more sense that we're having kegs. I, at first, had looked into just buying beer wholesale, but my sources (i.e., extensive hours of research on google.com) told me that I could save anywhere from 35-50% by having a keg. Fifty percent? I'll take it!

Now that the beer is out of the way, let's move on to beer's sexier friend, hard alcohol. We're definitely going to be having a ton of it for the wedding (we've already begun collecting), and the other day, I picked up a few of these beauties from Goodwill:
These, my friends, are what we're serving the hard alcohol out of.

Now, before you go judging me for my awful taste (too late, perhaps?) let me explain what I'm planning on doing. These puppies, right here:

are going to be used to serve a pre-mixed alcoholic lemonade. They will not, however, look like a garden and clown (respectively) threw up on them. I love painting glass, and I've got a very cute idea to change these two jugs from "woahh..." to "wow!" My last finals are on Tuesday, so I'm sure I'll find lots of procrastinating time between now and then to paint them, take pictures of it all, and show off my creations.

Next, we have this little eclectic bunch:


These are going to be some of the containers for pure hard alcohol: vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, absinthe, scotch- you name it, we're going to have it! Since we're going with a carnival theme, I'm picturing a very long bar (that dearest Mikey will build, although he has yet to be informed) covered with all sorts of differently shaped and colored bottles, all filled with different flavored and colored alcohol. I tried doing a google search to find a collection/arrangement that even remotely matched what I'm envisioning, but to no avail. That's not to say that there isn't a picture already out there that perfectly demonstrates what I'm looking for, but it may be that my brain is so fried from finals week that my googling skills have diminished.

I'm hoping it'll be a beautiful, bright, color explosion, lit from underneath by l.e.d. lights-- sort of a mad hatter's tea party, for adults. Once I get some more bottles (which Santa might be bringing for me!) I'll put together an example and share.


So-- to all of you in blogger land tonight-- whatcha drinkin'?

12.12.2010

Tradition #1: The Head Table.

Sometimes it’s difficult when it’s snowing like crazy outside (and it is!) to think of anything happening in the summer, or the summer, period. It’s days like these that you want to just curl up with a good book in front of a fireplace, next to your tree, drinking hot chocolate.

While browsing the internet, all snuggled up in Mikey’s favorite reclining chair, I stumbled upon this picture:

“…great,” you’re thinking. “What a neat…little…table?”


Ah, right- it may be a bit difficult to picture what it is (beyond what it literally is, a little table) so let me dress it up for you:

Now, that’s what I’m talking about.

I discovered the ‘sweetheart table’ about a year into our engagement, and at first, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about it. I definitely thought it looked cute, and very cozy- but at the same time I worried that having a sweetheart table would maybe alienate me from my guests, or would hurt the feelings of my bridal party.

Then I realized just how many people we have in our bridal party (it’s a lot, but that’s for another time…) and how many of them have kids (6 of them) and how, if we were to do a head table, I would feel bad also excluding my parents. The number of people I’d want to include at our head table started to climb. Then that got into this whole huge mess of ‘how do we expand the head table so that we can fit our bridal party, their family, and everyone else all up on it’?

The answer is, we don’t!

I’ve done some research on the sweetheart table, and the main reason people are saying that they’re a bit taboo for a wedding as a head table is that people will feel less inclined to approach you at your table during the wedding.

…and that’s a bad thing?

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if Mikey and I plan to completely lose ourselves in each other during the wedding and not say a single thing to anyone, but he and I both do like the idea of doing it on our own time. He and I plan to walk around to the tables, greet everyone and thank them for being there—but when we feel the need to drawback a bit and just enjoy our wedding, just the two of us, we can. We’re also not going to chomp anyone’s head off who comes to see us at our table (and, we’ve faced the fact, we don’t exactly hang out with a shy crowd)—I’m sure we’ll be more than happy to talk to them.

BUT—a little break will be nice. All of the little kids in our wedding belong to people in the bridal party, so it’ll be nice for Mom, Dad, and kids to be able to sit together, without us expanding the head table so it takes up over half the tent space.

I also like the idea of creating something *just for us* at the reception. So much work goes into favors for the guests, and providing a good time (which I cannot wait for, I’m not trying to complain!) that everyone will enjoy—but I think one of the projects I’m going to enjoy the most is creating a little bubble for Mikey and I to retreat to on our wedding day.

I’m also thinking, to add to the specialness of it all, of having a disposable camera just for us (or a Polaroid with film, if we can find one in time- they’re discontinuing instant film *tear*) and a little journal, so Mikey and I can take some pictures from the perspective of our little love nest, and jot down different feelings and emotions as we go. Now, I know it’s unrealistic to expect us to sit there and write a whole, “Dear Diary- this is my wedding day…” kind of deal during the wedding, but I want the journal to start out on that morning. One of us will have to start with the journal (not sure who, yet) and write an entry in it about how they’re feeling about the big day. Then, we’ll have someone (a familial lackey) bring the journal to the other one of us, where we can write our feelings about the day.*

*I am still undecided on one point, though- should the second person be able to read the first person’s entry? Part of me thinks it’d be a bit unfair, but if I were the second person, I’m not sure I’d be able to help myself.

Ideally—and I make sure to use this word, because who knows how it’ll actually happen on the day—I’d like for the journal to get around to both of us at least once more, before the ceremony, so we can write again. Our wedding isn’t until late in the evening, so it’s not as if we won’t have the time—I’m just not sure how busy we’ll be.

Anyhoo- the journal will end up on our sweetheart table (by black magic…or same familial lackey) and we’ll be able to (hopefully) record some of the feelings we have throughout the night. It’s kind of like a guestbook, except it’s for the two main guests. Again, I don’t expect any long, super thought out entries, but even having something like, “This evening is perfect, and I love you” written from one of us to the other on our wedding day just seems really special to me.

So, we veto the head table:

Tradition #1: VETOED

...and prepare for the sweetheart table, which opens up a whole new can of decorations: what chairs? What centerpiece? What fabric? Etc, etc, etc. But I cannot wait! I think this will be the one thing in the reception that feels the most “us”.



What do you think about the sweetheart table?

12.11.2010

Jacked about Santa

I am so jacked about Santa Claus this year.

Seriously, I’m not sure I’ve been this excited for Christmas to come (two weeks away, exactly!) since I was a youngin’, but I am, and here’s why:

Santa’s gonna be bringing us some wedding goodies this year.

I’ve mentioned before (this post) how awesome my parents are when it comes to Christmas, and it’s true. My Mom has been bugging me for my (and Mikey’s, and Sam’s) Christmas list for the past two months, and at first, I had no idea what I wanted to ask for.

Finally, after one day spending an inordinate amount of time looking up invites and postage and all of that happy nonsense, I was struck with an idea. I quickly pulled up my e-mail, and I shot my Mom a tentative message, that was something like,

“Heeeey Mom. I have a Christmas list item for you! It would be amaaaazing if I could get some stamps, for thank you notes, and invites, and what not for the wedding. What do you think?”

I sent it off, crossed my fingers, and continued to peruse the internet. A little later, I see I have a message from my Mom. “Sure, sweetie, what kind?”

Opening of the flood gates, commence.

I have since asked for a variety of different wedding paraphernalia, ranging from crafty items (ribbons, card stock, etc) to a few wonky items (plywood for our cutouts) and beyond.

I have to confess, I’m rather sad I didn’t think about doing this last year, since we were engaged then, too. It does make sense though- I was nowhere near the stages I am now for wedding planning.

For instance, I may have asked for a deposit to a catering company.

Silly me, we’re self-catering the event!

Or, perhaps, for vintage milk bottles for our centerpieces.

Oh, me, tsk tsk tsk. Our centerpiece is going to be centered around mead, baby. We’re going to get our drink on.

However, since we're much closer, and have a solid idea of what we're working with and want, I was able to ask for some pretty important items that we're looking forward to. Here are a few of the big ones:


source

Ok, so getting envelopes may seem like a silly gift, but it's going to be nice to not have to do some crazy running around, looking for envelopes, right after our wedding.


source

Dag, yo! These suckas be expensive! ...in other words, stamps cost a pretty penny, and to not have to worry about postage? Well, that makes me a rather happy lady.


source

Ooh, hello sexy bottles! What might you be doing on a Christmas wedding list like this?

I'd tell you, readers, but then I'd have to kill you. Aaaand by that, I mean that the use of such beautiful bottles is going to be explained in another post. *cue excitement and anticipation*

source

Last, but by no means least, wedding rings. (Not these, though. Ours are cooler.)

Yep, we asked Santa to get us wedding rings.

I know, it's a bit unconventional (and maybe the whole Santa thing makes it a bit more so) but I'm glad we did. They're an item that we keep meaning to purchase, and keep forgetting. Which makes me feel a bit horrible, sometimes-- who remembers to buy piping bags for cupcake toppers but forgets wedding rings?*

*In my defense, I think that sometimes, it's easier to go with the smaller ticket items.

Now, I cannot wait for Christmas (which normally reduces me to a child-like state of excitement, anyways) to see what kind of wedding tomfoolery we’ll be gifted. I am pretty positive (and super excited) that the rings are probably going to be one of the gifts we receive. I don’t know why I thought my Mom would have been a little weirded out by my request, because we’re a VERY non-traditional family. We’ve already picked out the rings (and that will be its own separate post, with pictures and such), so it’s not as if we’re saying, “Hey, while you’re at the store, could you get us some butter and a few wedding rings?”

I also love the idea of receiving the rings as a gift from my parents, who have a wonderful marriage. They constantly remind Mikey and I of what kind of a marriage we want to have: open, loving, full of great communication and a constant growing, as a couple. To have our wedding rings come from that place would be really wonderful. It almost feels like the blessing of the rings ceremony that people do in weddings, but instead, they’re being blessed by someone else’s marriage. Also, since I got my engagement ring from Mikey’s family, it feels right that we’re getting these from mine.*

*I just wanted to let you know, in the spirit of keeping this an honest post, that this was not a thought I had before asking my Mom. This was one of those retroactively sentimental moments, when you decide you want to do something, and later realize how sweet it is. It would have been great if it had been my intention from the get go, but it wasn’t. However, if you want to continue thinking of me as an unbelievably sentimentally sweet person, you can just ignore this little asterisked section.

What about you? Are you looking forward to any special item that Santa’s going to be bringing this year?

12.10.2010

A brief recap of our Anniversary

So, the other night, we went to Chicago for the Christkindl market (which you already knew, you clever reader, you)- and it was fantastic! We also went to the Field Museum (which was fun) and Ice Skating-- it's actually been my goal to go to Chicago with Mikey in Decemeber and go ice skating outside for the past 3 years, but it hasn't happened until this year. This was the second best date we've ever been on, hands down (the first being when he proposed in Chicago) and it was just plain amazing. We drank (lots!), bought ornaments for our first Christmas tree together (after having chopped down the tree in the morning), tried a bunch of delicious food, and had a wonderful time just being able to spend time together.

The Christkindl market felt like a mini, German, Christmas-y version of the Taste of Chicago, and so it brought back memories of the proposal all the while cementing another part of our relationship. This year, we moved into a house, baked a turkey for Thanksgiving together, and now we've chopped down and decorated (or at least, have begun to) a tree of our own.

I've got a post on the way about Santa later, but I figured that I'd first share some pictures of our time there, first!


Here I am, drinking a special spiced German hot wine (which I'll have to ask Mikey for the name of, later-- I was a bit tipsy at this point) served in this adorable, *mini* boot! SO cute!


Next, we shared a brat with sauerkraut and mustard-- I normally don't like sauerkraut, but I really enjoyed it this time! Maybe it was the atmosphere, maybe it was the couple boots I had knocked back- regardless, it was delicious.


Mikey, in his super warm hat, enjoying the brat.

Me, in my equally warm hat, enjoying the other half of the brat.
(The hat was part of Mikey's anniversary gift to me-- I love winter apparel!)


Mikey loves potato pancakes, and as you can tell, he was super excited to eat one!

*nom nom nom*

I don't think I put that boot down once, nor was it ever empty, the whole time we were there. :D

We didn't know that picture taking wasn't allowed in the individual stores, so here's one Mikey snapped of some miniature snow globes, before the shop keepers asked us (nicely) to put our camera away.

Here are some pictures of a few of the ornaments we purchased for our tree- they had mini ornaments, and so we got one for the three (human) members of the house.

For Sam:

For Mikey:

Aaand, for me:

Here's a picture of our tree so far- we've got red, blue and silver ornaments on it, with candy canes, a few assorted ornaments, and the owl Mikey got me from the Field Museum nestled snuggly on top.

How are your holiday plans coming along?

12.07.2010

Christmas Time, and what I'm doing tomorrow...

I *love* the holidays.

I love the food (turkey, mashed potatoes, tons of cookies and pies), the decorations, the snow, Christmas movies, Christmas music-- oooh, I especially love Christmas music. One of the autistic kids I work with has a penchant for Christmas music, and so we sing it all year round- or, at least, I sing it as a re-enforcer for him doing his work, and we both win! (Though, I do have to admit, singing "let it snow" in the middle of July can be a bit strange...) When Christmas comes around (or around November 16th, the first time I heard a Christmas song on the radio) I tune into either 95.7 (my oldies station) or 99.1 and drink in all of the music I can.

For Christmas, Mikey and I stay at my parents house, because my parents do Christmas-- I mean, they really do Christmas. And just because we're all getting older doesn't mean they don't go the whole nine yards. It's funny, being twenty four and still getting gifts from Santa and the elves and such, but I love it. All of us kids are either in high school, college, or beyond, but they still do pretty much the same thing they've been doing since before I can remember, and I wouldn't change it for the world. These traditions make Christmas Eve and Christmas my two favorite days out of the whole year. Here, I'll give you a brief(ish?) run down of our traditions:

Christmas Eve night, my family gathers together and watches either "A Christmas Story" (which is, by the way, one of my favorite movies of all time) or "It's a Wonderful Life". We drink hot chocolate (with a little something extra in it, of course ;P) until *gasp!* we get report that the elves have visited! We run upstairs, and on our beds (or on a sibling's bed, for those of us who have moved out) are nicely wrapped presents-- ever since we were little, the 'elves' would leave us pajamas on our beds on Christmas eve, that we put on right away, and don't change out of until halfway through Christmas day. The younger kids go to bed, and the three of us older kids (and now, Mikey) help Mom and Dad wrap the presents, while drinking winter drinks with winter liquor in them, and watch the Christmas episodes of South Park. You can always tell what gifts were wrapped later in the night, because those are the gifts that are labeled, "From: Blinky, the drunken elf", or "Tanya, Rudolph's spurned lover" and hilariously inappropriate names scribbled in handwriting a little worse than a fourth grader (and, consequently, a little better than Mikey's).

The past two years, I've added an additional step to my holiday celebration, to blend Mikey and my Christmas traditions together- We go to his church (across the street from the house we're living in now) for midnight mass to watch his Dad and Stepmom sing in the choir. Last year, Mikey and I went alone, but in past years, more of his siblings joined in, and Mikey and his sister toast to one another a few times before heading over. Translation: Mikey and his sister do shots before going to midnight mass. It's hilarious, a really oddly sweet tradition, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I DD us back to my parent's house after the event, so Mikey can fully enjoy his time with his family.

We head back, and help with any of the wrapping that still needs to be done, and we all collapse into beds, exhausted.

We are always woken up by the youngest of us (and they know who they are) and I am always hopelessly grumpy, due to lack of sleep. On the end of our beds is a gift- unlike the pajamas, the gift on the end has no rhyme or reason- that we get to open right away. After waking us up, the younger kids wake up my Mom and Dad, let them head downstairs ahead of us with camera in hand, and then call us down when they're posed at the ready to take pictures of our faces.

The tree is always surrounded completely with a barrage of gifts, but we aren't allowed to open those yet- first, there are the stockings. We all attack them, eating candy, opening little gifts (make-up, tools, jewelery, random tom foolery) and throw wrappers at one another. After stockings, we have to wait for breakfast to be ready to open any of our other gifts. We eat a breakfast feast of muffins and bacon and eggs, and then head into the room and open all of our gifts. Although some of my siblings try to open theirs right away, I try to hold off on opening my gifts as long as possible- I enjoy being the last one who opens a gift. My older brother and I do it as a kind of contest, now, but I'm pretty sure I'm still the reigning champ.

After gift opening, Mikey and I head over to his relative's house, so we can spend time with them on Christmas as well. Even though it's a lot of traveling, we both enjoy being able to spend time with one another's family-- we got very lucky in our in-laws, and the drives are worth it.

Soo0- I love Christmas--the whole month of December is Christmas time, to me.

And, since our three year anniversary is on Thursday (the 9th), we've both taken off of work tomorrow, and we're going to Chicago (where he proposed) to celebrate our relationship, Christmas style.

We used to celebrate our monthiversaries with themes--and we still do, when we can-- like in October, we had a haunted-house-iversary. Our first month-i-versary was our book-i-versary. We exchanged our favorite books with one another, and read them, to better understand each other. It was great! We've had book-i-versaries, pool-i-versaries, florida-i-versaries, pizza-i-versaries, pajama-i-versaries, etc. It's less, now, about what number month, and more about a celebration of our relationship, and different parts of us. So, this month, we're doing a Christmas-i-versary. This is going to be our first Christmas with our own tree, and we cooked our first turkey together this Thanksgiving-- and it feels like a next step for us. We feel like we're growing together as our own little family unit, and so these holidays are kind of a way to mark our growth.

So, we're going to chop down our tree tomorrow morning, put it in our living room, and then head down to Chicago, where we're going to visit the Christkindlmarket (http://www.christkindlmarket.com/en/) and other Christmas-y things (Mikey's keeping some of our date a secret). When we come home, we're hoping to decorate our tree (depending on how late we get back), and cram as much Christmas celebration into tomorrow as possible.

Have you ever combined a holiday celebration with a relationship celebration?

**Including this one, I've used "Christmas" in this post 27 times**

12.04.2010

CUPCAKESCUPCAKESCUPCAKESCUPCA-

In case it isn't strikingly obvious by the first half of my blog title, I'm a HUGE cupcake fan. I think it's because they're like mini cakes, and you know how much I love mini things. A LOT. The first time I ever saw a picture of a bride with a tower of cupcakes instead of a cake, I fell in love. There was really no contest, in my mind. When we got engaged, the first thing we decided was that we were going to have cupcakes instead of a cake.

Now, I love a cupcake any 'ol time, but for a wedding, there needs to be something that makes the cupcake special. I started researching thursday night, to see if there was anything that would catch my fancy. I found lots of pictures of putting little toys and flags on the cupcakes, and I thought they were cute enough. I was planning to go to Hobby Lobby (an INCREDIBLE craft store out by us-- if you don't have a hobby lobby near you, you need to move) to pick up some items to make the little flags, when I came across this site. Warning: the stuff on that site looks so good, you might gain 5 pounds just perusing the pictures.

I loved it- a cupcake ON TOP of a cupcake?

It's like a whole meta-cupcake thing going on. The cupcake *knows* it's a cupcake, and tries to be ironic by wearing a cupcake- a little, mini cupcake- right on it's freakin' head.

That, to me, is amazing, and the decision is made.

The topper for our cupcakes is going to be: a cupcake! I made them two nights ago, and I want to share how they turned out.
You need some frosting, sprinkles, and a piping bag. Super simple.


First, you have to unwrap a mini reese's cup

Then, you have to unwrap about five more, because you keep eating them.


Why hello, naked reeces- you shall be naked no longer, very shortly.

Put the icing in the piping bag, and twist!


Lay some'a that frosting down, real gentle-like.

Repeat, approx: 150 times, and sprinkle sprinkles on top!



Try not to eat all of them-- look how friggin' adorable these guys are! Aaah!


Next, cupcakes need to be made (from scratch, of course) so you need eggs, flour, chocolate, vanilla...


...and one of these! Except you can't have this one, he's mine.

I would give you his recipe, but I have no freaking clue what he did. Maybe I'll have to have him blog 'guest star' so he can share his recipe, no?

(it was a pretty great deal for me- I made tiny, adorable, super easy cupcakes, and Mikey made chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling, with a dark chocolate ganache* topping-- all from scratch. Mmmmmm....a man who knows how to bake....)

*also can be spelled, gnache. Mikey and I disagreed, and I looked it up, and discovered we were both right. I like it when that happens.

Put liners in the pan, and fill 'em up!

Using a squeeze bottle (we got this one from walmart for about 90 cents), inject some raspberry jam into the middle.

Cook 'em, for a while, at a certain temperature (I get really specific), plop some icing on those suckers, throw a mini cupcake on top, and....

ta daa!


THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what our wedding cupcakes are going to look like.

What do you think?

12.02.2010

Oh my god, Shoes.

Stupid Boy. Stupid Boy.
Let's get some shoes-- let's party.


So, a picture heavy post of wedding shoes-- I have mine, and I love them. I actually found them while prom dress shopping with my little sister:
This is one of her senior pictures that awesome friend Sam took- how ridiculously cool does she look? I love that she wore a cape for her senior pics- that's the kind of lady she is.

Anyways, when we were out looking for accessories for her, I looked over to my left to see a wall of shoes, and my eyes zeroed in. Normally, shoe shopping consists of debating between two similar pairs of shoes, trying them on, and walking around a ton to compare the comfort levels. I said, "There they are. Those are my wedding shoes."

It was only 6 months into our engagement, and I still had a year and a half to go. I was a bit worried that I might change my mind later and want a different pair, but my sister encouraged me, and I bought them. So far, my fears are unfounded-- I adore them. I'm not planning on changing my mind anytime in the near future, and I'm sure I'll still love them in seven months.

Enough talk-- I'll show you the pictures!

Photographer/Roomie/Bestie Sam just took these pictures for me, and I love them:


Yep, they're bright blue! They go with our wedding colors, they work for the whole "something blue" part of the "something old, something new" rhyme, and they're pretty much the prettiest shoes I've ever owned. Hooray!













When did you find your wedding shoes? Or are you having a non-traditional color for your wedding shoes?

The best part of waking up...

is coffee in your cupcake! ...mug!

Aaaaah, have a sip of coffee and enjoy the wacky sort of intensity brought about only by british literature class procrastination/desperation.

In other words, I am in quite a mood.

But it's a grand mood! I took a break from everything last night. Which is to say, I took a break from wedding planning, which I was doing to take a break from working on my paper. I ended up getting an incredible night sleep (under a heated blanket, curled up next to Mikey) and didn't have a single dream about deadlines or money or anything stressful. I kind of remember hearing this: check this out. this was in my dream. not even kidding.

Check it out....



Have you checked it out yet?







Ok, by this point, I'm assuming- and hoping- you checked it out.






YEP! MY DREAM GOT RICK ROLLED!

That may be one of the reasons I woke up in such a grand mood. My brain rick rolled my subconscious self. The song is fantastic, the music video is hilarious, and the dance moves are priceless. I think I'll be smiling for the rest of the day.

Also, my breakfast consisted of this:



That is my cupcake mug-- it had a lid shaped like frosting with a cherry! It's probably the cutest thing I've ever owned, and I adore it. I also had a banana, which was fantastic, and high in potassium.

Since I can no longer procrastinate on my paper, I wanted to hop on and ask a question about my post I'll be writing later tonight: should it be about my wedding shoes, my veil, or about alcohol?

Leave a comment, let me know what you want to hear about, and I'll write a post on it! Of course, if by the time I'm writing my post no one has commented, I'll use a random number generator- but leave a comment!

And have a wonderful day, because I'm never gonna give you up...

12.01.2010

It's not always rainbows and sunshine...

...and puppies and bubblegum.

What do I mean by this?

Sometimes, wedding planning just downright sucks.
source

Now, don't get me wrong. I generally *adore* wedding planning. I love looking at other weddings, drinking in all of the little details, the color schemes, the delicious food, the great playlists, the DIY projects- all of it. I read wedding magazines and books on my breaks at work (one of my jobs is a barista at Barnes and Noble) and peruse wedding websites and blogs on my days off. I've helped family plan weddings, and when more of my friends begin to get married, I'm positive I'm not only going to be thrilled for them, but passing along every magazine I've bought, as well as links to helpful sites. I love weddings, and even though I'm not ordinarily an organized person (at all...I'd show you a picture of my room, but that's a pretty scary place) but with weddings, some sort of switch in me turns on. I know exactly what I need to do, how to do it, and when. I have folders and binders and bookmarks- I've compared dozens of vendors, and have kept track of who/what I do and don't like.

I'm also generally a procrastinator (in fact, there *may* be a 5-10 page paper due tomorrow I should be working on right now...but that's what mornings are for!), but again, not so with weddings! Having a two year engagement has let me spread out a lot of the planning (or at least becoming familiar with vendors and ideas) but I haven't wasted any time on doing things for the wedding. Even if I was not constantly DIYing details, I was composing lists, writing down songs whenever I heard them for the reception set list, etc.

Wedding planning has brought out a few of my better qualities, and for that, I'm thankful. It hasn't yet turned me into a raging, hormonal, self-centered bride, as all the magazines warned me to watch out for. I've not yet once screamed at a family member or random stranger about tulle or buttercream, and to be honest, I don't plan on it. I despise the insinuation from many wedding planning sources that brides will, at least at one point in the wedding process, have a major freak out where they say hurtful things to someone they love, or to a potential/booked vendor. It's a stereotype that shows like "Bridezilla" perpetuate, and that are used for the premise of many wedding movies- which I understand, because the more ridiculous the bride, the funnier it is. Although, not every bride (and I'd like to hope a decent majority) is going to morph into someone completely different. I'm not saying that there aren't going to be days when I cry, or get upset, or argue with Mikey- I mean, I do those things every once in a while now, so when planning one of the biggest events of my life, they're bound to happen. I'm just saying that not every bride is going to go insane- a little crazy, from time to time- sure. But not every bride goes full-blown, nut-house crazy.*

*though, as we all know from reading Shakespeare and ancient Greek theatre, hubris is often the hero's downfall- so watch, as I actually get committed due to wedding-related freak outs or stabbings or something.

That being said, I want every bride-to-be to be aware of one thing: It is not always fun. Once you've been comparing photographer's galleries and packages for over three hours, it can get a little tedious. Staring at four different shades of almost the exact same blue can be head-ache inducing. Having to explain your theme to co-workers who ask you about your wedding, and then "don't get it"-- it can be a tad bit annoying. Feeling as though you've looked at two dozen websites, trying to find the average price of sliced deli meat while your fiance does something non-wedding related can be the instigator to a small spat between the two of you.

Those days are the days to just stop.

Take a day off- read a book you've wanted to read, drink some hot chocolate, give the fiance a backrub (or ask for one in return), go for a rousing romp in the sheets, take a bath- basically, take the time to get wedding off of the brain and relaaaaax.

I find that when I give myself "off" days, where I don't do anything wedding related, I get a lot more done than if I had powered through another hour of planning that I wasn't enjoying. Often, the next day, I'll find that I enjoy looking up pricing again, or that I easily find the phone number I frustratingly couldn't find for forty-five minutes the day before. Once you let yourself become too stressed about the planning, it's not as fun. And really, the whole thing should be a wonderful trip- you get to marry the person you love, surrounded by those you love, with food you love, and music you love, and in shoes you love-- you get to orchestrate the greatest party of all time!

Every now and then, though, it's nice to just kind of bug off and play in the snow.

Which, I think, is what I'll do now.

:)

Any great tips for de-stressing?

11.30.2010

Theme time!

Alright! I've been discovering that one of the best ways to deal with sadness (while simultaneously working on coping, of course) is by distracting yourself with doing something you love. So, I've decided to blog about my wedding :)

I feel the need to share something with you. Something that gets me excited, and a little happy in the pants.

We're going to have a carnival-esque themed wedding!!!

I absolutely *adore* going to fairs and carnivals. There is something about walking around on a nice, breezy summer night, listening to music, eating foods you didn't even know came fried, licking cotton candy off of your fingers, dancing under both the strings of lights and the stars- it's romantic to me. It's romantic, and it feels timeless and youthful and just plain, old fun- which is what we're going for. My relationship with Mikey has always been about how much fun we have when we're together. We've celebrated "monthiversaries" (more on those later) at carnivals, the Renaissance fair, town fairs, the Wisconsin state fair, etc. It's an atmosphere that really fits our 'couple personality' and the idea that our reception will be able to have that kind of energy excites me to no end!

When we first got engaged, I mentioned the idea of a carnival themed wedding to Mikey, and he kind of shot it down. He wasn't cruel about it, but at that point, he was only marginally familiar with different kinds of weddings, and his main idea of a wedding is what he saw in movies, and on the cover of wedding magazines my mom bought me. Since I'm all about compromise, I shelved the idea of a carnival wedding and went to look for a more conventional theme we would both be happy with.

As I've mentioned before, our wedding has morphed a lot over the past year and a half. We've always wanted an outdoor wedding (or at the very least, a wedding with an outdoor option) and we decided very early on that our number one main color would be cobalt blue. Over the last two months, we've been talking a lot about more details of the wedding, and I tentatively brought up the idea of a carnival wedding again. This time, Mikey was much more accepting in terms of the idea, and with a few parameters set (no clowns, no carnival music, etc-- all those things I wouldn't have done anyway) he happily agreed.

So Mikey's agreed, but he's not one hundred percent sure exactly what I'm envisioning. I was explaining it to him, the other day, and I got the, "But babe- isn't that kind of what we were planning before?"

In a way...yes? We always wanted the lights, the music, the contagious atmosphere- but we've changed the menu, and some of the deserts, and our tentative designs for the invites will have to be scrapped completely. I plan on adding a popcorn machine and cotton candy machine, and a lot of other fun little details-- but enough typing, I'll share a few pictures (not mine-- YET) of projects I hope to tackle to make my wedding a tastefully fun romp through carnival-wedding fun land. Enjoy!



I love the way these invites look- cobalt blue is our main color, but we're also going to have different shades of blue as accents. I'm not the biggest red/pink fan, but these next two invites do it so well- I love them!





I am *definitely* having these at my wedding- I love these (what would you call them?) wood-cut-out-stick-your-faces-through things. They amuse me to no end, and Mikey and I have pictures in a few. They're so vintage carnival, and I can't wait to paint my own! (That's right, you heard me! I love a fun, artistic challenge!)
I think having a kissing booth at the wedding could be a lot of fun- I know we have a few groomsman who would just love to hop behind the (hopefully!) well constructed counter and dole out kisses for a twenty-five cent piece! Plus, just like the cardboard cut outs, it looks so vintage- and I adore vintage.


Any other carnival elements you think I should incorporate into our wedding? :)