Friday, February 29, 2008

Crystal Balls

Happy February 29!
Does anyone else remember when it was about 70 degrees on February 29, 2004?

I was browsing the Michelle Rago blog (found via Blush) when I fell in love with the crystal globes shown in the images below.

Photos from Michelle Rago blog

I am toying with stringing paper lanterns of various sizes throughout our wedding location, similar to the pictures shown below, but I am concerned that it will look more whimsical than chic. I found a supplier that carries lanterns in all of the colors on our invites. I guess that I could go with all white or a single color since I'm having colored linens. But, I really do want things to be colorful. What do you think? Are lanterns played out? Would different colors be more gumball machine than chic? Those crystal lanterns would solve the predicament. They're both whimsical AND chic. Oh, to be wealthy!

Photos from Studio This Is, Kelli and Paul Taylor's Wedding

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Inspiration Board

I finally broke down and created an inspiration board in an attempt to organize my thoughts. Before I give share my thoughts, I'm going to follow a bride in the making's lead and recruit some opinions.

What are three adjectives that you think of when you look at this board?


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Brides of the Round Table

(I have another crack-of-dawn day at work tomorrow, so I am posting my Wednesday post tonight.
THANK GOD THIS PROJECT IS ALMOST OVER! Send happy thoughts 8-5 CST. We'll be in the pilot presentations.)

I can't top thinking about this real wedding featured on Style Me Pretty on Valentine's Day. The bride's teal shoes and gown are both fab, but the circle ceremony just blows me away.

Andy and I are trying to design a sweet, intimate ceremony that goes against the grain. I'm tossing around a few ideas, but nothing is nearly as unique or cool as this! I wish that space wasn't such a premium at our venue because I'd totally be a copy cat. Hats off to this cool chick!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Thanks for all of your compliments on my dress! I really do love it. And what a relief to have that decision out of the way. I owe my "virtual planner," Mimi, big time! I had read that you should order your dress six months before the wedding date. I wasn't going to start shopping until April. Thankfully, Mimi and I had been exchanging e-mails after we participated in the Brooklyn Bride Christmas Card Swap and she urged me to shop sooner. Seven shopping trips later, I am thanking her a million times over.

Also, I agree wholeheartedly that bridesmaids should be comfortable. Especially in situations like mine, where each bridesmaid has a body type that is polar opposite to the others, but also a very distinctive style. And I can't make my HOT 25-year-old sister wear the same thing as a 34-year-old.

I've been a b-maid seven times, so I have squeezed into many different dresses through the years. I haven't had to wear anything ugly sailor collars or hats for me! And all of my friends picked very affordable dresses.

Here are a few of my dresses. (All of my photo albums are in storage, so I don't have any pix of bridesmaid dresses 1-4 handy.) And if you don't like any of them, don't make fun of them in the comments. People might laugh at your selections too! (And my friends read this.)

BTW, I want to be a minimum of this skinny by the wedding. Only 34 weeks to go -- I better get on the stick. I was working out like 4-5 days a week back then.

There are No Calories in Looking

(I have to be at work at the crack of dawn again tomorrow, so I'm posting my Tuesday posts tonight.)

I can't believe how obsessed I've become with cakes. I wish that I had that skill set, even if just as a hobby. There so many ornate, beautiful designs out there.

I think that this is our new #1 cake design. I'm a bit curious how it will look with delicious buttercream frosting instead of fondant.

Dots seem to be everywhere. I found these in a few minutes of browsing around on

If I were still doing gray and yellow, I think that this would be the cake fo shizzle:

All photos from

My Dress

A few people have asked what dress I ordered. I originally didn't post it because Andy's being a freak about not seeing it, but then I realized that he doesn't read this anyway. (He said that he "sees it come alive." Dork.)

I purchased the Venus gown that I found last week:

The photos do not do it justice. It's so perfect. I couldn't love it anymore. I can't stop thinking about all of the shoe and jewelry possibilities!

I know that some Type A Brides may scoff at the fact that it doesn't really complement the bridesmaid dresses. At the end of the day, I am just happy that the four of us found comfortable dresses for our very different bodies. Beggars can't be choosers, purists be damned.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"Pussy Willows, Dottie!"

I was reading this post on In This Instance ,when I clicked the DIY link to the Martha Stewart web site and saw this:

I don't know what's funnier -- Martha censoring the "p" in "pussy willows" or xandra10's tenacity.

Know whose tenacity isn't funny? A-holes who run their snow blowers outside your window at 11:24 p.m.

Paper with Attitude

I love, love, love these CD cases from the Pressa Russa Etsy shop. Their entire stationery line is the whip. I'd love to get the good sh*t CD cases for favors.

Actually, I wouldn't get this one because I am THAT terrified of bugs. It would stress me out to have a pile of these laying around the house. And, no, I am not kidding.

Ever since I got engaged, Etsy has become the ebay circa 1997 for me. I can waste hours looking for the most random things.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Got a Dress!

I've ordered a dress! After all of that drama, I ended up buying a dress in 15 minutes while Andy waited in the car. The women at the shop were so nice and funny. The one dropped an F-bomb while ringing me up. Rock on.

I got served.

I was tagged by Tara at In This Instance. Here goes:
  1. What is your occupation?
    Training Project Manager: I manage and design
    sales training courses.

  2. What color are your socks right now?
    Barefoot. But, in general, I'm not a colored socks girl.

  3. What are you listening to right now?
    Sweet, sweet silence. I am home alone, which is the only time that there isn't a TV blaring.

  4. What was the last thing that you ate?
    A bite of Tamal de Chocolate from Adobo Grill. Thankfully, I didn't like it!

  5. Can you drive a stick shift?

  6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
    Green. Or maybe yellow or orange.

  7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
    My dad.

  8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
    Judging from her blog, she has good taste!

  9. Favorite drink?
    It used to be Diet Pepsi, but I think that I'm growing out of that. I will never outgrow a delicous Cab or Pinot though!

  10. What is your favorite sport to watch?
    I could lie and pretend that I care about a sport, but at the end of the day, I don't. I can't sit still long enough to watch sports. I do enjoy going to Blackhawks and Sox games.

  11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
    I don't even remember what my real hair color looks like anymore. God would have saved me a lot of money if He had made me a real redhead.

  12. Pets
    A beta fish at work. That's about all that I can handle. I think that he'll be my last pet too. He has the personality of a rock.

  13. Favorite food?
    I have to pick A food? No can do!
    • My mom's lasagna.

    • Vienna Beef hot dogs.

    • My mom's carrot cakes.

    • Andy's tater tot casserole

    • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

    Wow! That list probably explains why bridal salons are calling me a "bigger girl too."

  14. Last movie you watched?
    No Country for Old Men. Update: I lied. It was 27 Dresses. I forgot that I saw it until I saw it mentioned on someone else's blog.

  15. Favorite Day of the Year?
    Halloween. Christmas Eve is a strong second.

  16. What do you do to vent anger?
    Unfortunately, I b*tch to whoever is around me. Or call Andy.

  17. What was your favorite toy as a child?
    According to my mother, I didn't like toys or dolls. I think that I was kind of a, um, sassy child.

  18. Which is your favorite, fall or spring?
    Fall is so fun! It is pretty and full of so many activities. Although, there is nothing like the first warm day in Chicago. The city comes alive!

  19. Hugs or kisses?
    Hugs. Unless it's above 75 degrees, then a quick peck that requires minimal touching will do. (We don't have central air!)

  20. What kind of pie?

  21. Living arrangements?
    I share 400 square feet of Heaven with Andy. Just kidding. It might be 425 square feet.

  22. When was the last time you cried?
    I teared up on Thursday and Friday! The lack of sunshine and fresh air is weakening me!

  23. What is on the floor of your closet?
    As if I could see the floor of my closet to tell you.

  24. Favorite smell?
    I don't have a favorite smell.

  25. What inspires you?
    Obviously it's not the concept of looking like a sow on my wedding day, because I only made it to the gym once this week.

  26. What are you afraid of?
    Deep water and bugs. Seriously, standing at the edge of a pier with an army of thousand leggers, roaches, butterflies, and moths charging at me would probably cause me to spontaneously combust in fear.

  27. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?

  28. Favorite Car?
    My Honda Civic. As long as the HC runs for 200,000 miles, I promise that she was always be my #1.

  29. Favorite cat breed?
    The breed that doesn't come anywhere near my house. I am allergic to cats and hate pet hair.

  30. Number of keys on your key ring?
    5 + the world's largest key fob.

  31. How many years at your current job?
    7 years in this role; 10 years with the company. Holy cow.

  32. Favorite day of the week?

  33. How many states have you lived in?
    Two -- Illinois and Indiana.

  34. How many countries have you been to?
    Three -- Japan, Mexico, and Italy. Knock on wood that the dollar gains strength so that I can add some more to the list this year or next. According to Facebook, I have been to 6% of the world.
I am not sure who to tag, as I don't know how many bloggers actually read my blog! I'll try -- Elizabeth Anne Designs, a bride in the making, blushalicious, enjoy:{the blog}, A Windy City Wedding, Hasel and That Girl.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pretty Purses

Having been a bridesmaid seven times, I'm being hyper-sensitive to my bridesmaid gift selections. My friends and I have spent many a bottle of Three Buck Chuck dishing about the gifts that we've received over the years. Although, I've been pretty lucky with what I've received, so I can't complain. I can, however, try to compensate my 'maids for willingly wearing rust-colored dresses so that they match my invitations.

I was planning on getting them reversible purses from 1154 Lill, but the more that I think about it, clunky fabric purses don't quite scream "chic cocktail party." And they really don't match metallic shoes.

It's too bad. It would have been a fun afternoon with the girls. :( They're expensive anyway. Now I can use the money to get them something that they'll definitely love. Incidentally, I have the green purse above. ;) Which also happens to be the fabric of a chair at Room & Board. I lose my purse at home on almost a weekly basis. Can you imagine if I had a matching purse-chair combo? I'd never get out the door.

Since all things come back to dots, check out this fabric that they have:

I'm not wild about it, but it does match! :)

I want to be 25 and skinny...

...or Cameron Diaz, so that I can wear this to my shower:

Photo: J. Crew

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blinged Out Maids, v2.0

Aside from Erin Gallagher, who I featured the other day, I'm also toying with working with designer Sara Lenart to design some cool jewelry for my girls. She has the most adorable little shop in my old 'hood, North Center. I've worked with her before and always get a ton of compliments when I wear her jewelry. Here are a few of my favorites from her site:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"She's a bigger girl too."

Great News!
  1. I found the Venus dress! I have an appointment to check it out on Saturday. It's in the suburbs, but it's only an hour or so away. Yeah! AND the price is right! Double Yeah!

  2. I found the Watters dress! I went to Macy's tonight and they're going to have it shipped from another store so that I can try it on. Which totally makes up for the fact that the saleswoman kept referring to other brides/models that have worn the dress and saying, "She is a bigger girl, too." Yes, "too" means LIKE ME. WTF? I need better mirrors. I obviously had no idea exactly HOW beefy I apparently am. But, she did give me two early timeslot in case my mom can make it and a later one for if she can't, she looks like my friend from Texas, and she is bringing the dress in for me, so I'm not complaining. I'm thick-skinned (no pun intended) AND at her mercy. If girl gets me a dress, she can call me whatever she wants.

  3. I had to be at work at the (_:_) crack of dawn today, so I didn't get to publish my post for today. Now I have an extra post on file! :)

I can't believe all of the nice compliments that you've been leaving in the comments. Everyone is so nice! They're much appreciated and very much needed as fighting cabin fever and balancing work and all of these evening wedding appointments is catching up with me. My nerdy little blog is keeping it fun.

Stay Warm!

I want to blow this pop stand:

For this one:

Photos: Cinque Terre -- My 2007 Vacation!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dress Envy

There is a new dress that I'm on the mad prowl for:

I discovered it today it in a "Real Wedding" article in the Knot Chicago magazine and just love it. I've already e-mailed the manufacturer and have some follow-up e-mails out to the salons that they recommended trying. I'm hitting Macy's after work tomorrow for some more humiliation, I mean, to try on some more dresses. (fingers crossed)

Also, check out the "Real Wedding of the Week" featured on the site. I actually had this article saved to post at a later date. 1) The bride is so wonderfully creative. 2) It's at our venue:

Speaking of the the Knot, don't forget to vote for enjoy/Mimi's entry in the Real Wedding Awards. I was out there the other day and her's seems like a winner hands down!

Blinged Out Maids

Now that the bridesmaids dresses are selected, I can start thinking about fun jewelry! I've stumbled upon so many pieces over the last few months and thought, "This is totally Paige!" or "This would look hot with Bay-e's dress." And now I can actually buy things. Yeah!

One option that I'm considering is eg from Erin Gallagher. I met her several years ago at a networking event (well, it was at a bar, but it sounds better the other way) after she first quit her job to sell jewelry full-time. I was totally envious of her, so I've randomly checked out her web site over the years to see how she was doing. What a rock star! She recently opened a studio in the West Loop where she does custom designs, hosts jewelry parties, and caters to brides. Her prices are excellent for girls on a budget...they start at $25. (And there's a discount if you buy five or more more to save more. Rock on!)

Here are a few of the more timeless styles featured on her site:

I think that the only problem will be reigning my sister in if I bring her along. She tends to pick out the most expensive item available in situations like this.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Maids to Order

Yeah! The bridesmaid dresses are selected! I originally asked the girls to select their own brown dresses, but long story short, we're now ordering three unique dresses in the same color. I'm really excited because I think that each dress represents each girl's personal style perfectly. The dresses will be the "Sienna" color shown in the first two images.

Maid of Honor Dress

Bridesmaid Dress 1

Bridesmaid Dress 2

Photos: Jim Hjelm Occasions

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Hips Don't Lie...

...and mine are saying,
"A mermaid fit? Really, sweetheart?"

Wedding dress shopping is not fun. I've gone to a few places this week and its exhausted me about three dresses in each time. I was so weakened by Wednesday night's trip that my friend and the saleswoman were speaking about me as if I weren't there:
  • Saleswoman: "Oh, she's exhausted."
  • Friend: "The poor thing's just deflated."
  • Saleswoman: "She has to realize it's not her. Our samples are just so small. But, really, our samples are bigger than most."
"It's not her? It's us, but we're better than most?" What the hell? Am I getting dumped by the House of Brides? Aren't you not, by definition, supposed to talk about the Tulle-covered Elephant in the room?

In their defense, they may have honestly forgotten that I was there, as I spent 50% of the shopping trip with my head stuck inside dresses after their size 8 waistlines got stuck around my chest. I think that I may have demanded that they cut one off. I'm not sure, though, as post-traumatic syndrome has caused me to block the experience.

It frightens me that there is an entire industry built on people handing over thousand(s) of non-refundable dollars for something that they've only held against their bodies because the sample size is a size 8 that "runs small."

I will triumph, I know it. Just as millions of hippy sisters before before me have. There have been two dresses that I've tried on that I just adore, but both are out of my price range. I can't stop thinking about the one. Andy keeps telling me to stop worrying about the price, but they're way beyond my already-increased-$500 budget.

One of my two loves is very comparable to this dress, for which have been looking EVERYWHERE, to no avail:

Photo: Watters

Fingers crossed that Macy's calls me back with good news (i.e., that they have it). If not, I'll be trekking it out to the suburbs to look for it next weekend. This dress is my last affordable hope!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Grazi, Bella.

This thank you card inspired by the work of artist Anthony Yankovic is too cute for words. The line drawing is edgy and whimsical. So adorable. This would be a nice follow-up to our invitations, as it would revert back to the lightheartedness of the Save the Dates.
Photo from: In Style Weddings

My girlfriend at work has "voluassigned" her husband to try his hand at an illustration of us. Yeah!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Girl Power

My good friend (and lady in waiting) volunteers for Girls on the Run, an after-school program that prepares school-age girls to run a 5K while teaching them important lessons on self-esteem, respecting themselves and others, etc. They've posted a video on You Tube. It's currently the 71st most-watched non-profit video. They want to make it number 1.

Click here to see the video. (I can't figure out how to display the video.)

Take a few minutes to check it out, then help some sisters out and pass it along to everyone you know.

Click here to visit the Girls on the Run web site.

A donation to GOTR would make a great wedding favor for your guests if you're doing charitable donations in lieu of crappy crystal clocks.
(No offense to anyone who's giving out crystal clocks as favors.)

Anyone who watches the Chicago Marathon will recognize GOTR chicks as the "Team Tiara" women. They run in tiaras, bling, and sometimes feathers!

My Poor Valentime.

This was the scene on top of our toilet yesterday morning:

Makeup bag, BRIDES magazine, domino magazine, the knot magazine, and Modern Bride magazine

First, he invited me to come live in sin. Then, he invited me to marry him. Little did he know much baggage came with each! Funny thing is, I don't even read in there. I just store them there until I can go through them and pitch them on the weekend. And when I do that, someone undoubtedly gives me a new one! I'd like to store them elsewhere, but...
  • My printer is under the end table.
  • My knitting supplies and paper box are shoved behind the couch.
  • My knitting books and wedding miscellany are stacked on the bedroom shelf.
  • My wedding binders and projects are stacked under the coffee table.
Poor laid-back, Andy. Yes, Love, I guess that you have a room to house drums if we ever have a house with basement! :)

"Please Turn to Page 4 of Your Pumpkins"

It would kill me to have a wedding two weeks before Halloween and not acknowledge it. So, I'm trying to think of a way to turn our programs into masks. Once again, I need to:
  • do it cheaply.
  • avoid cutting.
  • prevent glitter from covering every surface in the condomaximum.
I bought some foam Halloween masks from an online retailer thinking that I could jazz them up and glue them to the front of the programs. Unfortunately, all of the faces were messed up and the package filled our office with an odd rubber smell. Although the price is right, I fear that using them would not only poison our guests, but ordering more would possibly break some child labor laws somewhere. These things couldn't have been made by satisfied, skilled workers.

Anyway, I found these vintage Beistle decorations on ebay in the fall. They'd require some copying, but I think that they have potential.

The pumpkins would also match the decorations that my sister made for our engagement party.

I thought it would be fun to make programs out of Swedish Firecrackers, since Andy's Swedish, but, apparently you need gun powder to make those. Who knew?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Pleasure of Your Attendance is Requested.

I wanted our invitations to be colorful, graphic, slightly untraditional, and very compact. I was hoping that I could use one 11"X17" sheet of paper for each invitation and use creative folding and printing to maximize the space and minimize the amount that people had to carry around.

Here's the most recent draft. It still feels clunky to me, but I needed to take a break from them before I threw my laptop out the window. Andy thinks that they look fine and that I should leave them alone. I'm sorry that they're so small. You can click the images to view them larger.

  • Front:
  • Back: The back is incomplete. I just threw a bunch of stuff on there so that I could take them for a print quote.

Here are some snapshots of a few drafts ago to give you a better idea of the layout. The RSVP card will be perforated for easy removal and return.

I stumbled upon this invitation when I was looking for examples for Monday's post. It's similar, but opens down instead of left-to-right. And they use beautiful, but expensive, letterpress printing!

Photo from Blue Ribbon Design, Garden Party

The invites will be printed on cardstock. The envelopes will be size A7 in the Paper Source color papaya. I had to use colored paper SOMEWHERE! (trix, I'm going to use Howard Stern.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Paper Source Event

Is anyone going to the Paper Wedding event at Paper Source on Saturday? I am going to dress shopping with one of my bridesmaids on Saturday, so I can't make it. I really don't feel like hauling (_:_) up to E-town next weekend. I talked to someone when I was in Paper Source last night it sounds fun, but not like something that I really need to go. They seemed to think that I was good to go on my stuff.