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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Banded!

Guess what came in the mail?!?!?!?

Chris' wedding band!





He tried it on and is making complaining noises about how it fits and how he's not used to wearing jewelry.
I told him that he has decades to get used to it. :)

Seriously, though, I'm so happy because it's pretty, and it fits, and it goes very well with my rings.  I know the photo is blurry, but I can't find the website's photo so this will have to suffice because I am definitely not the photographer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DIY: Wishes and Advice

This post includes a few separate DIY projects to make my whole Wishes and Advice Card set-up.

Wait.
Maybe I should back up a bit because I don't think I've posted about this before.
Ok.
So.

I decided some time ago that I wanted to do something just a little different for my welcome table, particularly I wanted to find an alternative to the traditional guest book.  I found a few ideas online and ultimately decided to do my own take on the Wish Tree.  

Partly, I liked the idea because a couple of years ago, as part of my Christmas gift for him, I made a jar of inspirational quotes for Christopher.  I found lots and lots of quotes that I thought he would like - with a variety of topics and tones - and put them in a jar (on small pieces of card stock) for him to take on a [semi-]daily basis.  

The gift went over well, so when I stumbled upon the ideas for the wishes and advice trees and such, I mixed in my own flavor by deciding on having a Wishes and Advice jar.

The idea is that our guests will take a blank card and write either a wish or advice for us as we begin our marriage.  I liked this idea instead of a guest book because this is more interactive, creative, and hopefully will lead to a more treasured keepsake than a traditional guest book.


With that in mind, the idea resulted in creating several mini-projects:
(1) the cards themselves
(2) the jar
(3) an explanatory sign
and
(4) pens


Up first: the cards themselves. I created a template in Word, but it can easily be done in Publisher so that fours cards fit on each page (approx 3" x 4").  I found a pretty floral image online (like this one), adjusted the image so that it was a watermark and set it as the background.  Then I decided on the wording (after a few attempts) and added it in.  The result:
I used a beige card stock, printed about 160 (cards not pages), and used my really awesome paper slicer to cut them out and voila! the task is done!  And without any finger cutting.

Second task (and arguably the most fun): the jar itself. I used a mason jar that I'd procured at some point in the past, small paintbrushes, and acrylic crafting paint (and one small piece of ribbon).  I painted the design I wanted, wrapped a bit of gingham ribbon around it and it was done.  I tried not to worry too much about getting the paint perfect since I'm not an artist and it really wouldn't matter anyways.  Result:

Third is the sign: I figured that I should probably explain to my guests what the whole thing was about.  Using a cheap frame, I added a matting page using the same floral print from the cards and printed that on a piece of blue card stock, before adding the explanatory message.  I took a little while to decide on the wording and the fonts to make both clear and as concise as possible:



For the fonts, I used Font Paradise which has a really great program that makes it super easy to actually use the fonts you've downloaded. And yes, it's totes legit and not a virus.

Fourth were the writing implements: take one part ballpoint pens, one part silk flowers, and one part florist tape.  Cut the flowers so that the stem runs along the barrel of the pen; wrap the floral tape around and around until the whole pen is covered.  The backside of the tape will be sticky, but that will go away with time.


The total set-up:

I'm pretty satisfied.  :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bachelorette Weekend!


When I talked to my maid of honor - also my little sister - about what I would like for my bachelorette, we discussed primarily that I liked the idea of doing an inexpensive weekend getaway. Only she and one other bridesmaid could make the trip, so we adjusted the plans accordingly.
With that in mind, we made plans for a weekend in Reno.  Yes, not the most exciting of all places, but close enough to drive and generally inexpensive with enough fun things to do that those activities plus good company ought to make for an enjoyable weekend.

Well.
This trip was supposed to take place this past weekend.
I don't know who saw the weather reports, but on Thursday night I got text messages from my sister, my dad, and my step-mom who had all noted the truly awful weather hitting the Sierra-Nevadas.
This weather was so intense that they closed the roads from the Bay to Reno.
Closed them.
As in, shut down, no one is getting through here.

Many curse words were awash in my brain.
What were we going to do now?

Some ideas surfaced, none of them sounding really all that great
.....
until....
I remembered that, since Chris works for Southwest Airlines, we can get these things called Buddy Passes (a limited number) so that others can fly on standby for free.  After talking to Chris, I decided that I wanted to use these passes for my bridesmaids and fly somewhere.

Where?
Glad you asked.
Las Vegas!

And with that, we were off and running.  We changed all the plans, notified people, adjusted reservations, checked flights and went through the process of completely flipping the trip upside down because, even though both places are in Nevada, the planning and prep for trips to Vegas are definitely not the same as for Reno.

Once everything was in place (with the help of many people!!!), Friday afternoon all three of us made our ways to the airports - myself and one BM to Oakland, the other to San Francisco.  We all, very thankfully, were able to make our flights and we landed together in Las Vegas at nearly the same time.

So far our trip was off to a great start.
I don't want to detail all of our shenanigans here, only partly because that would take to long, but suffice to say we had ourselves lots of fun.

We walked (a lot!!), drank, talked, ate, socialized, and gambled.
I also had some really lovely and meaningful conversations with the BMs, and got to reconnect with them both on several levels.
We even watched the lights go out on the Strip on Saturday night from 8:30 to 9:30, in honor of Earth Hour.  I videoed it, too.

The only truly difficult part of the trip was coming home.
Remember how those Buddy Passes mean that you fly stand-by?
Well, trying to leave Las Vegas on a Sunday afternoon is apparently a very bad idea.
We arrived at the airport at about 1:00pm.
We jumped from gate to gate trying to make flights (all of us with sore feet, some of us with more blisters and injuries than others).
Then, after 9pm we were waiting on the very. last. flight. home.  The employees told us that I was at the top of the list, and my BM's were #s 3 and 4 to get on the plane.
I made a strategic decision to go to San Diego instead - since there were seats on those flights and since I was going the next day anyways (more on that later) - hoping that having me off the list would mean that my BM's chances of getting on that flight were improved.

I moved to the gate for my new flight to San Diego (after calling an old friend who graciously agreed to pick me up and give me a place to crash for the night!!!) and waited.  I got a boarding pass right away (meaning that I was almost-guaranteed to get a seat).

When I was on the jetway, I got a text message from one of my BM's saying that she got on the flight....but that the second BM hadn't gotten on yet.  My heart sang and then sank.  I felt like I was abandoning them and I hoped against all hope and reason that they would both get on that plane and get to be home that night.

I spent my flight in an anxious sweat for my compatriot.
When I landed I got good news: both BM's got on the flight and made it home!

So.
In all, it was a really great trip and I'm soooooo happy we went.
Next time, though, we're trying for the very first flight out!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sidebar: Internship Round II

As I noted before, I have been going through a very challenging process of securing an internship for next year so that I might (finally!!!) graduate.



This morning was the match day for round two for the national system meaning that, this morning at 7am I received an email. That email contained the news of whether or not I was matched to an internship placement and, if I was, where I would be going.

The result:

I matched to the Institute for Multicultural Counseling and Education Services (or IMCES)
in Los Angeles, California.

I start on July 1st.



Now, to be quite honest I was unsure of this placement when I interviewed there and, overall, including placements that I was still eligible/up for using the California system (a few of which I was rather excited about) but could not include since the California and national systems are separate.  There was also the issue of the fact that I believe that one of my interviewers did not like me whatsoever.

Still.
I matched there.
It's a solid placement that will get me to graduation and it pays.

I should get a strong experience and develop as a clinician during my time with IMCES.

So.
While I am adjusting emotionally, I am also considering the pragmatics, which are numerous including deciding on where to live.  But, for now, I am going to do my best to be relieved and happy that I have found a placement that will, at the very, very least, suffice for one year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

THE Dress Arrived...Last Month

When I got the call that my wedding dress had finally arrived at the bridal shop, I was both thrilled and anxious.



Now, that happened, several weeks ago (in point of fact, I began writing this particular blog post on February 11th....it is now well past that date) and I have since tried on the dress and, just yesterday, I scheduled my first two dress fittings!

I realize now that I should probably explain the anxious part of that first sentence.
As you may know, I bought my dress quite some time ago and had first found it even earlier than that.
It was just about six months between purchase and when I learned that it arrived at the bridal shop.  That's a looooooong time to wait in between viewing what is arguably the most important and  expensive dress I will even wear. Especially when our culture puts such a premium on finding the just-right dress; I want to look exactly how I want to look on my wedding day and the dress itself is a huge part of that.  Thus, I definitely do not want to have any serious doubts about whether or not I picked the right dress.

For myself, I tried on dress after dress after dress and had a difficult time finding the right style for me and for what I wanted.  I love clothes, and so it was easy to imagine myself getting married to Christopher in many of the dresses I tried on.  I'm not really sure what ultimately sold me on this dress, and so visions of what I remember this dress looking like when I tried it on danced in my head along with visions of a dress I almost bought and ones that I seriously considered.  Who knows?

So six months without seeing the dress and no taksies-backsies can make a gal go a little silly.
Thus, when I got the call the dress was there, I definitely got nervous that it wouldn't look the way I had remembered and that it would be the wrong size and that I picked the wrong version of the color white for it.


[[NOTE to CHRISTOPHER:  STOP READING HERE!  No spoilers for you, young man!!!!]]


Sorry, I need to eliminate the possibility that he accidentally sees some key words that will give it away -- I don't know why exactly, but I've decided to go with near-mystery on how I will look the day we get married.  Except for my shoes and that I'm wearing a big-ass flower in my hair because...well, of course!! on the latter; not wearing a flower would just be silly!!!


Ok.
Better.

:)

Fortunately, though, when I arrived at the bridal shop with parents and a sister in tow (along with no less than 3 trial shoe options, two hair fascinators, a veil, earring options, and a bracelet) and tried on the dress it was what I remembered.  RELIEF!  Wearing it, I felt beautiful.  The size was the right size to have ordered - although it will have to be taken in in the waist and a little in the bust, it was the right size for my hips which, proportionally, is where I am the biggest.  BUT because of the rest, my dress saleswoman, had to hold back all the boning so that I wouldn't look like I was swimming in it.

I think, also, that I feel like keeping the rest of how I will look a bit of a mystery from the world-at-large, as well (because obviously, 8 kajillion people read this blog religiously!).  If you want to see some of the photos from the try-on, let me know and I'll happily share, but I think I'd rather keep it a bit under my hat for now.

Suffice to say, I loved it.  I can't wait to put it on again and make the changes in the sizing and in the adding of the halter strap (which I am convinced will make a huge impact on my silhouette).  
So I for my wedding-day look I have:
(1) the dress
and
(2) the shoes

I still need to make a decision on:
(1) hair accessory/ies
(2) bracelet
(3) shoe clips
(4) earrings [post to come on that one]
(5) hair
(6) make-up
and
(7) nails

That's good progress, right?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bridesmaids Dresses: They've Arrived!!

I posted previously about the selection of the bridesmaids dresses, and the vendor I had chosen.
Well, recently, the box arrived from my Etsy vendor: localovespirate, and I thought that she packed them so adorably that I had to take photos.

She put a personal, hand-written note in with the packaging.


Each dress was wrapped with a ribbon and a matching silk flower attached to a clip (which the girls may or may not use).  They also each had attached a business card and some other marketing.


They also came with a photo-list of possible ways to wear the dress (though there are about a bazillion ways these dresses can be worn), which I thought was nice.

I've distributed the dresses to the girls who currently live in the U.S. (sorry Cat!) and got to play around with trying different styles with two of them.  I'm really excited about them, although we did run into two....I don't want to say issues, but that's the only word coming to mind-----oh! considerations!  We ran into two considerations: (1) bras: we definitely need to find styles for these girls that allow them to wear a bra with the dress since my BM's are not flat-chested, and (2) fabric cling: these dresses - in this fabric, anyhow - require that the wearer have a slip or Spanx or similar unless they want every crook, cranny, dip, and bulge evident.

Other than that, though, which should be easily remedied, I can't wait to see them all dressed and prepped and styled on the day.

Yay for my BMs!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

TWO MONTHS!!!

Wow.

Just the concept that the wedding is a scant two months hence is shocking to me.
At this point, it's less about how many months are left and more about weeks and days.  (It's less than 9 weeks, by the way or 61 days exactly).
The preparations are rolling along and many decisions have been made.

Some RSVP's have begun to roll in - but not nearly as many as I expected we would have. [This could be construed as hint for those who have yet to RSVP via our website but that is not my intention...exactly.]
I have an upcoming bridal shower, I'm going on a bachelorette weekend getaway next weekend, vendor contracts are signed, DIY projects often underway (many of which I have neglected to write a post about yet -but I will), and my bridesmaids' dresses have come in.

Now, it's down primarily to details.  Important details, but details nonetheless.
It's also down to lots of actions and scheduling.

Back to the spreadsheets!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Absence Explained

I feel like every few days or weeks I go through spurts of posting lots and then not posting at all for days.
I think this is partly a good insight into the tumultuousness of my life at the current moment.

Lately, it's about the interviewing process for an internship.  At this time I do not yet have an internship, and the earliest I could find out as of now is March 28th.  After that, if I don't match then the next date is April 8th.  It's all up in the air, and the most challenging part is the interviewing process.

Between the dates of March 7th and March 23rd, my calendar tells me that I have had/have scheduled nine interviews...over 13 business days.  I am flying to LA twice next week for interviews.

It 
is 
exhausting.

The process is draining and the lack of security in terms of the future is anxiety-provoking.  It makes me search for comfort and moments to let go; it makes me tired and sucks all of my remaining motivation completely out of me.  As such, I have been slow at getting to lots of wedding-related projects and even more, lacking the motivation and mental energy to do anything more than the bare minimum in many areas.

Was that a rant?
I'm not sure, but it isn't meant to be....it's simply the fact of my life at the moment and how its affecting me and my wedding-preparation.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shoes: Updated

With the help of my dear friend and bridesmaid, Jessica, we went through all the shoe options I posted before and we made a decision.

On my wedding day, I will be wearing these:


We agreed, however, that the black and silver pouf has to go and that I will replace it with something else.
So I shopped on Etsy for shoe clips that might fit the bill.  Because I'm me, though, I have no idea which one I want.......help!
1. Blue Satin with Pearls


2. Lace and Chiffon with Pearls



3. Blue Chiffon with Beads


4. Wrinkled Turquoise Satin



5. Ivory and Aqua with Beads


6. White Chiffon


7. Crystal and Pearl Flower


9. Satin Bows with Crystal Center

They're all around the same price, and I'm sure that all the vendors would make adjustments to customize for me.

So I have no idea which pair I want.

This is the fun kind of dilemma.  Who wants to help me with it?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shoes!

Last week, with my best friend - you know, the one who's getting married five weeks after we are! - I went shoe shopping...online.  We spent a good two hours perusing Zappos.com and trying to find the right shoes for each of us to wear at our weddings.
And now I have a little problem.
In the form of about $1000 worth of shoe options sitting in my living.  Blame it on realizing that endless.com ALSO has free shipping, free return shipping, and a 365-day return policy.
Please note that these are "options".  I have approximately 12 pairs of shoes, and I plan to keep 2 pairs (one for the rehearsal dinner and another for the wedding itself).  Four pairs have already been determined as "no-go"s, but I have neglected to send them back yet.
Among the remaining contenders are the following shoes:


These are all the wedding shoe options that I'm still considering.
And even though it may seem like overkill, it's been pretty difficult to find shoes that:
(1) I will wear again
(2) Are under $100
(3) Have a medium-high heel
(4) In which I can walk on gravel and grass
(5) I can wear for a few hours in reasonable comfort
(6) In which I can dance, at least a little
and
(7) Are pretty

Honestly, it's most likely that no one will see my shoes -- unless I decide to hem my dress more.

Such agonizing decisions......

Friday, March 4, 2011

Article: Enhancing Joy in Your Relationship

Stumbled across.
Simple, readable.

Thoughts?