Wedding Wednesday

It's almost 6 months to the day that I will be walking down the isle, becoming a bride.loooveeee

I've been on a bit of planning hiatus this month, since most of my vendors have been hired, but I thought I'd check in on my ever growing list and see some progress - or concerns - for the sake of both you and me. 

Set a date
Book venue
Book photographer
Book videographer
Book DJ for reception
Ask bridal party to be in wedding
Book caterer & bar
Create wedding website
Book florist
Buy wedding dress 
Book ceremony & cocktail hour musicians
Book rentals
Take engagement pictures 
Select bridesmaid dresses
Have bridesmaids order dresses
Select and order groom & groomsmen attire
Have groomsmen order suits
Purchase veil and accessories for dress
Book cake baker
Hire coordinator 
Buy cake knife & server
Order save the dates   
Finalize guest list    
Send save the dates  Going out mid January
Book officiant  
Pre-marital counseling
Order guest book
Hotel room blocks
Hire a calligrapher
MOB & MOG dress shopping
Find wedding shoes
Find wedding jewelry
                Find garter   Not wearing one
Book makeup artist & hair stylist 
Menu tasting - in February
Take bridal portraits / hair & make up trial
1st dress fitting
2nd dress fitting
Order ceremony programs
Order invitations
Mail invitations
Book rehearsal dinner venue  Almost love it more than the actual reception! Almost.
  Rehearsal Dinner music/activities
Buy Rehearsal Dinner dress
Transportation for Rehearsal Dinner bridal party   
Buy bridal party gifts
Bachelorette party Being worked on
Bachelor party
Bridal showers Being worked on
Purchase wedding bands
Put together picture list for photographer
Get marriage license
Order wedding favors
Book transportation from reception to hotel
Book honeymoon 
Honeymoon shopping
Gift for Groom
Rehearsal Dinner  invitations
Music selections to band and ceremony artist
Book wedding night hotel room
Order thank you notes
 Walk down the aisle & say I do!

Classy and simple.

What was the craziest planning month of your wedding? Do you think I'm on pace? Anything I'm missing from this list?



Maybe it's because the year is ending, and I'm craving a new start. Or maybe it's because my mom is away in Mexico so I don't have her to be my springboard to vent. Or maybe I just can't come up with any other blog idea and I've had a glass of wine and this sounds good?

But, here are a few things I thought about getting off of my chest from 2012

 All the time

-I like California more than I ever thought that I would. I knew I needed an adventure, and to leave my comfort zone, but I never thought that I would fall so head over heels for this state. I like the slower pace, the sunshine, the mountains, and the ocean.

-But, with the year that I've had, I sometimes wonder if I love California so much because it's been escape from a tough reality. A reality in which I don't really want to face.

-I'm truly addicted to getting  manicures. I feel like I have to have one every two weeks or I start to feel seriously out of whack.

-I haven't taken a shower in months. I'm a strictly bath kinda girl. And I'm actually a 2x/day bath kind of girl. I wake up in the bath, and I start my bedtime routine in the bath. It's a little geriatric, but, I don't really care.

-I haven't eaten "white" carbs in about 22 days. I was hoping I was going to lose like 10 pounds, but that didnt happen (update to come later this week), but I do have far less stomach aches and have been feeding my body - and Joels - so much healthier. Our grocery bills have gone up about $30 a week, but I'm cooking almost 5 nights a week.

-I can't eat chicken. In March I tried to make chicken salad wraps and put the cooked chicken into a blender (per the directions) to mash it up, and ever since then....it's been over between us.

-I love hotel bars. There is something so sexy and romantic about having a drink or two there.

-I drink wine 6 nights a week. It makes me nervous that I drink too much sometimes. I'm only 24, so I know it's not that big of a deal to have 2 glasses of wine on a Tuesday, and Joel and I don't do "O bombs" on the weekend, so it probably evens out, but drinking - as much as it relaxes me, sometimes gives me anxiety.

-The only blogs that capture my attention are "real life" blogs. Blogs that tell real life. I don't like blogs about girls who play dress up, or copy pictures that I've seen on pintrest a million times. My favorites are: Sarah (my BBF), Natasha, Natalie, Andee, and Kelly.

-Speaking of anxiety, I sometimes wonder how I'm going to be able to have kids one day.  I carry so much anxiety about my family's well being, and Joel's well being, and even my dogs well being, I don't even know how I'm going to be able to handle a little thing that is my own flesh and blood. After this tragedy in Newtown, it seems safer sometimes to just sit alone at home

-Christmas music and country music are the only two stations allowed in my car

-On that note, I only see and read happy movies and books. My constant excuse is that "I don't need the extra drama in my life". In college, my roommate would all huddle together to watch Grey's Anatomy and I would hide away in my bedroom. If they tied me into a chair, the next day I would be convinced I had whatever ailment the actor died of the night before.

-Joel and I are in love with each other, of course, but we have never, ever loved something together as much as we love our puppy Roscoe. We are beyond obsessed with him, send each other pictures, talk about his poop, stare at him while he sleeps, and so many other creepy things that I'm starting to worry about our sanity as a couple.

-I leave for Mexico, and I can't wait to spend 8 days straight with my parents and sister. I just wish my other sister Hannah was able to be there, but she is living and working in Barcelona, Spain - so I don't feel too awful!

-I bought my first even tankini (since I was like 13) to wear in Mexico. Not sure if this is happy or sad moment.

-Wedding planning is not exactly what I imagined. I'm not sure if it's because I'm removed from my family and bridesmaids, but it often feels more like a chore. I hate the idea of spending these buckets of money, on one day, and constantly thinking that it's still not enough.

-I love to go to the movie theatre. Mainly, I love to go alone. When I worked in an office in Chicago, I would take a day off every quarter to have a "me" day. Besides sleeping in, and doing some shopping, I always went to see a movie alone. As soon as I get back from Mexico I'm going to see "This is 40". I may even brave the crowds on Jan. 1st!

-I wonder how I lived without Pintrest. Ever recipe I cook comes from that site, I take the computer into my room to plan outfits, and I use the handy ideas all the flipping time. It eats up about 4 hours of my time every week.

-I'm borderline obsessed with Kathy Lee & Hoda

-I am a mega nester. I like the house to be our little oasis, our safe place, our comfort - and I mainly do it for Joel, although I do need it too. I like to think about him sitting at his office after a long day, looking forward to coming home to this clean, cozy house, with a warm dinner waiting and me and Roscoe happy and ready to see him. I think it's probably one of the greatest pleasures of my life....which semi concerns me.

-I'm not a fan of planes, even though that's the industry my fiance works in.  I don't like take off, but I've gotten better. Virgin America is my favorite airline, and they serve a really delish mimosa that helps take the edge off.

-I've never flown first class and it's one of my goals in 2013.

-I go to sleep before 10pm pretty much every night. I need a solid 8-9 hours of sleep to function properly, but if I'm asleep at 10, waking up at 7, or 7:30 is no big deal.

-I want to have kids before I'm 30. Which is contrary to an earlier point, but in all reality, I cannot wait to have babies.

-I feel like taking vacations as a couple, and only a couple, is an investment in your success as a couple. I try to remind Joel of my theory very often. 


Weekend Report

Wait, it's Monday?

This weekend - our "Christmas" weekend before we leave for Mexico, was pretty close to perfect.

On Friday night, I hosted an ornament/cookie exchange with the girls. Because I'm sticking to my no-carb rules, the girls were subjected to it as well.

I had lots of meats & cheeses, sweet & sour mini meatballs, deviled eggs, and carrots and hummus. 

Plus, there were tons of sweet treats to snack on - my contribution being the chocolate covered strawberries and champagne jello that I forgot to serve!
And - I didn't touch ONE cookie.

Of course, the bottles were flowing so everyone had a really great time and we all got to go home with a sparkly new ornament.


Parties like this make me so grateful for all these friends I've made in California. It's been about 9 months since I moved out here and I feel like I have a family, a support network, and a lot of people I could call to bail me out of jail.

Saturday morning Joel and I woke up and acted as if it was December 25th. We had been excited for the day the entire week, so we tried to make it last as best we could.  
The day started with champagne, coffee, and some more carb-free goodness. Every Christmas together, our gifts become more fun - and this year especially since we had Roscoe. We each got him a surprise gift and let each other open it. He was so excited to play with the wrapping paper and test out his new toys that it made us even more excited too.

We stuffed stockings this year, and had big presents for each other too. It was fun to open lots of presents even though we weren't with our parents.
He gets me
And, we had to have an ornament to recognize (and always remember) our first Christmas in California. 

Saturday night I had fun taking my time to get ready, dancing to Christmas music, and just enjoying being in the spirit.

 We drove around Beverly Hills to take in the lights of Rodeo and then had dinner at Son of a Gun - a seafood resaturant that's been on our "list" for a while.

And on Sunday, read, and relaxed, and hung around in sweats the entire day.

I do want to note that this happy weekend was obviously soured by the absolute horrific tragedy in Newtown. My heart is so heavy with grief for that entire community and I just cannot imagine what those people must be feeling right now as they start their Monday morning without their baby, or neighbor, or sister.

These are all of our children.
And as President Obama said at their memorial yesterday, "We can do better than this".
Romans 12:12


Vacation State of Mind

With my pending vacation coming up - we leave next Saturday - it's all I can think about - and prepare for.

1 week before:
  • Layout all clothes - Since we go to Mexico every year, with the same people, I try not to wear the exact same things year after year. I try to get an idea of my day and night outfits so I can notice any holes that I may need to fill before it gets to late. I'm actually really happy with the clothes I'm bringing along for this year's trip - the hardest part is deciding which night to wear them!
  • Confirm Passports/airline tickets/etc. - It literally crossed my mind tonight that I don't know where my passport is. I think I know.....but I need to check....now.
  • Dog & House instructions for sitters - This area is still a little up in the air. We have a few options, I just need to get it perfectly organized. Leaving Roscoe home without us is an anxiety for both Joel and I, but we are going to try not to obsess about it and enjoy ourselves while we are away.
  • Airport ride arrangements 
  • Purchase carry-on size toiletries
  • Order needed medications 
  • Teeth whitening 
  • Fake Lotioning - I'm an AVID sun-avoider...in fact, yesterday, I got news that a recently biopsied mole was benign!! I have very fair skin, and rocking a nice sun tan is not worth the risk for me. They goodness for Jergens
  • Dieting- I'm going carb-free, but I really need to start upping my workouts. ready for vacation
2-3 days before:
  • Pack Suitcase. I'm a carry-on ONLY kind of traveler. You know the saying.....It's true.keep Calm
  • Buying magazines/books/music - I'm desperate for some good beach reads. I'm stuck at chapter 5 in The Happiness Project and just can't find the motivation to pick it up. What are a few mindless, cute, reads that you love?
  • Clean out fridge/garbage
  • Tidy house
  • Laundry & Ironing
  • Stock groceries & wine for the house sitters
  • Prepare carry-on and purse- My purse on planes is always the same: Scarf, Xanax, Gum, Water, 2-3 Magazines, Headphones, Music, Nook, Wallet, and Emergency Snack.,
Day Before:
  • Layout airport clothes - I try to use the airport as an excuse to dress to impress - especially in LA. Airport outfits are my favorite, and I'm feeling a very "Yolanda" moment.
  • Confirm tickets, passports, and needed items
  • Pack toiletry bag
  • Drink some tequila and get in the VACAY state of mind! - I don't love to fly in planes, so I like to distract myself the night before and morning of with alcohol. I realize now, as an adult, why I'm a better flier - and it's because I can have a few drinks to take the edge off!
    And then, it's party time!
    Do you have any vacation rituals? 
    When I was kid, my sisters and I had a tradition of always sleeping in the same bed the night before our trip.  The anticipation is almost just as fun as the vacation itself!


Mexican Vacation

Joel and I leave next Saturday morning for 8 days of bliss with my family in Punta Mita, Mexico.

We both need a break, and we need a break together. I cannot wait to sip tequila by the pool, get in the books that have been on my reading to-do list, and see my family for eight days straight.

Paradise awaits, but in the meantime, I'm trying to build a Mexican wardrobe in the wrong, wrong season.

Vacation outfit love this outfit!!Basic black tank, maxi skirt, oversized clutch, bangles and top not bum.    Easy vacation outfit. But I'd probably take a bag with a strap so I'd have my hands freeGreat vacation outfit for the summer. Easy to pack.whiteCasa Ninamu, MexicoTory On: Resort 2013
The perfect LAX - PV airport outfit I ever did see....
These are the looks I want to embody, so I've got one more trip scheduled to Nordstrom's and Nordstrom Rack, and then I'm going to see what I can pull together with what I've got.

Wish me luck!


Weekend Report

  • On Thursday morning, right as I was pouring my morning cup of coffee, I called my mom and heard panic and tears. These are the kinds of phone calls that I absolutely dread. My Grandpa had been rushed to the ER with a suspected stroke and then air lifted to a larger hospital. My family has seen our fair share of hospitals this year, and I just couldn't grasp the strength to take this news. I crumbled to my knees and spent about four hours crying alone in my house waiting by the phone for updates.
Joel convinced me to shower and meet him at his office for lunch so that I wouldn't be alone all day. Once my soup and wine was set down (just what the doctor ordered), I got the phone call I had been praying for. Papa was showing improvement. They knew he was going to pull through.

This weekend Papa has seen lots of visitors, took down a few things of food, started walking, and although he has lost muscle memory in his left side, was able to touch his left hand to his nose. He will likely leave the hospital in a few days, spend two weeks in a rehabilitation center and then be back to his driving, active, cooking, breakfast loving self.

Thank you, thank you thank you God.
Thank you Cambria for this beautiful quote on the canvas.  I love it!

---And, on to frivolous, clearly non-important updates that went on this weekend.---
  • Friday I got my hair done. I went to an Aveda salon in my neighborhood that turned out to be an Aveda school. 4 hours later, I can't even notice a difference. Such an annoying waste of time and money.
    This picture clearly doesn't work....and yet, ironically, it totally does.
  • Friday night Joel and I went to fun bar on Venice Blvd - Big City West - which instantly made me feel like we pulled up too a winter lodge in Vail. I loved the log cabin vibe, roaring fires, and strong drinks. It was nice to go to a bar with just Joel and just chat.
  • Saturday we spent the day Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, and sending out a few gifts. We made chili and had my girlfriend Shelby come over to share in the enormous pot we made. How cute is this picture I snapped of Joel loving on our little baby.
  • I started feeling a little bug on Sunday, so we laid low and didn't do much. Carb-Free living is still going strong and I'm ready for this fun week ahead. I'm hosting an ornament exchange on Friday and Joel and I are celebrating our Christmas on Saturday!  
  • True.


My House: Xmas'ed

This is our first California Christmas and since the weather sure as heck doesn't feel like Christmas, I tried to make my house as festive as I could.

Our Kitchen, dining, and living room are all connected, and really the only place we spend our time, so I didn't bother with the other rooms.


Honestly, scented pine cones may be the best spent money I spent on all of my decorations. They've kept my house smelling amazing since I bought them on Black Friday.  

Joel gets funny about decorations - thinking that they very quickly become tacky, so I always try to stay clear of any disney or cartoony themed items (obviously), and try to stick to classic shapes and classic colors.


I remember as a kid all of the Christmas decorations that my mom would put out. One of my favorites was a needlepoint pillow with an old time santa as the pattern so this year I finally picked up
 a Christmas pillow of my own from Target. 


Speaking of Target, that's where we got this 6' pre-light baby. I knew fake Christmas trees could be stupidly expensive, but we have huge ceilings, and a dinky tree just wouldn't cut it on our room. Somehow, I convinced Joel to come with me to Target on Black Friday - which turned out to be nothing at all - and we scooped up this tree for THIRTY dollars. 


I love this Vol's snowman we got last Christmas and since we haven't collected all that many ornaments, he sits front and center. Next week I'm hosting an Ornament exchange at my house with some girlfriends, and I can't wait to head out shopping for some. Plus, I'm on the hunt for a special puppy one in lieu of Roscoe's 1st Christmas.


 And my girl Natasha, shared the secret to perfect chalkboards.....wet chalk. It seriously makes the board in my kitchen look painted.

I love turning all of the lights off at the end of the day and just soaking in all the Christmas spirit. It really is the most wonderful  time of year.


Wedding Wednesday: Pre-Marital Counseling

Love is the most important 

Since we decided on our officiant, we've been enrolled in  pre-martial counseling with our officiant. Since the officiant lives the East Coast we skype with him at 6:30am every other Friday, for about an hour. I've never done therapy/counseling before, and since it was a requirement, I didn't really couldn't find an out.

And I'm so glad I didn't.

We do a lot of listening, and reflecting, and sometimes the truth does hurt, but most of the time we leave the session feeling inspired and motivated to get closer as team.

We took a break for the month of December, since we are leaving for Mexico, and in lieu of actual conferences, we've been rewarded with worksheets and homework assignments.

Our worksheet for this week was actually pretty fun. We got to answer questions like these:
  • What are your 3 favorite things that your fiance does for you during the week: washes the dishes after I cook dinner, kisses me right when he comes home from work, checks in with me to see how my day is going, and bonus: doesn't judge my daily wine.
  • What are 2 things that you do on a daily basis to show your love to your partner: keep the home clean, organzied, & cozy & cook dinner/grocery shop/allow him to eat.
  • What annoys you the most about your partner? This week? The way he drives.

I've been thinking a lot about these sessions, and relationships in general. I really, really want my marriage to be strong. But, like anything, in order to get strong, it takes work.

My sister-in-law,-to-be, a newlywed herself, and I were talking over Thanksgiving and she said something that really struck me,"You get your car cleaned every few months, and you have a cleaning lady deep wash your house, and you go to the gym to work on your body, and you see your dentist to keep your teeth clean, but what exactly do you do to work on your marriage?


Good point.

We have some guidance for pre-work for our marriage, but I want to make sure Joel and I continue to work  on our marriage. It's something that so easily gets thrown to the side, because it can always wait til tomorrow. But, I really want to keep the success of my marriage a top priority.

How? Don't know yet.....but I'm determined to find out.


I'm reading The Happiness Project which has been useful, but what else do you do to keep your relationship healthy? Strong? Successful? Happy?


Bucket List Check-Up

On September 27th, I set up a list of activities I wanted to accomplish for our first fall in California. The post is here, but this is how we did:
  • Bring the pup along on our annual pumpkin patch trip! We did make it to a pumpkin patch, but we didn't bring Roscoe....or take any pictures. 
  • Run a Turkey Trot  7mile Turkey Trot in a mountain.
  • Paint pumpkins We carved them.
  • Bring sweet treats to Joel's office Brought Thanksgiving cookies
  • Host a Halloween get together with chili and pumpkin beer.
  • Dress up every day. I'm sure I missed a few days, but I made major strides in this department. Going into the office a few more times per week has really helped me not feel like I total slug.
  • Explore one new town in California - and I'm hoping it's Laguna Beach! 
  • Keep up with running - set a goal and accomplish it. I ran at least 3x a week, and got in a lot of trail runs in the last two months.
  • Buy some new boots
  • And a cute, quilted puffy vest  I tried to save a buck and order one from Lands End that turned out to be a bust, but then I splurged and just got the dang J.Crew one. And I wear it all the time.

And now, for my December/Holiday to-do.
 Christmas car
  • Do something good for others, Out of our comfort zone that requires labor of some sort.  Give - Volunteer 
  • Play Christmas music, light pine candles, and enjoy the season as much as humanly possiblegarland over columns
  • Decorate the house, take pictures, and share them on the blogglittering affair
  • Send gifts and cards to family and friends we won't see this year love
  • Buy stockingsDear Lillie
  • Decorate cookies
NutterButter snowmen!
  • Build a gingerbread house with Joel
 Stitchy Gingerbread House
  • Host an ornament exchange with my girlfriends
Downtime. Upcycle.: Christmas Ornament Exchange
  • Spread cheer to friends, neighbors, and co-workers.3 Jolly Rancher Sticks in a cellophane bag with a tag that reads, "Have a holly jolly Christmas!"

 And of course, enjoy some holiday spirits....
ha ha ..... love it!