weekend repot through my iphone

Joel's parents were with us last week from Wednesday-Monday and while it was fantastic to have them here, I'm excited to slow down a bit.

We did manage to show them a great freaking time around LA though. 

I snuck in a quick FAC (Friday after class....anyone? anyone?) with a girlfriend at Via Alloro. The restaurant actually  makes a cameo in the Real Housewives of Orange County when Heather meets her friend there, but it's in one of the earlier episodes. It's in the center of Beverly Hills and is only mildly stuck up.

Also: I'm still getting used to the fact that I'm meeting girlfriends for happy hour in the middle of Beverly Hills.
After happy hour, I picked up Joel from work and we packed a cooler full of goodies to take to the Hollywood Bowl. The show of the night was The Producers (the musical) and it had an all star cast - Dane Cook, Rebecca Romaijn Stamos, and Jesse Ferguson - which added to the fun. Tickets were like $25 bucks and it's an absolute must if you visit LA in the summer.  Plus, any venue that let's you bring your own wine, snacks, and blankets is just fine by me.

Saturday we spent the day at Paradise Cove in Malibu - which again.....allows you to bring your own wine, snacks, and blanets - so again, I was a happy camper.

Joel played tennis in college and his parents are huge fans of the sport, so they timed their trip up with the Farmer's Classic which was held at UCLA. 
It's crazy to think this picture was taken in JULY - but it gets really cold at night here
Sunday we hiked and I cooked a big dinner for the family, and then the in-laws took off.

Monday I was one of those people that wore heels with leggings....

and decided on shiny, midnight blue nails...

Which really makes me think I need to lay off the wine.


Recent outfits and a recap

 Things are a wee bit cray cray here in LA for Joel and I. Hot off the ride of his brother's wedding, Joel jetted to Ohio for work as his parents made their way to our house for the week. There's been lots of outings, too many restaurants, and lots and lots of wine. All good things, except the looming date of wedding dress shopping.

We've been out on the town, so I had a good excuse to get out of my Lululemon's and into some actual outfits.

J.crew sweater, Ann Taylor dress, TB flip flops

American Eagle chambray, Express tank, RL shorts, TB flip flops
Nordstrom's blouse, Gap pants, D&G sunnies, Yurman bangle......missing shoes.....

ATL sweater and skirt. TB flip flops

This weekend we are hitting up the Hollywood Bowl, Paradise Cove in Malibu, a hike is the Palisades, a tennis tourney at UCLA, and hopefully getting my future father-in-laws rental car back from the repair shop (after an unfortunate meeting with the pole in my parking garage).

Here's hoping I'm still standing come Monday!


Breezy Banana Bread

Breezy Banana Bread

:gets its name because of the banana's (obviously) and the fact that this is quite possibly the easiest recipe in the world.

1 stick of butter
2 eggs
3/4tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 sugar
2 ripe bananas 

1. Pre heat oven to 350

2. Cream sugars and butter 

3. Add eggs and bananas 

4. Stir in flour and baking soda

5. Bake for 45 minutes

It's the best, best, best banana bread ever. 


Wedding Wednesday

This week's topic: 
The Guest List

I never really realized how quickly you have to make a guest list in order to plan a wedding. Everything is dependent on the number of guests that you plan on hosting from the venue, to the ceremony, down to the invites.

The more weddings I attend, the more confident in say that the less people you have at your wedding the better it is.  It's more intimate, the dance floor is more open, and the line for the bar isn't so painfully slow.

Joel and I have big, big families and we like to think a lot of friends so we are not going to have the luxury of keep it intimate and at this point I'm just hoping to keep it under 250.

And of course, the more people you have, the more money you have to shell out. Since I do not have an unlimited budget, I've got to slim the list somewhere.

There is just no way that I can invite every single person I've ever met to my wedding (repeat this Tess, repeat this), so I'm using these tips to help me narrow it down.
  • Dates:  At the end of the day, its my wedding, and I want people at my wedding that I know. And that know me. That means I'm not allowing my 18 year old cousins bring dates. 
  • Kids: I'm still really unsure about having young kids at my wedding. I'm seriously 50/50 on the issue. On one hand, I love kids and they're so stinking cute in pictures and on the dance floor, but I don't envision looking out at my tables of ten and seeing high chairs...or having to serve mac'n'cheese 
  • Work: It can be really tricky when you open up the flood gates to inviting co-workers so I will not be inviting any. I don't have a very close work atmosphere anymore, so this one will be pretty easy for me in all actuality. Joel's office is small (only 8 people) so we actually lucked out on this one.
  • Will we know them in 5 years? If the answer is no, there's not a real use in having them....right?
I know it's inevitable that someone out there is going to have hurt feelings, but hopefully I'll be able to keep the drama to a minimum.....

And if all else fails, I'll be going forward with this rule. 


Where We Belong (and other summer reads)

Emily Giffin is finally releasing her latest book, "Where We Belong". All her previous books (Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One Your With, and Heart of the Matter) are all time favorites of mine. Giffin's characters have a way of sticking with you for years and years, and I still wonder what is going on in their lives. I always dread turning the last page to any of her stories.
Where We Belong
Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

This description has me pretty unamused. I've read this story before and I know how it ends but I'm going to give it the old college try and hope that Giffin delivers again. I'll try to report back on how it turned out.

And speaking of books, I just wrapped up this goody.
Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage 
In many ways, the Browns are like any other middle-American family. They eat, play, and pray together, squabble and hug, striving to raise happy, well-adjusted children while keeping their relationship loving and strong. The difference is, there are five adults in the openly polygamous Brown marriage—Kody and his four wives—who among them have seventeen children.  

I'm, for some reason, very interested by this family and never miss one of their episodes. I can almost say that I would watch this show on the DVR before the Housewives, so when I found out they had released their book, I had to snag it.

The book is broken into 3 parts and each chapter in every part is written by a different wife. It's quite interesting to get an idea of how different and similar this polygamous family is from mine. I would recommend it if you've seen the TV show and know the wives - it made it easier and more interesting to be able to put a personality and face to each character.

What are some good summer reads that have made your list so far?


A Shields Wedding......just not mine!

This weekend we spent the entire weekend with family down in San Diego to celebrate Joel's brother tying the knot.

Thankfully Andrew (Joel's brother) chose the most perfect girl in the entire world to make his wife. She is fun, bubbly, thoughtful, and will make an amazing sister in law. She is coming into a really great family.

I didn't do much at the rehearsal, so someone took pity on me and decided to give me the job of photographer. We they laughed since I was easily distracted by the wine and babies...and in turn didn't capture too many "winners".

After the rehearsal, The Shields family hosted a dinner at a winery about thirty minutes outside the city.

The winery had set up wine tastings for the guests at the back bar and dinner was Italian style pizza and pasta. If I had been dropped here randomly (like via a capsule of some sort) , I would have put my savings account on the fact that we were enjoying dinner somewhere fancy in Italy.

Plus, the spectacular views turned out to be the perfect backdrop for family pictures.
The Shields crew

Their wedding was equally as beautiful and 100% them. They were married in a Spanish courtyard in the same town that Corie grew up in.

Chips and guac were served at happy hour, and the margarita's and Mexican beer added to the feel these two love birds were going for.

And I loved the succulents as centerpieces. 

The entire wedding was so well done and everyone had an absolute blast.

Joel and I have very big, and very beautiful shoes to fill.


Wedding Wednesday

Since I'm planning a wedding to take place in Chicago (actually, Wisconsin), and I live in California, it seems as though all of my trips home this year are going to be seriously hijacked by wedding planning.

On my next trip home over Labor day weekend, I have to accomplish the following:
  • Tour the reception, ceremony, and rehearsal dinner locations with the groom and groom's momma
  • Meet with the stationer's and pull the trigger - Save the dates have to go out by October 22nd (which seems right around the corner)
  • Try on dresses 
  • Determine the final guest list
  • Pick a color scheme 
And what I'm having the hardest time with is the stationary. Plus the fact, that I just assumed since I'm inviting 250 people that I will need 250 invites. Seems sensible right? No, because not every single person is getting an invite - I'll need like 150 at the most....So I need to figure that out too.

I have two appointments with seemingly fantastic stationer's and over the next two weeks I'm going to be sending over the following pins so that they can get an idea of what I like.

It's so hard picking because as I've read - it's the first impression of your wedding....And I don't know what impression I want to give - but these are the looks I'm drawn too, which I think tells you soooommmmething.

So hard to choose!!


Stepford Wife Wannabe

As I mentioned yesterday, Joel and I will be driving down to San Diego for the nuptials of his brother and future sister in law.

After the wedding, Joel's parents are going to be staying with us for an entire week.

I don't know if I'm in the minority here, but when I'm spending time with Joel's family, I try to be the best version of myself. A great cook, a pulled together fashionista, a fantastic aunt-to-be, and a fun loving girl who gets along with his entire family.

I feel like, ok, I'm their future daughter-in-law, the woman "handling" their son, and I want to make it seem that our life is just cherries and butterflies and that Joel is being taken care of by the best. Dinner's on the table, beds always made, laundry always folded - that sorta thing.

So, for the next week before they arrive (next Monday)I am obsessively cleaning the house, planning my outfits, stocking the fridge with the healthiest foods, having baked goods ready to go for breakfast time, and feeling the need to re-decorate every inch of the house. Why? Not sure...

Do you get that way with your in-laws? Or future in-laws for some (cough, Sarah....)?Am I the only loony toon around here?

and just a disclaimer: 
This is not  a feeling that Joel's family has made me feel. In fact, I feel beyond blessed to be accepted into their family with such open arms. I've been with their family for almost 6 years and I highly doubt that I'm fooling anyone with this weird stepford thing I've got going on, but sometimes it's strangely fun. 


The blank wall update and weekend report

  On Friday morning I woke up with a mission to fill the blank space behind my dining room table. I'm pretty sure I dreamed that night of exactly how it would turn out and so I was literally knocking on the door at World Market at 10:01am.

I was collecting all of my frames when this big, iron beauty caught my attention. I love  it's size, and the more I thought about, I felt like it was the way to go. 

It would be a lot easier to hang on the wall and would require less work (from Joel) and less money than the gallery wall, so after a legitimate 45 minute conversation with myself...I bit the bullet and up it went.

I also snagged this dress on Friday from that ever famous TJ.Maxx that I talked about here. This is a BCBG silk dress (which retails for $398) that I found for $30 bucks - which as I told Joel means that it was basically free. 

Overall, the shopping Gods delivered on Friday. 

Saturday morning Joel and I, and our friends, went on a 3 hour hike in Topanga County. It was the hardest hike I've done to date, but it turned out to be actually enjoyable that I almost forgot that we were actually working out. 

Joel is trying to convince me to do Mount Whitney in the fall, which would be a 22 mile hike, and with the wedding around the corner....he might actually be able to succeed.
I'm the one sitting...because I'm smart and didn't want to die.

And in our typical fashion, we never really stopped moving from there.

Joel's middle brother is getting married this upcoming weekend so his parents and older brother's family all arrived in California yesterday morning around 11. They are spending a few days at Disneyland before we all meet in San Diego, but we were able to meet them in Marina Del Rey for a long lunch before they headed off. 

We ended up dining at The Cheesecake Factory - which I have to say really impressed me. The food was good and the ambiance was even better. I'm an adamant anti-chain kinda person, but I can actually say that I would go back there in a heartbeat.

And then the real Sunday Funday started. My girlfriend Dawn had us over for a BBQ where I drank waaaaay too much Rose. I won't even tell you how many bottles we went through, but I'm pretty sure I made a fool of myself as we danced in her living room as our men cleaned the dishes.....



The Ever Famous "Gallery Wall"

Alright girls - it's time you keep me accountable. I, hereby announce, that I WILL do something with the space behind my dining room table.

With a wedding looming on our future there are plenty of reasons why we don't want to spend money on home projects/decorations. For starters, we have a wedding looming in our future....but also, we are going to be registering for things soon - so why buy new frames, or bowls, or a new toaster. 

However, I can't look at this blank slate any longer, so for now, I will buy cheapy deapy frames, and if I get new ones, I will be guilt free when I toss the old ones.

These are a few of the looks I'd like to recreate:

I think Joel and I are too OCD to not go with straight lines and matching frames.

My only worry with this is that it's too similar to the art I have over my couch....

Do you think it's too much order? too many frames? too straight?

Either way I'm going to try and fill the space behind our dining room table with something this weekend so cross your fingers for "after" pictures by Monday! I'll keep all the tags on in case this blows up in my face.

Have a fabulous weekend!! Cheers!