August 31, 2016

#teamwhywedding: Bridal Style

I can't tell you how in love with my dress I was. It is actually very similar to what I imagined myself wearing while we were planning. In hindsight, I would have loved to wear something a little bit more comfortable, but I'm glad that I looked just how I wanted.

I am constantly fighting this inner battle over comfort and what is flattering to my body type. 99.9% of the time comfort wins, but I guess it's fair for that .01% of the time to be reserved for your wedding. 

I wrote about shopping for my wedding dress earlier this year, and looking back at some of those photos, I am so glad I went with the dress shape I did. I felt like myself, but an amped up version. 

My dress was purchased at Stella's Bridal Boutique in LeRoy, New York. If anyone from Central/Western NY is ever shopping for a wedding dress, I highly recommend them. I had personal attention each time I went, which included recommendations for my body shape, height and complexion. I felt like this dress was a little bit unique, and it was made for me--not pulled out of stock. I used my dress as my something new.

Once I purchased my dress, I had a very clear idea about what I wanted my look to be. Since by dress was very ivory toned, I wanted everything else to also have that same vintage-y feel. And also since there wasn't much sparkle to the dress at all, I wanted to incorporate that into my accessories. 

Got these babies at Dillards! (similar)
I am so fortunate that I worked with such wonderful people and creators at my last position. My co-workers really made my wedding day so special. 

I tried SO HARD to grow my hair long. I am someone who prefers to wear their hair down, and everything that I read suggested that I wouldn't like it up, because it wouldn't look like me. I was so concerned that it would be hot, but didn't care. #longhairdon'tcare

I did some research on extensions, and just couldn't pull the trigger on the ones I wanted for the price. I know that the wig shop makes these things on the reg, so I asked them. They CUSTOM MATCHED my hair, and made me a set to wear on my wedding day. This added about 4ish inches to my hair. It pays to be nice to people.

I had been looking for a long time at veils and hair pins. I wanted something specific (shocker), and couldn't find anything that wasn't less than $300 for both. I talked to the costume shop where I was working, and they said they would make it for me. Just to pay for materials. I was freaking out excited when I heard this. They made my cathedral length veil, and it was just what I wanted.

I really wanted to use something of my mom's for my look. She didn't have her dress anymore, so that was out, but she did have her veil. It wasn't in good shape, and was suuuper 80s. I brought the veil parts in to the girls at the costume shop, and they were able to put together this beautiful hair pin from me with those parts. It was so special to not just have something custom made for me, but something that was re-purposed from my mom's wedding attire. I kept pointing it out to people all night, because I just loved it. This was my something old.

My mom surprised me with a bouquet charm at my shower. My grandpa passed away when I was 6, and I was SO close with him. I had been thinking about him a lot before the wedding, and how much he would have loved Dave. When I opened the bouquet charm at my shower, I immediately burst into tears. The charm read "you are always in my heart." This was my something blue.

August 17, 2016

#teamwhywedding: The Girls

Lately Wedding Wednesday is the only real post that I can get myself to write. I think it's because I like to re-live that day, and also because I already have the photos prepared for me! Look at those pretty, smiling faces!

When I was thinking about what I wanted the Bridesmaids to wear, I really wanted something that would be comfortable, look effortless, and look cohesive. I wanted their dresses to look airy, and wanted them to be long dresses so that they would blow in the breeze.

It was so important to me to let the girls feel and look like themselves. I didn't have any preferences on jewelry, hair or makeup. I wanted them to feel comfortable overall, and really wanted them to choose what style of dress was best for them.

I chose three different styles of dress from David's Bridal. They all have very similar looking fabric, but they aren't quite the same. The dresses I chose were a strapless crinkle chiffon dress for my sister who was the Maid of Honor, and a choice of a mesh dress with a cowl back detail or a strapless chiffon dress for the bridesmaids.

I let the bridesmaids choose their preferred style, and my sister had the little extra detail on her dress.

For my youngest sister, I chose that same cowl style dress, but in a short version because she was a junior bridesmaid. This fit her age and personality better I think.

From the moment we were engaged, Caroline was asking me if she could wear a flower crown. I bought her a flower crown made of paper on Etsy, and that was part of her gift. She loved it, and lots of people gave her compliments.

The girls all looked so gorgeous, and they all partied the night away. You could tell they were comfortable. We just had the best time.

I am glad that I didn't stick to one dress, or have any crazy rules about hair and makeup. I want to look at these photos and see my friends and family members, not an army of bridesmaids.

August 16, 2016

All The Things To Do.

Dave and I are finally starting to feel settled in our apartment. It took a little bit, but now we are more familiar with things in the city, and our neighborhood. You know, important things like where to buy groceries and who has the best happy hour. #adulting

We both need to still get our licenses/declare residency (and I need to change my name! yikes!), but it seems like there are so many hoops to jump through.

Yesterday I started Day 2 of my new job, which is awesome. It is very different from my last job, and I am not leaving work at the end of the day exhausted anymore. I’ll let you know if I feel the same way after school starts!

But lately all I want to do is cuddle up on our new couch, and watch the free year of HBO that came with our internet/cable package. Any recommendations (besides GoT because I’m already all over that).

It seems like there is an infinite list of things that need to be done, things to buy, and places to go. Half of me wants to do and explore these things, but the other half is totally content to watch TV. While my 
brain picks the side of adventure, the lazy side always wins.
So while we are getting more comfortable after our move, I still feel in a little bit of a state of flux. 

I am a huge list person, but moving has been a little more stressful than I anticipated, and I am having to re-evaluate my listing technique. I used to be TIED to my Day Designer, but now I am finding it so much easier to just list on a legal pad. 

This quote has inspired me a lot lately, as I remind myself to not wait to do things. Nothing is going to get done if you don’t start it first. And that seems especially true for things that I might not prefer to do. 

So I am over here just whittling away at my ever growing to-do list. I’m sorry if I’m not as active in this space as normal, but bear with me as I learn how our life is going to look in Pittsburgh. I love you guys!

August 10, 2016

#teamwhywedding: The Guys

Hi guys! Sorry about falling off the face of the earth, but our move was NOT as smooth as I wanted it to be. We are still getting situated in our new apartment, but... I got a job! I am working in the Theatre Department of Point Park University. This position holds tons of opportunities for me, and I can't wait to really get into the academic year!

I wanted to stop by, say hi, and share some photos of some handsome guys with you for Wedding Wednesday!

Dave's groomsman were for sure a wacky bunch. Our photographer had her work cut out for her in getting these dudes to cooperate. I love that you can tell exactly how much fun they are having in every photo. :)

Dave wanted to do suits for the wedding, but we couldn't find navy ones anywhere. We thought about buying them for the guys from JC Penney, but that would have cost more. 

We ended up going with the Kennedy Outfit from The Black Tux, but chose a navy tie instead of a red tie. This worked out SO well, and the guys looked so nice.

The Black Tux works just like Rent the Runway, except men put their measurements in instead of choosing their size. We got everything in the mail about a week before the wedding, and it pretty much fit everyone perfectly!  

We did have one person (the best man) who needed a jacket with longer sleeves, but they sent us a new one overnight (still days before the wedding), which fit him wonderfully.

The price was awesome, and Dave actually paid for the suits as a gift to the guys.

So they looked great. But how does that saying go?? You can dress 'em up, but you can't take 'em out. I mean, just look at them... Get it together guys!

July 29, 2016

What I've Been Reading... July, 2016

This month has been a whirlwind. We got married at the beginning of the month, had a really fun mini-moon in Washington DC, and went right into packing and moving. We move this weekend, and I can't wait to get to Pittsburgh and relax!

I have had surprisingly a lot of time to read. I've been reading more at night, so that is something that really helps. Nothing gets me more relaxed and ready for sleeping than reading a book in bed.

Today I'm linking up with Puppies and Pretties for Reading Lately.

Pay it Down! by Jean Chatzky ★★★
Jean Chatzky has been working with viewers of NBC’s Today show for a series on how to get out of debt once and for all. Her method, both on TV and in this book, is simple yet powerful: the key is saving just $10 a day that you currently waste. It doesn’t sound like much—a movie ticket or lunch for two at McDonald’s— but $10 really can take you from debt to wealth in just a few years. And because it doesn’t feel like an impossible goal, people are more likely to stick with Chatzky’s plan than an extreme regimen of spending cutbacks. Chatzky is focusing on debt because it’s the single biggest threat to our financial health. The average American family has sixteen credit cards and high-rate debt of more than $8000, not even counting car loans and mortgages. They pay more than $1000 a year in interest alone. Debt makes people feel depressed and overwhelmed, leaving them without enough money for the truly important things in life—education, retirement, owning a home, feeling secure. Chatzky, one of America’s most popular personal finance experts, writes in down- to- earth, woman-next-door language about how to get started right away, without giving up the things that truly give you pleasure. She offers practical, accessible strategies to help readers find the money to pay off their bills, lower their interest rates, and improve their credit scores. Featuring real-life examples of people featured on her Today show series, Pay It Down can transform debtors into future millionaires.
I found this while I was cleaning out our stuff, and was intrigued. Like most millenials, I have a butt ton of student loan debt. While I know I am going to have to be a little bit more thrifty than usual with Dave starting full-time school, I think a lot of the advice in this book is really common sense. Oh, you want to save money, stop buying food out.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick ★★★
In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear.In the Heart of the Sea tells perhaps the greatest sea story ever. Philbrick interweaves his account of this extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men with a wealth of whale lore and with a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. Impeccably researched and beautifully told, the book delivers the ultimate portrait of man against nature, drawing on a remarkable range of archival and modern sources, including a long-lost account by the ship's cabin boy. At once a literary companion and a page-turner that speaks to the same issues of class, race, and man's relationship to nature that permeate the works of Melville, In the Heart of the Sea will endure as a vital work of American history.
Really depressing. This book is super sad, and a bit graphic. I knew the plot, just from watching the movie, but the book is so descriptive. Supposedly this is the same story that Moby Dick is based on (which I've never read), but I imagine it is quite different as well. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ★★★
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air. Welcome to Le Cirque des RĂªves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. 
I talked a little bit about how hard it was to get into this book, but I trucked along anyway. I still didn't love it, even though the plot did get better as I read. It was way too much world building, and I didn't feel that the plot finished very well. It is really cool that Morgenstern wrote this for NaNoWriMo!

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn ★★★
A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the "psychic" visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan's terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan's teenage stepson, doesn't help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it. 
I read this in one sitting during the week before the wedding. It was cute and quirky, and very cool to see a short story from Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, etc). The characters were also really interesting. I highly recommend this for someone looking for a short read!