Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a fantastic holiday!

I've found this wonderful site about happiness. I think in the frenzy that is wedding planning, it's great to take a step back and consider what makes you happy. A wedding is a day (or a few), but a marriage is a lifetime. The Happiness Project has great tips, articles, and suggestions for happiness.

A recent article talks about gratitude, and how it is a key to happiness. So think about what you are thankful and grateful for, and experience some happiness!


Favorite Blog: Wedding Bee

My first real venture into reading a blog consistently was WeddingBee. I started reading before the idea of marriage even was a topic of conversation. I found WeddingBee through my co-worker who was chosen as a bee last spring. She is now Mrs. Tomato. Since then I started casually reading the blog and then it became a routine in the morning. With so many different voices of all the bees, there were so many ideas and points of view. It was great!

However, the entire time that I was "secretly" reading WeddingBee, part of me felt like I shouldn't be. I wasn't a bride to be. I wasn't helping plan a wedding. I didn't have anything to do with the wedding world. But I enjoyed reading the blog, especially since I would in the future...someday.

After the engagement, I felt like I had a legitimate reason to be reading WeddingBee. I didn't feel embarrassed to be reading bridal things because now I had a reason. Now I use WeddingBee for all sorts of inspiration. The other bees have had so many great ideas and a lot of it was DIY. I'm looking to do as much (within reason) DIY. I'm going for a personalized look that is entirely us. Thanks WeddingBee for being such an inspiration!



December, oh my!

Wow, I don't know how the time past so quickly, and it's now December. The holiday season is upon us!

Check out the fab table decor from Hostess with the Mostess blog:

I especially love this last table setting. The colors are totally fab!

All photos from the Hostess Blog.



Invitations and ideas for invitations have been running around in my head for the last week. Tomorrow officially marks eight  months to go. Everyone keeps telling me "YOU have soooo much time" but considering that we are already half way through November, those eight months are going to fly.

Anyway, I really love the look of letterpressed invitations, but it's totally out of range for our budget. But like Miss Fondue on WeddingBee, I'm loving the look of heat embossed invitations. They look have the textured look to them that I think is so pretty, not to mention a lot more affordable! I'm definitely considering this option because I do want to DIY my invitations because all the premades aren't quite speaking to me. I think they are totally beautiful, but I'm a custom on a budget type of gal.

I'm also thinking about poketfolds and the possibility of making them myself. I know that they are available on www.cardandpockets.com and at around $1 each, that would mean about $200 just on the pocketfolds! There are a ton of great tutorials online, including Road to the Aisle and Miss Ballet Flat and Miss Fondue and Mrs. Daffodil on WeddingBee.

Some things to think about!


Estilo Weddings is having a sale!

I found out about Estilo Weddings this week from Style Me Pretty, a must-read wedding blog. Well, they are having a sale through November 23rd. You can get a ton of stuff! I'm definitely considering getting my bridesmaids pashminas!

Check it out!


VOTE! Just do it!

Get out there and exercise your right to vote. If you don't vote, you can't complain. So, just do it! :)

photo from Bakerella


30-Day Shred!

Ok, so I've heard a lot of buzz about Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. Like many brides out there, I want to get into better shape before the wedding. I ordered my dress already and I have a little leeway to lose some chub. After reading through at least three different blog posts point to Jillian's workout, I ordered the DVD.

Well, I tried it out today. I didn't think that you could get a "good" workout in just 20 minutes. I was wrong. Jillian Michaels is the drill sergeant trainer of one of my favorite weight-loss reality show, The Biggest Loser. She kicks the contestants butts into shape. And she kicks yours through the DVD. I suppose the one caveat, is that you actually have to complete the workout without hitting pause. But, if you push yourself through it all, you can do it! 20 minutes is over in no time. Plus, if you don't have it in your budget to go out to Boot Camp classes (which I thought about too), this DVD is only $10.99. Budget-friendly!

So it's only Day 1, but I already feel it. It's all about diligence. 20 minutes a day, just do it!


New twist on candle votives

This is an interesting project that I would never have though of. I want to have votives lighting up each table and depending on the type of votive it can get pretty pricey. These are made with water balloons and paraffin. The directions are here. Pretty cool, huh?

Thanks Elizabeth Anne Designs for finding this and sharing it!


Need help picking colors

Ever wonder how in the world you are going figure out what colors go together? Or maybe you need to find another color to complement what you've already picked out.

Well, wait no longer. Enter: kuler.adobe.com!

This is a really cool site where you can search for color combinations. You can even search fun names like "mango" or "ice cream" or "island" or "wave". Almost anything will generate some sort of a result.

Have fun!


Fab Decoration!

My venue needs a little gold pop. The walls are a peachy and yellow color and my color scheme is chocolate brown and ocean blue. So my venue coordinator suggested that I tie in come gold accents so that I don't have to order chair covers. The chairs aren't that ugly, so I think we can work with the gold.

Thanks to my daily read, Elizabeth Anne Designs, I found this fabulous DIY project for decorations. The full instructions can be found here.

If I can create these in this color or more yellow-peachy color, I think it will tie in nicely with my venue, bridging the color gap. I'm totally keeping this one bookmarked!

Instructions found on the VintageGlam Blog.


Dress Shopping, my take, Part 3

So after a positive experience at the first bridal salon, we were off to lunch and driving down to the next appointment.

The next appointment was booked at Kay's Bridal in Castro Valley. I remembered passing it every now and then driving through. I looked them up online and booked an appointment. Kay's Bridal had very friendly staff and a huge inventory. The difference was that the dresses were in plastic bags on the racks so for me, it was hard to see what the dressed would look like in full form. This, however, did prevent the serious eye wattering that I experienced at the other bridal salon.

My attendant, Nicole, was very helpful. She asked me what my price range was and what style I thought I wanted. Again, I was a little weary about giving "too low" of a price range, thinking that it would seriously limit my possibilities. I told her that I was interested in A-line gowns, nothing too poufy, with some lace, but not overkill. She found some dresses that she thought fit the description and I picked out some dresses, trying to peer into the plastic sheath.

I tried on about ten dreses I think. I tried on the same dress that I did at the first boutique. I loved it all the same. I checked the price to see if there were any advantages on waiting a few more months or buying it then. I saw that the pricetag was higher than the other salon, but Kay's was also running a special on Maggie Sottero gowns, for I believe $200 off the tag price. Then, I took into account that the other store was having a Trunk Show Sale on Maggie Sottero dresses.

So I'm not one to hem and haw over things like this. In my mind, it's another bullet point on my Wedding To-Do List. It seemed straightforward to me. I would go to the other store and take advantage of the Maggie Sottero Trunk Show Sale and be done with it. Which is what I did!

Here's my dress, the Carissa:


We have music!

Ack! I keep making excuses about how I'm a bad blogger. Well, there it is, I just am. At the beginning I just wrote a bunch of posts and scheduled them to publish. That was fab. Then I started to slack on it and those scheduled posts ran out, the ones queued up were never written and well... yeah.

On a separate note, we booked our DJ! This was one thing that the fiance really wanted to have a hand in it. I was totally cool with that, since there are the grooms out there who are just uninvolved. I knew that the music aspect of our wedding day would be really important to him, so I researched the companies and then scheduled some face time.

Having a fiance who is in a different state makes wedding planning a little tricky, but totally doable. Unlike brides who are planning destination weddings, I'm here in the area of our wedding. It's just when things arise that he needs to be here for that require some extra planning. The last time that he was out here we went to interview the DJ company. I also took him to see the reception venue which he had never seen in person, only through photos and verbal description. Next time, we'll have to meet up with my priest to go over some particulars and other stuff.

Our DJ company is awesome and if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'll highly recommend them. They are Denon & Doyle based out of Pleasant Hill, servicing the entire Bay Area. I attended a wedding this summer where they were the DJ company. Everything ran smoothly and everyone gravitated to the dance floor. The flow was great and I felt like it was so professional and just awesome! They know tons of venues and vendors and are so easy and great to work with. They've gotten rave reviews from the Knot and local papers. We met with one of the senior DJs, my fiance got a good vibe from him, and he was hired. Done and done. Now if only all the other wedding stuff was that easy!


Terrible Blogger, AWESOME Post!

I've been really bad at blogging lately. But I'm going to make a better effort to blog as I did when I first started this.

I found a really great article - Top Ten Tips from Nicole Rinaldi on the Wedding Chick Blog! It's great inspiration to get yourself in gear if you're looking for reasons to eat better and get in shape for your wedding or just in general.

Check out the article!


Eco-friendly BM gifts?

The Wedding Chicks posted about these awesome bags. Thinking green and wanting to reduce your carbon footprint? Check out these super cute AND eco-friendly bags by Envirosax. I think these would make fab green gifts! Check out the selections below:

At only $8.50, these are a steal! Reduce those plastic bags! Shop in style and save the environment. It's a win-win situation.


Simply Cinematic

I found this over on one of my favorite blogs, Elizabeth Anne Designs. Have you ever wanted your day to be remembered as epic? Well, that's the feeling I get when I watch this trailer. Definitely an event to remember. This was shot by the folks at Simply Cinematic, Atlanta-based videographers. Truly awesome!

Laura & Erick - Sneak Peek from Simply Cinematic on Vimeo.


Don't Miss it!

The Crate & Barrel Wedding Event is coming to a store near you!


One-Stop Shopping for Inspiration

If there's one blog that I can rely on for everyday inspiration of amazingly beautiful weddings, it's the Southern Weddings blog. I discovered them just a few months ago, and it's one of my daily reads and has some serious eye candy. Lara Casey and her team do a great job of showcasing so many lovely, yet unique, weddings.

Take a look:

Jane & David by Heather Forsythe

Shalyce &Ian by Michele M. Waite

Katie & Torsten by Kate Benson

Miriam & Jon - This one was shot by our awesome photographer, Travis Hoehne!

Check out Southern Weddings if you haven't already!

All photos from the mentioned photographers, collaged by Southern Weddings.


Dress Shopping, my take, Part 2

I may be speaking words of blasphemy. Dress shopping was one of the easiest tasks on my wedding to-do list.

When I went wedding dress shopping two weeks ago, I really had no intention of purchasing a dress. I was simply going out to get an idea of what I'd look good in or what styles we available currently. I had a couple of ideas of what I was looking for, and my only request was that it would work with my "something borrowed", my mom's veil from when my parents married, 29 years ago.

We went to the first bridal salon, J'aime Bridal, located in Pleasanton, about a hour east from San Francisco, and about 25 minutes from where I live. I had found the store online as a recommendation from Here Comes the Guide as well as a recommendation from my venue, Castlewood Country Club. It's a small boutique full of lovely wedding gowns from all sorts of designers, as well as chock full of bridesmaid dress options.

Jaime, who I believe is the owner, met with me, my mom, and my sister. We showed her my mom's veil which gave her a couple of ideas of what to pull. I told her that I didn't want too much beading, but some lace, and some details would be okay. I'm not overly fond of the gathered skirts that have been in style the last few years, and I'm definitely more on the simple side of things. I was pretty sure I wanted a strapless dress or one with straps, but with a V-neckline.

After perusing the two main sections of gowns, I pulled some that I thought I would like. Here's a note to wedding dress shoppers out there, if you have allergies, and the dresses are not bagged, then you may experience an allergic reaction to the fumes(?) of the materials of the dresses. I know I sure did. My eyes finally acclimated after a while. I entered the dressing room and accepted what would come next: stripping down to my skivvies and allowing a total stranger to help me get dressed. Not a time for body issues.

I dove into the first dress and Jaime cinched me up as the corseted back sucked everything in. The dress was gorgeous, a Maggie Sottero, which J'aime Bridal, just so happened to be having a Maggie Sottero Trunk Show Sale that day. I didn't really think much of that fact at first. I liked the first dress, it had nice ruching and the corseted back made sure the strapless dress stayed in place. I thought, "Wow, this whole dress trying on thing isn't so bad".

I tried another Maggie Sottero that Jaime had chosen that had less ruching and a fuller skirt. It too had a corseted back and some nice embroidery detailing along the front of the dress. It was beautiful. My mom and sister remarked at how lovely it was and how good I looked in it. I thought, "Definitely Maybe".

I tried on a Casablanca dress that I had picked out. I could definitely tell that it was way heavier than the first two that I tried on. It was made of satin, whereas the other two were made from taffeta. I always liked the look of taffeta, and now I realized that the weight of the fabric made all the difference in the world.

I think I probably tried on seven to ten more gowns after that. I tried on some shoes -- most definitely looking for comfort! -- and even held up a necklace to see the look altogether. Wedding dress shopping is tiring! After trying on all the options, I chose my top two, which Jaime wrote down on a card for future reference. My favorites from this stop were the first two Maggie Sottero gowns.

But I wasn't ready to decide. We still had one more stop before the day was over and couldn't make a decision without seeing what the other salon had to offer. So we thanked Jaime for all her help and headed to the next shop.

To be continued!


Dress Shopping, my take, Part 1

Unlike other brides-to-be out there, I've been putting off shopping for my dress. Everyone kept asking me if I have found my dress yet, and I had to reply "no".

Well, that is no longer, folks. I have found my dress!

After chatting with a former co-worker who is getting married eight days after me, she gave me some pointers from her shopping experience. She scheduled a couple of appointments at various bridal salons in the San Jose area, and had a pretty good time. However, her one caveat was that she didn't think she'd be able to get out of the salon without spending at least four figures -- something I feared.

By nature, I'm a pretty frugal person. I think I learned that from my dad. I don't like spending my own money, however, I have an easier time spending someone else's money. For the wedding, I'm paying for a lot of things on my own, so I knew that I would have to budget a reasonable amount for my wedding dress. I'm not coming from a place where my parents have set aside $10,000 for my dream dress. I'm okay with that. I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that I was going to wear something with five digits. That's just not how I roll.

So the thought of "having" to spend at least $1,000 on a wedding gown was freaking me out. My co-worker also mentioned that for we who are getting married next July, considering that it takes about four to six months to create, should order our dresses by October. Good to know.

With these two points in mind, I researched a couple of local bridal salons. I didn't really want to drive about forty-five minutes out of my way to the same salons as my co-workers. (Enter frugality). Instead I decided to find something closer. I had heard about one location, J'aime Bridal in Pleasanton. I made an appointment for a bridal consultation. I had also driven past another bridal salon, Kay's Bridal, in Castro Valley, and booked a second appointment that day. I figured that these were in close enough proximity to me, so why not?

I went dress shopping this past Thursday. I went out with no intention of either finding or buying a dress. I thought that it was going to be a long, hard journey to finding "the" dress. I thought that it would be foolish to "settle". I had seen other brides-to-be going from salon to salon, trying on multiple dresses, and still not finding the one. I thought that would be me.

I discovered otherwise on Thursday....


Returning to regular blogging soon!

Sorry that I have been MIA lately! I have been consumed by my "real world" job and will get back to regular blogging next week. Until then, be sure to check out the links to the right!


Tablescapes a la Martha!

Always something beautiful from Martha Stewart. The first two are from the "Easy Entertaining" section.

I can't help but focus in on Martha Stewart's lovely creations.


Foto Friday: Liana Lehman Photography

Congratulations to Liana Lehman on her recent engagement! I recently discovered Liana through the lovely Jasmine Star's blog. She is an Atlanta-based wedding and portrait photographer. Liana Lehman is a true entrepreneur and has accomplished so much at age 27! She was recently featured on F-Stop Beyond podcast as July is Creative Entrepreneurs Month. Liana is not only a photographer, but also believes in helping others achieve the impossible as featured on BananasEDU, her website where she offers a Complete Business Makeover, the Photo Biz Boot Camp, and DVDs and other tools, helping others succeed. Read the BananasEDU blog here for more information.

All photos from Liana Lehman.


Invitation finds on Flickr

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been away on business in Denver for my real job -- attending a statistics conference. I'm no statistician, but I do work on statistics books.

While hanging out in my hotel room and enjoying the free wi-fi, I came upon some great finds on Flickr. It's such an awesome photo community and some etsy artists as well as freelance invitation designers showcase their work on Flickr.

User UglyKitty has some lovely designs which are hand Gocco'ed. Etsy Store here.

So does MewPaperArts and Etsy Store here.



Foto Friday: Jessica Claire

I first learned about Jessica Claire on one of my favorite wedding websites - WeddingBee. I was immediately drawn to her photos. The color, the vibrancy, the life that jumps off the screen. Just wonderful. The ever-so amazing Jessica Claire is not just a photographer. She's also an entrepreneur and creator of a beloved bag for photographers - the Shootsac. She's also revolutionized the use of her blogsite - a blog and a website: www.jessicaclaire.net. She not only has some amazing images, she also lets her personality shine through in her posts and in her photos. You can really see that she genuinely cares for her clients, which I feel is so important for great rapport. I'm a regular reader of her blog and an admirer of her images.

All photos from Jessica Claire:


All these photos are so beautiful! Check out Jessica's latest wedding here.

In case you're wondering here's Jessica's creation - the Shootsac!


Take the Cake Thursday: Romano's Bakery

Since I'm in Dallas visiting my awesome fiance, I thought I would spotlight a local Dallas bakery.

Romano's Bakery was named Best Wedding Cake in Texas by People Magazine and was also features on Whose Wedding is it Anyway? Romano's Bakery has been making delicious cakes and cheesecakes in the Dallas area since 1990. Their cakes are made the European way; using fresh ingredients and the personal touch that they are known for. All of Romano's cakes are custom designed for you, whether it is for your child's first birthday or your wedding, they want the cake to be a beautiful focal point to your event.



20 Fun Bridal Shower Games

While I'm not yet at the point of thinking of bridal showers, I found this great link to games for a bridal shower. I found it today on From "I will"...to "I Do" which has moved back to its blogger home. Anne Chertoff, author of From "I will" to "I Do", is now Senior Editor for Brides.com.

Games include "Read His Mind", "Bangle Shakedown", "Take Yarn, Tell a Yarn", and "Memory Lane Mysteries".

The full list of names can be found here.

Love this bio!

I found this awesome Knottie bio thanks to WeddingBee! WB is my resource for almost everything! Knottie TDiddy2 has a very helpful, thorough, and totally stylish bio. She has reviews of her vendors and commentary throughout, including FAQs which I'm sure she received via the Knot and email. She has so many great ideas and wonderful style. She also set up a married bio to show everyone how it all turned out! You can check it out here.

Here's a sneak peek!

Cocktail table pieces (Photo from TDiddy2)
Jewelry made by MrsTDiddy2 (photo from TDiddy2)
Thank you MrsTDiddy2 for a very helpful and inspirational bio! Thanks to Mrs. Bird of Paradise on WeddingBee for sharing!