Whatever and however you celebrated, I hope it was wonderful and full of love and laughter.
As I was getting ready to leave work on the 23rd, a good friend of mine called to wish me a merry Christmas and said, "Enjoy your last Christmas as a single girl!" Reminded me that each time I do something of consequence between now and the wedding it will be the last time I do so singly. I've been used to making all of my own decisions for so many years that the concept really struck me.
Bring on the change. I'm ready to share both the responsibilities and the joys.
2 months and one day.
DONE: Invitations were all addressed and assembled by FI and I last night. They're ready to take to the post office on Monday morning. I'll post pics of the process when I return home next week. So excited!
FI and I each took 30 of these lovelies into our offices to pass around today. The rest are reserved for family...yum!
- put stamps on all of our RSVP envelopes
- addressed invitation envelopes for a few guest list additions
- designed the insert with directions to the ceremony
- made some revisions to the program (almost done!)
- started work on the accommodations insert
I just uploaded the photos from our final food tasting on 12.03.08 - this first photo is looking out over a small section of the Grand Ballroom and dance floor from the balcony. I'm stading right above the bar (shown in the next photo). I love, love, love the original period chandeliers and inlaid marble floors in this room!This is the view from the back right corner of the ballroom, looking back to the bar and entertianment area. The staircase leading down from the balcony is where we'll make our entrance into the reception. The upper level will also have the placecard/favor and guestbook tables. Our beautiful moms (his on the left, mine on the right) hadn't seen each other in a few months and had a great time chatting about the wedding and catching up over the fabulous food and martinis. Something tells me they will become very good friends over the years! The holiday week will not slow down the planning process here. My must-do's are:
- design accommodations insert (Monday, 12/22)
- print accommodations/directions inserts (Wednesday, 12/24)
- assemble invitations (Fri-Sunday)
- MAIL INVITATIONS!!! (Monday, 12/29)
- open the box
- unwrapped and check for damage
- send thank you note immediately
That would be all fine and good IF I had anticipated early gifts and had thank you notes ready. I did not. So, I designed these yesterday and will be printing up a batch tonight. I present...my shower thank you notes. I fully admit to falling prey to ridiculous matching color/theme mania hence, the colors and the vine flourishes match our menus and programs covers. Yes, I am slowly, but surely, losing my mind. However, they are still less expensive than a trip to papyrus or Hallmark to purchase pre-mades.
Thanks to not-so-gentle prodding by my MOH and my mom, I did walk into a well-known and reputable salon (an Aveda concept salon) in my town tonight and booked them for all three of us for the wedding day and a trial for me on January 24th. So, with any luck, my hair will actually turn out like one of these lovely photos...
They spent a lot of time with us and then, gave us a terrific quote on a custom ring to match my e-ring band (1/2 round eternity band, shared-prong setting). We decided to order it AND ended up finding beautiful pieces for both of our mom's for gifts for the wedding. So we checked out and...
...walked out with a Wii!!!!!
How cool is that? The Wii system was going to be our Christmas gift to each other this year and instead, we got it for nothing (it's worth $250)!!! When we looked at the ads this morning, we saw a shop that had Wii Fit and the Jillian Michael's fitness game on sale so that's what we got ourselves for Christmas (with an extra controller and docking station). WOO HOO...a huge check AND a game system that will help with diet and fitness for both of us :-)
Also, my sister and mom addressed all of my bridal shower invitations this weekend and they will be mailed out tomorrow. I've been checking my registry here and there and several gifts have been purchased already.
Everything feels at though it is starting to happen so quickly now...
- A wonderful family
- A loving and devoted fiance
- Having enough
- A warm home
- Clean water
- The essentials
- and the comforts
- My sweet cat
I can't begin to count my blessings this year. I've found much contentment and joy in the past few years and am feeling at peace on this Thanksgiving day. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday, full of love and laughter!
(1 Muffin, or 3 minis - 180 calories, 2.5g fat, 37 carbs, 2.5g, fiber, 2.5g protein)
- 1 box devil's food cake mix
- 1 can solid pack pumpkin (15 oz.)
Directions: Mix the two ingredients together. Don't add anything else that may be mentioned on the box, such as eggs, oil, or water. The mixture will be very thick and you will be tempted to add in other things to make the batter smoother. DO NOT DO THIS AS IT WILL RUIN THE RESULTS!
Place batter into muffin tins (or mini muffin tins) lined with paper, or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular or 36 mini muffins.
This muffin recipe is tried and true - I've baked them at least 20 times and shared with numerous family members and friends. I've yet to come across someone who doesn't love them!Maple-Sweet Potato Casserole
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 2 cups mashed cooked sweet potato (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Vegetable cooking spray
Place the cornmeal in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a wire whisk until blended. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Remove from heat; stir in margarine. Set aside.
Combine sweet potato and next 6 ingredients (sweet potato through eggs) in a large bowl; stir until well-blended. Gradually add cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly. Pour sweet potato mixture into a 1 1/2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional Information - Calories: 204, Fat: 4.7g, Protein: 5g, Carb: 35.8g, Fiber: 2.8g
Compliments of Cooking Light
- re-learn calligraphy
- so that I can address 78 wedding invitations
- assemble and mail said invites
- find a hairstylist and book a trial
- order my ring
- order FI's second ring
- figure out transportation and book it
- book our mini-moon
- finish shopping for BP gifts
- print program interiors and assemble
- attend a food tasting (Dec. 3rd) and choose the menu
- make the ring bearer pillow
- make the flower girl's pomander
- buy pashminas for the bridesmaids
- print and cut table menus
- print and cut table numbers
- make chocolates
- assemble chocolate favor boxes
- table arrangements
- design and print placecards
- dress alterations
- get my arms in shape!
- find more lingerie
- buy undergarments for wedding day
- buy jar for "wish jar"
- cut and emboss wish jar cards
- paint the aisle runner
- paint the sweetheart table runner
- paint the cake table runner
- paint monogram on the cardbox
- bathroom baskets
- choose linens
And more...there is a lot more and I'm not even sure how much right now! It will all come together. I just have to believe!
On the DONE list...
- Picked up invites yesterday
- FI's first wedding band arrived yesterday
- E-pics will be ready for pick up tomorrow!!!
I am a green fanatic and, even though I am controlling myself on how much we use the color in our wedding, there are some things that I see and MUST have. This was one I spotted on a newlywed's blog:
I left a comment asking where she got the fabric and, lucky for me, she posted again with the designer and fabric style - Michael Miller Dandy Damask in Avacado. Putting Google to work, I found the exact fabric on e-Bay and pressed the "Buy it Now" button immediately! That was Thursday - my yard came in the mail today in all it's green and white glory. I heart that seller...she is getting some fabulous feedback from me today!
FI's ring (1 of 2) has been ordered and should arrive by Friday!
And, KUDOS to my darling FI. I was away this weekend and he took it upon himself to go shopping and to purchase the main gifts for his groomsmen (deluxe Leatherman-type multi tools). Handsome, sexy & on top of wedding stuff. Love it.
To many people (and nearly all of my own friends) this is unheard of, not done, equal to a culinary sin. Most of my friends are Italian, at least in part. They grew up on homemade sauce and have known how to make it themselves since before they were tall enough to reach the dials on the stove. My mom made her own sauce, too. I have vivid memories of the blue enamel pot of delicious scented red sauce simmering on the stove in my childhood home for hours. It was rarely eaten the same day, instead made ahead of time for meals over the week. The extra was then frozen for another time. Everyone knows sauce (as is true with stews and soups) is better the next day, after the flavors have all melded together.
I've made sauce once or twice in my adult life but, living alone for more than 12 years post-college it just didn't make sense to make a huge pot of sauce for one. So, convenience won and I gave in to jarred sauce. Over and over and over.
Then, I moved in with my fiance and domesticity set in. I've been cooking a lot, baking some and doing the majority of grocery shopping and meal planning for our little family. Dinner has become a thing of pride for me. We've even entertained a few times. This week, we will have another couple over for dinner. It's getting pretty cold here in NY and I want to make comfort food. Something delicious that won't require a half dozen pots and pans - I actually want to entertain AND enjoy the meal with our guests - go figure. So, I'm planning to make baked ziti. However, one of our guests is Italian and I just can't do it. I can't serve my guests (namely one who will know better) jarred sauce. My pride, and the fact that I actually do know how, had me in the supermarket at lunch time buying cans of pureed and crushed tomatoes and a bunch of fresh basil.
Which brings me to this: Penance for years of Classico, Ragu and all brands of jarred sauce and quick-fix meals. A simmering pot of sauce. Homemade. By me. In preparation for a meal that is still two days away. The house smells heavenly!
Crap. I think I might actually be a grown-up.
When you go in to register, the Bridal Registry Consultant will often tell you how many items you should register for based on your total guest list. We were advised to register for at least 200 items at each store for our 140 guests. What??? Madness. We do NOT NEED 400 things. Heck, we don't even need 50 things at this point. We are both in our thirties and just finished merging two complete households this summer.
Not only do we NOT NEED any more stuff we are, in fact, bursting at the seems with stuff.
But, it is stuff we've registered for. Lots and lots of stuff. Mind you, we really do like it all. Mainly things we gotten by without up to this point (rice cooker, wicker hampers) or things that we figured could use an upgrade (glassware, matching luggage). Some things, such as a lot of silver photo frames, are in anticipation of pictures to come and the dream of one day having a lovely wall of family photos. And then, there is the Kitchen Aid mixer. In red. Because, really, it's not a true registry without a Kitchen Aid mixer. Seriously. When searching for a google image of the particular model we covet, I even came across a blog post entitled "kitchen aid color harmony" that put together inspiration boards for brides suggesting kitchen accents that will coordinate with their shiny, new culinary treasure. here is ours:
As if I needed further evidence that wedding planning is utter madness.
Still, the cloth napkins would be pretty cute at a dinner party. Just change the embroidered initial to "B"...hmmm...
Makes 4 servings
¾ lb. ground lean beef or ground turkey
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, chopped
3 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste*
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ c FF milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
½ pound whole wheat spaghetti
fresh basil leaves for garnish, if desired
1) Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and set over med-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring frequently to break it up, until browned, 5-8 minutes.
2) Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrot and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add the milk and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes longer. Stir in the salt and pepper.
3) Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, divide among 4 plates and top with sauce.
Serving size: 1 cup pasta, 3/4 cup sauce.
(WW: 8 points per serving)
* I use a whole can of tomato paste and add 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar when adding the tomatoes. Both deepen the flavor without adding points.
The foundation was airbrushed and is supposed to last for up to 18 hours. Since my make-up was done today at approximately the same time as it will be on my wedding day, I'll be putting it to the test tonight when FI and I attend a dinner dance (at our reception venue). So far I love it...even in photos:
Update...the make-up held up ALL night and even better than expected. FI loved it, too :)
I went shopping today with my flower girl, Amanda and her mom. I was thinking of steering her in the direction of either a green or light blue dress or, maybe silver. We found a matte silver dress with some white embroidery that was very sweet on her and she loved it. But, that was in the first store and she had been promised a girl's-day-out-shopping-spree so, one store and one dress simply would not do. So, that dress went on hold and off we went to another shop.
And, she saw it.
The poofiest, princessy, cream puffiest white dress you could ever imagine for a little girl. She was in L.O.V.E. even before it was on her. I'm talking full crinoline, sheer white organza skirt with white piped edging, white flowers and pearls at the waist and neckline and sheer organza cap sleeves. Serious poof.
Then it was on her.
I have never seen this little pixie grin so big. She twirled and whirled and lit up the shop in this cupcake dress.
How could we possibly say no? So, the dress is on order with the small alteration of alternating white and blue flowers and a blue ribbon tie in the back to pull in a bit of color. And, that little girl will float down the aisle on our wedding day and steal the hearts of everyone in the church. Hey, you are only seven once!
2. Card box has a slot and a base coat!
Thanks to my very handy FI, our card box has progressed from it's original state of country-not-so-chic decor to a lovely white box that will be a blank canvas for both our monogram and one of our favorite e-pics, when they are in.
3. Invitation proofs have been revised and sent back to the printer!
We looked them over today and sent them to my mom and dad for objective (?) glances and, after changing one line on the response card and moving up the RSVP date one week, they are off! Hoping they will go to print on Monday and that I will have them well before Thanksgiving...say a little prayer for me!
4. Room block decided!
There was hotel drama on Thursday morning that threatened to throw me right over the edge. Seriously. I won't get into it but, we had some words with hotel personnel. In the end, we will have a block at a local, newly renovated and beautiful hotel that I'm certain will take care of us and our guests.
Then, my fiance joined.
Suddenly, facebook has a whole new meaning.
Last night, we were in separate rooms on our own computers and we were talking....through Facebook. Clearly, there is something very wrong with this. LOL!
INVITATIONS HAVE BEEN ORDERED!!!!!
Yes! I went to the stationery shop yesterday at lunch time and placed the order. The electronic proof will be in next week. With a little luck, I'll have everything in my hands by November 14th. A girl can dream, right?
I haven't posted any updates in a while so, I figured I'd snap a few pics and share the minor things that have been happening in our planning. A couple of weeks ago, I saw the bio of a local knottie (Riss91) who had transformed a pre-made wooden box from a local shop into her card box. Since I was going to be in the area of the store a few days later, I went in to see if they had any left - $15 later I walked out with this...
No, not as is. We'll replace the scene on the top with one of our engagement photos and FI will cut (and sand) a slit in the wood just under the moulding. I'll paint our monogram and wedding date over the scene on the front of the box. We'll add two hinges (that match the set on the back) to the front to secure the opening, paint them white and that will be it! I love that we found this solution for under $20 total.
While in the same store, I picked up these monogrammed tissues (6 packs in each set) for our bathroom baskets. Monogram overboard? Maybe but, they were a total of $4 and were too cute to resist.
When we had our last appointment at the church, I told the priest that I would like to have my christmation to enter the church before the wedding. Since I was baptized Roman Catholic, my baptism is recognized by the Greek Orthodox church (no dunking in a baby pool on the altar for me!). Instead, I will have a short ceremony following mass where I receive a blessing and state my intentions to marry into the church. I have read quite a bit about orthodoxy but, our priest gave me a stak of books and pamphlets to read to prepare for my conversion. Just a little light reading material...LOL! I really need to make the time to get started on this.
And, today FI and I visited several hotels in the area to (finally!) book a block of rooms for our wedding guests. Every hotel we visited was just beautiful (two were renovated in the past year, one was brand new). In the end, we decided to book with the Marriot that had a full staff on the weekend. It was reassuring to me that they would be prepared to take care of us that weekend. We will have an Event Coordinator assigned to us that will help us with early check-ins, the morning after brunch, OOT bags and anything else we might need. As an added bonus, the bride and groom are given a complementary room on their wedding night for securing the block. So, CHECK for the room block and CHECK on knowing where we will spend our wedding night!
And, our aisle runner arrived in the mail a few days ago. If FI has time to print out the HUGE monogram on his plotter at work this coming week (one more reason to love my engineer!), I hope to get painting next weekend. Whenever I do start, I'll be taking pics each step of the way.
On Thursday night, FI and I had our second appointment with the priest at our church. I went with a full notebook page of questions regarding the ceremony time, service, rehearsal, my conversion, flowers...you name it! Father Nick was very patient and sweet as he walked us through everything. And, by walking us through, I do mean that he took us down the aisle and up to the altar, explaining what the service will be like. It was a surreal and exciting feeling standing next to FI in front of the priest and the sanctuary. Brought everything into much sharper focus and feeling closer than ever. I can't wait to marry this man!
Today, we were talking about our wedding to-do list and the fact that we can now order invitations, since we have the ceremony time. Fabulous. I had chosen invites months ago and showed them to FI again to make sure we were on the same page. Um, not so much. He thought they were okay. We are putting way too much money and effort into this to do something that is just "okay." So, we spent a good chunk of this afternoon at the stationer looking through invitation books. And we actually found one that we both really like. Much more traditional than my first choice and, this one will actually use one of our colors - the type and envelope linings will match our blue. The border is a pearlized damask.
And, as of tonight, I am finished with the type for the interior of our programs! Because I am not yet familiar with the breadth of the ceremony it took quite some time. FI sweetly offered to help type but, I finished the job since it was also helping me learn. Just want to add flourishes above and below our names on the first page and copy in directions from the church to the reception for the last page and I'll be able to check off one more thing...very, very early!
Add one more thing to the to-do list - an aisle runner! I didn't think we'd need one since the aisle of our church is fairly short but, our priest was pretty clear that we should. Of course, it will need a handpainted monogram, don't they all? One more DIY project! Now, off to search for a good deal. ***Update: I found a runner online, found a 50% off coupn and a reduced shipping offer...score! Should be here by the end of the week!
Luckily, FI's cousin's wife (his cousin is our wedding sponsor or, kumbaro) was available so, we took a trip down to the Greek section of Queens to make out final decision on the stefana for the Ceremony. Stefana are the floral crowns that are worn by the bride and groom during a portion of the ceremony and are very symbolic. We decided on a set that is very traditional similar to this (why didn't I bring my camera???):
After the wedding, the crowns are preserved and kept hanging in the couple's home as a reminder of their commitment and the sacrament. We chose this very traditional case (stefanothiki) which is actually an exact replica of his parents'. The stefana are place inside. We'll hang it in our bedroom:
Also on that trip, we chose our wedding favors. Yes, yes, we DO already have favors - our monogrammed chocolates in the boxes I designed. We're still doing those - one per person at each place setting. However, FI really wanted a tangible favor as well based on his cultural traditions. So, we chose something. The shop we purchased them from includes the wrapping and little tulle bundles of koufeta (an odd number of jordan almonds) in the cost...woo hoo! They had about 50 options for wrapping and one in particular stood out to me. Decision reached.
Sunday, I made the determination mid-morning that my photo shoot would have to be postponed due to the weather (it was pretty nasty out). Definitely not in the plan but, for the best in the end. So, we made yet another list of things to do. Among them was the search for a new inkjet printer. Mine had up and died before my move and his is way too basic for anything wedding related. Off to Staples we went and decided on a printer that I am actually excited to start using. The HP Photosmart D7560:I'm going to be counting on this machine for volume output in the next four and a half months. I'll let you know how it goes. We're planning to set it up tonight and start some test prints!
So, what else is new? Two of my bridesmaids chose their dresses: