Monday, August 10, 2009

I Heart Etsy

All the best laid plans of being crafty have been blown away. Even I'd had the time, the skill would never have come. The same can be said for learning to dance, and that, unlike decor, is not a problem throwing money at will cure.

Etsy to the rescue. I'm pretty sure I single handedly kept the site afloat this weekend with the purchase of peacock hairpieces, a recipe book style address/guest box, a welcome poster, and a custom map of Chicago for our trolley ride. It was so much fun, I felt like I helped shape what I was getting rather than my usual "hit Nordstrom 1 hour before the party" approach of shopping.

Here are some highlights... I can't say enough about all three of these sellers - quick, friendly, accommodating. The only bad thing? I've learned, once again, that procrastinating isn't ALL bad.

Officiant Peacock Headband From Sweet Grass Mill

Crystal Peacock Hair Comb for Yours Truly From Bridal Couture

Welcome Sign, by April Ink

Guest "Book" - Address Card Box, by rfrantzdesign
Chicago Map, Highlighting our Wedding Rehearsal Trolley Stops, by greenquince

It's actually coming together!

All 3 of my girls have dresses now. Yay. Now, I have 1.5 weeks left to get jewelry for them that helps tie 3 random dresses together (not to mention for MYSELF)! Any suggestions?

The winners are...

Maid of Honor - My Favorite Dress Ever (circa 2001 Kay Unger!)

Reader - Turquoise Suzi Chin Dress

Violinist - Green Anne Klein Dress

Engagement Pics

We're in heaven. How do you take two non-photogenic people, add 30 pounds to both that they'd like to act just snuck on them and make them happy with their engagement pics?

  1. Get two great photographers
  2. Take a LOT of pictures
  3. Be patient enough to go through all the one-eye open, squinty face, talking pics to find pure gold!
Here are our top 4...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Food!

Man oh man, I shouldn't have eaten lunch today. Adam and I went to our tasting tonight and it was so perfect. Laura had a table set in the Wilde Ballroom, where the ceremony would be and the first thing she and her team pointed out was the 6 different ways the napkins were folded. For someone who swore she would not be reduced to caring about napkin colors, this was an easy decision and we moved on to the good stuff. They brought out wine and since I don't drink it, I have no idea if it was good, but I was glad it wasn't bad (which I do think I tend to notice). Then, the appetizers started coming...

We're having passed apps during cocktail hour after the ceremony - to help tide people over while they wait for our massive family photo session to be over. I'd love to say we picked out each item, but really, Laura just put together a menu and we love it (with a few minor changes). So, we're going with:
  • Tomato, Mozzerella Basil with Balsamic Drizzle
  • Chicken Satay with a Yummy (a little spicy, but not too much for wimpy me) Peanut Sauce
  • Pancetta-Wrapped Prawns with an Olive Oil Dipping Sauce
  • Beef Sliders (with the fixins)
  • Crab Cakes with an Amazing Lime Something-Or-Other Aioli
We're having two passed specialty drinks - a margarita (in honor of my dad's fave) and a raspberry puree, prosecco, and vodka drink that is oh so delicious. People will also have their pick of red wine, white wine, champagne, imported and domestic beers. I really should clarify whether or not people can order other drinks made with Vodka and Tequila. For some reason, when I said that I thought those two would be enough for folks (cause you can make almost anything with Vodka), it didn't occur to me that it might mean ONLY those two drinks she ended up putting on the menu.

For lunch, we're having a buffet with:
  • a salad (yet to be determined, we tried a Caesar tonight and it was good, but I'm not generally a fan)
  • a cold fusilli pasta salad
  • tortellini in a cream sauce with peas and bacon (one of my dad's faves, and mine too...)
  • roasted potatoes
  • organic chicken with sundried tomatoes and artichokes (Adam loved his, I was so-so - I'm not big on food on the bone)
  • spare ribs in a honey BBQ sauce (the original plan was a zesty orange spice glaze, but Adam wasn't a fan - again, I don't generally do meat on the bone and ribs are one of the worst for me because it just seems like a lot of work for a little meat)
I found it interesting throughout the process that I have the most bland taste in food (Taco Bell, Cheese, Ranch and Bread), but I'm being asked to make decisions for what is most likely going to be one of the most memorable parts of the event. I'd almost wish I hadn't been given a choice so I could say I had nothing to do with it if it doesn't turn out well. But I have every bit of faith in Laura and her team that it is going to be fabulous!

We did decide on cupcakes after all - but we're passing on Sweet Mandy B's and having the chef at The Wit make them for us. Looking forward to that, for sure! It feels SO real now.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yay - we have a florist!

I'm so relieved to have found a Florist/Designer extraordinaire. One of my biggest worries throughout this whole process is my complete lack of style. For some reason, even though I think I can tell what looks nice on other people or in other places, when it comes to myself, I end up going overboard (think: TOO matchy-matchy) or get so frustrated that I'm just completely plain. I really wanted to incorporate the colors I love, without going crazy. Elaine has done such a great job of making sure I don't do that. She's really playing up the clean, minamilist design of the space with a few elegant pieces and a bit of color on the tables throughout.

When my friend Theresa got married, I remember walking into her house the night before the wedding to an abundance of gorgeous flowers all over the place. They were putting some of the finishing touches on the bouquets and centerpieces and everything looked wonderful. For being someone who is relatively anti-flower due to allergies, the feeling that they'll just die and having been de-sensitized by an ex who just sent them ALL THE TIME to the point that it was annoying - she made me a believer. Now, it was a no-brainer for me to look up Elaine for my own wedding. Lucky for me, she was available. Her company is called Bella Flora and she's worked in interior design as well as having done a lot of work for the big name florists around time like Botanicals and Heffernen Morgan. But, the personalized service she's providing me is really helping fill some holes normally taken care of by either a wedding planner or a designer (neither of which I have). So, from pinning back the drapes in the Wilde Ballroom for a spectacular view of Marina Towers and the river, to purchasing and pinning a luxurious runner that complements the colors of the room and the modern chairs and directing people once they arrive up on the roof after the ceremony, I am so happy to have that extra set of hands.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I love my DJ - Again!

Mary at Toast & Jam really came through and hooked us up with another, actually AVAILABLE, DJ, so we're now lucky enough to have Leslie doing our do just right.

This weekend, I slipped trying to plan our ceremony music in between spurts of work.

So far, this is what we have...

During Guest Seating

Groom and Groomsmen Arrival
The Luckiest (just beginning to end of first chorus)

Seating of the Mothers & Grandmothers
Processional (Girls and Me)
Stacey and a pianist playing this version of Canon in D (but hopefully, better than these two play it!)

PM Love Theme (from about 30 seconds through the end)

Still completely stuck on an introduction song, cake cutting and first dance.

Hair and Makeup Mayhem

Well - I had my (first) hair and makeup trial the morning of my shower. I was very worried that I'd end up with raccoon eyes (because whenever I wear eye makeup, I do) and for good reason because within 30 minutes, I felt like everything underneath my eye was all over the place.

One of the reasons I rarely wear makeup (in addition to laziness) is that my left eye and socket were badly damaged about 13 years ago and my eyes are now very uneven. Also, I blink too hard! I can't help it, my eyes just go all wonky. Because it gets worse when I'm tired and/or tipsy, some friends even call me Blinky. I seem to have mastered my own rare, subtle makeup application so that I don't think it's very noticeable. However, in both instances of the professional application, it's all I can focus on, and when I see it, even though I realize it's not that bad, it brings up lots of bad feelings because of how it got damaged in the first place. I know you are supposed to make your eyes pop, but it's driving me crazy that I'm picking up on this flaw in pics and it's something I'd rather not call attention to when every moment is being captured on film.

Anyway... I know better than to wear anything on the bottoms and rarely wear anything on the top other than some light shadow. Going into the trial, I knew this was going to be an issue, but was ASSURED, no, convinced that it was not about to happen this time or with this brand of makeup or with this expert's professional application. Well, it did, so 10 minutes before my shower I found myself worked up to tears (not helping the cause really) that my eyes had huge dark circles under them and the wiping was not helping the saggy/wrinkly appearance at all. Now, if you ask my future sister-in-law, she'll say it was fine. If you ask my fiance, he'll say "you look pretty, but sort of like you were punched in the face."

I loved the airbrush makeup application and felt like there was enough coverage, without being cakey (another pet peeve of mine). The first pic below is moments after it was completed and the 2nd one, later that afternoon. The makeup artist was right, it did get better with time and probably does look much better in pictures than it does when you're staring at a mirror 3 inches away and criticizing every single thing. I also really enjoyed the company of Mia - she did my hair as well and although I'm second guessing the style, think what she did looked very nice.

However, my dilemma is that I made so many calls and sent so many emails to inquire about availability, that I think I mixed up the girl I really wanted to try - who did lashes - with Mia. So, I ended up being shocked to find out she doesn't do them. Sooooo, as chance would have it, a makeup artist who'd actually been booked for my date emailed this week and said she was now available. I thought it wouldn't hurt to do another quickie, no pressure trial - with lashes to see the difference. Wouldn't you know it, I liked the eyes a lot (and am definitely going to go with lashes over Mascara), BUT, my face looked horrible! It was almost as if she took on the task of TRYING to make me look 15 years older (by the way though, don't EVER say that to someone who just spent an hour putting makeup on you - THAT didn't go over well).

I think there were a few reasons for the problems.
  1. Horribly crazy, busy week at work that led to less than stellar personal/facial care.

  2. I'd JUST come from the gym and didn't put on any moisturizer.

  3. She went powder crazy.

So, the first two, I know I can remedy. The 3rd caused some sharply toned words to be exchanged between the two of us as she explained that she HAS to apply that much powder because her makeup application lasts for 12 hours or more and I responded that I cared more about the first 3 hours than the last 9. She told me, "well, makeup isn't magic, it can't hide that you're getting a little older, wrinkles just happen to the skin" and I told her, "Oh really? Well, I've been looking at my face for the past 35 years, including after my last trial AND this morning and have never seen it look like this, so it seems like a very inopportune time for it to decide to wrinkle right now."

Even after this exchange, I gave her the benefit of the doubt that it would get better as my natural oils mixed with the makeup. It did not, but man oh man, my eyes stayed perfect all day and night! I honestly think the wrinkly grossness was more my skin's fault than hers. Not to mention that she could clearly skip the powder step and I'd probably be as happy as can be.

A quick, not inexpensive trip to Ulta was a step in the right direction and my skin is well on it's way to being radiant. If you're interested, my self-prescribed cure (and a proven one at that) is MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel in the individually wrapped packets. It's truly magic. I use them for 30 days once every 6 months or so (except this year since we've been saving for the wedding) and love every second. I've also given them to friends as presents, much to their immediate pleasure and then disappointment when they are hooked, but don't feel like adding an extra $80 into their beauty regimine for the rest of their lives...

Okay, so here are the pics.

First Trial - Eyes (Just After Being Done)

1st Trial - Full, Fake Sexy Face

Shiny Hair!

2nd Trial - Hard to Compare This Crappy Pic With the Other, But Trust Me, Dry/Saggy Vs. Fresh and Dewy. I obviously still have wrinkles in both, but they were just really accentuated here.