Friday, May 29, 2009

just imagine it:

what if we had a small -very intimate, family and close friends only- ceremony in the morning here:
**imagine me in that dress from the previous post standing in front looking like a wood nymph :) :) :)**

followed by a festive reception/party at my mom's with lots of friends?!... and drinks, and music, and sparklers, and dancing, and my puppies?!

quick like a band aid

i've decided that less is more... as in: the less i look around and try to search out all the possibilities of how to get hitched, the more sane i will be. 

in fact, i'm going to make a new nickname for myself concerning this whole shabang: the decider. 
maybe i'll even get an awesome wrestler mask! no, too scary... and hot. i'll just stick with the name.... ok, and maybe i'll make myself a name tag to wear when i need to step into "decisive bride-to-be mode"! kind of like beyonce has her sassy stage alter ego, "sasha fierce"!!!

anyway, i'm going to try to be as decisive and quick as i can because if i give it too much thought i'll get completely overwhelmed. 

so far i'm pretty set on:
  • outdoors
  • vintage/country/boho/hippie kind of vibes
  • DIY as much as possible
and invites like these from hatch show print:
(click the link above and browse awesomeness)

i saw this image posted on the and i knew immediately this is the look i had been searching for. i also felt it was kismet because the date on this invite is may 24, 2008 and we got engaged on may 24, 2009 - i'm one of those hippies who believes in "signs" ;)
if we end up having a very intimate ceremony with just a very limited number of invites going out followed by a larger party with more invites going out i will probably splurge for the ceremony invites from hatch and then see if i can do the save the date cards, RSVP cards, directions, and then the "big party" invites myself. i've seen these martha stewart stamps at michaels and i think that they will blend nicely with the hatch print ones and give the same vibe. 
i just hope it doesn't turn out like most of my DIY efforts and end up costing more money and time than if i had just had them done professionally! i always want things to be so perfect that i end up overdoing it and missing the point....
i already have the clear stamp holder. so just getting the stamps and inks and paper is next. oh, and the hardest part: designing them. eeeks. 

tonight my BFF and i are going to get together to browse some wedding etiquette books (but NOT bridal magazines - i won't go near them) at the book store. i think we are going to try to make some very preliminary invite lists just so i can get an idea of how many people i'm really looking at. oh this is gonna be tough... but fun. 
now if only i can get p on board to start thinking about his invite list we'll really be on a roll :)

i thought we had a **PERFECT** location picked out last night but it's in a dry county (no alcohol allowed) and you can only do a champagne toast. p works in wine and we are drinkers so that nixed that locale! now we are exploring other ideas including the cheapest of all: my mom's new house with a few acres of land. it would just mean asking people to travel about an hour and a half. do you guys think that's too much?! **comments welcome**

Quickie update

1) We got an email that we are indeed ore-approved for our loan so we can *really* hit the pavement looking for a house!
2) I have an appt. today to get my taxes done so when we DO find a house and we DO get down to the nitty-gritty of the loan I'm ready... This is big because like scheduling a root canal, it something that has to be done but the anxiety of it is enough to make you think irrationally that if you just ignore it maybe it will go away.... It won't.
3) the veggie shred muffins were excellent! the brie & cranberry were a horrible/bland disappointment- devastating.
4) I had a relapse. I was doing SO well with my budget & savings that when I got what *may* be my wedding dress for only $80 I rewarded myself for all my hard work with my first pair of designer jeans... tags are still on- I don't think my concience will let me keep them!

-posted with help from my robot

Thursday, May 28, 2009

begin at the beginning...

so, i have NO IDEA how i'm going to plan a wedding... or a party... or whatever it is that p and i decide to do but i do know that i have to start somewhere! i think a lovely place to start is in narrowing down things i *think* i want to be a part of this moment in our lives and things i know i do not.
sorry to be a negative nancy, but the truth is that the things i don't want are a lot easier for me to rattle off than the things i do - or think i do for right now anyway. 

i know i don't want to spend a lot of money... period. 
that pretty much acts as the guideline by which all other things much follow: renting an expensive place - no. buying an expensive gown - no. paying a ton for flowers or food - no. paying to transport people to a distant location -no. 
i think most of what i do want is achievable with some ingenuity and lots of hands on DIY time (which lucky for me is something i have and i love) and the things that are not are things i think are worth splurging on: the fun stuff! 

if i'm going to be honest (and i am to a fault sometimes) i would predict the things i will be most willing to dish the cash on will be:
  1. photographs and.... dare i say it?...
  2. hair. 
the first makes sense when you know that i graduated with a BFA in photography from the Art Institute of Chicago and i worked for a great wedding photographer even before that. in fact, it kills me that i can't shoot my own wedding because, like most things, i am 100% sure i could do it to my liking far better than anyone else. i'm super picky about this. 
the second makes sense when you know me. and my hair. and our torrid love affair that borders on masochism. i have colored my hair practically every conceivable color and had it a ba-zillion different styles and i'm not done yet. my latest vision is very long, very boho, and very very much what i do not currently have and will not have before expected wedding time. 
i'm just gonna take a deep breath and type this (to no one's surprise i'm sure).... i'm seriously considering splurging on expensive professional extensions for the big day. it's totally silly, i know. but so am i. this is what i'm thinking:

(click to enlarge any of the above - photos taken from - thanks isabell! you are beautiful!)

unfortunately for me, my hair is only chin length at the very longest strand right now and we probably won't wait a year to "make it official" so there's no way it's going to grow as long as i'd like it in time. bummer. but my worry is that if i splurge on extensions and i don't like them or they don't feel like "me" then i will forever regret getting them for such an important occasion. (but, again, if i'm really honest, i will bet big money that if i were to get them my someday kids would look back on the pictures from that day and tell stories about how their crazy mom was always doing something wacky with her hair and it would totally become part of my life story... just sayin.)

at any rate, here is a daydream list of things i would love to incorporate into the big day:

mid-summer's night circus:

mosquito tents w/ blankets & pillows on "floor"

orange & white stripped tent


bowls of fruit for centerpieces (cherries, green apples)

lemonade (spiked?) - koolaid

blueberry pie instead of cake


circus flags of old linens



magician/clown/balloon animals/caricature artist

wood cut out of bride & groom for photos

pony rides

popcorn stand

bottled cokes

beer in tin tubs

everyone bring a flower to comprise bouquet

picnic style ceremony

COLORS: orange, limon, yellow, aqua, kelly green,fuschia


lawn games: badminton, croquet, frisbee

DIY photo booth


clearly, you can tell i'm thinking warm weather and outside as two main factors! p took the thought right out of my brain when he said something about a housewarming/wedding/celebration. i would love it if we bought a house with a backyard that would accommodate this idea... we are still looking!

so, with the starting points of not spending a lot of money, kind of going for something a little on the hippie side and definitely casual side, and tentatively planning for something outdoors in warm weather (which here in the deep south can sometimes mean as late as october or even- believe it or not- november) i bought this dress for $80 today:

please keep in mind this is a shoddy pic taken with my phone 
and i just came from teaching a yoga class so i have on a sports bra under this and no real makeup on. 

i like it because it is flowy without overwhelming my petite stature. it's comfy as all get out. it's not white but can be seen as falling into the typical wedding dress color scheme. and it's long but not so long that i couldn't wear it barefoot or with flats seeing as how i'll likely be standing in grass! don't you think it would look perfect with a wildflower bouquet on a warm summer(ish) afternoon?! i think it pretty much meets all of my requirements... and if i change my mind in a month and want to go with something fancier or in a different vein then i still love this one and can get lots of wear out of it. plus, it would feel good to have a real starting point to plan everything else around and it would feel *amazing* to have such a big piece of the puzzle already figured out... and for so little money :)

now here's my next question: do i show p?! or keep it a secret?!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

all the sordid details... for your squealing pleasure

sunday was a great day. 
we slept in and then got up for brunch with ellie and brad at the pancake house. ate until i was full up to my sternum. then we all piled into the car and drove out to look at "the barn house"....a house shaped like a barn i was convinced would be crazy perfect. alas, it was not. not even the awesome jacuzzi on the back deck (for kitch factor) could not save this mess. sad.
then, we got lost driving into the ghetto to see an amazing but run-down spanish style house that is selling for only $12,000! now brad and ellie are laughing in the back seat because not only have i convinced everyone that driving into the ghetto to look at this house is a worthwhile pursuit (ok - there was not much to convincing e. i made the suggestion and she was like "YES!") but p and i were also in one of our infamous moods where we can get lost and aggrivated and say horrible things to one another like "i hate your face" all while smiling and not ever really being mad at one another... it's how we express our love..... ok, it's how i express my love and he is just easy going enough to know i don't mean any of it and to just sit back and play along.
brad claims to find this all very entertaining and we discussed the level of interest people would have in watching mine and p's relationship if it were a reality tv show. the consensus was that most people would find it horrifying and amusing... in other words, a huge success. 
then we drove brad and ellie home and continued driving all over god's green earth in search of houses for sale we would actually consider living in. no success. 
but on the way home we saw this awesome rainbow and that made everything feel a little better:
can you see it? behind the light poles?!

then we took the puppies out to the park for a little play time and vowed to go home and clean the apartment - it's an insane dog-hair disaster. disgusting. 
so, we came home and made an awesome frittata:

and drank red wine and began watching Hitch on tv instead. productive, huh?!
i did attempt to at least decide where i was finally going to hang the stack of thrift store artworks that have been leaning against the wall in the record room since we moved in...but i didn't get any further than that before i was sucked back into the movie and sucking down red wine (i didn't have to work monday cause it was labor day so why not?!)

then p gets up to go to the bathroom and comes back and insists we go on a walk. i grumble and refuse and say i am very content sitting and drinking and watching the rest of a movie we have seen a million times and actually own on dvd. he persists. i give in but continue to grumble as he tries to turn us down the street that runs along the low side of the park. it's now 10 o'clock at night and i'm semi-drunk and it's a dark and uneven sidewalk. i proceed to accuse him of not caring if i fall down.
he asks "where is that house where we first met at that party" and i just point and say "down there about 3 or 4 houses. can we go home now?" and he says "we don't have to walk down there but can we just keep walking a bit longer?" i huff, but agree. 
then he starts talking about when we first met (at a house party i wasn't even invited to and he stumbled into after his sister's wedding holding a bottle of wine in each hand and still wearing part of a tux... i think). i accuse him of being cheesy this time and proceed to tell him i have an aversion to all things cheesy so he better stop. besides, i don't like to look back or forward. i just want to enjoy our little walk - isn't that enough?.....
so then we are walking up to my old apartment where we had our first kiss. we had been friends for a few months and i wasn't sure we were actually going to survive being anything more than friends but i knew he really liked me and i like him and so as he was dropping me off one night i (apparently, i don't remember) said "are you sure you're ready for this?" and leaned over and kissed him..... and his foot slid off the brake and we rolled about 20 feet before we realized the car was moving! (here is where if i were as cheesy as he is i would say something along the lines of how it felt like the earth was moving but it was really just the car!)
so i reluctantly give into the cheese-factor and give him a little kiss and chide him for being a squishy romantic....
and all of a sudden he has this look on his face and he says "i just want to know if you are ready for this...." and he reaches for his pocket.
i totally think he's f*cking with me. i do! i begin saying "no! stop it!" but then i realize he is NOT kidding and HE'S PULLING A LITTLE BLACK BOX OUT OF HIS POCKET AND GETTING DOWN ON ONE KNEE! so i really start shreaking, "no! don't do this! are you serious?! oh, my god! really?!" get up! no! *instant tears flooding from my eyes out of nowhere*
and then it gets a little blurry cause he's saying all this sweet stuff and i realize it's not a joke. and so i feel so far away from him standing up that i begin kneeling too. i do know he asked me to marry him and i said yes. 
but then there are two guys walking out of the apartments behind p (i still don't know if i was super loud when i was yelling at p to stop and they thought i was being attacked or what!) and he suggests we cross the street. 
then we are standing there shaking and grinning like fools and i say "did that just happen for real? what do we do now?" and he says "yes" and "i don't know!" so i suggest that he actually gives me the ring (he still hadn't!) and we laugh and he produces the ring from the box and puts it on my finger and asks me if i like it.... but i can't even see it because it's 10:20pm and we are standing out on a dark sidewalk. so we walk under a street light and i get to see my ring for the first time and it's very pretty and he's very concerned that i won't like it because i had said previously that i didn't want a diamond. but he saw this one and thought it was perfect and wanted to get it for me... so it is. 

then we walk around for a few more minutes like we are stoned out of our minds - just asking one another over and over again if it is real. and did it just happen? we finally formulate enough clarity to decide to go home and get my phone so that i can call my best friend. i was the first person she told when she got engaged and i wanted to share likewise.... but long story short, p had wanted it to be a total surprise so even though she had gone with him to get the ring and knew it was coming sometime she didn't know it was that night and she and her husband had gone to a 10:00pm movie.... so i finally got to tell her at 12:30am! we called and woke up our mom's and then went to the store to get some champagne! we were still all stunned and out of it and i'm sure the lady at the grocery store thought we were out of our minds because my makeup was all runny and we just kept looking at each other and giggling. 

yesterday was a big day. we saw family and friends and shared the news. and now i'm sharing with my web-friends! i don't know yet what we will do for a wedding... since we are still looking to buy a house we have thrown around the idea of having a housewarming wedding. i picture it as a pot-luck casual wedding where people can bring food and drink and hang out and dance and party and have a good time. and if we do a registry i can be things we will need for the new house - and hopefully lots and lots of lowe's and home depot gift cards! 
but we'll see! i know i won't have anything traditional but i am not quite sure what we will decide on... or when. p has been nice enough to say he'll do whatever i want to do :)
wish us luck! i'll keep you posted!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hey good lookin' -Whatcha got cookin'?

I may not have saved money up front by buying this book at TJMaxx last night:
($6 is still a great deal tho!)
but I am hoping that by making some tasty muffins I can have a healthy breakfast to-go in the mornings and I won't be tempted to pull through starbucks and get that awesome sugary low-fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake... Which I'm sure is only low fat when compared to the mcdonalds hashbrowns I kinds sorts wish I was eating....
I am not a cook. I am not a baker. I am not a candlestick maker. But I have tried my hand at all of these things and maybe this time I will actually make something edible in the kitchen.

The first batch are shredded veggie muffins made with whole wheat flour and included in the "healthy" section of the book.

The second batch are Brie & cranberry muffins listed in the "savory" section of the book.

I'll let you know how they taste!

-posted with help from my robot

Friday, May 15, 2009

rich like them

part of the new frugality means revisiting what i guess was the old frugality... i've always loved going to the library and i love it even more now that i get to celebrate it as a money saving venture and pat myself on the back for it... i'm always happy for another reason to tell myself "good job"! i've been revisiting the movie section of the library and checking out movies for free instead of renting them AND i signed up for email reminders so that i won't forget when they are due back and accumulate those (unusually) hefty fees. 

recent rentals:
a good funny time waster as always

my first time watching it. robert redford made me swoon despite 
his passionless, stand-for-nothing character.

don't bother. i feel asleep. 

haven't watched it yet... p and i have almost broken down and purchased this one on apple tv seeing as how it's not for rent but then i found it in the library - yay! probably watch this weekend. 

and today i came across this book:

i almost laughed out loud when i saw it because i cannot tell you how many times p and i have driven round the rich neighborhoods that sit just over the hill and joked about knocking on one of the mansions' doors and asking "so, how did you get this rich?".... and i have a feeling this book is going to tell me that most of those people would respond by somehow saying that they too had a crazy idea like that one and just DID IT and got rich... like i'm sure this ryan guy did. i bet if we had actually knocked on those doors and asked those questions we could be collecting old ryan's checks! 
another thing i find funny is that i work in some of these mansions and i know for sure that when ryan went and knocked on the doors the homeowners did not answer - their housekeepers did. And i also know that one of my more.... let's say "interesting"... clients once called the cops on a strange person knocking on their door! turns out it was a girl scout!
but just barely....
at any rate, i'll be reporting back next week on how we can all be tremendously wealthy and live in mansions - stay tuned!

oh, and i did splurge a bit on some online retail therapy at american apparel yesterday but i am still coming in under the clothing budget i set for myself. i got these things:

striped dress with pockets

grey athletic shirt

basic black mini

three good basics, i think.... AND i got free shipping and 15% off for signing up for the email newsletter. not so bad! 

Friday, May 8, 2009

breaking new ground

today i did something groundbreaking... i got a price adjustment! 
i bought a dress at anthropologie to wear for my birthday and then went in today and saw it had been marked down 50%! whaaaa?! so i went back home and got my receipt and returned to the store for a price adjustment! money back! for nothing! amazing! 
i didn't even turn around and spend that money in the store. i brought it home and put it in my piggy bank :) 
(here, i'll admit that it wasn't because i didn't want to spend it or find anything i like - or because i have amazing willpower.... i just had a low-self-esteem day and didn't like how i looked in anything i tried on!)

lou is gonna be so proud of me!  yay me!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

i love my:

(the skyline one in the middle)

not only is it more environmentally friendly but it's more cost effective as well! i have been meaning to carry a water bottle for quite some time now - and i would be good about it for about a day or two - but it never stuck. well, that's because i didn't truly love my water bottle until now. most of the ones i've had in the past you have to screw/unscrew the top and it's a hassle. others, like the oggi one i'd been eyeing, have very small openings and are difficult to clean inside. and still some just weren't pretty enough to make me happy to see it and carry it around all day. 
the Nathan one is the best i've found. it's got a flip up straw for quick and easy drinking, it has a large opening so it's easy to clean, it came with 3 straws so if one gets icky i can just swap it out, it has a built in clip and finger loop for super portability, it's lightweight and keeps water cold, and it's pretty so i like looking at it and carrying it around. 
no more plastic bottles!

Friday, May 1, 2009

starbucks & racial profiling?

well, I filled out the Starbucks online survey to get my free coffee code and I was totally okay with taking the survey and answering questions about my experience at their store but I was *not* okay with the personal questions about my age, gender and RACE?! i know they probably just use it do decide if they need more "ethnic" folks in their commercials and print ads and such but it just felt so wrong! Luckily, they did provide the option "prefer not to answer" for those questions and I was able to choose that. 
Does anyone else think that it's a bit weird to ask that? I mean, hopefully their employees have had enough sensitivity training (along with some decent manners) not to exhibit racist, sexist, or ageist behaviors while slinging coffee, no? And what do my personal details have to do with whether my coffee was hot, how clean the store was, or how quickly I was served? Maybe alot - maybe S-bux is secretly besieged with human resources problems and racist, sexist, ageist employees... dunno. 
Nonetheless, free drink for me Monday morning.... hopefully that nice girl at the drive-thru won't call me a "smokin' hot old honey with nice tits"... 
or then again, maybe she will...


*much* to my surprise we met with the mortgage broker today and things went swimmingly! nothing is set in stone, but it looks like (fingers crossed) we may indeed be approved for a loan that is larger than our expected budget!!!!
now, that doesn't mean we are going to run out and buy something at the top of our budget... or maybe buy anything at all just yet... but it does mean that I can exhale knowing I am not an utter failure who will never be "grown up" enough to own my own home.... not that people who don't own their homes are failures or not grown up! geez, that sounded BAD. forgive!

Now a whole new kind of anxiety is washing over me:
- is the house we were originally interested in the right one for us?
- will it get sold out from under us?
- how in the heck do I deal with things like inspections, appraisals, closing costs, etc, etc?
and the biggest questions of all:
- how important is it (financially, emotionally, legally, even socially) that we be married before we take this HUGE step together? 
- am I okay with buying a house together without marriage? what if we choose to never get married? will buying the house make him feel like we have to get married?

all i know, is that it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders just by taking the first step and seeing the broker. 

Ways to save

I just went to the pet store to pick up more puppy food for the little monster:

and the girl at the checkout informed me that if I buy 10 bags of Science Diet food and save my receipts then I get the 11th bag free. I usually pass these things up, thinking "who seriously has the time or the gumption to save ten receipts?" (lou!) but now that I am on a serious money-saving mission I figure I should step-up and take every offer that comes my way! Plus, she even gave me a nifty envelope to keep in my wallet to save my receipts! 
I also got my usual Starbucks (which I know I should cut out if I intend to save $ but I don't have a coffee maker yet and little monster wakes me up waaaaay to early to function without it) and they gave me a receipt with a web address to go to for a survey that, if completed, gets you a free drink. Again, I would usually throw that receipt right in the trash but not today my friends, today I will rise to the challenge and go the extra mile for the love of money!
-posted with help from my robot