Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inspiration: Bright Dahlia

Lately, I’ve been craving neon colors. (Which is perfect timing because they’re trending for Spring 2012!) A few weeks ago it was magenta that had my heart. This week it’s the lovely and loud shade of pink that J. Crew so correctly classifies as Bright Dahlia. I’m in love.

J Crew's Adrienne dress in Bright Dahlia

I first spotted the hue on a skinny belt from Ann Taylor Loft. I had it in my hand, but decided to save my money instead. (What? Did I just say that?) So great news came last night when I saw it was 50% off, plus free shipping. And bad news quickly followed when I learned the item was sold out. So pink is popular. I can’t say I’m surprised.

I found this image from Brooklyn Bride on Pinterest and I want to move in.

While there is something really special about soft romantic shades and monochromatic color palettes, I’m really loving bold pops of color right now. Contrasting shades can come off as casual, and I think the trick is to use small punches of color in unexpected places. For example, wear a hot pink headband or decorate the back of your chairs with streamers in a look-at-me shade. Why stop there! Hang cream-colored escort cards from bright ribbon or add a big fat (hot pink) kiss to your favor tags. If you can weave color into unexpected places, you’ll have your guests’ attention all night long.

Fun fashion tip ---> If you love neons but not enough to marry them pick out accessories in bold shades to pack on your honeymoon. Mixing in a few new pieces will refresh your wardrobe, making it feel like new. Plus, the eye-catching colors will make your photos come out great.

Do you dare to go bold with a hot neon shade? Tell me how you would incorporate Bright Dahlia into your wedding or wardrobe?

To Boudoir or Not To Boudoir?

Boudoir photography Have you ever considered it? I really want to go for it, but nothing has worked out for me yet. I’m not hesitating because I’m too shy. I just haven’t found the right time to sink serious dollars into it. With most packages coming in at over $500, I have not felt financially ready to pull the trigger. I’m getting there. I think boudoir sessions are a great boost of confidence for us ladies. Our bodies are awesome things, all of us. Do you hear me? Yes, you. You’re hot. Sure, a boudoir session is an awesome gift to plan for your man, but I think every woman should also consider this a gift to herself. There, that’s like two gifts for the price of one. Does that justify the high cost? I’m warming up to the idea. When I finally do get there, here’s what I have in mind:

A fun little theme: I always like to do things a little differently, so it’s natural that I want to steer away from the typical lying on the bed/straddling a chair/leaning on the wall poses. I love taking baths, and I love taking baths in big claw foot bath tubs. I love vintage stuff, too. I think it would be fun to stage a pretty powder room shoot with lots of antique props like glass perfume bottles and hand mirrors. In my head everything is the perfect shade of blush pink.
Nice lingerie: I don’t believe in trashy lingerie and here’s why. Women buy that for men. Ladies, you should be buying lingerie for yourself. It should make you feel good, even when, no, especially when you wear it under your clothes and you’re the only one who knows it’s there. If it comes from France, chances are it will make you feel like Julia Roberts.
Hair and makeup: It’s a must. That is all.

Fun money saving tip -----> A lot of photographers offer special group rates. Why not plan a boudoir party in lieu of a bachelorette party? As you can see from the above image by Sarah Yates Photography, it looks like a lot of fun! See more here! Ask your wedding photographer if they offer any special packages for current  clients. Or looking into shooting (and shopping) in a pretty lingerie store like Faire Frou Frou in LA.

So lovely readers of the blog, what are your feelings on boudoir photography? Would you ever schedule a session on your own?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks

Welcome back, travelers. I’m guessing you spent the long holiday weekend bouncing from house to house, visiting family members and friends on either side of your marital, or soon-to-be marital, arrangement. We sure did! Our Thanksgiving adventure started late Tuesday night with a marathon baking session (it was a success, btw) and ended last night when we finally fell into our own bed. Here are some of the fun-filled activities that took place in-between.

Tuesday Night Thanksgiving Baking: Last week I mentioned that I was a little worried about the chunk of cooking assignments I had taken on. But we got everything done. I put Keith to work on the chocolate toffee squares and I made cookies and then we tackled the spinach squares together. Our teamwork resulted in some serious deliciousness, and also a messy kitchen.

 Look! I'm too busy cooking to focus my camera!! 

Turkey Time: Guests started to fill my parents house around 1:00 on Thursday and we had a pitcher of pumpkin martinis at the ready. I helped out in the kitchen and passed hors d’Oeuvres around till it was time for the main event. Then we all headed to our make shift dining room where my dad had assembled three long tables to accommodate our 25 guests. The food was great. The games were hilarious. (This year we asked, “If you could be any celebrity for a day who would you be?”) And our Polaroid place cards were a hit, too.

Reunion Time: Friday night was Keith’s 10-year high school reunion! (Oh, that makes me feel old.) I was proud to attend with my husband to show all his old girlfriends what a babe he married. Also, I wore his school colors. Wife of the year? I think so.

Auntie Time: We spent the rest of the weekend with Keith’s family. Everyone was in town so we had lots of quality time with our nieces and new little nephew. I think the number of times he puked on me is equal to his love for me. Need a little Monday pick me up? Here’s a little baby montage:

We had some great times with the twins, too. Highlights included their first Barbie, a couch cushion tent and Christmas tree cutting. 

She was wearing fairy wings and making the Barbie walk. How cute is that?

How was your Thanksgiving weekend? Share your adventures with me! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Stress and How to Kick It in the Pants

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and the time leading up to both holidays. It’s exciting and festive and there are neat drinks being served at Starbucks. But these times are also a bit crazy. I always find that I have a million things to do, plus a million more. Work always gets crazy in November and December because we have to rush to meet deadlines that are cut short by the holidays. And when works gets crazy, and there are hundreds of non-work items on my to-do list, I get overwhelmed.

It’s two days before Thanksgiving and I’m happy to say that I have all of my work well under control. What is totally a mess are my Thanksgiving meal assignments. My family gives food assignments. It’s kinda like homework, but cooking. I was mailed an invitation…from my mother…that said, “You can bring Spinach Squares.” Let me give you the back story on Spinach Squares. You might know them by their common name, spanakopita. But we’re pretty fancy in my house and only use high-brow words to describe our food. My mom has made these for every holiday for as long as I can remember. They are my favorite but they are also a labor of love because Spinach Squares mean working with thin delicate phyllo dough. The whole project usually creates a decent amount of stress on its own, so naturally I asked my mom to teach me how to make them. It took a few batches to finally get it right, but I did. And I was pretty impressed with myself because I though they tasted exactly like my mom’s.

Making Spinach Squares is a two-man task. Here's my dad in his "Jay" apron, working with the phyllo dough.

Extra hands + butter + spinach + phyllo dough = delicious

This year I’m tasked with making them for Thanksgiving, and I’m a little nervous because I want them to be perfect. This is my first real food assignment. Also, I have to make white chocolate and cranberry oatmeal cookies and salted toffee squares all in one night. (Maybe I don’t have to make those, but I want to. And now it’s on the blog and I can’t take it back.)

 I think I might be up cooking for a while tonight. Luckily I have a great sous chef/taste tester to help! 

Now I can’t say that I’m the most stressed person there is right now, because I only have to make three things and it’s my fault that I left them till the last minute. I know there are people out there (my mom, maybe your mom, too,) who are making a whole lot more. (Like a turkey!) But may I just remind you that until recently I sat at the kids’ table and my only responsibility as host was to take people’s coats and drink orders. “Welcome! Would you like a martini? We’re just whipping up a fresh batch. Come in and find a seat, I’ll take your coat upstairs.” Wouldn’t you like your Thanksgiving to begin that way? I know, I know, I was trained well.

Getting back to the title of this post and how I kick holiday stress in the pants, I have some small advice to offer. 1. Make a list. (I make mine on post-it notes. I’m addicted to them. I have them everywhere and I think it’s a sickness.) 2. Spent less time stressing and more time working on your list. 3. When 1 & 2 fail, think about this time next week when all your stress will be over and say to yourself, “This time next week all my stress will be over, everything will be done, and I can sit on the couch and watch a movie.” Thinking this instantly makes me feel better.

Am I doing any of these above mentioned stress relief tactics? A little bit. I’m getting better at it, which is good news for our Thanksgiving guests who will get to snack on the fruits of my labor after I successfully conquer my marathon baking session tonight!

What is stressing you out this week? If you’re like me, and don’t like cooking meat that requires a thermometer, I totally feel your pain and see why this is a tough week for you. How are you dealing? Do you make lists, too?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Support Our Troops: 2011 Holiday Care Package Drive

It’s Thanksgiving week! Let’s kick it off with a great way to give thanks. Jacin of Lovely Little Details has organized a care package drive for the troops. The U.S. soldiers are top on my list of things I’m thankful for this year. I’ve seen first hand how much they sacrifice so that we can live a better life. So many men and women who are serving overseas will be spending the holiday away from their families. I think sending a care package is a small thing we can do to make someone’s Christmas a little better. 

Follow this link to see how you can get involved.

 Putting together a care package is fun. I know, I’ve been sending them to my brother since July. When people ask him what he wants or needs, he always replies that just getting mail is nice. Send a soldier a letter, a finger painting, anything. It really will make a difference.

My family is very lucky right now because our soldier is home for Thanksgiving! My brother arrived Friday night, after 5 days of traveling. We didn’t do much over the weekend but it was great to have my family all in one room again. That doesn’t happen very often these days.

Now I’m hoping these next few days fly by so I can head back home for Thanksgiving. More family time! Stuffing! Mashed Potatoes! Pumpkin martinis! Pie!

How are you giving thanks this holiday season? I hope you’ll visit, and spread the word. Tweet it, blog it, Facebook it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Creating Your Wedding Programs

Ahh wedding programs. They may seem like a small detail, but they mark the start of your guests’ wedding day experience. Make a good first impression with a stand out design and get everyone excited about what the rest of the day will hold.

I was drawn to clean, simple styles. I did not want a book, just one card printed on the front and back. Now I like longer, more playful versions. For example, I love these newspaper programs. Add your engagement picture and a top-of-the-fold feature on how you met to give your guests something to read before the ceremony begins. And wouldn’t it be fun to list your wedding party in the form of a news story? I might put the groomsmen in the police blotter (ha!) or the sports section.

Image via Style Me Pretty

Some Crucial Ceremony Program Tips
  • Order programs 4-6 weeks in advance if you’re having them printed and don’t want to end up DIY them the night before because the shipment was lost. If you’re intentionally going the DIY route, good for you! Just don’t leave it till the night before. You really don’t want to make a late-night run to Staples on the eve of your wedding because you ran out of ink. 

  • If your ceremony is in a different location than your reception, make sure you designate someone to bring them the day of. This task will likely fall to a groomsman since they arrive first.

  • Ask ushers to hand programs out as they greet guests rather than leaving them in a basket. It’s a small, but thoughtful, touch.

And because I found writing a program about as much fun as washing socks, here’s an easy guide to...

Wording Your Wedding Program

Your names and the date & location. That’s a no-brainer.

Order of the ceremony. Everyone’s ceremony will be different, but the meat of a wedding ceremony is the same.
Processional, "Uptown Girl" – Billy Joel
Opening Prayer
First Reading, Read by Your Beautiful Friend 
Second Reading, Read by Another Amazing Person 
Exchange of Vows 
Blessing of Rings 
Recessional,"The Way You Make Me Feel" – Michael Jackson

We celebrated a catholic mass (minus the MJ), so I added in a responsorial psalm between the two readings, and prayers of the faithful and communion after the exchange of vows. I think it’s nice to list the names of the readers and gift bearers and include the titles of readings and songs that are used. Won’t they be nice to look back on later?

Your Wedding Party. Start by naming your celebrant, then your parents and grandparents. List the bridal party before the groomsmen and call the flower girl and ring bearer out on a separate line. You can list each person’s relationship to you, or just their names. 

Music. Don’t forget to credit the musicians, too. You can list them individually or as a group. For example,

Guitar - Bruce Springsteen
Vocals - Lady Gaga
Music by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band 

Remembrance. It’s nice to list the names of relatives and loved ones who have passed. I simply said, “We also remember those who are no longer with us, but remain in our hearts,” then listed their names. I’m not one for long, sappy sentiments.

Thank you. Not wanting to oversaturate my program with drippy language, I tried to skip this part. MOB convinced me that was a bad decision. I came up with this: “Our sincere gratitude goes out to the friends and family members who traveled to be with us today. Your love and support will remain with us always.” Short and sweet!

Tell me about your programs. What design did you decide on?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Follow the Wife Featured on The Knotty Bride

Question: What's the best cure for the blues on a rainy day?

Answer: A Bloggista feature on The Knotty Bride!

Hurry! It's happening right now. Click here to read about today's real life issue...the name change.

Spoiler Alert: There are steamy pictures Ryan Gosling there, too.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Husband Knows Me Better Than I Know Myself

It’s true. He’s got me pegged. He knows that I will fall asleep on the couch whenever we turn on a movie even though I’ll always insist that I’m going to stay awake for it.

And he knows that I’m celebrity boy crazy even though I’ve never brought one copy of US Weekly home.

Here’s how he knows: Over the weekend we saw Tower Heist. It was really funny and I laughed the whole way through, aside from one scene (no spoiler) that actually made my palms sweat. At the end of the movie I said, “Nice pick. I liked that movie.” To which my husband replied, “I know you did, you love those Affleck boys.”

“What? Why do you think that I love Casey Affleck?”

“Because you laughed at him the most,” he said.

OMG am I that obvious?

It’s probably pretty normal for your husband to know who your celebrity crush is. Keith knows I have the HOTS for Tom Brady. But Ben Affleck is my old high school crush (Remember Armageddon? Oh yea!) and I have never really gushed about him....recently. Also, I’ve never really had a crush on Casey Affleck. But this is what I was thinking during the movie:

“Oh Casey Affleck is in this movie…I forgot…that’s exciting.”

“Wow…Casey Affleck has really nice skin.”

“Casey Affleck…was he in The Town…I really liked that movie…he should have been in that movie.”

“Listen to his voice…That Casey Affleck…so raspy.”

“I really like those Affleck boys.”

It’s official. My husband is a mind reader and I’m in love with Casey Affleck.

I don’t have a thoughtful question for you today, just this: Does anyone else think about Casey Affleck? Tell me I'm not alone. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Who Do You Hang Out With?

Last night we had butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage sauce for dinner. It was so delicious and I knew it meant this was going to be a good week. So far, I’ve been right. It’s not a bad Monday at all when you kick it off with The Hunger Games trailer. If you have not read the book yet drop everything you are doing this very instant and get yourself a copy (or an e-copy for whatever device you read from.) Prepare to be obsessed. You’re welcome.

Not only did our weekend end in good fashion, but it began much the same. If you can’t guess how we kicked it off, than you don’t know me as well as you thought you did. The answer of course is cocktail hour! We shook up some fall cocktails for our parents (apple cider + cranberry juice + vodka) and made a toast to ourselves. Then we ventured out for a delicious French meal at Union League Café in New Haven. Not only was our food scrumptious, but our waiter was French! How often does that happen? I did spend a decent amount of the meal wondering if he was faking his accent to give us the full experience, but the more logical thinkers at the dinner table assured me there was no reason to fake a French accent. I kind of disagree as I’m always on the lookout for a situation that calls for a fake accent.
 How do you say, "Thanks for dinner," in French? 

Saturday we ran some errands and saw a movie (Tower Heist. It was great, go see it!) Since we were home early, we decided to cook a nice meal and relax for the evening. It was a perfect night, but as I began cooking I was a little sad that none of my good friends lived close enough to share it with us. I didn’t want to organize a huge dinner party that involved a ton of preparation and cleaning. I just wanted to call up a friend and invite them over for a casual dinner and some wine.

 Ali, Scott and Maya are always down for casual wine drinking, but they live in MA so we usually meet at a winery in the middle.

So far, living far from my friends has been one of the hardest parts of moving to Connecticut. I used to live in the same apartment as my friends, and now all those great people live two hours away. I try really hard to stay in touch with everyone, but it’s hard. Keith and I are always arranging visits and inviting friends to our house for the weekend, but there are still nights we want to relax and wish there was another couple to join us. I know that part of the reason is we haven’t exactly put ourselves in a position to make new friends locally. I work in Manhattan, so my work friends are not nearby. And although Keith works down the street, not all of his co-workers live near us. Blah.

While we’ll still continue to arrange weekend visits with our friends, my goal this year is to make some new couple friends that live close and enjoy cocktail hour as much as we do. (If you fit this description, feel free to contact me in the comment section below!)

Some questions for you today: Who do you hang out with? Has marriage changed the people you’re friends with? And any advice on how we can make new couple friends?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Veteran's Day Love Story

It’s Friday! 11-11-11! My friend Alicia is having a baby today. It’s my friend JJ’s birthday (Hi, JJ!) And like a million people are getting married. But that’s not all—it’s also Veteran’s Day! And that means what? A huge sale at Macy’s—yes, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to introduce you to my two favorite veterans, Gus and Trudy.

Gus and Trudy (aka Grammy and Nono) met right after World War II. They were both stationed in Memphis, TN. Nono was in the Navy and Grammy was in the Army. (Doing what, I’m not sure. She regularly told us her official rank was Bedpan Commando!) They met in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel. Nono had his arm in a cast, and when Grammy saw him she yelled across the hotel lobby, “Hey sailor, what happened to your arm?” And it was love at first sight. They courted for roughly three weeks before they were married in a court house in Hernando, MS. Well technically they didn’t get married in the court house. Nono said when they arrived they learned that the Justice of the Peace was out sick, so they went to his house and he married them by his bedside. And the rest is history.

Grammy and Nono were just as in love fifty years later when we returned to Memphis for their anniversary. We took their picture in the lobby and sat in the bar they had drinks in the night they met.

If Kris Jenner were my great grandmother, there would not have been a bedside marriage. Even with three weeks to plan, Grammy would have had three gowns, loads of flowers and deal with a major television network. But she didn’t. I don’t know what she wore that day, and I’m not sure if she even carried a bouquet because they didn’t have formal wedding photos. They did make this awesome newspaper the night they met. The headline reads, “Brooklyn Will Marry Gus! Memphis Goes Wild!” I like this one a lot.

That's Grammy and Nono on the right. Grammy was from Brooklyn. 

“Nono, why did you marry Grammy after only three weeks,” I asked a long, long time ago. I was young, but the idea just seemed so crazy to me.

“If I had known her any longer, I wouldn’t have,” he joked.

But it was clear he would have. Grammy always wanted to be with Nono. Even if he was just in the other room, all she’d ever say was, “Where’s Gus!” (It was mostly the love, and a little bit of Alzheimer’s.) And when Grammy passed away in 2005, it was clear that Nono’s life was not the same without her. Grammy and Nono’s story is one of my favorites, and I’ll be telling it for a long, long time.

What about you? Do you have a Veteran’s Day love story? Or any kind of love story? Share it with me. 

And Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone who’s served, or is currently serving (Hi Phil!) Thank you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Inspiration: Bright Magenta

When it comes to color, I generally keep it simple. I wear a lot of black and navy, and I absolutely love neutral shades like cream and beige. Our house is decorated the same—blue, white and gold dominate. And when I do stray, I always opt for shades of pink. I don’t hate color. In fact, I love it. Bold shades always draw my eye. I’m just more of a play-it-safe type of gal, and when it comes to spending money on clothing I like to invest in pieces I know for certain I won’t tire of.

With winter approaching I want to embrace color, so when I was drawn to a deep magenta blouse at J. Crew a few weeks ago I knew I had to get it. I didn’t ask myself the usual questions I ask when I shop: What will I wear this with? How often will I wear it? Would it be more practical in black? I just bought it! And I’m so happy I did. Magenta is the perfect color for a wedding party, too. I just love how the color pops. If I had to plan my wedding right now I’d dress my bridesmaids in it.


Pretty lame self photo of my bright magenta J. Crew top, but you get the idea.


Bridesmaids dresses in spiced wine from J. Crew

Source: via Libby on Pinterest photo by Eric Kelley Photography

What do you think about this color? Would you wear it to work? Or a wedding? Or dress your bridesmaids in it? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Broke a Wedding Gift

I want to discuss a serious topic this morning--broken wedding gifts. I was putting a wine glass away on the top shelf and accidentally bumped it into another wine glass, which then came crashing down into the sink. It smashed in a million pieces. It was so sad.

This is the wine glass I broke if anyone wants to get me a Christmas present.

If you were a fly on the wall in my kitchen this morning you'd probably find the sight of a bathrobe-clad woman vacuuming her sink pretty hilarious. I, however, was not amused. I dislike cleaning shards of glass off the floor that I normally walk barefoot on. Lesson learned, I won't do the dishes before I've had coffee!

Aside from the mess, it really stinks that I broke one of our wedding gifts. In only six months of marriage, no less. Luckily I have seven other wine glasses, plus eight for red, (we're serious about our Charles Shaw in this house.) And I registered for an extra set of dishes for this very reason. But I'm afraid at the rate I'm going, I'll have nothing left in 30 years!

Have you broke anything off your registry? And if so, do you replace it right away?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Six Month Wedding Anniversary

In all of the excitement that comes with Monday, I didn’t realize that it was our six month wedding anniversary until after I had blogged. Six month ago today, Keith and I were jetting off to sunny Hawaii for our honeymoon. Oh, how I wish we were on our way to the airport for a vacation today. This morning, my lovely husband is sitting beside me on the train. Yay for commuting buddies! He’s working in a different office that’s right off my route, so we’re traveling together again, but just not to a sandy beach that serves Mai Thais. Maybe in six more months…

The beach! Sunsets! Tropical drinks! Party shirts! 

Last night we celebrated. Keith brought me six roses and I poured him a glass of red from the box o’ wine that’s been sitting on our counter all week. We’re a classy couple. I’m usually pretty handy in the kitchen, but last night’s “celebratory” meal was a bit uninspired. I had pork chops, and I had red wine. Put the two together and (according to Food Network) what do you get? Something delicious! Yes. But, no. Not last night. Pork chops + red wine did not equal anything worth eating. Keith said he liked the “flavoring” but I think he was just being nice.

After dinner I scraped the leftovers into the trash, loaded the dishwasher and hopped in the shower. We watched the most recent episode of our new favorite show, Homeland (It’s on Showtime!) and then we went to bed.

Other than the meal falling short, we had a wonderful night together. Sure, it was far less exciting than our wedding night, but in a way it was just as special because it was our typical night. We cook (all other nights dinner is delicious, I swear!), we talk and laugh and then we unwind. We have similar nights about 5 days a week so enjoying them is important. We certainly do exciting things, too. Last week we saw John Grisham speak at Yale. We go to happy hours with our friends and we plan special date nights at our favorite restaurants. But enjoying the average, run-of-the-mill evening together is what I think counts the most.

That was a lovely little look at a slice of my life. What about you? How do you and your husband spend your nights?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Recap

Hello! Hello! Hello! It’s Monday again and I’m sure most of you were thinking something like this when you woke up: “Monday. Here we go again. Let’s get this over with.” But did you also notice that is was brighter when you rolled out of bed this morning? I certainly did. For the last few weeks I had been leaving my house in the dark. It was such a good feeling to wake up a few minutes before my alarm to a bright bedroom. I was pretty thankful for that light this morning, not just for myself, but there’s still thousands of homes in Connecticut that don’t have their power restored after last weekend’s storm! A few days without power after Hurricane Irene made me a little batty. I don’t know how these people are doing it. And if you’re one of those people without power, call us! Come over!

I always love the extra hour we get when we turn the clocks back. We didn’t have much on our agenda yesterday so we filled the extra time with a little lounging on the couch, an HBO documentary on the financial crisis and I got a head start on my Thanksgiving placecards. I’m not much of a DIY-er. I’m more of a HSETDIFY (hire someone else to do it for you)! But I’m getting there. Here's a sneak peek:

 I followed this tutorial from Mint Love Social Club
If she didn't live on the West Coast, I would have invited her over to help!

On Saturday night, Keith and I had the extraordinary experience of watching our first roller derby match. Wow, guys. It was awesome. Crazy contact sports always put me in awe. I’m totally not tough at all, so it’s really awesome to live vicariously through those players who are beating the crap out of each other. My friend just joined a roller derby league and Saturday was her first bout. After, she told us she was a little nervous going into it but you never would have thought that. She zipped around the track hip-checking other girls and even taking a few nasty spills. I was very impressed. I don’t think I would be able to stand on skates without the obstacle of a large pack of angry and competitive women!

To top off our amazing night, we discovered that there was a Shake Shack in Fairfield, CT! We had burgers, delicious milk shakes and fries and then we crashed on our couch to watch my favorite, Charlie Day, on Saturday Night Live. 

It's ok to move to Connecticut. All the things you love will eventually follow!
It was a great weekend and now I’m ready to tackle the work week. Who’s with me?
How was your weekend?  

Friday, November 4, 2011

How Big Will Your Bouquet Be?

Did any of you early birds catch Randy Fenoli on the Today Show this morning? He has a book out called, "It's All About The Dress," which I'm sure is something you planning brides can relate to. Don't you feel that your dress really sets the tone for the rest of the design decisions you make?
Randy shared some of his "rules" for brides and I wanted to share one that I thought was really interesting: He said your bouquet should not be larger than your head, otherwise it will take attention away from your dress.
Do you agree?
Bouquet trends are always changing. Just look at your family's wedding photos and you'll see that no two are the same size or style. While planning, I never considered the size of my bouquet. That was one detail I left in the hands of the professional florist. And I was so happy with the results. Check it out:

 Photos courtesy for Blush Floral Design and Amy Kelkenberg

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Brown Studio
Ok, so my bouquet was larger than my head. But I think it complements my dress perfectly. If your dress has less volume, you may want to consider a smaller shape. That's why it's important to bring a picture of your dress when you meet with the florist. Which brings this post full circle: Your dress really sets the tone for the rest of your choices.

Have you thought about your bouquet size? Does size matter to you?  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What I Love About November!

 If you asked me what I love about November a few months ago, I’d probably say nothing. It’s cold, dark and the beginning of a very long winter. But I’m trying to ditch all those negative thoughts—not just about the winter, but everything. It just seems like a healthy, feel-good thing to do.

With that, here’s a list of things that I’m looking forward to this month.

I’m going to a roller derby match this weekend! I’ve always wanted to see one and I’m really excited about it! But hmm, what does one wear to a roller derby match?

We have reservations at the Union League Café in New Haven in a week! It’s the best restaurant in the city and we’ll share the meal with our parents. I love going out to fancy new restaurants—it’s one of the things I miss about living in New York. Luckily, New Haven has some pretty great restaurants and lots of restaurant week deals to take advantage of!

My brother is coming home! He gets two week leave and it’s timed perfectly with his favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to see him.

This is how my brother spends most of his holidays. 

Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to eat mashed potatoes, stuffing, mom’s famous spinach squares and pie. And then I’m going to wash it all down with a pumpkin martini. And this year will be even better because we’ve invited more cousins!

Here I am at my first Thanksgiving with my two grandmothers.
 I don't remember it much, but I look pretty excited.

Thanksgiving decorations! Each year my mom plans a delicious meal and serves it on a beautiful table. Even if there are 30 guests, we find a way to squeeze everyone around a table. I’m currently helping out with the place cards, which I have a really good idea for!

Thanksgiving games! Each year my mom makes everyone answer a question during dinner. It started out simple, “What are you thankful for?” But that grew tired and she began asking different questions like what was your first job, pick only one food item to eat for the rest of your life and who are you voting for. That was an interesting year!

I get to see how much my godson has grown since July! Last time I saw Henry he was only a month old—hardly bigger than our Thanksgiving turkey. I can’t wait to see him again.

I have a feeling he'll look something like this!

I’ll get to see my nieces, too. I hear they love to play dress up now, which is perfect because I do, too!

They've already developed an appreciation for vintage apparel and trends! 

Sounds like a good month! What are you looking forward to this month?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Marriage vs. A Wedding

I don’t want to talk about what happened yesterday. I’m not even going to name names. But yesterday’s events got me thinking and I keep coming around to one thought: There’s a difference between a wedding and a marriage, people. If you don’t know what it is than you don’t deserve either! I’m not going to single out any particular person, because I don’t think yesterday’s news was anything new. But I want to know why more people are not spending more of their engagement preparing for their marriage? I don’t mean booking florists and tasting double fudge cake. Why are more people not sitting down and talking to each other? Really? I'm floored that people don't do this.

Keith and I had to go through marriage preparation before our wedding. We woke up early on Saturday mornings to meet with the deacon, we spent an afternoon conferencing with other couples and we traveled to Boston to meet with our priest. We put several hours into our marriage prep. We even took a standardized test with sharpened number two pencils, answering questions about our relationship. The deacon made us sit in two separate rooms. I joked about it, but our answers gave us insight on which topics we were on the same page about, and which we weren't. After the test, we talked about money till we were blue in the face. We talked about how our families resolved fights and how we would. We talked about how we feel about the other doing things on their own. We talked about how we would make decisions and then we talked about money again. And when we were done, we tasted cake and shopped for ties and selected music. There was time for everything.

It’s easy to get caught up in planning a wedding. There’s a lot to do and it can be distracting. But what it comes down to is this: A wedding is just a party. A marriage is what happens at a wedding, and that does not get packed away with the dress and it’s not supposed to shrivel up like the bouquet. And those pictures that you’ll have forever, well you’re not supposed to put your marriage in a pretty bound book and only take it out when company comes over.

 I’m not claiming to be perfect, or have a perfect marriage. My wedding is done, gone, over with, but my marriage is still in its infancy. We’re learning new things every day. But I'm proud of myself for realizing the difference between the wedding and marriage, and deciding that when I walked down the aisle there would be no walking back. I went to an awards dinner last night and one of the recipients got the biggest round of applause for being married for 68 years. Of all his great accomplishments, he was the most celebrated for his marriage. That made me happy, especially on a day when all marital hell broke loose all over the internet.

That's all I got. Feel free to add your two cents!