Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's next? Locusts?

.... I'm in Minnesota.

Over the past week I've been in an earthquake and massive hurricane.  So obviously I had to head to the midwest.  So far I've eaten at a phenomenal Asian/Latin restaurant, watched a lamb being born at the State Fair, finished up my Summer semester, and shared several bottles of wine and late night chats with one of my best friends.

So until I get home and can upload my photos and one funny video of my friend's dog wearing socks.  I leave you with this photo from one of the most popular food stands, "Big Fat Bacon," at the fair:

Personal Photo

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blinded by the lightttttt or "The One where Luis is Introduced"

That song is stuck in head like that's its job.  It's all I can think about as I emerge from under the pile of school books and half written paper.  I'm enjoying the fresh air and sunshine (and blogging) before I try to finish tackling that pile.  I think I've finally gone through the seven stages of grief over my lost blog post (as well as that crazy earthquake... but that's another post entirely) to try and (re)introduce you to my wonderful fiance.

Yes, that handsome man is my future husband.  Also, yes, I am wearing high heels in this photo.   

    So what do you need to know about Luis?  He's incredibly tall kind, funny, and just so smart.  Here's a little bio that I kindly filled out for him since he is filling our our mortgage lender application for me:

Name: Luis
Favorite Color: Blue
Born: Washington state
Hometown: Not applicable
High School: Key West High School
Loves: Me, almonds, the UCF Knights, tigers, nerdy books, salmon cooked on the grill, soccer, ESPN in HD, "that soup I make," math, Korean food, Puerto Rican rum
Hates: Anything that smells or tastes like coconut
Favorite Activity: Hanging out with his crazy wonderful fiance (aka ME) or playing a sport or paintballing with his best friends
Preferred honeymoon spot: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

How'd we meet?  I thought you'd never ask!  But if you're expecting love at first sight... I suggest you visit another blog... 
I've known Luis since my junior year in high school. Kind of.  We were both on the varsity basketball teams at KWHS, but we didn't really know each other despite spending hours in the same gym or on the same bus to Miami for games.  I did know his brother through my best friend Sean and often gave his youngest brother a ride home from school because we lived on the same military base.  It wasn't until college when he lived with Sean for a year (or two... I don't know) that we really got to know each other.  At the time I didn't want a boyfriend and he had a girlfriend so we were just friends and occasional beer pong partners.  Obviously my platonic feelings did not last... nor did his relationship with his girlfriend.  I hadn't spoken to or seen Luis in a while - I knew I had developed feelings for him and did not really relish the idea of seeing him and his girlfriend together.  A few months after their break-up we began talking again, almost daily.  I was excited, but was also leaving to spend a long semester in Spain.  Before I left he visited me twice - and I was absolutely hooked.  We continued to talk everyday I was abroad and he sent me letters and a Valentine's Day gift.  I just referred to him as my boyfriend because it was too hard to explain international dating.  This time apart was incredibly difficult, but I know it has given our relationship a solid foundation based on communication, trust, and friendship.  The summer after I came home we officially started dating and haven't looked back!

Omg.  My computer froze again while writing this post (maybe its jealous of how much I love Luis?) but this time I didn't suffer from a blonde moment and was able to figure out where all the saved posts go. AKA I didn't have rewrite this whole thing because it was in blog post limbo.  oh well.  Also, all photos are personal.  Whatevs, I hope you enjoyed Luis's introduction to the blogosphere!

Est. August 2011

Ok so now that I've established this blogg (I like it with two g's because then it sounds like it was purchased at Ikea. aka Seventh Heaven.  Especially according to my 90 year-old, happily married grandparents.  They go through the entire store at a snails pace exclaiming things like "Where else can you get an ice cream for a DOLLAR. ONE DOLLAR, JOHN!"  "Ell, we need to redo the kitchen.  Look at these drawers - you could fit all your crap in here."  Then they proceed to purchase themselves a "real nice set of wine glasses.... because all the others have disappeared." After the trip we had to stop and buy fancy wine for their fancy glasses.  OMG HELLO A.D.D.  I clearly need Luis around to keep me focused.)

But back to my blogg.  I will be 100% honest that the initial inspiration for starting this blog is to be considered for WeddingBee.  (Hi Pengy!)  I love the brides' blogs and have found them to be inspirational, uplifting, frustrating, and heartfelt.  I'm trying my best to learn from their mistakes as much as their successes, listen to their sage advance, and by sympathetic to the occasional rant.  In reality 394242342 brides a day apply for the privilege of writing as a Bee.  Sooooo I'm doing this for myself.  My wedding is for my and my fiance and I am doing my best to make this my motto.  Wish me luck!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Exam Week.

What is it about research papers, group projects, and final exams that make me prefer blogging to anything academic?  Thursday will be the last day of the summer semester which means as of Thursday I'll only have one semester and one seminar left of grad school!  (It also means I'll graduate the week before the wedding.  Nothing like packing as much as I can into one month.)  Here is a list of other things in my life that are wayyy more fun than my pile of homework:

Chef Geoff's Happy Hour menu:  Supermugs, delicious burgers, $0.95 coozies, and bar tenders who let ask you taste test potential signature Fall drinks all shared with new friends.  I'm going to stop right there because I'd like there to be a seat for me the next time I want to go.  
Image via Facebook

Mad Men:  Ok... I'm a new addict and can't get enough of this show.   Season 1, episode 10 is playing right now and I'm obsessed with its awesomeness.  If you haven't ever watched it, I highly suggest giving it a try.  I'm totally envious of the women's clothing... but not their pointy bras or philandering husbands.

Cornhole: Wedding guests, get excited.  Lawn games will definitely be making an appearance in May.  And I've been practicing.  A lot.
Image via Prepare to Wed

The Great Cowboy Boot Hunt of 2011:  I need want a pair of Frye boots.  Cute, fun, and totally out of my budget.  I've spent wayyyy too many hours searching for them on Etsy, Ebay, and Craigslist.  I keep being outbid, but I have faith.  Brown, not too high, wooden, stacked heel, size 9.  Feel free to point me in the right direction.
Image via

These are my distractions.  Hopefully admitting them will be my first step to recovery/refocusing on my work.  Any offers to proofread my papers?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cheap lanterns, bulk flowers, metal stamping...

...these are the things on the long list of ideas I've googled* today.  My sister, mom, cousin, and I made the the flower arrangements for another cousin's wedding this past weekend.  It took us about 6 hours to make a bunch of boutonnieres and corsages, one bouquet, and about a dozen table centerpieces.  If we were to do the flowers for my wedding, I'm estimating that it will take at least that long.  We're going to have more bouquets and boutonnieres, but because I have very few requirements for the types/number of flowers used (appropriate colors, not too many, and inexpensive) I doubt we'll need the extra hours is took to strip delicate tulips in the middle of August.  Here are some photos I'm using as inspiration:

I love the hypericum (what looks like berries) mixed in this unstructured bouquet.  I LOVE what is generally considered greenery and fillers.  I'm hoping that by purchasing large flowers I'll need less of them and can compensate for the lack of flowers with a lot of greenery.  

Again, large flowers, greenery, and fillers.  This centerpiece is appropriately low and small.  No one will have to move it to accommodate our family style meal or speak to some one across the table.  (Smaller = less expensive = happy bride)

The following photos have been sitting on my desktop for so long that I no longer can remember where I found them.  If you know, please comment and I'll add credit!

This is the right size, but the more I look at it the more I think it's not full enough.  It looks like a second - day centerpiece instead of fresh and perky.

I  LOVE this arrangement.  It's small, fresh, with enough green and white.  If we added some magenta/purple/whatever-the-heck-our-accent-color-is-called it would be perfect.  My fear is that I love this because it's in milk glass, which we will not be using.  Unfortunately it doesn't fit in with the overall theme of the wedding. Sad day.

If I had long rectangular tables I'd definitely do this.  It may still be an option if I work up the courage to go on the hunt for that many gorgeous bottles.

When baby's breath is used alone in bunches it looks less like a filler and more like a flower.  (A filler that's a flower? Sign me up!)  Assuming my DIY goes well, we'll be using baby's breath in monogrammed hanging cones down the aisle.  

My mom looked and I could see the conflict in her face that I know I feel.  This is so gorgeous but will probably last 5 minutes and not be worth the cost at all.... just like gardenias.  

How my heart yearns for gardenias.  
That's 50 (OMG FIFTY) hand wired gardenias y'all.  When we lived in Alabama my mom planted them all along the backyard and I don't think I've ever really loved any flower since.  It's such a shame they are so fragile they'll turn brown when you just look at them.  Sigh.

Most of the flowers I like can be purchased at Costco or Sam's Club in bulk.  If we're getting married, we can have them delivered on Tuesday or Wednesday, make all the arrangements on Thursday, and then deliver them to the venue on Friday morning.  My cousin has already very generously offered to help putting them all together and I'm hoping that we can enlist an aunt or two to help.  The boys are going to have to be responsible for the transporting.  (Thanks in advance, babe!)  Any suggestions for working with deliverable flowers?

*Isn't it cool that "googled" is a verb?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Boo you whore.

I just wrote this long, sweet post introducing my fiance and how awesome he is.  and then accidentally reloaded the page and lost. it. all.  Because this is the cherry on my Monday sundae, I'm going to tell you about house hunting instead.

I'm 23 years old.  I'm a graduate student making a wage below the poverty level and praying that my internship supervisor finds a stipend for me.  I own a car (a beautiful Mazda CX-7), live with my parents, and commute about an hour to work/intern up to six days a week.  As you can tell from my last post I am also planning a wedding.  My fiance is being as helpful as possible, but he is away at a four month long training session for his new job in federal law enforcement.  He needs to be focusing on his work there because A) he'll be carrying around a gun and I'd like him to know how to safely use it and B) he will probably be our primary bread winner.  We've both agreed that I can work or stay home with our future family, that the decision is OURS, and we want to make this decision based on the needs of our family and not finances.  Once I've stepped off of my soap box, I'll continue.  Here is a picture of my cute car in the interim:

Ain't she a beauty?!
(personal photo)

We have decided that it will be in our best interest to purchase a home instead of renting.  Because renting means that you are not building equity and are throwing money away. Right?  Right?!  We've started working with a realtor, reading about home loans, and checking our credit.  I've been pestering my parents with questions like "Do I have to pay a lender for helping me?" or "Do you think Sandra from Property Virgins will be nice to us if we make it on the show?"  Thank goodness my dad is a military officer and they've had to buy and sell houses with most of our moves, essentially making my mom an expert.  Northern Virginia is still super expensive, but because we'll live in the home for 5-7 and hopefully start our family there, we'd like a little space and a lot of safety.  

I love and fear Sandra of Property Virgins.

If I'd been able to post my last entry, you would have learned that my fiance loves to research any decision.  I like to make decisions too quickly.  I promise you'll understand how compatible we are once I rewrite that darned post.  When I purchased that gorgeous vehicle above, I was a mess.  Once I decided she was coming home with me I wanted her and I wanted her now.  (God bless the salesman who let me begin filling out paperwork less that 15 minutes before the dealership closed.)  I hate the in-between, the uncertain, the undecided.  We have established, agreed, and decided that we need to purchase some place to live.  BUT he is away for training and has very few weekends off.  We can't afford a house if we are spending several hundred dollars every weekend for him fly from Georgia to Virginia to spend 36 hours with me, 24 of which would be spent looking at homes and townhouses.  I know this will be long and arduous process, so I am doing my best to practice as much patience as possible.  I'm screening houses, picking out favorites, and will ask my fiance to fly up if I fall in love with a house.   This is the plan and that is a decision I can cling to while I'm stuck living with my parents in-between now and then. Any suggestions for a new home-buyer or how to miraculously cure my inability to wait patiently and not anxiously bite my nails?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Today... I met the boy... I'm gunna marry

Not really though.  I honestly don't even know when I met my boy.  He technically is a man (and a wonderful one at that), but I love the song or at least the montage from "Father of Bride" so much I have to use it here.  Please watch the video if you've never seen the movie before.  I dare you to not cry your eyes out.  Oh wait... only stressed out brides-to-be and their mothers cry at this point in the movie so please hand the tissue box over to me.  

      My dad isn't mortgaging our house like George Banks and my day-of coordinator is a nice woman named Joann instead of a crazy Frenchman, but I'm  hoping that I'll be as happy as Annie.  I didn't meet my fiance in Rome, but I'm getting an Italian last name.  (My adorable Italian grandmother thinks that this is wonderful - even though I'm the Italian and my fiance is 100% Puerto Rican.)

        I'm going to chronicle the joys (and probably sorrows) of wedding planning here.  I'm can't wait to head for wedded bliss, but I know that I'm climbing a steep mountain here.  I'm hoping that this will become a habit, so please stick with me.  And feel free to begin to mock me if my posts aren't regular.