Friday, February 19, 2010

Go shawty, it's my birthday!

Yes, friends, today is the best holiday of the year. The day I was brought into this world. It's my birthday. I'm 24 today...woooooo!! Isn't it funny how after 21 you really don't care about your birthday anymore? I mean, you care but it's like "Oh! My birthday is in a few days. Cool." If I have any readers under 21 you probably think this is a lie, but I swear it will happen to you, too.

Today is not only *my* birthday, but also the 1st birthday of my lil ole blog! Although for some reason my Google Reader tells me my first post was on March 25, I assure you that is not the case. This past year of blogging has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined. To all of my readers, thank you so much for your supportive comments, words of wisdom, and endless inspiration. As others toast to me on this day, I toast to you.


I have a feeling this is going to be a birthday to remember!

(And yes, I do love talking about myself.)

If music be the food of love, play on

Just a little Shakespeare to start off this post!

Choosing our ceremony music (and actually, all of the wedding music in general) hasn't been an easy task. Josh and I are huge music lovers. This is one of those times where we feel a great need to get it *right* ("need" in the sense of how important it is to us, not in the sense of living up to anyone's standards). As far as the ceremony goes, we've come up with ideas for the pre-ceremony music, the wedding party entrance, and my entrance. All that leaves is our recessional which I think I'm going to keep a surprise. Although they may not comment, I know I have some wedding guests who read this blog :::waves hello::: and I'd like to keep some suspense!

As our guests are being seated we'd like to play a variety of Vitamin String Quartet songs. Please tell me you've heard of VSQ. From their YouTube channel: "The String Quartet Tribute is a series of string quartet tribute albums, released by Vitamin Records and performed by several different groups of musicians." I love how they are able to take random songs (they do it all, from Kanye to Coldplay) and transform them into something unexpectedly beautiful. To give you an idea of the music they produce and the style we're trying to achieve for the ceremony, here is the link to their rendition of Taylor Swift's "Love Story." (Overplayed? Yuh. But this version is just so pretty.) Apparently they don't allow video sharing from YouTube. LAME. What we'll probably do is tell our DJ our idea and let him have some fun with it.

The Bridal Party (I go between calling them Bridal Party and Wedding Party. Which is right?) will enter to a gorgeous song by Patti Griffin titled "Heavenly Day." I first heard Patti Griffin on an episode of Grey's Anatomy and I loved her voice so much I knew I had to hear more. That led me to listen to a 30 second clip of "Heavenly Day" on iTunes which led me to instantly know I had to use this song on my wedding day. I think it's the perfect song for the occasion. (And I'm in good company with that thought. Mrs. Cowboy Boot over on Weddingbee incorporated this song into her ceremony, too!)

And what song will *I* walk down the aisle to? Why, Michael Buble, "Crazy Love" of course! I'm usually not this cheesy, I swear (actually that's a lie...I'm often cheesy but I desperately want to be the cool kid). Michael doesn't want you to see this video on my blog (I bet he teamed up with VSQ...bastard) so here is the link to the video on YouTube. My advice is to do something in another tab and just listen to the song, not watch the video. I love his voice/music, but I cannot STAND his mannerisms.

As I said before, our recessional will remain a surprise (read: we haven't thought of anything yet). I'd love to do something super upbeat and dance my lil ass back up that aisle.

Tell me your music selections in the comments! Did you have any easy or hard time choosing your music?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The girls night to top all girls nights!

My Bachelorette Birthday Blowout is coming up in just a few short days! All of my best girls are coming into town for one big girls night out. Notice I didn't say one *last* girls night out because let's get serious, just because I'm getting married doesn't mean I plan to abandon my girls! I'm not really a "low-key" type person, so really wanted my girls to go all out (while not going into debt, of course). We're having dinner in Downtown Cleveland, then heading to a club to party/dance/drink the night away. I'm hoping a few bad decisions will be made. It's gonna be ridiculous.

One of the things I'm most excited about is my outfit. I either wanted a.) white (hello, when else can I wear white whenever the hell I want?), b.) super low cut (I've got a great rack), or c.) obnoxiously bright (could also be substituted for obnoxiously sparkly). My goal was to stand out. So without further ado, here is a rundown of my ensemble:

Dress: Victoria's Secret. Obviously I went with white :)

 It fits great and it's super chic. Do I care that I'm wearing a white dress in the middle of winter?

Accessories: Forever 21
I'm wearing the top earrings. I'm not sure if I'll ever wear the other two pair, but they were super cheap so I'm not going to worry about it.

The bracelet is a little loose, but that's fine. It's fabulous.

Technically this is a wallet, but it fits my phone, ID, and a lip gloss, which is really all I'll need. Oh crap...and my camera. Didn't think about that. Oh well, hopefully I'll have my camera in my hand all night taking pictures of the shenanigans.

Shoes: Nine West (via Marshalls!)

And the best part....

I love a good deal, yes I do. When I'm good and recovered (it might take a few days) I'll be back with a full report. My girls have worked so hard to put this party together and I can't WAIT to enjoy the hell out of their efforts.

What did you do/are you doing for your bachelorette party? Are you doing it up or keeping it low key?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Waste not!

Yesterday I talked about things you should know when looking for and booking a florist. Today I'd like to give you a few ideas to help you get the most out of your money and flowers.

Like I wrote yesterday, flowers are mother-effing expensive. If I had to guess, I'd say it's our third biggest expense after the reception and photographer. But I wanted quality and I knew our florist, Blooms by Plantscaping, would deliver. Because we're spending so much, I wanted to make sure that we didn't waste one single cent! Here are a few ways we're doing this:

1. Use a single type of flower for your and your bridesmaids bouquets and make sure those flowers are in season. Also, big flowers mean you need less stems. My bridesmaids are carrying hydrangeas so hopefully only a few stems will be needed. If the single-flower idea isn't your thing (which is totally fine), then at least make sure the flowers you want are in season. Peonies in February are going to cost you a pretty penny.

2. Figure out where you can re-use flowers. At the reception, the bridesmaid bouquets will also serve as the flowers for the head table. At the ceremony, our centerpieces will serve as aisle and "altar" decor (it's not really an altar, but that's the best way to describe it). This eliminates the need to pay for flowers for 2 separate spaces.

 (This is an example of a bouquet re-used on the table. You'd never know, right?)

3. Have you florist create a variety of centerpieces. Obviously, taller/larger centerpieces are going to be more expensive than shorter/smaller centerpieces. While brides often do half and half, to save even more money think about doing 2/3 small and 1/3 tall. A good florist will know how to set up the tables so it looks cohesive.

I hope these tips were helpful to some of you. And if not to you, then maybe pass them along to newly engaged friends :)

How are you getting the most bang for your buck?

**All photos in this post are from the Blooms website

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What to expect when you're...

...searching for a florist!! Haha...caught you off guard there for a sec, didn't I? No, I'm not pregnant (thank GOD).

My blog-friend Amy (from Little Miss Wedding Planner) and I have been corresponding a lot lately about flowers and other various wedding planning conundrums. She tweeted about what questions to ask when interviewing florists and I emailed her a comprehensive list of things to consider. She suggested I blog about it so that's exactly what I'm going to do! This is going to be a multi-part (probably 2) series so you don't get incredibly bored. The first part will consist of things to think about when budgeting and interviewing florists.   The 2nd part will consist of how to get the most out of your flowers.

1. I know this is probably "Duh" but figure out a budget. Understand that flowers are expensive. They are probably more expensive than you realize. Our florist, Blooms by Plantscaping, is one of the biggest florists in the area. They provide flowers for all of the major corporations around Cleveland. Needless to say, they know what the heck they're doing. However, because of their popularity and talent, they are able to change a pretty penny for their services. We decided to work with them despite their prices. Their proposal was AMAZING. I knew they would be able to execute our vision perfectly. So if we had to cut back in a few areas to fit them in our budget, we were willing to do that. 

2. There are more flowers to consider than just bridesmaid bouquets, your bouquet, the groomsmen/groom boutonniere's, and the centerpieces. The things I just mentioned get a lot of attention, so here is a list of other places your florist might suggest you have flowers:
   -Ceremony, both altar and aisle. This also gets a lot of attention, but not all brides really think about it.
   -Cocktail hour tables
   -Guestbook table
   -Family flowers. This includes mothers, fathers, grandparents, ushers (not necessarily family, I know),           flower girl(s), ring bearer(s).
   -Cake flowers. Sometimes the baker will take care of this, other times your florist is responsible for it.
   -Food tables at cocktail hour.

3. Make sure you're aware of all "extras" involved. This could include delivery/set-up/tear-down fees and tax. Also, decide if you want to tip your florist, and if so, how much. To give you an example, our delivery/set-up/tear-down fee is a flat fee of $450.

4. Don't be afraid to cut things out. Our florist gave us an extremely detailed proposal. It broke down the price for each and every item, something I really appreciated and pushed them to the top of our list. But when I saw what some of the items cost, I freaked out a bit. Then I realized that I didn't need x, y & z, so I deleted them! You do not need everything your florist suggests. Please read that sentence one more time. And don't be afraid to negotiate! I already wrote a post about this which you can read here.

Coming up next, getting the most out of your flowers!

What are your tips for all-things floral?

**All photos in this post are from the Blooms website.


Take a look at that picture up there. Let's dissect it real quick:

-It's a countdown
-It's counting down the "Days Until Our Wedding"
-There are 100 days left

I think that last line bears repeating, this time with a little more "oomph":


Felt good to get that out.

Girls, while much has been done there is still much MORE to be done. Decisions to be made, logistics to organize, and uh...invitations to assemble!! I know the blog has been kind of dormant for the past week-ish, but I really hope to change that from now until the wedding. I need to get my ass back on the wagon!! 

So for the girls at 100 days or less: what are the TOP things I need to concern myself with right now?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Because I have nothing else to blog about apparently...

Miss Pug is giving away a Name Change kit! Seriously, go enter to win this. It will make changing your name SO much easier. So go enter!!

In other news, I probably have tons of stuff to blog about, but I just have to organize my thoughts about all of it right now. Not an easy task. Hopefully regular posting will resume within the next day or so!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Didya hear??

Laura over at Lucky in Love is hosting a giveaway! You could win a $25 gift card from So head on over to her blog and ch-ch-check it out!

Let's face it

We're taking a break from invitation-mania for a bit. We have a few designs that we're trying to choose between and hopefully I'll have the final design chosen by this week!! But for now...

Girlfriends, let's talk face. Miss Rainbow is doing a series of posts on Weddingbee right now about skin care and make up (her latest is on contouring). Head on over there for some FAB tutorials.

I want to talk about the products that I'm currently using (with great success!) to help me stay grease and blemish-free, especially in these months leading up to the wedding. It's taken me a lot of trial and error, but I finally feel like I've found items that really work for me.

Let me preface this by saying I have pretty normal skin. It's not super dry, it's not super oily (although my T-zone does get oily at times) and I only experience occasional breakouts (a pimple here and there). I cannot say what these products will do for other skin types, but since I've started using them religiously, I haven't had any major break outs.

Body Wash: Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash

I am literally OB.SESSED. with this stuff. It has completely changed my skin. If I run out of it and can't get to the store for a few days to pick up more and use any old body wash I might have, I can almost immediately tell a difference. I have a tendency to get a bit...bumpy on my chest, back, and the back of my arms. This clears it all up! I really can't say enough good things. It's a little pricey, and I go through a bottle fairly quickly, but for me it's totally worth the investment.

Cleanser: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser


It doesn't get super foamy, but it does the trick. It also doesn't dry out my skin, thankfully.

Exfoliator: St. Ives Naturally Clear Blemish and Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub

I LOVE this. I don't just use it on my face, but also my chest and the back of my arms. This product is an absolute staple in my shower. I don't use it every time I shower, but probably ever other day-ish.

Make up remover: Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes 

Do not walk, RUN to your nearest CVS/Rite Aid/Wherever and buy these. I'll wait. Back? Great. These will change your life. I'm not kidding. Don't feel like washing your face after a long night out? No worries, just swipe this over your face and you're good to go. Honestly, I should buy stock in this product because I love it so much. I've tried so many other "cleansing towelettes" and none of them compare. These are the only ones that do not irritate my eyes. I've vigorously rubbed them on my eyes and they are just so gentle. But they remove make up like a dream. Josh even put them in my stocking for Christmas one year. That's when I knew he was The One. Please, go buy them.

Moisturizer: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion, SPF 15

Before I get to this product, I should explain that I have pretty sensitive eyes when it comes to putting stuff on or around them. I don't use this on my eyes because it gets in them and burns. I also have some dry skin on one of my eyes (it's very strange) so I use a really creamy, super moisturizing lotion for my eyes. Basically whatever I have on hand that I would put on the rest of my body. Ok, now that we have that out of the way, I can tell you that I have a love/hate relationship with this moisturizer. I love it because it does the trick and keeps my skin clear, but sometimes it freakin' burns! I'm pretty sure that means it's working, so I don't worry about it too much.

That's it! It seems like a lot, but it's so worth it. Vanity runs in my blood, you see, so it's important for me to look my very best. Also, notice that everything I use can be found at the grocery store or drug store. You don't need fancy-shmancy department store stuff. Actually, I may just be saying that because I can't afford fancy-shmancy.

What are your favorite skin care products? Share them in the comments!