Sunday, March 29, 2009

Snowy Sunday

Chicago tribune photoChicago Tribune photo

Blech. Will spring ever come? It was a good weekend, though, to stay in and line some envelopes:

Don't ask me why the envelopes and cards are orange and green. I love them-- they're from Erin Condren, but we don't really have a color scheme going and highly unlikely it will include orange and green, so I don't know where those two came from. Anyhow, I used Martha Stewart scrapbook paper for the lining, which matched perfectly.

Two things to note in the picture above (three, if you count the banana that needs to get thrown out. Gross.) : my new Fiskars paper trimmer and Orla Kiely tote (with blue flowers) . This afternoon the fiance picked up both of those things for me (plus some other crafting tools) as a surprise while he was at Target. I've said before my fiance rocks, and I really mean it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DI While I still give a care

There's about four and a half months until the big day, and since we've knocked most of the big stuff off the to-do list, I'm feeling a bit weird about having time on my hands.  I have a short list of DIY projects that I want to do, but I'm a little nervous about doing them so far ahead of time because I'm afraid I'll change my mind about what I've done and I'll probably find myself the night before the wedding throwing penny candy into Ziplocs and calling it an OOT bag.

Oh, and there's also the matter of me being not-so-great at crafting.  I could spend hours at Paper Source or online admiring the handiwork of genuinely talented people.  I have good intentions.  I even have equipment!  I bought a Xyron on eBay and I own a bone folder!  

But what usually happens is that I'll start a project, then I'll get distracted by work...or maybe Make Me a Supermodel is on.  Or else I'll get in way over my head, like I did for my sister's wedding a few years ago (Oh what?  You need me to bake, ice, bag and label 250 personalized cookies for your reception?  No problem.).

I guess the card box I just bought isn't going to decorate itself, so I should get on it. Right after 30 Rock.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Engagement-versary

Before we moved in together last May, my fiance and I dated long-distance for almost three years. Our every-other-week commute (we took turns):
According to American Airlines, the flight between O'Hare and LAX (or SNA; we switched between the airports depending on the fare) is approximately four hours and 29 minutes. Factor in (for me) a 45-60 minute Blue Line ride to O'Hare on a Friday afternoon, and for my fiance, about the same amount of time racing up (or down) the 405 to get to the airport, plus parking the car and shuttle ride to the terminal. Add to that the less-than-stellar on-time rate for airlines, particularly for Friday night flights. And should there be any inclement weather, all bets were off.

The fiance had to go back to Southern California this week for a work trip. As soon as he landed, he sent me a text message: "How the f did we do this for all those years?"

I don't know how, but I know why. I know why we appreciate being able to have dinner together any night of the week now-- not just on Saturdays, or the fact that Sundays are no longer abbreviated by a return trip to the airport.

I know exactly why we made those mad dashes to the airport, suffered in middle seats next to a crying baby/someone who really needed two seats/in front of a seat-kicker, delayed/diverted flights and compressed weekends where we fit two weeks of togetherness into about 40 hours.

That's devotion, baby.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thank you very much!

Once I had registering on my mind, I also started thinking about thank you notes. Since we haven't settled on an invitation design yet, I didn't have to much to go on but knew I wanted the thank you notes to reflect the Chicago theme of the wedding.

The inspiration for the thank you notes was this vintage Chicago postcard:

I did a little Photoshopping and made them into this (excuse the poor photo quality...this is a new camera and clearly I need to read the manual):

They're printed on a thick linen paper, and overall I think turned out pretty well for about $1 per card from Vista Print. The one downer, which I didn't know about until I got the cards back, that it was printed on the back side:

I may cover that up with a monogram sticker. I also need to line the plain white envelopes, and think this may be the perfect opportunity to use up random Chicago maps I've amassed over the years.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bride guilt and stuff

About registering...I'm not sure how grooms-to-be tend to approach this. The scant few of my married male friends who I've heard even mention it just said they loved the registry gun, but that's about all they had to say on the subject.

My fiance and I are in our mid-30s. We've have lots of stuff. In fact when we moved in together last year, we both got rid of lots of stuff. Nevertheless our Chicago condo, originally purchased to house just me and my stuff, is rapidly reaching maximum capacity. So there's a space issue.

On the other hand, it would be nice to have some new stuff. Or supplemental stuff. Or the kind of stuff I will see in a store (eg a KitchenAid Stand Mixer) , but am too practical to buy for myself.

The fiance is bothered by the very idea of registering and the suggestion that You Must Buy Us These Gifts on This List. I agree to a certain extent, and we even talked about going down the "Your presence is our present" route (but were talked out of it by people who told us that despite that our wishes, we were going to get gifts anyway-- and not ones we would ever even think of putting on a registry).

It's petty, I know, but for more than 14 years now I've been to, hosted and bought presents for more showers (baby and bridal), engagement parties and weddings than I can remember, and so a stubborn part of me thinks it's my turn now.

And that's when my bride guilt kicks in. I am grateful every day that I'm gainfully employed in these tough economic times, and that I have so many blessings to count-- including my health, family and friends. And I would not be the least offended if someone attending our wedding didn't get us a gift, especially the out-of-towners, because they are spending money to travel. Blech. Who knew the gifty part of things could be this hard?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I've been trolling etsy again...this time for Chicago-related stuff, since the city is a theme. Etsy has not disappointed! Check out what I've found:

Maybe these Retro Cubs note pads for out-of-town bags?
I'm a long-time CTA rider, so maybe these CTA map buttons?

Not sure out-of-towners would get this one, but I do love these Chicago flag bowls:

City skyline, of course:
OK this one is a bit of a stretch, but the fiance loves Abe Lincoln:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Love this response on Sara's blog to a recent David's Bridal press release about its store opening in NYC. Having written my own fair share of press releases a million jobs ago, I recognize it's generally just not a great one, but the sentence I do take issue with is: "Amidst troubling economic times, a wedding is still the most important day in a couple's life. " Really? The most important day? The most planned out one, maybe. Or maybe the most unforgettable (and I'm just saying that because I feel like I've emblazoned "8-15-09" on a million labels, envelopes, etc. lately. It's quite possible that in 40 years our anniversary date may or may not slip my aging mind :).

I'm also a bit bothered by the suggestion that--tanking economy be damned!--you should not skimp on wedding costs. That's totally a personal choice. My fiance and I are practical people. Even if the economy was in better shape, I'm pretty sure I would still have bought my dress on sale, and still wouldn't have considered venues I know are $200+ per person. And why? Primarily because I guess I just don't believe that one day out of our many to come together is going to be the most important.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quotes for inspiration

I love the power of a good quote. I was reminded of this when I saw this Maya Angelou quote on A $10,000 Wedding. We are having a non-denominational ceremony. It's doubtful we'll even be doing readings, but I'm thinking quotes will play a role somehow, whether on the back of our invitation, a program, table tents or somewhere. I'm starting to collect them now, starting with this one:
"At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together."--Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Friday, March 6, 2009

No-Chip Manicure II: the results are in

It was exactly three weeks ago yesterday that I got my first No-Chip Manicure. I am very pleased to say that, true to its promise, my manicure did not chip or split once! By the end, my perpetually ragged cuticles were just about at their usual state, but the nails still looked pretty good. There were some tiny cracks, but I also think that next time I get one I will hang around under the dryer a little bit longer. What was nice, too, was that I actually didn't have to use the remover they gave me at the salon-- I easily peeled the polish off each nail. So there you have it; I officially endorse the No-Chip Manicure!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vendor feast or famine

We've gotten most of the big wedding stuff out of the way already, so I've moved on to invitations, flowers, hair and makeup, etc.. I only contact a potential vendor after I've done at least 40 hours of exhaustive research. OK, that may be an exaggeration, but if you name a wedding blog or publication, betcha I've read it in the last few weeks.

Anyhow, it's been feast or famine with the vendors for me. This may not be the best approach, but what I've been doing is contacting (or trying to) my top vendor choice. When I don't back from him or her in two or days or more, I move on. So of course what's been happening is I'm now hearing back vendors I tried earlier. Or I'll have a great conversation with a potential vendor and then they'll drop off the face of the earth for a week or so, and I'm already talking to someone else.

None of this would be a problem if I was better about saying "I'm sorry I'm now working with someone else." (Oh and by the way, you snooze, you lose!) 99% of the time I return a vendor's phone call or email within 24 it too much to expect the same?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Poster love

I just love the idea of poster-as-invitation:

so I was very excited to find invitation posters (and save-the-dates and other items) in Unless Someone Like You's etsy shop. And even better that the talented designer, Leslie Hamer, is practically in my own back yard. This is one of my favorites:

And now, thanks to Leslie, I have my own version with the Chicago skyline (our names and dates are hiding)!

The design will probably be showing up on our photo stamps, guest book and goodness knows where else.