Monday, November 3, 2014

IT'S WEDDING WEEK!!

After 14 loooong months of crazy bride planning, the wedding week is here!!  I have just a few things left to cross off of my dwindling list (thank the Lord) and after that, all I have to do is sit back and let my meticulously planned schedule do its thing while I marry the love of my life-- it sounds so nice and easy and SO SO WORTH IT when I think of it like that!  

My parents flew in on Saturday afternoon and we met up with them at their hotel to plan our attack for the evening.  We ventured out in the crazy windy rain to BJs to stock up on the items for the out-of-town gift bags, then went for a much-needed relaxing dinner and a few drinks before heading home for the night.  We were all up bright and early yesterday morning, only to be greeted by SNOW.  Seriously-- the weather was insane and I was so glad that we opted for a November 8th wedding instead of November 1st!  My mom and I ventured out to wrap up a few last minute details and hit the grocery store, then came back to our apartment to watch football with the boys.  

I dragged out all of my wedding stuff to show my mom everything since she really hasn't seen all that much of the final product for my DIY projects and such, and we got it organized and sorted into big containers for the rehearsal dinner/cocktail hour/reception so we can drop them off on Wednesday.  While I wrapped that up while enjoying a lovely glass of wine, my mom made Italian Wedding Soup.  It was the perfect way to kick off our wedding week-- at home with my favorite people!

Now all I have left to do is pick-up our bands from the jeweler, pick-up our marriage license, and pack for the honeymoon!  Also, after literally months of debate, we finally chose our first dance song.  I never thought it would be an issue, but Brian and I are very different when it comes to music-- I listen to the lyrics and he listens to the tune.  So all of the sentimental songs that I liked he didn't, and vice versa.  We finally agreed but good grief, it about did me in getting there.

What did you choose for your first dance song?  Was it a song you'd always known you would pick, or did you compromise?


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: What the eff is with these dreams?

On Monday night I dreamed that all of my teeth fell out.  Not like one or two wiggly teeth-- no, all of my teeth just up and crumbled out of my mouth.  So there's that.

Last night I dreamed that I was back home in Texas and when I opened up the back door to my dad's truck, bags and bags of chips started pouring out.  All of my favorites were there-- Fritos Scoops, blue tortilla chips from Trader Joe's, Cheetos, the thin homemade chips from my favorite taqueria (what can I say?  I love a good chip).  I'm going to mark this one up to not having a single chip for the past month.  And it's not like I eat chips on the daily, but I guess when you miss something that you really enjoy, you miss it mind, body and spirit.

One night last week I dreamed a dream that I actually remembered having had before.  I was at the church (only it was the church I grew up in, not the church we'll be married in) and I could see everyone seated inside.  My hair and makeup weren't done and I was in pajamas and everyone kept telling me that I couldn't go inside the church and that I only had twenty minutes to get ready.  So I ran around crazy, trying to run through doors but the doors kept leading to nowhere.  I threw some makeup on, put my hair in a done-bun, and put on my wedding dress (but not really my wedding dress-- my dress trumped my dream dress).  And then I woke up.

Kindly do not analyze my dreams-- I am 17 days away from walking down the aisle and do not need to hear "Well those doors leading to nowhere mean that your marriage is DOOMED!" so just send over a note if this brand of crazy visits you on the regular too.

On the bright side, I've hit the downhill slope of planning.  This is my remaining list:

Final dress fitting (tomorrow) 
Hair/makeup trials (next Wednesday and Friday) 
Print ceremony programs and menus (tomorrow)
Package favors once delivered (Wednesday before the wedding)
Welcome Bags (putting together with my parents when they fly in next weekend)
Finalizing entrance songs and play/do not play with the DJ
Finalizing must-take photo list with photographer 
Seating arrangements (sweet Jesus, this one is a gigantic pain in my ass)
Wrap bridal party and attendant gifts
Finalize day-of itinerary for everyone
Pack for the HONEYMOON!

Reading that makes me feel a bit better-- it's all stuff that we're finalizing in the next couple of days, which is good!  I've definitely hit the point of just wanting the planning done, the day to be here, and to be MARRIED.  Oh yes, and to spend a week on the beach in Mexico, please.  Off to run more wedding errands on my lunch break, in a downpour no less.  At least it's Wednesday!

Friday, October 17, 2014

five on friday!

one. pure barre
Tomorrow morning will mark two weeks of me attending Pure Barre and I can honestly say that I'm completely addicted.  It's the first time I've ever really worked out in any way beside from cardio/weights and it just FEELS good.  After all of the running I've done in the past few years, my left hip and my left knee have been killing me and trust me-- there's nothing that makes an almost-30 year old feel REAL old than having achy hips and knees.  I don't know if it's the deep stretching, or just the stretching every day, or the 55 minutes of non-impact constant movement, but I feel better than I have in a long time.  

I was previously working out consistently with the wedding coming up fast, but I was burning out on the same old daily routine.  I've been 5-6 times both last week and this week and it's become my "me time."  This is big.  If you know me, my "me time" used to be me wandering the aisles of Target with Starbucks in my hand.  Now, if I'm feeling tired or not 100% wanting to get there, I tell myself that I mentally need class and get myself there.  The best part about it, aside from all of the LTBing, is that the class is intense enough where you have to focus on your movements from start to finish, so you really can just forget everything else on your mind for that hour.  It's saved my sanity these last couple of weeks!

two. christmas cheer
I'm all about enjoying each holiday to the fullest before moving on to the next (I'm looking at you, Target, with your Christmas lights and wreaths currently bordering the aisle with candy corn and Halloween costumes), but I stopped into HomeGoods on my lunch break yesterday and absolutely HAD to take this sign home with me!  Elf is one of my favorite movies ever, and I can't help but smile every time that I peek at it in our apartment.  Check your HomeGoods but I also found the sign on this website... which I will be scouring later this morning.  The Jolly Christmas Shop?  Sign me up!

three. wedding hair and makeup
I have a general idea of how I would like for my wedding hair and makeup to look, but after lots of searching and Pinning, I keep coming back to the lovely Duchess Kate.  The woman is flawless and just always looks so classic and elegant yet young and not too fussy.  I'm wondering if I can just take these pictures to my salon and say "Make me the Duchess, please." 
 


four. singin' in the store
This makes me laugh every time I read it.  There are more and more trips to the store these days, may it be the grocery store, Target, or the mall, where I find myself singing along (to myself, promise) and thinking "They are spot. on. with this music today!"  It's so true though-- it's music I love because it always seems to be from my high school days... TEN years ago.
 

five. CARBS
I've cut out carbs, dairy and sugar these last few weeks leading up to The Big Day and while it's gone pretty smoothly, I am definitely finding myself craving pasta, pizza, potatoes... ya know, the good stuff.  This Browned Butter Alfredo Pasta would do just fine to satisfy my carb cravings.  Oh yes, this will do.



Have a happy Friday, lovelies!  I have a busy weekend of finalizing wedding details and my second dress fitting tomorrow morning, then a good ol' date night at home tomorrow night.  Sounds like a good one to me-- enjoy yours as well!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ONE MONTH!!

I'm getting married one month from today!!  I think that I have finally hit the point of being undeniably excited and READY, so stinking ready.  For so much of the engagement, I've been stressed and consumed by the planning since I did it all completely on my own, but now that we're down to the little things (getting all of the finalized signage, menus, programs, etc. printed off, putting together out of town bags, having my hair and makeup trials), I feel like I can finally relax and just enjoy and soak up every minute of this last month of being engaged.

It sounds kind of silly, but I'm feeling a little bit sentimental about not being engaged anymore.  I feel like the last 13 months have positively flown by-- wasn't I just buying my first wedding magazine and folding down pages of ideas for my dream wedding?  Weren't we just looking at venues and making my list of things to do (which has exponentially grown-- my brother recently saw it and said it gave him anxiety just looking at it)?  When we first got engaged, so many people told me to just relax and enjoy it because we'll be married before we know it.  This, I have to admit, is true.  I was a girlfriend for 7 years, and I'll be a wife forever, but I was a fiancee for such a short time, and it was fun while it lasted.  In retrospect, I think that the generally short period of time to be a fiancee is limited because it is bound to drive you batshit crazy, either from planning or from sheer anticipation of getting to marry your best friend.

In case you're wondering, I'm borderline crazy from both.

With my mom being so far away in Texas, I just kind of shouldered the responsibility of planning and ran with it.  At times, it was a lot, almost too much.  We certainly have had wonderful support from both sides of our families, but when it came time to make a decision, the simple act of choosing a font could send me into tears.  I would debate for DAYS over what looked best, and I would have these thoughts that made this color versus that seem like an end of the world decision.  It was obnoxious and intense and there were times when Brian would ask me "Are you sure things will go back to normal after the wedding?  Because I like non-wedding planning Katie a lot more..."  Agree, my dear.  I like her better, too.

So while I know the next four weeks are going to fly by, I also want to remember them and treasure them and really focus on our relationship and how big what we're about to do is.  I think that I've let that slide a little bit here and there, focusing too much on the wedding instead of the marriage.  The wedding is one day but that marriage is forever, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be embarking on this journey with the love of my life, and I want to remember that and I want him to know that.

What advice would you give to someone the month before their wedding? 
What did you most look forward to once you hit the final countdown?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

my favorite season.... and dress drama.


There is just something about the calendar changing over to October 1st that always makes me so happy.  It's the month that kicks off my favorite three months of the year, and it never grows old-- I still get excited when I start to see Halloween decorations at Target and front porches decorated with pumpkins.  And, I can't forget to mention, that I look way better in fall/winter clothes than I do spring/summer.  My pale skin was made for jewel tones, not sundresses, and my hair thrives in the cool, autumn air (I kid you not, it's like I have a new head of hair these last few days).  

The change of seasons in New England certainly played a large part in my motivation to move here from Texas, and I try to soak up every little bit.  The cool weather, changing colors of the leaves, that crisp bite in the air... I love it.

This October is undoubtedly going to fly by because... I'm getting married in 37 days.  THIRTY-SEVEN DAYS!!  I don't know how on earth that happened, how I'm already in the thirties for my countdown, but it's happening.  I posted an obnoxious list several months ago and I've honestly been too busy checking things off to keep anyone updated on its progress.  I can safely say that all of the big things are done, and I'm checking off the little minutiae that are left, like table assignments that can't be completed until we get our RSVPs in, ordering our favors, etc.

There was an enormous snafu with my wedding dress that I feel like I should share.  My dear friend Caitlin and I made the hour-long drive to the bridal salon the first Saturday in September.  I had my shoes, my jewelry... everything they had told me to bring for my first fitting.  We were taken back to a fitting room and I was told to go in, get into the dress, and the seamstress would start her thing.  WELL.  I pulled the dress on, had a flouncy moment with myself (and may have twirled a bit), and then I went to hold the back together to try to zip.  Um... there was no zipping.  There was no zipping because the left side of the zipper was by one shoulder blade and the right side was by the other shoulder blade, a good six inches in between.  I started to panic a bit (ok, a lot) and opened the curtain for Caitlin to come in and assess the situation.  When we ordered my dress I ordered one size down from my measurements and had lost enough weight and toned up enough to easily fit into the size that I ordered, so when I couldn't zip the dress my first thought was of course "Oh my God, I'm too fat to fit into my dress!"... which is exactly what every bride wants to think when she puts on her dress for the first time.

SO, the seamstress comes in, starts trying to pull the sides together as I tell her  that my ribs are there and there is no way the dress will close.  I knew things were bad when she sprinted out of the room to find the owner, who came in super calm (honestly, a little too calm for my panicked state) and said "Well, let's see here."  She looked at the tag on my hanger (which was correct), the tag on the dress (which was the size I had ordered), and then got out her measuring tape.  She measured the waist of the dress, and hurried out of the room "to make a quick phone call."

Apparently, the manufacturer of my dress had stitched the right tag... onto the wrong dress.  The dress was half the size that I had ordered for myself.  PERFECT, right?  The owner said that there was nothing to worry about, all would be fine, blah blah, but all that I could think was "My wedding is two months away.  You told me coming in early September would be plenty of time.  I now basically don't have a dress."  Over the next few days, and a lot of rage from both me and my mom, the owner determined that they could either offer me the sample dress from the salon at a discount (no thanks) or a dress in a color that I didn't want (again, no thanks).  If I opted out of both of those options, then they would have to order a new dress and wait a month to have it shipped to me.  So that's where I am today.  My dress is on its way to the salon, and I have to fit multiple 2-hour roundtrip drives in this month for fittings.  At this point, I just want my dress.  They offered to cover my alterations, which I'm going to take them up on, but it just put a bad taste in my mouth overall.  What really gets me is my dress came in to them in APRIL.  It sat in their salon for 5 months and they never noticed that the size didn't match the actual dress.  Shouldn't that be someone's job, to check those things?

So in the next few days I'm off to Southborough for Fitting 1, Take 2.  Aside from that, things are just peachy, thank the Lord.  I just want everything done so we can relax and enjoy this last month of being engaged, because I have a feeling it's going to fly by.

Ladies, for anyone out there who's been through the wedding dress fittings, how many alterations were required?  They initially told me I'd need four appointments, plus the pick-up date, and with the 2-hour round trip, that's too much for me this last month before the big day.  I know it differs based on the dress, but having an idea of what you girls have experienced would be so helpful!



Monday, August 25, 2014

weekend rewind.

We had a very relaxing weekend which was SO needed.  Brian's oldest sister was in town with her little ones for the past two weeks, so we were there all of the last two weekends, plus most weeknights after work (they live in Baltimore so we had to soak up as much nephew and niece time as possible!).  Once it hit Wednesday of last week, we made a joint decision to do absolutely nothing that we didn't want to do come Friday at 5pm... and that's exactly what we did.

Considering that I live two minutes from my office, I'm always home before Brian and have made it my little Friday routine to come home and do a quick once-over of straightening up the apartment.  With it being only one bedroom and one bathroom, it takes all of one hour from top to bottom to clean, and then I shower, open a bottle of wine, and catch up on the DVR until Brian walks in the door.  It's honestly therapeutic to have that "me time" and I love going into the weekend with a clean apartment.  We both decided we were too tired to cook anything, so it was takeout won ton soup and spring rolls for the win!

Saturday morning I woke up and headed to the gym and then out to Target and Trader Joe's, per usual.  Call me crazy, but it's this time of year when I (sort of) wish that I could be going back to school again-- how can you not after seeing aisle after aisle of fresh paper, pens, Crayola everything everywhere?  And I kind of love seeing kids pick out their new school supplies with their parents, mainly because I can remember digging through stack after stack of spiral notebooks until I found JUST the right color that I absolutely had to have.  Full disclosure, I do indulge in a new planner and colored pens every September-- who wouldn't?! 


After stocking up for the week, I headed home only to be greeted by delish homemade breakfast sandwiches made courtesy of the fiance-- I'm willing to cook during the week if he sticks with breakfast on the weekends!  We had an appointment at 11am to finalize our limo for the wedding party, so we were off and running out the door pretty quickly.  I've been emailing with the owner of the company for months now and just couldn't find time to get by to see the vehicle, which I definitely wanted to do prior to putting down a deposit.  It turned out to be absolutely perfect, and we put our names down and checked that off of our list!  

I had REALLY wanted a trolley for the wedding party transportation, but after lots of debate and considering the fact that it might look a little more fitting for a spring/summer/early fall wedding versus a November wedding when there could potentially be snow (hey, it's November 8th in New England-- I'm mentally preparing for all weather extremes), I agreed to entertain Brian's suggestions and look at a larger SUV limo.  We've both been in weddings where things were a bit too cramped inside once you have everyone decked out in wedding duds, but I don't think that will be an issue with this baby: 


It's super roomy inside, and there's even a designated seat for the bride.  I mean, yes please!

Once that was all set, I dropped Brian back at the apartment and decided to check out HomeGoods for any wedding-related additions for the rehearsal dinner or cocktail hour.  While I unfortunately did not find anything worth justifying (I've had to learn to stop saying "How could we use this?" and instead only buy when I KNOW how I can use it), I did find a new mode of transportation for me to enter the wedding reception:


I texted my dad to inform him that he would no longer be walking me down the aisle, but rather pushing me as I rode in on Ella the Elephant.  How insane is that thing?  For a mere $1400, Ella can be yours!  And if you have a room large enough to comfortably house that thing, let me know because I'm moving in.

The next couple of weeks are crazy, so we decided we owed ourselves a Saturday night date night out on the town.  I poured myself a glass of chard and sat down to watch Carrie and Big while putting my makeup on.  He went all the way to Paris to kick some Russian ass, and she was the one.  I always always stop to watch this episode when it airs!


It was one of those nights when I felt like a million bucks-- my hair was working with me, the makeup was spot-on, and I wore a top that I haven't worn in months (thanks, wedding diet!).  Brian's not one for selfies, but I did manage to snag this on our way out the door-- 


Love him!  

We went to a cute little Italian restaurant which we'd never been to before and all in all it was pretty good, but we weren't blown away which stinks-- always on the lookout for good new restaurants.  Brian had some kind of asparagus ravioli with scallops and I went for a major indulgence with pasta bolognese.  I'd show you a picture, but I only snapped one of the drinks and it was super dark in the room.


Sunday morning I was off to the gym and the grocery store, only to return home for the second day in a row to breakfast!  Homemade waffles and blueberry syrup-- I think he's a keeper!  


We went out to see a couple of open houses (blah) and I spent the rest of the afternoon writing out thank you notes and prepping meals for the week.  We ate a super late dinner while watching the VMAs and I can only say that you know you're getting old when you don't recognize a good amount of the performers or artists nominated.  I'm pretty sure I'm with the rest of America in saying that while Beyonce absolutely blew us away with that epic performance (and encouraged me to amp-up my squats on leg days!), Blue Ivy stole the show!  She danced in her daddy's lap and knew the words and I honest to goodness got completely teary when Jay Z and Blue Ivy came up on stage because the look on Beyonce's face was one of absolute happiness and love.  


Seriously-- shut the front door with that cuteness.  Can't blame the sweet girl-- with that mama and daddy, she's born to be a natural entertainer!

Well, back to the Monday grind.  I hope you had a fantastic weekend as well!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Heavy on my heart.

Most mornings on my drive to work, I call my mom for a quick chat.  Sometimes it's lengthy, sometimes it's brief, but regardless of the length of our conversation, it's always nice to start my morning having talked with one of my favorite people.

This morning was no different-- I dropped Brian at the train and as I pulled out of the T parking lot, I dialed her up.  We had our regular small talk about what we did the evening before, how could it only be Tuesday morning, how busy work has been, etc.  And then she mentioned her friend, Lorenzo.  


My mom works with veterans in a hospital setting and her place of employment also aims to provide jobs for veterans, which is wonderful in my eyes.  To know my mom is to understand that she is one of the most kindhearted and warm people that you will ever meet.  She truly has a heart of gold and will go out of her way to do just about anything for anyone.  She doesn't hold grudges and is big on forgiveness, and if someone asks my mom to say a prayer for them, you can absolutely bet that she's going to do just that.  I've heard many of her work stories over the year, and I've gathered that working in the environment that she does can be challenging-- unless you've been to war, there's no way that you could ever comprehend what veterans have experienced, and often times employees choose to not take a personal interest in the patients of the hospital, versus just getting their job done.  Unfortunately there aren't enough people like my mom because she's the one who the patients seek out, knowing that my mom will take the time to listen to their stories, to give them a tissue through their tears, to offer comforting words and assurance that she will do absolutely everything that she can to find a solution to their problem while getting her job done.

Which brings me back to Lorenzo.  Lorenzo is a veteran, and a wonderfully nice man.  I've met him several times when going to visit my mom at work when I'm home, and he is so kind and takes a genuine interest in whatever you're saying-- the last time that I saw him was right after Brian and I got engaged and I stopped by to see my mom's coworkers.  My mom told him the news and he gave me the biggest hug then hugged my mom and said "Mrs. Janice, I know you are so happy and blessed with this pretty girl and her lucky man" and it could honestly make me cry right now just thinking about it again-- he hardly knows me personally and was so genuinely happy for me.  I know that he has struggled with various issues over the years, both mentally and physically, but he has maintained his job at the hospital and seemed to be doing okay.  He has the most positive and happy disposition, but from what I've gathered he really doesn't have much support in his life-- no family to speak off, no wife and no children.  So my mom has kind of stepped in and filled that little missing piece for him where she can.

Lorenzo walks to and from work every day, and when it's too hot or freezing cold, my mom insists on driving him home.  His house is only a few blocks from the hospital, but, just the same as me, my mom can't stand to see anyone struggle or suffer, and he knows that Mrs. Janice is relentless (also like me), so on occasion he'll graciously accept the offer.  She always makes sure to remember his birthday and brings him a little something at Christmas that he can use.  My mom does this out of the goodness of her heart, and he knows that and is so beyond thankful to be remembered.

Recently, Lorenzo has been struggling a little bit and he missed a few days of work over the last couple of weeks.  Due to the missed days, his pay was cut short, and things are very tight for him.  My mom knows him well enough to know when something is wrong, and when she asked him yesterday if everything was okay, he confided in her that he's had to pay all of his bills but that he hasn't had much to eat the last few days.  She immediately told him that she would like to help him, but his pride is far too great for that, and he politely declined and just asked her to pray for him.  She promised him that she would, and she did.  

Again, to know my mama is to know that if she can do more than pray, then she's going to.  When she walked through the door after work, she had barely put her purse down before telling my dad that she needed to put a care package together for her friend.  My dad has certainly heard of Lorenzo over the years and told my mom to absolutely go ahead and round up what she needed.  So my mom went through their cabinets and refrigerator and filled two boxes of food for him, recruited my brother to accompany her, and off they drove, my mom still in her work clothes and my brother unaware that even at 25 he was still eligible for Teachable Moments from Mama.

They pulled up to Lorenzo's house and rang his doorbell, each holding a box of food.  My brother told me this morning that when Lorenzo opened the door, he broke down in tears and thanked them over and over and over again.  My mom walked in and put the boxes down, hugged him, and told him that she knew that he would do it for someone else in that situation, and that he was to think nothing of it, and that's what friends are for.  

As my mom told me all of this as I drove to work, I was fighting back an ugly cry.  

I was overwhelmed at the generosity of my mom, of hearing her say so matter-of-factly "I helped him because it's what you do for someone in need.  I know that he would do it for someone else if he could.  And I would do it for anyone else out there."

I was sad for Lorenzo to be struggling after an already challenging life.

I was embarrassed at myself for being annoyed that I might not have time to buy a coffee. 

I was helpless thinking of how many other people are out there in the same position who we just don't hear about.

And so my heart feels a little heavy this morning.  My mom asked me to pray for Lorenzo, and every time I think of him I send up a few words, but I wish that there were more than can be done.  I know that there are people out there who are so very much worse off than our friend, people who don't have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, a stable job to go to every day.  But for some reason knowing that Lorenzo has these things and is still struggling to get by, to know that a good, honest, hardworking man who has already been through so much in his life now has to worry about where his meals will come from...  that's what hurts my heart

If you think about it and it's your thing, maybe send up a prayer for Lorenzo.  If praying isn't your thing, maybe a few words of encouragement could help.  My mom assured me that he's going to be okay and that he has a wonderful support system in his manager and team at work, and I believe that, especially with my mom on his side.