Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And now, take a seat

Hello!  I hope everyone is warm and safe!!!  Hurricane Sandy sailed above North Carolina for the most part, although there was one ship caught in the storm in the Outer Banks.  So far 14 sailors have been found alive, 1 was found dead and the ship's captain is still missing.  So sad!

I've been juggling a few new things-working in the emergency department, interviews and, as always, wedding planning!  The Save the Dates are in but I'm waiting on my fiancé *ahem* so I can get the labels printed and the save the dates in the mail.  Invitations should go much smoother-after they come in, I'll already have everyone's address and I'll just pass the list to the calligrapher. But first, I have to choose an invitation...that's a whole 'nother blog post!

I've also decided we're going to register before Thanksgiving.  So excited to grab the scanner...any tips?  I'm thinking Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon.

Lastly, I ordered place cards for the wedding.  This was my inspiration:

So I ordered the cards cards off of Etsy.  I got 230 cards for $40 which included shipping...enough for all of guests and some mistakes.

The cards came and the picture was pretty accurate.  Yet the only thing was, they were a little larger than I expected...silly me, why didn't I measure it out on scrap paper before I ordered?  I didn't see how I would fit 200 of these on a table.  Maybe on 2 tables.  Then all of a sudden, the voice of no other than David Tutera popped into my head "there's a difference between place cards and escort cards."  I had ordered place cards!  These would go at the table, telling people where to sit- not seen at every wedding, but critical when you're having a sit down dinner like we are and guests pre-ordered their entrée.  So, now I had place cards.  I think I'll still be happy with them.  We'll see.  I still need escort cards and I now I realize escort cards for 200 people is a lot.  My mom suggested I do a poster like below

Worth considering.  I could print one at kinkos a few days before wedding.  Get some Etsy designer to help me with programs, seating chart and table numbers.

Or, I could still do an escort card table...

And if you're confused, sometimes escort cards can double as place cards, but that gives your guest the responsibility of putting their escort card on their table and not losing it.  Only important if you're doing a sit down dinner with more than one entrée.

Ugh, it is going to be a pain to write 200 guests names twice!  But I figure I will start early and write the names, then only writing the numbers the week before the wedding.  Everyone who ever watched a wedding planning show like Bridezillas knows seating charts are evil...the night when this is performed will need lots of wine!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Take a bite

Have you ever seen the The Five Year Engagement?  It's a comedy movie about exactly what the title says, a couple that is going through a five year engagement.  The movie has some funny points and, at other times, drags.  However, at one point in the movie, the main character Violet explains to her sister how she isn't sure her fian, Tom, is the one.  Tom has his flaws and everything in their life isn't quite perfect yet.  To which Violet's sister, who is imitating cookie monster to entertain her daughter, exclaims in a cookie monster voice

"There is no such thing as the perfect cookie, you've just got to pick one and take a bite!"

This quote was level-headed and amazingly romantic at the same time. Not to say that you should just marry anyone and and make it work.  But you do have to work.  Sometimes I think people-even myself, at times-expect relationships to be 50/50 all the time and that's not necessarily the case.  Lately Aaron has had to work more than normal and I have to accept that and support him-I have a 4 year residency in front of me and during that time I'll need him to support me.  The hours we work and the time we put into household duties may never be equal.  

Many couples are living together before marriage, which is something I don't believe in and wasn't going to agree to.  I think living together has advantages and disadvantages.  The obvious advantage is you know what you're getting into.  However, a major disadvantage is that it isn't permanent, you believe that you can leave at anytime and sometimes that leads couples to not trying as hard.  When it comes to living together after marriage, there's something special about a couples' first few years as newlyweds and cementing their relationship together.  A study posted on MSN years ago speculated that couples that live together prior to marriage may fail to see a difference after they get married and lose some of the uniqueness of that newlywed time.

Another disadvantage to living together is, even though you think you can move out at anytime, you really can't, because where will you live, how will you break-up, sometimes staying in the relationship is easier than leaving.  And that's how you spend years living with someone that you don't see yourself spending the rest of your life with.

There are advantages and disadvantages to every situation, every walk and role in life.  However, I think that one shouldn't estimate the value of hard work and commitment.  If you love someone, commit to them.  Put them first and they should put you first.  Keep communication open.  Expect imperfections and accept them. All easier said then done, but you've got to give yourself something to strive for.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One mind, One love

I hope everyone has been doing well.  I've been super busy getting settled at home and starting my emergency medicine rotation.  I also have my first residency interview this Friday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Vision

When I first started planning my wedding and gathering inspiration, I came across this breathtaking wedding inspiration shoot from Elizabeth Anne Designs, one of my favorite websites.  I bookmarked the link but then I left it alone.  I was dreaming of a barn wedding and this wedding was much too formal.  Well, my mom vetoed any barn wedding, then she vetoed any loft-like setting as well...while The Garden On Millbrook is a blank slate, but I didn't want to go too casual and have things look undone.  When my mom brought home boxes of my grandma's glassware, I instantly remembered the photoshoot.  I love it, because I'm able to go into my attic and rummage through my grandmother's boxes for pieces I've seen used in the shoots.  Nothings forced or causing me to spend an outrageous amount in decor...it just feels like me :-)


Monday, October 15, 2012

Wedding Workout Weekend

After having two crazy-fabulous weekends in a row, this weekend was all about me time.  I stayed alone in Charlotte and my roommates (students in healthcare professions also working away from home) left.  Here's what I was up to....

On Friday, before starting my "me weekend" and I went to Gastonia and met with Aaron's mom and niece to go flower girl dress shopping.  Grace had too much fun.  We went to so many stores and as it grew later in the day my energy waned while Grace's was growing exponentially.  We went to Bedazzled Bridal and Poffie Girls in Gastonia, David's Bridal in Charlotte, Anjolique's in Huntersville, Mecklenburg Bridal Gallery and another David's Bridal in Pinesville!  

Grace put this on immediately...she said now she was a bride!  

Our flower girl will have no trouble posing for pictures :-)

Energy levels going up...

Aaron's mom was so patient and drove us everywhere, never complaining when some boutiques only had 2-3 flower girl dresses.  David's Bridal definitely had the most options however and at the second David's Bridal we finally found a beautiful dress!

I think we've found a winner!!!

The dress!  A bit plain at first, but I really liked the tulle skirt.  I put a Vera Wang White flowered sash on Grace and it all came together!  I wish I took a pic with the other sash but I was exhausted.  The sash is too expensive to purchase ($78 while the dress is $99), so I will look on Etsy and in Raleigh for similar pieces.  I'm happy our hard work paid off!!  I went home that night, watched Golden Girls and lounged!!! I was so tired. 

On Saturday, I did some schoolwork and passed time looking at bridal inspo.  However, on Sunday it was hardcore wedding work!  Aaron and I skyped and worked on our engagement announcements.  My grandparents are from small towns so putting the announcements in local papers ranges from free to $50, including a picture.  However, the News & Observer, our local paper, is so much more! $5 a line and $130 starting if you want a picture.  I'll probably beg my mom to just to put a text announcement.  I really want to see it, clip it and save it!   

I also ordered
-placecards for the wedding (more on that later this week)
-save the dates! finally! :-) people will probably get them around the 5 month mark.  Now to work on collecting addresses!

Finalizing our save the date design was so painstaking, then when I was finished the site messed up and lost the design and I had to do it again! ughh...I almost had a breakdown but then I promised myself Chipotle for dinner and all was well!

slowly crossing stuff out :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bed & Breakfasts

Did you watch Gilmore Girls in high school?  I did!  It was a great show until Rory went to college and then left college, they started featuring Paris all the time, Rory hooked up with a married Dean (boo) and what used to be subtle, humorous comments became in-your-face punchlines every 3 minutes.  Somewhere, not sure where-maybe moving to college, maybe cutting her hair, maybe dating Logan who gifted her a Birkin bag (really?)- the show 'jumped the shark.'  And it was never the same...but I should move on.  What' I'm trying to say is, Lorelai got me curious about bed and breakfast inns and despite the show getting crappy I am permanently in debt to it!

My first bed and breakfast experience was with Aaron on a trip to Asheville.  We stayed at the Wright Inn.

The inn is a beautiful, Victorian house which is just as gorgeous inside.


Dining room

Our bedroom

It was fabulous. We paid slightly more than you would pay for a mid-range hotel (~$160) and it was totally worth it.  I would rather have the unique experience over any cookie cutter hotel room.  Plus, the breakfast rocked.

That vacation was 2 winters ago, last winter we got engaged.  Since then, we've put vacations on hold while saving for the wedding + our lives together, but we did get a chance to go out-of-town for a friend's wedding this September.  So we went back to Asheville!  We stayed in a different bed & breakfast, picked purely on proximity to the reception.

This is the Bent Creek Lodge.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but it is located on a mountainside and you travel up a short, winding road to get to it...you really feel like you are getting away. :-)  We were also less than 5 minutes away from the Asheville arboretum (where the wedding was held) and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Our room

View from our balcony

Delicious, hot breakfast!

Both places were awesome and I would give each rave reviews.  If you ever consider the 2 of them, just know the Wright Inn is located closer to downtown Asheville while Bent Creek Lodge is more on the outskirts (not a bad thing-great for relaxing).   

Here are some tips if you decide to consider a bed and breakfast

-use bedandbreakfast.com for reviews

-know that some bed and breakfasts have check-in requirements or requests, such as please check in by a certain time, like 7 pm, or alert the owners of what time if you will be later.  This is because most bed and breakfasts don't have someone manning the desk 24/7, but usually there is always someone on-site to assist you

-some bed and breakfasts have breakfast at a communal table, others will allow guests to sit separately.  Aaron and I found that we prefer the first and have made some great friends :-)

-despite the dated housing, most bed and breakfasts will have fully updated bathrooms

-however, not every bed and breakfast will include a television in the room

-be sure to pick a room online before booking!  this is fun, allows you to pick a floor of the house and allows you to choose a bathroom to meet your needs (double sinks? tub?)  

This is all I can think of for now, comment below if you have any more questions-or recommendations!  I look forward to Aaron and I visiting more bed and breakfasts across the country, at the beach, in large cities.  Just another way to add adventure to your vacation!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Five Things

1.  I have fallen in love with Häagen-Dazs ice cream.  I bought my first pint, Caramel Cone, 2 weeks ago.  After finishing it, I began to have cravings.  So creamy, so sweet.  Sorry Breyers, we're breaking up!!  Not interested in Ben & Jerry's either!  I bought Coconut Macaroon tonight and it was just as creamy, so delicious and it's true...Häagen-Dazs has my heart!

2.  We are inviting about 300 people to the wedding.  I asked my dad to help me minimize the list, he crossed out 2 names and added 10 more.  Oh dear.  I told my parents this projects the budget going about $3,000 over.  They said okay.  Oh well.

3.  On Tuesday, I worked in a free clinic that mainly attracts undocumented immigrants.  Many of our patients are from Honduras, Venezuela and Columbia.  I diagnosed diabetes (independently!) in a man who likely had been living with diabetes for at least 7 years.  He had lost 70 pounds, had little to no feeling in his hands or feet and had a fasting blood glucose of 300.  It sounds like an easy diagnosis after I summarize the case, but he came in complaining of "prostate problems" and constant peeing (polyuria).  He was totally shocked to find out he had diabetes and I feel so bad for him.

I once met a mother whose 3 year old son needed glasses, once he got them his personality, interactions and observations changed drastically-the boy had basically been near blind for the beginning of his life.  His mother cried when she saw him functioning in this "new world," she cried for how he lost was before.  I feel that pain for my patient, he was suffering without medical care for over 11 years and he could have received help!

4.  8 more days in Charlotte.  I am celebrating my return home with a Passion Pit concert that night and a Ladies Brunch at my house on Saturday!  I'll try my best to make the decor Pinterest worthy.

5.  I finally found a bridesmaids dress.  It was killing me how I tried on my original pick upwards of 5 times...why wasn't I just sure?  I decided to keep looking in Charlotte.  At NY Bride & Groom I found the perfect Jim Hjelm dress that continued the theme-sweetheart neckline, dupioni fabric, flared skirt-with perfect execution.  I emailed the bridesmaids and they approved.  And so it will be. :-)

Jim Hjelm 5051

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Charlotte Weekend :-)

I seriously had a fabulous weekend.  It was so much fun and I have Aaron and Allison to thank for that.  They both came down and visited me in Charlotte.  Aaron came down first on Friday and we went to Cowfish, a burger and sushi restaurant, for lunch.

These are tuna and crab ragoon nachos that were amazing.  The "nachos" are wonton chips!  So tasty and fun.  They had more traditional sushi as well, but we had the burgers.

I had my all-time favorite burger, which is cheddar cheese with onion straws and BBQ sauce.  I usually don't add bacon, but it came with it and I wasn't complaining!  Aaron went all out, topping his burger with pulled pork and grilled pineapples.  They were delicious, hands down.  They're coming to Raleigh so the manager gave us coupons to visit the new location in North Hills this spring!

Afterwards, Aaron and I went to a jewelry store in Southpark to look for wedding bands.  I've already tried all the Tacori bands with my ring, but surprisingly nothing looked too stunning.  They all seemed to take away from the ring and be bothersome.  Yet on Friday, we finally found a band by Hearts on Fire that sat flush and sparkled beautifully.  It actually added to the beauty of the ring!  I'm super excited about exploring our options through Hearts on Fire, as well as Brian Gavin, who cut my center stone.  If any of you girls are wondering about diamonds, never put your carats over your cut!

Later that night we went to Wet Willie's!  Aaron's hasn't been to the one in Miami and without Ocean Avenue it isn't quite the same, but we still had fun.  If you haven't been before, it's a store that sells frozen alcoholic drinks, about 20 different flavors presented to you in a row of slushee machines.  In Miami, drinking in public is legal and you can stroll down the beach with your drink :-)

After drinks we went to Comedy Zone, where Rachel Feinstein from "Last Comic Standing" was performing.  I usually don't like comedy if it's too vulgar, but she made me laugh a lot.  The show was definitely still rated R, but I would go see her again.  Women comedians are pretty refreshing.

This is such a long recap!  I'll try to wrap things up.  Aaron and I visited his family on Saturday morning, then  Allison came down on Saturday and we went to Southpark.  It was nice being able to admire Louboutins, Miu Miu, Prada and the other designers up close!  I tried on some Ippolita bangles and almost died.  I think my favorite stores however were Tory Burch, Kate Spade and BCBG, probaby because they're the most I could ever see myself spending without feeling too ridiculous.  Afterwards, we went out to eat at Cabo Fish Taco and then headed home to have drinks and watch scary movies at my house.  We watched Women In Black with Daniel Radcliffe and I was definitely a wuss.

It all wrapped up today with some early morning thunderstorms today (I LOVE cuddling during thunderstorms), froot loops for breakfast and some light afternoon shopping.  Now everyone's gone and it's just me!  This week will be plenty of WORK so I can have another fun weekend next weekend!

Aaron learning "the art of shaving" at the mall

Allison and mutant burrito at Cabo Fish Taco

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Save The Date :-)

In 10 days, Aaron and I will be six months out from the wedding!  Which means it's time for the save the dates!  They'll likely go out closer to 5 months however, because I have not even ordered save the dates since we're still trying to figure out our final guest count (hoping for an attendance of 200, yet currently working a guest list of over 300).

I decided to use magnets, because every time I get a save the date it ends up on the fridge.  Here are some designs I made for us to consider!

from mpix.com

both from Etsy

I think #1 is my absolute favorite, however, in the end Aaron and I decided that the full-length walking picture would be best to use.  I found a design that totally complimented it well, but I'm going to wait until our save the dates are sent out before revealing it on the blog.  I'm going home Tuesday night, so I hope to finally order the magnets then.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a casual, small paperback engagement photobook for us.  I actually haven't put the photos on facebook yet!  I should, I will soon.  

What else have I done?  I went back the bridal store and tried on the Alfred Sung D536 for a third time, since my last time bridesmaid shopping trip had me confused.  In the end, I reaffirmed my original decision that this dress was best-best price, beautiful look.  I'll have to talk to my bridesmaids by the end of this month and let everyone know the final decision so the dresses can be ordered and have time to be altered if necessary.  

Well, that's all for now!  Tell me which designs you like!  Aaron comes to town for a long weekend tomorrow! :-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Big Bad Ball

Last weekend Aaron and I were lucky enough to attend the Big Bad Ball in downtown Raleigh at the Capital City Club.  All profits went to benefit Hospice of Wake County.  It was so much fun.  I should have taken more photos of us on the dance floor but my camera is 4 years old and can't take low lighting.  I will get a new one before wedding festivities start.  :-)

With Phillip and Heather, famous Raleigh power couple.
They're both entrepreneurs!

My date is also famous.

The Casablanca Orchestra was amazing with a nice big band sound.

Photobooth! :-)

Aaron won a gift basket through the silent auction!  
$50 gas card and $100 to Rey's Restaurant wahoo!!!

It was so much fun.  I can't wait to attend more balls in my future, next time I think I'll wear a floor length dress to truly get in the ballroom spirit. :-)