Sunday, March 31, 2013

in the bridezilla time zone

After an exhausting weekend it hit me-when Bridezillas is filmed, this is when they start.  2 weeks before!  I understand why.  2 weeks is crunch time.  Thankfully my list is short and I hope to be finished with all major tasks by Sunday, but it's still intense!

My weekend...

On Friday night Sarah, Ying and I went had a girl's night with friends.  It was so much fun.  It was a mini-bachelorette for many girls in medical school getting married during 4th year, which for many of us will be the most relaxed year of our lives.  We went to Defy Gravity, which is basically a trampoline zone.  It was so much fun!!!

Ying-getting married in 4 weeks!



After jumping, we showered and headed out to dinner!  The restaurant had $4 martinis all night! :-)

Aaron and I unboxed all of my glassware and counted how much I had and if it would be a enough for all the tables.  Thankfully, we're looking good.  I need to order a few more pieces of ebay but nothing major.  I also need a few more teacups for the cocktail hour to hold the smaller arrangements.

so excited!!!

Aaron and I had really hoped to have a quiet night together on Saturday, but really there was no time.  After checking the centerpieces, we loaded boxes of my stuff and drove them over to Aaron's house.  When we finished we were exhausted.  His house is now full of gifts and boxes of clothes and toiletries.  Really, I've only moved about 1/3 of my things.  We need to move some furniture and I need to thoroughly go through my room and office.  For once living at home is good-If I don't finish, I can just leave things there and get them later!

Happy Easter!  Today we went to 8'o'clock service at World Overcomers.  My mom and sister came to, which was nice.  The sermon was excellent as always.  At home my mom prepared a ham and some tasty sides and we had a nice Easter lunch.  Then it was back to reality and working on RSVPs, seating charts and wedding music.  I think it was wedding overload for Aaron and for myself, too.  We've never really worked together.  It can be difficult because I'm a bit more uptight than Aaron (of course I want a perfect wedding)!  And Aaron works differently than me and definitely embraces technology more than me-I'm happy to write things out on paper while Aaron is always finding the best spreadsheet or computer program.  He did find a very nice seating chart program on Wedding Wire that I plan to use this week.

I think the hardest thing to learn is that things can't always go my way-even if I am "the bride."  As the bride, you have to work with-or give in-to your fiancé, to your mom, to your aunt.  And sometimes they're right...and sometimes you're right lol.  However, just as much as the wedding is "all about you" it's really all about your family and your guests and the celebration-and all of those things are secondary to the marriage.  The marriage isn't all about you either-as girls we get spoiled, because dating really is all about you and being courted.  But when you're in a relationship and most certainly when you get married, it's time to be a little more selfless.  I'm learning it's much easier said then done.

No keeping count of who wins and things won't be fair.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday

This morning Aaron and I applied for our marriage license!  We now have our papers which are good for 60 days, we'll sign them at the wedding and then send it to the state.  We really have to move quickly because I would like to have my name change completed before I start my residency.    After going downtown, I went to Zumba at the Y and then out to lunch with a high school friend.  Then I ran a few errands and now I'm back at home working on the wedding program!  Tonight I'm going to the Boyz II Men + NC Symphony concert with my parents and I'm really excited.  Who doesn't love Boyz II Men and having the symphony accompany them just makes it perfect.

I didn't decorate for Easter this year, but next year I'm ready to take on Aaron's townhome and decorate for the holidays!  Below is my Easter inspiration board!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Work, work, work!!!

I feel busier than a bee in field full of honeysuckles.  Never would I have thought life without school or a job would be so busy.  There is always something to do!

Wedding List
-finish designing program
-obtain marriage license (Thursday?)
- count centerpieces, make sure I have enough vases and doilies
-get ring bearer pillow, flower girl basket
-order garter belt
-start SEATING CHART! ahhh

-print programs

Next Week
-talk to DJ about the wedding
-make signage
-must wrap up all loose ends by Friday

Next, next week-wedding week!

It's crazy because Aaron & I are so close to living together but honestly in the past few months we've spent the most time apart out of our entire relationship.  Aaron has a lot of responsibilities with his new job and my evenings are often spent meeting with my mom and aunt planning.  Weekends have been taken over by bridal showers and bachelor parties (Aaron's is next week).  We really have to make time to see each other.  Aaron was so thoughtful yesterday and called me in the evening, offering to pick me up and take me to hang out with some of his friends.  I had the wedding budget spreadsheet in front of me, but I wrapped it up quickly so we could head over Durham to hang out.   We met up with a buddy of Aaron's and had tasty burgers at Bull City Brewery and then headed over to Fullsteam where they had belly dancers!  It was so nice to have a break and a semi-date night.  Today I'm going to cook Aaron dinner before we head over to Fred Astaire for our first dance lesson.  The way the wedding universe works, it would be impossible for us to meet more than once without a wedding-related task!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Baby

Aaron and I were TREMENDOUSLY BLESSED to receive this in the mail today.  Our baby <3
I promise to love and care for her for the rest of my life.

Also, I got my bridal make-up trial done by Tiwa Lawrence today and that girl is AMAZING.  I told her I wanted a natural look and she made me look awesome-still totally me, but fresh, natural and sooo pretty.  I love the shimmer she did on my eyes, the liner and the lashes she added.  Can't wait to show you all on the wedding day!  I recommend her to anyone!  She also works at the MAC counter at Nordstroms on weekends, ask for her and let her make you look fabulous!!!  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

5 things

1.  So far, 211 people have RSVPed to the wedding and the RSVP deadline was yesterday.  I was expecting 230 so this was good-until I went through the list and estimated who may come that I haven't heard from yet and counted 46 people.  That would be 257 people...ahh!!   Stay home folks! However, thankfully the max for our ballroom is 300.  I don't want to get anywhere close to that!

2.  I have a dream that Aaron will give me a handful of wedding money and tell me to go shopping.  And I will run to West Elm and buy the Parsons Desk for my office!

3.  There's a theory that when the economy goes down, lipstick sales go up because it's affordable and makes women feel good about themselves.  That would explain why I am sad I am "wedding poor" and craving a West Elm desk, yet am consoling myself by considering a trip to the mall to buy coral lipstick.

Ashanti sporting a cute spring look I'd like to copy

4.  I started packing my things to move into Aaron's house.  For anyone who doesn't know, we do not live together.  I never really thought twice about couples who did or did not live together, but I find that some people think it's really hilarious we don't live together and laugh and call it cute.  But it's whatever, I'm actually quite a conservative Christian and we want to have the best foundation for marriage and this is what works for us.  

5.  Less than 3 weeks until the big day.  So excited yet also hitting a hump where I'm kind of over it already too.  I think a lot of brides have felt like this too!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Quick Update

The To Dos I completed this week...

-Find location of for bridal luncheon- Pie Birds.  Unique, delicious and affordable! Yay!

-Order groom's cake-Blue Moon bakery.  Design-wise it will be simple, but it will be delicious!

The cake from Blue Moon Aaron got for us on Valentine's Day <3

-Finalize wedding transportation-I had to save money somewhere, so my maid of honor/sister will also be the bridesmaid chauffeur to ceremony and reception :-)
-Bow ties for the groomsmen have been ordered and arrived at Aaron's house, but I haven't laid eyes on them yet.  

Still on the To Do list...
-Wedding program-I found a template online and it's in the works.  However, I need to buy cardstock.  I also need a printer...
-Decide on reception lighting-I met with Mark Peelman on Wednesday and he's working on a proposal for me
-Wedding bands-after testing out a few, we decided to go with the Simply Bridal by Hearts on Fire.  The Tacori band to match my ring actually doesn't fit under my ring (crazy) and we wanted a flush fit.  This band looks like it was made for my ring!

However, with Aaron's band we are still undecided and time's running out!
-Also next week I am going to look over my centerpiece vases and make sure I have enough!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bridals Today!

Hello ladies (assuming that's who reads my blog)!  I am in the best mood today.  After so much stress over school and the impending match last week, today was just what I needed-Hooman and I did bridal portraits!  We shot at Duke Gardens and the weather was beautiful.  Sunny and in the 60s all afternoon!  We initially planned for yesterday, but it was cold and drizzly.  I am so glad today worked instead.  The hardest part of pushing back yesterday was the working with all the vendors.  Similar to the engagement photos, the MAC counter was doing my make-up so pushing that back was no big deal.  However, my hair stylist could not do today so I met with her yesterday and she curled my hair and then pin curled it all over.  My aunt and I took it down today and styled it ourselves and it went better than I expected!  We did such a good job I kind of regret paying a stylist so much to do my hair when with some practice I could recreate the look myself. Oh well.

To save some money, Whole Foods did my bridal bouquet.  They were happy to push it back a day because all my blooms hadn't opened!  I really wanted my bouquet to have lilies in it since Aaron has always given me lilies throughout our relationship.  I do not plan to have lilies in the wedding, so it was fun to use this opportunity to incorporate them.

My bouquet!  

There were quite a few flowers in bloom at the Duke Gardens and Hooman was really great in asking me what I was looking for in my portrait.  He also showed me how well pictures were turning out to help give me confidence.  However, my favorite thing about Hooman is his passion.  He photographs in Duke Gardens all the time but I still felt like I got a unique experience.  Everywhere you go with Hooman, he narrows his eyes and scans the scenery, calculating the perfect photo in his mind.  If he loves it, he's quick to get excited and shout things like PERFECT!  This is going to be GREAT!  That's IT DON"T MOVE!!!  If it's not working, he moves you or comes up and shows you how to pose.  The funniest thing is when Hooman poses, he puts his heart and soul into it, purses his lips, shows it in his eyes (Tyra would call it smiling), it's really quite hilarious!

My mom and my aunt came to help out so it was quite the girl's day.  Future brides, I definitely recommend bringing 2 people to help you out.  My mom carried and fluffed my dress everywhere while my aunt carried bags and tended to my hair and make-up.  It was quite the celebrity experience!  Even people I didn't even know stopped to take pictures of me while we were shooting!

It was such a good day, I'm so thankful to my family for helping me out, an awesome photographer who makes things fun and for a great fiancé I look forward to marrying!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bridal Portraits

I take my bridal portraits tomorrow!  I was supposed to take them today, but it was cold and drizzly.  The sun is supposed to come out at 10 tomorrow and it'll be in the 60s .  Hooman and I are shooting at Duke Gardens, so I'm going to bring a sheet to put underneath in case the ground is wet.  Between our schedules and the weather, we had no other options.  I even saw some flurries on the weather schedule for next week!  I'm not sure what size to order my photo or whether I want canvas or print, any suggestions?

Sunday, March 17, 2013


So, Friday was Match Day.  The fourth year medical students learn where our residencies will be.  We all gather in the auditorium and your name is called and you go up and get your envelope.  You return to your seat and then, surrounded by your friends and family, you open your envelope...and mine said DUKE!  So starting this July, I will be a psychiatry resident at Duke.  My closet will now have t-shirts from NCSU (where Aaron went), UNC and Duke.  I'm pretty excited and a little nervous too!

after envelopes are opened, they have a slideshow telling where everyone will go

Going to Duke will allow Aaron & I to stay in North Carolina, which is super nice.  Starting next weekend we are going to start moving my stuff to his house (in Cary).  Aaron's been having a little trouble adjusting to all the changes-swapping out furniture and getting rid of some of his things.  He's even groaning about the wedding gifts stacking up in his dining room.  Hey, that's life and it's not slowing down!

RSVP cards have been rolling in and we're at 147 attending now.  The RSVP deadline is Saturday and I know I'll have a few phone calls to make after then.  I'm expecting 230 attending but if it's less I'll be thrilled!!

An RSVP card we recieved
Some of our guests are already excited for future babies?!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Little Details

Since we're approaching the last few weeks, I've been trying to complete all the "little things" so they don't pile up.

-my godmother was incredibly gracious and is writing all of my placecards
-I ordered sparklers for our exit :-)
-I ordered rifle paper co inspired table numbers (would have loved the real thing, but so poor) and gold table number holders
-Aaron booked 18 seaboard for the rehearsal dinner!
-order favors (chapstick!)

what's left?
-finalize print programs
-finalize wedding transportation
-choose bow ties for the groomsmen
-choose a location for the bridal luncheon
-order grooms cake (got bakery in mind, need to go by and speak to them)
-decide if I want to go with any lighting for the reception

Some of these things are not so little, but that's how life goes!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Invitation Reveal

Invitations were probably one of the most painstaking parts of wedding planning.  I highly recommend all future brides send out save the dates to their wedding because it's an excellent way to get your guest list in order.  For me, that was one of the biggest hurdles, followed by choosing a design.

Due to being a Southern Weddings addict, I was convinced the invitations had to be letterpress.  Letterpress is beautiful, it is classic, and my aunt told me when I got engaged-your invitations will set the stage for your wedding.  Now that may or may not be true, but I decided these puppies had to be perfect.  However, letterpress is rather expensive.  Most invitation sets started at $5.  With 200 invitations to order, I wasn't ready to commit to so high a price.

I decided to look on Etsy and find a DIY printable template to submit to a printing press.  This idea, separating the designer and the printer, saved a couple hundred dollars.  I choose a vintage rose design by Encre Studios and the owner, Nadia, was super nice and patient with me while I went back and forth finalizing little details like the time of the ceremony and the RSVP cards.  The design cost me $60 which is really quite a steal.

I didn't capture the pressed detail of the flower well in this photo, 
but you are able to see the pressed font.

I submitted the pdf files to Mercurio Brothers Printing Press.  Nadia knew how to prep the files for pressing and Mercurio had no problem using her files.  I paid around $1.45 for the invitation and $1 for the rsvp enclosure, which was great.  However, I had to order the inner, outer and RSVP envelopes which cost me about $150.  I didn't really plan for it and it took away from some of my anticipated savings.

A wonderful lady from my church, BJ, agreed to write my addresses for me.  She did it for free and it was so nice of her.  She wrote with a fountain pen and her handwriting is beautiful.  I picked the ocean blue ink, in hindsight maybe I should of just picked navy, but it was nice contrast to the navy ink on the invitations.  For all y'all future brides, I highly suggest living in the same town as the person who writes your addresses rather than getting it done by someone far away who you're communicating with online.  There were a few mistakes and some people added at the last moment and it was so much easier (and faster) to be able to go to BJ's house and have her work with me to fix things.

a labor of love :)

To address my RSVP envelopes, instead of making BJ's fingers fall off, I purchased a calligraphy stamp which I also used for my return address on the invitations.  I purchased the stamp from BP invites.  It cost $50 and initially I was hesitant to pay such a high price, but it was totally worth it.  The stamping went smoothly and the presentation was beautiful.

proof (edited for privacy! )

stamping away...note all the bridal shower gifts on the right!

I used mini moo cards to tell folks about our wedding website.  I decided to add a picture on one side give it a modern touch and it was quite a hit with our guests.

Lastly, I decided to be cumbersome and use tissue paper to separate the RSVP envelope and the invite (it also stopped the ink from rubbing) and to tie the set with navy ribbon.  Fellow bridal blogger Amanda warned me that tying the invitations would be a huge task.  Thankfully, my mom encouraged me to get some girls together and have an invitation tying party.  So my mom, my godmother, a family friend and my friend Emily (who introduced Aaron & I!) all got together and tied invitations one Sunday night.  This took a little of 3 hours so there was no way I would have gotten it all done had I tackled it myself!!!

Emily working hard


The final product. :-)

Yes, I sent a letter to the president!

Things I didn't do
-have a separate reception card.  It saved about a dollar an invitation and I don't miss it one bit.
-multiple stamps.  I think they look beautiful, but invitations is such a daunting task I wasn't ready to make it any harder.  Hello classic wedding cake stamp!  I went to five post offices in order to obtain 200 stamps...that's really the fault of poorly stocked post offices.  No wonder USPS is going under!
-a special seal for the envelopes.  Skipped that, didn't miss that.

Things I did do and would do again in a heartbeat
-take almost a month to choose the invitation design.  I looked high and low and went to local shops and ordered a ton of samples online.  I came close to settling, but I'm so happy I found Nadia on Etsy and chose a design that really had my heart.
-letterpress invitations.  I wouldn't look down on anyone who didn't use letterpress, but I loved the result and would recommend Mercurio to anyone.
-mini moo card with our photo.  It's the most talked about part of our invitation suite!

Things I did and wouldn't do again
-not properly price out the true cost of design+printing+envelopes+tissue paper+moo cards+stamp+ EVERYTHING lol.  Really without a wedding planner there is no way to guess these costs.  That is why I am sharing them freely with you so if you're planning a wedding you can be prepared. :-)

Hope you enjoyed the post!  It's officially 1 MONTH UNTIL THE BIG DAY!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013


In my quest to get in shape for the wedding, I've become a Zumba addict.  This is my favorite routine that we do at the Y. :-)

At the Y we don't look quite this good. 
 <3 Zumba

Friday, March 8, 2013

yet another posts on gifts and love

Hello everyone!  Sorry it's been a while since I've posted!  Lately I've been getting a small stack of RSVP cards in the mail everyday and it's so exciting!!!  I know in a few weeks I'll be making quite a few phone calls to recruit the stragglers however. :-)  I'm going to do a post in a few days on invitations, but until then here is a sneak peak!

truly a labor of love!

The envelopes in the pink are thank you notes for our amazing shower gifts.  Speaking of which, I'd like to take a moment to stand on soap box (this blog) and say a word about gifts.  Some couples get married and decide that they don't need any household items, or, rather, they'd just like to save and have a house...or a honeymoon.  In Aaron's and my case, we needed household items.  Aaron's house is the definition of a bachelor pad and it's need of a sprucing up.  So I was thrilled to grab the scanner gun and run down the aisles of Bed Bath and Beyond.  However, if that's not you, I suggest you still register.  Especially if you're in the South and your mama's book club is coming to the wedding, the church ladies and the ladies your grandmother lunches with.  If they want to give you cash, that's their prerogative.  If they don't want to buy off your registry, that's their prerogative too.  Shut up and smile and remember if you really want cash, Bed Bath and Beyond will give it to you for whatever's bought off your registry even if you have no receipt.  So everyone wins and just be happy people want to give you stuff.  Some of the stuff you needed and didn't even know you needed.  Even if you won't use all of it, they're giving it to you because they love you.  Without further ado, some fabulous gifts that scream love.

These gorgeous cubes were handmade and used as decoration at our couple shower.  There's a different picture on every side adorned with cute sayings such as 'I do,' 'to have and to hold,' and 'love.'  I am going keep them and use them as Christmas decor and a reminder of our engagement and how thoughtful and supportive people have been.

Invitation sneak peek!  This is not truly representative because the borders (and what I would call the beauty) our invitation has been covered in the shadow box.  So I don't mind sharing it early.  Anyways, a super sweet family friend took our invitation and placed it in a shadow box with the following - a key to happy marriage, a heart as a symbol of love and a glass shadow box to represent the holy spirit surrounding our marriage.  It was so sweet of Ms. Joyce to make this for us.  

The traditional gifts.  Although I wouldn't call receiving china for a wedding shower traditional-usually bigger gifts like that are left for the wedding!  However it was nice of my friend and, of course, me being that girl that wants the impractical things like china I was shocked and thrilled!  Our first place setting! yay!

This is the last gift I'll share today.  This book is so famous we actually got it twice, which worked out because I gave Aaron a copy and we're reading it together (he's actually ahead of me at the moment, unbelievable).  It's about how couples express love in different languages.  The writer was a close friend of the family's youth pastor and he recently was on Oprah talking about the book and how life-changing its been for couples.  Another couple I know is using it for marriage counseling.  I'm so excited that Aaron and I will be able to use it to help us, too.  It was one of things we needed and didn't even know we needed.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Things: Beauty Edition

Now that school's wrapped up, I've been able to have much more "me time."  Which is super nice, because I've been able to address things that may have fallen to the wayside a bit, such as my appearance :-).  With the help of a few girls on youtube (<3 Beauty Crush) and the great reviews at  Make-Up Alley I've been working on polishing my beauty routine.  Here are 5 things I've found and loved.


Bare Escentuals Buxom lash mascara is amazing.  It extends and separates, which is pretty important to me.  The first day I wore it Aaron complimented my lashes-how's that for instant confirmation?  I wear the non-waterproof which stays well and is already hard enough to remove at night, so I would recommend that over waterproof.

My mom first purchased this perfume for me at a yard sale.  I used it sparingly at first and then grew to love it and recently purchased my second bottle.  It has notes of Gardenia and Ginger.  I really love it because it's striking rather than soft and pretty sexy in my opinion.  It used to be my 'night out' perfume and I would wear Incanto Charms by Ferragamo during the day, but it's becoming my everyday scent now.   It has good staying power and I constantly get compliments on it.  


Above is Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer.  I usually only pay a couple bucks for my eye shadow, getting whatever's cute and on sale at the drugstore.  However, have you ever had your eye shadow disappear by the end of the day?  I started using Urban Decay as a base and it's brilliant-it makes your drugstore eye shadow stay all day which is the Midas touch in my opinion!

This is Dr. Feelgood by Benefit.  It's an amazing mattifier and I found it because it was top-rated on Make-Up Alley.  Simply smooth on before your make-up and it keeps shine away all day.  You can wear it alone too!


This is my latest purchase and I actually haven't tried it yet!  It is the Sigma Duo Fibre F50 brush.  I've heard great reviews that Sigma brushes are basically less expensive MAC brushes.  I already know from first hand experience that a good brush can totally change the look of your make-up.  To apply my foundation, I was using a foundation brush from Sephora that allowed my to apply liquid foundation in buffing circles to achieve an airbrushed look.  When my brush began to shed badly, I switched to some drugstore foundation brush I found at my house that applied foundation in simple strokes.  I immediately noticed that my foundation began to look heavy and the color looked off.  I couldn't pinpoint for a few days until I realized it was my brush!!  I switched back to my old Sephora brush and everything looked much better again.  Instead of buying a new Sephora brush, I decided to buy this Sigma brush because I can use the same application technique and it's was cheaper at $20 versus $30-something.  I also bought a Sigma Dry & Shape case that promises to dry my brushes in 4-6 hours.  I usually am quite lazy about washing my brushes, but I'm trying to get better and I know in the past the long drying time has been a huge deterrent.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed my beauty reviews!!!  Let me know what you love!!!