Long Weekend Recap

Wednesday: Drove up to Orange County. There was no traffic. Weird.

Thursday: Gave Curt a haircut (I'm no professional, but I'm getting pretty good!) Cooked a tasty Thanksgiving meal, including these yummy garlic mashed potatoes with carrots and dill.

Friday: Hit up Ikea's Black Friday sale and scored this bad boy for a sexy $99:
(Malm Queen bed frame, retails for $199.)

I must confess, I had never done any Black Friday shopping before. I'm more of a morning person than Curt is, so I really didn't mind it. And saving $100 on the bed was totally worth it!

Later, we met up with some old friends and took a short trip up the freeway to check out this place.

Saturday: Stopped by The Diamond Connection in Old Town San Diego to pick up our wedding bands. Aren't they pretty?

(photo courtesy of my hubby-to-be)

And here's a picture of my engagement ring, btw...

On the drive back to Orange County on Saturday night, we both "practiced" wearing our bands (shhh! don't tell!). My band looks so gorgeous with my engagement ring that I didn't want to take it off and put it back in the box...

Today: Slept in. (Mmmmm.....) Worked on my research paper, then watched Citizen Kane (because, you know, it's one of those movies that everyone has to see at least once).

Tell me about your holiday weekend!!



My Big Sissy got engaged yesterday!!!!

Congratulations, Heather!!!

I love you!!!!

my sissy and me, last Christmas :)


Fragrance Test-Drive: Week 2

I meant to post about this a couple days ago and totally forgot :(

For the post about last week's fragrance, click here.

The next fragrance on the list is Burberry The Beat:

The bottle kind of reminds me of a cocktail shaker. A chic, sexy, miniature cocktail shaker. Anyone else seeing that? (...and no, I'm not an alcoholic. Don't you worry.)

What I like so far:

1. The sample vial that the nice Sephora lady gave me actually has a little atomizer, so the fragrance goes on the way it's supposed to (the samples I got from Nordstrom are just tiny glass tubes with plastic caps, and you have to dab on the perfume with your finger.)

2. It seems to last a bit longer than the Versace Crystal Noir, but that might just be a result of #1.

3. It's floral but not too flowery or sweet. The tea, musk, and cedarwood notes give it a nice balance.

I'll be wearing this one for the rest of the week and see if it grows on me or just fizzles out. It would definitely be more of an everyday scent, and I'm really hoping to find a sexier, going out scent. Maybe if the man is feeling reeeeeally generous this Christmas, I'll end up with both :)

Also, I have something SOOOOOO friggin exciting to share. But you'll have to wait till Saturday.... Just in case a certain someone is checking my blog more frequently than I think he/she is. AAAAAAAHH I hate keeping secrets!!!

THIS is pretty much exactly how I'm feeling right now. (P.S. Kirsten Wiig I have a huge crush on you.... not that you'll ever read this but hey.)

Miscellaneous #1

Just dropping in really quick because there's a whole slew of things I want to share. Life's kind of crazy right now because I'm graduating in about 3 weeks!! Posting might be a little light for a while, but I feel compelled to talk about the following little tidbits...

Yay me! I was asked to be a contributing blogger on Wedding Chicks, the awesome planning blog created by Amy of Amy Squires Photography and Jocey of Joceybella Invites! Click here to see my page... I promise I'll be posting more on there soon!!

I ordered my dress! And the bridesmaid dresses! I never imagined that these two HUGE items would get crossed off the list so early in the process, but it's such a relief to have it done! Full post on each coming very very soon...

Speaking of dresses, Mackenzie of Something Old, Something New brought this little number to my attention:

J. Crew, you're making me drool.

It's gorge. Y'all. I luurve it. I've always had an affinity for J. Crew's wedding dresses, but I think this one takes the cake. The little feather details, the adorable bow....sigh. If I hadn't already ordered my dress, and if I wasn't so adamant about having a short dress to show off my shoes, I would definitely consider wearing this!

My lovely photographer Sarah K. Chen was scheduled to deliver her baby girl Ellie yesterday afternoon. I'm checking her blog every 5 seconds, anxiously awaiting the good news!

A huge thank you to A $10,000 Wedding for this post. Genius.

I think that's all for now... Wish me luck as I start writing about 40ish-pages worth of final papers.


No! Not the "B"-word!!

It is undoubtedly the LEAST exciting part of planning a wedding. Just thinking about it is enough to make most brides cringe a little.

Yep, I'm talking about the Budget, my friends. *collective shudder*

Still, it's gotta be done. And I figure we might as well be frank about it. For some couples, it's a completely private matter, and I can totally respect that. But I have no problem with being open about where our priorities are and what we intend to spend on this whole shindig. We've spent a lot of time figuring out how much money we'll be able to come up with, and even though the budget is still a bit of a touchy subject, we're actually pretty comfortable with the decisions we've made so far. And the best part? If all goes according to plan, we won't have any debts to pay off after the wedding. And we like that.

Now, I should tell you that Curt's a wizard with an Excel spreadsheet. He knows all those fancy little tricks that make something in one column affect something in another column, and he actually understands all that stuff about algorithms, and blah blah blah.... totally not my thing. I'm moderately tech-savvy, but spreadsheets? ugh, gag me. Anyway, he's got our whole budget set-up all fancy schmancy-like, and it works beautifully. Every time we get a quote from one of our vendors, we just plug it in, and voilĂ . Everything adjusts accordingly.

So the point of all this? I found something today that made me very.... well, relieved, I guess.

Miss Deviled Egg
on Weddingbee did a budget-related post today and mentioned a fascinating website: www.costofwedding.com. Here's what I learned:

Average Cost of a wedding where Curt currently lives: between $17,807 and $29,678

Average Cost of a wedding where I currently live:
between $21,580 and $35,966

Average Cost of a wedding in Curt's hometown:
between $26,422 and $44,036

Average Cost of a wedding in my hometown:
between $32,377 and $53,961

Total estimated cost of our wedding: approximately $22,000.

So... I'm pretty impressed with our budgeting skills. And I feel a little less ridiculous for wanting to spend so much money on one day.

For more thoughts on staying sane while budgeting, click here.


Happy Engage-iversary to Me!


Best day of my life.

It was the closing night of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," undoubtedly the best show I have ever been a part of. If you're not familiar with the show, it's been running off-Broadway for over a decade, it's been translated into about a dozen languages, and it has been performed in over 400 cities worldwide.

Comprised of only a four-person cast and a two-person orchestra, it's an intimate, heart-warming, and hilarious show about the joys and disasters of love, dating, marriage, kids, and old age. Do yourself a favor and see if it's playing in your area!

(Here's the only decent picture I have from that night. The opening scene involves the four actors chronicling the history of love in the form of a chant, hence the monks' robes...)

Our version was put together in less than 10 weeks' worth of rehearsals, with a budget of less than $500. We directed, choreographed, and costumed the whole thing ourselves, with help from a few other friends. Everyone was so impressed by the fact that it was entirely student-run, and we received so many compliments on our professionalism.

But nothing could top what happened on closing night.

Curt had watched the show on the previous night, for the first time. He had not seen any of our rehearsals and I had told him very little about the show. There's a scene near the end where an older married couple (portrayed be me and my friend Paul) walks into their kitchen and goes through their entire morning routine with complete fluidity, without ever making eye contact. The couple has been together for so long that life has become a comfortable routine, and their movements are so habitual that they can function without thinking about it. As they are sitting down with their newspaper and morning coffee, the husband suddenly looks at his wife and realizes how much, and how deeply, he still loves her, and he sings this song:

The experts say it does not last.
The experts say it's fleeting.
The experts bray love fades so fast
Then tell me, why is my heart still beating?

Shouldn't I be less in love with you?
Shouldn't I address what time can do?
Shouldn't I be more inclined to flee?
Shouldn't I explore all I can be?

Shouldn't I confess a sordid fling?
Shouldn't I caress a cute young thing?
Shouldn't I asses what we've been through?
Shouldn't I be less in love with you?

After 30 years together
All those brutal fights
those futile fights
then the sleepless nights

Shouldn't I have quit 'cause marriage ends?
Shouldn't we have split like all our friends?
Shouldn't I profess it's time to go?
Shouldn't I be less in love with you?

The way Curt tells it, he was struck by a sudden, urgent awareness that he wanted to experience every stage of life with me. He wanted to get to that point where, after 30 years, he woke up amazed at the strength and depth of our love for each other.

After curtain call that night, he walked up to me and held me tighter than he ever had before. He had tears in his eyes (he hardly ever cries!) and I asked him what was wrong. He just smiled, shook his head, and said, "I just love you so much and I'm so proud of you. That's all."

Apparently, he didn't sleep a wink that night. He called his mom at 2 in the morning and explained that he was going to propose to me after the closing show. He stopped by my apartment early the next morning and asked my mom for permission to marry me (she was in town to see the show) and then called my dad to get his permission as well. When his family arrived in San Diego, Curt found a ring, had it sized, and bought it, all within the span of a few hours.

The entire cast, crew, and orchestra was in on it, and I was completely oblivious to Curt's plans. Being actors, they held their composure really well, and didn't give away the secret.

At the end of the curtain call of the final performance, my friend and cast mate Rachelle made an announcement: "In honor of closing night," she said, "We'd like to do something really special to close the show."

The other 3 members of the cast walked offstage, leaving me completely confused. I saw Curt get up from his seat in the front row, and I heard our song start playing.

The rest is kind of a blur. I remember him talking about how much he loved me, and how he was certain that we were meant to share the rest of our lives. He bent down on one knee and pulled the ring box out of his pocket. I'll never forget what he said next:

"I love you. You're perfect. Will you marry me?"

I said "Yes!" and the audience erupted with applause and cheers. Curt put the (gorgeous!) ring on my finger, and we stood there together in the middle of the empty stage, just holding each other and taking in the moment.

I couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect proposal.

Happy engage-iversary baby! I love you more than I could attempt to put into words, and I can't wait till the day I become your wife. 11 months to go!!! whoo-hoo!!!


Fragrance Test-Drive: Week 1

The fiancé and I went fragrance-hunting yesterday. I'm always keeping my eyes (er, uh, nostrils?) peeled for the perfect wedding day scent. I found a couple that I LOVE, and I also discovered quite a few that I wouldn't mind having for daily use. I've been wearing Marc Jacobs for about a year now... it's a lovely interpretation of gardenia that's lush but not overwhelming. I've never found a "signature scent," and I love having variety and switching things up now and then, so I'm on the lookout for something to put on my Christmas list.

The nice people at Sephora and Nordstrom made me a few little sample bottles, and I'm going to wear a different scent each week for the next four weeks, and see which one is my favorite.

The first contender is Versace Crystal Noir.
Check out that giant black crystal on top of the bottle...a little gaudy for my taste, I'll admit, and the fact that it's Versace will make me (unwillingly) think of Maya Rudolf impersonating Donatella on Saturday Night Live. But I'm loving the way it smells: feminine, but not too sweet or flowery. Sexy, but not aggressive.

Curt's joining me in the fragrance search, so he's testing out Guerlain Homme this week. It's inspired by a mojito, but it's not too citrusy or sweet... my nose picks up the bergamot and cedarwood notes. Ladies, let me tell ya, my man smells delish.

I'll keep y'all updated on the fragrance search.... I'll also be trying Burberry The Beat, Kenzo Amour, and Calvin Klein Euphoria. Anyone have any other suggestions?


Stop reading my thoughts, Priscilla.

The Priscilla of Boston design house just GETS me. Like, they can see inside my head. It's uncanny.

The other possible explanation is that I am a bit of a visionary and I can predict the future of bridal fashion....? Highly unlikely. Let's just go with option 1, shall we?

Here's a little back story....

I've already told you about my fabulously sexy shoes. Yes, they are very purple, and an early wedding gift from my sissy, who paid a pretty penny for them :)

Just in case any snooping eyes are wandering around on this blog, I won't post any pictures of me in my dress, but I will tell you that it's part of Priscilla of Boston's Vineyard Collection, and it's tea-length (cuz I want to be comfy and I gotta show off the shoes, yo).

The point of all this is that I was on brides.com yesterday, drooling over all the brand-spankin-new dresses from the runway shows that took place just a couple weeks ago...

...when I saw this:


Tea-length dress? Check.

Purple shoes? Check.

Like I said, they can read my mind.


Do It Yourself: The Photo Booth!

Okay, so remember how I mentioned that we're on a budget? It's not exactly minuscule, but it's not gargantuan either. So we appreciate shortcuts.... more affordable versions of all the things we'd splurge on if we could. Of course, the term "shortcut" is a bit misleading, because being budget-friendly usually means taking the DIY-approach, hence spending less money, but more time and energy to get what you want. But I digress....

Example: A Red Cheese Photo Booth would be SO much fun at the wedding, and we love the idea of turning our guests loose and reaping the benefits via hilarious pictures, but the #1 rule of budgeting is keeping your priorities straight, and this idea just didn't make our top 5.

Then, hallelujah, there was an article in a Southern California Brides magazine that planted the very first DIY seed in my brain. It was simple: hang a cool piece of printed fabric as a backdrop, set up a tripod, and presto! Instant photo booth. We'll definitely be making a trip to L.A.'s fashion district to find some sweet fabric for our backdrop. (P.S. I tried to find the original article on Brides.com, but no dice. If you are inclined to skepticism, click here.)

Nate and Jaclyn of The Image is Found have put their own spin on the Photo booth, and the results are hilarious, unexpected, and often embarrassing. Check out their blog (scroll down to 10.12.08) and you'll see what I mean.

(All images from theblogisfound.com)

In an effort to encourage even more silliness in the photo booth, we'll be providing a bucket o' props (Remember, I used to be a bit of a theater nerd, and I have lots of theater nerd friends. We like props, ok?) Here are just a few of the items that will fill the bucket:

Feather boas
Stunna Shades
A Sombrero
A Rubber Chicken
Water Pistols
Fake Mustaches
A Viking Helmet

How will we obtain all these outrageous props? I'm glad you asked. Browse around the Windy City Novelties website, if you dare. It's a little addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Anyone else going to set up a DIY photo booth or portrait station? Do you have any suggestions for other props we could provide?