Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Gingerbread is not the easist thing to cut into straight lines

Letters to Santa Post Office.  Simple, but elegant. Go team!
Every year, my office holds a little event to decorate gingerbread houses. As this is my first holiday with the office, I thought it would be nice to volunteer to get involved, and help out.

Well, this is no ordinary gingerbread house decorating event, let me tell you. First the office makes the base, which involves cutting a lot of gatorboard, and silently cursing the blockhead who designed a plan with all these funny angles. Then, we make individual footprint pieces for teams to build on, and THEN decorate the heck out of the base, with the street furniture and paving, and water etc.

the masterplan, before any gingerbread has been placed.

Then on the night of, it is basically a giant party, with good food, booze, candy, and OH GOD ROYAL ICING EVERYWHERE. But I think a reasonably good time was had by all.

I only have photos of the masterplan incomplete, so I will be able to update later. But the best part of all of this: on Friday, the 20 pieces of the masterplan will be taken to local charities and children's hospitals, along with a check for all the money raised. Holiday cheer for everyone :)

Dulles Airport.  These people were not messing around.

Pirate ship!
I completely rode the metro home in my helper elf hat too.
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Saturday, 27 November 2010

I love when things work out

Salad of Vegetables with Seared Sea Scallops & Citrus Sauce, from Roundz Catering

Caterer booked today!  We had an awesome tasting with Chef Zach Pope of Roundz Catering, after a few weeks of customizing a menu, and it was completely worth the short wait.

The food was awesome, and I really appreciated the time he took to really figure out what I wanted before the tasting, so that noone was wasting time.  Above all though, I really feel like the value of his service meant that I was able to afford much better food than I ever expected.  It should be AWESOME.

That is my last vendor booked, and I could not be more thrilled to be moving on to the other stuff.  So to celebrate, I came home and spent all afternoon mucking with this rhinestone headband.  I am still convinced it looks like a tiara and am not happy about that at all.  I do feel like I spent too much money to do nothing with it...but in the end, if I don't think it will look good, I don't want it on my head when I walk down the aisle.  Decisions, decisions.

How do we feel about bright red peep-toe pumps to go with the navy bridesmaid dresses?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Is there such a thing as too much sparkle?


I ordered, a few weeks ago, two pieces from a lovely seller on Etsy.  These earrings, which I had been coveting for months and could not be lovelier:

Sophie earrings, from Lottie-Da Designs
And this headband, which I bought on a whim because I had been thinking about a shiny headband and it was on sale:
Aimee headband, from Lottie-Da Designs
And it is lovely, but somehow I am now finding myself questioning the level of sparkle that I am planning to put on my head.  Is this too much rhinestone, bordering on princess-tiara-danger-level?  I will say, I am thinking of altering the headband slightly to make the rhinestone section slightly shorter and hopefully less intense, by removing the pieces that are not the round brooch things.  Since the whole thing is put together with jump rings, even if I did take it apart, I could completely put it back together again to its original setup, so it would not be an irreversible decision.  If it gets shorter, you might be able to actually see the ivory ribbon which is nicely attached to the headband and might break up the sparklemaniafest.

Thoughts?  I am intending to kind-of embed the headband into my hair, the way I do when I wear a normal headband, and it doesn't actually fulfill the function of holding hair back from my face but it purely aesthetic (in the same vein as a waist-belt.  I have never understood why the uselessness of waist-belts seems to bother people so much, but apparently it does.)  If I have to give up one of them, it will be the headband, because those earrings rock.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Bridesmaid dresses? No big deal :)


Banana Republic Silk Dress.

Pretty, simple, from a brand we all like, hopefully flattering on everyone, and dude - with coupon, less than $100.  Yay!

Now lets all cross our fingers that the fit beautifully, or are too big so can be altered.

Monday, 22 November 2010

overacheiver much?

I sometimes feel really guilty about this wedding planning stuff.  Guilty enough that I feel like I need to clarfiy why I am doing so much myself, by hand.

Like the whole blue and white china thing.  I am doing this to save money, but in the back of my mind, I feel like people think I am trying to show off and be artsy.  Really I am just trying to be thrifty!  [Every bone in my body fights me on that part, but I am really trying.]  Plus part of me thought it would be nice for people to take home customized vases as souvenirs?

Or for example, I went a little crazy with my Christmas cards (although nowhere near as crazy as the year in college where I made them from scratch using scrapbooking stuff.)  I bought nice cards using one of our fave engagement photos, and then decided I was going to use calligraphy for the envelopes, to practice for wedding invitations.  And then a coworker convinced me (she was so right too.  smart cookie.) to just print the addresses right on the envelopes, and they look so sharp now.  But instead of feeling lucky that I was able to save time and effort, I worry that people will think I paid a ton of money for matchy-matchy envelopes.  What is wrong with me?

Sometimes I think so myself, people who are my friends wont judge me [but what about Brandon's friends?], they will just think wow, these are so nice!  But in the back of my mind, there is always this aspect of hoping to please everyone...and at a certain level, I should just admit that I would like people to think I am a stylish designer, because heck that's what I do for a living!


There isn't a whole lot I can really do about it, in the end.  Because my nature will always win out, and whatever I do will be as over the top as I can possibly come up with.  So I suppose I should be working on convincing myself to live with it, instead of worrying about what other people think.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sometimes it's nice to arrive too early

natural history is still a fave
i am also a sucker for thermal windows.

I was supposed to arrive at the walkathon at 8:30. But now that I am masquerading as responsible adult, I make a much bigger effort to be on time for things. (Which has resulted in my being early for work more often than not). So I actually arrived at the walkathon at 7:45. My former roommates are collectively shaking their heads at the thought that I would ever get up more than 1 second earlier than necessary - I appear to have grown up. Or this is just a phase, and I will revert to normal. Either way, its been interesting so far.

So I had time to wander around, appreciate the early light, and take some camera phone pics :)

The walkathon was good, and it was nice to get to know some of my coworkers a little bit better. Also nice - a very dog-friendly event! Got my puppy fix until Thanksgiving I suppose, until I can see Boris and Natasha again. Hopefully the event raised a lot of funds for these charities. I have heard that this winter could be as snowy as the last, and I can't even imagine what that must be like. Time for me to clean out my closet again for some warm clothes to donate.
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Friday, 19 November 2010

Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon

This Saturday morning I will be walking with a team from my office in the 2010 Help the Homeless Walkathon.  Our team is donating all our fund-raising to Martha's Table, an organization dedicated to providing community services to families for both short term assistance and long term activities aimed at prevention.

After living in overseas a few times, it has surprised me how different the homeless appear to me in DC versus in London or Rome, or anywhere else in Europe I visited for a shorter amount of time.  In Europe, I felt like a larger portion of the people there who were begging for money were swindlers. [That is a generalization, and I do not mean that I think there are no homeless in Europe.  It means that I cam across more than my fair share of charlatans.]  But in DC, I think about the people I have seen living on the street...  there is a desperation there unlike anywhere else I have been.  And I just can't stop thinking to myself, that the days are getting colder and colder.

So I will be out on Saturday, trying to do what I can.

keep calm and carry on, nostalgia.

From Paper Source.  I bought this, and I can't wait to use it.
Sometimes, I really miss London.

I definitely don't miss all of it, but now that I have been back here for 6 months, and the gloss of being back near my fiance, family, and friends has faded to comfortable familiarity again,  I see that I do miss it.  For example, instead of living in a [slightly yuppy] condo building, I lived here:

39 Wharton St.  We lived in the top 2 floors.

I miss my roommates, with whom I shared a variety of adventures including, but not limited to:  a semi-disastrous semi-awesome trip to Amsterdam, trying to play Jenga in a pub, making Thanskgiving dinner for our whole office, attending a Halloween party in Shorditch [Sho-dich], seeing Kelis in concert, flat searching [most intense adventure on this list], budget accommodation in Kings Cross, a middle-aged-and-up cruise to Greece in which everyone seemed to assume we were some bizarre love triangle, spending a whole paycheck on clothes in Covent Garden...

Turkey.  We don't mess around.
Even thought I really enjoy being back here, starting a new life with my fiance, starting a new job that might actually go somewhere long-term, I do miss the carefree lack-of-responsibility that was London.  I miss waking up on Saturday mornings [or sometimes afternoon] and going out for a coffee, strolling down to the shops to see what I felt like blowing my paycheck on this month, buying extravagant things from Waitrose to make for dinner...

And then I remember how it felt to carry those groceries home for the 15 minute walk.  And I think I can live with moving on, carrying all those memories on with me :)
Hampton Court Palace had an awesome garden.  Nice weather!  It did sometimes occur!
Halloween.  Those spiky things are spiders on the wall behind us.

Church right around the corner from the flat

Wharton St. had the coolest cars

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

What's in a name?

Image from TurtleLoveCo, of MY ENGAGEMENT AND WEDDING BAND!!!!  
This band was made by artisan Lisa Gent.

So I feel like I should give some background on the blog title [because it is that good.]

This blog is not trying to be a wedding blog, but it will certainly be more than 50% wedding [until Sept. 17th 2011!]  The whole engagement business is more than halfway done now, but there has been some stress.  Mostly en famile, which is generally my least favorite stress.

To summarize:  since I was about 12 and it became obvious I am not really a budget kinda gal, my dad has been asking/begging me to consider eloping.  I did consider it for about a nanosecond, but given that the hubs-elect and I are both oldest grandchildren, there was really no question of skipping the big party, and then there is the whole thing about I LOVE A PARTY. ahem.  So there was to be no elopement.  As a result, dad has been giving me a lot of crap about "wasting this money."  When he realized after some serious tears that this was destroying my happiness at being engaged, he realized he had to rephrase.

So:  my wedding is not a waste, or a bad idea, but a "misallocation of resources." [which would also be a fantastic name for a rock band, a la Dave Barry.]   And so far, I have enjoyed every single minute of planning** :)

**EDIT** absolutely untrue, that last part.  But I was pretty happy at the time.**

Hello, blogging world.

It seems unlikely that anyone will ever read this - unless I post it on Facebook. I am preparing myself for ridicule.

Perhaps this will improve my writing skills?

We will start out, I think, with something I do better than write: take photos. I was over at my parents house this weekend, and I was sad to discover that my puppies are finally becoming old dogs. At 10 years old and roughly 70 lbs, I really should have known this was coming, but it was still a little troubling. However, they are still just as cute as ever.

Is he not just the goofiest thing? I think it is a fact of life that everyone thinks that their own dog is the cutest, and I personally get excited about every single dog I come across, now that I no longer get my dog-hair fix at home. But tell me that my Boris is not the cutest thing since sliced bread (and I'll punch you.)

It was just the most beautiful day, and it made me quite nostalgic to my teenage years in that house, when I first started taking pictures of the dogs in the front yard on beautiful afternoons.

Here's to a fantastic (so far) fall.