Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Year Ago...

One Year Ago, Mr. C got down on one knee.

One Year Ago, Mr. C asked if he could marry me.

One Year Ago, Mr. C became my fiance.

And I'm the happiest girl in the whole world.

One year of engagement, less than seven months to our wedding, and then we have forever together.  I love you, Mr. C.  I can't wait to marry you!





Photo by ColeEffect






All photos personal, unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ABCs...easy as 1, 2, 3!

I know I've been posting a much more random assortment of posts lately, but I saw this online questionnaire and I couldn't help but fill it out.  It reminds me of my high school Live Journal days, and the things we used to fill out there.  Oh Live Journal, you always kept me appropriately moody for my high school life.

So here is my current ABCs.  A few little factoids about the Busy Bee...



A. Age: 26 (I typed 25 before I realized my mistake...you know how adults always forget how old they are?  I thought it was fake...until I really have started to forget how old I am too!)

B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore you hate: All chores.  Mostly doing dishes.  And laundry.  Ugh - laundry at the laundromat stinks!  I can't wait to have laundry in my own building...or house even!

All this food?  AWESOME!  All those dishes?  NOT awesome.
D. Dogs: None allowed in our Brooklyn apartment.  Mom and Dad Busy Bee have a 14 year old standard poodle and a 10 week old goldendoodle.  That household gets nutso sometimes.  After spending the weekend with my three month old niece and the 10 week old puppy, I thought Mr. C would want to delay his timeline for babies...but no, he wanted to delay his timeline for puppies.

E. Essential start to your day: The snooze on my alarm.  At least once, as many as 5 times.  I hate waking up.

F. Favorite color: Purple!  My bedroom in high school was called the Purple Pit of Passion.  But don't worry, no passion happened there.  No boys allowed upstairs!  Only Bridesmaid AF and I...and lots of old musicals.  Yeah, we were awesome.

G. Gold or silver: I used to be all silver, and now I love gold!  Can I pick both?

H. Height: 5'9".  And I'm the second shortest in my family.  They are tall people.

I. Instruments you play: Nothing.  I played the trumpet for 3 weeks in fourth grade and hated being compare to my musical prodigy grandfather.  So I quit.  Winner.  There is a running joke among my (much more musically talented group of friends) that I play the harp.  So here's a picture of me "playing" the harp.  Does that count?

I totally look like I know what I'm doing.
J. Job title: Ugh - not now.  (Pro Bono Attorney, Law Clerk)

K. Kids: Will definitely have them some day!  For now, I just loving hanging out with my niece, Baby J

L. Live: Brooklyn!

M. Mom’s name: Lori

N. Nicknames: Busy Bee! (I totally made this one up myself, and no one has ever called me this.)  Only a select few people actually call me Jenny, Mr. C calls me a wide range of things that has been pretty much been narrowed down to "BL" (which stands for 'Baby Love').  I don't think there are other nicknames I know about...unless people are saying mean names behind my back!

O. Overnight hospital stays: None!  Phew!

P. Pet peeve: Bad manners.  Manners are not that hard, and they are appreciated.  Say please and thank you.  Hold doors.  Don't chew with your mouth open.  Write thank you notes.  These are little things we can do that make the world a better place!

Q. Quote from a movie: "There's no place like home." - Wizard of Oz  This will forever be (one of) my favorite movies.  In college, when I was feeling home sick, I would put this on and feel better.  Mom Busy Bee had me watching this movie as a wee tot, and I haven't stopped.  It's so good!

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: Two, Sister J is 2 years younger, Brother M is 10 years younger

T. Time you wake up: During the week, usually 8:30...even when my alarm is set for much earlier.

U. Underwear: I do wear undies.  Thanks for checking!

V. Vegetables you dislike: Radishes.  They are not my friend.

W. What makes you run late: That snooze button! (See E above...) But otherwise, it's usually the subway.  I live on the G train...I get an automatic 10 minute buffer.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Fingers and toes and teeth.

Y. Yummy food you make: My chocolate chip cookies are pretty yumtastic.
NOM!  COOKIES
Z. Zoo- favorite animal:  I don't really like zoos, but aquariums!  Those are fun!  And I love the dolphins

Dolphins tend to be more talented than me.


Did you used to have a Live Journal?  What is your favorite "quiz" to fill out?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Social Networking as a Blogger

I wanted to get some feedback about how you handle social networking as a blogger.  And how you handle blogging in real life!

Pathetically, I can't even figure out how to create a poll (am I really this un-savvy?  apparently, yes!) so you're just going to have to comment and tell me how you handle these things.  Here's particularly what I'm interested in:

Facebook and Twitter:
Do you use your Real Life identity or your blog identity?  I've come across this problem in that I follow many bloggers Twitter accounts, but when I go to reply, my real life name pops up...and I'm sure no one has any idea who I am! (Even though they probably wouldn't even recognize JennyBusyBee).  Is this worth creating a second Twitter account over?

Blogging in Real Life:
Who knows about your blog?  For me, only Mr. C, Bridesmaid AF and Bridesmaid AS know about it.  A few other friends have heard me mention "my blog" and may have tried tracking it down (EG - are you out there???), but I haven't really shared with others.  My main reason for this is that I don't think they'd be interested, and probably would mock me for blogging about my wedding.  I don't have many wedding obsessed friends, and have found blogging to be a great way to connect with other people who feel this way!  I love feedback, and feel that I can also get feedback when necessary from these real life friends (but shout-out to you three who are awesome on both sides of this coin!)

I'm interested to hear what you have to say!  I definitely love to blog, but am always hyper-aware of privacy issues and concerns...so I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to handle all these social networking sites!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Decorating Your Neck

As I continue to drool over chandelier earrings, I couldn't help but look at the bridal necklaces that Nordstrom posts on its website. 

I don't foresee myself wearing a necklace with chandelier earrings, especially considering the extra ornaments on my dress, but these necklaces are fabulous.  I'll share, and maybe you could get some use out of them...

Source.

Source.

Source.
 This next Kate Spade one is my favorite.  It is quite a statement necklace.  Maybe I could purchase it and wear it at the rehearsal dinner or bachelorette party...or to a picnic on a Saturday afternoon :)
Source.


Are you the type of person who would rock a statement necklace, whether at your wedding or any other day of the week?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chandeliers

...earrings that is!  I've always been a big earring person.  I love earrings, I love big earrings, and I like shiny earrings.  As my dress has finally arrived in NYC, I have an appointment at the beginning of April to try the dress on.  Since I won't see my dress again for alterations until August and September, I want to start trying my accessories at this appointment.

Here are some earrings I've been looking at:

Source - Nordstroms

Source - Nordstroms

Source - Nordstroms

Source - Rent the Runway

Source - Rent the Runway



So much sparkle!  I hope to purchase a few (with the likelihood of returning) to begin the process of narrowing which ones I really love.  I would love to buy something off Etsy, to support someone who is making their own jewelry, but I can't really risk the lack of ability to return.  Renttherunway.com is also another great option, but again, I would probably wait to commit to that option until I'm more positive about what is going to look great with my dress.  

Is it bad that I'm almost more excited to accessory shop then dress shop?  What is your favorite thing to shop for?




Monday, March 21, 2011

The Big Venue Reveal

Have you been waiting with bated breath since I told you about the three venues we visited?  Have you persuaded yourself that it's not worth looking at my page where I clearly list our venue to ruin the surprise? Or do you think I'm a silly fool?

Either way, I'm excited to talk about our venue, why we choose it, and why I get goosebumps every time I visit.

THE BARN AT GIBBET HILL!

I'll give you a moment for the shock to set in... ;)

I know I didn't hide things very well, but our love for Gibbet Hill is really, really tough to hide.  I think the moment Mr. C and I walked into that place, we knew it.  We knew this is where our wedding was going to be.  Let's take a moment and look through Mr. C and I's criteria:

  • Not a hotel
    • Definitely not a hotel.  Gibbet Hill has both the Barn and a Grille restaurant on its grounds.  There are animals on the grounds (when we visited the first time, we saw a cow!), and a farm. 
  • A more rustic vibe, we're not generally into more contemporary styles
    • Um, it's a barn.  It is not contemporary (but also not dilapadated or falling apart)
  • Enough space for up to 175 people
    • The Barn can hold up to 240 people.  Luckily, we don't have that many guests
  • Minimums small enough if we decided to have under 100 guests
    • The Barn did not impose guest minimums, so long as you spend a certain amount.  So we could definitely hold a wedding here for 13 people, so long as those people brought their strechy pants.
  • About 40 minutes from my parents' house
    • 25 minutes!  Woot!
  • Somewhere that guests who were in for the entire weekend would have activities or things to see or visit to keep them entertained
    • This one is a little more difficult.  My hometown definitely has a smaller suburb feeling to it, and there isn't a TON of things to see, but we aren't that far from Lexington and Concord, MA for the history buffs out there.  And there is a mall about 20 minutes away.  And actually, people won't really have THAT much time to kill.  So we let this one slide a bit.  I'm sure when it comes time to think about itineraries and OOT bags, we'll brainstorm some fun, local activities.
Another big selling point was the Farm-To-Fork mentality that is important to Gibbet Hill.  It's important to me too!  In the past year or two, I'd read a bit about green eating and living, and trying to focus on local and organic food was something that was important to me.  I'm no perfect angel, that's for sure, but if my wedding can be a part of that way of thinking and living, then it definitely is a perk.   

Cost was the biggest thing holding Mr. C and I back.  Gibbet Hill can in no way be defined as a "budget" venue (although, I guess that completely depends on how you define "budget").  It was really difficult for Mr. C and I to imagine spending so much money in one place.  Although I haven't worked out numbers, I would say that the cost of Gibbet Hill will easily be about 40-60% of our budget (maybe I'll run some numbers for you and get a more accurate count...but maybe not.  I hate math.).

It was in a moment, sitting at Mom and Dad Busy Bee's kitchen table, running numbers, making Excel charts, comparing totals, and wringing our hands when Dad Busy Bee looked at me and said (and I swear, I'm not deprived, but I'm definitely not spoiled, so this has happened...maybe twice before in my life) "It doesn't matter what the number is.  We will make this work.  This is what you want, this is what we will do."

And that was that.  Well, not completely.  I did put up a stink that I couldn't have my parents pay for this much, and Mr. C did too.  There was a bit of a guilt complex.  But this day is important to my parents, it's important to Mr. C and I, and this is where we ALL see it going down.  So off we sent our contract, a deposit, and we reserved The Barn at Gibbet Hill for our big day.

Now, the eye candy:


Here's what our guests will see when they head over after our church ceremony.  They will walk straight over to the left, to the porch on the side for cocktail hour.

Source.

  If anyone shows up after dark, they will get to enjoy the shot of the Barn in the dark.  (Although I hope they aren't standing in the middle of the field to get this view.)
 
Source.


Here is a view of the interior.  The tall ceilings, the exposed beams, the stunning chandeliers.  This photo is looking from the back of the barn to the front doors (which you can see straight ahead, and the porch is off to the right - the doors are allowing all that sunlight in).  You can also see the second loft level, toward the front, where we will most likely be putting our faux-to-booth and cocktail tables.  You also get a shot of the dance floor here, off to the left.  Just beyond the dance floor, along the left hand wall is where our band will set up to keep the party going!   


Here's another inside shot, this time from the front of the barn to the back.  The porch is on our left here, and you see another staircase to an additional loft space.  This space will most likely have dinner tables up here, probably to be filled by the 'younger' crowd at our wedding.  You can see some of the fun details in the barn (like the wagon wheel!) and a better shot of the chandeliers. 
 
 

 

I'm so excited to hold our reception here.  I constantly Google "Gibbet Hill wedding" to search for any new photos that may have been posted or even to just stare in awe at pictures I've drooled over 100 times before.  I've stopped by more than twice since sending our contract, just to walk around, and sigh.  And maybe tear up thinking about what will happen there...in just seven months from now!  Yikes! 
 
So, be honest....were you surprised with our choice?  What was most important to you in choosing your venue?
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bake Sale Link

Just wanted to update you all with a link DIRECTLY to my delicious chocolate chip cookies for sale.

Although I won't be hurt if you buy someone else's goodies...some people are way more crafty and bake savvy than I am.  But I'm not lying when I say these cookies are pretty freaking delicious.

Have a great day!

Source.

#OperationLayla Bake Sale

For those of you who are a part of the wedding blogging community, you have probably already heard about Operation Layla.  But for those of you who haven't at all, here's a little bit of information from the blog dedicated to helping out Layla:


One month after her 30th birthday, Layla was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer (1A Adenocarcinoma). She was extraordinarily lucky that it was caught early, and had a simple surgery to remove the cancerous cells.
Layla on her wedding day
Three years later, Layla was in horrible pain that affected nearly every aspect of her life. Temporarily uninsured due to a job change, she paid out of pocket last October to go to the doctor and make sure the cancer had not returned. Thankfully, it had not. However, her doctor believes that she has pelvic adhesions and Endometriosis due to the previous surgery, but it can’t be diagnosed until an additional surgery (laparoscopy) is performed. The doctor also found out Layla has cervical stenosis, which basically means her cervix has completely shut down due to the scar tissue from the previous surgery. These issues make her miserable most of the time, making simple things like going to the bathroom and menstruation horribly painful, and sexual intercourse impossible. He stated that if she wanted to have children one day, even sperm could not pass through her cervix, and she would have to have intrauterine insemination.
The doctor wanted to schedule surgery as soon as the insurance at her new job went into effect. Her company fired her the day her insurance became valid, ten days before Christmas, plainly stating that it was because of her health issues.
Fortunately, she got on her husband’s insurance, which went into effect February 1st. As soon as she could, Layla scheduled surgery for March 22nd. Then her insurance company dropped a bomb: because she went to the doctor (even as a self-pay patient) within a three month period prior to her enrollment date, they were considering her health issues to be a pre-existing condition, and would not insure any doctor visits, medication, or surgery for 388 days.
When you are in near constant pain and can’t work, 388 days is a long time to wait. The sooner Layla can have this surgery, the sooner she can return to work (hopefully with a nicer company!) and start living her life again. Her doctor has been nice enough to work out a deal with her if she can pay as a cash patient: he decreased the amount of her surgery to $4,000, and the cost of the anesthesia to $500, with additional fees for biopsies of removed tissue to be determined.
The problem is, Layla is unemployed due to this, has used her savings to pay for living expenses and medical bills, and has been denied loans for the surgery because of her unemployment status. She does not have close family, so she can’t ask them for help. Surgery is scheduled for March 22nd, and Layla and her husband are still trying to secure a loan through several banks.
A group of amazing bloggers got together to help to raise money for Layla, and over the weekend, they were successful in raising the initial $4,000 for her surgery, but there are obviously many more costs involved with such a procedure, so the #OperationLayla bake sale is continuing on.  

Being unemployed, I didn't feel as though my $5 would be as useful as my contribution of baked goods. Instead, I made my famously amazing chocolate chip cookies, and they are up for bid today.  So go buy them!  I swear, they are delicious and moist, and it has taken everything inside of me not to eat them all.  And we're all lucky that Mr. C gave up dessert for Lent, because then they definitely would have disappeared.





There's about 5 dozen of these puppies, and they could be yours!  For a great cause :)  Even if chocolate chip cookies aren't your thing, check out that bake sale and see if there is something that is your thing.  And watch the magic that happens when people get together to care for someone.  It's really amazing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Venue Hunt, Part II

Now that Mr. C and I were more serious minded about our venue hunt, we started with an intense Google search for venues in the area of my parents house.

We were looking for venues that had some of the following characteristics:

  • Not a hotel
  • A more rustic vibe, we're not generally into more contemporary styles
  • Enough space for up to 175 people
  • Minimums small enough if we decided to have under 100 guests
  • About 40 minutes from my parents' house
  • Somewhere that guests who were in for the entire weekend would have activities or things to see or visit to keep them entertained
After much intense Google searching, we created a Google Docs Excel sheet to organize information we had gathered from websites, as well as from emailing some of the coordinators


There were about 13 venues on there, so after making this spreadsheet and sharing it with both our mothers, we just sort of sat on it for a few days and then contacted the venues that we were interested in seeing in person.  I scheduled three appointments to see while visiting my family's house with my mom.  Mr. C was busy with studying and test taking, so it was my mom and I checking these places out.

The first place we went was the Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill, MA.  The Renaissance Golf Club was a newer venue, and had a large ballroom for the dinner and dancing and a cozy, comfy space for our cocktail hour.

Photo sent to Mr. C and I from the Renaissance Golf Club.   Photo credit Boston Uplights.
The Renaissance allowed us to select our wedding package that provided a number of different options, including the amount of hors d'oeuvres, cake options, wine service, and more.

The Renaissance also included a lot of extras in their package.  As it is a Golf Club, the Club Rooms were made available to the bride and groom, as well as some guests.  So after your ceremony, you had no further to go than upstairs to collapse into your bed.  They also provided access to the golf course, which would be a great way to spend the Friday afternoon before the wedding (provided you like to golf!)  The woman we spoke with through the Renaissance was super responsive and helpful, and was quick to respond to emails and questions.  We knew if that we went with the Renaissance, the staff was definitely going to be there for Mr. C and I and whatever we may need.

A con for the Renaissance was its location.  Haverhill is about 35-40 minutes from my parents house, putting the travel time from the church location around 30-35 minutes.  And although there were Club Rooms provided, they certainly would not be sufficient to satisfy our lodging needs for all our out of town guests.  Therefore, we would need to send people to the hotel in the center of Haverhill, about a 10 minute ride from the Golf Club.  It was also a little tough to find.  My mom and I, although not super familiar with Haverhill (ok, I don't think I had ever been there, but my Mom had been there to visit family members before), got lost, even though it was the middle of the day and light out.  So that was definitely a concern for us.

The next place we visited was The Barn at Gibbet Hill.  Having snuck in the building a few weekends before, it was nice to be able to tour The Barn with someone who worked with The Barn and had been involved in a number of weddings and other events at The Barn.  While we were there, since it was a rainy day, the staff was actually working hard to set up a ceremony space inside the barn, as a couple getting married there that day had planned to have their ceremony outdoors.  It was nice to see, although hectic, that the staff was definitely going to take care of us if for some reason we had to go with a contingency or backup plan.

The interior of the barn.  Photo credit Eric Limon Photography.

The main area in the barn (that includes an upstairs loft area) would be used for dinner and dancing, and the porch overlooking the hills and the farm would be used for the cocktail hour, provided the weather is warm enough.  Even if the weather is chilly, Gibbet Hill provides screens to pull down and heaters that can warm the porch 20 degrees.  So provided it's not (literally) freezing outside, we would be able to utilize the outside space. 

Location was also another problem at Gibbet Hill.  Although it isn't far from my family's house and the church ceremony, the best hotel options would be back near the church, so our guests would be doing a lot of driving that weekend.  The roads to and from are also dark, windy back roads, typical for this area, but I was concerned about any guests getting lost or drinking and driving after the reception.

Cost was another big deterrence.  The cost of Gibbet Hill was much higher than Mr. C and I anticipated, and there were certain requirements regarding minimum spent on food and beverage, and number of guests.  Timing was also limited, as Gibbet Hill often hosts two events in one day, and Mr. C and I would prefer to have the evening time.  There was an added fee if you book the venue for the entire day.

There weren't as many extras at Gibbet Hill, but everything I had read online prior to our visit had raved and raved about the food.  Gibbet Hill is a functioning farm, and focuses their catering on local, seasonal and fresh food, something that is important to Mr. C and I.

Next, Mom and I traveled up to New Hampshire and visited the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, NH.  The BVI is, obviously, an Inn.  The BVI has both a beautiful exterior and interior.

Here's the main room.  Google for some better images that shows you the full length of the room.  Source.
 
The rooms in the inn over look the below into the main dining room.  While Mom and I were there, they were setting up for an event, and some guests were even starting to trickle in after someone's wedding.  We had the opportunity to explore some of the other rooms other than the main room, which had huge comfy looking chairs, fire places, and just made me want to snuggle up with a book and a cup of tea.

The grounds of the BVI were beautiful, too.  On the complex, there were other buildings including a restaurant, a shop, and other rooms and houses available to rent.  The main room was beautiful, with the giant window (which you can see in the photo above) overlooking those grounds.  It was a bit of a tight squeeze, fitting enough tables in there and leaving space for a dance floor.

Another part of booking BVI was that to hold your wedding in that main room, it was a requirement that you rent out all of the rooms within the main building of the inn, because as they are directly overlooking the main room, it would be loud and bothersome if other guests weren't part of our event.  The location (again!) wasn't ideal, about 45 minutes away from the church ceremony, but hopefully all of our guests would be staying on site, which would mean the only time that guests would have to drive would be after the church ceremony.  Price was also a concern here.  The rooms were pricier than we were planning on, especially with so many of our guests staying here, but also if not all the inner rooms were booked, Mr. C and I would be responsible for those costs.

But it was such a beautiful space, and the packages available provided a wide range of options for extras, food, and beverage options that Mr. C and I really liked.

After looking at each of these places in person, taking plenty of personal photos (which I can't seem to find anywhere to share with you!  So weird!) and talking with Mr. C, I was really torn between two of the venues.  Mr. C and I made a spread sheet with all the information we had gathered from each of the venues, comparing prices for certain dishes, minimum number of guests, cost of bar packages, and any extras that were included.  We attempted to figure out approximate costs, including fees and gratuity.

Stay tuned to find out which venue we went with, and what sold us on it.

...which is sort of a silly thing to say, since I've made it clear on here before where we are holding our venue, but just pretend that you are anxiously awaiting to find out!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lunch Time Blues

Today I pulled out my handy dandy container I use to bring my salad to work (it's the most genius contraption I've ever seen...and has saved Mr. C and I bundle on baggies, our former mode of transportation for salad dressing). 

This is what I saw upon opening the top:



Blegh!  Brown!  Boring!  Bland!

I know many of you, like myself, are working on shedding down, buffing up, or generally trimming in preparation for weddings, general health reasons, or maybe in preparation of summer...

So how do you prep a lunch for yourself that stays fresh, interesting, but is relatively easy to prepare?  I normally don't mind salads everyday, but it's the prep work that kills me.  This salad is brown because I made a HUGE salad with lots of tasty things in it so I could stay on target...but that was over a week ago.


Personal, terrible iPhone photo at my desk.  The company who makes that awesome contraption hasn't contacted me at all.  I just really love it, and love to share handy finds!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's Important

Expectations of others can be a tricky thing.  Because really you only control yourself, and when you expect something from another person, you often end up disappointed.  The older I get, the more I realize that the number of people I can count on this world is getting smaller and smaller.

Planning the wedding has brought a lot of these issues up as well.  Not only expectations I have of others, but their expectations of Mr. C and I as well.  Here is a little bit of what I have figured out so far...

I think it is important to think about my own expectations, make sure I am clearly making those known to the people who need to know about them.  In that way, they will know what may or may not be expected of them, and I am not disappointed by my family and friends who are in no way mind readers.  Do I want to have a bridal shower?  Is it important for me to go away for a bachelorette or would I rather do something low key with my closest girlfriends?

This doesn't only apply to wedding planning, but relationships as well.  I haven't gone through any sort of pre-marital counseling or pre-cana classes yet, but from what I've read about others who have, this is often something that is talked about between fiances.  What are your expectations about family?  Children?  Money?  Chores?

I also have realized I should check in more often with others of what they are looking for from me.  Is my mom expecting our second cousins (all dozens of them) to be invited to the wedding?  Is Mr. C's mom expecting to be involved in my morning of preparation, or Mr. C's?  Does my sister want her baby to be involved in the wedding?

I was making assumptions about these things, but I'm also realizing it's important to ask.  When you assume (all together now....) you make an ass out of you and me!

Have any of your expectations been put into check due to your wedding planning?  I'd love to hear whatever you think helped to keep your own (and others') expectations in check!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Birdcage Miracle

So Mr. C and I are wandering around a Christmas Tree Shop near our friend K's house.  Originally we were there to find a coffee table, but when we first walked into the store, there on the shelves was the answer to my birdcage dilemma!

BIRDCAGES!  There were six small birdcages on the shelf, calling my name.  Mr. C had wandered off in a different direction and I think he knew I was excited about something when he heard my SHRIEK from many feet away.  Rushing over, Mr. C found me jumping up and down shaking these bird cages, begging him to get me a cart to load these suckers up.

I basically skipped to the back of the store toward the furniture section.  Sure, they were small, and sure, there were only six of them, but this was a SIGN.

So we found our coffee table, and I continued skipping throughout the store.  Mr. C and I wandered through some of the glassware, hoping to find some orange glasses for little decorative touches and for the tables at our cocktail hour.  Then I turned another corner and ANOTHER shriek!  BIRDCAGES!  Big ones!  Many of them!  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Poor Mr. C and Christmas Tree Shop patrons.  I was in full on celebration mode.  Dancing included.  Big birdcages, added to the cart.

After this adventure, Mr. C and I were on the hunt and recruited family members to check out the Christmas Tree Shops.  Soon we had more than enough birdcages, and even all in the same size!

Here is one of the birdcages we found, in FMIL and FFIL's basement, as Mr. C and I experimented with some spray paint:





Mr. C and I have big plans to play around with paint remover and spray paint to make them uniform.  Here's a little bit of the work we've done:


I'm still not sure what ELSE we are going to build into the centerpiece with the birdcages.  I'm thinking flowers, tea lights, pillar candles, and maybe small squares of pretty fabric in the middle.  I met with a potential florist this weekend, so we'll see what ideas she has to offer!

What about you?  Any ideas that I can steal?  Haha!

All photos personal.  With me in PJs.  You're welcome.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Sliver of Hope

I have a big interview coming up next week and I really have a good feeling about this one.  I thought if I threw things out there to my blogging friends and asked you for your crossed fingers, prayers, or superstitious dances, whatever you may do for good luck, that I'd have even more good luck on my side.  I'll take what I can get!

The interview is on Tuesday.  Keep me in your thoughts friends!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birdcage Centerpieces

Back in 2009, I had an amazing opportunity to spend three weeks in Beijing.
Peace out, Mr. C.  Ni Hao Beijing!

While there, I was lucky enough to experience an entirely different culture.  Three weeks was certainly not enough time to be completely absorbed in such a different country and environment, but I loved some of what I saw.

One of my favorite memories was walking towards the University where our classes were held (yeah, I had to go to class while I was there, but it certainly wasn't difficult).  We walked through a semi-commercial area, but there were a lot of people just sort of...hanging around.  Talking with each other, playing board games, and laughing a lot at the confused Americans walking about, trying to figure out exactly what it was they were ordering.



No, this isn't by my university.  This is, in fact, the Great Wall of China.

Not only were these people hanging out and playing games, but they also were with their pets.  And in Beijing, people had their dogs on a leash, but they also carried their pet bird with them.  In its bird cage.  I thought this was awesome!  I mean, why shouldn't your bird get to see the outside world if your dog does?!

There were also bird cages used decoratively in some of the nicer restaurants we went to.  Unfortunately, I didn't seem to take any pictures of this.  I was too busy eating soup dumplings and duck...mmmmm...duck.  Even the vegetarian me salivates.

I remember sitting at dinner one night, looking at those bird cages and saying out loud, to no one in particular: "I'm going to have birdcages at my wedding."  And I will!

Little did I know, birdcages are something of a wedding-world trend.  Particularly birdcages used to collect cards at a gift table.  Even though birdcages are a popular way to collect cards, I haven't seen a ton of photos birdcages used as centerpieces.  But I was determined to do so anyway.  Maybe I would become future inspiration for another bride.

Then there was another set back...the price!  I would occasionally search for birdcages to get an idea of their prices...and they were expensive!  There was no way these could be our centerpieces at $19-25 a pop.  That just wasn't feasible.  So I gave up.  I looked for different centerpieces that I was inspired by, looking for other ideas that made my heart tingle and meant something to me.

Randomly over Christmas break, Mr. C and I were at the Christmas Tree Shop near my parents house.  We were looking for a coffee table (we got that!)...and guess what else we found...

You'll have to wait until next time to see what exactly it was!

Where did your centerpiece inspiration come from?

All personal photos.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oscar Fun

Did you watch the Oscars this weekend?  Mr. C and I hosted a few friends to watch, and we decided to theme all the food around the 10 Best Picture Nominees.  Some ideas were better than others, but some were just plainly hilarious.














Here was our spread:

1.  Black Swan - Black and White Cookies Swan
2.  Social Network - Social Netwok
3.  The King's Speech - The King's Peach Cobbler
4.  Toy Story 3 - Toy Story Fruit Snacks (this one was in desperation)
5.  Winter's Bone - Winter's Bone in Chicken Wings
6.  True Grit - True Grit and Shrimp
7.  The Fighter - The Fighturnip
8.  The Kids Are All Right - The Kids Are All Rice Krispie Treats
9.  127 Hours - 127 Pretzels (yeah, that one is even more pathetic)
10.  Inception - Incesstus (This one was from Mr. C - based on some sort of intestines disease...so we had pigs in a blanket.  I think it was just an excuse to have pigs in a blanket)

We did a LOT of eating that night!  But everything was delicious.  We also did ballots, and made the stakes high...whoever was the winner, the rest of the guests had to write on their Facebook wall with nothing but compliments.  Lucky Mr. C won!  Unfortunately, we really all took it as a form of punishment and his wall was covered with weird, silly compliments.  But all in all, a good time!

Did you do anything fun for the Oscars?

All personal photos.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Unusual Wedding Venue

As I continue to tell you about my own hunt for the perfect venue, I thought I would share something I saw today on the New York Times website.

It's all about how McWeddings are happening in Hong Kong, it's a new feature, and there are about 50 couples who are in talks to host their weddings at a McDonalds in Hong Kong.  You can find the article here

It seems as though it has only been a recent development in Hong Kong for couples to have the option to wed somewhere other than a place of worship or City Hall, so it is definitely understandable why couples are excited to have different or unusual venues to host their weddings.

Is there any wacky place you would hold your wedding if it wasn't at the venue you have selected?  Mr. C and I have talked about getting married at an aquarium if we could do absolutely, positively whatever we wanted.  Although, that isn't that wacky.  People certainly do that!  Sometimes, even underwater!

Did you see this wedding:

From the Daily Mail article.

I'd love to hear about your wildest venue dreams!  On top of a mountain?  While skydiving?