Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chris' Secret Single Behavior

When I tell people what I do for a living, the first thing they ask is how Chris feels about all my traveling.  If you're wondering, Chris is extremely supportive of my traveling and career choices.  Of course we miss each other, but I'm usually only gone for a night or two.  We text all day while I'm away, we call on lunch breaks, and then we skype at night before bed.  Not being physically present can be taxing on any relationship, but I feel like we try really hard to be emotionally present when we're apart.

When we were looking for a new place, I wanted to make sure that we found a livable place that wasn't too big.  I didn't want Chris to feel all alone in a big house, especially since he'd be there alone more than anything.

So my traveling has definitely affected how we live and the choices we've made recently.  We still have a few more adjustments to make, but we're well on our way to acclimating to the new lifestyle.  Right now Chris eats left-overs, takeout, and crap I don't let him eat when I'm home-like spaghetti-os and ez mac. So I've got to start making big meals and freezing casseroles so he doesn't have to eat that crap: even though I'm sure he loves it. Which brings me to today's topic: Chris' secret single behavior (a term I've learned from the blogosphere).

When you're alone you do all kinds of things you normally wouldn't with your significant other.  Chris' secret single behavior is, apparently, watching stupid movies I'd never agree to watching while eating "food" from a box.
A movie I found in the DVD player after returning from a trip

Mine is ordering room service and watching TV Chris would never approve of-like Toddlers in Tiaras.  That show is my biggest guilty pleasure.  It's simultaneously horrifying and adorable. Chris HATES it.  I get why, but I still like watching it.

I also enjoy taking pictures of the awesome food I'm eating and texting it to Chris. I know it's mean, but I can't help but find it hilarious, lol.

NYC pizza from our favorite spot in NY Penn Station.  I believe this got sent to Chris with the following text: "Jealous?"
Yummmmm!  Anyway, I'm off to roast a chicken for dinner.  Hopefully there will be leftovers for Chris to have while I'm in Wisconsin this week. No more Chef Boy-ar-dee, Chris!

What's your secret single behavior?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kelly's Wedding

"Well hello 'der!" As Elvis Duran would say.  As usual, it has taken me a monstrously long time to photo-correct (my euphemism for "photoshop the crap out of") the pictures from Kelly's wedding, but I'm so excited to share the final products with you.

Kelly and I have been BFFs since the inception of the Spice Girls, so it was pretty much a given that I'd be in her wedding whether she asked me to be or not. Haha!

Kelly married her Belgian hubby, Herve (pronounced heir-vay), in early April, in a beautiful outdoor ceremony on Longboat Key Island in Florida.  Kelly and I are so similar, so it's no surprise that both of us think that the perfect wedding is on the beach, in the sand, preferably with no shoes.  Well she pulled it off, and it was gorgeous.  I'm so happy for my best pal.  Nobody deserves a dream wedding more than she does, IMO.

Anywho, let's get to it:

Left: BM me, and BM JoJo; Top Right: Herve and his Momma; Bottom Right: the two cutest flower girls EVER
We walked down from the boardwalk to the sand where a small group of Kelly and Herve's friends and family waited.  Can I just say that the flower girls were freakin' adorable? 'Cause they were. And they would have been best friends if either of them spoke a language that the other understood.  On the left is Alondra, Kelly's niece, and on the right is Lorna, Herve's niece.  Alondra spoke Spanish and a little English, and Lorna only spoke French.  They tried to communicate but it didn't really work out. It was cute to see them try though! ;)

Clockwise from top right: Me and Jojo, Herve and his guys, Lorna in that gorgeous flower girl dress, Kelly's brother-Danny, who played the guitar as we walked down the aisle, Jess and Jesse! (Kelly's youngest brother)


We walked out to the arch that was decorated with hydrangeas.  There was a pretty heavy breeze, so things got a little windswept, but otherwise it was gorgeous out.

And then Kelly arrived, escorted by her mom & dad.  She looked elegant, breezy and beautiful-like a bride in love should be.  It was perfect.



Kelly's a fashion designer, so it's no surprise that her dress was stunning, her accessories were flawless, and everything fit her like a glove.  We were all, nonetheless, breathless at the sight of her. My face hurt from smiling!

Kelly's ceremony was beautiful and personal, with vows specially selected to personalize the entire experience. The did a candle ceremony, a sand ceremony, and a ring exchange.



Kelly's wedding colors were appropriately nautical: blue and white.  The shade of blue was a stunning cerulean that was bright and festive in the sunny outdoors without looking informal.  I loved it!

After the ceremony, we took a few pictures while the rest of the guests were invited into the nearby tent for cocktails.  What I hate most about weddings is posing for pictures, but Kelly and her photographer were two steps ahead of everything. They had all their photos planned and prioritized so that the bridal party and family could finish up early and go enjoy the party while Kelly and Herve finished up with a few private shots.  It was muchly appreciated since I was TOASTING in the sun!  In all the hullabaloo, I kind of forgot to put on SPF anywhere other than my face.  Kelly had thoughtfully provided woven fans, flip-flops and spray lotion to the guests before ever walking out on the sand, but I didn't want to spray myself with lotion and accidentally stain my dress right before the ceremony-so I decided to just suck it up until after the pictures. It was a BIG MISTAKE, but one that went unnoticed until the end of the festivities when I looked like a lobster. Oh well.


For me, this was the part of Kelly's wedding where I learned the most.  I learned that you can absolutely sit with your photographer, tell him the shots you want, and prioritize them so that your bridal party (who are also GUESTS, hello!) can enjoy the cocktail hour even if you don't plan on  making it there yourself.  It sounds a little bridezilla-ish, but if this means that ALL my guests and I can make it to the cocktail hour for a while, then it's worth it.  This was one place where my sister's wedding went horribly.  The pictures and photographer were an unorganized mess.  Half of the guests ended up standing around not knowing when their turn to take pictures would be, so not only did the bridal party miss the entire cocktail hour, a lot of the guests missed out on the experience too.  Neither family knew where to be or when to be there, so the entire cocktail hour was wasted while the bridal party ran around trying to locate people.  Nightmare.  It was so stressful and I never even got to SEE the cocktail hour, which everyone said was one of the highlights of the wedding. Boo!

Kelly's cocktail hour and ceremony were so fun, breezy and relaxing. There were custom drinks, a buffet, a custom playlist created by the couple, gorgeous speeches in English, Spanish and French, as well as some seriously awesome sand castles.  Good times all around.  I especially loved the food! SO YUMMY!


Kelly was so laid back and relaxed the entire time.  The whole wedding went off without a hitch in the grand scheme of things, but no event is perfect. The minor hiccups that occurred didn't seem to fluster Kelly at all.  She was cool, calm and collected-and determined to have a blast, which is why I love her so.  I'm a strong believer that most things are only a big deal because you make them a big deal in your head. Perception is everything, and as long as you make a conscious choice to have a good time, you usually can.

In the end, when I look back at the wedding, I only remember having really awesome food, dancing with my friends, having a fantastic time meeting new people, taking fun pictures, relaxing on the beach with a cold drink, the warm sand between my toes, and the joy and love I felt all day for my best friend.

All the happiness in the world to Kelly and Herve! Congrats!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Where the F*ck you been?!



Yeah, yeah, I know.  Sorry I've been AWOL, yadda yadda, let's move on to the catch up.  In the last few months since I've posted....


  • We had an engagement party
  • We welcomed our first niece into the world
  • Our BFFs, Mandy and Mike returned from Spain...
  • which means we moved...again...
  • all while I was traveling like a maniac because my study is closing down :(
  • I've been to:
    • New York City
    • Long Island
    • Tampa
    • West Palm Beach
    • Toronto
    • New Haven
    • Danbury
Busy, busy busy!

So I've got a few posts coming up in the next few days that should catch me up, including the engagement party, our move, furniture re-hab updates, and other shenanigans.  Hope you'll stay tuned!

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE,

Jess

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Furnishing a Home

As much as we love living in Mandy and Mike's house, it's becoming ever more apparent that the situation isn't permanent.  Their status in Spain is so dependent on so many factors, and their return could be moved up just as easily as their departure was moved back.  A few weeks ago, Chris and I were discussing how ill prepared we'd be if they came home unexpectedly.  If you remember, when we moved out of our old apartment, we lost a lot of our furniture. If we had to move out that day, we'd have very little to work with.  In fact, we'd have nowhere to sit.  Literally. We had no chairs, no couch-not even a stool.

We decided that it would be better to be prepared for their return than to be caught off guard and have to buy a whole house of furniture all at once.

Plus, what a great opportunity to finally design our house the way that we want it! I took to stalking Pinterest like a predator for inspiration, and this is what I settled on for the living room:

Source
Like?  I hope so, because I LOVE it.

So I got started with my shopping.  I prioritized the things we needed and decided that I needed to tackle the following first:

-Couch (really, all living room furniture)
-Dining room chairs
-Dresser

I'm excited to report that I've checked off the whole list!

We got an add for a sale to Ashley Furniture so we decided to check it out.  Turns out, just like Ikea, they have an "as-is" section.  Who knew?  You could tell why most of the furniture was there.  Some had huge gashes in the fabric across the fronts.  So when we saw the couch we ended up buying, we were extremely wary that something was seriously wrong with it that we weren't seeing.  We must have inspected it for 15 straight minutes until we gave up and asked a salesman.  He pointed out the black lining under the couch was sticking out a little in the back.  Seriously, that was it.  Someone returned this perfect piece of furniture for something that could be remedied with a stapler.  We snatched that couch up right then and there--for less than $400.  Insane right?  Here it is!

Source
Not exactly like the one in the inspiration picture, but close enough-and way more comfy.  Also, it's a LOT bigger than it looks in this picture.  I'm going to swap out the pillows for some that I just custom ordered from a shop on Etsy called KainKain.  I've been emailing the shop owner back and forth for the last few days and she actually helped me custom design a pattern from scratch.  I sent her my living room inspiration picture and she fell in love with it just like I did.  So far, my experience working with her has been AMAZING.

Then I spotted the most amazing ottoman ever on one of my favorite furniture boutique sites: Joss&Main, and after a lot of convincing, Chris let me buy it. It cost almost as much as the couch, but I'm so in love it's not even funny.  It just arrived today.  I'm dying to take it out of the box, but I'm going to wait for Chris to get home.  Eeeeek!
Source

Do you see the living room coming together now? I do!

Then, the dining room chairs that I wanted went on sale again---and we got them!

All of it seemed to be coming together so easily--except the bedroom.  We decided last week that we wouldn't mind buying a second hand bedroom set as long as it was sturdy and made out of a real, quality wood.  We figured we could refinish it.  Chris and I fell in love with the idea of a brightly painted dresser as a focal point for the room.  I took to Pinterest again for inspiration and here's what I found:

Left: Source; Top Right: Source; Bottom Right: Source

Chris didn't like the yellow dresser, but what does he know? Lol

I knew I was looking for something made out of solid wood, with great lines and details, that could be refinished in a bold color and still have enough visual interest to not look cheap or childish.  I'm usually really really really bad at finding things on Craigslist, but I've been reading my friend Amanda's tips on good Craigslist searching and I was hoping to not suck this time around.  Amanda, I can't thank you enough for your tips.  They really worked!

I'm nowhere near Amanda's level of creativity  (she sees the potential in everything on Craigslist), so I think what turned the tables for me and actually made this hunt successful was that I knew what I wanted to do with the furniture before I set out looking.  That way, I could picture in my head how the furniture would look in a stark navy or glossy black, and decide whether or not the piece could stand up to the color.

And with that strategy, I found this buried deep down in Craigslist:


It has just enough detail to hold up to a bold color, but not so many frills that Chris would immediately veto it.  I'm going to update the hardware, remove the mirror, sand it down, and paint it something awesome-like a bold navy.  I'll probably paint the mirror's frame a bright white and hang it vertically somewhere else.

And, it came with a matching nightstand:



Best part?  Both pieces cost us $50. Fifty-freaking-dollars.  I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. What do you think, Amanda?  Did I do good?

The garage is now jam packed with furniture.  We're going to clear some of it out and put it in storage so we have room to work on the other pieces.

I can't wait to share our progress with you!

Do you guys have any projects planned now that it's getting warmer?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hello World!

Long time no see!  Things have gotten totally out of control on my end, so I apologize for the infrequency with which I update.  Right now, I'm plugged in to a laptop docking station in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Why hello there, Dallas!
I just finished working for the morning and am now waiting to board an earlier-than-expected flight home.  I can't WAIT to get home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been bouncing around for months now, as you all may know, but last week, Chris and I took a well deserved vacation down to the Sarasota, FL area for my best friend (and future BM), Kelly's, wedding.  It was a beautiful wedding and I'm dying to share all the details with you, but I still have some photoshopping to do on some of the photos---of which there are about a billion.  There is a plethora--no, a cornucopia of photos to choose from.  Chris went a little trigger happy.  If you stacked up all the pictures, you'd have a veritable flip-book of the entire wedding.

I waited a really long time to book tickets down to Florida because I was hoping to rack up enough miles for a free ticket for one of us.  I did, by the way, rack up enough points-but by the time I did, the price of tickets had tripled.  So Chris and I decided to pack up The Bunny (my VW Beetle) and drive down.

Our first overnight road trip!  It was a major success and we had a blast.  I read Game of Thrones out loud while Chris drove.  We stocked up with lots of snacks and played Yellow Car the whole way down (Chris won).  Here are some pics from the trip!  Enjoy!



And finally, a little teaser from Kelly's wedding:


What have you been up to?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Choosing your VIPs: A study of numbers

So far, the hardest thing about the early stages of planning the wedding has been choosing my bridesmaids.  When I sat down and really thought about who I'd like to have with me, the list was 14 women strong. 14.  Plus me = 15.

How many people is too many? 15! 15 is too many! Bwahahahaaaaaa

When I told my mom, she was like, "That's a f***ing quinceanera."

This horrific image immediately popped into my head.

I almost died.

I didn't want to cut anyone out of the list, but if I kept going the way I was, every female that I know would be in my bridal party.  What? They're all special to me, ok?

I started trimming down the list to those who were not already married-as is more traditional in my culture and would most likely keep my super-traditional grandma from having a shizznizzle fit.  I also figured my friends would most easily understand that.  But doing that would mean, in order to be fair, my sister wouldn't be in the party. Since she's married. Technically.

Unfortunately, my sister's going through a really painful divorce (I hate that phrase. Aren't all divorces painful?) and I didn't really know for a long time whether or not she wanted to be a part of my wedding or if it would be too hard for her.  As much as I wanted her there, I didn't want her to do something that made her uncomfortable or sad.  Turns out, she was PISSED I'd consider leaving her out.  She's a trooper like that.  :)

But a lot of good that idea did.  Using this rule, I'm only down to 12.  Now I'm thinking someone should just pitch an effing circus tent over my wedding, because it's already a freak show.

12 is still too many. 12!  BWAhahahaaaaaa


So I thought some more and decided to maybe stick strictly to direct family.  That would leave me with....5.

Cue huge sigh of relief.  5 is a MUCH more manageable number.
Source

That's more along the lines of what I was looking for, but it still felt wrong.  I was heartbroken because I really wanted my friends in the party.  So I added Toni and Kelly, my two oldest and best friends.  I asked them because, not only do I consider them my family, my family considers them family too.

That makes 7.

Source

That line is a little longer, no? eeeeeh, I'll let it slide.... bwahahaaa


A little larger than I initially anticipated, but just right for me.  Thanks for the help, Count VonCount.

Did you have a hard time picking your VIPs?  How did you trim down your list?




Monday, February 20, 2012

Bridesmaids? Check!


Since, now, almost all the girls have gotten their cards (Toni, seriously, when are we getting together?), I'm finally going to blow the secret and share them with you.

Most of my bridesmaids have known all their lives that they would one day be in my wedding since we're family and I'm pretty much obligated, but also because we grew up like sisters and I'd never want to get married without them there with me.

Even though it wouldn't be a surprise for most, I still really wanted to ask them in a special way.

I was inspired by all of the beautiful stationary I was seeing all over Etsy and Pinterest:

All found on Pinterest


I knew I'd get nowhere near that level of awesome, but I thought handmade cards would be really sweet.  I didn't want to go too over the top because I needed to budget, plus, my girls have known me since birth.  They're not the type to pretend to be nice to me--so they'd never let me hear the end of it if I sent them an envelope full of glitter and confetti. Although I do loves me some glitter.

My nail polish. Currently.

Besides, the present inside the notes would have plenty of sparkle on their own!  Since I decided to "propose" to my girls during Christmas, I wanted to give them each a little gift along with the cards.  It took me a really long time to decide but when I saw this picture on the Wedding Bee boards....

Will you be my Bridesmaid cards :  wedding bridesmaid cards invitation silver bridesmaids diy Bmcardsring
Source
it was pretty easy for me to come to the conclusion that I wanted to "propose" with a ring, duh!  And to take it a step further, I decided that I wanted it to be a ring I could stack, so at every wedding event the girls attend, I can thank them with a little something to add to the stack.  I figured there'd be 5 rings total: 1 each for the "proposal", engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and one more for the big day.

So I went on the hunt for a really special ring to be the first in the set; preferably something that could be worn alone, since it's the first.  And I found these puppies one day on an ideeli jewelry sale and knew they were perfect:

Source

They're white, yellow and rose gold plated stacking eternity rings.  Each girl got one ring in her card.  

Speaking of the card...

Here's what I did:  I got a box of blank, clearance note cards and envelope, two rubber stamps, and some gray ink from Michael's, and got to work.

There's something about handwritten cards that I love love love!


I wanted to do ring boxes, but I thought I'd be shipping these out for Christmas and wanted to conserve on space.  I ended up just giving them to my cousin during our trip to Vegas so she could go back to Florida and hand them out to the girls down there-so it was a good thing I decided to conserve space so Jennica could put them in her luggage.

I cut a little slit in the bottom of the card and slipped the ring onto some Christmas ribbon and slid the ribbon into the slit.

The girls LOVED them.  They all called giggling like crazy and I didn't get made fun of once! (I think the shiny shiny present helped me there).  When I told them about more rings to come, they all bounced off the walls.  I'm so glad that they're as excited as I am about the wedding!

My sister (and matron of honor), Chris' sister (bridesmaid), and my cousin Jennica (maid of honor) got theirs in person.  I don't have a picture of Jen or Ashley because they got theirs Christmas morning and refused a close-up photo-op pre-makeup.  That's a lot of hyphens.  

But Jennica got hers during her birthday dinner at Lavo in Vegas.



She was super excited even though you can't tell.  She has a Victoria Beckham complex about smiling in pictures.  This is about as animated as she gets in front of a camera. Huge honor, lol!

I'm sure you're wondering about the boys' shirts too.  Well Chris gave most of them out in person to his brothers and best friends from childhood.  It was interesting that the girls were all giggling like idiots, but the boys took their rolls very seriously.  They all felt deeply honored to stand by my man on his big day. There were lots of one-arm man hugs and some tears may or may not have been shed, but I'm not naming names. ;)

Two of the groomsmen (my cousins) got their shirts through Jennica when she brought them home to Miami after meeting me in Vegas.  She was like my little pack mule.  The wedding's not for over a year and she's already my bitch. LOL, she's going to kill me.  Anyway, my two guys called to talk to Chris, and both were vehement about the bachelor party being scheduled on a day they could attend.  They totally have their priorities in order.....That's my family! Haha!

How did you propose to your maids?  Did your hubby insist on prezzies for the guys too?