Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today was an awesome mail day!!!

The best one I've had in a while, but hopefully not the last good one before the wedding (which is um...a month and 6 days away!!!). The first happy item in the box was a small gift for my bridesmaids that I ordered a few days ago...this will be something to make them more comfy on the wedding day and in days to come. The second happy item was more photos from the wonderful Brian Wagner. Now, we can complete our guestbook and get that ordered and on its way. A third happy item was two lovely sets of red wine glasses from our registry. A complete surprise too as I have been expecting the other items. They will promptly replace the chalices we have been trying to pass off as wine glasses since Junior year. Seriously, we bought them at a Maryville College yard sale blowout - everything you can fit into a large cardboard box for a buck! If you've been to our apartment and seen these suckers, you know they weigh like 5 pounds...well, maybe not 5, but they're not exactly light - and definitely not light when you're a bit tipsy! These new glasses are Lennox crystal with the loveliest sounding "ping" to them. They have a balloon shaped cup with a (slightly) taller stem than normal. Very classic with a slightly modern update!

The last happy item that was waiting for me when I arrived home...6 lovely little green envelopes that looked quite familiar! That's right, we had 6 RSVPs in the mailbox today...the first ones to make it back to me. Those I left in the mailbox and came back with my camera to document the event...that's me, ever the photographer! Someone might have to hide my cameras from me so that I don't take one down the aisle...KIDDING!!! (mostly). The other good thing about the RSVPs arriving is that I got to begin my experiment with them. I wasn't 100% sure that people would figure out how to seal up the envelopes as I used a bit of a non-conventional method. However, I hoped that people would figure it out and if not, then I'd just get a lot of envelopes with tape on the back. Well, I'm happy to report that so far, we are 6 for 6...people are figuring out the design. Which is good, because I wanted things to be easy for people, but also easy for me to make. I think the major lesson I have learned from making the invites completely by hand is that next time, I'll order the dang envelopes. They came out just perfectly (I think) but they took far too long to make. I would say that I spend a good two weeks on making the envelopes themselves - that's including spending about 12 hours each day during a weekend. That's a whole lot of time that could have been spent on other projects....or getting the invites out two weeks earlier. Really....the next time I'll buy the envelopes (and by "the next time" I mean the next time I want to make a lot of cards, not the next time I get married!). Truth be told, the details that really make the envelope are the labels, stamps, liners, and any goccoed details - all of which can be made and added to old envelopes bought from any paper store. So...lesson learned, what more can I say... they're pretty, right? :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A few thoughts...and one of my inspriations

For a few of you who know me well, you know that I'm not afraid to voice my opinions on things such as politics, what social situations enrage me, and situations I feel to be unfair to certain groups of people. I don't want to be abrasive about these topics, but if in a situation where I feel I can have an honest, sane conversation with someone, I'll let my opinions be known.

That being said, no matter what your views are politically, I think that one person worth reading is Barbara Ehrenreich. The first book of hers that I read, "Nickel and Dimed", was about her journey as a woman trying to make ends meet on a minimum wage job in various parts of the country. She took her computer, a reserve amount of cash in case of a major emergency, and a few clothing items. Anything more than that she pretty much had to find for herself on a very limited means...income levels that many Americans must live with on a daily basis. The book is a description of jobs she had, interview processes, where she lived (many hotel rooms), people she met, and the many difficulties that she and her co-workers were facing. If you've never known someone trying to make ends meet on a minimum wage job, this is very eye-opening.

She's written a few other books looking at different aspects of people in other income levels and situations. Sadly, I have not yet had the time to read them. Recently, she was on The Colbert Report and she keeps a blog (which is a bit more sarcasm and satire than her books and so an entertaining read). Although its not updated too often, I do enjoy reading it and thought I'd pass it along to anyone who's curious. She's a wonderful sociologist and someone that I would absolutely love to hear speak one day. She gives, what I feel to be, a very honest, unbiased description of many of the struggles Americans face in today's society as well as some reasons that people are in these situations. The latest post on her blog happens to be regarding foreclosures and the housing-market crisis - and is interestingly compared to the public's response to a housing crisis in the 1930s versus the ways people are dealing with foreclosures today. Its short, so give it a read if you're interested. Let me know what you think...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

At this very moment

...there is a large Piperlime box sitting in my office with 100 stamped, sealed, addressed, COMPLETED INVITATIONS!!! That's right, folks - They are DONE! So, be watching your mailbox over the next few days for a hefty envelope. Darn it that I forgot my camera today or I'd have a photo of them all packed (tightly) in the box. For those of you who have ordered shoes from, you know that the inside of their shipping boxes have a lovely lime green print and it just so happens to match my invites quite well! I've got a few more invites to address tonight as we had a few people give us their addresses over the past few days...I'll get a photo then. Its very nice to see them all packaged up like that and I don't want to forget this huge feeling of accomplishment that I have right now.

Well, off to the mail room to send them on their way! I'll probably show them off a bit too...our mail room employees have seen my thank you cards, save the dates, and so now they'll see my invites too! They're all very nice people. Thing is that its quite a way to the other end of campus and its probably 100+ outside today...and I've already walked there and back - twice. Don't ask! ;)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Engagement Photos

Adam and I got our engagement photos from Brian today and they're wonderful! Check out our website to see some of our favorites!

Things on thier way...

My little birdies are flying across the pond to me.

Engagement photos are coming across the state to me.

Invitations are going to friends and family from me (soon).

If only I could stop adding things to my to-do list!!!

(I can see August on next week's calendar! Can someone make it wait a little while?)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How could I forget?!?

I forgot to mention on the last post that I received an email from our photographer today saying that he's ready to send us the photos of our engagement shoot!!!  Nothing on his blog to show you yet, but you'll find out as soon as I do!

Why I'm in love with Etsy

First of all, for those of you who aren't familiar with Etsy, its an online marketplace...sort of like ebay, but instead of auctions, its for handmade items. There aren't any auctions - everything is a straight-up sale. If you like handmade items or are looking for a special gift for someone that isn't in every store down the street, I'd look to Etsy. That being said, beware - there's tons of fabulous artists out there....our own Hollie even has her own store selling jewelry. I'll probably set up a store when I have a non-wedding life again! However, I wanted to show everyone a few things that I've either found or had made for the wedding. Many of the artists will work with you to create a custom order - and everyone (from my experience) has been great to work with...they typically will throw in a little something extra or just package it up nicely.

The first thing that I'm excited to show you is our cake topper. I know I've mentioned these in a couple posts, but I got photos today of the finished product and I just couldn't wait to show you! The store is cotton bird designs and she makes some fabulous little birds! I really want to buy one that she's made from paper...they just seem too cool! So...without further is our cake topper!

topper 3

topper 2

I've debated on whether or not to show them, but I just had to let you guys see them! I don't yet have them, but they'll be on their way from England soon! The artist was wonderful to work with, very kind, quick to respond, and wanted to make absolutely sure that I was happy with the end product. We were going to use some fabric from my dress, but the length turned out perfect so there was nothing left over. I then saw some that she had made with antique lace and thought it was a nice addition.

The next artist that I worked with was Red Ruby Rose who makes wonderful little clutches. Notice these all seem to have sewing involved? Bet you can't guess what craft I'm not terribly wonderful at! Partially because I'm afraid to try and end up with another love of a slightly expensive hobby. I really need to start selling some things! I had her make me this clutch, only with a nice green silk lining to match my shoes!

clutch 1

clutch 2

Again, a fabulous product, great design, and very sturdy. She sent along a little set of magnets that she made using some scrap material of her other purses. She's got about 8 other patterns that I'd love to have - and I don't really consider myself a purse person...Hollie, on second thought, you probably shouldn't visit this site - both for your safety and mine! She was wonderful to work with and all I did was send a photo of the shoes to match the green and she found the silk from her supplier within a couple days, and about a week later I had my clutch!

I have found some other cute gifts as well...none of which I'm going to show now. I don't want to ruin the surprise!

The final artist I wanted to share tonight...partly because I need to get to work on the invites and partly because I could go on forever about some of the wonderful little stores that I've found... is EasterYu's shop. I haven't ordered anything from her, but I may have to break down and order a flower for my hair and quite possibly we may buy the boutonniere for the guys from her. They're about 12 -15 bucks each...which is probably about what it would cost to have real flower boutonnieres made. These have quite a bit of color as well and they can keep them. Though, I'm sure that the guys won't care so much about keeping them as what the gals would...however, they're still probably going to be about the same price-wise. For the flower for my hair, I could use it to add for my "something blue" and I could even add a splash of green, it seems! Not quite sure what I'll do, but I think they're fun ideas and something that will last. As for options for the boutonniere, I haven't found anything right away in her store that would work that I can show you here, but I'm sure she could come up with something! Here's a sampling of both.

white and blue hair flower 
 green hair flowerboutonniere 2

A little tidbit about the cake toppers: You will soon see some of the ribbon that was used to make the flower, bow tie, and vest, on my little cake topper, as its the ribbon that I have driven all over the South to find for my invitations. Well, not really all over the south, but it sure feels like it. Three stores in Memphis, one in Knoxville, two in Nashville, one in Louisville, KY and almost one in Dayton or Cincinatti, OH. I was legitimately traveling through those cities when I stopped to search the stores, but each time we went somewhere, I Googled the major city to see which Michael's was in the closest proximity to our route. Typically they were all close...but I finally got enough ribbon together for the invites...which are turning out quite nicely- although v e r y s l o w l y. Hopefully they'll be out at the beginning of the week...hopefully. Remember when I said, "Yeah, but there's no moving parts like the save the dates, so they'll go much quicker!" Well, I guess technically they're going quicker as I'm making 170 of these and only made 65 save the about the same time. So. There. I am pleased with them however. I'll get some photos up when they go out...don't want everyone seeing them before they get to their mailboxes! Speaking of invites...back to cutting and assembling! Have a lovely evening!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Waiting Patiently

The weekend before last, Adam and I were in Maryville for our engagement shoot with Bryan Wagner, our photographer. Adam and I were pretty nervous about it - I typically shoot the photos, not model for them! After we got there and worked with Bryan for a while, we ended up having fun - though I hope we weren't too difficult for Bryan to work with! It was a bit odd to have someone so focused on you for that length of time - good practice for the wedding, though. Plus, there will be lots to distract us from the fact that there's a camera aimed in our general direction most of the night. Since the photo shoot, however, I've been stalking Bryan's blog. He gave us a time frame of about a month for our photos, but I keep secretly hoping he'll put up just a couple!

Any of you in town that weekend will know that there was quite a storm Saturday evening - and we were almost caught in it! Before Adam and I met Bryan at Maryville College, we decided to stop at Target and get an umbrella as there were some very dark, ominous clouds building overhead. Well, when Bryan showed up, he (and a friend he brought to assist him) had done the same thing - same umbrellas, even! The rain held off just long enough to let us get set up outside Pearson's Hall (most of the rest of campus is torn up right now for improvements and construction - its kind of crazy) and snap a few shots. It was getting really dark and we had just enough time to get security to open the CCM - the little chapel on campus with the stained glass window - and get inside. There were some pretty crazy straight line winds whipping through campus and I thought the flag atop Anderson was going to tear! The power flickered a few times while we were in the CCM, and we had fleeting thoughts of no lights - which could have been cool, and no air conditioning - which would not have been cool! The power held out, though, and after the rain stopped and a wardrobe change, we had some wonderful light filtering through the trees on campus! It was still drizzling a bit and we made use of that as well. Then it was on to downtown Maryville for some sunset shots and lots of standing on the edge of flowerpots! There was actually a wedding in the CCM earlier that afternoon (Adam and I watched the Bride and Groom get photographed by their photographer while waiting on Bryan) and their reception was at Sullivan's downtown as well. I thought it was kind of fun that we followed them. After it got dark, Bryan suggested that we head down to 5 points (and the new spiffy round-a-bout) for a few more. In all, it was about three hours that we spent with Bryan - and it was lots of fun! I can't wait to see how they turn out! We didn't quite make it to the duck pond to see the fireworks, but we drove out towards Alcoa after leaving Bryan and could see quite a few over the tree tops. Plus we didn't have to fight the crowds! We met up with Dane, Hollie, Amanda, and Wes at Chili's for some food - Adam and I hadn't eaten since noon when we met Anne McKee at Sullivan's for lunch and we were starving!

Other big check marks off our list that day was my dress fitting (with my dress, not the sample!) and picking out our bands. Adam and I both found something quite nice in about two hours - much quicker than we thought it would take. We met with Anne at Sullivan's to see where we'd be at for the rehearsal dinner (on the balcony, but not the banquet room) and to talk about the ceremony. We spent some time in her office afterwards as well. It was really nice to see her for a bit.

Friday and Sunday of that weekend were mostly taken up with driving...such an obnoxious drive! We got to Maryville late on Friday night (2:00 am) but didn't get to bed until after 5am...due to the tragedy of a dog running into Adam's car on 321 at while we were traveling 65 mph (yes, we were doing the speed limit). Sadly, the dog died instantly - but we still drove by it twice to make sure. There was no collar and no house nearby that we could knock at the door. Plus we didn't want to be greeted with a shotgun at 1:30 in the morning. Once we finally got to Adam's house, we realized there was quite a bit of damage that was done to his car. So, Charlie and Adam took time to figure out how this would be covered and luckily its considered the same as natural occurrences - similar to hail damage or something. No deductible but we did have to meet a Maryville Police officer that night to file a police report...they had to see the damage on the car. We'll be able to get it fixed when we go home the week before the wedding...but needless to say, we had quite an exhausting weekend. Sorry, Bryan if we seemed a bit out of it or tired for the photos. We were running on three hours of sleep after being up a full 24 hours!

Anyhow...I'll let you all know when there's photos to look at! Did I mention I'm excited?

Just after I posted, a friend at work showed me this:

and one more thing...a petition I found for a Costco to be built in Knoxville. Not sure what will come of it, but if its Costco, it can't be all bad. Add your name if you'd like a Costco built in Knoxville - or a little bit of competition for Sam's Club.