Monday, September 28, 2009

Off Duty

Consider me MIA for the next week or so. The wedding is Saturday... as in this Saturday and I have a boatload to do still. Luckily my mom gets here on Wednesday and I have bridesmaids ready and willing to lend a hand. But as for blogging, it's definitely on the back burner until after the fact when I can post fun pictures! Wish me luck!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weddings and Birthdays and Showers, Oh My!

image from

Given the touch economic circumstances, like many families, we are trying to make an effort to curb our spending. This hasn't been a very aggressive effort so far but particularly with the holidays coming up, we want to be more careful about how our one income is utilized. Granted we are hosting a wedding in two weeks and that has not been a careful study in budgeting but we were fortunate to receive help from both sides of the family.

One of the areas that we struggle with is gift-giving. We are lucky to have a large group of generous friends who have showered us with gifts for Baby. Although we asked that guests not bring gifts to her 1st birthday, all but a few came armed with presents. Of course I'm very grateful and appreciate the kindness of our friends, but how then can we attend a birthday and not bring a gift? This summer we've attended 3 weddings, 2 baby showers and multiple birthdays. The fun we've had at all these functions comes with a high price tag but one that we're more than willing to pay. Our response has been to spend less than we would normally so that we're able to give gifts, but I admit that sometimes has me worried that we'll appear tight-fisted.

For our own wedding, we were both concerned about registering for gifts. We've lived together for two years and have the things we need. Would I love some new pots and pans? Definitely. Do I need them right now? Not at all. If we hadn't been living together for so long, I would have felt differently, but we've already replaced a lot of the mismatched things that come from combining two homes. We felt like registering was unnecessary for us because of our living situation. That led to "registering" for a charity. We have asked guests to make donations to the hospital where Baby was born in lieu of traditional presents. That way guests who wanted to give a wedding gift could put the money towards the hospital instead of something that we already have.

How do you handle gift-giving without spending a fortune?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Halloween Costume??

I am loving this costume idea from Martha Stewart for Baby!!

I'm thinking I might use different colored felt to turn it from an owl to maybe a robin. I love the owl, but I can't resist the idea of making it a little more girly. I'm thinking that a red cap and wings with a pink front would be adorable. Not that I have the time to make a costume right now but I figure there's a whole month between the wedding and Halloween so I might be able to squeeze it in.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Hint of Fall

photo from
This morning I managed to snag a shower before the Fiance left for work and when I stepped out, a breeze from the open window made me hug my towel tighter. It was the first indication that even in sunny southern California, fall is approaching. While we won't lose our warm weather quite yet, there was a crispness in the air this morning that served as a reminder that summer is on its way out. I secretly hope that it is still somewhat warm on my wedding day (only 20 days away!) but I wouldn't mind a cool evening during the celebration. Our reception is indoors but opens onto a large stone terrace and a little chill in the air could be refreshing after a few rounds on the dance floor.

I also couldn't resist picking up the Martha Stewart Halloween special issue. I look forward to it every year around this time for all the creative ideas and inspiration. Plus something about seeing all the Halloween decorations in the stores makes me anticipate fall and all the fun that it brings. One of my favorite days last year was when we took Baby to the pumpkin patch to pick out some nice pumpkins for carving. I'm loving all the fall decorating that's popping up on blogs and in magazines. It's funny to think that in some parts of the country, it's not still 75 degrees during the day. Fall will be here too before we know it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Making a Life

As we get closer day by day to our wedding, I can't help but be a little introspective. Along with the chaos and craziness of making sure all the details come together, my overarching feeling is that in 22 days I get to marry the love of my life. I have found someone who I not only like to spend time with, but who also cares for me in a way that I never imagined. If I made a list of all the important qualities that I would want in my husband, the Fiance would have every one. In the simplest of terms, I feel very lucky.

I received an email recently about an interview with Maya Angelou on "Oprah." One of the things that she said was "I've learned that 'making a living' is different from 'making a life.'" Personally I would much rather make a life and I've realized that my soon-to-be husband and I work towards that every day. Of course making a living is necessary but making a life seems to be more about the big picture. We choose to make our family a priority. In addition to making sure that Baby gets an abundance of love, we also focus on fulfilling that same need in one another, knowing that the happiness of our family is dependent on the strength and quality of our relationship.

Getting married makes me think about what our life will be like 30 years from now too. I wonder how our family will have grown and how we will have changed. Maybe that's only natural but when I imagine this life, I feel an incredible excitement and also a deep peace at knowing who I will spend it with. And that says a lot to me about the commitment we are about to make and how right it is in my heart.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Polka Dot Preview

Happy Labor Day! We have enjoyed a very nice weekend with some beach time, some lazy relaxing around the house and hopefully today will mean crossing a few jobs off the to-do list.

With only 26 days until the wedding, the list is still pretty lengthy but day by day we are crossing things off. One of the most recent tasks in front of me was doctoring the shoes that both my bridesmaids and I will wear. Since the girls' dresses fall just below the knee, I wanted shoes that would go beyond basic and have a little personality. I spent many moons searching high and low for the perfect navy blue and white polka dot shoes but to no avail. The shoes that came up on the numerous searches looked like they were made for either a grandma or a stripper with nothing in between. The one beautiful pair that I found were Michael Kors and with a $400 price tag went way past affordability.

Finally one of my brilliantly creative bridesmaids found an article on Martha Stewart Weddings (shocking I know) that suggested using ribbon to add fun accents to standard bridal shoes. We decided to give it a shot and ordered basic peep-toe dyeables from David's Bridal. We opted to have them dyed navy blue to make things easier and this is what arrived a few weeks later.

Not a bad start and certainly these would have been just fine, especially considering they come from a different store and still match the bridesmaid's dresses perfectly. But I have been all about adding little personal touches here and there to our wedding to make it feel like ours. So when I saw the article from the fabulous Martha, I knew it could be just the thing to kick these shoes up a notch. So here's the result after a little creative doctoring by my wonderful bridesmaid...

I love them!! Even up close, you still can't tell that they weren't originally made like this. I'm also very excited that I chose to wear the same shoes as my girls because I would be very jealous if they got to wear these cuties and I didn't. I'm already looking forward to getting some pictures of all of us wearing our matching shoes. The shoes were pretty reasonable to start and to dye them was only an extra $3. The ribbon is $3.99 for 4 yards and covers many shoes. I can't wait to see everyone in their adorable matching shoes. Just a little preview of the upcoming nuptials! Let the countdown continue...

Update: This post has been linked up with the Thrifty Decor Chick's Before & After party. Even though it isn't a room re-do or a home decor item I couldn't resist!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Perfection is Not the Point... Obviously

We're doing our best to babyproof the house in order to keep up with Baby's ever-increasing mobility and interest in things other than her own toys. One of our biggest problem areas was the shelf in the living room which held all the tv components (dvd, cable, etc.) Baby viewed this area as a juicy steak just ready to be devoured. It was a constant process of pulling her away from the shelf and diverting her attention. We searched high and low for some type of armoire or enclosed shelving but everything was either the wrong size or way too pricey. Part of the problem is that we have a giant old-school monstrosity of a tv, and while a new one is on the wishlist, it's not in the budget right now. So finally this weekend we made the switch using an existing bookcase. The components don't quite fit and it's not a very eye-pleasing setup. It may not be perfect, but at least we can rest a little easier knowing that Baby is safe.

Here's the shelf before on one of its worst, most disorganized days.

And here is the new arrangement. You can see the components hang off the edge and they are on separate shelves because they need space to ventilate. But at least it's more organized and out of Baby's reach. You can also see the edge of our ginormous television. Sigh.

Perfection wasn't really possible at this point but the priority is safety so until we can afford a new setup, this will get the job done.
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