Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Somewhere in my Memory

It's hard to believe it is almost Christmas. It seems like it was just yesterday that Matt and I were becoming husband and wife!

This year, Christmas was a little different. I have never, ever spent Christmas away from my family. Unfortunately, it just couldn't be avoided--both of us only get a few days off for the holiday, then it is back to work, since we need to save our vacation days for Costa Rica. That means there is no time for travel.

I have, at times, been quite sad about this. I'm a girl who holds fast to her holiday traditions, and all of a sudden everything I've remembered about Christmas is out the window. No more last minute shopping with my dad, or watching Christmas Vacation with the whole family at night. Christmas eve mass and visiting with old friends is out of the question, nor will we be traveling to Williamsburg the day after Christmas to spend time with extended family.

Despite all this, I have had a wonderful holiday. Matt and I have just started a new life together, and right away we get to start new Christmas traditions together. We love both of our families very much, and will always try to be with them on holidays, but for us we have to start looking towards the future, and not dwelling in the past. I will always look back on my Christmases past with love and fondness, and I can only hope that I can make future holidays with our family as special as my parents always made it for me.

Sorry to be so atypically sentimental. Matt just walked into the room to find my sobbing and watching clips from Love, Actually. So, for some holiday cheer, I will leave you with a clip from one of the best Christmas movies of all time. If this doesn't warm your heart, I can only assume you are a cold, unfeeling person, and probably a robot.

Merry Christmas.




Monday, December 17, 2012

Walk Humbly, Son

Words continue to fail me, so this is all I can do:

"For a life well spent, on this earth we're lent, will be marked by the void you have left. May you walk humbly, son."
--Eddie from Ohio


Friday, December 14, 2012

Confessions of a Married Woman

Hello, dear readers! This is my first blog post as the old ball and chain. This past week has been so surreal. Matt keeps calling me "wife," and I just continue to stare in amazement at our wedding bands.
Our mini-moon dinner at Bella's in Charlottesville. Our first non-wedding picture together as husband and wife!
I feel a little overwhelmed, because I'm still reeling from the intensity of emotions I felt this past Saturday. So, for today, I'm linking up with A Blonde Ambition to give you a neat list of all the thoughts that have been swirling in my head this past week.

I confess:
  • That our wedding was beautiful and perfect, just like Matt promised. Yes, there were things that went wrong and didn't turn out as planned, but at the end of the day we were married and sobbing with tears of joy, so none of that mattered. 
  • That I cried multiple during the wedding day. So many feelings!!!
  • I wish I could have another wedding reception, just to party with all of our friends and family one more time. One day is just not enough.
  • That I plan to continue writing wedding-related posts. Mainly because I love the attention, but also because there were so many details to our wedding week, and I just want to share them with you all.
  • I am going back to bangs this weekend. I grew them out for the wedding, and of late I have not been a fan of the way my forehead looks without a shock of hair across it. I will probably tire of them instantly, but at least my face won't look so huge. 
  • That I cannot wait for our honeymoon to Costa Rica. I'm so excited to spend a week doing nothing but eating, drinking, and laying out by the pool. Did I mention the pool has a swim-up bar?
That's all I have for you today. Please enjoy this teaser picture before I start posting on all the wedding details.





Friday, December 7, 2012

Is this Real Life?

This is happening. It is our wedding week! This will be my last post. I cannot believe it is actually here. All the planning, all the tears, all the drama have led to this day. Matt and I are so excited, we've been walking around like wide eyed kids in a candy store, and every once in a while Matt will say to me "this time next week, I'll have a ring on it!"

The moment when everything became real was not getting in RSVPS, getting wedding gifts in the mail, or even obtaining our marriage license. The moment I knew it was really happening was when our wedding date showed up in the 10 day forecast. That was when I realized time was no longer dragging along, but was pummeling us head first into December 8th.

Ever since that moment, I've been jittery and antsy--my emotions have been jumping and down, going between me wanting to get everything done, but also trying to soak in every minute of these final days as a legally single woman. I also spend quite a bit of time checking the forecast. At first, it looked like rain, which made me a little nervous. I don't mind the rain, but in Southwest Virginia, those temperatures could drop before you  can blink, and then instead of a gentle rain shower we've got a terrifying snow/ice storm on the way. While I was obviously catastrophizing, I like to prepare myself for the worst, just in cases. However, as of today the forecast is sunny with temps in the upper 60s. I'll take it!


So friends, this is it. Next time we meet, I will be an old, married woman. I can't wait! Thank you all for following along, putting up with my hysterics, and all of your encouraging comments. I hope to stay just as interesting once I am married, so you'll continue to read and be entertained. 

This is it. Don't get scared now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: The Final Countdown

It's the Final Countdown!!!!!!!!!!!!



Before Matt and I say our vows and start the party, there are several last minute items on the list that must be accomplished. And by several, I mean a million! Here's just a sample:

1. Finish making ribbon wands
These wands are legit. We chose them as a nod to my love of Harry Potter, so you can cast spells with them (provided the ribbon wand chooses you). Of course, you can't use these ribbon wands for any of the Unforgivable Curses...duh! This is a wedding, not a showdown between the dark lord and the Chosen One!


2. Picture slideshow for reception
The most crucial part is choosing the right music. Nobody wants to watch a boring slideshow unless good music is involved.

The slideshow will confirm what everyone already knows--I was a weird kid.
3. Final meetings with vendors
Thursday's schedule is jam packed with these meetings--I had to make sure I included time for carb loading and hand holding.

4. Assemble gift bags
Shouldn't be too hard, right? Now that I've said that, this will probably be the most difficult thing to do.

5. Decorate
Totes not my job! I am very lucky to have several creative women in my family (mom included) to assist me with this. Good thing, because I have absolutely no more room in my head for additional to do lists--I've reached my limit!
One of many decor ideas.
6. Pack
This is probably a good idea. I think we will need clothes and stuff this weekend. Honestly, as long as I pack my wedding shoes, I will be good as gold. It seems that all of my wedding anxiety dreams involve me forgetting my shoes--I think I wrote down "pack shoes" on at least three separate to-do lists.

7. Hand everything off to my wedding coordinator, relax, soak it all in, and get married
I know I'll have trouble with this, but it will be a lesson in ignoring my iron clad need for control, and just giving it all up so I can completely enjoy our wedding weekend.

There it is! That's all that remains between Matt and I becoming husband and wife. I'm so absolutely ready to see all of our friends and family and celebrate this special day.

This is my final Wedding Wednesday post before TBD!!!! Don't forget to check out Joelle's blog and all the other link ups!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

One Week

One week? Actually, we only have six days, 23 hours, 36 minutes, and 40 seconds (even less now that I've typed that!). 

Do you know what that means?



That's right. Playtime's over.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soundtrack to our Wedding

I am a music snob.

No, not really. It's my personal opinion that I can't claim Hipster status when it comes to my music choices (although Matt would claim otherwise). Most of the music I listen to is very mainstream. And by "mainstream," I mean that I hear it on the regular radio or satellite radio. However, because Sirius plays new music months before you hear it on the regular radio, I tend to fall in love with songs and artists long before they hit the top ten on iTunes, thus giving me the right to use the phrase "I liked them before they were popular."

That being said, I have been quite picky about what music will be played at our wedding. I debated for months on the songs we will use for key moments during our reception, and I constantly added to the "Do Not Play" list. Among those that will not be heard at our wedding is Beyonce's "Single Ladies," The Cha Cha Slide, and "Sweet Home Alabama." Mostly because they are overplayed, but also because these songs generally make me want to throw up, and we can't have the Bride vomiting all over her wedding gown (although I'm sure that would make me an instant YouTube sensation).

I will fill everyone in on our final music selections after the wedding. For now, here's a real treat--the video below is our first dance song! It is a popular first dance tune, and we have worked really hard on mimicking the costumes and choreography. We are very serious about this and we are not joking, not even the slightest. Enjoy!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soup Weather

This isn't wedding related, but I thought I would post this in the spirit of this cold, dreary day in Northern Virginia. It's this kind of weather that makes me crave soup no other--seriously, my soup cravings rival that of a pregnant woman. A few weeks ago I stumbled across this deliciously creamy tomato soup recipe, and it was absolutely wonderful. It pairs nicely with a mozzarella grilled cheese and a glass of Sauv Blanc. I would totes make this meal tonight, except I'm doing this thing where I'm trying to actually stick to the menu I've planned for the week, so pork tacos it is...but that doesn't mean you can't make it! Consider this recipe my early Christmas gift to you, dear reader. Enjoy!


Creamy Tomato Soup
From The Chow

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in their juices, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup heavy 
Directions
  • Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once butter foams, add onion and a big pinch of salt. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is completely soft and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and juices to the pan and stir to crush up tomatoes.
  •  Add broth or water and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. 
  • Simmer until tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and allow soup to cool slightly.
  •  Carefully purée soup in a blender until smooth (you may have to do this in batches). 
  • Return soup to the stove over low heat and stir in cream. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

Finding a wedding cake was probably one of the most trying aspects of this wedding planning process. Apparently, there aren't very many options for wedding cakes down in my neck of the woods. Other than buying a wedding cake from the grocery store (which was tempting, believe me), we had two choices. The first stop was the Muffin Man Bakery. We arrived at our scheduled appointment, only to find out that there were no cake samples. Matt's anger was great over this cake tasting faux pas.

Later that day, we had an appointment scheduled with the only other wedding cake baker in town, Nancy's Fancy's. We showed up promptly for our 12:30 appointment, only to find the place locked up with no one in sight. My mom called her, and Nancy's response was "did we have an appointment today?" Yes, that happened. We ended up meeting again later that afternoon, and while her cake samples were excellent, I did not feel comfortable committing to a baker who was so unreliable.

Next, we went the route of "a friend of a friend who bakes cakes on the side." At first, this seemed promising. We had a great conversation on the phone, she sent me to her Facebook page so I could see pictures of her cakes, and then she sent me some pictures for inspiration. I was so excited--I had found the perfect person to bake our cake! Then, I never heard from her again.

Finally, I had my dad check out a bakery in Bristol, a town that is about 20 minutes away from Abingdon. Several people had recommended them, so I stalked their Facebook page and they looked legit. My dad gave his stamp of approval on the samples he tasted, and that was all I needed. At that point, I was not interested in pursuing other options--I very desperately wanted to check "find wedding cake" off my to do list. Unique Cakes and Catering was thus booked and I never looked back. (Well, I did look back once--last week I found out my cousin Lawrence, age five, offered to bake the wedding cake...where were you two months ago, Lawrence?! I would have gladly hired you.)

I'm sure Lawrence could pull of a design like this.

Have I mentioned how much I love the monogram and lace?

Yes, we are totes having a golf-themed groom's cake!
So far, Unique cakes has been a great choice--they return my phone calls promptly, and they've been really great with communicating through emails, since I live so far away and can't show pictures to them in person. I will make the final judgement call on December 8th, when I get to see and taste our cake.

The lesson here is to make sure you find a PROFESSIONAL. Someone who is not prepared for your scheduled appointment, or can't even remember scheduling an appointment, is clearly someone who you do not want to trust with your wedding day.

However, if a five year old offers to bake your cake--TAKE THE DEAL! There's no doubt it will be made with love.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Invitation Reveal

This is the moment you've been waiting for...the invitation reveal is finally here! I know it took me a century to post this, but life lately has not been conducive to blog posting. Anyway, without further ado...







Don't judge the photography. I did the best I could with my iphone and the industrial blue carpet in my office.

Finding the right invitation was like finding the One--I knew right away, as soon as I spotted that lace overlay. I actually saw something similar to this in Martha Stewart Weddings, and of course I wanted it badly. However, I doubted that we would be able to afford them, because they looked awfully fancy and products which are typically feature in Martha's publications are on the pricier side. So, I went to a local store and almost picked out a design that I felt lukewarm about, and was going to cost around $1200. Before I could make such a colossal mistake, Matt's mom recommended Fine Stationery. I decided I would give it a chance (I had serious reservations about ordering online), and as fate would have it, stumbled upon Anna Griffin designs and found my dream invitation suite.

I didn't get a proof before ordering, so you can imagine how nervous that made me, but they arrived within five days and were gorgeous--we got loads of compliments! Not to mention, the cost of everything plus postage ended up being around $700--not too shabby! At the time, they were running a sale, so we got 20% off our order (they also happen to be running the same sale now through November 25, just FYI).

I would absolutely recommend this website--they have a great selection, and their customer service is awesome. They helped me with my order, and were very prompt to help me set up an additional insert card for accommodations, which was not an option on the website. And did I mention how quickly those suckers arrived?

Enjoy looking at these professional photos of our invitation--more last minute wedding detail posts are soon to follow!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Signature Drink

One of the better ideas that floats around the wedding category on Pinterest is that of a signature drink. I love the idea of incorporating a drink that fits in with the theme of the wedding, or is meaningful to the bride and groom. My mom loves this idea as well--and she's never quick to offer her stamp of approval, so you know it's gotta be good! 
via SMP
via SMP
Since purple is the main color of our wedding, we've been on the hunt for a drink recipe of that color (my mom is also really excited about this, she loves any and all things that are purple). However, that's not an easy task. Some recipes call for expensive ingredients (special types of liquor, lavender, adding mashed up fruit, etc), and some of the recipes just don't taste great. (And by not tasting great, I mean that we actually made the drink and it was not mom-approved--just not "fruity" enough.) 


via
Matt already came up with an adorably clever name, so a signature drink is definitely happening at our wedding. Any suggestions for a purple alcoholic drink would be greatly appreciated! 

p.s. You know I love surprises, so you are correct in assuming that the name of our signature drink will not be revealed until after the wedding. Sorry, Charlie.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Showered With Love: Part 2

Hello, friends! Recently, I had my third and final bridal shower. This shower was hosted by my future mother-in-law, future sister-in-law, and future second-mother-in-law (she and her husband where considered the "second parents" when Matt and his sister were kids). Although we had a smaller crowd than expected (thank you, Sandy), the shower was quite a success. Everyone who was able to attend had a lovely time, and I know I was just awestruck by all the amazing little details Matt's mom put into the party. 
Little cakes shaped as Tiffany's boxes--yes, I almost died.


The pile of presents was pretty exciting, but do you see that chair?!? Totes adorbs.

I told Matt this was my wedding bouquet--no flowers necessary.
Can you tell this was my glass?

Matt's mom knows how to throw a party. Donna of Fabulous Fetes also deserves a big thanks, for contributing many of the decorations, and making those delicious, unbelievably adorable cakes. 

Matt and I are very thankful for all the gifts we received--we now have a fully stocked kitchen, and we're still trying to find places to store everything (and before this, I thought we had an abundance of cabinet space--boy, was I wrong). Most importantly, I'm thankful for Matt and his extended family. Although most of his Aunts and Uncles barely know me, they have been incredibly friendly and have welcomed me with open arms into their family. For a girl who gets nervous and awkward around new people and new situations, that is very comforting, and it's definitely the best gift I could ever receive. 

Oh, and did I mention the cakes were shaped like Tiffany's boxes? Sorry, I just can't get over the cuteness. 
Hidden underneath all that Tiffany blue was lemon cake with raspberry filling--AMAHZING!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ONE MONTH

I'm not saying that it's time to panic, but...it's time to panic. Somehow, the past year has just strolled on by, and it didn't bother to stick around for long, because now I only have ONE MONTH to get it together and pull off a wedding.

At this point, everyone asks me if I have everything ready. I wish I could simply show them my to do list, so they could get a visual aid of an answer to their question. Despite my histrionics though, Matt and I have actually accomplished quite a bit these past couple of months. All that remains are a million tiny little details that I just cannot seem to complete to the point where I can scratch it off my to do list. However, instead of telling you everything that continues to worry me, I'm going to be positive in this post and tell you everything we no longer have to worry about.

1. Bridal party gifts have been purchased!
My ladies sure are going to love being enrolled in the Jelly of the Month Club. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

 photo e5ffbc0c-eaa3-4260-a110-6c6e95d9b435_zpsdbd9cb85.jpg 

2. Marriage License--check!
This process was way too easy. We filled out a very short form and submitted it online, then made a quick stop at the Clerk's office to get the official paperwork. However, I was able to complicate the process by spilling a glass of water all over the table during breakfast. Luckily, the important part was dry. Hey, better I spilled water on it than a bowl of sausage gravy.

3. Music
I don't want to ruin any surprises, but if you loved the polka band from the Home Alone movie, then you are going to be in for a real treat!

4. Cake
I will probably do a separate post on this topic alone (I know I've promised it before), but just know that there will be cake, it will be beautiful, and it will be delicious.

5. Ceremony Readings
There's no better way to bring to life some of the best readings from the Bible than through interpretive dance.

6. Decided on favors
I wasn't sure if I would have the time to craft a butter sculpture of myself and Matt for every guest, so we settled on hot chocolate favors instead.

7. Church Paperwork
This was probably one of the most difficult parts in the planning process. Should be easy, right? The catholic church just needed a few documents from each of us to give us the go ahead. Well, not so easy when you can't find your confirmation certificate from high school, only to find out your church didn't even record your class becoming confirmed. Sabotage, I tell you, sabotage! Big thanks to my pops who worked all summer on tracking down my confirmation certificate. Also, I think this could be a great premise for a rom com (unlucky-in-love girl is missing the papers she needs to get married, so she enlists the help of a young, attractive sunday school teacher to help...hilarity ensues, love prevails).

8. Matt's Ring
We ordered his ring several months ago, but then we had to wait for it to arrive, then we had to wait for the inscription, then we had to wait for the jeweler to fix the inscription. Now the ring is safe and sound, and ready for its big debut! (Matt is not allowed to look at it, because the inscription is a surprise.)

There you have it, a snapshot of some of the big ticket items we've managed to accomplish just over the past month. Now it's time to roll up our sleeves and put America back together! Oops, I mean it's time to finish up the to do list (still rolling up our sleeves, of course).

I'm still experiencing a little bit of shock that we only have one month to go. It seems like just yesterday I was giddy with excitement as we looked at engagement rings for the first time. One other question everyone seems to ask as TBD approaches is "are you ready?" Hmmm...am I ready to marry my best friend, the man of my dreams, the love of my life?

 photo junewedding_zps2afa0141.jpg 

Absolutely.







Handwriting Skills

As many of you know, I've taken the time during this wedding planning process to really work on my handwriting. After all, I refused to pay to have someone write the addresses for me (although that really would have been SO much easier), and I couldn't have my invitations mailed lookin all sloppy. 

I've never considered myself to have nice handwriting; thanks to Joelle at Something Charming, I was inspired by her fake calligraphy tutorial and began practicing. My hard work paid off, because I received many compliments on my handwriting on the invitations (or maybe they were being nice...whatever). So, that's why I decided to link up this week with Something Charming, for her Write it Down and Link it Up post. It's the perfect opportunity to display my new handwriting. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but I am quite pleased with how much better my handwriting looks these days. I will be taking calligraphy orders immediately. 









Part of the challenge was to write our favorite quote. This is not necessarily my favorite quote of all time, but it's certainly one of my current favorites.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloweenie



Tonight, my Halloween plans consist of going over to Matt's parent's house and handing out candy to the trick or treaters. We live in a gated apartment complex, so we don't get the luxury of greedy little kids knocking on our door.

Oh yeah, we'll also be hanging out with this guy!
I have never been much of a Halloween person. Yes, I love the festive candy wrappers, and the pumpkins, parties, and anticipation of the holidays that happen AFTER Halloween. However, I'm definitely not one of those people who really get into the whole costume thing. When I was little, I typically let my mom sew or buy a costume. As I grew older, and started picking out my own costumes, my ideas began to consist of whatever I could throw together at the last minute. Let me give you some highlights:

  • 1996: I dressed up as an "escaped patient from a mental institution." I wore an old dress-up costume, added over-sized galoshes, donned Tupperware on my head, and tied twizzlers into my hair. I was a very weird, very disturbed kid. 
  • 1998: This sixth grader showed up to the party dressed as Lizzie Borden. I sported an old bridesmaid dress of my mom's, and carried around an ax. As you can see, my interest in all things morbid continued. 
  • 1999: That year I decided to be a normal little girl and I dressed as a fairy. All it required was the purchase of wings, which I wore over an old ballet recital costume. 
  • 2003: Lizzie Borden returns! This time, I wore a sweater and skirt combo, and carried around a fake bloody hatchet. No less weird, just a little more lazy. 
  • 2004: Candy Corn--probably my best idea, ever. All I needed was enough orange, yellow, and white posterboard to cover my body in the shape of this beloved, festive candy. I think I won a prize for this costume. 
  • 2006: This year marked the height of my fascination with Cher. General opinion was that I could do a pretty spot-on impression of the infamous singer, so I decided that would be the perfect costume. I bought myself a long, black wig and some fishnet nights. BOOM.
  • 2008: This year marked the height of my fascination with Hannah Montanta. I'll let the picture do all the talkin:
Don't judge. 
  • 2009: In what was quite possibly my laziest costume ever, I went dressed as a cougar. I basically wore normal clothes, and just attempted to make my Ralph Lauren v-neck sweater show a little extra cleavage. I was going to buy some cat ears to go with it, but I just never made it to the store. (Sidenote--I was out of town for that Halloween, so I didn't have much to work with, and I was super poor, so I couldn't just go and buy a slutty meter maid costume.)
So there you have it, kids! Katie's Guide to Costume Planning: Use whatever is handy, then comfort yourself with your cleverness when nobody gets/understands your costume. This is my Halloween. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surviving Sandy

Just in case anyone was concerned, we have managed to survive the Frankenstorm known as Sandy. Luckily, we didn't lose power at all, which is definitely a good thing, considering how horribly underprepared we are for that situation. Yes, I know I had at least a week's worth of warning to stock my emergency kit, but it just did not happen. I mean, I didn't even make it to the liquor store before the storm hit, so you can see how good I am at preparing for emergencies. However, we did have one bottle of wine (which was demolished last night), as well as a couple of flashlights left over from 4-H camp and a plethora of yankee candles. So, at the very least, we could make sure we didn't run into furniture (especially after all that wine), and the apartment would smell really nice. Also, having a Walking Dead marathon in the midst of a superstorm wasn't such a good idea, in hindsight. I made Matt watch an episode of New Girl with me before we went to bad, because I needed some happy in my life after all that flesh eating. 

It was actually quite nice to be home yesterday; Matt's weekend is Sunday-Monday, so we both really enjoyed the extra quality time together. I was not pleased when he had to go to work this morning, but I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Unfortunately, I know that others didn't fare so well in the storm. One of Matt's co-workers, who basically lives down the street from us, had his roof collapse during the night, and there are loads and loads of people without power. Please continue to keep everyone affected by this monster storm in your thoughts and prayers. 

Since I haven't been to work at all this week, I have managed to accomplish some wedding planning tasks:
- My mom and I had a serious discussion about decorations
- Matt and I picked out the readings for the ceremony
- I addressed the invitations for the Bridesmaids Breakfast
- Planned out a tentative wedding day timeline to send to my coordinator

Look at me, being productive! I will be returning to work tomorrow, which means I have the rest of today to get even more things accomplished. Not sure if that will happen, considering my stubborn refusal to drag myself out of bed and put on real clothes, but I have high hopes for myself. 

Stay safe, warm, and dry, friends! 

p.s. While we fight flood waters up here, my parents are dealing with several inches of snow and the potential for blizzard-like conditions. That's what happens when you get a storm of epic proportions! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paranormal Encounters

My MoH, Ashley, kindly pointed out to me that I did not include the scariest part of the bachelorette trip in my previous post. The scary part was not the male strippers, the cracked-out woman pushing her dog around in a stroller, swimming with sharks, or the old man who acted very much like a zombie and kept showing up near our house. The scary part was an honest-to-god encounter with a ghostly presence in our cottage.

Friday night (or Saturday morning), around 4am, Ashley and I laid down to finally get some rest. I had just closed my eyes when I heard a very long, very loud exhale just inches from my face. We both assumed it was the other, then quickly realized it could not have been either one of us, as we weren't yet asleep and were both barely breathing. I was ready to run for my life and join Alison and Julia in the other cabin. Ashley attempted to be the level headed one and urged me to stay, so we could figure out where the noise was coming from. We stayed there, completely still, and waited. Other noises drifted in and out--a car passing by outside, people walking around, etc. Every so often we would again hear the sound of someone breathing--unlike the other noises, this one was directly next to our ears, whereas everything else was obviously coming from some distance away. I repeatedly stated my intentions to jump ship and run next door, but Ashley again tried to be the voice of reason, asserting that it must simply be a "residual" and we would not be harmed. I, on the other hand, had seen way too many episodes of Supernatural to know it could not end well for us. At any moment I was ready to spring into action, make a salt ring, and find something made of iron to fight off the demons.



Don't get me wrong, this girl love ghost stories. Every time I visit a new town, the first thing I want to do is take a ghost tour, and I LOVE books and movies that are all about the supernatural. However, I've always bravely read/watched these stories because I've never actually seen a ghost, and at this point in my life I had simply told myself that maybe I wasn't prone to paranormal activity. At a previous job, I worked the night shift in a very, very old house that was allegedly haunted. I was the only person in the house at night, and I worked there for two months, and never experienced so much as a drop in temperature. Experiencing a ghostly presence was definitely not the adventure I thought it would be--guess it's time to rethink my dream career of being a ghost hunter.

Just when I was ready to really panic, my friends Julia and Katie arrived home (they stayed out a little later). That caused a momentary distraction/relief, although I unfortunately had to open the door for them, thus exposing myself to the stereotypical under-the-bed foot grab. However, their comforting presence died down when they went upstairs, and Ashley and I were left alone, once again, with Heavy Breather McGee.

I like to think that Sam and Dean Winchester secretly arrived and ganked the ghost, but Ashley said she heard the noise many times throughout the night. Somehow, we both survived and made it to the dawn. Ashley helped take my mind of things by first telling me the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, followed by the tale of Felicity, an American Girl. Eventually, I drifted off to sleep (although I think we may have left a lamp on). This is why Ashley is my best friend and Maid of Honor. I know I can count on her to calmly and rationally explain the presence of a spirit, and keep me from doing anything rash, such as calling the cottage's emergency number, asking the owner where she keeps her supply of rock salt, and if there happen to be any restless spirits buried on the property.


We will have no ghost nonsense going on here!
I still refuse to dig deeper into the history of the place where we stayed, to see if there are any stories. I would rather not know. Instead, I will take my one encounter with a ghost, and hope that it never happens again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bachelorette Festivities

I realize there has been a bit of time since my last post, but I have been very busy with my BACHELORETTE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The lovely decor in our cottage.
Our destination for the trip was Key West. We stayed for a long weekend (Thursday night-Sunday), and returning to reality Monday morning was quite the downer. I'm also feeling sad because I miss my friends. Everyone is scattered about the United States, so I don't get to see them as often as I would like. However, I was quite happy to be reunited with my fiance Sunday night--so I really experienced a raging, internal conflict of emotions.

The trip got off to a good start when our rental company upgraded our minivan to a suburban. You know how I feel about all things baller, so I was pleased as punch to be riding around in a black suburban with black leather and tinted windows.
Parking Big Bertha was no easy feat.

We didn't arrive to Key West until about 2am, after quite the ride which consisted of topless women, toddlers walking on top of parked cars, and a body lying in the back of a pickup truck (still undetermined if the person was napping or permanently sleeping...maybe we should have memorized that license plate number?). We also encountered a slight hiccup once we arrived, when we accidentally locked ourselves out of the cottage. I tried to pick the lock with my bobby pin to no avail--Sam and Dean Winchester make it look so easy! Good thing there was a master key in the lockbox, otherwise we would have been sleeping poolside. 

Friday was spent relaxing by the beach and the pool. Did I mention the tiny little pool that was in our courtyard? It was just the right size. Also, no pool hours were posted...better believe we used that sucker any time of day! 

Chillin out maxin, relaxin all cool
Friday evening, the other ladies arrived, and that's when the party began! It was time for games, shots, and all other kinds of shenanigans. 

Ready for my debut on Duvall!

Wearing a sparkly crown was a must.
We started out with a game at the cottage, and I like to call it "Know Ya Boo" (copyright Tom Haverford). Apparently, I don't know my boo, according to my bridesmaid Alison, who was in charge of the game. According to her, I lost. However, I maintain that I won, on the basis that most of the questions I got wrong were questions Alison made up.

Next, we hit up Duvall Street, which is basically the Bourboun Street of Key West. It was very vibrant (really the only way to describe it), and the perfect setting for the next game, which was a bachelorette scavenger hunt. I had two options: I could do everything on the list, win, and get a prize, or I could not do everything on the list, lose, and everyone would stop being my friend. Good thing I won! Some of the items on the list included: dancing on a bar, making a veil out of toilet paper, throwing a bridal tantrum on the dance floor, and pretending to fall asleep on the floor of a bar. Things not included on the list that also happened include: getting dollar bills thrown at me while singing karaoke (paid for the pedi-cab ride home!), singing a verse of "call me maybe" with a band that was performing that night, and making all the other bachelorette parties jealous. I currently don't have any appropriate photos I can post, but I will share them if any come available. 

Despite going to bed at 4am, we managed to drag ourselves out of bed the following morning and go snorkeling. This was my first time snorkeling (unless you count Disney World, which no one does), and it was very enjoyable. It was a little rough at times, considering the level of my  hangover amd the choppiness of the water, but all in all we had a lovely time. I saw lots of shiny fish, and I even saw a shark! Someone else on our boat saw a sea turtle, so I'm insanely jealous I missed out on that sighting. 
A slew of Scuba Steves.
After snorkeling, we had lunch, and several of us tried conch for the first time. Can't say that I'm overly fond of it, but it may have been the spices the restaurant used. Later that afternoon a few of us visited Ernest Hemingway's house. I'm not a fan of Hemingway's writing style, or his philandering ways, but he did have quite the lovely house when he lived in Key West. Also, Hemingway was apparently a cat lady. When he left, there were around 55 cats living on the property, and that number remains about the same (and most of them have six toes, just like the original). 
A six toed cat lounges by Hemingway's pool. 


Hemingway House


We ended the night with a delicious dinner and wandered around Duvall Street. I was wearing a sequined dress, so I felt the need to be seen. However, I would not recommend sequined dresses--they are actually quite painful to wear. I sustained several injuries throughout the night in that dress. We ended up at one bar, Zombie Bar, that seemed like a reenactment of Magic Mike. There were men dancing on bars EVERYWHERE. Some wore only underwear, some wore chaps, some wore nothing at all, and one guy was dressed as a vampire magician. It was quite the spectacle. 

My bachelorette party was absolutely amazing and awesome and wonderful. I can't thank my bridesmaids enough for throwing me such a fantastic party. I can't wait for our next sleepover...almost one month away!!!

p.s. There were many, many photos taken during this trip, but not by me since I no longer have a working camera. Once those pictures are available, I will post them, especially one of me in my sparkly dress, because I looked REALLY good.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Wedding Confessions

Today I am linking up with A Blonde Ambition for Confessional Friday. Why? Because today I am in a firestorm of a mood and I have things to say, that's why! 

First off, I must confess that wedding planning is no picnic. Take it from me, dear reader, it is not the pinterest-party-dream-board you may have imagined. You will have drama with your family, drama with your friends, drama with people you don't even know. You will cry over things not worth crying over (fondant), and obsess over the most trivial details (inner envelopes). The only reason I make it through any of these messes is through my wonderful fiance, who puts up with my crazy and always reminds me about the only thing that really matters: marrying your best friend. 


All that matters is your best friend, and a really awesome photo bomb.

And to further that rant, I also confess that I feel more like a firefighter than a bride-to-be (metaphorically speaking, of course). Every time one fire burns out, another takes its place. Let me throw you an example. Recently, the powers-that-be at Men's Wearhouse decided it would be a fun game to randomly delete groomsmen from our wedding party, then see how long it would take for me to crack (not long). Luckily, Matt saved the day on this one and I didn't have to deal with those monsters for the 500th time. However, as soon as that was fixed, I went to the mall the next day to pick up Matt's wedding band, only to discover that there was a misspelling on the inscription, which changed the meaning entirely. I cannot catch a break. 

I confess that I am beginning to go through my wedding to do list, and take an ax to things that are unimportant. Wedding license? Yes. Choreographed musical number for the wedding party? No.  

This next confession is not really wedding related, but I confess that I hate this election. Hate. It. Everybody and their brother fancies themselves a political genius--and believes it is their way or the highway. This morning, as I scrolled through my news feed on FB, at least five people were giving play-by-plays of the VP debate, complete with their own snarky comments. Vom. All. Over. That. 

I confess I am going to vote for Leslie Knope.


via

Lastly, I confess that I am absolutely over-the-moon about getting to marry Matty. He is my best friend, my other half, and the only person that can make me smile when I'm having a cranky day. I cannot wait for December 8th. 





That's all I have to say about that.
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