Monday, June 30, 2008

Save the Date!

Since our wedding is on a holiday weekend and is out of town, we figured most people would need to know well in advance of the invitations when and where we would be getting married. We sent these magnets out last summer to alert all our family and friends of our wedding plans!

Without "proof" across our foreheads of course....

I found a template I liked at Magnet Street Weddings, but their policy does not allow you to change the design in any way (unless you pay an additional fee to have an "original" magnet made). I didn't like that We're Getting Married, the date, and Save the Date were at the bottom, while the names and info were at the top (it just didn't seem logical to read it that way), plus I wanted an exclamation point after We're Getting Married. Okay, so maybe I was a bridezilla a year and a half ago.....

Anyway, I found a woman (Save the Date Originals) who would make exactly what I wanted for a much cheaper price. She did a really great job, consulted with me about the design, and was even pretty quick in getting them to us. We also ordered envelopes to send them in, with a return address printed on the back flap. I highly recommend her!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tasting the Menu

Out of all the wedding planning "things", Alson's favorite event (and it ranks up there for me as well) was definitely the tasting for the reception menu. We decided on a sit down dinner, so we had to choose one salad, two dinners with sides, and dessert. We were placed in a wine room at the hotel that housed one HUGE table, and we sat and ate as the chef presented a brief overview of each dish. It was like being on Top Chef, and we were the judges of all the delicious food. SO MUCH FUN!

In the end we chose this menu:

Pinehurst House Salad
Mixed Field Greens, Roma Tomatoes, Golden Raisins, Toasted Sunflower Seeds, and Alfalfa
Sprouts
Pinehurst Peach & Pecan Vinaigrette or Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette

Bourbon Shallot Glazed Filet Mignon
Shiitake Mushroom Demi Glace
Haricots Verts and Carrots
Shaved Ham and Stone Ground Grit Souffle


Strawberry Kiwi Crusted Tilapia
Key Lime Butter and Sweet Lemon Cream
Haricots Verts and Carrots
Parmesan and Basil Infused Duchess Potatoes


Wedding Cake
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Tasting the cake was also really yummy, and we got to keep the extra mini cakes they made for the tasting, but that we were unable to eat (we were really full by the end!). We decided on a four tiered square cake with two fondant ribbons around each layer and flowers on top. We are looking for a happy medium between these two pictures:


Photos from theknot.com

My advice for future tasters, definitely bring your appetite and have fun with the process! We felt like a King and Queen sitting at the huge table getting waited on and presented with the most wonderfully tasting dishes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pinehurst....and the Wedding Sites

My first of many scheduled posts! Here goes....

Since we first got engaged, many people have asked why we are getting married in North Carolina. Perhaps you are wondering too....

Pinehurst, NC is where my grandparents have a home, where I spent many summers/spring breaks/holidays vacationing and visiting family, and where we spent the weekend of our engagement. It is a super quaint village known for its world class golf courses and beautiful landscape. Ever since I was a little girl (I know, I know...so cliche) I wanted to get married there. When I first told this to Alson, he was more than happy to spend his wedding weekend at a place where he can play many rounds of golf.

Also, since I come from two huge families...we figured having a semi-destination wedding would "weed out" (omg I know that sounds terrible) the relatives who I don't really know, that would come to the wedding only because it was in my hometown (where EVERYONE lives) and was convenient. Alson and I are not looking to "meet people" the day of our wedding. The plan worked....we invited 305 and 158 have RSVPed that they will make the trip. So back to Pinehurst....


The wedding will take place at the Village Chapel, which is situated on the village green (not the best shot, but the only one I could find).
Photo from Hagan & Hagan

A cocktail party and dinner reception will follow at The Carolina Hotel, right around the green from the chapel.

Photo from www.oc-usa.com

Can't wait to see better pictures of these places with Alson and I in them!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Next Time You Hear From Me (Sort Of), I'll Be A Mrs.

Since I will most definitely not be bringing a laptop to NC or on our honeymoon, I have decided to do the auto post thing that Britni introduced me to when she went on a cruise last month.

My parents are stopping in DC this weekend, Alson's sister and parents are stopping in on Monday, and then we are headed to Pinehurst on Tuesday.....so it is about time I start working on the posts I will schedule for when we are off getting married and then relaxing on the beach.

Since I ventured into the blog world far into the wedding planning process and many of you don't know much about the details of our big day, I have decided to post mainly about different aspects of the wedding, or things leading up to the wedding. I will try to avoid any topics we have already covered in the past two months. Speaking of all those previous wedding posts...thank you all for the well wishes and tips to stay sane on the big day, I will definitely keep them in mind when I am breathing into a paper bag before I have to walk down the aisle.

Just kidding. I think.

So unless I get super motivated and decide to do a "live post" sometime before we leave for the wedding....this will be my last post as an unmarried gal. CRAZY!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let's Dish!

Last night I ventured out to Alexandria for an in-store session at Let's Dish!. For those of you who are not yet familiar with Let's Dish!, here is some information:

First, you choose your dishes from a menu when you sign up online for a session. You can choose to make 4, 8, or 12 dishes (4 Dishes -$100, 8 Dishes - $180, 12 Dishes - $240), the more you make the cheaper each serving (as low as $3.26).

I chose to make 4 dishes...

Caribbean Chicken Fingers with Parmesan Green Beans Chesapeake Bay CakesItalian Beef Saute with Farfalle Sizzling Chicken and Vegetable Fajita

Yes, all my dishes are pretty simple, but I didn't want to go in trying to work some elaborate recipe my first time. Now that I know what I am doing and can navigate all the stations, I will choose some more gourmet-like dishes. Each month their menu changes, so you have lots of options from session to session.

Each dish serves 4-6 people, so when you dish, you can bring a friend, split the bill and each make half servings of the dish for 2-3 people , or do what I did....split the meals and have meals for twice as many nights (this is called splitting). And, because Let's Dish! is super organized and easy, there are color coded recipes at each station for the full meal and the split meal. Or you could just make the full meal and feed a hungry husband/boyfriend/yourself/family etc.

The dishing process is fun, there are step by step directions for each recipe, the measuring utensils (also color coded) for each ingredient are provided, and each station houses the necessary ingredients (plus, you get to wear a funky apron and bandana). You then wrap, label (with cooking instructions), and put the entire dish (usually different parts are separated in smaller bags) in one large freezer bag, and your dish is ready to go (make sure you bring a cooler to transport all your dishes). Repeat the dishing process for the number of meals you ordered and Voila! you have meals that are pre-made and ready for freezing, refrigerating, and eating.

So now I have 7 meals (I didn't split the Chesapeake Bay Cakes...because it was my first recipe and I wasn't paying attention to the split vs. whole directions) that I plan on using this week and the week that we return from our honeymoon. Also, because I was part of the Metro Women's Group party, we all got a free desert dish, which is a great incentive to get 12 people together. There are seven locations around the metro DC region, and lots more around the country.

If you have never been to Let's Dish before and would like to get $10 off at checkout on letsdish.com, you can use the promo code NEWDISHERS and my email, jac0610@gmail.com, as the referral and you will get $10 off your order!

I will definitely be dishing again soon! It was fun, pretty economical, and a nice way to prepare meals ahead of time. Oh, and they had free coffee and tea, scones, brownies, and other treats for a little break between stations. A good incentive for me :)

Here is another more detailed review: http://nutrition.about.com/od/healthyfoods/gr/lets_dish.htm

Monday, June 23, 2008

Deep Breaths

Last night as I lay awake far later than I have in weeks (I have always had trouble falling asleep, but since moving to DC I have been sleeping better...seems odd I know, but it's true), I found myself having difficulty breathing.

I, of course, was going over the many wedding related details that still need to be addressed, which led me to start realizing that the wedding is seriously right around the corner. As in, next weekend. And, because we are getting married in NC, we are leaving a week from tomorrow to start attending all the many pre-wedding festivities. Yikes!

I don't know what exactly I am freaking out about, I am not worried about Alson and I or anything commitment related (which essentially is what is most important). It's more like all the hype of the last TWO YEARS is going to be gone in a flash, plus the fact that weddings are such a big deal and the fact that it is going to be all about us makes me slightly, okay quite nervous.

OMG...right as I finished typing that last sentence, my blackberry rang, alerting me to this email:

Jackson,
Unless there is an earthquake, don't sweat the little things that may come up on your wedding day.
We are looking forward to seeing the worlds most beautiful bride.
Love Ya,
Grandma & Grandpa Coughlin

Wow, that was just what I needed to hear! And I still can't get over the timing....

Anyway, just needed a second to express my thoughts/feelings.....now I will take some deep breaths and try not to sweat the little things.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thanks Garlic! And Caitlin!

Remember this post where I described the garlic incident from when Alson and I first started dating....

Well Caitlin from Food Nerd picked my story as one of the winners of her Blueberries on the Ceiling contest!

Can't wait to read my prize:
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, By Bill Buford.

Thanks Caitlin!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Just What I Need...More Shoes

I admit that I am a regular browser of the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy websites. I love the classic and chic style of Gap and Banana, and can always find some cool and cheap (regular priced) items at Old Navy. Plus, their websites always have great deals, and the free shipping for spending over $100 always entices me to look a little more so it puts me over the limit.

The use of my Gap card at Banana Republic while in Georgetown a couple weeks ago qualified me for a $20 reward certificate, so last night I browsed for some more honeymoon apparel. I found a lot of cute stuff, but nothing I had to have, so instead of buying the four things in my shopping cart, I settled for just one pair of shoes, because I couldn't resist.


They were on sale for $70, down from $100....and I had my $20 coupon. Sold!

I guess I will have to go through my current shoe collection and find one pair that I can get rid of, because I certainly don't have room for more shoes in my tiny closet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Extensions Solve All Hair Problems

After yesterday's hair cut and the realization that I may not have the hair do I imagined for the day of my wedding, I decided I needed to look into extensions. Getting them professionally done ranges anywhere from $800 to $1000 around DC and that is just wayyy out of my price range, so I googled the nearest Sally Beauty Supply for a little DIY project.

They had lots to chose from, and I was able to get two separate clip in extensions for only $60 dollars. I decided it would be weird if I had short hair for all the pre-wedding festivities, then suddenly had long flowing locks the day of the wedding....so I got one straight and one curly.

The straight one is a Revlon Length + One Piece Synthetic Hair Extensions. Sally's only had the 18 inch extension (not sure if there are other lengths), but when I first put it in Alson told me it looked like a mullet. I then spent an hour cutting and layering so that it would look natural when clipped in. I think I did a pretty good job considering I am not a hairstylist. This type of extension is similar to how Jessica Simpson's Hairdo extensions work, with a cap and snap clips, but was significantly cheaper. Here is a shot of my new straight hair:

I don't have a "before" shot....but if you can imagine, my actual length is at the shortest layer...about chin length.

The curly one is a Put On Pieces Ponytail Hair Extension. I figured my hair would be up anyway, so a simple clip in ponytail extension would be easy to integrate into a pretty updo. I will probably have the ponytail pinned up, but at least the added length will be there to give me some volume. Here is a shot of my curly hair (taken at the Tidal Basin with my cell phone):

Even if I don't actually use them for the wedding, (I am waiting for more critical people to examine them....i.e. my bridesmaids), they were only $60 dollars! Bottom line....hair crisis averted!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Vicious Hair Cycle

I hate getting my hair cut. I usually put it off for as long as possible. But my hair was really thin on the ends....a sign that it has been far too long since my last cut, so I figured I should probably suck it up and go get my ends trimmed before the wedding. I have been searching for a semi-reasonable hair salon (I have read so many Yelp reviews I can barely keep all the different salons straight) since we moved, and finally decided that everywhere has good reviews and bad, so I might as well go somewhere close to home.

I finally decided on Subairi Salon because it is right next to the place where I have been tanning, and Lexi told me they have a first time client special. The salon was cute, albeit dead (my appointment was 1pm on a Wednesday), and overall I had a good experience. The lady who cut my hair was pretty quiet, but I'm not usually a chatterbox with strangers so it didn't really bother me. My $50 dollar cut was knocked down to $45 with the new client special, not nearly the wallet dent I was expecting!

Sounds like a nice experience, yet I (ALWAYS) have cutter's remorse. The last time I got my hair cut was in December, so of course I had some pretty serious split ends. I asked for a trim, but probably got a good inch to an inch and a half chopped off because that is how much needed to be cut for my hair to be healthy. Booo! I wanted my hair to be long and easily style-able for the wedding!

I don't know why I can't break myself of this vicious cycle....I get a cut, they cut more than I wanted because my hair is unhealthy, I refuse to get my hair cut for a long time because I don't want to have that happen again, 6 months go by, hair is nasty again, get a cut....you get the picture. This wasn't so bad back in the day when I had long hair, but since I chopped off my hair back when I started working in a high school in an effort to not look like a student*, the cycle has been more traumatic.

Clearly this could be solved if I went more often and didn't let it get to the point where a ton of hair needs to be cut, but because I have never experienced this...I am not sure that going every 2 or 3 months will result in actual "trims". But I really do want to grow my hair out again (and I had wanted to for the wedding, but I guess that is just not in the cards) so I think I need an intervention. Anyone want to let me in on their hair growing secrets?

*I now feel like I can hold my own with the high school students and don't need short hair to assert that I am an adult.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Monkey Wrench Has Been Thrown

We are getting married in 20 days. Yesterday I was excited, today I am wishing it was 200 days away.

My dad called me this morning to tell me he and my mom spent all day yesterday in the emergency room.....my mom blew out her knee. OMG, WHAT? Apparently she was just walking yesterday and heard a pop. As quick and simple as that.

She has had a lot of problems with her legs and feet in the past; she had surgery last May (we thought the problems had been corrected) and has been going to physical therapy a couple times a week after she started having pain in her knees a few months after the surgery. Also, she now only wears orthopedic approved shoes (something that no one can be happy about).

She cannot put any weight whatsoever on that knee, and because of the problems she has had in the past, and the potential for blowing out her other knee if she puts too much pressure on it, crutches are not an option. She is currently in a wheelchair, which will likely be her method of transportation for the next few months, and doped up on Vicodin for the pain. There is no possible way she could have the surgery she now needs and be healed in under three weeks.

I can't believe this happened so close to our wedding, now I feel terrible and as if she won't be able to enjoy herself. I guess no more unity candle because she won't be able to get up on the alter, no dancing at the reception (big sad face), we probably shouldn't leave our hyperactive dog with them while we are on our honeymoon (she looooooves dog sitting), I doubt we will be able to have our mother/daughter spa day the Wednesday before the wedding, all the pictures with the constant reminder of the injury and how it changed her participation in the wedding....the list goes on and on.

And now the text she just sent me has me reduced to tears:
"Just want to let you and Alson know everything will be fine. I will not let you two down. Lots of peeps to help if needed! I will do the wheelchair rock if I have too!"

So I guess that the wedding plans will be turned on their head a bit, but hopefully our family (both old and new) will be able to persevere and still make it as special as we always dreamed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Impropmtu Alley Party

The school psychology Praxis II is one of the required components of all graduate school psych programs. This morning at 7:30 AM, yes 7:30 AM...I had to take this licensure exam at the University of Maryland so that I am eligible to be licensed once I complete my year long internship. I didn't really study because I spent the last two years fully immersed in all things school psych, which I felt has more than prepared me for the life of a school psychologist. I did not however, plan on having a hangover when I took the test, so now I am unsure of how well I performed.*

So how did I end up with a hangover the night before an important and very early test? Alson usually takes Kona out at around 5 0'clock, (We have finally got her on a three times a day schedule!) and last night he happened to go out the back door of our building so that Kona could be in the less traveled alley. Four of our neighbors as well as a neighbors friend were all sitting out back in the alley having an impromptu happy hour get together. I know, the alley sounds like a gross place to hang out, but ours is actually nicely shaded with trees and all the neighbors we met have the entrances to their condos back there and it is nicely kept. I did not, however, know that it was the cool hangout in our building. The way our apartment is situated, we can enter from either the front or the back, and we just never happened to see anyone out there if we did use the back door.

Anyway, Alson called me out so we could finally meet some of our neighbors, and I was offered a beer. We sat out back (antique folding chairs and a large patio table umbrella provided for a nice atmosphere) and met a bunch of other neighbors on their walk home from work, as they were headed out for the night, etc. etc. Well one beer turned into two, two turned into a glass of wine, and before you know it we were eating pizza with one set of neighbors at Dupont Italian Kitchen...and it was 11 o'clock. Yikes! I like ran home, chugged water, took some Advil, and went straight to bed so that I wouldn't be miserable when 6 AM rolled around. False, I felt terrible this morning.

Now don't get me wrong, it was really great meeting everyone and I had a TON of fun chatting with everyone, but somehow time flew by, we didn't eat dinner and I ended being drunk instead of in bed getting a good night's rest before the big test. You would think that I would be able to control myself and take responsibility of my drinking, right? Well I have rationalized that being bombarded with potential friends is definitely not something we experience everyday, and we just couldn't afford to turn down the opportunity to hang out and get to know some new people. And although it came at a terrible time in terms of "professional" responsibility, it was perfect timing for our social life (or lack there of) because I was seriously starting to get discouraged with DC and I have been missing my friends back in NC and NY terribly. So here is to hoping that we will hang out with the neighbors again and that I get licensed!

*Honestly, the test was not that difficult and I do know my stuff, I am probably just overacting and being a basketcase.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Brief Trip to Bridezillaland

This past weekend we ventured back to NY to attend Alson's college roomate's wedding. I won't go into detail about the entire weekend, but since we are getting married in a little over 3 weeks, I can't help but bring up a few important points, and discuss my brief trip into Bridezillaland.
  • Alson was part of the wedding party so I spent all afternoon Friday (while the boys were getting tuxes and doing other groomsmen things) and all day Saturday (before, during, and a good two hours after the wedding) either by myself or with other girls I didn't know. Luckily one of the other groomsmen's dates was pretty cool, but still I was really sad I didn't get to spend much time with Alson, especially during the actual wedding when I was feeling a little anxious and emotional. Now I feel kind of bad for my wedding party's dates.
  • Speaking of the actual wedding....it was 95 degrees out, and the church was not air conditioned. Pretty much everyone in there was dripping sweat. The poor bride and groom were constantly dabbing themselves with a handkerchief. I was stuck to the pew more than once and my silk dress had some pretty severe pit stains. Gross. Most of the guests stopped back at the hotel to either take a shower or freshen up before the reception. Note to self...ensure the air conditioning is on and blasting at our wedding.
  • The bride and groom took dance lessons so that they would be able to Waltz during their first dance. It was really cute. But in general, the whole first dance thing seems drawn out and too awkward for my liking.
  • The place where they had the reception was a beautiful two level cabin style reception hall with a large deck that over looked a pond. It was stunning, especially when you walked in on the second level and saw the tables and decor set up one level below....however, I am convinced that the deck worked to their disadvantage. It made the reception essentially split into two parties. One out on the deck and one in the actual place. It was so nice to be out on the deck that we (and all the rest of the 20 somethings) pretty much stayed out there all night.
  • Immediately after the "cake" cutting (they actually had cupcakes) there was a fireworks show. It was pretty cool, but I was secretly jealous throughout the entire display.
Honestly, now I am concerned about our wedding and how it will "stack up". Throughout the whole weekend I couldn't help but think "Hmm...I wish I thought of that, I wish we were doing this differently, our will be better than what they did." Terrible, I know, but I can't help but compare what was at their wedding and what will be at ours.

What I hate the most is that I know this is childish, and what is most important about our wedding is Alson and I and our commitment to one another, not all the hoopla....but, I admit I am human. I have tried so hard not to be a bridezilla and until this weekend, I think I have done a pretty great job. I don't want to lose sight of what matters this close to the big day.

So, now that I have that out of my system, I am ready to refocus on what is important to me and what will make my day special.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oh What a Night!

Thank you to everyone for all the birthday and engagement anniversary wishes!

Last night was really great, it was nice to have a relaxing dinner at a new restaurant and a few drinks at our favorite neighborhood hangout.

I wore the beautiful dress Alson bought me.....and got pesto spread on it within the first 5 minutes of the bread being served. I was so upset! I never spill anything on myself and I was convinced the dress was ruined. However, the way we were situated in a corner of the restaurant prevented others from seeing it, so I tried to let it go and not worry about it during dinner. After dinner, we stopped back home to see if we could get the stain out. Enter Joseph A. Bank Silk and Clean.

Alson's mother bought him these "stain remover for silk" wipes, (that basically look like Shout Wipes) for Christmas, and he had one left! I literally followed the directions and the stain was gone in less than a minute, with the "magic solution" already evaporated and no trace of anything ever being on the dress. Like, not even a wet spot. UNBELIEVABLE! I will be buying more of these ASAP.

We then headed out for some cocktails. As all of the DC bloggers are aware, a severe thunderstorm (or four) passed through the area last night. Throughout the thunderstorms we were on the patio of Jack's (under an awning and away from the edge...which was the best seat for an awesome view of the storms and the poor people stuck on the street when there were sporadic torrential downpours). Now if you had asked me three or four years ago what I would be doing during a severe thunderstorm....I can tell you with certainty it would not involve being anywhere near windows, let alone outside. I have come a long way in four short years, summers in North Carolina have shaken the scaredy cat out of me. Granted, I won't be standing in the middle of the street holding an umbrella, but I can now appreciate the craziness of Mother Nature and enjoy the visual and auditory stimulation of a good thunderstorm. There were a few thunderous booms that had the whole restaurant jumping, but everyone stayed safe and continued to enjoy their evening.

All in all it was a fantastic birthday/anniversary. The thunderstorm was entertaining, we made (temporary) friends with some of the other patio dwellers, and I got many compliments on my dress. And our favorite waiter also gave us complimentary tiramisu and strawberries. Yum!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday! Yay!

To celebrate this afternoon, Alson and I ventured out to Pentagon Row and the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City to do a little birthday shopping. First we hit up the Denim Bar, thanks to a tip from Magda, and I found a really cute pair of jeans. Not the ones I previously blogged about....they didn't have my size, but a pair of Joe's.


Alson also bought me this beautiful dress to wear to dinner tonight. I love it so much I may even wear it to the rehearsal dinner.


The back is what makes the dress! I love the braids, which also go around the halter in front, and end with two jewels.


I also got some great sale items at JCrew and Banana Republic. We could have shopped for hours at the mall...especially with that air conditioning!

Today is also the two year anniversary of our engagement, so we have a lot to celebrate!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Virtual Train Mii

We had another crazy busy weekend, but we have finally made it back to DC. We attended Alson's college roommate's rehearsal dinner and wedding in Syracuse on Friday and Saturday...but more on that later this week.

I'm hear today to plug Wii Fit!

My parents bought it for me for my birthday and it is so awesome! I bought Alson a Wii for his birthday back in February, and the sports game definitely proved to be a good workout. Now we can continue to work on our health with Wii Fit, as it provides you with a virtual personal trainer, your stats (weight, BMI, etc.), and even allows you to make goals for weight loss or maintenance. You can do yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance exercises to work toward your goals.

Luckily my BMI is normal, but my muscles are apparently a little weak, so I plan to strengthen up!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Honeymoon Outfits

Recently, Alson and I have been shopping for clothes we can wear on our honeymoon in St. Lucia. While on our denim expedition the other day I happened to find a really cute dress at Shake Your Booty on 18th St. It is light and airy and oh so cute. The top part is linen, even though it actually looks shiny in the picture. I'm so excited to wear it to a romantic dinner on the beach!
I also found a really cute Lilly polo on clearance at the Village Palm. I couldn't resist the sale and I think the top with a pair of khaki capris (or maybe the new pair of jeans I am hoping to find), it will make a nice casual night outfit.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wine Tour

As part of our (prior) weekend of wedding festivities, we took a wine tour along Seneca Lake with some of my family and a few of our friends. Since we moved to NC after graduating college (making some new friends down there) and a lot of our friends who went to college with us moved elsewhere after graduation, it was hard to get a large group together in one place before the wedding, but it was still a lot of fun with the 6 or so friends that were able to take the tour! My family helped make the trip memorable as well....more on that in a minute.

We all boarded a bus the Sunday before Memorial Day so we could enjoy ourselves (i.e. drink lots and lots of wine) at each winery. The tip of the lake is about an hour from my parents house, making for a nice ride on the way up. While on the bus, Alson and I were surprised with some marriage guidelines, each one with an accompanying gift for each of us. I won't go into detail about each gift....but we did get some blindfolds, a feather boa, some advil, massage oil....you get the idea. Taking the bus was a great idea, we were even allowed to drink on it!



Me and My BFF. And yes, I was forced to wear a "Bride" hat.

The tastings at each winery were all a little different. Some were pretty formal where they talk about the winery and the grapes and yada yada yada. Yawn! One winery we went to had a guy playing the guitar, including "Going to the Chapel" for myself and another group celebrating upcoming nuptials. The funnest winery we visited was Hazlitt Vineyards, which is well known in upstate NY for Red Cat (very funny tale of the wine). We had to learn a cheer and all chanted before toasting and drinking our tasting. The cheer goes like this:

Red Cat, Red Cat

It's an aphrodesiac

Red Cat, Red Cat

It will get you in the sack!

HILARIOUS. Some of my relatives were starting to get out of control at this point (it was the second to last winery we visited) and really got into the cheer. I think they also had an orgasm contest where whoever had the most "orgasmic tasting" got a free bottle of wine from the other contestants. Classy, I know.

We ended up buying a few bottles of wine at the many wineries, including a big bottle of Red Cat with a secret Jell-O shot recipe and all the necessary ingredients. I think I may make them when we got home from our trip this weekend in preparation for my birthday!


All in all, the wine tour was a lot of fun, and if you are ever in the Finger Lakes region of NY you HAVE to take one!

One Month!

One month until our wedding! I can't believe it's almost here. We will have been engaged for two years on Tuesday (also my birthday), so it has been a long time coming! I am so excited, but also starting to get nervous and jittery about everything falling into place. Up until now I have been a backseat bride, letting my mom and the wedding planner do the brunt of the work. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted when Alson and I first got engaged, so it was easy to let them work it all out. I always had the initial and final say on the details, but I was so busy with school and work that wedding planning wasn't a high priority on my list. My thought process has been that no matter what, it will all be beautiful and there is no sense dwelling and stressing too much.

I also need to get working on my Between Me and You Honey Journal. You can read about our wedding presents here. I can't wait to share our entries with each other.

I need another OMG moment! It's so close! Yay!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dem Jeans

A couple weeks ago I came home from my first book club meet-up and noticed that I had a large rip in my favorite pair of 7 Jeans. I have no idea what happened, but it looked as though the jeans got caught on something sharp and ripped cleanly down the right seat. I left them sitting on the couch for days (I had them for like 5 years and had difficulty parting ways) and recently threw them in the trash because they were not fixable.

Since my birthday is on Tuesday, Alson decided that he wanted to buy me a new pair of jeans. Today we ventured into Adams Morgan because we read there was a denim boutique called Screaming Denim that (obviously) specialized in designer jeans. And it had lots of great reviews. Perfect! Except that when we showed up it was closed, as in there was nothing inside the store.

We stumbled upon Nana, a cute boutique on U Street, and they had a pair of Kasil Jeans that looked awesome on, but were probably 4 inches too long. And Kasil only makes jeans with 34" inseams. Gah! I really liked them because they are kind of stretchy so they form fit, perfect for my bubble butt.


We found another store (maybe on 13th and S), and when I asked the lady if they had any jeans with a shorter inseam, she said a lot of designers are only making jeans with 34" inseams to cut costs. Not good for people who aren't 5'10". I may go back to Nana, buy them, and get them tailored...but that's more money.

Anyone know of some cute boutiques? Or stretch-type jeans I may like? Or a tailor that won't cost an arm and a leg?


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bridal Tea

I haven't had a chance to really talk about the bridal tea or the wine tour (more on that tomorrow) that took place on our trip back to NY. We are headed back to NY again this weekend for a friend's wedding...so in an effort not to confuse everyone with the two trips, I better get typing about our first NY adventure....well since Christmas.

The bridal tea was way better than I imagined. I was quite nervous about the whole bridal shower thing in general, just because I didn't want it to be cheesy and I am not one that craves attention (at least not sober and in front of random relatives). Luckily I think my family and friends realized this and they were able to make it as least anxiety provoking as possible. Kudos to them.

There were antique teapots and tea sets at each table, with extra tea cups and plates serving as centerpieces as well as housing the desserts. It was a traditional lady's tea; scones, strawberries, and cheese for the first course, little sandwiches cut out as pretty shapes for the second course, and dessert for the third course. So lovely and yummy!

We didn't play any silly games, which also made me happy. While I opened many wonderful presents, my aunt (matron of honor) set a timer....if the timer went off when I was opening your present, poof! You won a prize! My flower girl (cousin) was seriously worried that she wouldn't get a prize. She stayed close and kept asking when the timer was going to go off and if it was time to open her present. It was too cute!

My mother, of all people, was the only one to buy me lingerie. I was a little embarrassed, mostly because Alson's mother was in attendance...but my flower girl was quick in saying "that dress is a lot shorter than the one you are wearing," which of course made everyone burst out laughing. It is definitely short, but also beautiful and I love it! I'm sure Alson will too ;)

They also gave out roses to each guest as a favor, which doubled as a pretty table decoration.

And a backdrop for (part of) my wedding party's photo.

It was a really great day and I am so thankful to everyone that helped plan and organize the event!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Upstate NY Makes for Nice Photos

Since the move, I have not been participating in the Exposaroonie weekly challenges. Sad face. For the first two weeks I didn't unpack my laptop....and Alson's laptop doesn't have the necessary photo uploading programs for the pictures I did take. Plus, I was just too overwhelmed to partake in any challenges.

Recently I looked back to see what the challenges were.....and I was sad to find I missed the chance to submit some really nice nature photos we took while we were back in New York two weeks ago. So although I didn't submit my photos (and Alson didn't submit his....he took some great ones too!), I thought they were pretty enough to share with all of you. If you have never been to upstate New York, this is what you are missing!

Taughannock Falls...as seen from the falls overlook.


A view of Cayuga Lake


Lower Taughannock Creek (taken from the car while driving 55 mph...by the passenger, not the driver)


A winery along the Seneca Lake wine trail.

This area has so many photo opportunities I could waste a whole day taking pictures.

And one last photo to leave you with:
Kona illustrating what she thought of all the traveling we did that weekend.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Hilarious Story of a Kitchen Mishap

I read about a contest that Food Nerd was having on a post by my new favorite food photographer Adventures in Shaw. They both have lots of yummy sounding recipes. Anyway, the purpose of the contest is to disclose your most outrageous kitchen disaster. I, of course, have a mishap I would love to share with the blog world.

Back in early 2006, as you may know as a result of this post, Alson and I had just started dating. We had been out together a couple of times, but nothing "serious" had yet happened. One night we decided that we wanted to stay in, and what better way to get close than cook a nice, romantic meal together. Alson suggested Rachel Ray's You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta recipe, and as a sucker for Italian and vodka cream sauce, we headed to the grocery store for the ingredients and the liquor store for the vodka and some nice wine. After purchasing the needed items and returning to my apartment, we embarked on our pasta making excursion. Neither of us was much of a chef, so we relied heavily on the recipe to guide us to culinary heaven. Cue novice foodie.....

The recipe called for two cloves of garlic, so we bought two pieces of garlic. Makes sense right? Who really knows what I clove is anyway. We start mincing the two pieces of garlic....and 15 minutes later we are like damn...this is taking forever. We finally finish mincing... and throw TWO WHOLE PIECES of garlic into the pasta sauce.

I think we need an illustration: Whole piece of garlic on the left, clove of garlic in the middle....they are very different in size.


Neither of us is the wiser to the huge mistake we just made, so we continue flirting and pretending like we are vying for the title of Top Chef (which by the way is my favorite reality series). We finish cooking the pasta, pour some wine, and sit down to bite into our glorious dinner.

Let's now recall that we are newly dating and still in that "I don't want to say anything that may screw this up" phase. So we both eat the pasta without saying a word about the awful and overwhelming taste of garlic. I literally had to choke it down because it was so terrible. We both finish what is on our plate and refuse seconds "because we're full". We put the rest in Tupperware and I am pretty sure it sat in my refrigerator for the rest of the semester because I refused to eat it again.

A few weeks go by, and somehow the pasta and garlic incident comes up in conversation. We kind of beat around the bush about how it was a lot of fun cooking together, but that we both didn't really like the food, yada yada yada. We FINALLY realize that we put wayyyyyyyyy too much garlic in the pasta, probably 14 cloves instead of 2. So although the pasta was pretty much inedible, we weren't single for long and technically the recipe worked! I guess it was the thought, or the process that counted? Awwww, how sweet!?!

Needless to say, we are now both very aware of the difference between a clove and a whole piece of garlic....but after countless numbers of dinners made, we still haven't tried that recipe again.