Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back to School (This Time For Work) Shopping

I was planning to post about our weekend at my grandparent's cottage in Pennsylvania today, but since I forgot my laptop (which has the pictures already downloaded on it) and my camera cord (which would allow me to download the pictures onto Alson's laptop) at my parents house, I am forced to blog about another aspect of our week up north....shopping.

First we hit up Old Navy and I got these awesome shoes (in a deep blue color) for $16Then I saw this dress at Express, and decided I had to have it because it would go so perfectly with my new shoes (remember they are blue). Luckily my mom agreed, and bought it! I can't wait to wear it out...now I just need something to wear it to...

The next day we went to the mall, and Alson and I hit the motherload at the Gap. My favorite purchase was a pair of the boyfriend jeans (remember the commercials with Claire Danes?) that I got for $7. That is no typo, yes $7...because they are not made anymore and it was the last pair in the store. And the best part, they are a size 0! Now, I don't normally wear a size 0...usually a 2 or a 4, so don't hate me. Because of the price, color, and style (which I love) I forced those babies over my behind, which is quite voluptuous for a girl my size. Once I got them on (I had to make sure I didn't rip holes in the belt loops from pulling them so hard) they looked so awesome I thought Alson was about to have a When Harry Met Sally diner moment. These will be my Saturday jean. They are so casual and soft and kind of acid washed...in other words perfect with a classic white tee.

I also got another pair of darker straight leg jeans for $10 and a pair of khakis for $10. Alson got a pair of jeans for $18, a pair of khakis for $12, a t-shirt for $3, a long sleeved linen shirt for $12, a really nice windbreaker for $28, and a ribbon belt for $2.

Very successful trip to the Gap.

We then hit up JC Penny because they also had amazing sales, and I got some really cute separates that I can wear to work. My favorite purchase was this jacket (in deep red) :

Worthington® Sateen Belted Jacket

My other favorite purchase at JC Penny is this shirt (in deep yellow, which according to the JCrew catalog I received yesterday, is the "it" color this fall...yay!) :

Nicole by Nicole Miller® Peasant Shimmer Top

I won't bore you with my other work outfit purchases I am sure you all have similar items in your closet too. But, the best part about this shopping trip, no sales tax. Ahh I miss NY.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm No Fashion Expert, But.....

I am not sure if it is summer, the vacations, being away from home, or what....but I have been at a loss for blog topics lately. Like I said when I returned from our honeymoon, I don't want to ONLY post about the wedding and all related topics, and since that has continued to be a prominent part of life....I just haven't had any creative bursts.

Today on our drive back to DC I made a list of potential blog topics (because our week back in NY was full of fun adventures), but for now I must comment (very briefly) on Project Runway because I am really annoyed with two of the three eliminations.

Don't read ahead if you don't want to know who has been eliminated thus far....


Episode 1.... I think that Stella's garbage bag outfit was not even deserving of the runway show (um hello, she barely did anything), and although Jerry's outfit was definitely creepy, at least he created something! When he first was talking about making a raincoat out of a shower curtain I thought that was really clever. So perhaps I was routing for him.... Yes, he did not execute the design as well as he could have, but still....way better than the garbage bags. My bottom line: Stella should have been aufed.

As for episode 2....Wesley's dress did suck; sorry about your model's choice and amount of fabric. Oh, and I can't believe Stella's dress was in the top three. End discussion.

On to episode 3....First off, does anyone else have trouble distinguishing between two of the girls? The one who almost won, and the one who almost lost. Yeah me too. It makes me want to do something with my hair because, God forbid I be mistaken for some other mousy brown haired girl. Yes, I am aware of my mousy brown hair color, as I was reminded by my hair stylist the day before my wedding....but, more about her another day.

Back to episode 3....While watching the show I was very verbal about how much I hated Jennifer's dress, which makes me sad because she is from my neck of the woods (upstate NY) and she designs as a "surrealist" (one of my fav artists is Dali). But sadly, her dress was just terrible. While Emily's dress had its flaws as well, I think it was at least "savable". And again, I can't believe Stella wasn't in the bottom three....granted I don't have a shred of punk in me, but am I missing something here? I also DID NOT LOVE Kelli's or Korto's designs; neither seemed inspired from their pictures and they were both extremes...Kelli's too busy and Korto's too boring (I did, however, appreciate a non-dress...a la Michael Kors's comment). My bottom line: Boo on tonight's episode.

As a result of the disagreements between myself and the judges, I want to boycott the show....but let's be honest, when Wednesday rolls around next week, I will be glued to the television again.....routing for Daniel, because I secretly love him.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Document This

When we were living in NC, we subscribed to Netflix as a way to get exposed to the "outside world" (poor NC, I make it sound a lot worse than it really is). One of our most commonly queued genres were documentaries. This morning as I was flipping through the channels at my parents house, I saw that An Inconvenient Truth was on, and it reminded me how much I miss watching films like that. When we return to DC after this mini-vacation, I think I am going to re-subscribe to Netflix (or perhaps the Blockbuster one) so I can rent away.

We really enjoy watching documentaries...even if we don't necessarily agree with the filmmaker's POV or agenda. I think it is good to hear multiple sides of a story and we both enjoy being informed. I always learn something new and like being exposed to domains I am not familiar with. Anyone else like them, or are we the weird couple?

Some that were informative and easy to watch:
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
The End of Suburbia
(I think this film influenced us to move into DC and not VA or MD suburbs)
Who Killed the Electric Car?
No End in Sight
A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash
Super Size Me (Watch this if you want to go on a diet, it will motivate you)
F**K
Wordplay


Some I didn't like (either the topic or style wasn't interesting to me):
Helvetica
The Secret
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

And a few I am looking forward to watching:
24 Hours on Craigslist
Maxed Out
Devil's Playground

Anyone have a recommendation? Or an opinion on any of these films?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On The Road Again

Instead of sticking around DC for the weekend, Alson and I decided to pack up the car again (we were in NC on Monday and Tuesday) and head back to NY for our last getaway of the summer.

We are going to my family's cottage in Northern PA on Friday and Saturday and playing in a golf tournament on Sunday. It should be a fun weekend!

We rationalize spending money on gas because we won't pay for much else the rest of the time we are in NY. My mom's new favorite quote: "When your dad and I were first married we didn't have much money so grandma and grandpa would always help us out with food and stuff. Someday you can do it for your own children too." Plus, it will be the first time we will be back in NY without a laundry list of wedding related things to attend. I know everyone will be happy to sit back, relax, and just enjoy each other's company. And who doesn't love hanging out with their family!?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Done!

I survived!

I was quite nervous at the beginning...but about 10 minutes into my presentation I calmed down and rocked it! I can't believe how well I did (sorry for the self-promotion!). Well actually I can believe how well I did, I spent a year and a half working on my thesis, and after hours and hours devoted to writing, research, experimenting, and perfecting.... I KNEW what I was talking about.

So despite the many horror stories I heard about people falling apart and getting grilled to the point of submission, I find that if you go into the defense with a thorough understanding of your statistics, theories, and "what it all means", you will be okay. Because you will surely be asked about all three of those points and will need to demonstrate that you have a grasp on them. In regards to the actual experiment/participants/procedure/etc., I think it should be a given that you would be able to discuss this stuff, I mean c'mon....you ran the experiment right? If not, you probably aren't ready to defend. And there is nothing wrong with waiting until you do fully understand....well unless you have to graduate or go on internship or something, but that is a whole other can of worms.

Sure, some of the questions my committee asked had me sweating for a hot second, but after taking a breath and telling myself "you know this, just think before you speak" I was able to put together a well thought out response that showed I was capable of doing and understanding research. And for the one question I didn't know how to respond to, I fed the committee member's egos, said I wasn't sure, and asked for guidance and an explanation on how I could better understand. Because, let's face it, graduate students aren't supposed to know everything. Despite what we all may think....just kidding. But, seriously :)

So for now, I celebrate!! Maybe some other day I will elaborate on the experience....but overall, I would say it was a big success!

Waiting....

I am sitting in the room where I will defend my thesis in less than an hour. Just waiting...

I can't figure out how to connect my laptop to the projector in the room, so despite arriving early in an effort to set everything up and be ready when my committee shows up....looks like I will have to wait and see if they can help me. And since it is summer, there aren't any random tech folks just roaming around either, so there is no hope that I could snag one of them and have them hook me up.

Sigh....

Well I suppose I should read over my thesis one more time to ensure that I know it forwards and backwards. UGH, I can't wait until this is over!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Adventures in Eating

This weekend I ventured outside my comfort zone and ate at Lalibela, an Ethiopian restaurant.

Let me tell you....this was a biiiiiig deal. Until about 3 years ago, I only ate fruits and (raw) veggies, chicken, pasta (usually without sauce), and sometimes a steak if my grandpa thought I was looking too thin. I am very picky, and once I find something I like I usually don't try new dishes. After meeting Alson and later moving away from my hometown I started getting a little more adventurous (by that I mean eating more like an adult), but still nothing very exotic.

Now that we live in DC and are surrounded by ethnic restaurants, we felt it was necessary to start developing my palate. Alson loves spicy foods so I now enjoy food with a little heat, and also recently ventured into the world of Thai food thanks to Raku and The Regent. At both places I have only tried the Pad Thai (refer back to the last paragraph and the "picky" sentence....maybe someday I can grow out of that too), but I liked them both very much. The one at Raku even had tofu in it, albeit fried, but I thought it was quite yummy!

Anyway, back to Ethiopian and how I came to eat spongy bread and lamb, among other things....

Our neighbors invited us to have dinner with them and their friends who were visiting from London. Their one friend used to live in DC and frequented Ethiopian restaurants. Apparently there is not good Ethiopian cuisine in London, so on their list of things to do was eat Ethiopian food. I was pretty scared when they were describing the communal nature of the dishes and the use of your hands to eat the food, as well as the prominence of lentils and beans (are lentils beans?) in all dishes. Despite my initial queasiness, I decided to suck it up and accompany my husband (!) and our new friends to dinner.

I must say it was quite the experience! The spongy bread is like no carb I have ever tasted before, but it worked with the different entrees we ordered. Speaking of the entrees, they all came on one huge platter for everyone, and you just kind of ate what you liked. Ripping off the bread and using it as a utensil was difficult at first, but eventually I got the hang of it and was eating like a pro. I personally liked the chicken (surprise right? in my defense, it was quite spicy), the lamb, spicy beef, split yellow peas, and (dun dun dun) the lentils. There was a mild beef, but I thought it kind of tasted like cotton candy, and there also was curried cabbage and carrots, but I didn't try that.* A girl can only be so adventurous in one night!

Picture from www.cooltownstudios.com

Overall, I would say the meal was a success....not to mention fun!

*I did promise Alson that I would try Indian food in the near future, so if anyone has any recommendations let me know!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tales of a School Psych(o)

Remember when I took the Praxis II quite hungover a month ago? Well I can finally stop worrying about having to retake the exam.....because......dun dun dun....I passed! With flying colors of course. I guess that is a good testament to my program, as I relied mostly on the knowledge I gained from the two years of classes and my year of practicum instead of studying. Now, I must say that the exam and the stuff I learned in school were similar. But (and this is a big but), the thing that annoys me about all the classes I took and the exam in general is that the scenarios are all too perfect and require best practice actions....but that is NOT what happened in my real life practice. So annoying. And after emailing with Ashley (a fellow school psychologist who found my blog) and hearing about her experiences thus far, she seems to think the same thing. So I hope that all the effort I have put into the last two years pays off in some other way than just helping me pass this exam. Rant ended.

Next up....I have to defend my thesis, which is what I will be doing Tuesday morning. Then I will be one step closer to being finished with grad school. In reality though, I still have my internship and have to make a portfolio showcasing all the things I have learned and can do. These will both take the entire school year to complete....so graduation still seems far away....in fact it is scheduled for May 8th. Which I see is a Friday. That is pretty annoying. Oh well, I will deal with that when it arrives.

Until then, I must start preparing for my defense so that I rock!

P.S. Sorry for being crabby, I have bad cramps and have a pounding headache....which apparently translates into less than happy blog posts, despite initially planning to be excited about passing my exam!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm Baaaaaaack

I'm here....and I'm married! Yay!

The other day I spent most of my time in the San Juan and Miami airports reading up on what I missed while I was off getting hitched and enjoying my first week of married life, so some of you may have heard from me before today....but I am officially throwing my life back into the blog world as of now. And today is the perfect day to re-start active posting, as I just spent the day trouncing around DC changing my name with social security, the DMV, the bank, etc., so it really really is official and almost all things wedding related are over. Okay, I may be a little sad about that....so what better way to deal with the post-wedding blues than reminisce.

In a nutshell....IT WAS AWESOME! Everything went off without a hitch and we both had the best day of our lives. Actually, the whole week before the wedding was amazing, as was our honeymoon, and our first home cooked dinner as married couple (which we had last night). I haven't decided how I am going to officially report on the wedding....I don't want it to be all that I blog about, but I am not sure if I can fit everything I want to say in just one post either. I may be researching into other bloggers archives to see how they handled the plethora of things I'm sure all married girls want to share after their wedding.

But for now.....

I will leave you with a couple of the pics our family and friends took:

*Unfortunately there were no cameras allowed in the chapel (except the photographer) so except for a few blurry and not well lit shots people took from their pews, we will all have to wait for the photographer's pictures of the actual ceremony. Sad face.


Walking out of the church

Taking pictures on the golf course after the ceremony

Our first dance


Everyone on the ground with the lead singer of our band during the "whisper " part of Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes (there will be a post to praise the band...they ROCKED!)

The band rocked so hard, that everyone was a sweaty mess....including myself!
Classic Journey dancing and singing

More to come soon!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I don't think I got a chance to post pictures of our apartment once we got all settled and unpacked all the boxes. So, what better time to post pictures of our home, than when we return from our honeymoon, as a newly married couple!

If you remember from this post (I guess I should have titled the current post Adventures in Moving: Part Two), we were quite stressed when we moved to DC. It took a while to finally pull the apartment together, but now it looks like this:

The Bedroom

The Bathroom

Those silver boxes are actually tissue covers that we turned upside down and backwards (they have the word "tissues" written on the front) to use for storage.

The Kitchen
The Living Room
The Dining Nook

Hope you enjoyed the tour! As you can see, we had to get creative with our storage and with the placement of furniture. Although our place is small, it lives a lot bigger than the square footage, and I truly love our new home!

Oh, and this is the last of my pre-scheduled posts...so tomorrow, or whenever I get a chance to sit down and reflect on the last two weeks, I will post on how everything went!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Can't Wait to See Kona!

Today we are flying back from St. Lucia. We decided to only honeymoon for a week because we couldn't stand being away from our dog any longer. Sad and pathetic? A little, but she is part of our family! And how could you not miss this face?!

I bet she will be really excited to see us too. My parents took her to North Myrtle Beach, SC for the week, and although I am sure she had a lot of fun and got spoiled to death, doesn't everyone love that first night sleeping in your own bed again? I know I do!

I can't wait for a big family reunion snuggle!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wedding Party Gifts

My gift to my bridesmaids was an embroidered bag, with a matching make-up case. I couldn't leave my flower girl out, so she got an embroidered mini-bag (and yes, those are her actual initials):

I know the blue is not one of our wedding colors, but the pink and green bags I found were very pastel-y, and obviously wouldn't match our bright color scheme. Honestly, I thought the pink and green looked too much like a diaper bag....not the idea I was going for! So, I opted for the bright blue instead.

Alson chose to give his groomsmen embroidered beer mugs:

And our ring bearer got a bat with his name engraved on it:

Photo from personalizationmall.com

I hope everyone loves their gifts!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Different Take on the Guest Book

Instead of doing a traditional "sign your name" guest book, I wanted something that was more personal and that we would actually look at in the future. While browsing theknot.com one day, I came across these pictures and thought this was the cutest idea!

Here is what the big frame says:

And an example of one of the cards the guests filled out:


We bought white card stock, black frames, a big glass goblet, and some pens...and with the help of my computer and printer we had our guest book. In addition to the "make a wish" card, I also made "share your advice" and "make a prediction" cards. I can't wait to see what all the guests wrote, and to make the cards into a nice scrapbook style guest book!

Photos from theknot.com

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thank You Cards

A week before my bridal tea, my mom found these thank you cards at Wegmans:


When we first ordered the invitations I wanted to get the matching thank you cards, but my mom put her foot down. She said they didn't need to match and we could just get some simple ones that weren't like $100 dollars for 50. I was kind of mad at the time.....

These were only $6 for 20 cards. And can you believe how well they match the invitations and ceremony programs?!

Oh Mom, why do you always have to be right? :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

DIY Ceremony Programs

My mom has three sisters, and all of them were actively involved in the the wedding planning. It is because of them that I was able to be pretty hands-off (which was great while I was super busy finishing grad school/looking for apartments/being supportive while Alson applied for law schools/moving/etc.).

For example, the three sisters, my mom, and grandmother all got together a couple weeks ago (so sad I couldn't be there) to put together our programs. With a little card stock, ribbon, and a printer, they were able to make these:


Which, if you remember from this post, match our invitations:


And yes, they basically made the programs themselves...so they were much, much cheaper than the invitations, or having them professionally printed. All that had to be bought from the manufacturer were the little cards to go on front, everything else you could find in a craft store.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flower Power

I was pretty laid back when it came to choosing my wedding flowers. I just went with the florist the hotel uses, Aldena Frye. I saw some of the pictures of her flowers and thought they were beautiful. Actually, the flowers on her homepage are the ones I asked her to replicate for my bouquet, with the rest of the flowers playing off that design.

The colors were brighter and more summery of course, but the kinds of flowers were the same. Here are some samples I gave Aldena illustrating the kinds of colors (first picture for the oranges, second picture for the pinks) I wanted in the flowers.


For the centerpieces, I asked for two different designs. Half of the tables had one centerpiece with the three mixed colors (pink, green, and orange) and the other half had a cluster of 3 vases with one different color in each vase. Kind of a play on these two pictures:


Pictures from brides.com and theknot.com

Do you love how I am talking as if this already happened? Well technically when you read this it will have, but to write like this seems strange....I hope I didn't jinx myself!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bridesmaid Dresses

I, perhaps, was the most indecisive bride when it came to choosing bridesmaid dresses. I had picked out multiple dresses in many different colors, always changing my mind at the last minute, luckily before anyone ordered anything. I didn't really want pink dresses (okay Alson didn't really want the wedding to be monopolized by the color pink, and I agreed), the orange dresses I found were a little too "construction cone" for my liking, and there just weren't very many pretty bright/light green dresses.

I had secretly been holding out for the new JCrew styles and colors (which FINALLY debuted in January...sorry to the wedding consultant I called and emailed multiple times a week), and when I did get my eyes on them I knew we had winners. I ultimately decided on silk chiffon dresses in aloe green, and let the girls choose which dress they would like to wear.

Three of the girls chose to wear this style:

Three chose to wear this style:

And one chose to wear this dress:

These green dresses with the bright pink and orange flowers? Gorgeous!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Honeymooning in St. Lucia

Today we left for our honeymoon in St. Lucia. We decided on Sandals because everything is included (food, drinks, and activities) and because there are three Sandals resorts on the island, and we can use all three! Of all the all-inclusive places we researched, Sandals had the best reviews by far! We are staying at the Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa.

I will probably be hanging out at this place all week (both day and night):

So beautiful! I can't wait to sit back, relax, and enjoy being a newly wedded wife (sorry Laurie, I stole your name for a second!).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Dress(es)

We strategically planned for the wedding to be in the evening so that we wouldn't feel rushed and so I had plenty of time to relax on the big day (I have some anxiety issues in case you haven't noticed). This means that I got to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast the morning of the wedding.....a huge plus because I am most definitely not a morning person.

Since Alson and I have been living together for a year and a half, we choose to not follow tradition and instead followed our normal nighttime and morning routine. But, once I headed to the spa to get my hair and make-up done, we did not see each other until the wedding....when I was wearing this:

Sorry about the naked man. All of the Impression Bridal pictures have one, I suppose it is good marketing...?

I couldn't save a picture of the back, so to see it click here (I tucked the strings at the bottom of the corset into the dress so it was not hanging down like that...).

Anyway, I looove this dress and it was the first one I tried on! I did try on a few others, but ultimately chose this one because it is simple and elegant and I love the lace up corset and interesting train. Also, the dress was the right size so I was able to buy it off the rack, making it a lot cheaper...a huge bonus!

After the cake cutting I switched into this dress from Overstock.com:


And these are my shoes:

Which I probably kicked off very early in the night!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mr. & Mrs.

Happy Wedding Day to us!

We are officially hitched!

Yay!

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July Welcome Party

Since today is the 4th of July, we are having a welcome party to celebrate the holiday and to kick off the wedding weekend for all our out of town guests (which is pretty much everyone). In honor of the great state of NC, this afternoon we will be having a southern style barbecue at a park in Pinehurst. Eastern North Carolina, where Alson and I recently lived while I was in grad school, is known for their barbecue.

It is essentially pulled pork with a spicy vinegar sauce, and surprisingly, I like it. This will be the main dish for the picnic (and we will have chicken for those who may not like the barbecue) with all the "fixins" on the side (coleslaw, hush puppies, sweet tea, etc.).

Plus, since we are having an adults only reception, it gives all the kids who will be in town with their parents an event they can participate in...the park has a public pool, baseball fields, horseshoe pits, and a playground.

After the picnic we will enjoy the fireworks!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Rehearsal Dress

Since we are having the 4th of July/Welcome Party for the guests tomorrow (more on that in the next post) we chose to have our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner tonight.

When looking for a dress for the rehearsal I initially thought I should wear something white, but ultimately decided that I will be wearing a lot of white on Saturday, so why not let my personality shine through tonight. As such, I CAN'T WAIT to wear this French Connection dress (not in that color though) that I bought back in February while at a conference in New Orleans:

Of course, the website did not have the dress in the color I bought, which is this:
It has been hanging in my closet for almost 5 months taunting me. I have wanted to wear it so many times, but I actually held out! Phew, that takes self control.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Spa....And Hair Trial

Today is my first day of pampering at the Spa at Pinehurst.

I will be making a few trips there this week, today by myself and Friday and Saturday with my bridesmaids, flower girl, and mom. My parents are treating me to the bridal package which includes:

Today:

  • Eyebrow wax
  • Uplifting Vitamin C Facial
  • Trial complimentary special occasion hairstyle and make-up application (includes veil and tiara fitting)

Day before the wedding:

  • Relaxing 50-minute massage
  • Ultimate Hydrating manicure
  • Ultimate Hydrating pedicure

Day of the wedding:

  • Special occasion hairstyle with veil or tiara
  • Special occasion make-up application
  • Gift for the Bride and Groom
I am definitely looking forward to this, and hopefully it will help make my stress melt away.....

So back to today, and my hair trial. I am planning on wearing this headband for the wedding (it matches the crystals in my dress...which you will get to see later this week!):

Photo from lunabead.com
And I'm hoping to get hair kind of like this (without the sprig of whatever that is):

Photo from theknot.com
This may be hard to replicate, especially with the length of my hair, but a girl can hope right? At the very least, I want something visually interesting without being too fussy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Photograph Me On My Good Side

I must admit that besides the actually getting married part of the wedding, I think I am most excited for the pictures. I have always loved looking at wedding photography, so to see my own images someday (soon!) makes me so happy!

Our photographer is Courtney Gray, an associate at Tamara Lackey Photography. According to their blog.....

"Tamara Lackey Photography is a boutique photography studio, practicing authentic lifestyle photography and delivering images that showcase expression and relationships."


In other words, exactly what I was looking for.

Here is a webshow of some of Courtney's wedding images:
www.tamaralackey.com/WeddingPhotographybyCourtney

Not only are the pictures beautiful....that song makes me cry every time I listen to it! I can't wait until I have my own webshow of wedding photos!