Our Wedding Date: October 10, 2010

Engagement Blog

Updates from the wild world of wedding planning
  • Farewell, Blog!

    Thanks for the Memories

    McKinney, TX

    I am still stunned by the large amount of people that said they loved reading my wedding blog and checked it frequently.  To all who followed along, a big THANK YOU!!  Even if you were a blog stalker and didn't leave me any comments.  ;)  Thank you for letting me share my journey and my first blogging experience with you.  I am thrilled that I entertained you along the way!  


    Jedi and I got married on 10.10.10 and today we have been married for exactly 10 days.  It's only fitting that today I write the last blog post. *tear* Fragments of our wedding day and assorted large gift boxes are cluttered all over the house and we look forward to cleaning it up and getting some much-needed space back.  We also have to finish our honeymoon laundry.  The final wedding task we have to complete is writing a gazillion thank you notes.  I promise we'll get to it soon! 


    We have already settled back into our regular routine, which I adore.  Every now and then we suddenly laugh about something regarding the wedding day or honeymoon.  We are sipping hot coffee, eating pizza, and polishing off the leftover wedding gelato while discussing how we need to start eating healthier pronto.  We already rented a couple movies that we'll happily watch as we nosh on dinner (we're making tortilla soup in our new crock pot!).  We are planning on going for a walk tonight when the  temperature cools down a bit.  We keep joking about putting the Christmas tree up super early so we can display all our new proposal or wedding-related ornaments (from Disney, Universal, and New York!).  We still spoil each other with compliments and kisses.  We smile every time we say "hubby" and "wifey" and talk about how blessed we are to have found each other.  Everything is as it should be.


    Life is good and love is sweet.  Over and out!

    Jedidiah & Barbara Collins

  • Been There, Done That

    Tips 'N Tricks

    McKinney, TX

    I might as well share some words of wisdom before I forget everything about wedding planning, no?  It might help some future brides & grooms out there.  Plus, you know I love making lists!  :D


    1.  Stay true to yourself.  If certain traditions don't have any significance to either of you, then don't do them!  The wedding day is so short; don't waste it with things you feel like you "have to do" because everyone else does it (such as a sand ceremony or bouquet toss).  Fill it with things that you look forward to doing and don't be afraid to do things that personally represent you. For instance, we didn't have a formal white wedding cake, which was surprisingly controversial to some people.  Gelato was way more "us" and we loved sharing it with everyone!  

    2.  Set the mood.  Some people scratched their heads or rudely rolled their eyes when I said our wedding was going to have a "vintage carnival" theme with a photo booth, props, popcorn, and so on.  Yeah, I know it's not a traditional wedding theme, but who cares?  People will feel compelled to remind you of what they think a wedding should be (an uninvited acquaintance even threw a fit when she overheard I wasn't going to wear a white dress).  Ignore it!  It's your wedding and it does not have to fit in a cookie cutter mold.  Pick the vibe you want (traditional, whimsical, elegant, seasonal, whatever it may be) and stick to it!  We wanted to have FUN on our wedding day and we did!  If you are having fun, then other people will, too.

    3.  Beware of DIY overload.  Unless you are already a crafty person, of course.  It's hard enough to find that elusive wedding-work-life balance.  Crafting eats up so much of your time and you don't want to get overly consumed by the wedding beast.  I'll admit that a few of my crafty projects stressed me out.  They were worth it in the end, but you need to decide in advance how much time and money you want to commit to these never-ending projects.  I made a detailed work-back schedule and budget with each project's due date and that helped me a great deal. 

    4.  Listen to your groom.  Jedi casually mentioned a maximum of 3 things that he might like on the wedding day and I made sure he got all of them.  Guys rarely have a strong opinion about the wedding so if they say something, LISTEN.  My wish list kept expanding but if a few small things would make a difference to Jedi, then I was happy to do them.  For instance, Jedi wanted me to wear my hair down (he always loves it down!) so I did, even though I originally wanted an updo.  Okay, I had to put a small amount of my hair up so the veil would have something to grip to, but only because I had to!  I did manage to surprise him by adding clip-in extensions, though.  :)

    5.  Enjoy the Big Day.  It goes by soooo quickly.  Months and months of planning, all over in a blink of an eye!  The day won't always go according to plan, but have fun and don't sweat the small stuff.  At the end of the day, you will be married and that is the whole point.  Try to remember everything you can and savor it.  Oh, and remember to eat something!  Talk to all the loved ones that are there to support you and wish you a happily ever after!  Hmm, that was a bunch of tidbits all rolled into one, but whatever.  I'm giving you GOLD, people!!  :D  Write it down!

    1 comment
  • Universal Studios

    Honeymoon - Part 2

    Orlando, FL

    Dare I say it, but we may have had even more fun at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!  It was way less crowded and it definitely holds it's own with two elaborate theme parks side by side (we loved that they are in walking distance and we didn't have to take monorails, buses, or boats like we did at Disney). They also had some exciting nightlife at Universal CityWalk, although we were too worn out to take full advantage of it.  The parks have an impressive line-up of high-tech rides based on blockbuster movies.  On our last day, we even had a hilarious caricature made of us and we love it!  We also celebrated with some delicious warm churros.  Oh wait, we did that every day!  Some of our favorite Universal highlights:


    HARRY POTTER!   Dang, they really made the books/movies come to life!  This was the busiest park of our whole trip since it just opened, but it was worth the wait and the insane crowds.  We got to see the Hogwarts Express, pass through the towering Hogwarts castle gates, explore the familiar passageways and corridors, visit the famous snowy shops at Hogsmeade (mmm, Honeydukes!), and drink delicious frozen Butterbeer! 

    Island of Adventure Theme Park:  Boasting great rides and rollercoasters such as Harry Potter's Dragon Challenge, Forbidden Journey, Hulk, Spiderman, and Jurassic Park.  I also loved walking through the Dr. Seuss area, even though we resisted the urge to go on any of the little kid rides.

    Universal Studio Theme Park:  Classics such as Terminator, Jaws, Revenge of the Mummy, and Men in Black.  You also get to walk through movie sets and check out real props and outfits, which was pretty neat.  We love movies!

    Blue Man Group:  We had no idea what to expect but we loved every second of their outrageous show.  It had a captivating mash-up of unique live music, unexpected humor, audience interaction, toilet paper, and lots of paint! 


    This definitely wasn't the relaxing beachy honeymoon we had fantasized about...  we are exhausted and our feet are still sore, but it was SO MUCH FUN.  We had an absolutely amazing honeymoon full of laughter and good food and I'm so bummed that our trip is already over!  We got lots of fun souvenirs to remember our wedding and honeymoon, though, and we can't wait for our next adventure together as Mr. & Mrs. Collins.  :D

  • Disney World

    Honeymoon - Part 1

    Orlando, FL

    We went to DISNEY WORLD!!  We managed to get a flight out the same day we were supposed to leave for Mexico.  Of course, it was delayed for a couple hours and we didn't arrive in Orlando until midnight, but we were determined to get this honeymoon started!  We stayed at the luxurious OMNI hotel, who felt bad for our spontaneous honeymoon trip and kindly upgraded us to a huge suite on the 10th floor.  It was soooo nice.  We even had a plate of delicious chocolate covered strawberries to greet us, which I promptly devoured as we waited for room service.  We would stay there again... they had a large lazy river, multiple pools, great views, and lots of activities to do on your "relaxation days."


    The weather was absolutely perfect all week:  sunny and in the mid-80s.  Seriously, it was almost like we planned it!  You almost wouldn't know that we were wingin' it because we did so many great things.  We proudly wore "Happily Every After" button pins so everyone knew we were newlyweds - FUN!  Some of our favorite memories from Disney:


    Epcot:  Our favorite Disney park!  The annual Food & Wine Festival was going on and it was awesome, even though it was packed.  Tapas stations were set out all around the lake and you could get food and drinks from countries all over the world.  Our favorites were South Korea, Japan, and France.  We also paid a visit to Mexico (ha!) for some strawberry margaritas before we watched Epcot's fantastic firework & laser show.

    Downtown Disney:  We went there 3-4 times (hello, free parking!) on our whirlwind trip and we had our fancy date night there.  I finally wore my white "going away" dress and we had steaks at Wolfgang Puck's superb restaurant on Lake Buena Vista, then we went to Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba.  We strolled through Pleasure Island and the Marketplace, which is where we got a bunch of goodies.  Jedi kept me ultra blissed out by buying me a decadent Hot Chocolate with Caramel Sea Salt at Ghirardelli's famous chocolate shop.  Such a perfect, romantic night! 

    Animal Kingdom:  We woke up bright 'n early to go on an off-road African safari.  This was probably our favorite Disney memory and we highly recommend it!  We saw tons of exotic animals up close and personal:  giraffes, elephants, rhinos, gazelles, crocodiles, and much more!  The only animal we didn't get to see were the lions (Jedi's fav) because they sleep all day.  Boohoo! 

    Magical Kingdom:  I can't help it; I love this park even though it's full of huge over-used strollers and crazy hyper kids.  I love Main Street, the Cinderella castle, and all the classic rides:  Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion.

    Souvenirs:  I admit it.  I got Mickey fever.  I strutted around with glittery Minnie Mouse ears and we bought way too many cool trinkets.  Hey, it's our honeymoon!  :D  Our faves:  we got personalized Christmas ornaments that have our names and wedding date engraved on them.  LOVE IT.  Jedi also bought me a vintagey Minnie Mouse watch with 10*10*10 engraved on the back.  What can I say?  We are sentimental saps!

  • Stealing our Thunder

    Hurricane Paula

    Cancun, Mexico

    Two hours before we were going to leave for the airport, American Airlines called and CANCELLED our honeymoon flight to Cancun.  Hurricane Paula, a Category 2 storm packing 100 mph winds, had just hit Cancun and prompted cautionary evacuation of island residents and tourists.  Nooooo!  Our resort hadn't officially shut down yet, but they were only operating internally and no outdoor activities were permitted.  Definitely not what you want to hear when you're about to leave for your beach vacation. 


    Before I could have a mini meltdown over the loss of our honeymoon, my travel-savvy parents swooped in and saved the day.  Have I ever mentioned how amazing and loving they are??  They helped us negotiate and after a couple tense hours on the phone haggling with several unsympathetic American Airlines reps, we re-booked our trip to the happiest place on earth!

  • The Sweetest Thing(s)

    Whoa, We're MARRIED!

    McKinney, TX

    We loved our wedding day even more than we thought we would!  It was so much fun and it was truly awesome to feel that much love all around us.  People were so incredibly sweet and complimented us to the point that we almost floated out of the building!  We were smiling until our cheeks hurt.  I can't wait to share with you some of our favorite moments, so without further ado...



    1. My ah-mazing groom.  Oh wait... HUSBAND HUSBAND HUSBAND!  Yay!  :D  Getting married to my best friend was obviously the best part of the day.  Seeing him all spruced up in his fancy Calvin Klein tux was an added bonus!  Fun fact:  I just asked Jedi what his fav part of the wedding day was and he said, "Marrying my best friend."  See??  We are equally sappy.  :)

    2.  My gorgeous light gold gown.  Words cannot express how much I looooved my dress!  It was so heavy (we hung the gown on a hook at the hotel and it ripped the hook out of the wall in less than a minute!) but at the end of the day, I still didn't want to take it off.  I even had a short, white "going away" dress that I never changed into because I refused to take off my gown.  Literally dozens of people have asked me about it, so here's your answer:  No, the dress was not custom!  It's Maggie Sottero's Rhianna Royale and I got her at Terry Costa in Dallas and it fit me like a glove.  It was the first dress I tried on there and it was love at first sight!

    3.  Our First Look.  I remember standing in the hallway, chatting with Brandi, while someone was making sure the coast was clear so we could walk outside toward a park without Jedi spotting me.  That didn't work, because Jedi walked around the corner a few minutes later and I immediately burst into tears of happiness and rushed into my groom's open arms.  He laughed and said he knew I was going to cry.  :)

    4.  Family & Friends.  Everyone was so patient with all my wedding planning madness and encouraged even my zaniest ideas.  So so so sweet to see everyone in the same room and all their genuine smiling faces.  We tried to make it around the room to talk to each person and I think we got pretty close.  If we didn't get a chance to talk to you then we're sorry and we greatly appreciated you being there!

    5.  Photo Booth = #1 Best Purchase.  Sooo much fun!!  And I loved all the props... Creative Memories provided some and I provided others.  It was totally worth every cent.  We have a box full of hilarious pictures and I can't wait to figure out what to do with all of them (besides blackmail people, ha!).  Hopefully most of them will fit in our guest book!

    6.  Dessert dessert dessert.  Paciugo Gelato + Mini Cakes + Flavored Popcorn = Utter Happiness.

    7.  If you didn't get a couple glasses of the venue's homemade sangria, then you seriously missed out.  It was so delish!!  I studied abroad in Spain, so I really wanted sangria to make an appearance and it was beyond excellent... I wish I had more but my glasses kept disappearing!

    8.  Although he played the wrong music for our ceremony, our DJ was fantastic.  He went out of his way to keep Jedi & I happy and full of food and wine.  Score.  :)  We created the majority of our play list, but he did a great job of playing the right songs at the right time and keeping the mood upbeat.  It wasn't his fault that the dance floor was empty... I blame that on the long line to the photo booth!  Side note:  our DJ told us in advance that he's never seen people dance at a Sunday wedding.  Weird, but true!

    9.  All the little details pleased me to pieces.  I laughed every time I saw guests wearing silly button pins (I think everyone wore at least one!), spotted a wedding program poking out of a jacket pocket, saw custom clutches in perfectly manicured hands, and other random details that I worked so hard on.  I'm so happy people appreciated them!  I can't wait to get pictures so I can see everything in action (I only have a few "sneak peek" wedding day pics so far).

    10.  After everyone left, Jedi and I sat in our messy wedding/honeymoon suite, blissfully opening cards, munching on leftover popcorn, and chatting about everything we loved about the day.  We read our guest book comments and cracked up while looking at all the photo booth strips.  We happily over-used the words "husband" and "wife" in almost every sentence and ordered room service (we recommend the chicken fried chicken with goat cheese mashed potatoes and garlic green beans!).  We made our marriage status official on Facebook and stared at our shiny new wedding bands.  We stayed up late and laughed about how badly the Reverend messed up our vows (surprisingly, it didn't really bother us). Jedi massaged my feet because I pranced around in my Louboutin heels all day and he took all the bobby pins out of my hair when I became sleepy.


    I'll sum it up like my hilarious Uncle Bill would:  JOY JOY JOY!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  

    1 comment
  • The Grand Mistake

    Wedding Day Madness

    McKinney, TX

    In all the wedding blogs I read, they always start their "wedding recaps" with what went wrong so they can get it out of the way.  I'll follow suit, because something major went haywire and I need to get it off my chest.  Our wedding day was incredible, don't get me wrong.  And of course it's impossible to have every detail work out perfectly, but I couldn't help but dwell on some of the poorly executed details (I allowed myself one day to do this).  Here we go...  *deep breath*


    Some minor things that guests did not notice, but I certainly did:  essential people showed up very late, several florist errors (they provided no directions for the venue, wrong centerpiece branches, wrong colors, all bouquets should have been dahlias, I specifically asked for NO roses but half of the flowers were roses, etc), the ceremony music was totally wrong, the Reverend buchered our personalized ceremony, the Day of Coordinator didn't help with the First Look photo shoot so I saw Jedi before I was supposed to, no one followed the formal portrait timeline I made so it took way too long, a few good friends decided not to show up at all even though they said they were coming (seriously, guys?!), several extra people who didn't RSVP decided to come (I guess the venue scrambled to get extra chairs and meals for them and shoved them at random tables? Gee thanks, put it on our tab!), the bouquet/garter toss was supposed to be for everyone, my corset was laced too loose so by the end of the day it was sliding off of me, my heavy bustle kept falling so people trampled all over my poor train, etc.  Yes, the list could go on but I can't stay bitter about all the little things, right?  It's hard to make everything run smoothly!


    However, the big thing that I am *still* irritated about... uh, get ready for a rant fest...


    SUITE DISASTER.  The Grand Hotel does not have changing rooms so we booked their two largest suites for the night before the wedding (so they would both be available to us until noon the next morning, since the wedding started at noon).  The Bridal Suite (shown above) was for the bride, bridesmaids, and moms to get ready in and the Groom's Suite was for the groom, groomsmen, and dads to get ready in.  We reserved both of these rooms 6+ months in advance.  After the Rehearsal Dinner, I packed and Jedi dropped me off at the hotel.  I wanted to stay there the night before the wedding so Jedi and I wouldn't see each other until our "First Look" photo shoot right before the ceremony.  Thank goodness I decided to do that, because I discovered the hotel booked the rooms incorrectly!  They mistakenly booked the Bridal Suite for Oct 10, which meant we couldn't use it until noon on Oct 10.  Uh, we needed it BEFORE noon because our wedding started at noon!!  Big screw up on their part and I was LIVID.  They couldn't give me the Bridal Suite because a honeymooning couple was already sleeping there.  It was way past midnight (on my wedding morning!) and they frantically showed me 8 other tiny rooms that I could choose to get ready in; none of them had windows or full length mirrors or enough room for a dozen people to fit in.  ARGH.  I had to make the tough decision to use the Groom's Suite the next morning and kick the fellas out into two tiny rooms to get ready in.  I was so bummed that I wouldn't have pictures of all of the guys getting ready in their large suite!  Plus, I barely got any sleep because I was up late trying to find new rooms and I was stressed about the whole ordeal.


    Fast forward to the next morning!  I woke up in the Groom's Suite at 6:30am and patiently laid out all my stuff so the photographers could come in and take detailed pictures of my dress, shoes, accessories, etc.  I was over all the room drama and happily starting my big day.  All my boxes 'o wedding goodies were carefully organized for the morning and for the day of coordinater.  I was quite proud of all my prep work!  My hair dresser, Maria, arrived on time and she started to work on my hair.  And then... around 8:00am I found out that the Bridal Suite was open.  WHAT?!  The honeymooners left at 4:00am to catch a flight so the hotel called in a rush maid service to flip the room for us.  But the hotel failed to inform me of this.  I had no idea we were allowed to move rooms because no one told me!  Me, my mom, Kayla, Nikki, Aaron, and Maria hastily threw everything into the closest boxes and rushed into the Bridal Suite on the opposite side of the hotel before the groom arrived (apparently the hotel was guiding the groomsmen into the Bridal Suite, which was also obviously wrong). 


    Sure, I was excited that we got both suites in the end.  Everyone kept saying that everything worked out perfectly.  But it didn't.  Besides the major lack of beauty sleep, this screwed up my highly detailed Wedding Day timeline SO badly.  The damage had been done and there was no way I could get that valuable time back.  It took awhile to pack everything up and move it, then it was all in the wrong boxes and I couldn't lay everything back out for the photographers because I couldn't find anything!  It was disorganized chaos and it made everything late late late.  Some items never even made an appearance on the wedding day because it got lost or broken in the crazy jumble and I couldn't find things to give to the coordinator.  Do you realize all the personal time, preparation, and investment that was wasted?  Flushed down the toilet.  Due to this room switch, we didn't have time for bride/bridesmaid portraits, we BARELY had time for a very brief First Look session (where Jedi & I saw each other for the first time that day), and the ceremony started late.  Rush rush rush!  I thought I would have a relaxing, leisurely pace and enjoy getting ready with my fav gals, but I didn't.  I became frazzled every time someone asked for an item and I couldn't tell them exactly where it was.  Plus, I hated being late, especially for something so important! 


    So there is your honest behind the scenes look of the wedding day.  In the next post, I'll talk about all the things that went RIGHT.  :D

  • Here We Go!


    McKinney, TX

    ** Note:  This would have been posted on time if the internet

    at the hotel was working the morning of our wedding day! **


    Today I marry my best friend, my soul mate, my superhero.  He is the cheese to my macaroni.  The peanut butter to my jelly.  He is the first I run to when I have news, the first I complain to when something is wrong, the first one I ask for help with decision making and the first in who I confide my plans.  I am so blessed that I get to come home to him every night and wake up with him in the morning for cuddle time.  I love all the "regular" things we do together:  choosing what to eat for dinner, where to go during the weekends, and what TV show we marathon next.

    He doesn’t laugh at my random odd-ball ideas. In fact, he’s my biggest fan. And he can say things that only I will find funny. He encourages my creativity, but also keeps me grounded to reality (and vice versa!).  I admire his faith and that he knows who to turn to when things are beyond human control.

    We dream together.  Oh, we dream big!  We dream of improving our home, of having a big patio, of round little babies, and of seeing the world.  We are a team. Especially when we don’t want to do something on our own. We are a team that cleans the house together.  A team that debates what to say in response to difficult emails.  A team that empathizes with each other after a less-than-ideal workday.  A team that explores new things with equal amounts of anticipation.

    There are never adequate words for such strong feelings, are there? And for me, there is no adequate coherency either. Only know that marrying Jedi is not a difficult decision for me.  It’s simply right.  So it is with excitement that I climb out of bed this morning and put on my elaborate wedding gown.  It is with a rush of happiness that I put on some lipstick and get my hair done.  And it is with a deep breath as I walk down the aisle toward the one I love the most.


    * * * * *


    Jedidiah, today is the day!  I can't wait to marry you and celebrate a day we have been anticipating for the past 8 months.  In a few short hours, you will be my shiny new husband (but the same amazing and treasured friend).  I can't wait to be your wife.  I don't have a doubt in my mind about forever with you, and I just can't wait for it to begin!


    See ya on the flip side!

    Signing off as Miss Lipsky

    1 comment
  • Batting Average

    Bridal Beauty Buzz 2

    Plano, TX

    I have a love-hate relationship with falsie eyelashes.  If you get the right kind, they can look fabulous.  But one of my eyes always puts up a fight.  I never get used to the falsie and I'll end up picking at it until it has winged up and looks crazy.  Perhaps I'm hyper-sensitive to the lash glue?  Regardless, it's certainly not the look I'm going for on 10.10.10.


    Enter LASH LOUNGE, home of the glorious lash extensions!  As soon as I heard of them, I started saving all my pennies.  Oh yes oh yes oh yes this would be my bridal SPLURGE!  Carrying thousands of pennies in my perfectly polished hands, I plunked them down on the counter and hastily took a seat in the Lounge.  I was nervous and excited.  I did a decent amount of research and looked at hundreds of pictures but I couldn't wait to see if they would look natural on me.  I carefully looked at each lady that walked past and all their lashes were PERFECT.  I had ants in my pants; let's get started!


    My "lash specialist," Gail, took me back to her station and asked me what I wanted to accomplish.  You can customize your lashes based on color, length, thickness, and amount of curl.  I told her these were for my wedding so I definitely needed them to stand out in pictures.  'Nuff said.  I lay down on a fluffy contoured bed and she put a thick pillowy pad under my lashes.  Then she started to slowly separate them one by one and glued individual long curled fake lashes to tons of my natural lashes.  I think she ended up putting 70-80 lashes on each eye and it took exactly 2 hours.  It was actually really relaxing and like a spa treatment.  It was very gentle and although I tried my best to fight it, as I listened to the music, I started dozing off.  I may or may not have woken myself up by snoring and been terribly embarrassed.  Moving on! 


    When she was finally done, I anxiously sat up and looked in the mirror.  Whoa, mama!!  The lashes are luxuriously lush, ridiculously long, and perfectly curled.  SWEETNESS.  Yeah, they are over-the-top for regular casual day wear, but they are perfect for the wedding day!!  They last 2-3 weeks and if I were rolling in money, I would probably keep up the maintenance with a more natural-looking set (less long and less curled).  I can't feel them and I completely forget they are there until I look in the mirror and I'm pleasantly surprised.  Definitely worth all the pennies!  :D

  • Nailed It

    Bridal Beauty Buzz

    Lewisville, TX

    Want to know what it takes to be a full-fledged beautification-crazed bride?  Well, pull up a chair!  Thank goodness I took the last few days off work because I have been jumping from appointment to appointment and running all sorts of wedding errands in between.  Besides getting my standard hair cut and highlights, teeth whitening, and a spray tan (I know, I know...), I have some tricks up my sleeve.  Up first... nails!  (Just in case you didn't guess that from my uncreative title.)


    My MOH, Erin, introduced me to the world of Shellac and Minx nails, which are put on top of your natural nails.  They look like nail polish, but don't be fooled.  These manis and pedis last... wait for it... wait for it... 3 WEEKS.  Erin continued to regale me with tales of how her current pristine mani has lasted 1.5 months.  I'm listening, sweet baby Jesus, am I listening.  No chips or dings or fading for 3 weeks?!?  OMG, point me in the right direction and I'm on my way!! 


    First, the nail lady put bright silver Minx on my toenails.  It's like a patterned (or unpatterned, if you are boring) sticker that they wrap around the nail, then squeegee out any bubbles or wrinkles, and then file it to fit your nail shape.  No wet paint, so no need to dry!  As soon as they file it, they are done!  My toes look like flashy little mirrors.  :)  This will be super convenient when I need to check my lipstick during our reception.  I love Minx, but as I mentioned before, I would only get them if they have a fancy design. 


    Next, she put blindingly bright red Shellac on my nails.  The color is exactly like Dorothy's sparkly ruby red slippers in Oz-ville!  It's a gel and after she painted each of the 3 coats, she put my nails in a UV thingamagig for about 10 seconds and then it was completely dry.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I've only had these fancy nails for a few days, but lemme tell ya, I'm HARD on my nails. I've been crafting galore, packing galore, and banging them around left and right.  My regular manis would have been destroyed within an hour in this wedding mayhem, but not *these* nails.  They still look freshly painted and these babies will continue to look razzle-dazzleingly perfect until after my honeymoon!  Sounds like a hot cup of awesome.  I like 'em so much that I hope to maintain them after the wedding (this decision will be left up to my poor wallet).


    Next up... extensions, but not where you think.  ;)

    1 comment
  • Color Me Happy

    Program Results

    McKinney, TX

    Last night, we got our programs!  UPS was late delivering the package (grr), but I kept stalking the tracking number and impatiently tapping my foot by the front door until they FINALLY arrived.  I ripped open that box of awesome sauce to check out my lovelies and they did not disappoint!  Wait.  Truth?  They sliiightly disappointed me for a split second because the cover was not the right color... they are supposed to be dark red but instead they look medium brown.  Whatevs.  No one is going to notice.  The quality is fantastic and I love the thickness of the matte paper! 


    But wait.  Wait wait WAIT!  What's *this* I see??  OMG, THEY BOUND THE COVERS!!  :D


    Remember how I refused to pay for their uber expensive staples and I was going to hole punch every.single.page and then tie them together with twine?  Anywhoos, consider that arduous project scrapped because they bound the covers for FREE.  Free ninety nine!  Oh happy day!!  I giggled, clapped, jumped up and down, and immediately speed-dialed my mom to share the great news.  Yes, all this happiness over staples!  Geez, it's easy to please a soon-to-be Mrs.  This saved us so much time and effort!  They totally made my day and I felt the stress meeeelt away. 


    The programs are amazeballs and I'm really glad I forced myself to finish them.  Bonus:  Jedi gave his seal of approval by giving me a congratulatory smooch on the forehead.  Although the color is off (which is my fault because I didn't save enough buffer time to order the recommended color proof), I still give this project a solid A.  Coming soon to a ceremony near you!  *happy dance*

  • Unexpected Guest

    #*%&^$ Pimple

    McKinney, TX

    Dear Skin,


    We've had our share of good and bad times.  Puberty wasn't the best, but I thought we resolved all our problems and moved on.  We have minor spats, of course, but we've always been able to work things out.   I have always admired that attribute in our relationship.  Have I ever told you that?


    Look, we talked about this.  Things are really hectic with the wedding and I know I'm not getting enough beauty sleep, but I warned you this might happen.  I thought we had an agreement?  I've been giving you oodles and kaboodles of extra pampering, per your request.  Extra moisturizer?  Done.  Cucumber toner?  No problemo.  High-end undereye cream?  Your wish is my command. 


    So I must ask the obvious question... why the #%@*! did I wake up with a flaming red pimple on my chin this morning?!?  It is very rare that I get an unexpected visitor, so don't act like you didn't plan this in advance!  I'm on to you, traitor!  Let it be known that I find zero humor in pulling this immature little stunt less than a week before the wedding.  I demand that you obliterate the intruder within 24 hours or I will hire professionals that will forcibly rectify the situation.


    Thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this matter.  Regards,

    Future Mrs. Collins

  • Harvest Cravings

    Favorite Season

    McKinney, TX

    It's my *favorite* time of year!  Everything is scrumdiddilyumptiously flavored with pumpkin and cinnamon spice.  The weather is significantly cooler and crisper and your nose gets cold on late night walks with your honey.  Time to bust out the cozy blankets and curl up on the couch with a hot cinnamon caramel latte and a fresh slice of pumpkin loaf.  Mmm, harvest comfort food...


    But there's still a stack of wedding chores!  *whines*  I can't stop to enjoy the fabulous seasonal weather or food until to-do lists have been printed, official timelines have been established, and DIY crafting fever has subsided.  I can't wait to pack up and drop off all the wedding goodies at the venue (omg, in 2 days!!) while blowing a big kiss buh-bye.  Good riddance, crafty goods... it's time to complete my migration into bridalhood and I can't wait to see you struttin' your stuff on the wedding day!  Then it will be time for an appropriately festive send-off with hot cocoa, spiked apple cider, and/or rich pumpkin cheesecake. Cheers!

  • Blog Love

    Our Wedding Buzzwords

    McKinney, TX

    I discovered a super cool site that takes the most frequently used words on your blog and spins them into a stinkin' cute collage.  Say whaaat?  Of course I had to get in on this action!  What I got was pretty effin awesome.  It took all the buzzwords about our wedding and planning and put it oh-so-concisely into this neat little visual.  (Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, you have to click on the blog pic to enlarge it.) 


    Here are some of our commonly used buzzwords:  wedding, love, fun, different, vintage, Jedi, make, time, color, cute, bride, and pictures.  Right on!  I also think it's hilarious how certain words ended up next to each other (total coincidence!), such as "need better idea," "seriously different wedding," "working stumbled," "heart pick Jedi," and "happened honeymoon week."  HAHAHA!


    Pretty cool, huh??  I wonder what I should do with it?  It's really interesting to see the topics I tend to talk about most.  I might print it out and stick it on our fridge to remind us of the things that were most important to us during the wedding planning process.  If I had found this site earlier then I would have put it on a tank top.  Cuteness overload!  Hmm, me thinks I should do it anyway?  :D

  • Hey, Aren't We Going on a Trip??


    Puerto Morelos, Mexico

    Why, hello October!  Fancy meeting you here!


    Now that we are in the SINGLE digits of our countdown, we finally realized that there's a honeymoon fast approaching, too.  Sah-weet!  Every time we think of the future, all we see is the wedding day brick wall and it's almost impossible to think of anything past that date.  What?!  There's an October 11?  Why didn't anyone tell me?!?


    We are stoked that we might actually see the elusive sun on our honeymoon!  For the past several weeks, we kept checking the weather in Puerto Morelos and we saw nothing but rain and thunderstorms eeevery single day.  Stupid hurricane season.  But today??  *Sunny forecast!* 


    We are more than ready to plop our lazy butts on the sandy beach and drink margaritas.  Oh yes, we have BIG plans.  Plans of stuffing our faces with freshly made guacamole (Jedi) and chocolate covered strawberries (Barbara).  Plans of frolicking in the turqoise ocean and scuba diving along the coral reef.  Plans of visiting underground cenotes (shown above) and exploring ancient ruins.  Plans of becoming enamored with the all-you-can-eat buffets and authentic Mexican restaurants.  Plans of being stress free and basking in newlywed bliss.  Plans of watching the sun set into the ocean and sleeping in.  Rinse and repeat.  Our honeymoon is almost here!  <3

  • Prepare to Fast Forward!

    10 Days Til 10-10-10

    McKinney, TX

    Where did all the time go?!?  For almost a month, people keep asking me if everything is done.  NO.  Don't torture brides by asking that question.  I know everyone means well, but omigah the answer is NO.  There is NO WAY to have everything done that quickly.  Especially because some people RSVP wickedly late.  I'm looking at YOU, Jedi's buddies.  Yeah, you know who you are!  There were several of you that RSVP'd just a few DAYS ago.  Seriously, what are you trying to do to me?  Thank you for making me re-arrange the entire seating chart and place cards after I already submitted all the required details to the venue.  It's kewl.  Nothing better to do in my spare time, right?  *minor spazz attack*


    "So what's left??" you innocently ask.  Besides me stressin' out every once and awhile?  ;)    


    * Calligraphy on color-coded place cards (to specify your meal) - Kim is taking this on!

    * Print huge seating chart on foamboard at Kinkos - Ruth is taking this on!

    * Print various wedding signs that I designed - Lisa is taking this on!

    * Turn birdcage into a card holder.  Apparently I'm uninterested because I haven't even opened the package it arrived in.  Oops.

    * Sand down the wooden table number/sign holders so the signs will be straight

    * Meet with DJ to discuss playlist.  We are MAJORLY late on this.

    * Make sure Ron has songs set up on his ipod for appetizer hour

    * Learn to dance.  Um, Jedi and I still need to pick out our first dance song, now that I think of it.

    * Send photo wish list (with examples, of course!) to photographers

    * Send inspiration decor pictures to DOC (Day of Coordinator) to help with set up

    * Bind all the programs together with twine.  May have to recruit my family and some BM's for this!

    * Get baskets or containers to set up programs and bubbles

    * Pack and drop off everything wedding-related at the venue on 10/6

    * Pay $ the $ remaining $ balance $ to $ all $ vendors

    * Pick up tuxedo (side note: I saw Jedi in his tux last week and I cried.  My makeup is doomed.)

    * Pick up and prepare popcorn

    * Various beauty appointments (apparently I need more help than I thought)

    * Shave my legs, hahaaa

    * Write some thank you cards

    * Clean our house for guests (aka shove everything in the closet)

    * Family barbeque and Rehearsal dinner (yay!)

    * Buy bathing suits and sunglasses for the honeymoon in Mexico


    OMG, that's way more things than I thought!  EEEEK!  *hyperventilating*  Time to get busy!!

  • Let's Talk!

    Pinback Buttons

    McKinney, TX

    I debated about having conversation starter cards at each table and some other ideas to encourage people to mingle.  Some of the topics were so boring, though.  How could I spark some interest?  I randomly started poking around and looking at button inspiration.  I was only quasi-serious about the idea, but some of these buttons were cracking me up!  Wouldn't it be great if people could chose a button to wear that represents them??  Maybe it reflects a hobby, favorite food/drink, favorite movie, or something that made them smile.  LOVES IT.  


    Here's what we will have at the appetizer hour:
    * 150 buttons (FYI, there are ~130 guests)
    * 30 different button designs, all hand selected by Jedi and moi  :)
    * 5 of each button design - first come, first served!


    I'll probably get a couple vintage dishes or milk glass bowls to display all the buttons so you can take your pick.  You better wear one!!  Hopefully this will increase interest and get people talking!

  • Giftapalooza

    Bridal Party Clutches

    McKinney, TX

    I can't believe I haven't told you about the wedding gifts I made for the bridal party!  This project was a labor of love and it was SO FUN to help create these.  I worked closely with Etsy seller DavieandChiyo; they were so patient with me and had the *best* customer service.  Plus, I liked their clutches way more than any others out there on the blogosphere.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit that it took me 2.7 months to design these.  Some details of the looong process:



    I started designing these when I was using the "Italian" color scheme.  Remember that?  Originially, I wanted each bridesmaid to have a brightly colored 'Bow' clutch in exact same color (coral).  Hmm, but what if they accidentally picked up another girl's clutch since they are identical?  Fine, they would each have a different color:  fuschia, coral, baby yellow, or pistachio.  However, I didn't know if the gal would appreciate the color I gave her.  Plus, when I started putting all the pictures together, it reminded me of Easter eggs.  Boo.  I wanted the clutches to be bold, classic and have a vintage edge to them and this simply wasn't working.  I whined to Jedi and he looked at me confused and said, "What's a clutch??"  Nevermind.  I was having so much difficulty and then I finally had an A-HA moment.  The colors were wrong!  Quick, enter new color scheme!  Espresso, meet dark red.  Dark red, meet espresso.  Let's be friends.



    During all of my fussiness and color-changing madness, DavieandChiyo were suddenly featured in several popular wedding magazines, including Martha Stewart Weddings.  D'oh!  Their business started BOOMING and they were bombarded with orders.  Apparently this was a surprise to them, too.  I was thrilled for them, but I wasn' t done being high maintenance just yet....



    Now that I was *finallly* satisfied with our wedding colors, I got down to business.  I had already been working with them for a month at this point, so I was very familiar with all their fabrics.  They had a beautiful dark red dupioni silk that I was smitten with, so at least I made up my mind about one thing.  Then, I spoiled the surprise and sent my bridesmaids an email asking them what their favorite clutch style was.  I know, I know.  But since I was forcing them to have such a bold color (I kept the color a secret from them!), I at least wanted them to like the style of their clutch.  I think I sent them 5-6 different clutch options.  In a happy coincidence, they all chose a different style.  Very cool!  Then I got even more demanding, err, I mean "creative."  I wanted to incorporate vintage fabrics on each clutch so I sent DavieandChiyo on a mission to tons of fabric stores.  Multiple times a week, they would take pictures of potential fabrics and email them to me for approval.  This went on for 3 weeks before I finally fell in love with some fabrics.  Ha, I'm such a pain.   



    I got carried away.  Don't act like this surprises you!  I was originally only going to buy the bridesmaids clutches and possibly one for myself.  But then I had visions of my entire bridal party taking wedding pictures with their custom clutches:  me, my 4 bridesmaids, my mom, Jedi's mom, and my cutie niece/flower girl.  SOLD!  At the last second, I added my family (and future family, hehe).  My bridesmaids and I will be rockin' dark red clutches while my family members will have gold-champagne clutches.  They are all scrumptious!   They also have different interior vintage fabrics on the inside, depending on if they are 'maids or family.  Then I added personalized labels on the inside of each clutch with the person's name.  If they are married, then I added their wedding date.  Aah, so many cute little details!!  :D


    I almost cried with happiness when I finally got the box of clutches (they shipped from Canada, so that also took forever)!  They were worth the long wait and worth every penny!  I hope my fav ladies love them as much as I do and I can't wait to see flashes of them on our wedding day!


    P.S.  I can't discuss groomsmen gifts yet because they haven't received them yet!

    1 comment
  • Love Martinis, Fondue & Fried Snickers

    Bachelorette Party

    Dallas, TX

    Gah!  My bachelorette party was so fun!  My gals know me so well and they kept it fun, food-filled, and casual.  Perfect!  First, we went to Melting Pot, which is my favorite fondue restaurant.  We started with cheddar dip and spinach dip.  Mmm, they brought us bread, and apples to dip in it.  Then for the main course, we had so much goodness:  filet, chicken, pork, shrimp, lobster tail, potatoes, mushrooms, etc.  We had different batters to dip it in before sticking in in the fondue pot (thank goodness for color-coded skewers or else we would have been so mixed up!) and then we had multiple yummy sauces for afterward.  So good!  I think the mushrooms with cream cheese dip and the filet were my favorite.  But seriously, we need to talk about dessert.  OMG.  We had to indulge in chocolate fondue:  milk chocolate with Bailey's and S'mores, which they set on fire.  Too cool!  These are the scrumptious things we got to dip in our decadent chocolate fondue:  cheesecake, rice krispies, graham cracker or chocolate covered marshmellows, strawberries, bananas, and brownies.  Aaaaah!  I went into sugar overload and it was sooo worth it!!  All through dinner I was sipping on Love Martinis, mainly because I thought the name was fantastically appropriate for the occassion, but they were really good, too!  And they had slivers of heart-shaped strawberries floating in it, hee. OH!  I forgot to mention that the 'maids decked me out in a sparkly tiara, veil, "Bride to Be" sash, and blinking buttons.  :D  Later, they wore pink "Bridal Party" sashes and buttons.  We rocked our bridal gear all night!


    Then we went to the State Fair, which was packed because it was opening weekend.  Thankfully, it rained earlier in the day so the temperature was perfect (although it was really humid and sticky).  We rode some crazy upsidedown madness ride and the humongous ferris wheel.  Forget alcohol... the main reason you go to the State Fair is for their fried food!  Jamie got a corny dog, which supposedly was the best corny dog ever, Erin got fried Oreos, and I got a fried Snickers.  IT WAS SO GOOD!!  You bite through the fried part to discover hot melty, chocolately, carmely goodness.  Mmm, it was such an amazing treat!  I give it 2 enthusiastic thumbs up!  Before we left, my bridesmaids insisted on getting me a fabulously cheesy airbrushed tank top, which is actually really awesome.  It has two huge red hearts that say "Jedi & Barb" and at the bottom it says "10.10.10" - it's beyond precious! 


    We stayed at the Fair until is closed at midnight, then Erin & Jamie spent the night with me and we had a pajama party.  Hehe, I felt like I was in middle school.  Except we drank wine, did mud masks, watched wedding movies, etc.  It was the perfect ending to my bachelorette party!  (Except I missed Jedi, who was at his bachelor party in Fort Worth, boohoo.)


    Thanks for the great night, ladies!  Y'all are the best!!  <3

  • Some Light Reading

    Wedding Programs

    McKinney, TX

    Honesttoblog, this was the WORST PROJECT EVER.  UGH.  These programs were such an extraordinary pain to make.  If any future brides out there are contemplating DIY programs, DON'T DO IT!  It's not even possible for me to calculate the amount of hours I slaved over these non-mandatory items.  I worked on formatting, fonts, phrases, etc for over a month.  Blood, sweat 'n tears, I tell ya!  I know what you're thinking... "It's just a program."  Yeah, I totally agree.  What the heck was I thinking?!  Half the people won't even look at them because it's more of a formality.  I don't know what to tell ya.  Once I working on it for a couple weeks, and stumbled through some major fails, I had to keep going or I felt like I wasted so much of my own precious time.  Ridiculous.  Want to know about my major fails?  Let's do this.


    1.  I insisted on having 6x6 square programs.  Why?  Uh, I dunno.
    2.  Hey, guess what?  6x12 cardstock doesn't seem to exist.  Cool.  Wish I researched that gem before working on it for weeks. 
    3.  Sure, I could buy specially cut paper for an additional fee, but I don't need *that* much paper.  Plus, I would never use the excess so it would be wasteful.
    4.  Stupid Word.  Somehow the margins would randomly get jacked up and all my formatting... GONE.  I even saved a backup just in case Word decided to hate me, but Word is sneaky and messed up both of my documents.  This happened not once, but thrice.  Word is thy enemy.
    5.  Also, good job putting dark red font all over the program even though you know you don't have a colored printer.  Bravo!  You're getting smarter every day!
    6.  Since I used 7 specially downloaded fonts, it was impossible to email my document to anyone who did have a colored printer (which is surprisingly few people!).  And they wouldn't have the correct paper anyway.  Running out of time here, peeps.
    7.  Interestingly, it was actually cheaper to use an online printing company (Smartpress.com) than to purchase 6x12 paper.  Score!  However, they have very specific rules for converting files to PDF.  Even with their Help documents, I sucked at it.  Big time.  They practically had to hold my hand.
    8.  I opted not to pay for any binding.  With the amount they were charging for staples, they better be dipped in gold.  So here's another potential fail:  should I have sucked it up and paid for silly staples?  Now I have to hole punch every.single.page twice and tie twine around the pages.  Did I mention my programs are 12 pages?  Nice going, Barbara.  Way to think things through.


    In conclusion, next time we come to your house we better see our program framed and mounted on your wall. 

  • Licensed to Wed

    Marriage License

    McKinney, TX

    Did you know that you can only get a marriage license on a weekday? Good to know, people, good to know. Thankfully, I gave us a little buffer time so this late revelation was not a big deal. Jedi and I woke up bright and early on Tuesday morning so we could be the first in line. Ha. Hahahahaha!! No, I'm totally joking. The correct way to start your day off as slowly as possible is to complete the following steps: ignore the alarm clock for an hour, cuddle for an extra 30 minutes (hehe), take a leisurely shower, search for car keys and a shoe, get distracted and clean engagment ring, and make some coffee. After we completed those steps, I got cocky and decided not to use the map I printed. Naturally, we got lost, found a dead end, and did a few U-turns until we finally stumbled across the Collin County Clerk's Office in McKinney. Slow 'n steady wins the race!


    It was kinda like the DMV. I hustled my way over to one of the computers to fill out our required paperwork. I pretended to race the couple next to us so I filled that form out super duper lightening fast. We won(!), and took our rightful spot in line. We stood, and stood, and stood. Tick tock, what the heck is taking so long? It was like turtles stampeding through peanut butter. Gah! Finally our turn! I don't really remember what happened next. We had to confirm a bunch of stuff, fork over $71 in cash (hey, at least I knew we needed cash!), and wait for the official certificate to print. The old lady embossed the certificate and Jedi was mighty impressed with how medieval it looked.


    And then... and THEN!!


    WE GOT OUR MARRIAGE LICENSE!!  It was glorious.  Getting that piece of paper gave me a serious bridal buzz.  I planned on making the lady take a picture of us (I wore a cute dress and everything!) with our license but the line was backing up behind us. Oh well. We were surprisingly excited and felt like we accomplished something. I wanted to celebrate and eat a big breakfast, but Jedi reminded me I had to go to work. D'oh, I forgot about the whole "go to work and be responsible" mumbojumbo. Hmph. Bridal buzz gone!  We totally should have celebrated with blueberry pancakes or lingdonberry crepes.  Nom nom nom.

  • What's for Dessert??

    Dessert Flavors

    McKinney, TX

    I just realized I never announced our official dessert flavors!  I have a pretty serious sweet tooth so we have a variety of delicious options.  Without further ado:


    Paciugo Gelato (you can choose up to 3 flavors per cup)

    * Pannacotta (Wedding Cake) = Classic.  Tastes *exactly* like white wedding cake!

    * Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl = We have tried 100+ flavors and this is by far our FAVORITE

    * Mint Chocolate Chip = Jedi is very loyal to MCC and can't leave Paciugo without 1-3 scoops  :)

    * Pumpkin Cheesecake = Seasonal flavor and perfect for an October wedding!


    Mini Cakes (these will be approximately the size of cupcakes)

    * Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting  = Barbara's favorite cake EVER

    * Lemon Cake with Butter Cream Frosting = Has a slight zing and was definitely the crowd favorite

    * Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting = Can't go wrong with this simple yet yummy combo!


    MOM&POPcorn (we are going to put flavored popcorn in little bags as wedding favors)

    * Cinnamon Bun + Kettle Corn = the most amazing seasonal combo of all time

    * Peanut Butter + Chocolate = so fabulously decadent I can only eat a small amount

    * Buffalo Wing + Ranch = their most popular seller has an addicting spicy kick!


    P.S.  The picture is of a fancy schmancy gelato cone in Europe.  Mmmm... I want to eat you.

  • Putting it into Words

    The Ceremony

    McKinney, TX

    It is increasingly popular to personalize your wedding vows nowadays, so it isn't surprising that a few people have asked if we are going to tackle the arduous task.  The answer is, YES!  We wrote our own vows and we can't wait to say them!  Not only that, but we personalized the entire ceremony.  Did you hear that?  The entire ceremony.  Oh sure, we took some excerpts from ceremonies that stuck out to us, but for the most part, none of the ones we read really *clicked* with us so we took it upon ourselves to "fill in the blanks."  Thankfully, neither of us wanted a long ceremony (hey, my dress is really heavy!) so it will be less than 30 minutes, but it still took several drafts and a few weeks to finish it.  I can't even begin to count how many hours it took, but it was worth all the stress!  When we finally booked the officiant, I simply handed him a copy of the script.  Now we feel like the ceremony truly reflects us, what we want to say to eachother, and what we value in our marriage.  And that's kinda the whole point.  ;)

  • Some Like It Hot

    Coffee Bar

    McKinney, TX

    I don't think anyone knows this, but I debated about two different types of bars.  Realistically, I only wanted to budget for one type of bar; plus, how many liquids can a person possibly consume in a few hours anyway?   So, we chose a typical alcohol bar with domestic beer, house wine, etc.  I quickly discovered that alcohol is usually expected at weddings, even if it's a daytime wedding.  I've even heard a few pals insist that they would never attend a "dry" wedding.  Seriously??  Remind me to scratch your name off the guest list, buddy.  But I digress...


    What kind of bar did I really want to have?  A COFFEE AND HOT CHOCOLATE BAR!!  I loooved this idea because our wedding starts at noon, which is pretty early for *ahem* some of us.  Let me set the scene for you...  *begin dream sequence*


    We would set out a variety of flavored coffee:  regular, french vanilla, hazlenut, caramel, espresso, etc.  Plus, we would have white/milk/dark hot chocolate (aka the best drink ever invented).  Then stir in some scrumptious toppings to make your drink absolutely perfect:  regular or low fat milk, whipped cream, caramel drizzle, raspberry syrup, chocolate shavings, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, toffee, a dusting of nutmeg, graham cracker crumbles, and mini marshmellows all sound good to me!  Of course, if you wanted to kick things up a notch, we would also have alcohol such as Bailey's, Kahlua, Amarreto, Fireball (cinnamon) and Peppermint Shnapps to mix into your drink.  How about some rock candy stirring sticks?  Some side items could include biscotti, scones, mini sugared donuts, and peppermint patties (to cleanse the palette!).  So divine!  Hmm, maybe we would need a barista to help out and recommend fun recipes, such as "S'mores Irish hot cocoa," for those that get overwhelmed by all the options.  :D 


    Aaah!!  It sounds so warm, cozy and perfect for an autumn or winter wedding!!  I think all the toppings make it really special so it would still be fun, unique, and appropriate for a wedding.  I hope one of my cousins or friends steals this idea in the future!


    P.S.  D@mn you, Hallmark!  How dare you make ridiculously cute "I Do, Me Too" mugs and then discontinue them?!?  This coffee-lovin' bride has searched for MONTHS.  Bring 'em back!!

  • Vintage Love

    Revolutionary Love Letter


    Speaking of love letters, I read a beautiful letter that Abigail Adams wrote John Adams.  From their initial courtship in 1761, through their time as President and First Lady over three decades later, the couple shared insights on their lives and times through their letters. John and Abigail Adams wrote over a thousand letters to each other during the months (sometimes years) that John was away from home helping found a new nation.  As was the custom of the time, they adopted pen names:  John often addressed his letters to his "Dear Adoreable" and Abigail addressed her letters to John, as she would for the rest of her life, to "My Dearest Friend."  So sweet!  Here is an excerpt from a love letter to John Adams, dated December 23, 1782.


    My Dearest Friend,

    …should I draw you the picture of my Heart, it would be what I hope you still would Love; tho it contained nothing new; the early possession you obtained there; and the absolute power you have ever maintained over it; leaves not the smallest space unoccupied. I look back to the early days of our acquaintance; and Friendship, as to the days of Love and Innocence; and with an indescribable pleasure I have seen near a score of years roll over our Heads, with an affection heightened and improved by time -- nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the Image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my Heart.  The unbounded confidence I have in your attachment to me, and the dear pledges of our affection, has soothed the solitary hour, and rendered you absence more supportable... Ever remember me, as I do you, with all the tenderness which is possible for one object to feel for another, which no time can obliterate, no distance alter, but which is always the same in the heart of,


  • A Nontraditional Tradition

    Wine Box Ceremony

    McKinney, TX

    A few months ago, I read about a Wine Box Ceremony, or Love Letter Box Ceremony, and I loved the idea.  The tradition goes something like this:  The couple write love letters to each other.  In their letters, they detail why they fell in love with each other and what they really, truly admire about the other person. The letters get sealed up before they are read by the person they are intended for.  Then the sealed letters are brought out at the end of the wedding ceremony and are put into a wooden box that the couple supplies.  Along with their letters, they put a nice bottle of wine into the box with two glasses. Once all is in the box, the wedding party hammers nails into the box to close it.  The box remains sealed until the 10th wedding anniversary, or whichever anniversary you decide upon in advance. 


    The point of all this? If, at any point, the marriage is in serious jeopardy, the couple is supposed to open the box, read the letters and remember why they fell in love with each other in the first place, and drink the wine together before making any irrational decisions.  While some could see this as a somewhat solemn ritual and not a celebratory or joyous tradition, I see it as being realistic and somewhat romantic. It’s a metaphor for keeping the marriage based in truth and what is real. The hope is that you won’t have to open the box and on your 10th anniversary, it will be a very special and sentimental treat.


    You won't get to see this at our ceremony.  I couldn't get Jedi on board with the idea and he expressed a strong opinion about it, which is rare in wedding-land, so we won't do it.  I still really like the idea so maybe I can convince him to do a modified version.  Perhaps we can write each other letters that express what we love about the other person and our predictions or wishes for the upcoming year, then seal it in a wine box in the privacy of our home (instead of at the wedding) and we would open the box and enjoy the wine and letters a year later.  Then we would seal the box up again with a new letter and new bottle of wine and it will become an annual tradition and a unique way to celebrate our wedding anniversaries.  Of course, I would save all the letters from our "love time capsule" because it would be a fun way to reminise about how far we have come and we can see how many of our predictions came true.  We'll see if I can talk him into it....  <3

  • Scattered Showers

    Wedding Showers

    Plano, TX

    We were so blessed to have two amazing wedding showers.  We feel spoiled rotten with our family and friends' love, sweetness, and generosity.  A big THANK YOU to everyone that helped spoil us and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  :)


    First, my coworkers threw me a great shower.  I realize this ("coworkers") may not sound like fun to some of you, but I must say, I have some pretty friggin' awesome coworkers!  I've been lucky enough to make some good friends at work so it was a lot of fun.  Plus, Jedi joined for the festivities and dazzled everyone with his muscles, err, I mean charm.  :)  Brandi, Krista, and Juliet did a great job planning everything and they came up with a really cute "honeymoon/beach theme." Love!  Everyone who attended jotted down some words of wisdom (or hilarity) and gave the booklet to us at the end.  And the cupcakes were sooo good.  I swoon for red velvet! 


    A week later, my mom & bridesmaids threw me a shower with an adorable kitchen theme.  Shirley, a dear family friend, was gracious enough to let us have the shower at her beautiful house.  Twenty of my favorite ladies attended and we had a blast!  Everyone brought a recipe for us to try and they made me a custom apron with one of our engagment pictures on the front.  Okay people, I get the hint and need to learn how to cook!  :D  We played fun games, like having a toilet paper wedding dress competition.  No, my team did not win, but my TP veil was pretty awesome, haha.    There was a lot of yummy food and Kayla made some incredible (and beautiful!) mini cakes, so it was like a sneak preview of our wedding day dessert.  YUM. 


    Thank you to everyone who made us feel so special!  It was so great to hang out and celebrate with so many loved ones before the Big Day!

  • Nom nom nom!

    Taste Testing

    McKinney, TX

    YES!  FINALLY!!  I've been waiting for this day for so long.  Our venue's taste test.  And it did not disappoint.  *smacks lips* 


    My mom, dad, Jedi and I went to the venue today to sample everything we were interested in so we could officially narrow down our menu.  We got to try dips, tons of appetizers, salads, both the entree selections (you can't go wrong - they are both delish!), and rum punch.  I'm still drooling over the appetizers we chose.  They are soooo good.  I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it.  We are all extremely pleased with everything we picked, so hopefully you will find lots of tasty food to enjoy!

    1 comment
  • Dressed to Impress

    Dress Code

    McKinney, TX

    I've received quite a few questions about the dress code lately.  Oddly, I never thought about it before.  I guess since I'm being forced to care about the topic (only moderately, though), I'll fill you in on our dress code. 


    * T-shirts, jeans, stained and torn clothing are a no-go.  Seems obvious, but I guess it isn't. 

    * Slacks and button down shirts are always a safe classic.  Ties are optional.

    * Now that I think of it, I might force family members to wear a tie.  Just because I can!  :)

    * The groom & groomsmen are wearing tuxedos and are going to look very James Bond.  You certainly don't need to do this!  Nor do you have to wear a suit (unless you want to because the wedding is a good excuse to look suave).

    * The bridesmaids are wearing knee-length dresses, so of course ladies can wear nice dresses! 

    * Don't wear white or ivory, ladies.  Why??  'cause the bride said so.  RARR!

    * Socks + sandals are inappropriate.  Don't make me point out your fashion catastrophe, please.

    * When in doubt, go for what you'd term your "Sunday Best" and don't stress!

  • Sign In!

    Guest Book

    McKinney, TX

    I haven't been to many weddings so I wasn't sure what to do about our guest book.  I've signed many picture mattes/frames, which I always thought was a cute idea... but what picture would we choose??  Jedi and I are pretty indecisive and we could not pick a favorite engagment picture.  No sir.  We had totally different tastes on which ones were the best so I scrapped that idea.  Then I stumbled across the idea to make an "imprinted" tree.  On a small canvas, you draw/paint an elaborate tree trunk and branches and then all your guests press their thumb in different shades of green ink, then add their thumbprint on a tree branch so it ends up looking like a bunch of leaves.  Cute idea, but then everyone's thumbs are stained green.  HA!  Hilarious, but no.  Scrapped.


    I was a wee bit insistent on using our engagement pictures.  Hey, we paid for 'em and we love 'em so we want them *somewhere* as a keepsake!  I briefly thought of covering our house in Barb+Jedi wallpaper, but I resisted.  Instead, I made a photo guest book (cover shown above) that has ~40 of our e-pics. There are blank spaces and pages scattered in between so guests can leave us sweet messages, like in a yearbook.  I can't wait until we get it!!  :D

  • Key to My Heart

    Antique Skeleton Keys

    McKinney, TX

    Check out the antique keys I just bought!  Aren't they fantastic?!?  By now you have probably figured out that I looove antique and vintage items.  I think they are so romantic and I love all the history they exude.  As soon as I saw these I started making grabby hands at the computer screen.


    Huh?  You want to know what I'm going to do with them??  Geez, you are so impatient!   You only have to wait a little while longer!


    But it's going to be brilliant; I promise.  :D

  • Crunch Time

    50 Day Countdown

    McKinney, TX

    Time to get serious, guys.  Last week we were having our "cheat night" (aka junk food night) and Jedi turned to me and said, "We seriously need to start eating better."  I think half of a bean tostada was in his mouth when he said it, but nevermind.   I want to have a smaller waist by the time our wedding rolls around and Taco Bueno isn't doing me any favors.  So we are reducing a lot of the C's in our life (carbs, calories, candy bars, cokes, coffee, cheesecake, etc.).


    Last week we purchased a grill.  ~Whoo~ we needed it!  We're already eating better and we have a healthier (and tastier!) variety.  Instead of french fries, I'm opting for more fruits, veggies and side salads.  I also need to step it up at the gym.  I definitely need to start attending classes multiple times a week and increase my cardio.  Seriously.  Only 50 days, people!!

  • Hello, Mr. Postman!

    Wedding Gifts

    McKinney, TX

    WOW!  We started receiving wedding gifts in the mail already!  Not only that, but AWESOME gifts!!  We are stunned at how generous, thoughtful, and sweet our family and friends are.  When we registered for gifts we wondered if more than two people would even look at it.  We have already (happily!) been proven wrong.  For some reason receiving gifts was not on my radar... I felt like that was far, far away but some of you are on top of your game!  Yesterday I quickly scrambled to order some nice thank you cards.  As soon as they arrive we'll start writing them and let you know how much we appreciate you!  Sorry for the delay.  Bad bride! 


    We're super excited about our upcoming wedding showers, too.  (Don't worry, we'll have the thank you cards by then!)  My lovely coworkers are throwing me one next Friday and my fabulous bridesmaids are working on one the week after that.  Back to back fun!  Can't wait!  :D

  • Tossing & Turning

    Wedding Nightmare

    McKinney, TX

    So many ladies warned me about a severe symptom of DIY wedding planning:  wedding nightmares.  I laughed them off.  How ridiculous!  That won't happen to me!  I am eating my words, my friends.  Last night I had my first wedding nightmare.  Ugh.  I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.  *tear*


    In a nutshell, the nightmare went like this:  I woke up thinking I still had a couple months of planning - but NO - it was my wedding day!  Oh no!  Already?!  I couldn't remember where I was supposed to get ready with the bridesmaids; I got lost while driving; I forgot my wedding dress & shoes; I couldn't get ahold of Jedi, etc.  Since time fast forwarded, I also never ordered a veil or finished any of my crafting projects that I had been working so hard on.   I started freaking out and yelling at the only 2 bridesmaids that finally showed up (which were Les & Erin, so sorry guys!).  Then 1/3 of my teeth fell out!  I was trying to put them back in when I finally woke up.


    Okay, now that I wrote it down, I realize that sounds like the lamest nightmare, but I seriously woke up frazzled and upset.  It was horrible.  I know everything won't go perfectly on our wedding day.  People might be running [a tiny bit] late, some projects might not get finished, and I might not get to eat dessert.  Oh well!  It's best to roll with it and not get so stressed about every. little. detail.  My goal is to be a laid back bride on our wedding day.  I promise that I will not turn into a nightmare! 

  • Two Month Checklist

    McKinney, TX

    Aaah!  It's the 2 month countdown!! The wedding is in 61 days!


    Here's what we have accomplished lately:

    *  Customized all the bridal party gifts (I can't share details until after I give them. Top secret!)

    *  Bought red & black argyle socks for all the groomsmen. They haven't even pretended to be excited, but it will be greatness guys!

    * Photo booth props! We seriously have the best quality moustaches-on-a-stick! Best. Purchase. Ever. A couple funky heart-shaped glasses will also make a fun appearance.

    * We wrote our entire ceremony. Not just the vows, but EVERYTHING.  Hmm, going overboard has become the norm lately.

    * Cupcake testing. Nom nom nom. We narrowed it down to 3 flavors, but I conveniently forget our favorites. Uh oh, we might have to do another tasting.  :D


    This is what we will be up to within the next couple weeks:

    *  Make up trial. I'm nervous about it because I don't want to look like Bozo the Clown. I sent the MUA dozens of "glowy, fresh-faced" bridal portraits that had flawless natural makeup.  Hint, hint!  Less is more.

    * Meet our officiant, Reverand Hall, to discuss the ceremony details. He sounds extremely nice so we're looking forward to it!

    * Purchase birdcage veil. I've looked at a hundred pictures but I'm still indecisive about the size/coverage. Considering I'll only wear it for 30 minutes, I really just need to buy one and move on with my life. HA.

    * Purchase customized ring dish.  I'm waaay too excited about this cute trinket.  I found the sweetest little dish but I can't decide what I want engraved on it. Bonus:  I'll make it a Christmas ornament afterward so we can see it year after year. You know you love it!

    *  Finalize our menu.  We have a taste testing set up and we're going to sample a bunch of different side dishes and pick what we like best. Yum!

  • Hey Mr. DJ


    McKinney, TX

    ~Woot woot!~  We've been busy making our playlist.  I started it 3 months ago, but who's counting?  Originally we just wanted to make sure some of our favorite songs were on the list, but then we kept adding songs to it and at this point we could easily play music for 8+ hours.  Oops, we got a little carried away!  Instead of adding songs, we should start subtracting.  Anyway, we want a nice variety so we're starting off with Oldies before/after the ceremony, an ecclectic mix during formal pictures, soft music during lunch, then dance/pop music during the reception.  Hopefully there will be something for everyone to enjoy! 


    Whenever we meet with our DJ I'm sure he'll roll his eyes when we hand him a huge stack of required songs.  I wonder if they find that annoying?  We completely took over!  On a side note, Jedi and I are horribly awkward dancers so we are expecting our guests to have fun and take over the dance floor for us.  Are any of you good dancers or would you prefer to hide in the photo booth?

  • The Line Up

    Envelope Liners

    McKinney, TX

    The wedding invitations will be mailed later this week!  But first, do you wanna know about the work that was involved in them?  Sure you do.  Here's a breakdown of what was involved in these pesky, yet fabulous invitations, RSVP cards, and enclosure cards:


    1. Obsess over traditional (aka boring) invitation verbiage vs. fun and casual verbiage:  3 hours

    2. Order pretty red invitation suite and wait impatiently at the door for them to arrive:  5 days

    3. Stamp our address on all envelopes:  1 hour

    4.  Add unbelievably gorgeous swoopy calligraphy (thanks Kim!):  4 hours?

    5. Round the corners of every piece of paper:   3 hours

    6. Cut out the corners of enclose card:  1 hour

    7. Crow about how smart I am for buying cool crafy tools, such as corner cutters, bone folders, stamps, several scrap paper books, etc:  30 minutes

    8. Multiple failed attempts at creating the ultimate envelope liner template:  1 hour

    9.  Make an emergency trip to the store to buy tape and glue sticks:  30 minutes

    10. Cut & transform 12"x12" vintage paper into envelope liners (see picture):  10 hours - OMG.

    11. Harass Jedi and force him to choose which looks better holding the invitation suite together - red/white bakers twine vs. belly bands (he refused to pick a side):  30 minutes

    12. Create coordinating belly bands out of the scrap paper:  2 hours

    13. Sneakily number the back of all the RSVP cards to match our guest list while wishing I invested in invisible ink:  1 hour

    14. Assemble the entire invitation suite and *gently* stuff the now-pretty envelopes:  2.5 hours

    15.  Harrass Jedi again.  Make him look at every glorious completed envelope (I used 30 different liner papers) until he looks overwhelmed:  30 minutes

    16. Realize that I forgot to add postage to all the RSVP card envelopes AFTER I already assembled everything inside the envelopes - throw big hissy fit:  1 hour

    17. Add postage to all envelopes with the Lipsky fam*:  2 hours

    18. Take 'em to the post office (thanks Dad!):  30 minutes

    19. Squeal with glee as people tell me they received their invitation:  30 minutes

    20.  Wait patiently to receive everyone's RSVP cards! *ahem*


    Total Time:  6 days, 10 hours, 30 minutes

    Total Labor Time:  27+ hours


    Geez, thank goodness my labor is free!  *And thank goodness for my family, who helped me wrap everything up!  We formed an assembly line (I'll try to resist using any Lean Six Sigma references for all my coworkers):  my mom removed the RSVP card from each envelope (since I was over zealous earlier in #14, if you recall), then my dad stamped the small RSVP envelopes, then I gently re-assembled the invitation suite inside the envelope, then my brother stamped the large outer envelope.  Success!  All their help saved me tons of time!  Thanks guys!!


    UPDATE:  The invitations were mailed on 7/28!

  • Checks & Balances

    The Budget

    Empty Wallet

    I learned something new about myself during this wedding planning process.  I LOVE handling and obsessing over the wedding budget.  It's so perfectly organized!  I have it broken into tons of categories and I'm frequently making sure every penny is in the proper place.  Who would have thought??  I actually find it a slight comfort despite all the cute over-priced wedding-related items that are buzzing around, constantly trying to tempt me to spend more more more.  Alright, maybe it would be a little more fun if I was diving into pools of gold, a la Scrooge McDuck, but I do find it really satisfying to come up with creative solutions to save some gold coins (or pennies)! 


    Full disclosure:  Yeah, I blogged about this just because I wanted to reference Scrooge McDuck.

  • Goofy Baby Portraits

    Our Childhood

    The 80's

    Excuse me?  We both have cute baby moustache & glasses in front of hip 80's drapery pictures? 

    I think this is further evidence that we are made for each other, thank you very much.  

  • Thank You in Advance!

    Gift Registries

    Frisco, TX

    We finalized our three gift registries!  We actually started this a LONG time ago but we didn't want to post anything until all the registries were finished. 


    1.  I completed the entire JCPenney registry during a lunch break.  It was the fastest and easiest because our house is already filled to the brim with JCP goodies.  We have neat things on this registry, like an uber cool coffee maker, durable luggage, and soft towels. 


    2.  On a rainy day, Jedi and I decided to tackle the biggest registry at Bed Bath & Beyond.  First, they wanted us to pick out fine china and it took almost an hour.  Ugh.  Why would they make us start with that??  Jedi was already antsy when they finally released us into the store for what we REALLY wanted to register for.  We had fun running around and zapping everything that we liked.  Now we're talkin'!  Blender.  Zap.  Silverware.  Zap.  Pots & pans.  Zappidy zap!  When we got home we assessed the damage and ~OMG~ why did they waste our time with the fine china??  When we saw how expensive it was, we deleted all of it.  Those fancy shmancy plate sets and gravy saucers cost way more than our honeymoon, so adios!


    3.  Which brings us to our favorite registry, our Honeyfund!  Honeyfund allows people to chip in for our honeymoon (see below).  How cool is that?!  You can help us explore ancient Mayan ruins, scuba dive, and go on jungle adventures.  Awesome.


    < Click on the "gift registries" link to the left to get more information!

    1 comment
  • Over the Moon


    Riviera Maya, Mexico

    We booked our HoNeYmOoN!  We’ll be spending 6 nights in Riviera Maya, Mexico, just 1 mile outside of the bohemian, artsy fishing town Puerto Morelos at Excellence Riviera Cancun.  It's a gorgeous all inclusive adults-only resort and we are so. freakin'. excited.  The location is perfect because we wanted the option to chill on the lazy river that runs through the resort, or lay on the beach and enjoy the bright crystal blue ocean.  We also needed the opportunity to explore so we’ll be Indiana Jonesing our hearts out through Mayan ruins, eco-parks, and cenotes.  We plan on snorkeling and scuba diving along the second largest coral reef in the world, too.  We can't wait!!


    What else makes this resort a winner?  It has the following:  Mediterranean style design, six meandering pools, sunbeds, swim-in spa, unique spa treatments, three whirlpools, in-room jacuzzi's, coffee bar, piano bar, nightly theater, lush gardens, personal hammocks, live bands by the beach, cocktail classes, Mexican guacamole classes, kayaks, snorkeling, sailing, fitness, yoga, tequila tasting, eight restaurants, ice cream bar, fruit juice bar, and many alcoholic bars.  *phew*  The list goes on and on!


    More details can be found here:  http://www.honeyfund.com/wedding/barbjedi

    1 comment
  • Better Than Ice Cream

    Engagement Shoot Finale

    McKinney, TX

    We have our pictures and it was worth the wait!!  We are sooo pleased.  I almost had to delay this post because I couldn't choose which picture to use, especially with all the cute prop options.  Ultimately, Paciugo had to win because that is our absolute favorite date so it truly represents us.  Once I get the high res pictures I'll create a new photo album on this blog.  Heather somehow made our playfulness look pretty and we are forever grateful.  Time flew by during the shoot and it was so easy to act natural in front of her.  She is so sweet, fun, and a kindred spirit! 


    Which reminds me...


    Awesomeness overload:  Heather surprised us and made a SLIDESHOW of our images.  Aah, it's so great!  What's that?  You want to check it out?  Okay, kids.  Buckle your seatbelts and keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.  http://heatherthorne.com/barbjedi/

  • Simply Engaging

    Engagement Jewelry

    McKinney, TX

    I talked about our wedding bands but I betcha someone out there was more curious about the engagment bling, no?  I have a weakness for antique jewelry and Jedi did such a great job helping me pick out my ring.  Uh, okay, so maybe I helped a liiittle too much.  But he gets major bonus points for putting up with me whining about wanting the ring (and wanting to marry him, of course!) for several months.  Yes, I became one of those girls.  *runs and hides*


    To redeem myself, I bought Jedi an engagement WATCH.  I have two bright blue sapphires on the sides of my engagment ring, signifying the month we met and started dating (September) and he has a blue watch to match.  Thankfully, blue is his favorite color anyway so it worked out perfectly!  I love this picture that Heather took of our engagment jewelry so I had to share.  *big smile*

    1 comment
  • Gentlemen Attire


    Arlington, TX

    HAZAH!!  We have tuxedos!  This actually ended up being way easier than expected, despite a long, frustrating, ridiculously traffic-filled commute that may or may not have made us really cranky.  Jedidiah quickly picked out his favorite jacket.  Then I picked out Jedi's vest and tie after he became adorably overwhelmed looking at all the tiny fabric swatches.  There were lots of colors and patterns to choose from.  Aaron lived up to his Best Man status and helped pick out all the fabric for the groomsmen vests and ties.  Thanks, Aaron! 


    I think Jedi would have been content strolling down the aisle in jeans and a blazer, but it's a big weight off my shoulders knowing that we both have something snappy to wear!

  • The Icing on the Cake


    McKinney, TX

    Of course The Dress is the main event, but I had so much fun picking my wedding day accessories.  Let's start from the bottom up, shall we?


    Shoes.  *ahem*  SHOES!  Even though you probably won't see them, they are a big friggin' deal.  I love me some fancy shoes and I knew they would be my bridal splurge.  If you are a shoe fanatic then you probably have the same dream as me:  getting married in Louboutin's!  The gorgeous red soles seriously do something to me.  I found a vintage-inspired pair and I HAD to get them and I giggled all the way home.  I have goosebumps just thinking about them.  But I didn't stop there (although I really tried).  I guess I will have TWO pairs of wedding shoes because I "accidentally" stumbled into Neiman Marcus, um, again, and "accidentally" found myself in the shoe section; somehow a really delicate, strappy, sparkly stilleto found its way onto my foot.  It even matched my wedding colors!  I don't know what happened.  Next thing I knew, I was laying on the couch in my jammies, still rockin' those strappy shoes.  I plead innocence! 


    Rings.  It goes without saying that my favorite accessory of all time is my beautiful engagement ring.  But what you may not know is what I will wear on my right hand.  I look forward to wearing my grandmother's ring, which was passed down to me several years ago.  It's a blue star sapphire with some scattered diamonds around it.  It's very special to me and I want her to be part of my wedding day.


    Earrings.  I thought about these for a long time.  My dress has a LOT of detail and I couldn't decide if I wanted big fancy chandelier earrings or not.  When I finally tried on my wedding dress for the first time (yay!), I decided I didn't want anything to compete with the dress so instead of looking for large earrings, I choose to get super-sparkly earrings.  Apparently I have become a sentimental sap, so I will wear sparkly earrings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Why?  Jedi and I went there the same day he proposed to me and it was one of our favorite places.  Awww. 


    Hair.  I took a chance and ordered a floral hair clip that matches my weddding dress.  No one had ever seen it before so they couldn't tell me anything about what it looked like or the dimensions.  I'm so glad I ordered it because it's perfect!  I have no idea how I will wear it yet, but I'll figure something out.  I'm confident everything will work out in the end.  :)

  • It's Heeere!

    Wedding Dress

    Dallas, TX


    1 comment
  • Coffee and Cream

    Wedding Colors - Round 3

    McKinney, TX

    Remember my Italian color inspiration board?  Yeahhh.  About that.  I had to kick it to the curb because it was seriously impossible to work with and coordinate so many colors.  Plus, some of the colors kept looking too pastel, much to my dismay.  I struggled to keep it and eventually had to admit defeat.  It definitely wasn't worth the headache.  Oh well, back to the drawing board!


    I still wanted to keep my "coffee & cream" thing that I had goin' on, but it needed a little boost.  The main color will still be dark brown, but I felt like a bold pop of color needed to join the party.  I started searching around on my fav wedding blogs (seriously, how did people plan weddings before the internet?!?!) and made a final decision -again- for my accent colors:  pomegranate and soft peach!  Sooo much easier to work with and I think it will look awesome!  It's a perfect combo of autumn, vintage, and romance all at once.  I actually made a new inspiration board using lots of personal photos, but it has *top secret* details in it so I can only show a similiar board for now. 

  • Lord of the Rings

    Wedding Bands

    McKinney, TX

    Did I ever mention that we already have our wedding bands?  We bought them several months ago and we love them!


    I tried on several dozen rings trying to find one that looked good next to my engagement ring, and it simply wasn't working.  My e-ring is curved and I didn't want a curved band because then I wouldn't be able to wear it solo, which I plan to do when we travel.  When I finally realized that I would not find a matching band, I decided to look for a rose gold ring.  I love love love rose gold.  It's hard to find nowadays but I began my quest and started snooping around for estate pieces.  Then I found her.  She was perfectly rosy, dainty and sparkly.  SWOON. 


    Jedi was a stress-ball about this step.  He thought it would be extremely hard to pick out one ring that he would wear forever, so he didn't even want to start.  I eased him into it by searching for different styles online and he gravited to some very unique bands.  That was a decent start.  A few months later, I FINALLY dragged him into a store (bribery may or may not have been used) so he could start trying them on and get a feel for what he likes.   He walked right up to a case, pointed at a band, tried it on, DONE.  What the heck??  It wasn't anything like the ones he looked at online!  He wanted heavy, thick, solid white gold; nothing too fancy and he loved it (I DID force him to try on several more just to make sure, but he stuck with his first pick).  It gave me goosebumps when I saw it on him.  :)


    Fun fact:  I read that the average woman's ring size is a 7 and the average man's size is a 9.  My ring size is a 4.5, which is a tad loose.  Jedi wears a whopping size 11.5.  Mine easily drops inside of his.  I can't wait to get a comparison picture of the two bands together!

  • Pictures That Say 1000 Words

    Engagement Photo Shoot

    McKinney, TX

    OMG, we looove our e-shoot photographer, Heather Thorne!  Luckily, Jedi became friends with Heather a couple years ago and although she retired from wedding-related photography, she happily agreed to take our pictures (YAY!).  She kindly dealt with me bombarding her with lots of picture ideas and examples that I found all over the 'net.  She expertly helped me figure out the "look" I was going for ("romantic backlighting," in case you are interested) and she took it to another level.  I really wanted pictures in a field while the sun was hanging low and I wanted lots of romantic lovey~dovey pictures.  An engagement shoot is really the only time you can get away with so much mushiness, am I right?


    First, we drove to downtown McKinney and started snapping pics in the 98 degree blazing heat.  The buildings there are vintagey goodness.  Then we went to a couple local fields, where the hot wind was so strong that it promptly destroyed my cute hairstyle and almost blew me over.  It was worth it, though!  Finally, we took some pictures on Jedidiah's motorcycle, which was his favorite part of the 5-hour shoot.  Yes, I said 5 hours.  We are hard core!  Oh, did I mention that Heather brought all sorts of props for us to play with?  I think it helped capture our fun-loving personalities.  You'll have to wait a couple weeks to check out all our fav pictures!


    For now, we are excited to show you some "teasers" - enjoy! 


    1 comment
  • Photo Prep

    Spray Tan

    Allen, TX

    We were both SURE that we would have a little bit of color before our engagement shoot.  Jedi succeeded because he always works out outside so he gets plenty of sun.  Meanwhile, I work in a dusty cubicle shoved in the back corner of the building so the only glow I get is from my trusty computer monitor.  I really wanted to wear cute, flirty dresses during our photo shoot.  I quickly glanced down at my legs, which were practically glowing in the dark.  Grr.  This was unacceptable.  But I had a plan!  After I put on several layers of SPF 500 and hissed at the sun, I told Jedi that I needed to get a spray tan before the photo shoot.  He was baffled.  I explained that the only way I would look photo-worthy was to have a natural "healthy glow."  Sorry, but neon white is not a good look for me, especially in a dress.  We decided Jedi also needed a fake tan because he had funky tan lines on his arms.  Farmer tans are also unacceptable in pictures.


    The night before our shoot, we went to the closest tanning salon and we had to wait an HOUR before we could finally use a booth.  No good.  I was already completely paranoid about turning orange, like Tropical Barbie, so I kept bugging the kid at the front desk and making him tell me again about how natural the tan would look.  I sulked by Jedi, who was also getting cranky with the long wait.  Anywhoo, we finally got our spray tans but we didn't even keep it on for the full amount of time (6 hours?).  We showered it off super early because it smelled really bad.  Then we continued to stink like spray tan for 2 full days - UGH.  On the plus side, it did give us a natural color, thank goodness.  I looked sun-kissed and Jedi got rid of his pesky tan lines for a week. 


    Conclusion:  color=good, smell=bad.  Thus, we will NOT get a spray tan before our wedding day.  You can thank us later.  I can only imagine every guest we stand next to saying, "Eew, what is that odd metallic smell??  OMG, is that the bride and groom?!?"  The End.

  • The King of Prop

    Moustache on a Stick


    "Why hello, Mr. Moustache on a stick!  Where have you been hiding during all of my wedding-filled dreams??  Would you like to partake in my photo booth scheme and make a grand appearance on my Big Day?   I'm sure all the savvy guests will greatly appreciate you and your fantastic quirky adornment.  Hmm, what's that?  You think you are too trendy and that people might not appreciate you eagerly jumping toward their upper lip?  BAH!  I'm sure you will make plenty of new friends.  Just hop into my shopping cart and everything will be a-okay..."   

    1 comment
  • Snap Happy

    Photo Booth

    McKinney, TX

    I am ecstatic to announce that we rented a photo booth for our reception.  I love photo booths!!  I especially love taking fun pictures so of course I am going to bust out the box of props.  Potential props:  oversized sunglasses, cowboy hats, feather boas, moustaches, and a small chalkboard (so you can write something and then take a picture with it!).  If you can think of any other "classy" ideas, let me know! 


    Now I am on the hunt for a guest book that is compatible with photo strips.  Wouldn't that be great if guests can take several pictures of themselves, stick a couple in the guest book, then write about fond memories or wedding wishes right next to their pic?  Like a yearbook!  The more I think about it, the more excited I get.  :)

    1 comment
  • A Glimpse Into the Future

    Bridesmaid Weekend

    McKinney, TX

    Yesterday I joined my mom and a couple awesome bridesmaids in downtown McKinney.  Erin and Leslie helped me narrow down a lot of tough decisions.  Ah yes, the life of a bride-to-be is filled with "complicated" choices:  Bouquet or no bouquet?  Two desserts or three?  Professional hair and make-up or DIY?  Thankfully, they were great at simplifying everything for me.  We enjoyed lunch at Rick's Chophouse, then pigged out on desserts:  Paciugo's (wedding dessert) and Mom&Popcorn (wedding favors).  Sooooo delicious.  When we checked out the venue, it was set up for a wedding.  Finally!  I've been there several times and have seen the room empty as well as the day after a wedding, but I have never seen it set up in all it's glory - right before a wedding.  It was perfect and exactly how I want the room set up on our Big Day.  Joy joy joy.  


    Nikki and Aaron arrived later that afternoon and after we shared a gourmet pizza dinner we forced them to try Paciugo's.  Jedi and I are ALL about getting people on the Paciugo bandwagon and it was a huge hit!  Everyone has given gelato an enthusiastic two thumbs up so there's no turning back now.  Needless to say, the gals never tried on any bridesmaid dresses because we were too full of dessert.  Oops.  We'll try again next week!

  • We're Launching in 3...2...1

    Our Wed-Site


    I just mailed the majority of our Save the Dates.  Huzzah!  That's right... an obnoxious, cute cartoon magnet is on it's way to a fridge near you.  Bwahaha.  Then it dawned on me:  our wed-site is about to officially launch because it's referenced on all the magnets.  Hopefully everyone (all 8 of you) enjoys all my random thoughts and clever pictures.  I'm quite proud of finding a heart-shaped donut picture, for instance.  Hehehe!


    Jedi just rolled his eyes.  He can always tell when I'm writing something in the blog because I start giggling and talking to myself.  But I have to lovingly put up with his frequent interruptions whenever he excitedly says, "Hurry, watch the awesome scene in this _________!"  Fill in the blank with "video game," "action flick" or "lame martial arts movie."  Then he'll check to make sure I really looked.  I think we're even.  :) 

  • Wanted: Beauty Boost

    Primp Time

    McKinney, TX

    Jedi & I are enjoying a majorly lazy Sunday.  You know those days where you stay in your pajamas and veg out all day and catch up on movies (and blogging)?  It's glorious.  Until you stumble into the harsh lighting of your bathroom and see all your flaws - eek!


    Recently we have been chatting about our upcoming engagement shoot with our uber talented buddy, Heather Thorne (http://heatherthorne.com/blog/).  She doesn't do wedding or engagement photography anymore, but she sweetly slipped us into her busy baby-filled schedule.  We are so thankful and excited!  But knowing we have our e-shoot in June made the fact that I staggered into some *cough* "bad lighting" even more distressing. 


    Gah!  How much coffee have we been drinking lately??  My former pearly whites could use some help.  And a facial or two is in order.  And a new hair cut.  A slight tan couldn't hurt.  I don't remember the last time I had a mani or pedi.  Yikes, and what about these unruly eyebrows?  Oh goodness, the beauty wish list goes ON and ON!   I know I'm not alone here.  What do you guys do before a big event?  Any special splurges to ensure you'll look 100% pristine?  Tell me about it! 

    1 comment
  • Kickin' the Habit

    Health S.O.S.

    McKinney, TX

    I'm sure my coworkers are sick of me saying that I need to start eating better while I am shoving a Snickers bar in my mouth.  Well this time, I mean it!  The wedding is 5 months and 9 days away (not that I'm counting) so starting immediately, I will substitute:

    * Donuts for pistacio nuts                                            * Chocolate bars for salad bars

    * Greasy potato chips for baked pita chips              * Cupcakes for rice cakes

    * Bread sticks for celery sticks                                   * Nacho cheese for, uh, less cheese


    You get the point.  Furthermore, it's time for me to sluggishly climb back on the fitness bandwagon and break out of my lazy bum routine.  I thank my lucky stars that I have my mom's metabolism, but I could certainly use a bit of firming and toning so that I will look extra fab in my wedding dress.  Jedi (aka Mr. Fitness) is already highly motivated to work out, lift weights, and go for brisk walks so I need to step it up before I'm left wheezing in the dust and craving a milkshake.

    1 comment
  • Branching Out

    Flowers & D├ęcor

    Dallas, TX

    Nothing stresses me out more than... ~dun dun dun~... flowers and centerpieces.  They can make or break the entire feel that we're striving for.   What "feel" am I going for?  I dunno.  A combo of vintage-rustic-modern, perhaps?  So I turned to the trusty internet to begin my centerpiece quest.  I found tons of creative ideas but I was all over the place - no consistent theme whatsoever.  I needed some professional help... stop chuckling; I meant a professional florist! 


    I hustled over to DiFiori and showed them all my favorite inspiration photos (yes, all 100 of them).  Thankfully, they completely understood the look I am going for.  They called it "shabby chic," which I suppose is a whimsical mix of old vs. new.  They also plan to incorporate my Italian colors (see below) into all the flowers.  Perfect!  I can't wait to see everything come together on our big day! 

  • Italian Inspiration

    Wedding Colors - Round 2

    Manarola, Italy - Cinque Terre

    Remember last month when I said I picked my wedding colors?  I was having trouble staying inspired with them (except for espresso, which will definitely make a grand appearance). 


    I started daydreaming about last year's European getaway and all the gorgeous places we visited.  I loved the mossy cobblestone roads, rolling countryside, and old sun-baked buildings.  Waaait a second.  Why didn't I think of this before??  I quickly googled "Italian buildings" and was flooded with pictures of their typical, colorful rustic buildings:  terracotta, coral, shell pink, apricot, and olive.  Some of these colors MUST be incorporated in our wedding.  Molto bello! 

  • Who Needs a GPS?

    Wedding Mapper

    DFW Metroplex

    Confession:  I think I am so cool for finding that Google address collector form.  (I sent it a few days ago and half of our savvy guests have already replied!)  Just when I thought I couldn't get any cooler... it happened.  I stumbled across an interactive wedding mapping tool and squealed with delight. 

    "You mean I can add cute little wedding icons all over a map?!?"  I squeak. 

    YES!!  This is too exciting to handle.  I'm starting to get sore from reaching around and giving myself congratulatory pats on the back every time I find a useful, FREE website.  I keep trying to make Jedi clap in appreciation but it isn't working.  *ahem*  I said, FREE!  He smiles, only slightly entertained, and quickly goes back to playing video games.


    I eargerly start to plot out our wedding weekend with charming icons that only women can appreciate.  Wedding venue?  Check.  Hotel?  Check.  Houses?  Double check.  Hmm, that's only 4 icons.  Let's see... what else can I bombard this map with?  30 minutes later, our map is sprinkled full of tourist traps, movie theaters, restaurants, malls, and parks.  People want lots of options, right?  Consider it done, my friends.  Without further ado: 


    Tip:  You can click, zoom, drag, hover, and print!

    1 comment
  • You Better Save It!

    Save The Dates

    McKinney, TX

    The date that is.  I proudly bought my (ridiculously cute) Save the Date magnets way in advance and when I finally decided it was time to ship them, I stared awkwardly at all the blank white envelopes.  Hmm, I guess I forgot an important step.  In the day of email and evites, I can honestly say that I only know two addresses (mine and my parents').  And I also forgot about stamps.  You know those little sticky things that you place in the corner of envelopes?  Yeah, those things.  I need a couple hundred of those suckers, stat!  This week my goal is to collect addresses and scavenge for stamps.  If all goes well, the Save the Dates will happily be on their way to a mailbox near you soon!


    Fun little facts:  In binary, 101010 adds up to 42, the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (nerd alert!).   Ten represents fulfillment, attainment, unity, and completion (coming full circle).  It also signifies the completeness and perfection of Divine order. 

  • Not So Black & White

    Wedding Colors - Round 1

    Plano, TX

    Hooray, I finally picked our colors!  I was inspired by a picture of some truly gorgeous bouquets.  They scream 'Fall' without being obnoxious about it.  I went to Home Depot to pick up a bunch of paint swatches so I could take them to our venue and make sure they looked good.  Sooo clever!  Jedi immediately kicked out any pink shades because he thought they were way too girly, haha.


    The wedding colors are (drum roll, please!):  espresso, dark gold, light gold, peachy-cider, ivory, and possibly some green.  I realize that's a lot, but they all blend together so beautifully and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I can't wait to figure out creative ways to use these colors!

  • Lack of Coordination

    Bridesmaid Dresses

    This is impossible.  Bridesmaid dresses are officially the most difficult item on my to-do list.  Oh sure, I've seen lots of fabulous ideas, but then I see the price tag.  Sticker shock sets in.  I go back to googling 'regular' black dresses that are on sale.  A LBD is classic and they can wear it again...


    Don't get me wrong, I want all of my wonderful ladies to look ah-mazing.  I love to visualize them all in different, flattering styles.  A one-shouldered dress here, a halter dress there... Then I imagine them all in different shades of the same color family.  Then in all black or all espresso brown.  Perhaps a swishy, wrinkle-free fabric?  Solid colors or prints?  Hmm, maybe a sash?  A confused cloud quickly beings to form over my head.  Since when are there so many options??  The only detail I have figured out is that I want them to wear assorted knee-length dresses.  I have changed my mind on everything else at least a dozen times.  *sigh*


    I might need to take a poll soon...

  • Feeding Frenzy

    Bridal Fair

    Plano, TX

    My mom and I went to a bridal fair today.  We also went to one with Lisa in January (before either of us were engaged, hehe), but we were much better prepared this time.  Engagement ring?  Check.  Labels?  Check.  Wish list?  Never ending.  We even knew what prices we wanted so we could properly harrass and haggle with everyone in our path.  We got there a little before opening and there was already a decent gathering of brides working themselves into a tizzy.  As soon as the doors opened, we knocked several brides out of the way.  What??  We were on a mission! 

    It's easy to get trapped in one of these events so we stayed on high alert and did our best to ignore all the towering flower arrangements and free raffles.  We did manage to sneak in some wedding cake samples while zipping past some of the unnecessary vendors.  Exceptions must be made!  We escaped an hour later, after booking an awesome DJ (who also provides lighting, woohoo) and a M.A.C. airbrush makeup artist.


    Mission complete.

    1 comment
  • Weather or Not

    Weather Forecast

    McKinney, TX

    I admit it.  I am already stalking the weather.  I blame this on my dad, who likes to call from a vacation to jovially broadcast the current temperature and forecast.  It's even more fun for him if he is currently going up a ski lift; then he can update you on his altitude every few seconds - bonus!  I think my parents will burst with pride knowing that I checked the almanac 7 months in advance.  

    Here is what October 10th might have in store for us:


    Average high:  80 degrees              Range:  71-86 degrees

    Average low:  59 degrees                Range:  54-65 degrees

    Chance of rain:  13%                        Chance of snow:  4%

    Sunniness Scale  =  Sunny:  35%, Average Sunshine:  76%, Cloudy:  6%

    Sunrise:  7:27am                               Sunset:  6:59pm

  • Productivity Check

    First month

    I can't believe we have been engaged for one month... time is flying!  Thankfully, we have already made a lot of progress:

    * Invitations and save the date magnets have been ordered

    *  The venue has been booked

    * The dress has been purchased (although it won't arrive until July, boohoo)

    * All bridesmaids and groomsmen are on board

    * Menu items (appetizers, lunch, and drinks from Rick's Chophouse) have been selected


    We're trying to narrow down the dessert selection; we can't wait for the food/dessert tastings so we can finalize everything!  Now I'm focused on picking out my colors (way harder than I expected!), bridesmaid dresses, my wedding shoes, compiling addresses, lighting, and a DJ.  I keep procrastinating on flowers, centerpieces, and décor because they draiiin me.  Hmm, we should probably start thinking about gift registries soon, too...  Dreaming of a beachy, relaxing honeymoon sounds like more fun, though!

  • Stroke of Luck


    Bridgeport, TX

    I love to hear about random talents that people have.  Especially when it's something convenient like baking (mmm, blueberry muffins) or calligraphy (hooray, escort cards)!  Jedidiah's mom, Kim Hastings, used to do calligraphy so she's off searching for her "special pens."  You know it's going to be good if there are special pens involved!  She warned me that she hasn't practiced in a long time, but even if she hasn't done calligraphy in a decade, that's still way better than my poor skills.  I'm mighty impressed if I manage to write in a straight line so there's no way I can handle any intricate swoops and swirls (unless I sneeze).  Now I need to brainstorm crafty things to do so she can show off her fancy schmancy talent! 

  • Who Says You Need Flowers?

    Vintage Brooch Bouquet

    Portland, OR

    *gaaasp*  Be still my heart!  If this doesn't properly glorify everything vintagy then I don't know what does!   This is by far the most unique bouquet I have ever seen.  If I weren't attempting to be a budget-friendly bride, then I would immediately zip over to every antique store in a 28 mile radius and buy every cool brooch imaginable, then ship 'em off to Studio del Fiore in Portland to make one of these beauties.  This is so much more interesting and it will last forever.  Of course, you can preserve flowers, but c'mon, you know this is pretty spectacular!  If I carried a brooch bouquet down the aisle, I would feel utterly glamorous.  Then again, I write this as I'm sprawled out on the couch wearing mismatched pajamas and tattered socks.  I'm always a class act.

  • Rattling the Cage

    Birdcage Veils

    Dallas, TX

    YES!  I found THE DRESS of all wedding dresses.  It was the first dress I tried on at Terry Costa.  It was completely not what I had in mind, but as soon as I put it on I knew it had to be mine, mine, mine!  Maggie Sottero makes some absolutely stunning dresses.  I immediately felt like a beautiful bride-to-be.  But I can't show you my dream dress.  What fun would that be??


    Instead, I want to talk about veils.  I have never been a fan of veils, until I tried on a birdcage veil (shown above).  They have a fabulously vintage vibe and they look so sleek!  It's so fun to add flowers or feathers to completely change the way it looks.  Whee!  Every time I tried on a dress, I demanded to put on a birdcage veil.  Uh oh, maybe that's the [charming] bridezilla in me starting to shine through.  I'll try to simmer down and be quiet for a few minutes...


    I still want that veil, though!!

  • Big Cravings

    Mini Desserts

    McKinney, TX

    Seriously, how adorable are these?!  I can't seem to get over how cute mini desserts are.  I wish I never discovered them!  There are mini wedding cakes, bundt cakes, cupcakes, pies, caramel apples, vintage candies, etc.  How am I supposed to choose?  And how am I supposed to eat just one, especially when they are all smaller than 2-3 inches??  Traditional wedding cakes seem utterly boring now that I have stumbled across the wonderful world of bite-sized sweets...  Kayla and Breezies Cakes are definitely going to have to help me figure out all the tiny little details!

  • Sweet Tooth

    Paciugo Gelato

    McKinney, TX

    Anyone close to us knows that we are huge Paciugo fanatics.  I daresay that if we had tons of extra moolah laying around, we would buy a store.  They make aah-mazing gelato, a popular dessert in Italy that is similiar to ice cream, but BETTER.  This delightful treat is made with whole milk and all-natural ingredients, but contains 80% less fat than American ice cream.  That means you can eat an extra large portion with zero regrets, right?!


    Good news:  we are going to cater gelato so everyone can try it!  *throws confetti*  Almost all of our date nights end up at Paciugo, so it seemed fitting to have it at our wedding, too.  We're attempting to narrow down the flavors, but it's tough with so many options!  Perhaps pannacotta (wedding cake), mint chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate swirl, and amaretto pumpkin pie?  Or how about cinnamon dulce de leche, turtle cheesecake, s'mores, and caramel apple? 


    If you want to dream of more yummy flavors, check out their site:  http://paciugo.com/html/products/flavors.php

  • The Grand Hotel & Ballroom

    Wedding Venue

    Downtown McKinney

    The weekend after we got engaged, my mom and I decided to scope out a few places to figure out any particular likes/dislikes since we were fairly clueless.  All I knew was that I wanted a vintage style and at least one exposed brick wall.  Shout out to Jamie Hilliard who completely understood the atmosphere that I was looking for and recommended the Grand Ballroom!  It was the first venue we went to and it was THE ONE.  I still can't believe how quick and easy it was!    


    The 2500 sq. ft. ballroom has an exposed antique brick wall, elegant chandeliers, a pressed tin ceiling, french doors, and tall windows.  Restored to it's 19th century charm, the Grand Ballroom housed the original Opera House of McKinney from 1885 to 1923 when it was shuttered until now.  *sigh*  I love historical sites!

  • The Big Question in The Big Apple

    Proposal Weekend

    New York, New York

    Jedi surprised me with a trip to New York for my birthday weekend.  He knew I have ALWAYS wanted to go there so he told me a month beforehand so we could pick all sorts of fun things to do together.  We had a blast, despite the freezing weather!  We stayed at the Millennium Broadway hotel right by Times Square, which was incredible to see at night.  We bundled up in warm clothing and filled our weekend visiting the Theater District, Central Park, Metropolitan Muesem of Art, Natural Museum of History, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, Carnegie Deli, and so much more.  Watching Phantom of the Opera on Broadway was a definite highlight!  Of course, we had to visit the new Manhattan JCPenney store while we were there, too. 


    I know, I know... hurry up and get to the good stuff!


    On our last night in NYC, we went to the Empire State Building around midnight.  It was hard to ignore that it was a mere 5 degrees and insanely windy, but we still ooh'd and ahh'd while checking out all the bright city lights.  Jedi was even brave enough to take off his gloves and film the view from the 86th floor Observatory on our new Flip video camera (thanks mom & dad!).  Then Jedi surprised me by taking me up to the tippy top (102nd floor) for a private date.  After about 30 minutes, he stopped at my favorite view (shown above - I still get butterflies looking at that picture) and proposed.  *swoon*  It was so romantic and perfect!!  Thank goodness he had the ring hidden in his boot all weekend "just in case" we had a special moment! 


    After I stocked up on a bunch of Empire State Building souveniers (and splurging on a thimble for Erin), we celebrated with some seriously decadent New York cheesecake.  :D

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