Friday, September 14, 2012

a list worth a second look

I've always been a list-maker.  I make lists for just about anything, I've even made lists of lists.  I'm sure I will have hundreds of lists to check off, follow, and make throughout planning our "I do's" but a few weekends ago I focused on one list...

Craig's List.  

Now, I am a big fan of CL.  We nerds have had much success with the online ad list-maker that is Craig.  I have the notification app on my phone and added in the search term wedding a while back.  I haven't had much luck with that search term until recently.  

I saw a posting listing a number of wedding items, and in it they had a few glass jars and scoops from a candy buffet. I picked up the jars and scoops (which I, like an idiot washed in the dishwasher and henceforth ruined) for $20...I have a small obsession with glass jars (and we are leaning very heavily towards a buffet of goodies to have at our reception) and I couldn't resist.  A few emails and an impromptu trip to Columbus later and these lovelies are mine:

(I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Mecca.. I mean... Michael's to take part in a potentially budget busting sale.. to my chagrin, the store closed about 20 minutes after my arrival.  At least it kept me somewhat on budget!)

Also, via CL I saw an ad for the NIE (Newspapers in Education) yard sale going on one weekend.  I decided to check it out -- there were about 30 different vendors (families? groups? tables?) to peruse and I lucked out!

One generous seller agreed on a $.50 price tag for our potential card box - and future DIY project, while another accepted my offer of $1.00 for two key-limey green curtain panels.  The panels may survive intact, or may be subject to an onslaught of pinking shears.. only time will tell...
My final triumph was probably one of the better finds in my years of yard-sale-ing.  A booth had a TON of scrapbooking supplies.  The seller had planned on making a wedding scrapbook for her sister-in-law, but scrapped the project (lame pun intended).  Lucky for me, she was kind enough to sell me the lot.  I did a quick guesstimate based on the price tags still on the supplies and I managed to get about $60 worth of scrapbooking goodies for a mere $5.

Side note: during the process of taking these photos, the ever-enthusiastic Inari had to jump in the middle of my shot about twenty times, this image is the product of my eventual surrender to her persistence.  We'll pretend the purpose of this shot is to provide a cat-based scale for the sheer quantities of scrappy goodness...
Thank you, Inari.. lovely job!  Now please get off the damn table!
... and moving on...

Granted, I may not have the time or energy to scrapbook anytime soon... but I'll hang onto these for now.. and maybe share a few with a scrappy future sister-in-law who is about as crazy as I am when it comes to crafty goodness.

What have you found recently?  Any awesome CL finds?  What's the best yard sale you've stumbled upon?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

today's obsession: dahlias

Through the past few months of wedding planning, or at least being on the hunt for wedding inspiration, I've found that I tend to develop mild (or moderate, and at times severe) obsessions with certain ideas.

I'll latch onto a concept for decor, or favors, or food. I'll become consumed with an awesome new DIY or centerpiece idea, or the next big project to occupy my time during our long engagement.  Some ideas have stuck and others will fade over time, I'm sure.

I thought sharing my current obsession on the blog could be a fun series.. and a nice test to see which obsessions have staying power.  Now, onto my current obsession:

Amazing, right? 
I love how they can be so architectural, textured, and quirky... but in the same breath so soft and feminine!
So ethereal.. and still fun!
It all started with this picture, taken during the early days of the my and the Man's courtship while I was in Oh, Canada!  I spotted these one rainy Saturday morning at the local farmer's market.  

I didn't realize it then, but I was in love.  In love with the Man...
 and with these lovely, fluffy, full, vibrant blooms. 

When it comes to wedding flowers, I didn't have any strong feelings immediately.. other than dahlias.  I had to have them.  It was more than a want, it was an emotional need.  I remember jokingly thinking to myself the first time I saw these flowers how awesome they would be for a wedding (apparently my sub-conscious was already planning our nerdy nuptials 5 years in advance!)

After a Pinteresting search, I found quite a few inspiring shots.
(to see image source, please visit my wedding pinterest board)

With budget being a big concern, and these lovely ladies running about $5-7 a stem-- I may have to keep my obsession somewhat at bay.  
Love the coral and peach tones of this one! So feminine!
However, I still plan on a bit of a splurge to have just a few in my bouquet.. hopefully. 
My favorite so far... love the combo of colors and textures!
What are you obsessing over today?  Any other flower-lusters out there?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

no offense to my Canadian friends...

Canadian Amazon sucks.

Maybe I should apologize to those of you residing in Canada... you will never have the joy of searching for just about anything and finding it in three (or less) clicks on the wonder that is  At least you have Tim Horton's.. and bueno bars...
ahh bueno bars.. chocolate and hazelnutty goodness
image from wiki:buenobars
oh... buenos... how I miss you!

Back to the beginning.. and to how the Man and I discovered the sad, sad state of It all began with the Man's favorite ring finalist.  Did you guess it?

Well, it was out of stock in his size on Amazon.  It had been out of stock since we first found it a few weeks ago.  We vowed to check periodically (and for me to online stalk and amazon-alert the mess out of it) until it was back in stock [Edit: it's in stock now, but order when you can!].  The Man really liked that ring!

One night, on a whim-- we decided to check on the out-of-stock-ness.  Sadly, still out. The determined pair of nerds we are wanted to just "click around" and see if we could find it elsewhere.  We tried searching by the brand, the listed seller, the amazon code, common keywords, anything we could think to try and find this ring from a reputable vendor.  No luck.  We had to think outside the box, or States.. it was time to go global.

With a few tabs open, we took to the net-- we had a ring size converter, a currency converter and Google translate at the ready.  Off to we went..

...they had it!  But they couldn't ship it to the US.  We have friends in England.  We could ship it to them, and have them bring it over when they come to stay a while... too difficult and too much to ask. Then we tried the French even with my slim knowledge of French, I could tell we had the same "no shipping to the US" issue.  
En stock!
"Well, I know Canada ships to the US.. at least, they shipped all that amazing Canadian candy to the apartment (see comment regarding buenos above... yes, I did ship a case.. and yes, I did ration them out over the course of a year, don't judge me!)" but the site was severely lacking.  As in, only books and cds and movies?  Amazon?  What's wrong with Canada?  Don't they deserve an awesome too?

After trying a few sites, and losing energy on the whim-ness of it all.. the Man chimes in:
"Did you ever check Newegg?" - home for happy nerds everywhere
Now, newegg is an awesomely nerd-tastic site full of computer parts and pieces, electronic goodies, and all those things that make the Man so happy.  I strongly doubted they carried rings, but I figured why not?

And there it was.  In stock and cheaper than Amazon!  Within a few short minutes, the Man's ring was ordered and on its way. It doesn't hurt that the Man's band is from one of his favorite stores and the place he bought most of the components for the other love of his life, his gaming computer. 

Did you have an interesting ring journey?  Am I completely wrong in my hasty judgement of Have you ever tried a bueno (not that I'm sharing!)?
also from wiki:buenobars
Note: this post was not sponsored by amazon, newegg, or bueno.. but if my tiny blog registers on their radar we would love to be compensated via gift card, discounts on orders, or a case or two o'buenos. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

a band fit for the Man

Let's talk wedding bands..

not the Adam Sandler Wedding Singer type of bands..

the I-love-you-forever-and-want-everyone-to-see-this-symbol-of-my-eternal-commitment type bands..

the back-off-you-hussy-he's-taken type bands..

(just kidding about that last one... but really.. back off hussy.. he is taken.) :)

I digress...

When I was talking to the amazing Santana at Jewlery by Design, who as we know takes amazing notes, I told her that when and if I did ever get an engagement ring, I wanted to be able to wear it with a simple band. Thankfully, later when the Man worked with the team at JBD to design my ring, they kept this in mind.

Although my halo is a low setting (so as not to stick up and catch on everylittlething) it is made in a way where a thin, simple band will fit perfectly next to it without having to add any type of curve or curley-do to work around the halo.  So with that in mind.. my wedding band was pretty simple to decide on. I just have to wait until Jewelry by Design has their annual sale at Christmas time so I can save even more on the final price of my band.  We're all about saving where we can!

So, with my wedding band pretty much decided-- it was time to do some browsing for the Man.  We clicked around online quite a bit.. and he had a *few* favorites to choose from.
various sources, most found through google searches for tungsten or titanium men's wedding bands
the last three were found on etsy
For a while he gravitated towards the black tungsten band with steel cables, but after seeing some closer images online (and not finding any in stores around our area) he decided to go for something more simple. The options with the braiding and knots had to do with the second part of the wedding-band-plan for the Man (more to come about that.)

Instead of cables, or knot-work, or bold colors-- the Man decided to stick with what he loved... black.
Our next step was to try and find some black rings in local stores.  There were hardly any to be found.  One struck at chord at Kay's Jewelers, but from the Man's perspective the price (around $300) was NOT right.
Two rings from Kay Jeweler's - average price $300ish
Neither were perfect-- he wanted to keep looking. 

And look he did.  On an average weekend. I usually crash around 11:00-12:00am after a long night of blog-stalking and Pinterest-ing.  However, the Man stays up all hours-- saving the galaxy, building new worlds and the like.  One morning, after what I assumed to be an all-night gaming session, the Man tells me he wants to show me some rings he found on amazon. Apparently there is some extra time for ring-hunting between killing reapers and saving the world..

ahem.. galaxy.  Sorry. ;)

Now we had some finalists:
all found via search for men's black wedding ring
They were a mix of titanium, ceramic and tungsten.  The Man is gravitating towards tungsten because of the richness of black color compared to the grey-ish tones of "black" titanium rings.  We don't expect him to wear his ring often (not safe for his job) and we both prefer to go for a more affordable solution for his ring as compared to mine which I will wear all the time and will not likely lose or damage like he will with his.

Of the five "finalists", all but one were in stock, in his size, and at the Man's idea price point. Any guesses on which was his favorite?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

groom, check! date, check! venue...

not yet!  Although I am 98% sure where the Man and I plan to wed.... we can't confirm anything until October 2012.

Yup, I've found our dream venue.. about 2 weeks after the Man popped the question.. but I can't book it until one year in advance.  This is driving me nuts!  I try not to stress about it, since I doubt there will be many people flocking to reserve "our pick" on a Friday evening in 2013... but I am a planner.  And I have to wait.  And I know a year in advance is PLENTY of time.. but I want to lock it in now!

[that exclamation point makes that sentence seem a bit bratty, but it's meant to imply impatience.. not bridezilla-ness]

Instead of fretting over the 2% uncertainty that I have over our dream location, I think I'll share a sneak peak into it instead.

Our dream venue --  Kiesel Park in Auburn
Pavillion at Kiesel Park - from 100layercake

The Nunn-Winston House at Kiesel Park  from 100layercake
Although we plan to have the ceremony outside in the pavilion, one of the big selling points for us about Kiesel was the fact there were two buildings available to rent along with the pavilion.  Currently, I'm planning on the Nunn-Winston being our landing zone for the day.  It's broken into different rooms all with a wonderful antique and classic look which will be perfect for getting ready pictures, and hopefully a little escape for the Man and me following the ceremony.
One of the rooms of the Nunn-Winston
(from our tour late one day, pardon the poor picture quality)
The reception area is a pretty simple hall, but it has these grand shutters and plenty of windows that look over the park.  All areas of the park are easily accessible and I hope that will be a plus for all of our guests.  
An outside view of the hall, next to the Nunn-Winston House
stairs and a ramp lead to the double doors which open into the hall
(again, pardon the poor picture quality)
Another thing we loved about the park were all the different areas surrounding the pavilion and houses that will be perfect for people to get away from the hustle and bustle if they want. (The Man's dad is notorious for wandering off, and I know he'll love having room to meander away.)
One of the gardens at the park -  has a few arbors and a newly built gazebo
Many people have warned about planning an outside wedding during *any* season here in the south, but at least with Kiesel we have options in case of bad weather.  Thankfully the pavilion has ceiling fans to help air circulate and is much sturdier than a tent so we should be covered in case of mild weather.  If not, we'll relocate the ceremony into the Nunn-Winston and keep the reception in the hall as planned.

Now to figure out how to decorate this blank slate and make it a bit more nerd-tastic.
One wall of the hall... just needs a little love

Monday, March 26, 2012

making the cut..

When the Man and I first started talking about wedding plans, the guest list was a big concern.  We want to keep things small, but still be able to invite our close friends and family.  Since we are paying for everything ourselves (at least, that's how we're planning) we knew we couldn't afford to invite everyone we wanted... and certainly couldn't afford to invite everyone our parents wanted to either.

I emailed our folks right off the bat, back in November, asking who their "must haves" would be.  After some discussion-- we agreed on a very tenative list... and already we're topping 80 people!

I expect our list will change a bit over the next few months (oh who am I kidding, we still have about a year and a half before the big day!) but it's nice to have a general idea of our "count."  I started compiling addresses at Christmas when we sent out Christmas cards, and that prompted the creation of my master spreadsheet (more on that later).

I'm sure it will get more difficult keeping the guest list small... especially considering most people aren't even thinking about our wedding since it's so far out..but as we get closer to time and everything becomes more "real" we may have to practice the spiel I told Dear Mother to keep in  mind when people ask if they're invited:

"I'm so glad you want to celebrate with us!  Since we're having to keep the wedding small to fit our budget, maybe we can get together for dinner to celebrate when things calm down a bit?"

For other brides-to-be out there, how did you keep your guest list in check?  How did you choose who "made the cut"?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

ten-four, good buddy!

One of the first questions we were asked following the Man's proposal-- have you set a date?

My reply:  "Yes, of course! October 4th.." (to which people nod excitedly and then..)

".. we just don't know what year."

Most people seem a little surprised by that, but even more surprised when we say we will most likely wed in 2-3 years.  We have a couple of reasons for that:
  • We'll be paying for our own wedding... so yeah, we'll need some time to save up our extra pennies. 
  • Yes, I know we could go to the courthouse and it would be just as lovely. I'm not completely excluding that option if we decide later that a "big to-do" is not to be done.
  • I love planning.. I'm a planner.  The Man wants me to enjoy my planning and day-dreaming and Pinterest-ing time.
  • It takes a LOT of work to pull together a small wedding on an even smaller budget-- and we both work full-time, have a household to manage, two cats to wrangle, friends and family to spend time with, and I don't want our lives to become a 24/7 wedding machine.
  • I really want to enjoy being engaged.  I mean, this is a HUGE step in life and I want to soak up every minute of being a fi-an-cee.  As excited as I am to be the Man's Mrs... I don't want to miss out on any of the fun and anticipation leading up to the "big day" or the rest of our lives.
  • We're already together, we have been for a while now.  Yes, marriage will solidify our commitment legally and to everyone around us-- but why should we rush? As my father lovingly reminds us, in the state of Alabama -- we're already common law.
So that's why we're waiting for a few years-- and I think we'll need those years to save (and I'll need that time to plan!)  We have some ideas for what we want, but so much of it is up in the air-- since we're so far out from 2013-- but I will be taking you along the way as I brainstorm and all..

Oh, and why October 4th?

Our first date was on October 4th, 2008 and the Man went to great effort to propose on our anniversary.  Plus, when we marry on October 4th-- it's an easy date to remember -- ten-four!

How did you decide your wedding date?