Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful Thursdays: It's here! Welcome 2010!

This has been a rough year.  We have had a few deaths around our family (not actual family members, but friends of our family).  I personally have had a car accident, fainting spell which led to a black eye and stitches, cracked rib, medical concerns involving some tests on my heart and several sicknesses this year.  It's pretty unlike me to get sick very often but even as I write this I am getting over a sinus and ear infection that has been hindering my well being for two weeks now!

Granted I have a 14 year old daughter and so with children in school where there have been outbreaks of swine flu and other common illnesses, it is not unusual to have to battle these things.  But this is getting ridiculous! 

On top of that, family members have had some health scares and illnesses and surgeries as well.  Mr Fix It also started off 2009 recovering from a surgery he had on his arm to have his bicep reattached to his elbow.  This was the result of a surfing accident which left him out of work for four months!  When you are self employed and planning and saving for a wedding, this is not a good thing.  And with the economy in it's noticeable downturn in 2009, it has definitely been a year of struggles.  My father had a heart attack.  My future FIL had knee surgery.  Our dog had to have surgery on his leg and was in a full leg cast for a month.

Thankfully, Mr Fix It is healthy again and attempting to get his work back up to it's prosperous potential.  Our family (including dog) are all doing relatively well and have healed nicely.  I still have my amazing job and other than frustrating illnesses and injuries, I am truly healthy and safe and so is my family.  But I have to admit, as much as 2009 has been a year of a lot of growth and changes (my daughter starting high school, planning a wedding, getting Mr Fix It's house ready for us to move in and so on), I am truly looking forward to an amazing 2010!

For with 2010 comes our wedding in April and becoming a family finally living together after being in a relationship for six years.  We'll also be going on our fabulous honeymoon - a dream trip I have been dying to take that I will tell you about soon.  My little girl will start driving this year (pray for me!).  And I have a few very close friends who will also be tying the knot after us in 2010.  So this will definitely be a year of firsts and celebrations.  I cannot wait!  Not that I'm saying good riddens to 2009, but boy oh boy am I ever thankful to see 2010 arrive!

What about you?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh Google Reader - What have you done to me?!?

Ok, so I admit it...I have only been a part of the blogosphere for a few months now.  And while I am familiarizing myself with how to follow blogs, schedule posts, learn the lingo, and navigate through Blogger, I never had a clue what people were referring to when they mentioned 'Google Reader.' 

Well, randomly one day I actually scrolled all the way down the page on my Dashboard and saw it...the little list of all the blogs I follow and a link to 'View in Google Reader.'  So I decided to check it out and boy am I ever glad I did.  How cool is it to have all the blogs I follow listed so neatly and in an organized fashion that lets me read them so easily?! 

Ok, yes...I'm an idiot and up to this point I had been clicking on each person's individual blog link from my own blog site where it shows the blogs I am following.  So make fun of me if you will but at least I'm honest about my stupidity.  :)

Anyway, now that I've found it I am able to catch up on my blog reading so much is a little frustrating that I need to actually open a separate link to comment on the blogs I choose to but that's nothing compared to how much more organized this is.

So what's the problem you ask?  Well, this is the problem:

Now that I'm following something like 247 blogs and since it's been the holidays and I've been sick and busy and all, I have fallen way behind on reading all the blogs I love!  And to top it off, Google Reader reminds me daily just how far behind I've fallen!  How the heck am I supposed to catch up on 785 new items?  UGH!!!  I feel so much pressure.

So that said, my new year's resolution is:  to clear out all the new items in my Google Reader and start fresh on January 1st.  I know, I's really a bummer because I know there are posts that I will regret having missed or skipped over but I just seriously can't take the stress anymore. 

So if you see me commenting on your blog and I sound all air-heady (is that a word?) and out of the loop or have no idea what you're talking about when you're recapping some fight you had with your future mother-in-law or thanking everyone for their feedback on what color bridesmaid dresses you should have chosen, please forgive me for my ignorance.  I will try to search through your previous posts to catch up where I feel the need to be in the know.  :)

I'm not big on new year's resolutions but that's a good one for me based on where I'm at with my schedule and planning right now.  What about you all?  Got any new year's resolutions set yet?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Well, here we's December 29th.  Just two more days and 2009 will be a thing of the past and 2010 will be here and on it's way.  These past few days (weeks?) I've felt kind of stuck.  I'm not quite sure why.  It's a strange place to be in a long engagement.  We got engaged a year ago on Christmas Day but had actually started looking at wedding venues in early November, 2008.  So I've been planning for over a year now.  But now there's just about 3 1/2 months to go.  You'd think I would feel like things are in full speed ahead mode.  But the reality is, I don't feel like there's much to do.

Don't get me wrong.  I am meeting with my caterer and coordinator in about 2 1/2 weeks to do a venue walk through and come up with a logistics plan and finalize how everything will be set up and run.  And I'm meeting with my seamstress at some point soon to get started on gown alterations.  I have contacted several dance companies yesterday to find a studio for Mr Fix It and I to begin taking dance lessons this month.  I'm also scheduling about 3 to 4 appointments with my aesthetician for waxing (legs, bikini area, etc) starting this month up until the big day.  Within the next couple weeks our invitations should arrive so that I can begin assembling them all as I am hoping to get them out around February 1st.  So it's not like January is not without it's list of to-do's that I am ready to take on.

But for some reason I feel like I'm in the 'inbetween' phase of wedding planning.  I have *so* much done and planned, that until the invites go out and we start receiving RSVP's and until we pick out the final menu and get a bit closer, I just feel like I'm kind of stuck sitting around waiting for time to pass.  I can't create seating charts, or escort cards, or assemble favors and such until we are in the final month (if not weeks).  Other people would think I'm crazy, especially when you look at the things I've got going on in January as mentioned above.  But for some reason, I'm feeling in limbo.

Does anyone else feel this way?  Am I just going through some kind of 'downward' excitement or planning mode since I have been sick and there has been so much other stuff going on with the holidays?  It's kind of strange and unlike me.  But oh well...guess I'll just chalk it up to a 'season' of the engagement.  :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Music Monday # 9

So I've not posted anything since Christmas Eve due to a busy schedule with family and then being sick with a sinus and ear infection on top of that.  I thought I was winning the battle against this illness all last week but unfortunately, come Christmas Eve, it was obvious I had lost.  Thankfully, my doctor is a surfing buddy of Mr. Fix It's so I was able to get some anti-biotics and cough syrup without having to go into a doctor's office.

But alas, though I still have not gotten my voice back and am still not feeling better, I am somewhat functional and wanted to begin up the posts again with today's Music Monday.  This song is called Beautiful Nature and is by Quinley Faye.  I first heard it as part of a demo of wedding photographs that the photographer who my sister hired three years ago showed us when we were interviewing him.  The song is great and I think it is perfect to add to a wedding video or maybe some upbeat cocktail hour music. 

To add a bit of fun to the listening process I included a portion of my sister's wedding video that I created for her where I used the song as a montage for her bridal party photographs.  What do you think?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What a way to end 2009...

It almost seems poetic.  This entire year has been filled with more illnesses, injuries and health related problems in and around my family.

Sorry I have not been around these past couple days but my 14 year old has been fighting an ear and sinus infection for almost two weeks now and she lovingly passed it on to both her father, grandma and now me!

I had been battling getting sick for a week but on Christmas Eve I was seriously losing the battle and by Christmas night I had totally lost my voice and have a sore throat, horrible cough, total congestion and inability to breathe, cannot sleep, pain in my ear and sinus headache and a completely achy body.  :(  Boo!

So I will try to get back to the blogosphere in the next couple days as I miss staying on top of my google reader and especially miss keeping up with my girls Miss T who is just days away from her big wedding extravaganza and Very Married who just tied the knot!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and here's to a day full of trying to finally sleep and getting pumped up on some codeine cough syrup and anti-biotics hopefully.

Btw, exactly one year ago yesterday Mr Fix It made my year and proposed to me and he has proved to me over and over again these past few days why I knew I had to say yes...he has been wonderfully comforting in trying to make me feel better and taking care of me :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Budget brides: Don't forget to use your wedding coupons!

So over the summer I was having SO much fun purchasing all of the little things online.  Here's what I have so far:
* Black Gloss Gable Boxes for Out of Town Guest Gift Bags

* My Memorial Vases courtesy of Jean M products (a small one for my fiance's mother and the larger one for my grandmother, grandfather and aunt)


* My toasting flutes courtesy of Get Married's shop

* Bridesmaid Gifts:  Jewelry Rolls (from and Blue Parasols



* My Guestbook (Super excited about this fun idea from a previous blog post)


* Favor boxes (chinese takeout boxes) from

I made all of these purchases online and I always suggest taking plenty of time to browse the internet and see what you can do to 'bargain shop.'  But here are my latest tidbits of advice for wedding shopping:

Use the net and use your coupons!

That's right, I said coupons.  I recently discovered that you can do a google search for coupon codes by putting in the store name and the words 'promo code'.  I was able to get free shipping and save 5%  by using an online coupon I found and I saved 10% off my Guestbook by using a code that I found online.

Another great site I used to find a lot of my little detail items is This site will let you type in a description or item name and it will bring up literally hundreds of stores online that are selling the items.  Don't get me wrong, it takes some leg work to find the best deal...I found a site that had my favors for 88 cents each but once I saw what the shipping costs were, the site was actually not that cheap. But I did find a site to buy my placecards from!  Definitely play with this site.

And I already mentioned in a previous post about why it's a good idea to buy items sooner than later for your wedding needs.  But another reason it's a good idea to start shopping sooner than later is that once you decide what you want, you can take your time browsing the net and your fave sites for when sales come up.

I listed a lot of information above because these are sites that I have found have the best deals for a lot of items that many of you may need...trying to save you some leg work.  The gable boxes for example - I bought 50 of them from this supplier rather than the 25 I would probably need because it was actually cheaper to buy more from a wholesale supplier than to try to buy the amount I needed from gift stores and such.

So ladies - any other suggestions for how to bargain shop?

Monday, December 21, 2009

I want to sit at the kids table at your wedding!

One of my favorite things I have planned for the wedding details:  the kids favors.  So fun!  I almost wish I could give these favors to all of the wedding guests.  But that would actually be a bit expensive.  For the kids, you go a little more over the top...why?  Partly because children are the life of a party in my opinion.  Even when my little cousin came screaming as she crossed the dance floor during my sister's grand entrance, we all loved that the moment was remembered because, let's face are unpredictable!  And they are so sweet, too.

But the kids at a wedding may tend to get a bit bored and mom and dad won't have much fun if they are trying to keep them entertained all night.  I am still not sure if we are going to have an actual kids table or not at the reception...we will probably just have the kids seated at their parent's tables.  The only children being invited are family members only but that still leaves our guest list with 5 babies under 18 months old, 18 kids between 2 yrs and 12 yrs old and 5 teenagers!

We have decided to set up a kids corner with some paid babysitters monitoring it to watch the youngest kids.  I will blog more about that in the future...but at the reception for the actual tables, I have come up with some very creative ideas for the little favor boxes and treats that will entertain the littlest of these guests.  But first, here's a couple of original ideas I had which I chose not to implement but still want to share with you.

And for my own favor boxes, here's what I will be gifting for my dear little cutie pie cousins and nieces and nephews:

I have rented high chairs for the babies in lieu of the chivari chairs...trying to think of the convenience of my guests.  :)  Here's what will be waiting for each baby on their high chair:

And for the kids, they will find a fun placemat at their place setting courtesy of Jean M products.   We ordered the placemats in our wedding color with our names on it and it has a wedding word search, maze, and scavenger hunt on it for the kids to find things like a bouquet, cake, groom, butter, etc.

They will also have a circus shaped favor box at their place setting.  Instead of this flower on it, we will have a label with some fun kid designs and their name & the box will be in one of the two wedding colors with a box belt in the opposite color and decorated with a few paper flowers.  I found these pretty inexpensive at and they had a TON of different box colors and patterns to choose from.

Inside, they'll find the following items (see the slideshow below for pics and links to sites where you can find these items):

* 2 oz Play-Dough  * Mini mad libs book or Bible Activity book  *  Flashing sunglasses or flashing mouth guard  *  Bear Stickers or Make your own car stickers  *  Finger puppets  *  Silly flower straws  *  Jesus is the Light flashlight  *  Mini bowling ball set  *  Heart shaped slinkys  *  Frog photo frame craft kit or a Beaver magnet craft kit  *  Lollipops in funky holders  *  Gel pens  *  Hair clips (for the older girls)

My favorite two things in the kids box:  the Beaver craft kits (since my fiance's last name is Beever) and the flashing mouth guards which will only be for the older kids:

How fun will that be for the kids to be walking around the dimly lit reception room and dance floor with their flashing sunglasses and mouth guards?

There is plenty for these kids to be kept entertained with.  My favorite site I found in the midst of all my shopping:  (And yes, I found a coupon code online for this store!)

I will definitely post pictures of the finished product closer to wedding day!

So, what do you think?  Are you doing any fun favors for the kids at your wedding if they are attending?  You could also make these little kits for your ring bearer or flower girl to keep them busy throughout the day.

Music Monday # 8 (Learning to fly)

So for today's musical selection I wanted to share a song with you that I absolutely love by Sara Groves.  It is called Fly and it is about a bride telling her groom how he inspires her to 'fly.'  I am sure it would be a lovely processional song or song to be sung or played during a ceremony while the unity candle is being lit perhaps?  But for me, I think I am going to suggest it to my videographer as a song for our wedding video for a slow mo portion of the romance of the day.

Here is a video of the song set to scenes from the movie, the Princess Bride.  I am also posting the lyrics below because they're just so beautiful!

Speak in a summer tone
Pause in the after glow
Tenderly whisper my name
Tell me once again why I am your bride
So I can fly
So I can fly

Pause in your busy day
Look extra long my way
Wink at me across the room
Kiss me longer
Touch my arm when I am by your side
So I can fly
So I can fly

Oh how the little things
Strengthen my tiny wings
Help me to take on the world
When you love me there's nothing I wouldn't try
I might even fly
I might even fly
I might even fly

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Exciting news!

I won my very first giveaway on a blog! Woo-hoo! So excited, Carolina Bride just informed me that I won her poster now I have to go through all my fun e-pics and select the image I want to use for the 16x20 poster! Man I love the blogosphere! And Carolina obviously :)

Also, I found out that our invitation sample is in the mail and on it's way to me for final proofing! We finalized the revisions and selected the final photos and as soon as I get it in my pretty little hands I'll snap some shots to post of the real live invite!

What a glorious weekend this has been...I got to hang out with my future parents-in-law this weekend as they were down in So Cal from Redding visiting Mr Fix It and his brother's family. It's been so great to catch up with them and share a mini-pre-Christmas dinner :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Seriously Saturdays: Why I'm already pissed about our wedding night!

Ok, I'll admit it. This post is definitely going to be a bit of a whiny, bratty type rant. I ultimately won't be as pissy as I am coming across but just want to vent for a few to my fellow blog buddies.

One of the to-do items on our wedding check list was to book a block of hotel rooms for the 10-20 families that will be joining us from out of the state (or area).  Originally, I didn't expect anyone from out of state to join us but then a bunch of family I hadn't seen in decades suddenly decided they wanted to come.  And of course, Mr Fix It's family mostly all lives up north so they will definitely be coming from OOT. 

Well, as we started to contact hotels, Mr Fix It mentioned that his family won't need a hotel because he is going to have his family staying with them.  I gently and rationally pointed out to him that his family consists of:

Mom & Dad (2)
Bro and Sis-in-law and their 3 kids (5)
Sis and bro-in-law and their 2 kids (4)
Bro and sis-in-law (2)
TOTAL IMMEDIATE FAMILY:  13 people (including 5 kids ranging from age 4 months to 5 years)

Seriously?!  I mean, seriously!  Your little 3 bedroom house (with a territorial - but friendly - pitbull) is going to house 14 people and allow for all 14 of them to get ready for our wedding in 2 bathrooms and with sleeping infants?  Have you seriously thought this through?

He does have another bro and sis-in-law who live 5 minutes from me and could offer up their house to their family as well but even his sis-in-law told me she could only take one of the families.

Besides, I had plans of us coming home after the reception and staying in our home for the very first night as husband and wife (we don't live together and won't until wedding day).  We would walk into our house as husband and wife, lounge around, take a bath in the new jacuzzi whirlpool tub he installed last week and of course take advantage of *our* bed.  We would be able to sleep in and then the next day we'd wake up and have all that family from out of town over to our new home to have a light lunch and laugh and reminisce about the previous day's big event!  Then late that night, we'd have a family member drive us to LAX to take off on our 14 day honeymoon and our bags will have been packed and ready to go from the day before the wedding.

So how was I supposed to keep my plans alive while my ever so gracious and hospitable future hubby wants to offer our entire place to his large family for the wedding weekend?  My best thought - I asked where this family was going to be on our wedding night?  I asked if we would be sharing the house with them?  And he realized he didn't want anyone around while we might be gettin' busy :)  So he said, well, they'll have to get a hotel room.

Nice!  That's what I had wanted all along.  Besides, we all went up north a year ago for his brother's wedding and we all got hotel rooms while we were there and it was so fun and worked out great with all the kids.  And his family told me that they have no problem getting hotels if we need them to. 

Well, cut to a couple weeks ago when Mr Fix It returns from spending Thanksgiving up north with his family.  He let me know in no uncertain terms that *WE* will be getting a hotel room on our wedding night and that his family will definitely be staying at his place.  Now maybe I am being a little selfish here but I am honestly pretty pissed off about the whole thing.  I do not want to deal with packing a separate bag right before our wedding and dealing with checking in and out of a hotel for a few measley hours when what I really want is to spend time with my honey and our family.  And I do not want to walk into our house for the first time as husband and wife when it is already filled with a massive amount of people living in it as their home for that weekend!  This was supposed to be something special and romantic and intimate between the two of us.  Now it's going to be chaotic and frustrating...mostly because I know I tend to get irritated when I have a lot to do and there are a lot of people around me in my way.  And I don't want our pre-packed honeymoon luggage shoved aside and all messed up while several families are living out of their suitcases all over our house.  I know, it sounds selfish, but I am a really anal organized freak when it comes to planning and preparation...especially for our wedding and any trips.

UPDATE:  Since I originally wrote this post, Mr. Fix It and I sat down and I shared my vision with him and why I was so disappointed that he was seemingly not taking my feelings and plans into consideration.  He then shared his own thoughts of how he wanted us to walk into our house together for the first time *after* the honeymoon when everyone is gone and we can settle in for the first time and relax without having to worry about running off or whatever.  He also mentioned that he wants to be sure to include my daughter in our first night in the house so that we can all stand together in the living room and he can pray for our new family and new home.  It's really very sweet so I do understand.  However, I am still a little disappointed about the situation. 

So tell me, future brides...what are your plans and visions for your wedding night?  Where will you be spending it and what do you plan to do the day AFTER the wedding?

Friday, December 18, 2009

How to announce you're engaged!

So a fellow blogger friend asked me if I had any ideas on how to announce via today's technology that you're engaged.  I was flattered she wanted my opinion and thought I'd share a few quick thoughts I came up with off the top of my head.  And plus, by putting it out here to you lovely ladies maybe you'll have some ideas of your own!

1)  I am a big fan of videos.  With today's technology it's easy to quickly edit together a movie trailer, slide show, or little skit about the story of your relationship or announcing your engagment or wedding.  Many people are using sites like their blogs and YouTube to send out Save the Dates.  I'm sure you've seen a few of these throughout the blogosphere:

2)  If you don't have the time, software or knowledge to do something like that though you can always use free sites like or to create a simple slideshow of photos with captions.  Or get even more creative and actually make signs to hold up in your photos.  I quickly threw together this mini slideshow in Photobucket for an example.  You could post this on your blog or e-mail the link to friends and family. You could take it a step further by typing something like this in the e-mail:

You can't run!

You can't hide!

From the relationship that just.......won't......DIE!!!!

The Story of Us

Stacey & John are ENGAGED!

Coming soon to a church near you...

Stay tuned....

3)  Another idea is if you have a niece or a friend's daughter you know you will want to ask to be your flowergirl.  You could take a photo of her throwing flower petals in the air and write a caption over the photo (or put a sign in the photo with her) that says "I'm going to be a flowergirl in Aunt Jenn's wedding!"    E-mail (or mail) the photo out to friends and family and maybe even write the story of the proposal in the e-mail.  You can do something like this with just about anything:  Pets, children, friends or even the happy couple.  Just have them hold up photos and create a photo strip or 'card' spelling out the exciting news.

4)  Along the lines of the slideshow above, you can use a site like to create an online photo album where you can write out your love story next to the photos.  Send the link to family and friends with a note that says "We created a fun online photo album that we wanted to share with you."  Then next to the pics put things like "Here's us on our cruise to Mexico."  "Here's the first time John ever told me he loved me."  The very last one will be a pic of you two with your engagement ring or with him on one knee proposing and you write out "And here's John proposing to me!  And now we're engaged!"

5)  Sites like and also have these silly e-videos you can create by uploading a photo of yourself and framing your face in it.  They then put your faces on someone else's body and have you doing a silly dance or something like that.  You can e-mail the link to the e-video to friends and family or embed it on your blog as a silly way to announce your engagement!  Here's some silly examples I quickly created:

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

6)    Sites like allow you to upload videos and send them as e-cards to people.  Using a web cam, video cam on your photo camera or cell phone or an actual video camera, you can create a simple video message, skit or whatever and then upload it to these sites and add messages to e-mail to friends and family.

Using a site like (a little more risque but totally usable), you can do something like this where those who view your card can even leave comments about it:

7)  One of my FAVORITE simple e-card announcements is this one from

So, what do you think?  I just quickly tried to throw these ideas together...what are some ways you announced your engagement or suggestions for Jenn on how to use technology to do so?  We actually told most of our family and friends over the phone or in person.  But for those we don't see as often, we created a wedding website and then sent an e-mail out to all our friends and family telling them to check out our new site.  It had all the info and stories about our relationship, proposal, etc.  Check it out here:  The plus to this feature is that I can use it to collect RSVP's for all kinds of wedding related events and on the back administrative end of it, I am able to keep track of things like addresses for guest lists, budgets, to-do lists, vendor contact info, etc.

The long and short of it...engagements that is

The topic has come up several times on the blogs and it appears that most of the brides bios I read have wedding dates that are several months and even years down the road. So what is a good length for an engagement period? In today's economy, many a couple find themselves needing to postpone wedding plans or draw out engagement periods in order to get a job, save money, pay down bills, etc. No one wants to go into debt just to have a wedding and it is certainly not a great way to start off a marriage.  Yet once that ring hits the finger, most couples are dying to get the marriage license next week!

A girlfriend of mine just got engaged a few months ago. I asked her if she had an idea of when the big day would be and she said they're hoping for November.  That meant she would have been planning her entire wedding in less than 3 months...probably more like 2. It's doable but I don't recommend it. And of course, being that I'd been engaged for 8 months at that point and my big day was still over 7 months away (now it's only 4 months!), I have to admit, I had a slight twinge of jealousy that she was going to get married before me. And I hate to also admit that I am a bit reluctant to share any of my ideas with her for fear that she will implement them all and by the time my wedding rolls around the guests we had in common will have seen it all before and think I stole my ideas from her! :)

So what are the pros and cons? Long or short? What's your opinion and what is your reasoning behind your decision?

Long: You get to take all the time in the world to come up with ideas, research them, fine tune them and feel confident that you didn't have to make any rushed decisions.

Short: You don't have to stress for a year worrying about little details and obsessing about colors and favors while driving your family and friends nuts with all your wedding chatter. You make your decision/purchase and it's done.

Long: You can bargain hunt, scan for sales and negotiate. You have the luxury of time on your side so if you don't like a price, you can walk away and know that you can take your time looking for another option. And, no rush charges!

Short: You can sometimes get last minute deals because vendors and venues want to fill in unbooked spots. They'd much rather take a deal where they are not getting full price than let a date go empty and not get anything at all.

Long: You can save money for what you really want and not have to settle because you can't afford things right now. And you have the luxury of taking the next year (or two) to look for discounted items throughout seasonal times of the year. I found flip flops as favors for my guests on sale because I was able to wait and buy them at the very end of the summer for our wedding the following spring.

Short: Your fiance will be much happier because he doesn't have to deal with wedding appointments, decisions and details for that long. Most grooms are not-into-details and will repeatedly say "It's your day." They are looking forward to the honeymoon more than anything so the sooner it comes, the better!

Long: Plenty of time for things like alterations, dress shipping times, custom orders for invitations to be filled, invitations to go out, etc. And if you are a DIY kinda gal, you can make just about everything you want to for the big day.

Short: You will be spending every waking free moment handling all the little things you never knew went into planning a wedding. But if you are a fly by the seat of your pants, get it done now, multi-tasking wizard who can rush out and pick up 5 different things in less than 2 hours, then you will probably enjoy the hurriedness of these precious few months. Also helps to have a large family or bridal party who you can delegate to.

Long/Short: is fickle, sometimes it's good to book way in advance and get deals...but other times they offer last minute deals for those who can throw everything in a suitcase and jump on a plane in a day. If you don't know where you want to go yet and you have no idea what these things cost, you might want to lengthen your engagement.

Ultimately, there's no right or wrong choice and it truly is dependent upon each couple's needs and desires. I know I have thrown a wedding in 3 months in the past, helped throw my best friend's and sisters in 6 months each, and am now taking almost 16 months hosting our own big event. I am enjoying it much more and feel so relaxed. My girlfriend who got married in less than 6 months mentioned that she wished she would have taken more time to think things through and enjoy it during her own planning process. I always say: You are only engaged for a short period of time so milk it for everything it's worth...the marriage will last a lifetime.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting to know the 'Christmas Side' of blogger friends

Saw this over on The Newlywed Chronicles today and thought it might be fun to share and ask you fellow friends to post as well - I love getting to know people better.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for sure!  And usually color coordinated for under the tree.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real growing up.  Fake, for the past 10 years.  Now Real this year since Mr Fix It insists on real trees :)

3. When do you put up the tree? The day after Thanksgiving!  (But with a real one not sure if I'll be able to continue this tradition)

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually around New Years Day!

5. Do you like eggnog? Um, no.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Don't think I remember my favorite but know that I loved my baby doll that you could 'feed' and then change her 'messy diaper.'  And also loved this little toy car thing that you drove around a race track.  Made me feel like a real driver.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Grandma.

8. Easiest person to buy for?  My sister...we always tell each other exactly what we want.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? My roommate had one that we always put out but since I've lived on my own for the past 3 years, the only ones I have are ornaments on my tree.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail for sure!  Gotta have something to hang!
11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received?  Don't think I ever got a worst Christmas gift.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Mickey's Christmas Carol...there's something nostalgic about it for me and it just makes me laugh!  And of course I love It's a Wonderful Life and a Christmas Carol.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The day after Thanksgiving and sometimes even before.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not at all.

15.Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? These cookies my mom makes called Snowballs.

16. Lights on the tree? I mix it up but my faves are either the all white ones that are synchronized to Christmas songs that 'ring' or the different colored ones that have 8 different ways of blinking, flashing, fading, etc.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Posted about it on Monday...My Christmas Card to You by The Partridge Family or O Holy Night by N'Sync.
18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? Always stay home - though Christmas Eve we have the big family get together at a local cousin or Aunt's home.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Donner, Prancer, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, oh geez, can't remember the last two...then there's Rudolph!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Ooh...pretty Angel holding a harp that lights up.  Used to be a white star that flashed along with the other lights.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?  Christmas Eve we open presents with the extended family...we do a Secret Santa exchange.  Christmas morning we open the gifts with my immediate family - Mr Fix It, daughter, mom, sister and her hubby and kids and usually Grandma.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Having to hear on the news about stupid people up in arms about a nativity display or a Christmas song, prayer, etc and how they're offended by it and need it taken down or need to put up their pagan symbolic item or other holiday stuff.  It's called CHRISTMAS for a reason - stop complaining about it.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?  I have been all over the place over the years...from peach and mint green to purple and silver.  But the past several years I have become more of a traditionalist and just love the basic red and gold theme on a green tree.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?  Last few years we've been doing mexican type stuff - enchiladas, tamales, etc.  We need to mix it up with the family I think!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I honestly can't think of anything.  I would love to get the new Google Droid phone but I know the fam won't get that because to them it's unnecessary :(

26. Have you ever been caroling? Yes, but can't remember when, where or why.  I was younger...I think we caroled at a nursing home.

Thankful Thursdays # 4 (Helping ease my fears)

What's your biggest fear come wedding day?  For me, it's not about the flowers not arriving or the cake falling, my biggest fear about my wedding is being one of those brides who faints on the altar.  And I'm not kidding, I'm notorious for it.

It started in 3rd grade when I first passed out because I was overly anxious about making it to the championship spelling bee that day.  Then I next fainted at work when I was 22 and pregnant with my daughter.  I've twice fainted due to sudden extreme pain (I slipped on concrete and then pulled a serious neck muscle).  Once I passed out when I have been overly active and in excessive heat...yes, I need to hydrate more.

But this past July 26th was the worst time yet...while at a friend's baby shower in Laguna Beach I suddenly felt very ill and went to use the restroom.  I had been eating, drank a soda and a small bottle of water and was only in the sun for about 90 minutes...I was saying my good-byes with the fiance when I excused myself to use the restroom before we walked off to the car.  And then it happened...

I passed out while standing in line for the bathrooms and fell smack dab onto my face and the concrete while wearing my Serengetti sunglasses.  Next thing I knew I woke up to a lifeguard asking me if I was okay.  I told them I just passed out and directed them to my friends and fiance.  6 stitches later and almost 48 hours later I had a huge black eye and now a scar right under my eyebrow. 

So why am I blogging about this as a Thankful Thursdays post?  Well, because the one thing I am so very thankful for come wedding day are my bridesmaids!  They consist of my baby sister, two cousins, best friend, daughter and my mentor.  I told my bridesmaid (who was hosting the shower) that her job on wedding day will be to keep me from passing out during the day.  One of the reasons I asked the ladies that I did to stand up with me on wedding day was because they all know me so well...they make me laugh, know why I cry.  They know what a stress case I can be and know that I need to constantly be eating a little throughout the day.  They know how my mind works and what will make me relax and what will make me worry on the big day.  So I am so thankful to have them there to keep me grounded, focused, relaxed and laughing throughout the festivities.  For without them, I may just pass out at the altar!

Could you imagine if this had happened to me closer to (or God forbid ON) the wedding day?  I would be devastated!

So what are your wedding day fears?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A blog post filled with photos!

So I've visited my venue a total of 4 times in the past year:  1)  First time in Nov, 2008 Mr Fix It and I went on the appointment to check it out and ask the questions.  2)  Second time in Jan, 2009 when I took my mom and sis to see it after we had booked it.  3)  Third time on April 16th, 2009 at 5 pm (the exact day and time in 2010 that our wedding ceremony will take place) with my daughter and coordinator so I could get pics of the place at the same time of day and year that we'll be there.  4)  Fourth time in August when I took my future MIL and SIL to see it.

I get to go again on January 7th when I take another future SIL to see it while she is in town taking 2 of our 4 little ring bearers to Disneyland.  While I was there on April 16th last year I took lots of photos of the different areas so I could plan accordingly for lighting, weather, sunset, etc.  All the pics below are mostly my personal shots from that day.

The coolest thing about this place - the private zoo on the premises that guests can walk the trail before the ceremony or during the cocktail hour to see 4 tigers, llamas, zebras, wild cats, exotic birds and more! Check it out - what do you think?

The entrance where guests walk along the trellis to the gathering/cocktail area when they first arrive.

The Cocktail area by a fountain pool (we will have a strolling magician during our cocktail hour to entertain the guests)

Look at how all the flowers are in full bloom in April!  Love it!

Another shot of cocktail area from above (to the left is the outdoor bar area, in the distance is the outdoor teatro where the ceremony is held)

The outdoor teatro where the ceremony is held (the bridal party make their entrance across that bridge)

Another shot of the outdoor ceremony area with chairs set up

A shot from the teatro looking up at Rick's Cafe. The balcony is a very popular photo op location. (This is also how the guests get down to the ceremony site from the cocktail/reception is also where we are setting up a 'kids corner' area with babysitters for younger children to play games and watch DVD's and even let younger babies sleep in small pack n plays)

The reception area with a stone fireplace in the center where our sweetheart table will be set up in front of (It also has another bar area available and an alcove behind the fireplace where we can set up the buffet and keep it out of sight of the guests dining tables)

The alcove behind the fireplace where the buffet and chocolate fountain will be set up.

The patio off the reception room (Grand Salon) where our photobooth and guestbook table will be set up.

Some shots of inside Rick's Cafe where the kids corner will be set's very cool, there are different table/bar areas for guests as well as another fireplace for ambience


The bride's cottage / preparation area.  To the right of that bridge is a patio area and the bride's cottage is the door on that patio.  The bridesmaids and I will exit that cottage and walk across the bridge to the ceremony (aisle).

Though not large, there's even an area behind the teatro for a 'groom's quarters'.  Not many places offer a place for the guys to change and hang in!

The gazebo out at the ceremony area - the guitarist (my friend Charlie) will be set up behind that little arch that juts out into where the guests will be seated.

Where guests will walk in from...that raised brick area will have the gift table on it.

Orchards behind the teatro (ceremony area) where we will have some pretty photo ops

The main entrance that guests turn into the estate off of the road.

The area where guests will exit their vehicles at the valet station...also a wonderful photo op area

The estate has some beautiful lawns, trees and flowers and this vintage red photo booth I can't wait to get some fun shots in!

More pretty walkways for photos

Another shot of the cocktail/fountain and outdoor bar area

A deck (part of the cocktail area) next to Rick's Cafe

Cocktail area lit up at dusk

Cocktail area with lounge chairs and tables set out (we won't have that big round ottoman at our cocktail hour but we will have some cushioned benches and tables up against the fountain pool similar to those brown ones).

Photos courtesy of personal camera, Rancho Las Lomas, and Renee Broughton Photography

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Words of Wisdom - A Bride's Keepsake

I absolutely love throwing/planning weddings. I even once seriously considered becoming a wedding coordinator - even had business cards made. But alas, it is not meant to be for me other than through my own wedding dreams and the assistance of helping friends and family when they have planned their big affairs.

So when it was time for my baby sister to get married 3 years ago, I made sure I pulled out all the stops to make her big day as special as possible...including all the fun events and parties leading up to the big day.

One idea I came up with that I thought I would share with the blogosphere was our main gift to her at her bridal shower. We had at least 40 family and friends attend a luncheon in baby sis' honor. For the months leading up to the shower, I became a nuisance to every invited guest...for I asked each person (even those who were invited and yet could not attend) to please e-mail me a photo of them with their significant other (or with the bride if they were single) as well as e-mail me a very brief message with their blessings or words of wisdom on being a bride, wife or making your hubby happy.

The very first gift that baby sis opened at her shower was the book we (I) had made her with everyone's contributions.  Now she has a lifelong keepsake from her big day that she will always be able to read and remember those that celebrated her and 'showered' her with love, blessings and words of wisdom. 

In today's day and age, just about anyone can easily make professional looking hard cover albums on internet sites...I prefer  This was the creation we came up with: 

Another take on this I've read about is asking each guest to make a scrapbook page and bring it to the shower to place in an album for the bride at the event. 

Now I know that most of you brides will most likely not tell your MOH's and BM's what to get you for your shower, but thought I would share this anyway as I know you will inevitably host or attend a shower in the future and might find this a thoughtful surprise for the guest of honor.  And maybe your BM's follow your blog and might see this little post and be inspired?  It was so much fun to put together for her and so much more fun to watch her open it and browse through the photos of loved ones.   She's not emotional like me, I would have bawled...but she really loved it.  Here's a little 1 min video of her opening it up (sorry the first few seconds are a little blurry):

Do you have any special gifts or surprises that you have received or planned for a bride on her celebratory shower or bachelorette party?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Music Monday # 7 (The Christmas Card)

For this week's Music Monday, I wanted to share one of my absolute (if not THE) favorite Christmas songs ever!  My sis and I absolutely loved the Partridge Family Christmas album when we were children...cheesy I know, but oh my, just so fun!  And David Cassidy back then was just the bomb!

So here it is for your listening pleasure (please ignore the kinda silly photos and albums):

Why do I love this song so much?  Because I think it just perfectly sums up what I would want to send as well wishes and blessings in a card.  What about you, ladies?  What's your absolute favorite Christmas song?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Don't let those wedding shoes ruin your big day!

Wedding planning at the 4 month mark:  As the holidays pass and the invites go out and alterations and all that jazz begin, I am sure I will have plenty going on to share about.  But for now, I thought I'd take advantage of this 'down' time to share some tips with all of you.

Today's tip:  How to keep your feet from aching on wedding day.  Everyone knows that you should buy your shoes (especially heels) well in advance of the big day and wear them around your house to break them in.  Well, here's a great little inexpensive item to assist with that process courtesy of advice given to me by my alterations guru, Janet.

Go to any drugstore or grocery store and find the first aid / band-aid aisle.  You will see a little item that looks like a mini deodorant made by Johnson & Johnson called FRICTION BLOCK.  It looks like this:

All you do is roll this on your feet around where any edges, straps, etc from your shoes will touch your skin.  It helps your feet from getting blisters, red marks, etc.  It runs about $5-$10 and would be a great little gift to throw in with your bridesmaids gifts or emergency kits on the wedding day.

Another favorite to ease your barking dogs is the web site Foot Petals.  This site has just about every type of insert, cushion and heel slip pad you can think of to help with whatever little problems your sexy little beauties are causing you.  I personally am looking into the Tip Toes which keep your feet from sliding forward or your toes from scrunching up through peep toes when you wear taller heels.

They even have cusions with lavendar and aromatherapy scents and cool little videos to show you how to use the products and what each product helps you with.

With these helpful little products, you can take the time to invest in yourself and make sure that the 8 to 12 hours you spend on your feet taking photos, walking down that aisle and dancing the night away does not get ruined by achy feet.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Seriously Saturdays: The cake saga continues!

So in last week's post, I shared about how frustrated I was when our hopes for our dream cake came tumbling down around us.  The caterer was going to charge us an additional $1,000 for the cake we wanted...*and* we were concerned that his 'baker' would not be able to replicate it without it looking like a disaster.

While searching the net for replicas of the cake we wanted to recreate:

We came across these images which were obvious attempts at a knock off of the above cake, but not even close!



Source:  Picasa and Google Images

I mean, we really wanted that cake, but God forbid if what we ended up with looked like one of those...I would have been devastated at the least and totally embarassed!

So, instead, I browsed the net again and saw several blogs and sites with cupcake towers at weddings.  Um, hello?  I'll take this any day and twice on Sunday, please!  I fell in love with the idea.  A tower of wonderfully frosted little cakes in differing flavors but still unified in our colors with a small cake at the top of the tower for us to still cut into - perfect! 

Source:  Google Images unless otherwise noted on photo

And what's so cool about this idea?  The guests don't have to wait to be served.  As soon as we 'cut the cake' they can walk right up and just grab whatever they'd like.  And if they don't feel like cake at the reception - which a lot of people sometimes don't - then they can simply grab one and place it in a little takeout box to carry home with them for the next day.  Bonus!

I shared the idea with my mom and sis who absolutely loved it.  Mr Fix It - not so much.  Once again, the little bugger shot down my great idea saying it was 'ghetto' and cheap looking.  Even when I showed him pictures like this:

Source:  Jasmine Star Photography

Um, there is absolutely nothing cheap or ghetto looking about that!  Thankfully, we went to dinner with a good guy friend a few weeks ago and shared our cake dilemma with him.  When I mentioned the possibility of cupcakes, he said "Oh, that's a great idea."  Thanks, Danny!  Cuz now Mr Fix It has the approval of a cool younger dude and he came around saying "Ok, if they can't make our upside down cake for us, then we can do the cupcake tower."  Woo-hoo!

I e-mailed the caterer and showed him some of the above pics and asked what they'd charge to do 200 cupcakes and he said it'd only cost us an extra $200, then he even suggested they'd make it only $100 to help us out.  Great!  In our budget and I love the idea.  Until....

this is what he sent me as a sample that they just did for a wedding in Malibu last month:

Seriously?  THAT is your idea of a cupcake tower similar to all those gorgeous photos I just sent you?!  Are you kidding me?!  Look at it!  There are Oreo cookies stuck in the top of the cupcakes!  And silver tin foil cupcake holders are not cutting it at my wedding.  And hello, do you not know how to frost a stupid cupcake?  There is frosting all over the cupcake holders.  I zoomed in on the image on my computer and thought "I'd be so embarassed to send this out as a sample of our company's work!"  Good Lord!

I immediately showed it to Mr Fix It and told him "There is no way in hell I am having them make our cupcakes!  So either we're getting them somewhere else or we'll just have them make us a basic cake and try to find ways to spruce it up and make it more unique."  He agreed whole-heartedly and also pointed out that with our budget as high as it is, we really shouldn't worry about extra charges for a cake.  As much as it's a big deal, we need to keep the funds to a minimum where we can...and splurging on an extravagant cake is not an acceptable expense to us right now.  (sigh)

And thus, my cake saga continues with another let down.  This is the one thing in my entire wedding planning process that I am really not excited about and actually bummed about.  I am not looking forward to the cake at our wedding because I know it is not going to be what I envisioned.  Oh well.

So, next week I'll hopefully have some updated info on our plans to revamp the whole cake design yet again!  What are your plans for your cake ladies?  Keeping it traditional?  And what are some areas of your wedding that maybe you're not excited about because you feel like you had to compromise on your hopes and dreams?

wedding tickers