Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On the menu tomorrow!

So, I am a HUGE Food Network fan.  Especially of Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa and Giada DeLaurentis).  Most of their recipes have become big favorites of Mr Fix It and Little Miss.  So of course I hit the Food Network web site for ideas for my Thanksgiving Day menu.  (Oh, and I also have a subscription to Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and Food & Wine magazine which has some great recipes in them as well!)

For the 20 aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, inlaws, etc that are heading to my place tomorrow morning, this is what we have on the menu:

*  Turkey: For the first time ever, our family will be having a FRESH (not frozen) BRINED turkey.  I have heard great things about how brining helps make a turkey moister and also infuses great flavor into it.  Tonight as soon as I get home from work, I am sticking our 21 pound turkey into a 5 gallon bucket filled with a brine including molasses, honey, garlic, soy sauce, lemon, thyme, safe and of course, salt!  We'll see how this thing works.

*  Citrus Marinated Green Olives (appetizer):  Along with traditional chips, salsa and onion dip that my family munches on before the big meal, I decided to try this new recipe instead of just sitting out plain black olives and pickles.  I made it Monday night and it marinates for 2 to 3 days...smelled yummy.  The marinade included olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, curry, tarragon, lemon zest and juice and red pepper flakes.

*  Wine Simmered Fruit Dressing:  Did you know the difference between a stuffing and a dressing is that one gets put in the turkey and the other gets put in a casserole dish?  That's the only difference!  :)  And I've read that putting stuffings in turkey make the turkey dry out because you have to cook them longer plus it is not the safest way to cook veggies and such.  So I am making a homemade dressing this year instead of Stove Top stuffing (which is what I think we always had at Grandma's house).  My dressing includes toasted oat & honey bread cubes, white wine, apples, golden raisins, butter, onion, celery, pecans and chicken broth.  I never eat the stuffing at Thanksgiving (don't like it) but I am thinking I may enjoy my own dressing concoction :)

*  Traditional things:
        Mashed Potatoes (gotta have 'em)
        Corn (I would opt out of this but the guys in my family like plain old canned corn)
        Carrots (this is a simple new recipe I am making for the family which is baby carrots in a honey glaze with butter, lemon juice and parsley)

*  Green Bean Casserole:  We used to have the traditional canned Campbell soup green bean casserole...and again, I never ate it.  It was gross to me and I LOVE green beans.  So last year I made a simpler green bean dish with homemade onion rings and marinated in a mushroom brandy sauce.  This year I am returning to the traditional casserole dish but making a homemade version with onion rings coated in panko crumbs and flour, and a sauce made up of mushrooms, half and half, butter, chicken broth, nutmeg and garlic. 

*  Whipped Sweet Potatoes & Bananas:  This is also a new dish for the family that seemed surprisingly easy to make.  You just roast the potatoes and bananas and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.  Mix them up with some butter, dark brown sugar, butter, honey and pecans and bake with a crumbly topping.  Hoping this is a family hit :)

*  Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce:  Again, not a fan of the cranberry sauce but decided I am going to make something worthy of being served along with the turkey this year.  The guys again insist on that can of crap that you think is sauce so this year I am making more of a relish with sweetened dried cranberries, gala apples, cinnamon, and sugar.  I made this last night and stuck it in the fridge since it will keep for a day or two so I don't have to worry about making it the day of. 

*  And for dessert, I made a couple of my famous Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tarts from the amazing Ina Garten:  These things have replaced pumpkin pies as a homemade favorite of our family since I brought one to Thanksgiving about 2 years ago.  Super yummy!

Ok, so I have taken on a huge task!  But I have an organized to-do list with time schedule and mom is spending the night to help me prep vegetables, peel potatoes, and set everything up tonight.

Can't wait to snap some shots and share with everyone this weekend.  Have a great Thanksgiving and please do share your favorite dish item from Turkey Day or your favorite ingredients! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All by Thanksgiving!

Well, not really.  Sort of. 

As you may remember, this past July, my wonderful 95 year old grandmother went home to be with our Lord.  Thanksgiving has *ALWAYS* been a tradition that took place with our entire extended family at my grandma's house in Hemet every year for as many decades as I can remember.  We have anywhere from 20 to 40 people each year and it has been a solid family get together forever.

But with Grandma now gone and most of the family traveling about 90 minutes to get to Hemet where my Aunt (who took care of her) still lives, we decided there's no need for all of us to make that drive each Turkey Day.  So we are starting a new tradition...and it's at *MY* house!

Yep, I will be making my first Thanksgiving Day feast this week for 20 people at the Beever household.  It is bitter sweet for several reasons:

1)  The cooking:  I love to cook - especially for parties - but I've never done a Thanksgiving feast for this many people so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.  I have already finished all the shopping last night and even made my first appetizer yesterday:  Citrus Marinated Green Olives that sit in the fridge for 3 days.

2)  The traveling:  We won't have to drive far...almost all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, mom and sister live in Orange County so most of them will only have to drive about 30 minutes to get to my place.  But it is going to be super tough this year being without Grandma and in a house other than hers where I grew up.  And it may be a bit chaotic with our new puppy jumping all over the place.

3)  The cost!  Oh my gosh, I never realized how expensive it is to feed this many people!  We are going to have each family pitch in $5 for kids and $10 per adult to help me pay for the expenses but even after that contribution, I am still paying about $100 - $150 out of my own pocket.  If I do this again next year, I may need to up the ante by either having people bring a dish or pay more like $15 each :)

4)  The preparation...oh wow.  I started shopping for non-perishables two weeks ago then bought cold items on Saturday and the produce and turkey yesterday.  I cleaned the house all weekend and tonight I am making pumpkin banana mousse tarts and the cranberry sauce/relish.  Tomorrow and Thursday will be busy days for sure but I am actually excited (and a bit nervous) to see how it will all come out.

But the unfortunate thing about all of this is that Mr Fix It will not be with me this year on our first Turkey Day as a married couple.  We have always spent Turkey Day apart each year since he goes up to his parents house in Northern California and I have always been at Grandma's house.  So after we got married, his family assumed we would go up there together.  But Mr Fix It understood how important it was to me to have this year with my family since we just lost our grandmother. 

He asked if I wanted him to stay here with me so I wouldn't have to be alone but I told him to go ahead and go up to his family's house and next year we will start the alternating of holidays between the two families.  A lot of people think it's weird that we won't be together, but honestly, as much as I love him, I know that he would probably stress me out pretty bad while I am cooking all day Thursday.  Mr Fix It tends to be one of those guys who sits over your shoulder in the kitchen thinking he knows everything better than you do.  So silly...he always talks about what a good cook I am but when we have people over to our place, he just has to have his hands in everything. 

So I told him that I loved him and I would miss him and I would make a plate of leftovers for him to try when he gets back, but to go enjoy his thanksgiving with his family and not to worry about me.

So, ladies.  What are your big holiday plans this week?  Any of you having to deal with changes for your holidays now that you are married?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A loveless marriage vs. an unloved child

Today a 'sort of' co-worker asked me how I liked married life.  I told him it was great (neglecting to tell him about the little argument Mr Fix It and I got into this morning before I left for work).  Now don't get me wrong, what is great about *my* marriage is that within 15 minutes of that little spat, Mr Fix It had humbled himself to see my side of the story and why I was frustrated and we had calmed down and lovingly kissed each other goodbye.

But what made me sad was the next thing this co-worker said after he asked me the question.  He said "Yeah, you know."  So I knew there was hesitation there and I asked him what he meant. 

He responded by saying this: "Well, it's just hard to keep the love alive in a marriage when you have kids to take care of and work and you're tired at the end of the day.  My wife and I have been married for almost 20 years now and it's just...I don't know."

The way he said it made me so sad.  It made me feel like he found no joy or pleasure or happiness in his least not today.  I answered back by saying, "Yes, I know what you mean.  Mr Fix It and I have only been married for 7 months now and I already feel like we have a lot of mundane days.  When you work all day and are trying to keep up a house, a pet and kids, it's just really important that you work hard to keep romance in your relationship.  You have to be very 'intentional' about each other and trying to surprise one another."

I went on to tell him how different married life is from dating someone because when you're dating, you put everything else out of your mind when you are out with the other person because you know that is *your* time together.  But married life is seeing each other day in and day out...paying bills and cleaning and all that unromantic stuff.  He said that's exactly what it is.

Ladies, many of you are either newly married or soon to be married.  And at 38 years old after having spent 6 years with Mr Fix It before we married and moved in, I can tell you that marriage is WORK.  Relationships are work.  There's no getting around it.  Whether it's with your boss, your mom, your sibling or your husband/ have to work to be respectful of each other, to please each other, to comfort one another and to keep the spice in your life. 

What truly makes me mad though is how easy it is for people to just walk away from marriages nowadays.  We take divorce so casually or we decide to just live with someone without 'putting a ring on it.'  That way, we always have an 'out' if we need it*.

Well, guess what?  I don't have an out when it comes to my daughter, Little Miss anymore than I have an out with Mr Fix It in our marriage.  We would *NEVER* talk about our children the way we talk about our spouses.  We would never say it's hard to 'keep the love alive' for our son or daughter.  We make just as much of a choice (if you want to even call it that) to love our child as we do to love our spouse.  Could you imagine a mother telling her daughter "You know, I just feel like there is nothing between us anymore.  I mean I'll always love you, but I'm just not *IN* love with you anymore.  I think it's best we just part ways"?

We would think all sorts of unpleasant thoughts about that mother.  Unfortunately, parents do indeed abandon their child.  Our world is full of unloved children.  But a loveless marriage is just as ridiculous as an unloved child for those of us who profess to be somewhat healthy and responsible.  As much as Little Miss frustrates the holy heck out of me sometimes, I would absolutely NEVER imagine waking up one day and not feeling pure, unconditional love for her even if she felt like she couldn't stand me. 

So why do we think it's okay to let ourselves 'feel' like we don't have the marriage we once did or want anymore?  I'm telling you now, ladies and gents, if you want a romantic, passionate, loving relationship filled with all the joy and happiness that you felt on your wedding day or in your courting days, then you better be prepared to have mundane, boring, frustrating days with that person that you will not be able to get away from.  Because marriage is indeed work.  I have to forcibly remind myself to walk into the house and go give Mr Fix It a kiss before I pick up all the crap he and Little Miss left all over the place.  And even then, after a day at work, I'd much prefer to just grab a bag of Cheetos and plop down in front of the tv than have a conversation with Mr Fix It.

But last week, as it was a super chilly night, while Little Miss was away at her father's house, Mr Fix It and I started a fire, made some root beer floats, turned the soft rock radio channel on our television and just snuggled up with our new puppy on our sofa sitting in the dimly lit living room.  We didn't make love that night and we didn't watch tv.  We just sat and listened to the music and talked about whatever came to our minds. 

And in the morning when we woke up, Mr Fix It hugged me and said "I had so much fun with you last night just doing nothing.  We need to do that more often."  And it reminded me all over again that while our lives may sometimes be boring or busy, our marriage will always have love as long as we remember to value each other as a family member that we cannot get away from. 

An infant who cannot offer you anything in the way of reciprocated affection, entertainment or conversation and is quite possibly just demanding of your time as their parent would never be unloved any more than your spouse/significant other should be once you have chosen to commit to them as their one and only. 

*Let me clarify that I do believe there are times when divorce is unavoidable (abuse, etc).  I am referring to those who simply say they 'have lost that lovin' feeling' without any rhyme or reason or real effort.
Blessings to you all and I hope you are excited about the upcoming holiday season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wed Recap: Great expectations...

I never did a full recap about our experience with our DJ.  I think of all of our vendors, the DJ was one the one that we really put a lot of expectations on.  So much so, that we even had like 3 or 4 meetings with him and the owner of the company to confirm all that we were hoping to accomplish for our guests at our wedding.

The best thing I can say is that they were super organized and attentive and extremely accommodating.  I think for all we got from them (a custom GOBO light of our names, uplighting for around the reception room, audio system and wireless microphones for the ceremony and reception, dance floor lights, about 8 hours of coverage, emcee services, etc) we got a really good deal from a quality company.  They were a pleasure to work with.  But unfortunately, no matter how much we communicated everything to them, things didn't come off the way we had envisioned them in our heads.

He did play a good mix of music and there were definitely people dancing, but it didn't seem like a lot of the songs Mr Fix It and I had specifically hoped for were played much.  It could have just been that I didn't hear half of them while I was chatting with guests or that we simply ran out of time, which TOTALLY happens at wedding receptions!

I had put trivia questions on the guests' tables asking them to answer the question in order to get the bride and groom to kiss.  About 3 or 4 people came up with their answers immediately after the grand entrance but that was it.  The DJ didn't really walk around encouraging the guests to answer the questions while dinner was being served and people were hanging out.
Probably our biggest let down though was in the way the grand entrance came off.  Mr Fix It and I are HUGE UFC/MMA fans (mixed martial arts/ultimate fighting championship).  We love to watch the fights and host fight nights with friends and such.  So I suggested a creative grand entrance that incorporated this idea by coming up with little introductions and nicknames for each member of the bridal party to be introduced with.

We spent a lot of time coming up with personal introductions and corresponding songs for each bridesmaid or groomsmen to come into.  We even played videos of the fights for our DJ's in one meeting and specifically told them how we wanted the introductions to be pulled off.  I even specifically noted parts of each song that we wanted played while each bridal party member was introduced so they would have something to dance to and get the crowd laughing and such.

Well, unfortunately, our DJ didn't nail the grand entrance voice as well as Mr Fix It hoped he would. And I guess the old addage "If you want something done right, do it yourself," really would have played out here because Mr Fix It even suggested that he record the intros himself for the DJ to play for us.  But I thought it would be better to have the live version rather than a recording. 

And the DJ didn't pick the best parts of each song for each party member either.  For example, for our friend, Jerry, we wanted Britney Spears's Womanizer to be played...but only the chorus.  Because Mr Fix It always jokes about what a player he is with the ladies.  But when he was introduced, the DJ played the very beginning of the song where there are no real words and a very slow didn't come off well at all. 

We also wanted the intros to be real quick, one right after the other, because we had a large party and we also wanted to keep the energy flowing and fast.  But our DJ took too much time and waited too long for each party member to get all the way into the reception room.  We had specifically told him when and how to begin each intro, but it didn't come off the way we had wanted.  Oh well. 

Regardless of the let down, it was still unique, different and fun and a lot of our guests mentioned they thought it was funny and creative.  So you can see for yourself here:

Though it didn't come out quite the way he hoped, we did get some wonderful shots of our bridal party from the photographer:

 By Roseanne Rivoli

By Gemma Bourke

My best suggestion to you is to remember that when you are meeting with vendors, you can NEVER OVER communicate!  And when you have something you are asking a vendor for that is not typical of what they provide, be sure to test it out! Make them do a demo or audition to prove that you are all on the same page.  :)

Share Time:  Did any of you have a vendor really let you down?  Or did you have something that you thought you communicated well to your vendors to have handled only to have them not meet your expectations?

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by Robert Mullins

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Beevers are not dead

Hi, everyone!

I noticed a few of you have left some comments lately wondering where I am.  Yes, I am still around and yes I am still married...very happily!

I feel horrible that I have not been blogging for the past couple of months.  I even have about 4 more posts that I never finished up from wedding recaps I'd still like to complete and blog for you soon.  And eventually, I'd like to start blogging more about our married life...the ups and downs and adjustment phases we've been encountering.

But all is, indeed, very well.  We are happy and living together for almost 7 months now just feels 'normal.' 

I asked Mr. Beever if it was weird for him to suddenly be leaving with a wife and a teenage daughter and he said "No, it just feels we've lived together forever."  I just adore him.  He has been saying some really sweet things lately...waking me up in the middle of the night to let me know that he loves me and is really happy.  He has told me several times this past month what a 'good woman' I am.  And he is just as good to me.

We just had my birthday last month and we're hoping to hit Vegas soon to celebrate a post b-day getaway.  I am also planning and hosting my very first family Thanksgiving this year at our place.  There will be about 20 to 25 of us and I am so nervous but really excited.

And of course, we just got a puppy about 2 months ago and so when I am home I try to focus on him and the family since we're at work all day away from each other. 

Work is slowing down a bit again so hopefully I will get back to all of your blogs.  I know some of you have recently married and I have lots of recaps to catch up on.

For now, I will leave you with the two Christmas cards we just ordered today.  We couldn't choose one of the two so we opted to get two and send out half and half to the 100 family and friends on our card list.

Hope you are all well!!!  Take care and I will most definitely be around.  :)

My baby sister designed both of these cards for us.  And of course we included the new puppy, Brody in our family photo card this year. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

H-moon Recap: Always take the advice of locals

We had some amazing food experiences in Australia and Bali.  The best thing I can suggest for future honeymooners or travelers is to ask a few locals what their recommendations are for restaurants.

On our way down from the rainforest retreat in Australia, we saw a little 'cafe' that we thought we'd stop for breatkfast at. Unfortunately, they just opened at like 10:30 or 11 am and didn't serve breakfast...just sandwiches that were basicly grilled cheese. When we asked for avocado on mine, they came out later and said they had no ripe avocado and then they forgot to put cranberries in Mr Fix It's sandwich. But the trip was salveged when we struck up a conversation with the three people at the table next to us. Two of them were fellow Americans but one was a local who suggested a restaurant for us close to our hotel back near the coast.

The suggestion led us to Ashmore Steak & Seafood.  It was incredible!  A bit pricey but totally worth it for the quality and amount of food you get. 

In Kuta, Bali we found a restaurant called Nero Bali and loved it so much we even went back a second night!  They had insane food and Mr Fix It ended up buying shots for a couple about to get married after he offered to take their photo so their whole group of friends could be in a picture.

We also had a concierge at a casino in Surfer's Paradise suggest we check out Omeros Bros seafood in the Marina and that again was a high end but ever so yummy find!

I highly recommend you check out these places if you ever visit these areas!

Do any of you have fellow recommendations for dining near your home towns?  Do you typically ask for locals to suggest places for you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Video: A mashed up montage

I feel horrible because I only have about 10 or so recaps left and then I will finally be finished with all the sweet details of our wonderful wedding event. 

Unfortunately, I have not been able to sit at a computer for personal recreation (like to write my blog posts) for a week or so now.  And I obviously haven't been able to get over to your blogs either :(

Work has been crazy.  We also got a new puppy that we have been trying to train and has been consuming our time.  I want to write much and I want to read about all that is going on with you ladies but I just don't have the time.  On top of that, my wrist and arm have been totally acting up from carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Needless to say, this was evidenced by the fact that I began to write out notes for a post yesterday and then forgot to actually write the forgetting about it, it automatically scheduled and posted live with just my notes instead of my thoughts :)  Silly girl...I am losing my mind!

To share at least something, I'm going to share this little montage video from our full wedding video which is a little recap of some of our photo session shoot and such.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Wed Recap: Time to eat!!!

UGH!  I never got around to writing out this whole you might have read the ramblings of my notes.  This just goes to show the madness of life.  I'll try to edit it up a bit in a hurry as I am supposed to be working right now :)

We ran out of the mini cheese chicken quesadillas...John was upset about that and the fact that the lemonade pitcher was empty when he came out to the cocktail area.  But caterer handled it immediately.

Caterer was sick and left early :(  But his staff did a great job of keeping things cleaned up for the most part.

Food was okay...seemed like guests were eating it.  The chicken didn't get the rave reviews we thought it would and John and I thought it didn't taste nearly as good as it did at the tasting.  He thought the tri-tip was not cooked enough but one of my friends said her fiance loves it rare and thought it was great.  One of our friends told us the roasted garlic mashed potatoes were like 'crack' and that he had gone back for 3 or 4 servings.

Salad and veggies were good but hard to screw that up. 

Appetizers seemed well enough...simple - fruit, cheese, crackers and then quesadillas.  Substituted the stuffed mushrooms for little teryaki chicken drumettes at our caterers request because there were no ovens.  John wasn't happy about that and didn't think they were as good but other friends said they were really good.

Seemed like people had cleaned their plates, including my boss who is hard to impress :)

We had water pitchers on each table that we asked them to infuse with either cucumbers, lemons, or strawberries.  Some people loved this, others said it was not that good. 

They only cut up the bottom layer of the cake so the other three layers that had different flavors weren't even set out!  Thankfully, we ate the lemon layer the next day at our day after lunch with family.

Overall, the food was definitely not bad, but definitely not great either.  We knew that food was *NOT* a priority for us as long as it tasted good.  It must have been okay for most of the guests because a few people even commented on the good food on their guest book pages. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wed Recap: Jane plain and simple

Or maybe I should title this post "Stacey plain and simple" ?

Today, I want to briefly recap my thoughts on my wedding day hair and makeup.  But first, let me just tell you ladies, that the days of the up do are gone...everyone had their hair down in my bridal party (and 3 years ago in my sister's bridal party)!

To share with you how I felt about the wedding hair/makeup, I'll remind you of how Mr Fix It told me my right eyelash was coming off during the soloist's performance in the middle of our ceremony.  As soon as I walked in to the bridal cottage after the ceremony, I just pulled the eyelashes off completely as I didn't want to waste time trying to replace it.  So basically, I was really complacent about how I looked on the wedding day.  Mostly because I just didn't feel like I needed to worry about anything...nor did I want to.

A few days after the wedding, Mr Fix It and I had the following conversation:

Me:  I wasn't really thrilled with my hair on the wedding day.
Mr Fix It:  Why?  I thought you looked pretty.
Me:  Yes, but all the girls looked way better than me.
Him:  You looked fine.
Me:  Yeah, but I felt like I just looked very...
Me & Him at exact same time:  plain.

Yeah, exactly...that's the word.  There was nothing spectacular or done up about my hair that day like it had been in the trials.  In fact, it barely held the curl at all (but that's not really the stylist's hair NEVER holds curl of any kind).  The main reason why was probably because of my inability to focus and remember things I had planned.  My 'go with the flow' attitude led to this conversation on the wedding day during my hair styling:

My stylist:  Ya know, I'm afraid if I use the extensions in your hair they're going to pull out your natural hair curls.
Me:  Really?  Why, do they look like they're falling out?
Her:  No, but I think the extensions are too heavy and will pull it out.
Me:  Ok, then...whatever you think is best.


I should have stuck to my plans and used the extensions because they definitely held curls better than my natural hair.  On top of that, I shouldn't have told my stylist on the wedding day to not do any teasing on my hair at all since I had let her tease the top a little during the trials. 

I did in fact feel like the girls' hair came out way better than mine did.  And I did truly love my makeup as well.
Granted, regardless of all of this, I truly loved my makeup for sure.  And the fact that we were able to do a post wedding shoot gave me the opportunity to do up my hair a little better and different while in my gown.  When Mr Fix It arrived on site the day of our post wedding shoot, he looked at my hair and immediately said "Now, THAT'S how your hair should have been on the wedding day...much better."

In addition, I have to rave about my stylist, Natalie Buketov because she truly was a sweetheart and it was so amazingly generous of her to do my hair/makeup free of charge for the post wedding shoot simply because she was disappointed that one of my false eyelashes came off during the wedding ceremony. 

Share Time:  Did you feel totally satisfied with your hair and makeup on your wedding day?

TODAY'S WEDDING TIP: Don't use old makeup, especially lipstick!  Sit down with an attendant or family member before your wedding day and go over photos, colors, styles, and anything you have to show them what you want or are supposed to look like on your wedding day.  Then when your hair and makeup is finished, have them check you out before the stylist leaves and give their approval of the finished work.  And stick to your plans if you liked them in your trial(s).

Monday, September 6, 2010

H-moon Recap: Hiking in the Rainforest

I am nearing the end of both my honeymoon and wedding recaps.  Today, I wanted to share one of  my final honeymoon recaps with you (only one more to go!). 
We spent most of the week in Australia on the Gold Coast near the beach and surf spots.  But for one day in the middle of the week, we decided to drive about an hour and a half inland to this rainforest for a one night stay at O'Reilly's Retreat.  It was a great side trip in the middle of our 'beach' vacation.  And it was actually one of the funnest things we did on our honeymoon. 

We arrived in the late morning and checked into our room.  Then we immediately headed over to the front desk to obtain some maps and info on the hiking trails around the retreat.  They recommend that you take a guided tour with a guide but we didn't want to do that.  So we asked about a good hike that would take us to a few waterfalls and not be too short but not an all day thing either.  We didn't want to be out while it was dark!

The cool thing is they have a little sign in/sign out sheet so that if you go on a trail by yourself, they know what trail you are on and when you left.  That way if you don't sign back in they know when and where to go looking for you.  So smart!  And comforting too since there were literally only about 2 or 3 other hikers that we passed on our four hour hike!

We are pretty good at reading maps and of course there are some signs, but there's still that chance that you took a wrong turn somewhere when out in a tree infested rain forest.  The weather was perfect and it did sprinkle on us a little bit at one point but it felt good and the sun would shine through in a few different places.  Thankfully, we came across a lone hiker about an hour into our hike.  Since Mr Fix It is a chatter box, instead of the brief little nod hello that you usually give to passing hikers, we somehow managed to stop and chat with him for a minute.  He was an experienced hiker and we randomly mentioned which trail we were taking to which he informed us we took a wrong turn and we were on a totally different trail that was like twice as long!  UGH!  So glad we ran into that 'angel' on the trail because we were able to turn around and go back the right way so we didn't end up stuck on an 8 hour hike out in the dark!

There were definitely some scary parts of the trail where we were on a very small narrow ledge high on a cliff type walk.  Being that Mr Fix It is afraid of heights, we both thought it smart not to look down much and just keep moving carefully.  I love that my loving hubby is so thoughtful and protective of me as in several parts he would reach out and take my hand to help me get across sketchy areas. :)

We finally came to the end of the hike after having seen some very cool waterfalls.  It was a great day, we were a little tired but it was the perfect length and we had a great memory.  Mr Fix It even went a little crazy and took off all his clothes at one waterfall for me to get some pictures of him in it.  Beware ladies, these photos are a little 'R' rated, though I hid most of his personal parts well in the shots :)

Share Time:  Did you do any adventurous or workout type activities on your honeymoon?  Did you do anything scandalous or provacative?  ;)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Post wedding: Saving your bouquet?

Preface:  TODAY is my 300TH blog post!!!  So crazy!

Are you one of those brides who wants to figure out a way to preserve her bouquet long after the wedding day?  I have seen and heard about brides who tried hanging the bouquet upside down in a dark closet to dry it out.  Or placing the petals in a food dehydrator and then placing the dried petals in an organza sash to use as potpouri in clothing drawers.  Or you could always do the old fashioned thing and stick it in your freezer...not sure why my mom did that with our old dance corsages?

Anyway, one day while browsing the net for wedding ideas, I came across a web site for bouquet preservation.  I fell in love with the idea and was more excited to find out the company was only 10 minutes from my house.  So after my wedding day, I assigned my mom the task of collecting my bouquet and delivering it to Nature's Beauty in Laguna Niguel, CA. 

On the wedding day, the bouquet looked like this:

And  few months later when I received my completed flower box, it looked like this:

Sorry I couldn't get better pictures with my crappy camera...this was the best I could do because of the glare of the protective glass on the box.  But basically, you give the company your bouquet along with a photo of you and your groom and whatever items you'd like to add from your big day.  They typically suggest your invitation but we used our program instead along with the little tag from our favor box, the silver bell of a bride and groom that sat on each table and my garter wrapped around the bouquet.

If you like this idea, I highly suggest you contact this company to find out more about the process.  Even if you live in another state, they have ways of shipping to work with you.  Check out their web site to see other examples of boxes in different shapes and colors.  It's not cheap by any means...but it is a very cool keepsake to display in your home forever.

Share Time:  Will you be saving or preserving your bouquet after the big day?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wed Recap: All the deets! (photo heavy post)

I'm not gonna say much in today's post.  Honestly, I have had some major stressful things happening at work lately.  I don't want to go into all of it but we're talking about my boss losing millions of dollars due to an issue with a lender.  :(  This means I haven't been able to spend much time on the net browsing through all of your lovely blogs I follow.  Don't dismay - I am totally still here!  Those of you who have noticed I haven't been commenting much lately, please know that I will be back over there to more thoroughly digest archived posts and catch up as soon as things are resolved here in the office :)

Thankfully, I schedule most of my posts months in advance so I have still been going regularly over here.  And I can honestly say that the wedding recaps will finally be ending this month!  Five months after the wedding, I will be wrapping it up with a few more pics and videos to share with all of you as I finalize my memories of our big day.  Thanks for hangin' in there with me.

Today, I wanted to share this cool little recap video that our videographer included in our wedding video (note that the song is not the song used in our wedding video, I had to change it due to YouTube copyrights).  It is a recap of the cocktail hour but I love it because it shows a few of the little details of our event, specifically the reception tables.  So after the video, I'll share a bunch of photos as well:

One of the two door hangers that my sister made for our day:

Our Flip Flop basket covered in red silk fabric holding 72 pairs of multi-colored flip flops:

Reserved seat signs designed by Serendipity Design

Red chinese take out Favor Boxes containing little red or turquoise key chains with a 5 ' tape measure inside:

Place cards were tucked into the napkins with each guest's name sticking out at the top.  The card was not a menu card but rather a list of activities and favors that we had available for the guests:

Personal photo

Cake table:  Our cake was made by a family friend and if you remember, Mr Fix It tried to recreate the stand from a professional picture we found.  It didn't turn out the way we envisioned it but it was amazingly good!

Our Gift Card box was the one thing I did NOT want to sell but Mr Fix It said we didn't have room for it in the house :(  So I took it to a wedding swap meet where other girls fought over it :)

A photo of my friend's guitar which he played during his solo at our ceremony

I loved this simple poster board of our room layout which made it easy for guests to locate their tables when they picked up their escort cards.

Cocktail tables (without the pen holder and votives that were also on them):

I absolutely adored the way that my coordinators tied the linen around the high standing cocktail tables!  I had shown them a picture of what I wanted and they recreated it perfectly!!!

By Amber Marquez

These Parasols were part of my gift to my BM's...loved them in a few photos.

By Yan Freedline

5 page Fan Programs designed by Serendipity Design

Gobo light

Kleenex tissue packs:  A last minute ceremony favor idea that I quickly threw together on the cheap:

Personalized water bottle labels that I designed and placed over bottles for our wedding party (unfortunately the photographer did not get a better shot of just how adorable these were...they had a custom ingredient chart on the back, too):

Our Unity Cross:

Each younger child (and some younger teens) place settings had a personalized menu under their napkin which had a word search, maze and even a scavenger hunt for the reception:

They also had a circus favor box full of goodies with a little thank you message label on it:

 The label reads:  A basket full of treats and fun, especially for the younger one.  Color, draw or play a game...just have some fun, so glad you came!

I won a free print via blog giveaway months before the wedding and had this engagement photo printed on a canvas which we displayed on an easel next to our gift table:

Some of the many little signs that we place around the event for the guests' convenience:

Photobooth table signs and baskets:

Our super cool and unique toasting flutes which I can't wait to use on future anniversaries!

Share Time:  What was your most favorite detail, DIY item or decor item from your big day?

Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Robert Mullins Photography

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wed Recap: Family drama

It happens at many weddings...the unfortunate drama that unfolds (usually because of family issues) during the event.  It's truly so sad and frustrating that people can't put aside their differences, or even better, get over themselves during someone's most special wedding day event. 

At my sister's wedding there was a little drama but not much.  One of our Aunts flipped out because as my sister and her hubby were wandering around the guests' dinner tables to greet everyone, they suddenly ran out of time about halfway through.  The photographer was going to be leaving and needed the bride and groom to get on with the cake cutting and bouquet/garter toss.  Since my sister didn't get to talk to our Aunt at her table and it just so happened that we pulled the bride away as she was approaching their table, my Aunt started totally crying and yelling at me for not letting her talk to her.  It was so silly but that's what happens when you add alcohol. 

Then my sister got a little upset later that night when her new hubby's ex-girlfriend shared a cab with her her new mother-in-law to the after party.  It was already a huge selfless act that my sister was even willing to allow the ex-girlfriend to attend the event (which she didn't want to do), but to find out that her MIL offered her cab to the after party to her was just ridiculous!

Thankfully, there was no drama at our big event.  We didn't wander the tables and I made sure to go greet my Aunt so there were no disappointments. 

The only two things I heard about which irritated me on the day after the wedding were that one of Mr Fix It's brothers got into a little spat with him because his brother was yelling at his son about spending too much time in the photobooth.  The kids loved that thing and they were in and out of it all night.  Mr Fix It's nephew was in there a lot and rather than just telling him to get out and wait until everyone else had had a turn inside, his dad decided to make him sit at their dinner table for almost an hour!  That was not necessary and Mr Fix It was pretty pissed when he heard about it.  He told his brother to calm down and not be such a dictator...the kid was just having fun.

Then my sister told me that one of my other Aunts came up to her at the cocktail hour and gave her a hard time about what a horrible job she did bustling my dress.  If you remember from this post, we were rushing my poor sis and I knew I was about to take my gown off to change right after the cocktail hour so I told her not to worry if it wasn't perfect and part of the dress was dragging on the ground.  So not a big deal to me at all but it did bother me that my Aunt felt the need to ridicule my sister about it.  So not cool and so not necessary.  My sister told her that it was the bride's own decision to leave it like that and my Aunt told her she shouldn't have let me walk out into the cocktail area until it was fixed.

People are so silly about what they get hung up really befuddles me.  :)

Share Time:  Did you have any drama (or are you concerned about any potentail drama) at your wedding day?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wed Recap: Let them wear what they want!

This is an image of the dress I originally wanted my bridesmaids to wear (and in this color, too):

Isn't the back adorable?  It's a Dessy (After Six) dress (from their web site).

When I took my six bridesmaids with me to a shop to try it on, I was so excited to see them all fall in love with it.  Perfect for our spring April wedding and to match our turquoise/aqua color.  Unfortunately, they all HATED it!  I mean, not just, "Uh, we're not thrilled about it."  But rather, it is totally unflattering...the bust is horrible...I hate the color...please don't make us wear this, hated it!

I was so bummed.  But I wasn't going to let the attire issue come between me and my girlfriends and relatives.  Then they started going on about how they didn't like the blue colored dress and wanted to go with red instead (the other color of our wedding).  They said they would more likely wear red again and it would be flattering on all skin tones.  I was really bummed out about this because the blue was what I wanted to go with my color scheme!  The red was only the accent color.  So I asked them to show me some options of what they liked.  They came up with two choices:

Photo by Dessy

(This would be in the same color as above)

I was sort of okay with these so I told them they could each pick which of the 2 they liked to wear.  But one of my cousins wasn't there at the time so she went back with me and my daughter to try the 2 different dresses on and guess what?  She hated them both!  And then my daughter tells me that she also didn't like them (even though she was there when all the other girls picked them out).  

Ugh, even the sales lady was telling me they weren't good quality dresses and that pleating rarely looks good on all body types.  I was again so bummed out.  But my cousin and daughter picked out two more dresses that they said they both loved. 

These dresses I loved as well and the color (berry) was PERFECT to match the cranberry color of our wedding.  So I brought all the girls back to the store again and had them try them on.  They all agreed they did love the dress.  But since my daughter was younger and not developed, we realized it wasn't as flattering on her.  But the sales lady showed us a dress by the same designer in the same fabric and very similar style for my daughter.  She loved it and so did I.  So I opted to let her wear a different dress.  But then she said she wanted the dress in the blue color (known as Bahama Breeze).  I was actually excited because I had wanted *ALL* of the girls to wear the blue.  So I decided my daughter got to stand out in a different color. 

Then my cousin realized that her very large endowed chest was not going to fit into this dress.  Again, the sales lady rescued us showing us another dress by the same designer in the same fabric and very similar style that held my cousin's bossom in perfectly!  :)  And much more flattering on her as well.

So we ended up with a bridal party that looked like this: 

Photo by Robert Mullins

Photo By Yan Freedline

Photo By Yan Freedline

I later found out that one of my Bridesmaids actually wanted the dress in the blue color as well.  I had offered for all the girls to wear whatever color they wanted to when we placed the order but they all just went with red.  When I asked her why she didn't go for the blue, she said she didn't want to cause ruffles and be the only one different besides my daughter.  I told her I would have loved for her to be in the blue and I wish she would have spoken up!

And here is my little one in her dress from our post wedding shoot :)

Photo by Rachel Garcia

And how cool is this one of the tiger looking at her?

Photo by Rachel Garcia

I had great BM's...they weren't divas and didn't have to do too much but were important ladies in my life.  I thought they all looked beautiful on the wedding day - some even better than me! ;)  My stylist did great with their hair and makeup too though 2 of them did their own hair/makeup.  Can you guess which ones?

TODAY'S WEDDING TIP:  If you are one of those brides who wants to let your bridal party be a part of the attire decision making process, then be sure to talk to each of your bridesmaids AWAY from the rest of the bridal party and ask for their desires and feedback regarding their choices and preferences.  They may be intimidated by other girls to truly be honest about decisions you want their input on.  And don't we all want our friends and family feeling beautiful, confident and comfortable while they are celebrating our special day with us?

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