Wednesday, March 2

Cross-Border Shopping Success!

So I mentioned that last weekend my parents and I hit up the States for a little wedding related shopping trip. I was able to get a lot of stuff crossed off my list!

1 - Foam board

I bought three sheets of this board to use as the base for my flower initial DIY project. They are foam-core boards covered in cardboard, so although I will still have to use a glue gun to attach the flowers rather than just jam the flowers into the board, at least they are sturdy. I bought three with the intent of attaching them together to make it nice and thick. (Total cost - $3)

2. Fake Flowers

So I bought greenish white hydrangea stems to use to cover the flower initials. I literally bought all flowers they had in stock, so hopefully it is enough! Each stem has 6 blooms on it, and I bought 12 stems. The overall quality was pretty good, considering they were from the dollar store! (Total cost - $12)

I also got a single stem of white phaelanopsis orchid from Michaels. They were on sale for %40 off, so the price was very reasonable. I'm not sure if they are real-touch or something like that, but they have a really nice, almost waxy texture. Super realistic! I was very happy with this purchase, and I plan on using them to decorate a set of willow branches I previously bought. (Total cost - $6)

3. Thank You Cards

They are very generic but super cute! Plain white cards with two embossed rings that are a shiny, sparkly metallic. We will probably include a small picture from the wedding to personalize them a bit, but those decisions won't be made until well after the wedding! Best ever was the cost... for a box of 50 cards and envelopes, they were only $2.99! So, for two boxes our total cost was only $6. Ridic.

4. Invitations!

My plan for the longest time was to craft my own invitations. Then I realized how much work THAT would be (sourcing cardstock and other supplies, printing, cutting, assembling, etc.). I then had the idea to just buy something simple and custom from Etsy. But even at $3 - $4 an invitation, the costs could quickly add up. We stumbled upon these at Target on clearance and I bought them on a whim. D wasn't with me so I crossed my fingers he would like them, and luckily he did! We are going to add some colour in the form of ribbon, custom labels, etc. and try to come up with a cute design. You'll just have to hang tight to see what they look like all done up - suffice it to say that right now they are basically white cards with a black border, a silver pocket, and black envelopes. Very basic, but very easy to make our own. So it will still be a bit more work that having them made for us, but it's not so back as starting from scratch with a stack of blank paper. Should be fine... fingers crossed! (Total cost - $60).

So basically, for around $80, we took care of a huge chunk of what we needed. Invitations are definitely a huge expense, so I feel like we really dodged a bullet on that one. And $6 for our thank you cards? That's what I call shopping success!

What has been your been your biggest bargain so far?

Sunday, February 27

One Big Thing to Check Off the List...

So D was here for the past week (which hopefully explains my absence!) and we were able to get a few wedding-relates things knocked off our list. The biggest one by far is that we FINALLY signed the contract with our caterers! We have been in contact with them since probably September of last year, so this has been a long time coming. We had to wait to sign the contract with our reception which took forever, and then it was just a waiting game for D to come to town so we could meet them together, in person, and finalize details and menu options.

Our reception venue had a pre-approved list of about 6 caterers and we had to choose one of those options. We went with the most affordable one, which luckily has also got amazing reviews. Which is good, because unfortunately we won't be able to taste our menu before the big day. I'm a little bit nervous about that, but I have talked to a few people who have had events catered by this company, and they are all good so far, so hopefully it will all work out. Fingers crossed!

Now onto the good stuff! I'm sure you're wondering what deliciousness we picked for our menu! Our guests will arrive to the cocktail hour where there will be hot and cold passed apps - a pretty traditional mix with things such as chicken brochettes, bruschetta, spanakopita, chicken profiteroles, spring rolls, etc. Pretty standard. We chose 2 meat options and a vegetarian option for our dinner. The meat-eaters will start with a spinach & goat cheese salad, followed by with either chicken stuffed with mushrooms and asiago with garlic mashed potatoes or baked cedar-infused salmon served with an asian sesame sauce and wild rice. Both come with fresh and local seasonal vegetables. For dessert, a raspberry mousse. Later on we will have wedding cake and a late-night dessert buffet. For the vegetarians, they will start with a quinoa salad, followed by a main of portobello and tofu skewers served with ginger rice and BBQ ratatouille. Their dessert will be apple pie with coconut vanilla ice cream. Hope it's okay! It all sounds very 'wedding food,' so I hope it all looks and tastes okay.

I found it a bit weird that for our vegetarians they had to have an entire separate menu. Like, we can't choose just a different main dish for them. Hopefully it all works out and people aren't jealous of what they don't get. We know who our vegetarians are, so we are just going to pre-order the meals for them and not give the option to the rest of our guests. The reason behind this is that the vegetarian meal is almost $15 more per person than the meat options. Boggles my mind. But it is what it is, so we will make the best of it!

So that's it when it comes to food for the wedding! Like I said, we will have a late-night dessert buffet which is as-yet undetermined, but it will probably consist of cake, cupcakes, cookies, cannoli, etc. I am weighing the options of a chocolate fountain since we actually own one (I bought one for D one year as a joke... it was like $8 on ebay!), so we will have to see how the logistics for that work.

Now I just need to think about signature drinks. I know that I want some, but I need to think of what. Any suggestions?

Did you have an easy time when it came to picking your wedding menu? Does my menu sound okay? And changes I should make? I am definitely open to suggestions!

Friday, February 18

Wedding Roadie

So tomorrow I'm heading to the good ol' US of A for a little wedding shopping spree. I have been trying to gather supplies for some of my DIY projects and have noticed that a lot of things are soooo much cheaper in the States! So I've been making a lost of what I need and figuring out where I can get the best deal. Some of the things I'm looking for are:

1. Fake flowers

So I was at a Canadian Michaels this week, and I saw the price tag on one stem that said CAN - $16.99, US - $9.99. Ridiculous. So I'm armed with 40% off coupons and am hoping to find a good selection! I will probably also hit up a dollar store or two - you never know what you can find. I need these for my flower initials and to decorate a set of curly willow branches with an as-yet determined purpose.

2. A Vintage Birdcage

For cards, natch. I'm totally jumping on this bandwagon - the only problem is, I haven't been able to find these anywhere in Ottawa! I don't know if I should hold out for spring and start hitting up garage sales, but I will definitely keep an eye out for these tomorrow.

3. Shoes!

I'm still pretty undecided as to what I want, but we'll see if something catches my eye.

4. Favour boxes.

We saw these on our last foray across the border, and haven't been able to find them here at a comparable price. I'm still undecided what exactly will go in them (still holding our for macarons!), but if we have the boxes, I'm sure we can find something that can go in them. Just like Angels in the Outfield...

5. Bridesmaids Gifts

'Nuff said. Looking for some cute things for my ladies. I will probably hit up TJ Maxx to see what I can find.

6. Cardstock

Michaels has their paper on sale. And an extra coupon. I might try and pick this up so I can start working on paper products, such as signage... We'll see how that goes!

7. Aaand, last but not least, honeymoon clothes!

Even though I might not know where I'm going, I definitely want some cute, summery, beachy clothes to wear on our trip. So far I've bought a cute bikini (loving floral prints right now!) and some espadrilles. I also bought a jumper at the end of last summer (not 100% how I feel about it yet. But it was Miley Cyrus with Max Azria for Walmart. Love. Haha.). So, we'll see what else I can find. I'm thinking another bikini or two, some cute dresses, and lots of shoes!

The shopathon is on! Any suggestions for places to go and things to buy? Yay for cross border shopping!

Tuesday, February 15

Right Now I'm Loving...

Paris Hilton's Footwear Collection!

I'm still on the hunt for my wedding shoes, and am on an ivory/nude/gold kick right now, so these are a few pairs I've stumbled upon. There are definitely a lot of options out there from Paris Hilton... just try not to say 'That's Hot' while trying them on.

Spelled (Ivory Satin)

Love the sparkle encrusted heel.
This might be a future DIY project for my ultimate wedding shoe!

Destiny (Gold Leather)
Sweet little side bow

Missy (Gold Metallic)
Valentino-inspired bow. I like the shorter heel height -
definitely hard to find cute shoes with a moderate heel!

Suarey (Ivory Satin)
Take a peek at that pink heel!

Bonita (Ivory Satin)
Love the rosette

Senorita (Gold Metallic)
Big bow, again.

So what do you think? Yay or nay on PH shoes? And why am I having so much trouble choosing my wedding shoes?

And just for fun... how cute are these?

Vanice (Black Leather)

All images in this post from here.

Monday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone had/is having a great day celebrating! D did a good job - he surprised me and had flowers delivered to the school I was supply teaching at today. It was super random but so thoughtful! They are so beautiful and will definitely hold me over until I see him again (this Sunday! I'm so excited!).

Hugs and Kisses in Ottawa ON, Blooming Scents Inc.

Now I am just watching 'The Bachelor' with some Valentine's treats, and my 'date' Rylee. Not a bad way to spend V-Day alone...

How did you spend your Valentine's Day?

Sunday, February 13

Sunday Fun: Fabulous Frocks

With awards season currently underway, I can't help but notice all the amazing gowns that have been showcased on the red-carpet. So many of these dresses can serve double duty as wedding gowns too. And luckily, white, cream and blush tones seem to be very popular this year. Here are some of my favourite show-stopping dresses. Which ones do you like?

The Golden Globes

A very classic Nicole Kidman

Gia Mantegna - Lorena Sarbu - Kwiat - Judith Leiber - Golden Globes 2011

Simple and chic Gia Mantega

Lea Michele - Oscar de la Renta - Lorraine Schwartz - Golden Globes 2011
Lea Michele, for brides who feel like going pink

Heather Morris - Lorena Sarbu - Golden Globes 2011
Another Glee gal, Heather Morris

Dianna Agron - J. Mendel - Ferragamo - Cathy Waterman - Golden Globes 2011

Yet another Glee gal, Diana Agron. Love how light and flowy this is

Megan Fox

Hailee Steinfeld

Super-sparkly Carrie Underwood

The People's Choice Awards:

Selena Gomez. This would be a perfect after-party dress!

The SAG Awards:

Lea Michele (again)

Hilary Swank

Natalie Portman. Loving the baby bump!

Winona Ryder

Angie Harmon

And last but not least, my all-time favourite red-carpet look so far...

Heather Morris at the SAG Awards. Love love love this one!

All photos from a here, here, and here.

What have been your favourite red-carpet looks from this awards season? Where do you find your bridal inspiration?

(And is it just me, or do those Glee girls have amazing stylists? I only included 'bridal' inspiration gowns, but there were tons more out there that would totally work for the 'maids and the moms. Maybe I will have to do a followup!)

Thursday, February 10


So after two wedding related meltdowns, we are changing things up! I am looking at this as a positive and trying to gain back a happy outlook on this wedding. I think it was becoming a case of too many cooks in the kitchen (which can happen when wedding funds are coming from a variety of sources - lesson learned, pay for your own wedding!)

Basically, I was told that because of our colour scheme the wedding is going to look like a bee (so not true!), which is apparently ugly. Thanks, Mom. So as much as I loved our yellow-inspired colour scheme, that comment kind of turned me off the whole yellow look. Now, we are going from this:

Honey Yellow, White, Charcoal, and Black
To this:

Which, I know I've posted before.

I'm really excited! Originally, we had wanted to go for a more purple/green, black and white colour palette, so this is getting a bit back to basics. D's favourite colour is green, so he is obvs really happy with the change, and I think it just looks fresh, clean and modern. Love. I am especially inspired by the tablescape (is that a word) in the above board, 2nd row, last picture. I'm thinking white linens, black table runner, green napkins, a mix of various white, fluffy flowers in milk glass vases. It's going to be great!

You might think I'm crazy changing something like this up when we have less thank 5 months to go... yikes. But luckily, I'm a procrastinator extraordinaire, so we don't have anything big done yet that would really create a problem. Despite all my lofty goals, I have yet to start any DIY projects. Trust me, DIY is not my friend!

So... yes. White, black, shades of green, some greys and silvers, milk glass, fresh, crisp + clean. This is the new theme we're aiming for. Fingers crossed!

Any big changes going on with your wedding plans?

Tuesday, February 8

The Chicken or the Egg?

AKA, The Tables or the Table Linens?

Girls, this is getting stressful. I'm trying to figure out our table linen situation, and it's like, you can't JUST decide on which ones to get, because first you need to know HOW MANY to get, so first you have to figure out your table layouts, which means you need to figure out some sort of seating plan. STRESS. FUL. Ugh. Maybe this is just a problem for me? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who doesn't get this whole wedding planning business. Like, how are we supposed to be able to deal with this and our regular lives at the same time? So. Annoying.

I think the frustration also lies in the fact that we are having long, rectangular tables instead of squares or circles. So we can pretty much arrange table how we want, in lengths of 6, 12, 18, etc. Basically, whatever works for different groups - like a huge table of friends, a smaller table of grandparents, etc. So I've been working on table arrangements ALL night, and now that I kind of have a picture in mind of how it will look, NOW I can start thinking about the type of linens I need.

Oh, but if only it was that easy! So far, all of the rental company websites I've browsed have these super random lengths of tablecloths. My tables are going to be 6FT x 5FT, placed end to end in varying lengths. How am I supposed to know what size linens to get so they will be floor length? Do I have to go into the venue to measure the height of the tables to know what size I need? I wish I had the money to throw at someone to handle this all for me. That would be SO. MUCH. EASIER.

Boo. Rant over.

What wedding roadblocks have you run into?

Monday, February 7

Beep Beep Beeeeep!

If you're guessing that's the sound of the registry gun, you're right!

D and I finally went out on the weekend and registered for wedding gifts. It was fun but tedious. It was something I had been looking forward to for a while - probably because we've been engaged for a while and it feels like I've been reading about other people's registries forever!

We decided on two stores to register at: The Bay (which is a huge Canadian department store) and Crate & Barrel (which just has nice stuff!). We set aside an afternoon and headed to the mall to get it done. We decided to go to the Bay first, because they have tons of stuff and Crate & Barrel would be for more of the fun, gadget-y things. After sitting through their 'spiel' we were given the gun and ready to go! The very first thing I scanned was at the top of my list - something I have been lusting over for YEARS. Now, I know this has been overdone when it comes to registries nowadays, but don't hate! This was my first item:

Hello, Lover!

I am beyond excited to have this baby sitting proudly on my kitchen counter. And considering I don't even know where I'll be living in a few months, this is a big deal!

The Bay gave us this booklet with a ridiculous checklist of things for the home. D and I have lived together before, but most of our items were either hand-me-downs or the cheapest of the cheap. That being said, even though we need a lot of stuff, we definitely didn't need everything that was suggested in their booklet. So Registry Advice #1: Don't scan things you need if you think you don't need it. Of course the stores want you to buy it - More money for them! We made a list before we left of things we needed so we wouldn't be tempted by what we saw in stores.

After scanning my beloved stand-mixer, we moved through the small appliances and other kitchen things, bedroom, bathroom, etc. I'm not going to lie - creating a registry is stressful. We don't know where we will be living in a few months - D is coming back to Ottawa, so obviously it will be somewhere together, but we don't know if it's going to be an apartment, a house, how many bedrooms we'll have... we don't even know what our furniture will look like! (Except that it will likely be crappy hand-me-downs for a while...) So, trying to envision what our kitchen will look like, what our bedroom will look like, and trying to pick a 'style'... it was hard! I think we did an okay job, but I guess we will have to see.

It took us a few hours to finish our registry at the Bay. We took a snack break in the middle (during which D scanned some chocolate milk onto our registry - hilarious!) and then kept going. We didn't get everything we needed in that one trip, but it is pretty easy to go back and add things - we still have time. After that, we quickly went to Crate & Barrel and filled in what we still needed or duplicates of things we liked better. The thing I really liked about the Crate & Barrel registry is that you can sit at home and peruse their website, and then just call to add things to the registry. At the Bay, you can remove or change the quantity of items online, but you can't add anything new.

So overall, it was a pretty fun experience. The only stress came from not wanting to seem like jerks asking for ridiculous, expensive things. We tried to put a variety of things on both registries - both big ticket and less expensive items. The best thing was we didn't get into any fights about things - there were certain items I cared about more, and things he cared about more, so we just made compromises. Easy, peasy!

So, registries... fun, or not so much? What do you think?

Sunday, February 6

Sunday Fun: Bridesmaids

Just got back from an awesome weekend in Toronto with D, and I thought I'd share a link I stumbled on on the Apple website. (Sorry, I totally don't know how to imbed a video...)

There's a new wedding movie coming out, called 'Bridesmaids'! It looks so funny... I love Kristen Wiig and am also super excited to see Suki from Gilmore Girls in a totally different role. I love movies with weddings in them, and after being pretty disappointed with 'Bride Wars' I'm excited to see this one! Maybe perfect for a relaxing afternoon to get your mind of the stress of planning... or a fun start to the bachelorette party!

Anyone else excited to see this movie?

Tuesday, February 1

Operation: Buff Bride!

So now what I have an idea of what to expect for the honeymoon, it's time to get in shape! I don't have a ton to lose, probably only 10-15 pounds, but I am definitely soft around the edges and need to get my butt in gear! Toning up is definitely more important than the number on the scale, though...

Situationally speaking...

I've worked out pretty well for the last few years, either by going to the gym, taking classes, running, or doing DVDs at home. Right now I don't have a gym membership and (unfortunately) can't afford one, so it looks like I am doing this solo! My biggest problem is motivation... I get into a good rhythm and will do a whole week in a row, and then slack off for a week. Definitely not a good plan.

I also need to work on my eating habits. I started following this awesome eating plan before the holidays, which was basically all fresh, unprocessed foods - lean protein, lots of veggies and some fruit, limited dairy, and no refined carbs (ie. bread, pasta, and rice). It worked really well and once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy to follow even with going to restaurants. The hardest thing about it? No alcohol, which kind of sucked. As Christmas crept closer, I slacked off bit by bit, and am trying to get back into it now.

So my goal for the next 5 months is to workout at least 4-5 times a week, doing a combination of DVDs, running, and hot yoga classes (love!). I am also going to get back into my healthy eating plan, but I will go with more of an 80/20 mentality, as in following the meal plan 80% and slacking off (within reason) for 20%.

Look at those arms!

I'm writing this here because I want to be accountable to myself and to whoever is reading this. Hopefully in a the next month I will slowly start to see some progress! I know what I need to do... Now I just need to start doing it.

Do you have any specific wedding-related fitness goals? I'm sure I'm not the only one...

Sunday, January 30

Gifts for my 'Maids

So I've started thinking about what I'd like to gift my girls for taking part in our wedding. But first...

I have a few things in mind so far, but am looking for more ideas, so if anyone has any suggestions, please share!

So, first of all, I've seen a lot of brides buy cheap, cute flip flops and bedazzle them up a bit so the bridesmaids have something comfortable to change into at the end of the night. As much as I love this idea, I know that personally I have about a zillion pairs of flip flops, and there are cuter options out there! Such as...

1. Fold-Up Ballet Flats

There are a ton of these products on the market right now: CitySlips, FootzyRolls, DamnHeels, and the better priced Dr. Scholl's Fast Flats. They are all pretty similar in style, and range from $10 - $30 in price. Has anyone ever tried these? I never have, so I don't know which ones are best. I guess I'll have to find some reviews online.

2. A cute clutch/wristlet

There are a lot of options out there! Again, I'm not quite sure what I want to get, but I don't want to spend a ton of money on them - so that Coach wristlet is probably out of the question. There are tons of great finds on Etsy, so I will probably have something custom made on there.

3. Necklaces

Pearl and Initial Personalized Sterling Silver Petite Disc Necklace with Freshwater Pearl and Oval Link Chain

White Rose Cabochon and Pearl Bridal Necklace

Swarovski Crystal And Sterling Silver Butterfly Necklace

The Sterling Bar OR The Golden Bar - Very Elegant and Delicate Necklace- By Simag

All photos from here.

Again, I haven't chosen anything yet. I think I will wait and see what dresses my girls choose, and then try to buy necklaces that match their dress and overall personal style. I will probably buy something different for each of my girls based on their style. I don't want to buy them some random necklace they'll never wear again. Also, I am not going to require them to wear the necklaces to the wedding, but they definitely can if they would like to!

4. Bridesmaid Tanks

I found this amazingly cute tutorial over on Weddingbee, so I am definitely going to add this to my list of DIY projects. I think they are so cute and this will be the perfect this to wear the morning of the wedding while we all get ready. (Of course, I'm going to make myself one as well!) So I am on the hunt for cute, inexpensive tanks to use and a bit of fabric or ribbon to craft the flowers. Question - Should I try and work this in to our wedding colour scheme, or not worry about it? I was thinking a white tank for me, and yellow ones for my maids... They are all brunette and can definitely pull yellow off. I guess we'll see what kind of tanks I can find and go from there.

5. Wedding Day Hair

That's right, Taylor Swift is one of my Maids!

Last but not least, I am going to pay for my girls to get their hair done for the wedding, should they choose. It's totally up to them if they want it done on the day of - I know sometimes people are more comfortable doing their own hair, or don't necessarily want it done by a stranger, so that's fine by me.

So far, that's it. Is that enough? I'll probably add little things here and there as I come across them, and probably find a cute reusable tote to put everything in. But if anyone has any suggestions, or if you think these gifts suck, please let me know!

What did you end up getting your bridesmaids to say Thank You?

Saturday, January 29

Honeymoon Surprise

For our honeymoon, we are doing things a little differently! D is planning the whole thing and I won't find out until we get to the airport - I'm so excited! There are a lot of things about this wedding that he has taken more of a backseat in - a lot of the details, for example! So this is the one thing that will be all him, and let me tell you, it feels nice to drop the reins on this one and let him take over.

Before we decided that he would plan the honeymoon, we talked a bit about where we would like to go and what we expect to do on our honeymoon. We are lucky because I'm a teacher, and D will have time off between law school and starting work, so we will both be off for all of July, and have lotsss of time for a nice getaway. I'm hoping that wherever we go will be for at least 2 weeks, if not longer. My parents went on a 3 week honeymoon, which I think sounds amazing. We both love traveling, so the longer we go, the more we can see and do... it should be amazing!

So what is some of our destination inspiration?

Amalfi coast in Italy. Gorgeous!

How about a tiny villa in Tuscany? Read books, drink wine, day trips to the beach...

Santorini, Greece.

Ibiza, Spain

The Maldives

So as you can see, a lot of beachy inspiration! We want to relax and not feel pressured to do a lot of 'touristy' things, but still do some exploring and not be too lazy. Neither of us has ever been to Europe so it would be a great first trip together as a married couple. There are just so many place we want to go, I'm sure he will have a tough time narrowing things down. As it gets closer to the trip, he is going to let me know a few details, like what kind of clothes to pack and how long we're going for. He's already told me we are going somewhere hot, so Operation: Bikini is on!

As it stands now, nothing is booked, but D has been researching and planning and will probably book something soon. He is going to do a great job...
I'm so excited!

How did you plan your honeymoon? Was it difficult to choose just one place?