Friday, February 26, 2010

DIY Paper Lanterns

I love paper lanterns! I used to have one in my bedroom back in Puerto Rico, until I came home one weekend during college and it had mysteriously disappeared! (Yes, I firmly believe the answer that my mom gave me, the lamp broke, while hanging by itself in the ceiling, with nothing around it, in my possibly 9 feet tall ceiling, yes, I do believe it)

I wish I had seen this back then, it looks so simple and so easy to do!

Wouldn't these look gorgeous at a wedding reception? Or maybe a bridal shower? I think these could be made for any occasion! Just pick the flowers (or any accessories) in the desired colors, and you can have a simple yet beautiful piece of decoration for your bash! You can find the step-by-step article here.

How would you use these? Have you come across simple decorations that can work for any occasion?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Taking the First Step

For finding my dress! Okay, I few days ago I shared my very odd dress-related dream. After writing about it, I felt better and called David's Bridal to schedule an appointment. I asked for a Saturday morning and they had a 10:30am for this Saturday, so I took it.I told my girls, and they got all excited about it! We're even going to make a day of it. While me and the girls go dress shopping, the mister and my BM's boyfriend will hang-out and do something manly (my guess? Video games). Afterward, we'll meet back home for awesome food and a movie marathon.

I'm still somewhat nervous but just today I read this post by Miss Dachshund at Weddingbee. I can understand her as I feel the way she does. I've always had insecurities about the way I look. I know it'll take time, but I know that, eventually, I'll be comfortable in my own skin. I have the wonderful support of the mister and my girls.

In preparation of Saturday, I've looked at every dress in the David's Bridal website and selected my favorites. I have many, and I still have to narrow the list down for Saturday. I think I'd like to determine my Top 10 and, hopefully, try on my Top 5. I'm not sure how these appointments are like, so I'd rather be prepared!

These are some of my favorite dresses that I saw at their website. Who knows? Maybe one of these is the one!

How many favorite dresses did you bring in to your dress appointment? Did you find your dream dress on your first try?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Michaels Bounty

A few days ago, I posted about my wanderings around Michaels and all the beautiful items I saw on the aisles. I didn't buy any of them, but I did buy other things, which I promised would be in another post. And like we say back home, lo prometido es deuda*! Here's my bounty!

Personal Picture

I found these in an aisle that was dedicated to metallic-looking objects (like silver journals, golden lipstick holders, etc). These little guys were only $1 each, so I promptly snatched 15 of them! What am I planning to do with these, you ask? Well, right now the plan is to use them for table numbers, but, if they turn out to be too small (they are only a few inches tall), I'm sure I can find another use for them! Like, if we do decide to do a candy buffet, these would be perfect to hold the names of the candies displayed.

So the plan is to spray-paint them in an antiquey-looking** gold, cut out numbers in chocolate brown and use pale pink for the background. Of course, the colors of the background and numbers can be switched around if need be ;-)

What would you do with these little frames?

*Translation: A promise is a promise
**Note: My dear MB, I think I just made up a word!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jillian Kicked my Ass

Today was one of those days in which I just wanted to get home after work. So I did, I skipped the gym (again, although, in my defense, I've been missing because I haven't been feeling 100%) and drove straight home. Feeling that guilt of missing a work out, I decided to break open my 30 Day Shred DVD.

The same DVD that I bought back in July and had not even tore the plastic wrapping off. Why did I wait seven months to open the DVD, you ask? I was terrified of it. And with good reason! I did the Level 1 20-minute work out. How did I do?

Jillian. Kicked. My. Ass.

Yep, she did. And she did a very thorough job of it. I could not do the work out for those 20 minutes straight. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. Did I finish it? Kinda. Did I quit? Not really. Am I a masochist? Maybe... it'll depend if I'm brave enough to try the work out again tomorrow.  Of course, it depends if I can get out of bed tomorrow.

How about you? Did Jillian (or any other fitness DVD trainer) kick your ass? Or are you kicking ass?

An Evening of Michaels Wandering

A couple weeks ago I stopped at Michaels on my way home after work. I spent a good hour (could have been an hour and a half) browsing the entire store, just seeing what they had, hoping that inspiration would hit me. Okay, so I would have been happy with inspiration bumping into me or just brushing me on the side. I'm not picky! But it did so much more than that!

I found aisles bursting with the beige and soft pink palette I desperately want for our wedding. I could have easily spend the night just admiring the goods (I swear, I have not been drinking), and Michaels has a lot to offer.

I know I don't want flowers for centerpieces (I'm still deciding whether or not I want a bouquet made of real flowers), and I know I want candles, candles, and more candles. And I'd like to add butterflies as accents to the decorations. And thinking along those lines, I saw these possibilities at the store.

Imagine candle pillars burning in this gorgeous stand, or maybe a mini-terrarium (think moss on the bottom, small branches with butterflies perched on them) surrounded by tea light candles on the table.

Or how about one of these lovely lanterns in the middle of the table, with a cute butterfly perched on top, surrounded by even more tea light candles on the table?

Or perhaps three of these candle holders (taller one in the middle with a shorter one at each side), providing dimension with its different heights as well as a soft, romantic glow?

How unbelievably beautiful and delicate are these? I saw these and all I wanted to do was break out the credit card and buy them all! Adorable butterflies in our wedding colors!!

Sadly, I was very strong and did not take out my credit card to buy any of these items (oh, how difficult that was, trust me!). However, I did take out my credit card to purchase a few items that I simply could not pass up. And those, my friends, will be another post ;-)

Where do you find inspiration for your wedding decor? Do you find yourself browsing your favorite craft store aisle by aisle?

Note: All pictures were taken by me, using my phone, and I'm finally uploading them to my computer thanks to my recent trip to Best Buy, where I purchased (finally!) a micro SD card. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 14, 2009

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, so a belated Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

I don't think I've ever been big on Valentine's Day, except while I was in grade school. Valentine's Day just seems like a Hallmark holiday to me. Why must showing love and affection be narrowed down to one day? Every day should be Valentine's Day. Everyday is Valentine's Day!

This past weekend, the mister and I celebrated a low-key and wonderful day. You see, while Valentine's Day is not such a unique special occasion in my book, the day holds great significance to me. A year ago, on February 14th, the mister proposed to me. Perhaps it comes as no surprise, after all, many couples get engaged during this day. But it was a surprise to me, which is what makes it special.

See, the mister has always had a hard time surprising me with something. I can be perceptive, and am usually able to pick up subtle differences in his behavior when he's hiding something (trying to do something to surprise me). Truth is, he acts suspicious, I pick up on this, and always figure out he's up to something.

For the first four years of our relationship, we lived 2,000 miles apart from each other. We'd see each other either during Christmas or during summer, so we never really spent Valentine's Day together. It would make sense that our first Valentine's in the same zip code was going to be a big deal. So I was not suspicious at all when the mister drove us to the Grand Geneva for a romantic dinner.

The restaurant was breathtaking! A very stylish steakhouse, with glass windows covering an entire wall. The mister had a cozy, round booth reserved for us, complete with candles and rose petals on the table. As we were enjoying the delicious appetizers, the mister and I were talking. Well, he was talking about us and our relationship, and how it's been for the past four and a half years (it's been quite the roller coaster!). All of the sudden he asks, "Want to make it permanent?", and he's holding a small, white box, with a gorgeous ring in it. I did not see it coming, my brain was working overtime to comprehend that he was actually asking me to marry him. After several seconds of shock, I managed to respond with a "Yes!", and he swapped the promise ring he had given me years before for the absolutely gorgeous and stunning engagement ring.

Yesterday, the mister and I celebrated our engagement day anniversary (or, as I call it, E-Day). Not Valentine's, but something a bit deeper and more meaningful. The anniversary in which the mister popped the question (in his very own and unique choice of words) and I said yes.

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day? Did you get engaged on Valentine's? How did your fiancé pop the question?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dress of my Dream

A few nights ago I had a very odd dream. In my dream, I went to a bridal store to shop for my wedding dress. The store was huge, full of wedding gowns. But I looked, and looked, and looked, and I could not find the dress. I had done my homework, and researched their website for the ones I wanted, but none of my favorites were in the store. They had countless modern and strapless dresses, but they did not have my dress. The dream cut off in the middle of me searching for someone to help me.

When I woke up, I was a bit surprised about the dream, but I may have an idea as to what brought it on. We are seven months away from the wedding and I don't have a dress. I have not tried on a dress and I have not gone dress shopping. I haven't even made an appointment yet. I know, I know, you must be wondering, What is she thinking!? Sometimes I wonder the same thing too. My original plan was to start dress shopping in December. December and January have come and gone, and I have yet to set foot in a bridal store.

Now, don't get me wrong, I want to get my wedding dress, and I know what I want and don't want. I definitely don't want anything strapless (remember my dream with the store full of strapless dresses?). I want lace, I want it to have a vintage feel to it, and I want it simple. I have plenty of inspiration pictures, and a list of dresses to try at the store. So, why haven't I done this yet?

In all honesty, I'm intimidated and scared. I'm intimidated by the sole idea of being surrounded by hundreds of dresses (okay, so maybe not hundreds, but you get the idea), and having to choose one. I'm scared of the trying-dresses-on part. I'm more than scared, I'm terrified. I don't go shopping for clothes often mostly because of the way I look. I know there are many girls out there who are not comfortable in their own skin, and I'm one of them. I didn't use to be like that. For me, it happened sometime after high school. My college experience was exhausting. A lot of late-night studying and spending endless nights and days at the lab working on team projects meant a lot of junk food and fast food to survive. I gained a lot of weight, weight that I have not yet been able to shed. Due to this, there are a lot of types of clothes that don't look good on me, and I'm terrified that the type of dress that I love won't look good on me either. Or that I just won't be able to find my dream dress that looks good on me.

Perhaps I'm being silly, or maybe there are a lot of other brides out there who feel just like me. More often than not, my silly (and sometimes irrational) fears get the best of me, but, deep down, I know the mister will think that I look beautiful in whichever dress I choose. And I know I have my awesome girls (my MOH and my BM) to help me push through this and find the dress of my dream.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our Venue

After seeing three venues, our choosing the venue adventure is finally coming to an end. The first venue that we saw was beautiful, but the ballroom I fell in love with was completely beyond our guest list and budget. The lovely grounds at the forest preserve were immediately scratched from our venue list. And, although I was apprehensive about looking into the third venue (it just seemed expensive), I was definitely glad we had checked it out.

So, which one did we choose? (I feel like I'm in a wedding edition of HGTV's House Hunters!)





We chose Venue #3: The Country Squire

Personal Photo

It wasn't difficult for us to make this decision. We both knew the Country Squire has great food, as we have dined there before. The ballrooms and the grounds were absolutely gorgeous. Their guest minimum was completely doable. Their wedding package was very reasonably priced, not to mention it includes food, drinks, and wedding cake (among other things). It's only 10 minutes away from our church (just a few miles down the road). And, as an added bonus, there's a hotel right next to it (they even have a trail connecting the two!), which is extremely convenient for our out-of-town guests.

Of course, me being me, I had to first crunch out all the numbers in my handy Excel spreadsheet before making any decisions, and it just made sense. This has been one of the big wedding decisions that I have not second-guessed at all! Pretty impressive since we decided it eight months ago, and in less than that time I've changed the color scheme more than once! Not even with our little "Sunday wedding date" incident (more on this later) made me second-guess the decision, it only reassured it even more!

Which "big" wedding decisions have you made? Have you chosen your venue yet? Have you second-guessed your choices/decisions?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Choosing a Venue: Part 3

In our choosing the venue adventure, the mister and I had checked out two venues, Concorde Banquets (Part 1) and Independence Grove (Part 2). We scratched Independence Grove completely off our list, but Concorde Banquets was kept as a possible venue. While brainstorming for other possible venues to check out, the mister suggested a restaurant he loved.
Venue #3: The Country Squire

The Country Squire is a restaurant and banquet hall in Grayslake. The location was great, only 20 minutes away and just down the road of the church (I know I haven’t posted anything about our church yet, but I will, I promise). It was originally a mansion built in 1938, with 17 rooms, 8 washrooms, and 4 fireplaces.

The mister has been at this restaurant many times before with his family, and I’ve also been there with him. We both knew the food was good, but I had only seen the restaurant side of it. When talking about it with my MOH, she told me she's been to events there and that it was a really good place. Again, the mister took the lead and set up an appointment for us.

It. Was. Beautiful!

When we first walked in, we saw this cute double staircase. Great spot for pictures, isn't it?



It has two beautiful ballrooms that mirror each other.

Look at the chandelier!

Besides being beautiful on the inside, it was beautiful on the outside as well. The mansion/restaurant has gorgeous grounds that I'm sure will still look stunning in early September.



Like the first venue that we saw, the Country Squire offers different packages. For a wedding, they offered a Dinner Banquet and an Ultimate Banquet. The difference between the two is that the Ultimate Banquet includes four hours of open bar, and for the Dinner Banquet you pay for the actual alcohol consumed. Both packages include dinner, wedding cake, as well as table cloths, chair covers, and linen napkins.

When we left, we left with a packet full of information and excited at the possibility that this could be our venue. Before making any decisions, I needed to crunch some numbers in my little Excel spreadsheet.

How many venues did you check out or do you plan to check out? What tools (i.e. Excel, calculator) did you use in making a decision?

Note: All pictures in this post are personal pictures.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm Still Alive!

I know I've been gone for a little over a week, but it's been crazy on my side of things! Last week was extremely busy at work. I had a phase of a project due on Friday, and little things would pop up here and there, so you can imagine. I've also been going to the gym after work, so that's been taking about two and a half hours from my day (no, I'm not working out that long, I'm just adding commute time to the gym, getting ready, and driving back home). And to top it all off, I started getting a headache on Wednesday, which eventually turned into a migraine that's still bothering me today.

Now that I've explained my absence, I come with cute things to share with you!! I tend to be in the kitchen a lot, I love to cook and bake, and, while I don't love doing dishes, they still need to be done. I don't like taking off my e-ring (engagement ring), but more often than not, it's quite necessary for me to do so when I'm in the kitchen. Now, I tend to forget many things (just ask the mister) including where I put my ring. I usually put it in it case back in my room, or in a funnel on top of the microwave (not the prettiest ring holder item, but definitely convenient since I already own a funnel!).

I'd like to buy a proper resting place for my e-ring for when I'm in the kitchen. After all, such a beautiful ring deserves a beautiful holder. I was doing some screen-shopping (the internet window-shopping equivalent ;-) on Etsy, and look at the beauties I found!

Just how adorable is this one with two little birds?

So simple, but I just love the pattern on this one.

I love how cute this one is! It reminds me of grade school, scribbling initials in the back of your notebook.

How about these ones?

I absolutely love butterflies, so I had to include this one!

And last, but not least:

My absolute favorites are the last two! And, for the price, I might just gift myself one of them!

Aren't all of them cute? Which one is your favorite?