Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween! Halloween Wedding or Party Treats!

Happy Halloween everyone!

I have had no time lately -- this week has been a beast! I couldn't resist putting together a few pictures for Halloween, though. Getting married on Halloween isn't really my cup of tea, but some of these pictures are so cute, I can see the appeal! I figured that for most of us, these would just be inspiration to throw a fabulous Halloween party.

Genius event planner Amy Atlas is responsible for the majority of these pictures. The picture of the table settings is from Real Simple. The dark chocolate graveyard pots de crème with tombstone cookies are from Sunset. (I linked to the recipes, although I think those are both prime "fake-it" treats if you're not feeling gourmet. Make some instant chocolate pudding, crush some Oreos over the top, write RIP on some Pepperidge Farm cookies and wedge one in the top of each dish.) They have some other really adorable Halloween party treat ideas, including these Spider Eggs:

(Mmm, deviled eggs and olives!)

And these cute little candy corn truffles:

Make sure to check out the Pina Ghouladas with these creepy "speared eyeball" garnishes from Hostess With the Mostess!

(Gross, yet delicious! I love lychees a whole lot and blueberries are one of Dylan's favorites. I just never would've thought to turn them into creepy eyeballs.)

If you're interested in trying one of the many pumpkin beers out right now, we'd recommend the Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale. We got excited and tried darn near every brand we could find of pumpkin beers and ales, and that was our favorite.

Okay, that's all for now. I just wanted to share a few of my favorite Halloween finds this week and hope that it provides some inspiration for your Halloween festivities!

Have a fun Halloween and a great weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

FREE Wedding Music!

I have another great wedding find to share! It's The O'Neill Brothers Wedding Music: Amazon Sampler.

It's really quite lovely. It's a wonderful collection of classic wedding songs, and to top it all off, it's FREE to download! There's nothing more budget-friendly than free. For those brides who are planning to have an iPod instead of a band or DJ, you may have just found your processional or recessional songs!

You can listen to samples right here, and either download just your favorite tracks, or download the whole album for free.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pretty, pretty water!

I like to pass on great deals when I find them, and I've found something I think is really cool!

Dylan and I were wandering around at Big Lots yesterday. They always have an assortment of weird stuff, and every so often I find something great. We turned a corner and I saw a stack of boxes labelled Evian with a fun pattern on them. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that they were limited edition wine bottle sized glass bottles of Evian with a beautiful lace pattern design by Christian Lacroix.

(I found this picture on Green Wedding Shoes.)

I love them.

Once I saw what they were, I got excited and thought, "Ooo, glass bottles instead of plastic! Festive instead of utilitarian! Elegant! Oo la la! These would be a classy upgrade for the wedding!" Dylan looked at me skeptically and said, "I don't know. A dollar?" and I looked at him funny right back. I explained that they were multi-serving size glass bottles, they were Evian, and they were Christian Lacroix. When none of those things meant anything to him, I also pointed out that to buy a plastic bottle of Dasani at a gas station would cost a buck, so it really wasn't weird to spend $1 on these. To that he said, "Oh, yeah. That's true. And they are pretty cool looking..." I offered a compromise: Let's just buy enough for holiday entertaining for now. Our tap water tastes like crap, and these are a much more classy option to offer guests. We came home with a case and I decided to get online and Google them to investigate my find.

Check them out here on the Evian website. $13.95 per bottle! HOLY MOLY!

Dylan gets a huge kick out of a great deal -- almost as much as I do. He gawked at the website and went, "Wow, you're good. Who knew?! Well... you did! You were right, let's go get more!" Bless his heart. So today after work, he went and bought a few more cases. (Actually, my mom ended up going because when I told her about them, she wanted some and she was kind enough to buy them for us! Thanks Mom!) We now have plenty of fancy schmancy beautifully decorated Evian water for our wedding guests. I also plan to use them as part of a welcome basket / bag for our out of town guests. Hotel tap water always tastes like chemicals, and to buy a bottle of water out of the mini-fridge is ridiculously expensive. I thought this would be a cool addition to greet the people who have travelled to join our celebration.

One of my best friends is a super stylish dreamboat (he's going to laugh that I called him that) with a definite eye for detail. What's the guy version of fashionista? We've been friends for over half of our lives now. I miss him terribly because he now lives in NYC. If these bottles didn't weigh so much, I'd send him a case for his holiday entertaining because when I saw them, I thought of him. Even if most people don't notice them, I know Jeffrey will appreciate them. Between him and my mother (whom I fondly refer to as Martha Stewart on crack), at least I know I'll always have someone to appreciate the little details!

Before I get carried away in sentimentality, the point is: if you think these are cool and you have a Big Lots near you, rush your butt down there and get some! I think the lace pattern would be perfect for any wedding, but I think they'd be especially gorgeous for a winter wedding.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cute wood-grain faux bois save the date cards!

I was just looking on the minted. website and found thesed adorable save the date cards that I wanted to share. I've been obsessed with faux bois (wood-grain) patterns, so of course I was happy to find these!

They're called Fall Carving Save the Date Cards by Amanda O'Rourke, if you want to find them on their page.

I couldn't link right to those cards, but I did find this banner that shows the cards, and a code to get 5% off your purchase! Yay for saving a little money!

5% Off Seasonal Save The Date Cards

I hadn't looked at minted. before. I was impressed by their variety. They do everything from save the dates, invitations, menus, bridal shower invites, and thank you cards to custom calligraphy and custom letterpress designs. They even have an eco-friendly line. Some of their stuff is way out of my league price-wise, but they do have cute stuff that is within my budget. For example, those save the dates are $163 for 100 of them. Not bad at all! (Plus, a lot of their save-the-date examples have the name Aly on them. Maybe it's a sign!)

Since it's getting closer to the holiday season, I'll also mention that they do a lot more than wedding stationery. I was oogling some of their holiday menu designs and thinking that if I were more well-to-do / fabulous, I would like to have those for every party I ever hosted.

Here is a really sweet wedding menu option:

Those are called Charmed Menu Cards by Oscar+Emma Design. I love the initials dangling like charms with the little thank you note tag at the top. Plus, I've always liked dogwood flowers.

I just wanted to share a cool new find, but I ended up liking their stuff enough that I decided to sign up so I could link to them. If you click on one of the links and end up ordering something, I guess they'll send me like a quarter. Yeehaw! If I get kick-back for spreading the word about stuff I think is cool, that will make my day.

One last thing:
If you're in the market for holiday photo cards, they have a 15% off holiday card discount for early shoppers. Real Simple even calls them their favorite resource for personalized holiday cards. The code is EARLYSITE09 and it expires on 10/18, so hurry!

Have a great weekend everyone! We plan to live it up for Dylan's last weekend of funemployment. By live it up, I actually mean sit together on the couch a lot. We've rented a bunch of movies, we're stocked up on popcorn and Halloween candy, and almost everyone we know is out of town or stuck working this weekend. It's feeling like a hermit weekend. I'm kind of looking forward to it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wedding Place Settings and Table Decor

I apologize for not posting more lately. I've had doctors appointments, dentist appointments, and we've even squeezed in a little socializing with friends! I am also somewhat happy to announce that Dylan accepted a job offer, and will be starting a new job on Monday. I say somewhat happy because it seems like the few places that are hiring right now are offering really low wages because they know how many people are desperate for work. I'm going to miss how much time we've gotten to spend together this summer since he graduated, but we're both trying to be optimistic. Fingers crossed that he likes the job, and that they appreciate what a hard worker he is!

(Oh, and I've also become somewhat addicted to playing the stupid games on Facebook. That hasn't helped.)


I've been working on this blog entry about wedding reception table decor and place settings for days, because I have been having a heck of a time finding the right pictures to go along with it. Actually, that's part of what I wanted to write about -- how hard it is to find realistic inspiration! It's a big topic for me to write about, because it is such a large part of the overall vibe and appearance of your wedding reception. I wanted to put some time into covering it.

As I mentioned before, I've made a couple of purchases for the wedding. I've bought brown tablecloths, and some lovely pearl colored organza napkins. I have never used organza napkins, but I have seen them in pictures and always thought they added some elegance and flair to a tabletop. I bought the darn things on eBay cheaper than I could rent the boring ol' plain cloth napkins, so I decided to go for it. I figured if we didn't like them for napkins, maybe I'd use them to wrap up our wedding favors or put them up on Craigslist. They just arrived, and I think they have the potential to be a gorgeous addition to our tables. I'm excited!

As you may have guessed, my current fascination is the wedding reception place settings and table decor. I've seen a ton of reception photos where the overall look is gorgeous, but I'm having a tougher time finding pictures that really show the details in a helpful way. I'd love to find some examples that make me think, "I want our tables to look just like THAT!" and "I know exactly what's needed, and I can totally make our tables look like that!" It hasn't happened yet, but I continue to look.

I've set a reasonably formal table before, but only our own dining room table. It's a different story when you have to set enough tables for 50+ people. I find myself wondering things like, "Do we really NEED chargers? Or bread plates?" I know that those are considered a standard part of a formal place setting, but when I start to weigh the usefulness against the added cost, I'm not convinced that it's worth it. I'm very detail-oriented, but the details can really add up. Plus, a lot of the pictures I see that use EVERYTHING end up with really cluttered tables.

For example, this photo I found on Flickr:

I originally focused on this picture because it had some similarities to what I imagine for our reception. They used dark tablecloths with light colored napkins folded to hold menu cards, and there weren't dinner plates on the table. Since we're planning to have our dinner plated instead of buffet, those are details that would go along with what we're imagining. I studied the photo for a moment and thought, "Yeah, we could do something like that." Then my eyes drifted toward the rest of the table. Don't get my wrong, they obviously went all out and I can absolutely appreciate that. The table just makes me feel kind of claustrophobic when I look at it. It seems to have gone a step past formal into overwhelming. I think it's an easy line to cross, and I'm trying to hold myself back from that edge.

While it may offend Martha Stewart if we skipped those details, I'm guessing that most of our guests may not even notice. Although if Martha Stewart would like to attend our wedding, I would spend the extra money and rent those things, because I love her. But I digress...

I am in brain storming mode, and soon my friend Samantha and I have decided to set up a practice table so we can experiment with what looks good.

I may be off the hook a bit because I'm not sure organza can be folded ornately, but it's been fun to see how many ways there are to fold napkins decoratively. This Napkin Folding Guide website is helpful if you're in the same stage that I'm in of going, "What the heck are our tables going to look like?! What do we do?!"

I still haven't found the "right" pictures yet for our wedding, but I have found a couple of pictures of napkin ideas that I like. I've been thinking that I'd like to tie our napkins with velvet ribbon, so here are some examples along the same line. Napkins rings are another spendy addition that I don't want to have to deal with, but I like the warmth and texture that velvet brings to the table. Plus, if I can't fold the organza into complicated origami shapes (not that I'd want to), tying a simple ribbon sounds good to me. (The top photo is from Martha Stewart, the bottom is from BHG.)

If you have some inspiring table decor ideas that you'd like to share, you're welcome to email me so I can post about it (I'll give you credit), or you can post in the comments section.

In the meantime, I continue to wish everyone luck with their wedding planning! I found myself fantasizing about eloping earlier today. But even with the elevated stress levels, I still like all of the details and planning. It'll be worth it to share our celebration with our friends and family. Remember, we just have to take a deep breath and sneak off for a pumpkin spice frappuccino with a good girlfriend every so often. (Thanks Samantha!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

The final countdown!

It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN! (And yes, I am dramatically humming the song as I say that.) One year from today, Dylan and I are getting married! I'm so excited, I could throw up a little.

A little after midnight, I gasped and said, "Oh my god, baby! We're getting married one year from today!" Dylan gasped, ran over to give me a kiss and said, "Oh my god, baby! I didn't realize it was the 10th!" At which point, my enthusiasm and facial expression fell and I said, "Uh... it's not!" Dylan promptly slapped his hand over his mouth and looked horrified and said, "The ninth! The ninth! I knew it was the ninth!" He does know it's the ninth, because HE chose the the 9th. Nine is his lucky number. So he's kind of a weiner, but it made me laugh.

Between having the flu, and then trying to catch up on everything I missed while I was sick, I have been a busy bee. I did make another purchase for the wedding that I want to talk about, so I'll try to get to that this weekend.

Oh, and I wanted to mention that the Amazon Mp3 download for today is a Norah Jones album for $2.99.

In the meantime, TGIF! Let the countdown begin!

365... *gulp*

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Jason Mraz album deal on Amazon.

Thank you for the get-well notes! I'm feeling better, but not back to 100% quite yet. Now I think Dylan might be coming down with it, even though we've tried to both be careful. Hopefully if he does come down with it, it's only a mild case. At least I'm feeling better, so I guess it'll just be my turn to take care of him. In sickness and in health, right?

In the meantime, I wanted to give a heads up that Amazon's MP3 download deal of the day is Jason Mraz's album Mr. A-Z for $2.99. It's one of his earlier albums, so this is a great chance to check out some of his earlier stuff for only a few bucks!

I downloaded it, and I'm listening to it right now. It's sweet, flirty, and a little sexier than the songs you've heard on the radio.

You can listen to samples right here:

Or download the whole album (for $2.99 today only) right here:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stupid flu.

I have the flu.

Blame it on the illness, but I find myself quoting the old Foreigner song: I'm hot blooded, check it and see. I've got a fever of 103!

Well, I had a fever of 103. Now it's closer to 100 degrees. But I still feel like crap.

We don't want Dylan to get sick, so he's been sleeping in the guest room. It's the first time in 3+ years that I've had to sleep alone, and it's bumming me out. We keep making sad faces at each other from across the house, because we've never been unable to kiss and hug each other.

Yesterday my mom came over to check on me (even though I warned her against it, because I don't want to infect her) and she had a bag full of food and things like Clorox wipes and anti-bacterial soap. We already had those things, but she was pretty funny about it. She wore a really weird face mask (to make me feel better and/or make me laugh) and listed off all of the things she brought to try to make me feel better. Oranges, organic apples, Odewalla juice, sweet potatoes (I don't know why), bagels, and Vernors ginger ale. If you're not feeling well, Vernors is one of the best thing ever.

I've been missing work, and I don't have the energy to think about weddings right now. When this fever breaks and I'm back on my feet again, I'll get back on it.

In the meantime, make sure to wash your hands every chance you get, because you do not want this stupid flu.