Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A hairy situation

Ever since high school I've had a pretty similar routine with my hair.  No, I'm not talking about how I wear it, I'm talking about my need to chop it all off about every year or so.  The reason that I tend to have this yearly chopping festival is because my hair grows really, really quickly.  At the same time though, whenever I cut it off I usually like it for about a week, then realize that short hair isn't my favorite and want my long hair back.  You'd think that I would have learned this lesson by now, but nope, I always think that this time, the short hair cut will be the one.  

These are both from about four years ago, I think.  Once my hair gets to this length is usually the time that I start thinking about cutting it all off.



Here are some of the in-between stages (including the one on the left when I dyed my hair brown - I've only done it once professionally, but I really liked it!  However, I really don't have the budget to do that very often).


But when I go short - I like to go short.  This was me when I graduated from college with my mom and my sister (I'm in the middle):


And then, I decided that last December, the week after I got engaged, was the perfect time for a drastic change in hair length.  And I went from having my hair as long as it was in those first pictures to this:


This was the shot that I made Mr. EB take so that we had one of us in front of our first ever Christmas tree.  While it's not the shortest I've ever gone, it was a pretty drastic change from how long my hair had been.  And I decided to get bangs.  Like actual short full on bangs as opposed to just cutting my hair a bit shorter in front to frame my face.  I thought I'd really like bangs like that.  Um, no.  I don't like to put the work in to make them look decent.  Oh well, live and learn.

Now, my point in all of this is that I chopped all of my hair off a year before our wedding.  Luckily, my hair does grow pretty fast, so it's back to being pretty long, and I think it will be plenty long enough for some sort of an up-do at our wedding.  Which is good, because while I love wearing my hair down, I've always pictured myself with some sort of chignon when I walk down the aisle.  Sort of like these:






Images found at Project Wedding

My goal is for a slightly more relaxed look, but still elegant.  You know, woodsy-chic.  Hopefully after I have a hair trial I can get a better idea of how these styles will work with my hair, which has grown out a fair amount (this was me and Mr. EB down at the Ballard locks last August), and will definitely have another couple of inches added to it by February:


Monday, August 30, 2010

Something Old

I've never doubted that I would follow the tradition of having something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on my wedding day.  The reason that I was so sure of this was because I knew I'd have two of the items without even thinking about it.  My something new?  My dress!  (Or my jewelry, or shoes, or hair flower, or really any number of potential new things that I will be wearing that day).  But what I really want to talk about is my something old.  And it's really, really old.

Pardon the not at all spread out very nicely veil - I was having issues with getting it straight on my bed.

The veil that I will be wearing is the one that my mother wore when she got married.  But she wasn't the first person in her family to wear it.  Three of my mom's sisters wore this veil, as have two of my cousins.  I feel so blessed that my family has this amazing piece of history that they've passed down among the women of our family, and I'm so excited that it's my turn to wear this veil!

 A close up of the lace detailing.

It's a beautiful triangular lace mantilla veil that I've been told was over 100 years old when my aunt first wore it.  It's absolutely gorgeous in person - a bit yellowed with age when it's all folded up, but (and I'm totally biased here) it looks stunning when it's on.

Why yes, I am attempting to take a photo of myself wearing the veil in my parents' bathroom because that was the only room with a mirror and enough light to sort of make it work.  Clearly I need to ask my mother to take pictures of me in the veil at some point.

I'm so excited to wear this veil, and I love how it looks with my dress!  (Again, really not biased at all here!).  The comb that's attached to the veil was a new addition by one of my cousins - when my mom wore it she had it in the more traditional mantilla style across her head (she has a beautiful bridal portrait that I have to see if she'll let me post sometime). 

As for my something blue, I'm pretty sure I want to wear blue shoes (I'm thinking about the Nina's from my inspiration board, but I haven't been able to pull the trigger on them yet for some reason). My something borrowed, however, is another incredibly special family heirloom. My aunt (and godmother) offered to let me wear the earrings that she wore on her wedding day (and that my cousin wore as well). I'm so excited that she's letting me borrow them. Family is incredibly important to me, and I love knowing that there will be special touches of family in so many different aspects of our wedding.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Please don't stop the music (part 2)

Another important song that we're still trying to choose is our first dance song.  Neither Mr. EB nor I love the spotlight and so I'm actually a little bit nervous about our first dance.  Especially because apparently I don't know how to let Mr. EB lead.  I don't think I take the lead myself, but I just really don't know how to follow someone.  So I'll probably need to practice even though we'll likely be doing some variation of the middle school sway.

But what do we want to sway to?  Both Mr. EB and I have some ideas, but here are some of my favorites.

The Luckiest - Ben Folds


I love this song.  I saw Ben Folds live in concert when I was in college, and I remember this song from that performance the most.  It's so beautiful and I just love the message behind it.  Love!  But, this is a song that a lot of people I know have used (let alone everyone else out there in wedding blog land), so I'm not really sure I want to use this one. 

He Lays in the Reins - Calexico & Iron and Wine


This is one of my absolute favorite songs.  B introduced me to Iron and Wine (I told you I don't know jack about music and am late to every music party.  But whatevs), and specifically to this song when we first got together.  As such, I really identify this song with the beginning of our relationship and it just makes me smile every time I hear it.  I'm not really sure if it's a good first dance song though...

Love and Some Verses - Iron and Wine


Ohhh another one I love.  This one doesn't give me quite the reaction that He Lays in the Reins does, but I think it would make a beautiful first dance song.

Lucky - Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat


This is one of those songs that I really like, and I love the message because I feel so incredibly lucky to have found Mr. EB, but I'm not really sure that it's the one.  I dunno.  Still thinking.

One thing that I need to do is to talk with our band and see what they have in their repertoire (I'm so excited about our band! One of them I've known since college and I'm so happy they're playing our wedding).  They're not a wedding band, but they have started to play more weddings over the past couple of years, so they've been adding more "wedding-y" songs to their set list and I'm not sure what exactly is on it anymore.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Please don't stop the music (part 1)

Ha, couldn't resist the title.  But, random lyrics aside, I have to admit that I'm not that into music.  Well, that's not entirely accurate.  I like music.  I enjoy listening to it.  But I've never been that knowledgable about it.  I like what I like (helpful!), and tend to stay close to that.  Which sort of influences my ideas for our wedding music.  We haven't decided for sure on anything, but here are some of the things that I've been thinking about (and I will be the first to admit that none of these are hip, edgy, whatever - I told you I like what I like, and this is what I like!)

For the wedding ceremony:

Pachelbel's Canon in D.  Yes, I realize that this song is considered overdone in the world of weddings (and graduations and pretty much any other type of ceremony that requires people walking in to somewhere), but I don't really care.  I love this song and it has always symbolized weddings to me (WAY more than Wagner's Bridal Chorus or Mendellsohn's Wedding March which have always quite frankly scared me just a little bit).  But first I have to share this other video I found while searching for different versions of the song.  Yes, I'm apparently almost four years late to this party, but holy crap he's funny and I'm sharing.


Ahem, back to the song I love.


Now, as I said, I'm not positive that we're going to play this song because I'm not entirely certain how we're going to do the music for the ceremony.  See, a really good friend of mine from college is an AMAZING violinist.  And she has graciously offered to play for us if we would like her to.  This is huge, because she does not offer this lightly (she's played many a wedding growing up, and I'm pretty sure would be happy to never play at another wedding for the rest of her life).  So, I don't want to foist a song on her that she doesn't want to play (though the violin part is much prettier than the cello).

If my friend ends up not being able to play, then we'll probably hook up some speakers, in which case Pachelbel's Canon is still one of my top choices.  But I was listening to some Vitamin String Quartet (I have become obsessed with them in my search for wedding music) and came across their version of "Hallelujah," and holy cow I love it.  Take a listen:

 

This is one of Mr. EB's and my favorite songs, and I think it would be really pretty for when the bridal party processes and Mr. EB is standing up at the front already.  Or would this be a weird song to play at a wedding, even without the lyrics?  Not sure yet. 

I also love their version of the Beatles "Let it Be:"


I could happily listen to this all day.  So guys - any other ideas for the processional?  I'm also not sure if I want a separate song for the bridal party to walk into and then for my processional, or if it should all just be one song.  Thoughts on that?

Or we could just pay homage to my dad and have him walk me down the aisle to Queen.  Pretty sure my mom will veto that one!  Though in all seriousness I actually really like this version of "You're My Best Friend" (maybe for the recessional?).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Asking my girls

When it came time to ask my girls to stand up with me, I wanted to do something a little bit different.  Especially since none of my girls live in the same city that I do (though now I'm in the same city as three of them! Yay!), it would be tough for me to get together and ask them face-to-face.  And I didn't really want to do it by telephone which would have been the other option.  So I decided that I would make something that I could send along with a card asking them to be a part of our big day.  I'm pretty sure that I had spoken to each of them beforehand so I don't think it was a huge shock that I wanted them to be a bridesmaid, but I really liked the idea that they would have something to remember how I asked them.

Since I love making photo collages, I thought I would start there.  I found some square frames at Michael's (yay coupons and 50% off sales!) and thought they'd be perfect.  Big enough to have a few pictures of me with each of my girls, but not so big that it would be annoying to find a place for it.  And there was one hinged frame left in the bunch, so I decided to use that one for my sister, my maid of honor.

Me and my sister through the years - I love how happy she looks holding me as a newborn. If only she knew what a pain in the butt little sister I'd end up being, she probably wouldn't have been smiling so much!

For my other girls I created a collage of memories for each of them.  One thing that I wish I had done was to print out the pictures in sizes smaller than 4x6.  But I wasn't really thinking about how I was going to fit the images into the frame, so I figured it would be ok.  I made it work, but if I had printed the pictures on smaller paper I would have been able to fit more photos into each frame.  Oh well, live and learn!

Four amazing women I'm so proud to call friends (and bridesmaids!)

Even though they were each only going to see their own photo collage, I did want them to have a similar element, so one of the things I did to tie the project together was to include a photo of all five of us from 7 years ago.  I love looking back at that picture and realizing the long history I have with each one of these amazing women (I really need to find some of the pictures from our middle school days - except I'm pretty sure none of us want those posted here for all the world to see.  Hmm, maybe just at the wedding then?).

I loved making these for my girls - now I just need to decide exactly what to include in their wedding party gifts.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bringing it all together

I've been spending a lot of time lately looking at pictures of beautiful weddings and I can't help but wonder how exactly all of my ideas that have been floating about are actually going to come together. So I spent entirely too long putting together this inspiration board as a way to figure out how things might look together. And holy crap, y'all, I did it! (Yes, my Southern roots do show up when I'm proud of myself!)

I'm kind of loving this look, honestly (and no, in case anyone is wondering, neither of those dresses are mine - I just liked the feel of the photos). Especially because it has the green, blue, ivory, gray feel that I'm trying to go for. Have I actually talked about our colors yet? Not sure. But I want the main colors to be blue and green - specifically a darker blue (kind of like the Nina Culver shoes in the inspiration board) and a dark-ish green (what, did you want me to be specific?). But the idea is to mimic the blues and greens of the woods and sky during winter evenings. And then there will be the gray of the groom's and groomsmens' suits and ivory tones in there as a way to brighten things up. And of course, the pops of color in the bridesmaids' shoes. I'm really happy that I was able to put this together, especially as a way to show others what's been floating around in my head these past few months. Now I just need to start nailing down my ideas and turning them into reality!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A little bit of photo-spiration

One of my favorite things to do is google our venue to see pictures from other weddings that have been held there. However, one of the things that makes IslandWood such a unique wedding venue is that they don't hold very many weddings there (as I mentioned, it is an educational facility and they have only been holding weddings for a little over a year I believe). So while that means that we have a very unique venue, it also means there aren't a whole lot of inspiration photos to look at to see what other people have done with the place.

But I came across this teaser the other day and I so hope that the photographer posts more from this wedding! This suspension bridge is definitely a bit of a hike from where we'll be getting ready, but it's so worth it to get there to get pictures like this one:


Source

Isn't that just beautiful? And like I showed you the other day, there are so many amazingly beautiful spots around IslandWood that I think would make for some beautiful portraits - including the tree houses and the pond.

Of course, what's the huge, number one, absolutely going to be a wrench in all of my photography plans? Yeah, you know it. The fact that there is a 99.9999% chance that we'll have some type of rain that day. The big question for how it will affect whether we can get ANY shots like this is how hard it's raining. I mean, if it's just a light mist we can totally make it work. Maybe. But if it's pouring? Yeah, there's no way that I can be traipsing down the path in my wedding gown before the ceremony.

So, in preparation for that, I'm on the lookout for cute umbrellas kind of like these:

Source


Source


Source

And the last picture reminds me of something else I want to start looking for - cute boots!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm so in love

With our venue! (also B. Don't worry.) We were up visiting my parents over the weekend and Mom, B and I were able to go by IslandWood on Sunday evening and spend a couple of hours wandering the trails. I'm SO glad that we got to do this since I had only seen the main buildings and the lodges before now, and there's so much more to IslandWood to explore!


My pictures are kind of dark since the sun was setting and there's not a whole lot of light under the tree canopy (shocking, I know). And of course, the one time I don't bring my nice camera up is the time we can go see the venue again. Ah well, at least I had the trusty point and shoot with me. But these are some of the areas that I'm really excited for people to get to explore while they're at IslandWood for the weekend (and if any of you who are coming are reading this, don't forget comfortable shoes, fleece and a rain jacket! Yeah, nothing like needing to remember to send people a packing list along with the invitation...)


We started out by the trail head that's right by the Ichthyology Lodge. I think this is one of the newer lodges built on the property, and it's separated a bit from the other three lodges which means that this will be where our loud and rowdy friends stay for the weekend!




Once we got on the path we visited the Bird Blind which overlooks a marsh (notice all the kid height-friendly cut outs available for little eyes to peek out of). I also loved the plaques all over the property noting who sponsored the building of various areas. I think IslandWood has done a great job of raising awareness for the need for an educational center like this and the community has really responded and continues to provide a lot of support for IslandWood.


After the Bird Blind we headed to the Tree House (pictured above) and the Learning Tree (pictured below). The Tree House had steps leading up to it and was built around the trunk of one of one of the trees overlooking the bog, but the Learning Tree had a bridge that went across to the entrance which meant that it was wheel chair accessible. They've thought a lot about how to make as many areas of the woods accessible to as many people as possible.




This is me attempting to pose like the Pioneer Woman whenever she takes shots in low light. I think she pulls off the hip-cock way better than I do. Oh well. More to the point, this is looking inside and seeing some of the desks and tree stump chairs inside the Learning Tree.

We also got to check out Mack's Pond which has a floating classroom with glass in the bottom to allow kids to look down into the pond. The floating classroom is attached to cables underneath the water and can be moved into the pond by using the hand cranks.


It was a beautifully clear evening when we were there and we got some great reflection shots of the trees surrounding the pond and the beautiful cloudy sky.


After some more meandering we ended our little tour of the woods with what I'd been looking forward to seeing the most - the suspension bridge! Yes I am very much like a little kid when it comes to bridges like this (I'm also a little bit afraid of heights, but I think that's part of the fun). Until B started bouncing and jumping to make the bridge sway even more. What a guy :)




Near the suspension bridge is the look out tower which allows you to see over the tree canopy. We didn't get a chance to go up there since we didn't have a guide, but hopefully we'll get a chance to climb it sometime before the wedding (pretty sure even if the views are spectacular I don't want to be climbing some 150+ steps in my wedding dress!).


I'm so glad that we got a chance to go over and walk the trails! It's made me that much more excited about getting to share this little piece of the island with all of our family and friends. I can't wait for it to happen already! (Oh right, so many other things to do before the wedding can happen though...)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Booked!

We booked the photographer this weekend! And I'm so excited to have that one done, crossed off our list, finito, yay! Our photographers for the weekend will be Kat and Justin of Persimmon Images. I first came across Kat when she was writing for Weddingbee. She got married in September of 2008, and I came across the site a bit later in 2009 as she was finishing up her recaps of their wedding day out in Montana. I immediately went back and read all of her entries because there was just something about her that spoke to me. That was also one of my first introductions to beautiful wedding photography, and what a great photographer could do with all of the details and planning that go into a wedding.

As I mentioned, one thing that really drew me to Kat was her writing - long before I ever met her, I felt like I had gotten to see this little piece of her, and she just felt like someone I wanted to know. Luckily for me, just a short time later she started her photography business, I won an engagement shoot with her and the rest is history!

You might have noticed that earlier I said that Kat and Justin were going to be our photographers "for the weekend." I think that's the part that I am most excited about - Kat and Justin will be with us for the weekend so they can document our Friday night welcome dinner, s'mores by the firepit that night, and of course all the wedding day craziness (please let it not be too crazy!) on Saturday.

I absolutely adore Kat's work (go check out her website!), but I'm even more excited just to know that it's her who will be there with me on the big day. Everyone said to make sure that your photographer is someone that you're comfortable with, that you click with, someone who gets you, since you're going to be spending more time with them on your wedding day than practically anyone else. And Kat is exactly the type of person I want to be spending that day with - hilarious, outgoing, serious when necessary, and above all, the professional who will be capturing our day through her lens. I can't wait!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I want them, I love them, but I don't think I'll have (many of) them

Flowers that is. Here's the deal. I love flowers. Love, love, love them! When my sister and I lived together while we were each in grad school I had more fresh flowers in my life than ever before (or since, ahem, Mr. Bene!). See, my sister loves flowers as much as I do, but the difference is, she remembers to actually get them and display them in the house. So every couple of weeks she would come home with a beautiful bouquet and it would grace our table or find its home on a bookshelf. And she never failed at finding a great bargain for her floral lovelies, so it was never a very expensive endeavor.

Me, on the other hand, I always forget how much I like to have flowers around until someone else puts them out. So I don't usually buy them for myself. I also have a hard time buying them when I know that they're going to die a week later (or longer because I can't bear to throw them out yet, thus causing me to have to pick up all the dead blooms that have fallen on said table).


Which brings me to our wedding flowers. I love big, full, fluffy flowers like peonies. I also love the crisp, clean look of calla lilies. But, lest anyone forget, B and I are getting married in February.
So while I would love to have my bouquet look like these:




Found here and here

Or perhaps some lovely calla lily bouquets like these:


Found here and here

I am fairly confident that none of those bouquets are in the cards for me, for several reasons. Peonies have a pretty short window in which they are in season, and even though I am not smart when it comes to flowers, I'm pretty confident in saying that February is not part of that in-season window (at least not in the Northwest). As for calla lilies, I have no idea when they are actually in season, but I'm pretty sure that they are really expensive per stem. I would love to be corrected if I'm wrong, but it's ok that these will only be bouquets that I will drool over when I look at pictures on the interwebs rather than in my wedding photos.

Because there are other flowers I love that I at least remember seeing in grocery stores last February... though I'm not sure if that was due to our incredibly mild winter or if they're always around then. What flowers am I talking about? These!


Oh, how I love tulips! They just always seem so bright and happy and cheery - especially when it's gray and raining outside. And on a bright spring day when the sun is out and their colors are everywhere? Love! However, I have heard that tulips are a difficult flower to work with as their stems can break pretty easily, so I'm not actually sure that this is a viable option, but an option that could be so pretty! I mean, look how lovely this bouquet is:


So my current plan for the wedding flowers is to have a long talk with my mom and my aunt. See, my aunt is a fabulous decorator/designer/creator of all things beautiful, and she has graciously offered to help figure out a plan of attack. (Which I am so incredibly grateful for!) Part of me wants to order flowers wholesale and put them together ourselves. Another part of me thinks that that will just add stress to what could already be a very stressful few days leading up to the wedding. So I'm not positive that we're going to go that route yet. But given my propensity toward more simple, single flower bouquets, I think we could pull it off. I'll have to look more into that though...

But what does this "less is more" attitude toward flowers mean for my centerpiece ideas? Well, I'm pretty sure I know how I want the tables to look, but I'm still refining that idea, so I'll show it to you soon!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I need an attitude adjustment

I have a tendency to take things personally. B would probably say that last sentence is a gross understatement and that I actually take everything personally, not just some random, abstract "things." Case in point: yesterday morning when we woke up, I stripped the bed, put the sheets in the washing machine and started making up the bed with clean sheets. B called out from the kitchen, "Oh, you're washing the sheets?" And my immediate reaction was to say, "Yeah, I am. We're going up to my parents tonight and I want clean sheets when we get back and the last time I changed the sheets was a week ago, and I want clean sheets, so what?" And B looked at me like I was crazy. Which I was. Why on earth was I being so defensive about changing the sheets? Who freaking cares? Oh right, apparently I do.

The reason I bring this up is because this tendency has reared its ugly head while planning our wedding. If B makes a comment about something that I've done for the wedding, most times I take it as a criticism that I didn't do it right and therefore he's unhappy. When in reality, most of the time B is just asking a question about something that didn't make sense to him. Or commenting that maybe there's a different way we could do things. Or just asking if he heard me correctly. He is a very calm, level headed guy who would never set out to make me feel badly about anything. So WHY do I always take it that way?

Another place this has come up is with my mom. When we were looking at venues and she immediately shot down all these places that I thought would be great locations for a wedding, I took all of that to heart as criticism of what I wanted our wedding to look like and feel like. She didn't mean it that way at all - she was just expressing her opinion about issues that each of the locations might have for our particular situation and wondering if I had thought about them. But again, I took it personally.

So I'm attempting a new thing. Stop and think before I react. Take a few seconds to think about what someone is saying. Find out what they are really commenting on or asking me about. Take a moment to remember that whatever they are saying is not anything that I need to take personally, and then respond as necessary. This is probably a good thing for me to implement in other areas of my life, as I really need to stop assuming that everyone hates my ideas and thinks I'm an idiot. We'll see how this goes. But hopefully it will make the wedding planning process a bit smoother in the long run (and, you know, life as well!).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Banana Bread


Banana bread is one of those total comfort foods for me - the smell, taste and texture all bring me back to baking bread with my mom when I was a kid.
The recipe that I use now isn't exactly my mom's, but I think I sort of adapted hers with another recipe that I found years ago (though I can't for the life of me remember where I found this other recipe). My mom's is a bit denser, so I think I just added a bit more flour to this. I think. I like a fairly basic banana bread - no nuts or raisins for me! But if you ever have the urge (and the overripe bananas on hand - it's amazing how quickly they ripen up in a 85+ degree kitchen! Waiting for the heatwave to be over here...), this is a pretty fail safe recipe for yummy bread.

(I made a double recipe this time because we had an overabundance of bananas, so the recipe below yields one loaf of bread).




Banana Bread

3 or 4 bananas, smashed

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar (can be reduced to 3/4 cup if you prefer less sugar)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Smash the bananas in a large bowl. Mix the melted butter into the smashed bananas, stirring in well. Stir in the sugar, egg and vanilla. Sprinkle in the baking soda and salt, and mix. Add flour and mix until combined. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days where I actually managed to make a dent in my to-do list instead of ignoring it yet again. I finished the design on my save the dates (two different designs, to be shown soon!), I ordered said save the dates (how much do I love coupon codes for Vistaprint? 50% off made me swallow the ridiculous shipping cost), I got our wedding website set up (weddingwindow.com) and I began filling it with content (love having the excuse to show off more of our engagement photos!).

Up for today is continuing to work on the website (did anyone else find writing about yourself in the third person, trying to be informative and funny, but not sarcastic, a little bit hard? No? Just me? Ok then). I also need to finish adding in missing friends' addresses into the monster guest list spread sheet so that when the save the dates come in (I'm shipping them to my mom's house), she and I can address them and get them out. Phew! I know I have lots more dreaming and planning time to go, but it's definitely starting to feel like concrete plans need to be made and set in motion so they can come together for the big day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I want this in my room

B has an uncanny knack for finding really cool things on the interwebs. He's also somewhat fanatic about researching new things (I knew I was going to like the Droid before I got it because of everything that he had told me about it - no, he doesn't have one, he just wanted to find out about it because I was getting one. I love being with someone who likes to research as a fun pastime!).

With this comes a lot of links sent my way to various interesting things he's come across. And then I like to share them with others. I think this sometimes annoys him, like I'm trying to say that I found this cool idea or service. And that's not true! I just like to share cool things with other people. Isn't that what this whole social media thing is about? Or something? But I do want to be clear about when it is something that B sent my way.

In any case - B sent me a link to this dry-erase board paint the other night. And I think it's the coolest stuff ever. I've seen chalkboard paint before and loved that idea, but was always a bit wary about the chalk dust (and does the chalk ever really erase off the chalkboard? Not so much in my experience). But this is awesome!



I mean, it's basically every kid and parent's best friend, right? The kid loves it because they can draw all over the walls, and the parents love it because they don't have to repaint over the crazy mess that the kids drew on the walls! (On a total tangent, have you read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch? I loved that book for so many of its ideas, but one of his messages is that if your kids want to draw all over their walls - let them. You never know what spark of creativity that might foster. Now there's an easier way to do that!).




I also love the interactive-ness of this. Especially if you put it somewhere where multiple people can draw and create and add things. Growing up, a friend of mine had the coolest house (or maybe just the coolest parents?). This was back in the days before everyone had a cell phone, and so in the house they built, they added a little room that could be closed off which became the phone booth. In this room was a cup full of markers - anything and everything was drawn on those three walls (the door was made of glass). Phone number, things remembered while on the phone, colorful doodles, anything. And every so often when space ran out, they'd repaint the walls white and start over. But here's a way to remove the painting over step!

This is definitely getting saved in the "when we have a house" folder (I have SO MANY IDEAS in that folder!). Now I just need to remember that the whole house doesn't need to be a dry-erase surface... though that'd be pretty sweet come to think of it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Family Ties

We got the chance to spend some time with B's family last week and I just wanted to take a moment to share my appreciation for families, and in-laws especially. See, when I was little it never occurred to me that families became that way through joining together various people who hadn't grown up together. I mean, my grandparents had always been around, as had the various aunts and uncles and other family members. As I got older I started to think about how it was for my parents when they got married and had to learn to interact with each other's families and create a new normal.



We're both really lucky in that we have great families, but due to geographic proximity we have been able to spend more time with mine. I'm so glad that we were able to take a week and spend it with B's family, because they are going to be my people, too, and I want to know them as well as I can.

I know that relationships can't be formed over night, but I have been very blessed by being welcomed into B's family and I can't wait for them all to be there as we say our vows and create our new little family.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Real Life?

This has been a tough year for me. I've alluded to it in other posts, but basically it boils down to not feeling fulfilled in many aspects of my life. My job wasn't what I wanted, my best friends all lived in other cities, B was having a tough time in this city that wasn't our first choice to move to but that we ended up in because it was where I had found a job. Basically, it feels like we've spent this last year just existing instead of living.

Not to say there haven't been great times this year - we got engaged and are planning our wedding (which of course comes with its own set of stresses...). We have some amazing friends that do live here but who we don't get to see as much as we'd like. But we just aren't living the life that either of us thought we would be right now.

And maybe that's the problem. I haven't even really been able to articulate exactly how I was feeling until I read Marisa's post on Parenthetical Me yesterday. She wrote about how she feels as though she keeps trying to get to there - there being where she is relaxed and content and able to live life how she wants - but she's currently here and doesn't know how to get there.

She is much more articulate than I am on this point, as she writes:

"I keep waiting to go to there, the place where we can enjoy life and do fun things and really live, but instead I'm always here, still planning on how to get there."

I know that I need to stop looking forward all the time and learn how to enjoy where my life is today. Instead of focusing on there where we both have jobs we love, a house of our own, little kids playing in the yard, I need to focus on our current lives. And that is B and Cody, and finding a job that will be a springboard into something else, or maybe just something temporary while I figure out what it is I want to do. It's a little hard at the moment as the next few weeks are going to be filled with preparations for leaving one city and moving to a new one, all of which sort of necessitates looking forward. But I am going to work harder on living for today rather than some indeterminate future. And hopefully that will get me a little closer to making here and there one and the same.

*Please note that there aren't working links in this post. That will be fixed shortly. (They're now fixed!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Inception

B and I don't go to the movies very often. Mainly because we are cheap and movie tickets have gotten ridiculously expensive. I think it also might have to do with the fact that we lived in Eugene for awhile where there was a fantastic dollar theater. Yes, that does mean you could see movies for a dollar (or maybe it had gotten up to a dollar fifty by the time we moved). Sure they were slightly older run movies that were about to come out on dvd, but hey, that's about the time I finally get to theaters to see movies anyway. And the concessions were super cheap too. Which basically means that anytime I have to shell out $10 (or more!) for a movie ticket, I feel like I'm being robbed. Ok, not really, but seriously, they've gotten out of hand (and don't even get me started on 3D prices! Do the glasses really warrant an extra $5-10 for the ticket? Really?).

Ahem. Off my soapbox now. Point being, the last movie we saw was Inception. And holy crap, it was excellent. I don't want to give anything away, but just to say that if you haven't seen it yet, it's totally worth the price of a ticket, go see it now! And seriously, Leonardo DiCaprio? Love him. Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Love him even more. Ellen Paige? Really surprised at how much I liked her in this movie. Just really fantastic overall - and it makes you think, and wonder, and interpret the movie to determine your own understanding of it.

But now we'll be watching netflix movies for the next few months because I don't think anything can compare to Inception and we used up our budget for in theater movies. Which is ok, because really, until Harry Potter comes out, I don't think there's anything else I need to see in the theaters.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Toy!

I got a new toy last week - the Droid! No it's not the Droid X or the Droid 2. It's the first one because I am cheap and Amazon was selling them for a penny with a new contract. Hells yes, sign me up!

I've had it for about a week now, and I gotta say I love it. Android is freaking sweet, the touchscreen is awesome and I love having easier access to apps and other programs that I had been wanting on a phone. Good times. I can even blog from the phone! Though not sure how to insert pictures yet. Hopefully I can figure out that soon.

The only real issue that I've been finding so far is that I use my phone for so much now (camera! Twitter! Reading the interwebs! Catching up on blogs!) that I've been using up the battery pretty frequently. It doesn't help that my computer has been sucking and I've essentially replaced it with the phone. Not forever, but just until the computer stops sucking. I think once I have a more balanced use of the phone the battery thing wont be as much of an issue. I hope.

But other than that, no complaints. Now I just need to play more with different apps. Anyone have favorites they want to share?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Puppy Love Friday

I have a lot of ridiculous pictures of my dog. But I was going through some old pictures and I found these - some of the first I ever took of my five month old-ish puppy on the day I brought him home from the humane society (he originally lived with another family and they brought him back to the humane society when he was somewhere around 5-6 months old because they were moving and couldn't take him - who does that??? I mean, I'm glad they did because I got my dog, but still!).

But I thought these were too cute not to share - happy Friday!





I wish there was something in the pictures that could show scale better because I forget how much smaller he was when he first came home. Now he's my 65 pound lap dog. Who gets upset when I shove him out of my lap because my legs have fallen asleep. (It's also crazy to see how black his muzzle was - homeboy's gotta whole lotta gray going on there now.)
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