Time Together

In the past month, Brian and I have been doing a better job at getting out and spending some time together. It helps that Brian had a birthday and we had an anniversary in there for occasions to celebrate!

A couple weeks ago, we were finally able to try Momocho, recommended to us by several friends and on our list to try for a while. It’s in Ohio City in Cleveland, and Brian scored us seats at the Chef’s table which got us a couple extra little appetizers and guacamole. It was a blast! We ordered 6 samples of their margaritas, and loved the spicy mango. Brian was also a fan of the cucumber. You can’t go wrong with traditional either!

Chef's table!

Then, just this weekend, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary by going to Elevation, a fundraiser event put on by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I scored some free tickets from work, and it was the perfect night out for us when Brian realized that we were engaged in the park, married in the park, and now celebrating our anniversary there.

We first went on a hike with our trail mix we made from the trail mix bar at the ledges, and then had some fresh veggies and dip before the main meal of different sliders with pulled pork, burger or veggie. They had beer and wine, s’mores by the fire (for a bit, before it really started raining), and even dancing.

Happy anniversary hike

When we got home, we opened our love letters in our love letter and wine box. Believe it or not, neither of us cheated and opened this early. This was also before we really started drinking and making wine, so I was concerned about the quality of the wine we purchased. But the wine tasted great (and was meant for aging), and the love letters were perfect. We were so young!

I am insisting we do it again for the next 5 years, and we’re going to get the next bottle of wine from Canada when we go on a weekend trip in July.

Tonight we dusted off our love letter and wine box. There's nothing like sappy, beautiful love letters written right before the wedding.

Love you Brian!

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The Main Event

I left you at the end of rehearsal on Saturday, going back to the hotel room with Emma for the night. Brian was a good sport (well, he had a fancy executive suite with his points, so no hardship for him). Sunday we woke up with plenty of time, and we had a hearty New Jersey bagel!

I went all out and got an everything bagel with cheese, egg and PASTRAMI. So very excited; so very good.

After breakfast, it’s finally safe to tell Emma: “It’s your wedding day!!!” We headed over to her friends house where we were getting ready for the day. It’s Sunday, so the hair and make up ladies come to us instead of the other way round.

We had quite a spread for lunch, and a great bridesmaid bartend-ress Shannon keeping us stocked up on Poinsettia Champagne Cocktails. Emma’s sister even played classical piano for a while while we waited.

Emma was last to go to get her hair done, but the bride is never late, the wedding waits for the bride, right?

We actually weren’t late though; we had plenty of time to get ready.

Emma gifted the bridesmaids with dark teal earrings and beautiful simple circle necklaces, as well as a clutch for which we chose our own fabrics!

Here are a few highlights of the wedding; visit Amanda Joy’s photography blog for more photos! (Used with permission)

Emma got married and danced the night away at the Olde Mill Inn in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The hotel was classic; the appetizers were amazing, and the drinks were flowing.

Emma’s table settings were lovely: Long rows of tables with a natural centerpiece and candles. It was very romantic. Emma and Joe had a sweet heart table, but I am not sure that they were able to eat much anyway!

Did you know that they do things differently in New Jersey? They dance before, during, and after eating! But before all that, we had the toast.

Here was my short, but sweet, toast to Emma and Joe (the very end, I confess, was inspired by the end of the tv series In Plain Sight; but the rest was completely original)

I’ve known Emma a long time. We’ve been there for each other in the worst times and the good times, no matter the distance or time between us. And then she found her other half in Joe to share those important moments with. I have seen him become her friend and partner, in life and in love. I am so happy to be standing here today, celebrating with them in the very best time of their life. To old friends and new beginnings, congratulations!

I did tear up, for sure.

I was so excited to see friends from high school, Tara and Tracy there to celebrate as well!

And then dessert: cake, cookies, or chocolate fountain. Which do you choose?

All three, absolutely. And another drink while you’re at it.

Congratulations Emma and Joe! I hope you had a wonderful time on your honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands!

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Wedding Rehearsing

Brian and I had a 7 hour drive to Emma’s wedding last weekend, so we were up bright and early, grandma arrived shortly after to be there when Jameson awoke, and off we went!

Her wedding was on a Sunday, so we left Saturday morning to arrive in time for rehearsal. It was a long drive, but my husband is a champion driver and offered to do the whole she-bang. As long as he got to stop at McDonald’s for breakfast. And the brewery he wanted on the way.

They usually have good food, so no objections here!

We stopped at Fegley’s Brew Works in Allentown, PA where Brian got to try a beer that several people had been telling him about. He’s an IPA/hoppy beer kind of guy, and apparently this beer was really good: Hop’Solutely.

Brian enjoyed the beer so much that after he purchased two cases (and then one more for good measure), he called our trip for Emma’s wedding a vacation!

Yes, a vacation for poor Brian, left alone Saturday night and all day Sunday until after the ceremony. He’s a keeper.

I knew better than to try it myself though!

On the way, I brainstormed my wedding toast. I knew she was having other family give speeches, so I wasn’t too concerned with length. I didn’t read anything online for help; I wrote my short but very sweet toast from the heart.

I may have gotten slight inspiration from the series finale of In Plain Sight. But otherwise, it was completely original.

Satisfied with that, I felt free to relax and read the second book of the Hunger Games for the remainder of the trip. Oh, remember my Amazon rant? Our Prime account was finally up and I just happened to think on that last week so we switched the main account to myself, and now I can access the Kindle Lending Library! WIN!

We arrived in time to stop at both our hotels before rehearsal to change: Emma had me stay with her the night before the wedding while Brian got a fancy executive suite for free with points. Jealous.

We practiced inside first since there was a Bar Mitzvah going on. Loads of fun here, can’t you tell?

Ah, that’s better.

If you haven’t noticed, I am not taking these photos with my fancy-pants camera. A good old point and shoot is much better when you are actually IN the wedding.

One of the things I remember distinctly about my rehearsal is that I had no photos of it. So I was determined to take some for Emma.

If you can’t tell yet, this is going to be a great wedding. However, I got very few photos of the event itself (for obvious reasons!). Therefore, you will have to wait a bit until the photographer puts up some of her photos so I can direct you to the professional ones.

Next week, I promise.

Meanwhile, Emma and Joe are at the British Virgin Islands, hopefully relaxing their hearts out. Congratulations!

P.S. I should mention the sweetest part of the whole event.

After rehearsal, we had a fabulous dinner, which included a well-aged red wine from France. Emma’s dad purchased 20 bottles some 20 years ago in preparation for her future wedding!

It was smooth and very good; enough so that I asked Emma what it was and got the story! How sweet is that?!

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Vegas, Sans Baby

The weekend finally arrived! After all the months of planning, we all flew in to Vegas to celebrate Emma’s bachelorette party!

I may not have mentioned before, but this was my third visit to Vegas. The first was with Brian, and we toured a few days in Vegas and saw all the highlights, drove out to see the Hoover Dam, and to Arizona for my friend’s wedding. Brian had a blast driving through the dessert.

The second time though was with Emma and Jamie, and I was pregnant. Bummers.

So this time sans baby, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to do Vegas girl-style. We stayed up late, ate well, lounged well. Our itinerary looked much the same as it did at it’s formal invite stage, but I switched up a couple times for things:

Note: For breakfast and lunch, we didn’t really end up at the places I had initially recommended. We all pretty much did our own thing in various groups until the evenings when we all got together. It worked out perfectly!


  • Arrivals
  • 11 am-3 pm – Check-in is 3pm, courtesy at 11am
  • 1:30 pm – Planned Lunch ~ Earl of Sandwich, Planet Hollywood (we didn’t end up making it here, but I heard it is so good!)
  • 2:30 pm – Actual Lunch ~ The Buffet, The Mirage (buffet right in our hotel, I needed immediate food gratification ha)
  • 7 pm – Dinner ~ Tao Restaurant, The Venetian
  • 10 pm – Haze Nightclub, Aria: Shannon, Jamie and Hilary


  • 9 am – Breakfast ~ Le Village Buffet, Paris
  • 11 am-1 pm mani & pedis ~ The Spa & Salon, Aria: Emma, Hilary and Jamie
  • 1 pm – Planned Lunch ~ BLT Burger, The Mirage (we ate here another day instead)
  • 2 pm – Actual Lunch ~ Julian Serrano, Aria
  • 5 pm – Dinner ~ Brand Restaurant, Monte Carlo
  • 7 pm – Le Reve-The Dream Show, The Wynn
  • 10 PM – 1Oak Nightclub, The Mirage (Cee-Lo performs!)


  • 9 am – Breakfast ~ Blizz, The Mirage (I ate here, others ate elsewhere. I had a savory crepe and smoothie which were stellar!)
  • 12 pm – Planned Lunch ~ Mon Ami Gabi, Paris (we kind of skipped lunch)
  • 3:45 pm – Gondola Ride, The Venetian: Kristen, Hilary, Shannon; meanwhile Emma got her hair done at Aria!
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner ~ Olives Restaurant, Bellagio
  • 9:30 pm – Men of Sapphire Revue Show, Club
  • 11 pm – Planned ~ Haze Nightclub, Aria (we opted not to go, the show was entertaining)


  • Departures
  • No planned activities, we did BLT Burger for an early lunch at The Mirage
  • We saw the Monet Art Gallery in Bellagio, which was fascinating
  • The girls left, and I laid by the beach for a while, shopped and walked.

The Mirage

Nice entryway and decent pool. We requested adjoining rooms, but they weren’t available, so they gave us rooms near each other. However, two of the girls who opted to stay to a room themselves had a smokey-smelling room. Overall, I felt like the ventilation in the hotel wasn’t as good as other places I’ve stayed. On the other hand, they did have a very nice pool, easily and quickly accessible to our rooms (which is why the bride wanted to stay there in the first place). Oh, and it’s reasonably central to a lot of the activities we did.

The Package

We booked with The LightGroup, and I would do so again absolutely. We got into two great clubs quickly with minimal fuss (where we needed to go at Aria was a little confusing, and 1Oak was exceptionally busy the night we were there so there was a little extra time/effort/convincing that went on). And no flip flops, ladies!

On the other hand, I am an excessive planner, so not knowing the details of every moment and exactly how to get in the clubs was tough for me (my instructions were to “call these people”). Overall, definitely worth the one dinner we had to pick. That’s it!

Oh, and I did have trouble momentarily when I booked our hotel through the LightGroup, they booked the wrong nights, which luckily I caught because I called the hotel directly to check. Because I’m an over-planner. That would’ve been a HUGE negative, so remember to always be your own advocate and all that good stuff.

The Food

Brand: This was a really great deal with the package! Decent food, lots of food provided actually, there was plenty.

Olives: Excellent olive tapenade to go with the starter breads. Excellent wine-by-the-glass list, in my humble opinion. I had the special which was a spaghetti and meatballs, and I enjoyed it a lot, though it was very traditional. Not as exotic as I expected with all the hype about this place, but very good food. Our service was less than stellar though.

Tao: Very good. We allowed the chef to pick three dishes for us to share. It was a good choice, to let the chef pick his favorites!! The ceiling was high and decorated; it had a great atmosphere.

Julian Serrano: Tapas are so fun! I love sharing small portion dishes, especially in Vegas where it felt like we were eating all the time. I am a big fan, so that I can try all kinds of new things. They have a house sangria, which was decent.

Blizz: I enjoyed my smoothie a lot; I went for another one the next day in lieu of a meal after all the girls left. The savory crepe was huge, I only ate half.

Jean-Philippe Patisserie: Creme Brulee gelato in Bellagio. SO GOOD. We also tried the nutella bar and eclair and were wowed.

BLT Burger: Okay service, excellent burger. The fries were great, in little cups. I’m glad we made it here for sure.

I wish we could’ve made it to Mon Ami Gabi, it’s still on my list to sit outside along the strip to have a meal there. Guess I’ll have to save it for next time!

The Spa

I can’t say enough good things about the salon portion of the spa at Aria. We were in massage chairs while they did our nails (must get a pedi for that but they can do the mani’s there too). We had champagne and great service. I wanted to go back the very next day, and Emma actually did, to get her hair done. It was truly relaxing, exactly what I needed. It was phenomenal!

The Shows

Le Reve is kind of like Cirque du Soleil, but not. Still acrobatics. But, just like when I saw Ka at MGM, I nodded off for a few seconds here and there. Show time is right at my down time after meals, sigh.

I loved that the theater was round and that we had great seats. We could see everything! When I called to place the order for those seats, the lady told me that the 6th row is her favorite. My favorite too! Not too low, not too high, a nice panoramic view of all the action.

Men of Sapphire. Classier than the one I went to Cleveland for my own bachelorette party for all of fifteen minute cause it was gross. Just gross. This club was classier in every way with nice seating, nicer men, better show. We enjoyed ourselves enough that we skipped going to Haze.

If I had to do it again: Only stay for two hours. After that, it gets un-classy real quick, just like the Cleveland place. Oh, and if you’re going to do do/buy someone a lap dance (just saying), do it early before the drinks start flowing, before they start cutting corners, and before you have been removed of all your cash!! Speaking of, bring some ones!

It was a fun experience, but I’m not in a hurry to go again.

The Clubs

Haze: Exactly what I envision a Vegas nightclub to be. Big screens, big music, crazy dancers. I wish we could’ve gone again and stayed longer. We got free drinks with our package, but got there too close to their expiration (which was midnight), so we rushed our drinks. If you do the package, come early, get your free drinks, enjoy yourself. Wish we had made it here just a touch earlier for sure.

1Oak: I wouldn’t go here again I think. Dance floor was small, lots of tables instead which of course you need table service for. There’s a little story here about how one of the girls decided to buy Emma table service. Which was awesome to say we’ve done since we all got to join in, but outrageously expensive. Just to give you an idea: table service is a two bottle minimum and bottles run $500 each at those clubs. Yikes! But we got a cool stamp out of it that took forever to come off our hands.

But 1Oak was happening that night since Cee-Lo was there, so, just to be there? awesome. Aside: Jamie and I got a better look at him when we saw him giving a press conference outside Caesar’s Palace earlier that day. Jamie even got to go up and snap a very close picture of him! She’s a fan, so it was very exciting for her.

Gondola Ride

We went on the outside ride instead of indoors, which was great because of the perfect weather, though it was a shorter ride than I expected! Our boater had a great voice and was entertaining. I got a lot of pictures. It’s so touristy… and so cool anyway!


And those were the highlights, it was a great trip. I sent photos and some text messages to Brian, but actually didn’t call until Sunday after the girls all left. It was nice to get away from daily life and live like I was still in college. Well, better than college.

Meanwhile, Brian and Jameson had a great time. Jameson even had a sleep over with his friend! Almost sorry I missed it 🙂

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A Bridal Shower for Emma

Emma’s bridal shower was this past weekend, which meant another trip to grandma and grandpa’s house (the second in a month!). Grandma and grandpa loved it, of course. And this time he was walking, so we had loads of fun, and they got to babysit while I ran the shower.

The shower was a success! We had less people than anticipated, but it was a blessing in disguise, since that meant that everyone got a prize (everyone loves prizes!) and everyone got a centerpiece. Plus, it was nice to get together with all our old high school friends which doesn’t happen frequently now.

Me, Jamie, Katie #1, Tracy, Emma the bride, Tara (and Katie #2 arrived later)

I used blue, brown and white (reminiscent of her invitations). We covered the brown tables in brown table clothes for a uniform look and I (conveniently) used the same plates, napkins and utensils I purchased for Jameson’s birthday party. I bought the plastic wine glasses from Party City which were cute touch that I wouldn’t have done otherwise if I didn’t already have the other eating necessities!

The shower took place inside a church fellowship hall (Emma’s mother’s church from when they lived their before). It was perfect, with the little buffet tables, kitchenette in the back and a lovely room with poles to string streamers from.

I purchased hydrangeas from the Flower Man, which carries loose flowers for cheap. They were perfect inside the wine glasses which Brian stripped off labels from (regular powdered Oxy Clean and water). We had 6, with a grouping of 3 in the center, a couple at the buffet, and one on the gift table.

Since we were a small crowd, I was able to put the place settings on the table, and I made madlibs for fun on nice, hard cardstock that I actually had left over from my wedding. The madlibs came from here and here, but I copied and printed them in the same fonts I used for the shower invitations. I printed the words on the front and the story on the back.

The madlibs were for fun, but I also had some games for prizes! As I said before, everyone got prizes in the end but the winners got to select first.

We had guess how much money is in the honeymoon fund jar, a word scramble from here, and the name game where I took Emma and Joe’s last names, gave them 3 minutes and gave the prize to the person who thought of the most words to be combined from their names! We also had the lucky coin game, but no one sat in the chair that I put the coin under, so I sneakily moved it while people were getting food. Oops!

It was difficult to find games appropriate for a smaller shower (the bridal bingo is hard to play with just a few gifts) but I think I did well and everyone enjoyed them. Particularly the madlibs, and those weren’t even a prize winning game!

Emma, ironically, guessed the least amount of money in the jar (I told her she must think I’m cheap, haha!). In the jar were coins, bills, and I also filled it with little faux flowers and faux crystal beads.

The prizes were adorable reusable shopping bags from Forever 21 that I found online, and I put candy or cards and a little something extra from Target (like a bowl, or socks) in each.

Jamie was wonderful and helped me set up before the shower (I had to run around for the flowers, the cake and ingredients for our punch!) And Tara brought fruit skewers and an absolutely amazing salad that she found and modified on Pinterest (Skipped the bacon & poppy seed dressing to save on fat…replaced feta with goat cheese and pecans with almonds. Delish!). She has a lot of great food pinned.

And we had to have, at Emma’s request, the best pizza ever from Marion’s, a local place. My mom was great and brought it over for us! The sausage is our favorite. They even ship pizzas frozen too, if you’re interested.

Kroger made an excellent cake. We don’t have a Kroger by us at home here, but our grocery stores make great cakes so I knew that Kroger would be perfect. The price was right, too, at $10.99. It was chocolate with whipped icing and the perfect size for our shower.

And the gifts! Emma received some wonderful gifts. I gave her Thank You cards already addressed, matching her invitations. (And the honeymoon fund jar — have you guessed how much is in there yet?)

She also got adorable Mr. Right and Mrs. Always Right wine glasses. I dropped the Mrs. Always Right glass though when we were loading her car. MAJOR FAIL. If anyone knows where to get a replacement, let me know!

While unwrapping a bubble wrapped plate from Katie #2, I asked her how many kids that counts as since she spent so long on it.

Her mom gave her a lovely set of Longaberger baskets and pottery inserts. They were cute next to each other (I wanted to take photos instead of writing down who got her what)

Katie #1 helped put together her rehearsal bouquet.

It was a great shower, and I think that Emma had a blast. Poor Katie #2’s car broke down though, and I dropped the wine glass. But as Emma said… it’s kind of hilarious she ended up with just Mr. Right. And the day was wonderful because of the people. A piece of glass can be replaced.

Okay, did you guess how much is in the jar?

$41.43! Emma’s mom won that one. That’s a smart lady!

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Planning a Bachelorette Party… in VEGAS

At the end of April, we are going to Las Vegas for a Bachelorette Party for my dear friend Emma. I have been to Vegas two times prior, but already I knew it was a big undertaking, since I have very little knowledge on the types of things that you do a Bachelorette Parties: Like clubs (VIP tickets? Hosted entry, no wait times?), spa time (last time we went outside of Vegas and the driver didn’t know where he was going), revues (I snuck that in there), and other planned activities.


[EMMA: STOP HERE if you don’t want to spoil your invite. Invites go out next week so have a little patience]










How do you manage other people’s time and budgets when we are all living away from each other? We can’t just up and get together in a room to make decisions.

1) Narrow down your list of guests to realistic proportions

To start, in the late fall I sent out an email to everyone Emma had suggested and asked them for a tentative yes/maybe, or a straight up no. It was best that early in the game to weed out the people who already knew they wouldn’t be able to go. That narrowed our list from 14 to 8 (including myself and Emma)

2) Give timelines, deadlines, and whatever details you have to help people budget and plan

My first email to everyone (all 14) included the following:

  • A DEADLINE to respond by with the following information: Their tentative yes/maybe or no response, and if yes, the best weekend in April for them
  • Flight Information: I recommended visiting Kayak.com for flight details and suggested they check whether Thursday or Friday works better and what weekends might be cheaper for them
  • Hotel Details: We hadn’t selected a hotel yet, so I mapped out an example cost of a potential room with 4 people to a room to help people budget
  • Other: Do they have recommendations or preferences for things to do, places to stay, etc.
  • Next Steps: Reiterated the deadline

3) Get a few details from the Bride and Guests

We wanted the best weekend for them, if they thought they’d arrive Thursday or Friday (though that could change), if they wanted to share a bed or room. These things are important to help book the hotel for more nights or rooms.

4) Book your Hotel

As it turns out, Emma had a pretty definite idea of where she wanted to stay (which made selecting a hotel pretty easy). We also got some additional details from the yeses with who they might like to share a room with. We booked rooms pretty early, before discounts were starting for our time period, but if something good pops up and rooms are still available, you can just cancel these rooms and re-book.

I did actually find the rooms cheaper through a package deal with another company called LightGroup which we are doing other activities with and got us 15% off the regular room rate.

However, for anyone still trying to figure out which hotel they should book with, I have enjoyed Caesar’s Palace (and know they offer some package deals themselves) and MGM was nice–even though it’s not in the center it’s right on the monorail.

5) Research & Plan Activities

Before looking at costs, ask the bride what she wants to do. Then go look for those things as cheaply as possible.

6) Look for Package Deals

I found out that some of the clubs in Vegas are owned by one company which also offers other Bachelorette Package deals.

We are going with the LightGroup. (I also looked at AMG, and some options to get VIP tickets to nightclubs by themselves).

With this, we can pay for one dinner, ranging from $30 to $55 depending on the place and menu you select, and you can get into all their clubs for your entire stay for free with no waiting. This includes a couple pools and lounges too. And on top of that, they offer discounts to revue shows and spa time. BAM! Weekend planned!

7) Create an open/flexible itinerary with space for everyone to do the planned and unplanned activities

The itinerary I’ve created for Emma’s party includes planned activities in the evening, and leaves most of the days free.

But we don’t want to stand around and wonder what to do during the day, so I will be putting together a list of recommendations and things to do that I will bring with me, so that we can refer to it during our open times if we want to.

8) Finalize reservations

Not everyone may want to do every activity, so I’ve created a “checklist” of sorts for people to tell me what activities they want included in, with approximate costs to be transparent. Once I have final counts, I can make reservations and be confident that I won’t be out a lot of money with anyone backing out.

*Costs here are what we were quoted or are estimates and may be different depending on season, etc…

BONUS: All this planning and money talk may leave some people with a sour taste in their mouth. Even though you are doing this for the bride and what she wants to do, the guests matter too. A nice official invite on paper through good old snail mail might sweeten their outlook. Plus, something to hold on to and take with them with details about the reservation numbers is good too.

9) Buy plane tickets, and remind everyone else to as well

Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 2-3 months in advance is the sweet spot to purchase plane tickets. Remind everyone else to as well.

10) And GO, and have fun!

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Bridesmaid Woes

I’m losing weight. Counting calories is working for me again. At first, I felt like I was starving myself. It’s true that your body adjusts though, and I feel pretty good now. Except my constant craving for chocolate and pasta. But that is totally normal. Honestly, I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding, I don’t need to consume 12,000 more calories a day anymore. Just 1,200, cause I’m sedentary. Woes of an office job.

Goal 1, fit in my first set of smaller pants, is met as of today! Now I need to fit into the second set, and then that bridesmaid’s dress I already bought. Woes of a bridesmaid.

Speaking of bridesmaid… planning for my friend’s shower is well underway. Invitations went out on Monday, so they should arrive today or tomorrow.

(I need to mention here that I re-created and modified a design I saw on another site; therefore this design was solely for my personal use and no profit will ever be gained from it. Hence the line through it.)

The best part is that they were free, though not without some trials and tribulations. I printed these with Vistaprint, but they gave them to me for free after two sets of them came with various defects (the first set I bought, half of them had lines down the side; the second set, all of them had a white line on the back top). Luckily, Emma had cut down her list somewhat and I didn’t have to use many of the defected ones at all.

The fonts are from the Lost Type Co-Op; Wisdom Script & Mensch.

EMMA – if you are reading this, you should stop here unless you want to ruin one of your gifts.





I also had Thank You’s printed in the same design, and pre-labeled envelopes for her as a bonus. Isn’t addressing Thank You’s the worst? This is part of my shower gift for her.

These I actually printed with BestValueCopy, which I have used before for other projects. They print great, I’ve never had any problems. Unfortunately, they don’t have paper stiff enough for invites, but for Thank You’s it was perfect. Their index paper is almost a semigloss. I had envelopes from previous projects, but you could get them in bulk easily enough.

As for decorations, I’ve been collecting wine bottles and baby jars, I just need to decide what to do with them. Next weekend, I am going to visit the room to see what it looks like so I can continue moving forward with the planning. Stay tuned!

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Bridal Shower Inspiration

One of my oldest friends, Emma, is getting married next June in New Jersey. I am the matron of honor, and I’m very excited to be helping plan her bachelorette party in Vegas and her bridal shower which will actually be in her (and my) old hometown.

I’ve been using Pinterest to remember things as I see them, and today I put together a mood board with my ideas. I think a mood board should be all one color or theme, but I don’t pretend to be a mood board expert, so it is what it is! Emma’s colors are jewel tones of teal and blue.

Up-cycling wine bottles (and baby food jars) are just a few of the ways I’m planning on saving money while still planning a fabulous shower. Of course, ideas are all good, but I still need to get down to the actual planning (the ugly details of who can help out). Luckily, I have plenty of time left. I’ll just keep pinning away!

wine-cork candle holder | ad-lib advice for the couple | recipe cards | x’s o’s and hanging photos | wine bottles as flower vases | wine bottles for water and lemonade | bride-to-be sign | mini cupcake in a jar | cake balls

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Merry Monday: Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our 2 year wedding anniversary. It arrived with much less fanfare than last year’s did. I actually forgot… like 3 times that day. In the morning, Brian was the first to say it. Then, I saw his card for me on the table, and I remembered to get his out. And last, he sent me flowers at work for the first time, and my Monday-mommy-addled brain said, why am I getting flowers?

They were lovely, and are still sitting on my desk just as lovely today.

We didn’t have time to share cards in the morning, so we saved them for later. I suppose I should be thankful I even remembered to get a card, but let me just tell you that I am SUPER awesome at card giving this year. Because of a website called tinyprints.

I got Jameson’s baby announcements from there, and was very impressed. Greeting cards are just as impressive: they can get pretty custom. Typically I’ll throw in an photo or two of my own on every card. I love that they can print on all sides of the card. I was sold, even at their regular $3.99 price (because let’s face it, that’s the average cost of a card in the store.) But then they ran a promotion then where I got to be a super sender for a year free, and now I’m hooked. They link in to my facebook and note birthdays to send me reminders. Which is a good thing, because the only downside to this service is that you need to have a week or so to spare to allow time for shipping.

I am a card fiend now: for Father’s day and birthday, Brian got 3 custom cards each (Sasha puppy wanted to send him a card too); Grandpas got extra cards from Jameson. I’m having a blast with it so far.

Here’s a few screenshots of my fabulous cards:

So celebration yesterday consisted of cards, flowers, and a wonderful dinner made by Brian (chicken rotini pesto, made from our very explosive basil plants). It was excellent. But I am even more excited for the weekend.

1) Our new couches arrive. Somehow we always end up getting one nice new piece of furniture a year around our anniversary and we call it our gift to each other (so far anyway, though that might be because of the new house! I think we will need to continue the trend… haha)

2) We are going on a “co-anniversary” outing with JP & Lisa. Jameson and Jonathan will be staying home while us new parents enjoy some time away visiting wineries and eating cheese. Lotsa cheese.

It’s only Tuesday though. I have a little while to wait.

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Photos and Stuff from the Wedding!

Photos by Dale Kincaid, (c) Somewhere in Time Photography

The church was Church in the Valley in Peninsula, Ohio. It’s an adorable non-denominational church who let us bring in our own pastor, I loved it. There was a day-of coordinator lady, which is not the same lady that I worked with when booking, it was a different lady who worked with us specifically the day before and the day of I found out. She was FANTASTIC, I can’t say enough about her. She put on the bouts for the gents and made sure everything ran perfect, cued everyone and did all the little things.

Ceremony programs, with our rings. I enlisted help putting them together with ladies at work. I didn’t have the music in them because we didn’t meet with the organist until just a week beforehand, after I printed the programs. The organist was decent. She did mix up the mother and the girls entry song, but it didn’t matter really. She came with the church, they have an electric baby grand.

The top of the program is vellum which I was excited to find really reasonable in a packet of 50 sheets at Jo-Ann’s. Had to mention it haha.

Putting my new earrings in. I like mirror photos. I loved where we got ready, it was a little room upstairs and then we took the elevator to the basement and came up at the rear of the church.

My groom, Brian, getting serious.

All the groomsmen got gear cufflinks which I think they were pretty psyched about. I got the ladies nice bags with their jewelry, and then different things for a nice personal touch. I also paid for part of their hair or nails, whichever they wanted to use the money for. We had nails done the day before, and hair and make up for some of us that morning at Solaire in Hudson. It was nice getting it done all at the same place.

All my ladies. I was pretty pumped there was a rocking chair where we were getting ready, it really calmed me down.

Flowers were done by Petals at Ivy Hill, Joanne works out of her home. I didn’t see her that day at all but she delivered beautiful fresh flowers on time! We did intense color for me, and paler versions for the ladies. Colors were coral, yellow and green. I did ivy in my bouquet in honor of my mother. You can put the ivy in water and it will grow roots, which I think is pretty cool. My mom still has her plant from when she got married.

  • Ushers seat the guests (Prelude music)Grandparents of the Bride & Groom are seated
  • Parents of the Bride & Groom are seated – ended up being Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring because she mixed them up, oh well!
  • The Minister and Groom and Groomsmen enter from the side.
  • The Bridal party enters and proceeds to the front (Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, but she accidentally did Ode to Joy)
  • Music begins for the Bride’s entrance (Trumpet Tune)
  • The Bride and her father enter and are met by the Groom. Father remains standing by Bride until Giving of the Bride.



Congregation seated




Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7

Included a reading from the Velveteen Rabbit, which I put on the back of the programs too.

The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Chapter 21, The Little Prince Befriends the Fox


I, (name), take you, (name), to be my friend, my lover, and my (husband/wife). I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity.


Brian and Hilary have written love letters to each other to be sealed with a bottle of wine in a box. The Minister will present the box and elaborate on the meaning of the ceremony and seal the box with the first nail; Brian and Hilary will follow nailing the box shut. The box will be displayed in a place of honor and will be opened on their fifth wedding anniversary. There is only one other reason the box should be opened before the anniversary. If there should come a time when Brian and Hilary hit a bumpy road in their relationship, before they give up or make any irrational decisions, open the Wine Box. Even if they are not seeing eye-to-eye at that very moment, it will remind them of all the reasons they choose this person as their partner and all the things that helped shape the life they’ve created together.

Marriage is a coming together of two lives, and a celebration of the love of two people. But it is more. The love that you feel for one another is the flowering of a seed your mothers planted in your hearts many years ago. Their love for you has brought them great happiness and great challenges, and their love did not diminish as they met these challenges. That is the great lesson you can bring into your marriage. As you embrace one another in your love, so too do you embrace the families which have been brought together on this happy occasion. As a token of your gratitude for your families, I would like to ask you to offer these symbols of eternal love, these roses, to your mothers.


And now to Brian, Hilary, and all present:
The LORD bless you and keep you
The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
The LORD life up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Brian T—

Wedding Joy

We did the love letter and wine box ceremony and gave roses to our mothers instead of doing the unity candle.

Kiss the bride! A good friend of ours from work is also a pastor and did our ceremony. It made a nice personal touch.

We got to pull our own church bell!!!

All the ladies and gents.

We took photos of us at Everett Road Covered Bridge, same place we had engagement photos taken. Beautiful all seasons!

Okay I won’t do too many of these but I loved all the shots we got. Our photographer was Dale Kincaid, Somewhere in Time Photography, and not only were the photos we got wonderful, he came out to the rehearsal the day before to see the church and introduced himself to everyone. He made a point of memorizing people’s names and got all the family shots. He also has a lot of experience shooting photos in the Cuyahoga National Park, so these outdoor shots were just perfect.

Reception hall was Acker-Moore Banquet Hall (VFW). It’s a beautiful new place, we were really happy with it. We got the liquor from them and catering was Totally Cooked. Everyone RAVED about the food, especially the shells and cheese.

The cake was really good, by Judy’s Sweet Sensations, although I was a little less than thrilled about the look of it. Funny, cause normally it’s the other way around in that it looks pretty and tastes bad, so I would rather have it this way. We didn’t have a cake knife set so the caterer put one together for us haha. Little things didn’t matter at all that day.

Gives you another nice photo of the hall. I made my own toss bouquet but the girl who caught it was the guest of another girl I invited, who I didn’t know at all so that was kind of disappointing.

One more. Not everyone likes the chicken dance, but I do 🙂 DJ was Johnny V DJ. He was wonderful, played everything we asked for and got the crowd moving. He did switch our bouquet toss/garter toss music accidentally but that’s okay, again, nothing mattered at all that day.

6-6:30    Guest Arrival
6:30    Wedding Party Arrival
6:40    Grand Entrance Bridal Party “Icky Thump”; Bride & Groom “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse
6:50    Blessing by Pastor Jason
6:55    Toasts made by Maid of Honor, Holly & Best Man JP
7:00    Dinner buffet style
7:45    Cake Cutting
8:00    First Dance “Rose of my Heart” by Johnny Cash
8:05    Father Daughter Dance “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart
8:10    Mother Son Dance “In My Life” by Beatles
8:15    Wedding Party Dance “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin; parents joined in midway
8:20-8:40    Open Dancing
8:40    Bouquet Toss “Electric Feel” by MGMT
8:45    Garter Toss “Que Onda Guero” by Beck (he switched these though)
8:50    Dollar Dance “Money” by Pink Floyd
9:00-9:30    Open Dancing
9:30    Last Dance “Love You ‘Till The End” by The Pogues
Except it was much later than 9:30 by that time, more like 11 or whatever. Time just flew by.

We honeymooned at the Majestic Colonial, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was wonderfu! The people were great and the food was tasty. Love love love the all inclusive, you don’t have to worry about anything. The beaches here were the best I have ever seen, too.

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