Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cupcakes Take the Cake

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Carrie Underwood is serving cupcakes at her wedding... and if I had hoped to attend before, now I'm really wishing I could score an invite to their nuptials.  

Sigh.

But since it's unlikely I'll be receiving a Save the Date, I am satisfying my sweet tooth (and cupcake obsession) by drooling over these great conconctions:
{image via GetMarried.com}


{image via KitchenMusings}


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hey Brides, It's Okay If You...

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...Admire your engagement ring (and all its sparkliness) several times a day


...Play hooky from wedding planning once in awhile


...Try on a haute couture wedding dress (even if you can't afford to buy it)


...Go a little crazy with the registry gun


...Have a breakdown every now and again


...Take a few days off from the dieting, bridal bootcamp madness - and not feel guilty about it!


...Write your new name over and over again in a notebook, on a napkin (I could go on)...  Just like you did in sixth grade. Hey, you've got to practice :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Must-Have Monday: Oval Oak Wine Carafe

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{image via UncommonGoods}


I had always heard that when I turned 28, I would have to partake in "wedding season" - bridal showers, engagement parties, ceremonies and receptions.  At the age of 26, I scoffed at this idea. As a New Yorker, most of my friends were still single and my mailbox remained void of invites.

Turns out, 28 IS the age that everyone gets engaged.  We have six weddings this summer and are already planning for a whirlwind 2011 wedding year (including our own).  

This means gift giving has become the norm.  And while I can usually count on a registry to save me from having to think of what to buy, sometimes I actually do need to send an engagement gift - well before the couple has used their scanner gun.

So in my search for an affordable, but relatively unique and practical present, I found the Oval Oak Wine Carafe at one of my favorite gift giving sites - Uncommon Goods.

I have always wanted a carafe, gazing enviously at my sophisticated friends that poured their wine from these wonderfully designed glass containers.  And since I always wanted one, I figured my friends did too. Which is why I have purchased this perfect product in bulk.  I'm not joking - I bought three of them at one time.  

The carafe is described as having an "organic teardrop shape" and "topped by an elegantly sparse oak sphere that protects the liquid inside from oxygen while offsetting the sleek glass carafe with rustic warmth." 

Ummm, just writing that makes me want to unwrap the box sitting in my hallway, waiting to be given to an engaged friend, and pour a bottle of wine into the carafe. And it's only 9am.

And if you feel that this one item isn't enough to impress the happy-almost-married-couple, pair it with a great wine book.  I recommend The Wine Trials 2010: The World's Bestselling Guide to Inexpensive Wines, with the 150 Winning Wines Under $15 from the Latest Vintages


Elegant, affordable, functional... all I can say is, Cheers to That!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ode to my Guzband

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Before there was my soon-to-be husband, there was my guzband.  Yes, you read correctly.  Guzband. As in, my gay husband.  He also, as it happens, is my man of honor.  And this decision, apparently, makes me very trendy (and trust me, I'm never trendy so I'm feeling very cool right now).


According to a 2010 WeddingChannel.com survey, an overwhelming 63% of brides would ask their best friend to be a ‘bridesman’ or ‘man of honor’ if they were a guy.


My Guzband (or main gay as he refers to himself) and I have known each other for over a decade.  He's seen me go from frizzy haired middle schooler, never been kissed 15 year old, crazy kissing-obsessed college girl, single and ready to mingle 20-something and now, finally, engaged semi-domestic goddess. 


Through all the breakups and bad jobs, hangovers and disastrous dates, he has always been there to make me laugh, bake cookies with me, and slap me back to reality ("you won't be single forever!" was a refrain he must have repeated at least 2,000 times).


So even before I knew that picking my Guzband to be my man of honor was tres chic, I had already given him the title.  Because really, I couldn't imagine anyone but him escorting him into the next phase of my life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Be My Guest(book)

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Here are my thoughts on wedding guest books.  I'm not a fan.  I know I know - I'm in a small minority.  But the traditional guest books remind me of yearbooks.  Which in turn remind me of middle school and high school. Which I would never want to repeat. 

So I likely won't have a guest book.  Since I have this weird, negative pavlovian response to them.

But, in my search for something different, I ran across some incredibly cool ways for guests to record their well wishes while at the wedding:

I love that you can frame this - it becomes a piece of art rather that I can smile at daily!


Flowers and fun memories all in one place? Yes, please!


{image via For-Bridal-Showers}
This could become a great serving platter - and conversation starter - years down the road. Plus, we all know I love anything food-related.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shaking Things Up

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{image via tasteofhome.com}

When my stepfather met me for the first time, he turned to my mom and said, "For a little girl, she sure can eat a lot."  


And it's true - I love food! And back when I was younger and more spry and ran all the time - this love never appeared in the form of a muffin top, it never nestled on my hips or held on tightly to my lower abs.


But now, with a slower metabolism, less time (motivation) to work out and a sudden obsession for all thing Starbucks - things have changed.  Yet my appetite has remained exactly the same.  That is to say, voracious.


So I decided I needed to shake things up.  Literally. I needed to incorporate some healthy breakfast smoothies into my morning routine.  Which is when I ran across MrBreakfast.com.  


I love Mr. Breakfast - whoever he is.  He's introduced me to a variety of ways to mix up fruit, vanilla soy milk and even Peanut Butter and Jelly! 


Here are a few of my favorites breakfast shakes, courtesy of the new guy in my life:


Banana Almond Crush

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup plain organic yogurt
  • 1 tblspn raw honey
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 dash nutmeg
In a blender, first grind almonds to fine powder. Add remaining ingredients and continue blending.


-----


Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 ripe banana (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons jelly or preserves (any flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup of ice
Place all of the ingredients in a blender; blend for 3 minutes or until smooth. Serve cold.


----


Blueberry Smoothie

  • 2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 1/4 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup frozen yogurt -- vanilla
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions are real easy. Just throw everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Serve right away.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Exes and Ohs!

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I'm not one of those people that even has to wonder if I should invite an exboyfriend to my wedding.  This is because I'm not friends with any of my exes.  Because, for me at least, there is a reason they are an ex. A save the date they shall not be receiving!


But this does not mean they've left my mind entirely.  In fact, those break ups are what led me to my current fiancee, they changed me for the better (even though it didn't feel like it at the time).  



And trust me, it has been a long time since I've seriously thought about the guys who have broken my heart. It's a rare moment that I even think about where they've ended up or what my life would be like if I had stayed with them.

But... when one of them friends me on Facebook (as one of them did a few months ago)... it's hard to hit the "ignore" button. I want to, honestly! but some part of me needs to know. I have to find out! Call it morbid curiosity. Call it an insatiable craving to stalk, to satisfy that "what if" itch that rarely rears its ugly head (but when it does... it is impossible not to scratch).

Is he married? Does he have kids? Is he happy?

Turns out: Yes. Yes (OMG - th exbf I knew should NOT have been allowed to have children). And... I don't know.

Another realization (after the speeding up of my heart, the obsessive clicking over each photo, the analyzing of each image and every message on his wall):

I am SO happy he broke my heart. I mean, listen - I would NEVER want to go through that pain again... the tears and the stomach aches and the days without eating.

But years later, having moved on several times over... I can be grateful. That short, static glimpse of what could have been, of where I might have ended up, of who I might have become... makes me SO incredibly thankful that he is a memory of my past, that he is just a friend on Facebook... that he is not the face of my future.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Must-Have Monday: Not-So-Cheesy Knife Set

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I have been roaming around Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy's and Crate & Barrel recently, registering for all the things I think I'm going to need for my future home.  

Will I actually ever host a dinner party for 12 people?  

Will I really ever serve a Martini or mix up a Cosmopolitan?  

And is it even feasible I will ever have a need for fine china?

The answers are all... maybe...

But one think I KNOW I will do (since I currently do it) is have friends over and set out a cheese platter.  Because I love cheese. All types.  Brie, Gouda, Goat... I have really never found a type of cheese I don't like.  

So when I stumbled on the Not-So-Cheesy Adorable Knife set on the quirky, yet oh-so-cool site of Delight.com, I didn't think twice.  I ran over to my wallet, ran back to my computer and purchased this product immediately.  

Now I am anxiously awaiting the knife set that will turn me into the cheesiest hostess with the mostess in town!

Friday, March 19, 2010

OMG I'm Getting Married

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I had a whoa moment this morning when I realized that, wait, I'm getting married.  Like, really getting married.  The place has been picked, the date has been set, the band is slated to sing.  It's all relatively surreal and somewhat bizarre since, at one point in my life, I thought I would be single forever.  

Come May 28, 2011 I'll be walking down the aisle getting ready to say I DO.  Even writing it makes my stomach flip around a little bit.  In excitement.  And just overall whoa-ness.

Here's a glimpse into the Roslyn Royalton on Long Island - the place that will transform me from Bride Goggles into Wife Goggle in, you know, about 13 months (ummm, crazy!):


The Grounds (so country chic!)

The Reception Area

The Cocktail Hour Room

Nighttime Reception (which we'll be having)


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

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{image via offthemark.com}


They have to deal with our bridezilla moments, our indecisions, the dreaded dress and shelling out lots of dough... so I GET why they deserve a gift. 


Which is why, as I wandered around the International Housewares Show in Chicago this week, I looked for things that would make great presents for the six wonderful women who have agreed to be part of my bridal party.  


Here are some of the more unique ideas I ran across:









{Soiree bottle-top Wine Decanter & Aerator}


I haven't made up my mind yet on what I plan to purchase (I do have time before I decide)... but looking at all these items have made me want to drink, eat and be merry!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meeting Mr. Adorkable

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Long before there were bride goggles, there were beer goggles.  And some really really bad dating stories.  From the time I moved into New York City to the time I met my current fiancee, I managed to meet most of the crazy men that inhabited bars (coffee and otherwise), online dating web sites, friends of friends (I could keep going...)


There was the guy that jumped out of the closet naked, the Hairy Chef, the Bipolar Financier, the Unattractive Stripper, the Stoner, The American Girl Store Pianist... and many many more.  It wasn't for lack of trying I remained single - but I was apparently doing something wrong.


So I made a decision to go on 52 dates in 52 weeks.  I had to open my eyes and (very obviously) start dating men I wouldn't normally date, because apparently I tended to go for the same type (read: crazy).  


I signed up for JDate and Match.com.  I asked friends to set me up on dates (with the criteria that the guys they paired me with hold a job that didn't involve removing their clothing).  I asked my PARENTS to set me up (gasp!) and I even went speed dating.


But after 12 dates (and 10 mini speed dates) in 4 months, I was tired. I had gotten the hour long date down to a science (I didn't even need to look at my watch to know when 60 minutes had passed) and I could recite my personal history while thinking about what I was going to wear to work the next day. The guys I had been meeting were normal (a step in the right direction) but I wasn't interested in any of them.  Which was even MORE frustrating and made me wonder if I would only ever be attracted to men missing the normal gene.


So when I went to Phebe's Bar in NYC in the end of April 2005, I was OVER IT.  I just wanted a drink.  I just wanted to dance with my girl friends.  I didn't want to talk to anyone with an XY chromosome.  And then, as I was bouncing to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" a guy wearing a backwards college cap turned around and said, "What do you want to drink?"


He was cute.  But young.  And maybe not very sober.  But cute.  And I needed a drink.  And so we started talking.  I think, at some point, we even danced a little. But at 2am, I was tired.  I was ready to go home.  I liked him, but I was craving my bed.  So he walked me out and just as I was about to hop in the cab he said, "Let me take your number."


I hesitated.  I wasn't sure I even had the energy for another date.  Even if he was adorkable.  But I remembered, "52 dates, 52 dates."  And I needed another date - I'm nothing if not goal oriented.


When he called, two days later, to ask me on a date, I said yes.  


And three and a half years later, when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, I said the same thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Here Comes the Dadzilla

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{image via sillydad.com}


It's a rare species, prone to irrational outbursts and likely to throw a temper tantrum or two.  While mostly indigenous to these parts, it turns out I am related to one of these two legged monsters.  


Yes, I'm talking about a Dadzilla. He appeared about a month after my engagement and is now a permanent fixture in my life.


HE wants a ten piece band.


HE doesn't think my hair should be up.


HE gets to pick the photographer.


Normally, my dad is very rational.  Yes, he's opinionated.  Yes, he has expensive taste.  But usually, he'll speak his mind and let it rest.  


But now, blinded by the engagement ring on my finger, he's become wild-eyed with wedding planning. This type of flower, this kind of dress, that style of cake... if it weren't so frustrating half the time, it would be amusing.


 Perhaps this is payback for my less-than-pleasant teenage years? 


Either way, it has all been a lesson in patience, parental management and learning how to pick your battles.  I'm likely going to leave the wedding planning process more prepared for marriage and parenting. Really, it's a much cheaper route than counseling (though, perhaps a bit more painful)!


The last I heard, the Dadzilla wants a Vera Wang wedding dress.  


I'm excited to see how he looks in it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Must-Have Monday: RoC Eye Cream

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I've noticed things... changing.   


Where I used to be able to eat whatever I want without consequences, I now have to workout 5 days a week to ensure that I just maintain where I am.  


I can no longer drink a bottle of wine and wake up relatively refreshed.  I now have two glasses and spend the next day with a pounding headache.


And those smile lines?  They're rapidly becoming permanently etched into my once wrinkle-free skin.  


I know I know - I JUST turned 29.  But I swear, on the day of my birthday last week, I felt my metabolism slowing and crows feet forming.


So in preparation for wedding pictures (and the impending doom of turning 30 in 12 short months), I've decided to purchase eye cream.  I've always been pretty low maintenance on the skin-care front, but it's time to take some preventative measures.


After much research online and in magazines, I have decided to invest in RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream.  The company claims that this miracle cream, "Smoothes wrinkles around the eye; visibly reduces crow's feet; and improves skin's elasticity."


Not only that, it won an eye cream Oscar - the Allure Best of Beauty Award!


And for $19.99, I can smile without wrinkle (or budget!) worry :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Notes of Thanks

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We've started to receive some engagement presents, which, I'm not going to lie, is really fun.  It feels like an ongoing birthday.  And I love that other people want to give us gifts for being in love!  

But with the presents, comes the need for thank you cards.  And with that, comes the need to PICK OUT the thank you cards.  And as with everything wedding-related, what we pick is a reflection of who we are as a couple.  Which is sort of a problem, because we aren't really particular about these types of things.

Luckily, my mother-in-law to-be has been so helpful.  After I stumbled on FineStationery.com (obsessed!), we emailed back and forth about some of our favorite picks.  

If I was going to write you a thank you card for an engagement or bridal show gift (or, you know, for reading this blog :) which would you like to receive in the mail?










Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Caffeine-Free Energy Boost

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{picture via CNET.com]


I'm slightly (read: very) addicted to Starbucks; but unfortunately I can't feed it to my iPhone, to which I am also slightly (read: extremely) addicted.  And while those coffee beans power me through the day, my poor phone is sucked of energy by 9pm at night.

Especially when I'm traveling.  Of which I'm doing a lot of for work.  And now for the wedding, which is taking place on Long Island. And I'm based in DC.  So you can imagine, between airplane delays, down time on the Amtrak trains, waiting for the metro and sitting in cabs... I have to find ways to keep myself (and my antsy fingers) occupied.  Great for my twitter feed, not so great for my phone's battery.

I thought I would have to monitor my iPhone activities, limiting the amount of time I spent on the apps so as not to totally drain the life out of the device.  But then my fabulous, former boss sent me the Energizer AP1500.  

This accessory has changed my life.  Oh. My. God.  It is so incredible.  I just plug my battery-depleted iPhone into the USB-equipped, lightweight case and let it go to town.  Soon, I'm back to tweeting, texting, typing and scrolling without worrying about a battery death. (Blackberry users - they have one for you too!)

My former boss has been elevated to saint status.  
And my iPhone app obsession remains happily intact. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting Weddy

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This past Saturday was my birthday, but really it was more like a chance for people to bestow wedding paraphernalia on me. Which was awesome - since I need all the help I can get.

My favorite bride-focused present was the Our Wedding Journal book by Elizabeth Lluch.  I love it!  It's not telling me to pick colors, think about seating assignments or register for a range of household gadgets.  It's just about... US.  Which, in the frenzy of planning, many of us brides-to-be push to the side.

It gives you spaces to fill in all the what's, where's, and when's of your entire relationship - from the time you met to the time you jet off to your honeymoon.

I've already purchased a few more to give as gifts to friends who are preparing to walk down the aisle. It's truly the perfect way to record all the important details of how got swept off your feet and landed in holy matrimony.

I have said "I DO" to this book!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recipe for Relative Success

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I needed a day to reflect on how the weekend went (and let the overdose of food finally settle).  And while I'm glad it went well - lots of hugging and kissing and loving between the families - it makes for a pretty boring post.


My mom kept us laughing (she told us stories about patients named urine, dudee and bimbo) and feeling slightly uncomfortable with tales about the amicable divorce between her and my dad.  


My father was surprisingly tame, only making a few inappropriate references about sex.  


My stepmom and stepdad were amazingly normal - and though my stepdad rarely talks, he actually flexed his vocal cords several times.  


And, of course, my future-in-laws were as lovely as usual.


Our recipe for success looked something like this:

The end result?  A beautiful family dish devoid of dysfunction... and a wonderful wedding that will go on as planned!



Sunday, March 7, 2010

Must-Have Monday: Cha Cha Pitcher

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Maybe it's the unseasonably warm weather, but for some reason I've been jones-ing for a cool pitcher to serve fun beverages.  Even if I'm just serving these drinks to myself.  So when I stumbled upon the Cha Cha Pitcher at Crate and Barrel, I felt I had met my summertime drink soul mate.

It has an awesome name, a sleek and modern look, and is described as "perfect for everything from sangria to lemonade to ice water."  

Love Love Love!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An APPle a Day

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I have never been on the cutting edge of technology - but that doesn't mean I didn't gaze with envy at every person who had an iPhone.  That doesn't mean I didn't WISH I had "an app for that."


And then... I did.  Have an app for that, I mean.  In fact, several apps.  Because recently, I was given an iPhone.  And it is everything I had hoped it would be.  From the GPS function (a necessity for the directionally challenged such as myself) to the Weather at my finger tips - I now don't know how I lived without this coveted piece of technology that connects me to the world.


So, although I might be late to the game, that doesn't mean I haven't grabbed some free apps (and purchased the ones that I really really needed!)  After much research (I'm nothing if not thorough) and endless hours of scrolling and searching, here are my most favorite - wedding and otherwise:


iXpenseIt ($4.99) - Since we just set up a joint bank account, are saving for our wedding AND our future, we needed to start monitoring our expenses (turns out, we eat. A lot. And we have a pretty strong Starbucks addiction). You can set a monthly budget, track everything and then download it into excel.  Compare, contrast, be shocked - but basically, be happy for this app. It will help you figure out where your money is going and how you need to modify your spending habits.


SoundHound ($4.99) - I'm tone deaf, but that doesn't mean I don't love to belt out a few tunes every now and again. Now when I hear a song and I want to know the title, the artist or the lyrics, this app saves me. I just hold up my iPhone and wait to be enlightened. It works most of the time. It can even recognize a song I sing into it - that's pretty impressive.


Bejeweled 2 ($2.99) - I love to stare at my engagement ring, but it's also fun to look at at other beautiful baubles. Especially when I can line them up and blow them to bits. Such great stress relief! Be aware - this is highly addictive... but worth every pretty penny.


CheckPlease Lite (Free) - I don't do numbers. Neither do most of my friends. So you can imagine, when we all go out to brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks, we're pretty much dumbfounded about how to split the bill and then add in tax and tip. That's why I have to give a big WOOT WOOT to this app. It has made it possible for me not to count with my fingers under the table and remain a math moron.


Gilt Groupe (Free) - My tres trendy boss introduced me to this; and whether it's because she knows I need to update my wardrobe or is aware that I'm deal obsessed... I don't really care.  Because now I have designer wares and fabulous sales at my finger tips.  And honestly, being the first to grab the best garb is always in fashion.

Wedding 911 by The Knot (Free) - I whole-heartedly admit that I'm a pretty clueless bride-to-be. Which is why I love the "AskCarley" section where all my wedding woes and wonders are addressed.  To be honest, I have never posted a question (which I have heard is finicky at best) but this app is great for on-the-go help.


Brides Dressing Room (Free) - I'm about to start dress shopping and lugging around magazines everywhere I go is starting to hurt my back (although it is a great workout). I haven't used the appointment booker yet (seems pretty cool) but I am addicted to browsing through bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns and marking my favorites.  I get to have "Say Yes to the Dress" moments daily from the comfort of my metro seat!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's Polite to Gawk

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 My name is Kim and I have a staring problem.  I don't even realize I'm watching people until someone (fiancee, friend, family member) yells at me to stop being rude.  I honestly can't help it - I get invested in strangers!  I love imagining what they're talking about and creating crazy scenarios (once, I saw a couple at Starbucks and decided that they were in the midst of a breakup. I had a whole soap opera type plot line developed over the course of one soy latte).

Which is all to say, that when my friend (and bridesmaid) Wendy sent me a link to WeddingGawker.com I became obssessed. Immediately.  I spent an hour staring at the beautiful wedding photos and ideas submitted by people across the world.  It not only satisfied my staring, it has given me some great ideas for my future nuptials.  Thank you WeddingGawker.com - I can now embrace my addiction without guilt.

Here are a few of my favorite photos (and creative ideas):