Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photography Update

Since loosing an almost guaranteed prize we went back to square one looking for a photographer.  Actually, we did exactly that: went back to our original photographer (or the one we hoped to book before all this other ish went down). The only reason we didn't book Leah, of Studio Juno, in the first place, was because I thought that former win was in the bag.

But I digress.

We booked our photographer!
And this is huge, for me, an amateur photographer who values the photographer as the most prized wedding vendor. 
This also the part of the wedding that I am paying out of pocket with my hard earned teacher salary.  Because it matters that much to me, I took it into my own hands. (We are very lucky to be receiving much support from our families)

And I love, Love, LOVE Leah's work!
I couldn't be happier to spend my wedding day with her (oh, Mike too).

So, here's her blog.
Oh, and her official site: http://www.studiojuno.com/

I totally love that her sense of humor comes through in her photos.

Also? Love the sheer beauty she captures.

I'm so happy!!!
{All photos --  property of Studio Juno}

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Here's a special treat for you, my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (which sadly, I recently found out I'm sensitive/intolerant to pumpkin and all squash. [super sad face] So this is me sharing something I can no longer enjoy. [le sigh])
It's easy, painless, and fantastically delicious!

flour (normal kind, nothin' fancy)
oats (quick or slow, don't matta)
cinnamon, all spice, & nutmeg
margarine (or butter)
brown sugar
sugar (normal kind)
choc chips (honestly optional, if you're lame)

2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp cinnamon & a dash of the other spices
1/2 tsp salt

cream together in a separate bowl:
1 cup margarine softened (not frozen, refrigerated is fine)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar

Add to the above mixture, once it is creamed (is that a word?)
1 egg (beaten before adding)
1 tsp vanilla
Mix wet and dry ingredients together.  It will be tough.

Then add 1 cup canned pumpkin.
When it is all mixed, add one cup of chocolate chips.
The cookies don't spread, so they can be spaced closely on a baking sheet and made to be whatever size you wish.  NOTE: If you make them small, reduce the baking time.  The tops don't "brown" so watch the bottoms!
[I've easily burnt a batch of these cookies.  Good news: the burnt part scrapes off easily. hehe]

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes depending on the size of your cookies and oven.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Engagement Party Invitations!

I love working at an elementary school with involved parents because every once in a while you can call in a favor...a favor such as engagement party invitations!  Jackie Vann is an awesome graphic designer.  She is currently trying to shift her business from corporate work to more custom design - such as fun invitations - so there is no current website.  However, I'm in the know - get in touch with me and I'll hook you up with her fabulous talents!

I told her I wanted something "peacock inspired," gave her the party deets' and then she created 4 amazing options:

Gaaaahgeous, no?

I fell in love with all of them.  It was so hard to decide which one to choose.
Ultimately, we went with the third option, because it's funky and fun - very party like.
And the first one? If thermographic/embossed printing works out and doesn't cost an arm and a leg, that will be our wedding invite! Squee!!! Of course it will say something different, but you can see the beee-ut-iful graphic.  We shall see!

Oh so you might also be wondering why we chose to have an engagement party almost 11 months after Mike popped the question. That reason behind that has to do with my niece's birth, all family being together for the holidays, and ease of planning.  I'm really excited to celebrate with my parents, in my hometown, with all our family friends.  I'm just thrilled they are throwing us an engagement party AND a wedding!

And the best part? We shipped the engagement party invites directly to my parents' house.  That means no buying stamps, figuring out addresses, printing labels, etc. Nada for me.  I wash my hands of that nonesense! Just get me to the party!

{parts of the invitation removed to protect my privacy.  No stalking, y'all}

Friday, November 19, 2010

7 Months away!

Here's what we've been up to this month:
-Not one, but two catering tastings and a cake tasting!
-a phone planning session with premiere wedding consultant, Steve Kemble (in which I finally pick my color scheme)
-chose a day-of wedding planner
-rented a photo booth as our favors!
-thought we won a photography package, but then lost it -- update: the previous photog we were working with before the fail went down, is back in the picture.  We will be paying full price, but love her and her work. Plus? We trust her 110%.

We're working on:
-choosing a caterer (We set a personal deadline of Thanksgiving)
-bridesmaids dresses (no really, for real this time)
-florist arrangements (meeting on the 29th!)
-our engagement party (a bit delayed, but still a party!)
-joining our finances (we got life insurance, we're legit)
-my hair and makeup (I have someone's card - this is a step)
-my figure (keeping the weight off)

We're kinda-sorta thinking about:
-meeting with the rabbi soon

{image source}

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Festive Foods Catering Tasting -- Part 2!

Didn't know this was a two part post? Well it is, thanks to CAKE and Buddah.

Cake Tasting (aka the third most awesome reason to eat cake --first being the actual wedding cake, 2nd your birthday)

From the list of 32 flavor options, we chose 8, and then of those the pastry chef lead us towards 5:
White Velvet
Hazelnut Rocher
Salted Caramel
Chocolate Raspberry
24 Karat Carrot Cake

Those names alone? Oh please, don't get me started.
Hopefully there's a cupcake somewhere around here to appease me.
Because that might be the best cake I've wrapped my tongue around.

Now begins the gratuitous cake picture post:
Don't you LOVE how they decorated each mini-cake? 

Also? I LOVE how they used the label-maker to mark each flavor.
That is a pastry chef after my own heart!

 Who needs cupcakes - we need to get on this mini-cake trend!

worth. every. stomach. cramp.

I honestly thought we took more pictures than that, but my hands were busy lifting the fork and shoveling cake into my mouth.
nom nom nom

And because the grounds were oh-so-amazing, (and we needed to walk off the 15 pounds we gained) I then took may fall photos:

by far, my fav.

Oh, and then on our jaunt home we stumbled upon a Buddhist temple and receiving blessings (yarn bracelets?) from the abbot monk.

Ya know, a typical Saturday.

Go have your cake, and eat it too!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Festive Foods Catering Tasting

This weekend marked a very somber event: our last catering tasting.  Oh, how I came to love these moments of free gourmet food and drinks, complete with butlered service.

And this last tasting definitely ended things on a good note.
Great even.
It. was. amazing.

But first? We drove an hour and a half outside of DC to a town called Casanova. (I kid you not. There's actually a town called Casanova).  We drove so far into Virginia that the roadkill disappeared and the livestock appeared.  Barns replaced tall buildings. Cemeteries popped up next to said barns.  And my favorite? People drove tractors, as transportation, with their children on their laps.
(click on the collage to see the man driving the tractor, through an intersection, with a toddler on his lap!)

With Todd (groomsman) in tow (I let him have shotgun since I felt craptastic)

we headed down small roads

and finally arrived at The Manor House, where Festive Foods houses their offices and main kitchen.

(We were a little excited to finally arrive, plus the space is AMAZING. It's an old house turned Inn and Restaurant)

We spent three hours there people. Three hours eating, talking, and drinking a little wine, too.  And then some cake.  And of course I took more pictures:

Hors D'Oeuvres
1. Potato and Wild Leek Pancake with Smoked Salmon, Dill Creme Fraiche (not pictured, sorry)
2. Roasted Farm Vegetable "Cigars" in delicate Phyllo Crisps
3. Four Onion, Goat Cheese, and Kalamata Olive Tarlets
4. Triple Creme Brie and Local Apples with Toasted Walnuts in Puffed Pastry
5. Artichoke Tempura/Basil Aioli (vegan)

Honestly, all of it was amazing.  We only chose about three of these options beforehand, but the chef prepared more choices for us to give us a broader selection.  I am so glad he did because the tempura artichoke is to die for.  My fav above all: the olive/goat cheese tartlet (two of my favorite things). The tastes complemented each other brilliantly.

First Course Salad:
Wild Greens Salad with Candied Pecans, Wine Poached Pears, and Goat Cheese, tossed with white balsamic sparkling vinaigrette.

This salad closely resembled the one from a previous tasting, and it rocked just the same. I adore wine poached pears anything, and goat cheese. Yum!

Entree Sampling:
Roulade of Chicken Stuffed with Seared Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers and Basil Foccacia, drizzled with pesto glaze paired with Saffron Puffed Couscous & Bundled of Wood Grilled Asparagus
Wood Roasted Acorn Squash, spiced with Cardamon, Black Pepper, and Hint of Maple, stuffed with Grilled Saute of Vegetables (vegetarian/vegan)

The trend continued (and I'm running out of synonyms): tasty, amazing, so good. The Parmesan crisp on top of the acorn squash is applied last, so it is easily removed for vegans (or lactards).   Mike and Todd raved about the chicken and I nibbled on it too - tender and good! The side items complemented it very well.  I loved devoured the acorn squash, and then remembered that I tested positive for pumpkin food sensitiveness, and sincerely paid for later. However, I'd do it again. But on my wedding day I'll go for the chicken, for good form.  The acorn squash rocked my socks. The maple and cardamon...there are honestly no words.  So well done!

Dessert: Wedding Cake!
This post is long enough. I will devote a single additional post to the cake tasting, where I will also tell you about our side trip to the Buddhist temple.
Yes, really.

Festive Foods, you're giving all the other caterers a serious run for their money!

All photos by {Yours Truly, Me}
I apologize for getting artsy and having things out of focus!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The B List

Being honest with you, our venue can "only" hold 170 guests.
Our invite list has, well to be exact, 220 names on it.
And then we have a little something called "The B List."

It's exactly what you think:  It's our backup list, or even- people who didn't make the cut.

It's not that we don't care about B-listers enough to invite them. It's more like we know too many family members who supersede them in the invite-necessity category.  Tthe people on the B List are largely my friends who didn't make the cut. Which if I stop to think about it, is pretty crappy we don't even have enough space to invite my friends. The bride.  However, I'm going to avoid going bridezilla over this issues and enjoy the guests who are able to attend. Even though it is my/our day. Right.

So my fingers are crossed that perhaps, maybe, some guests who we are not as close to, regretfully decline and I can actually invite the people I work with and see everyday.

But for us to even make it to people on The B List would involve 50+ regrets, first.
A girl can hope, right?

Has anyone else had success with a B list?
 Today's post, brought to you by the letter B.
{image source}

Friday, November 12, 2010

Phone Consult with Steve Kemble!

When it comes to premiere, big-name, celebrity-status wedding planners, the first name that might come to mind is David Tutera (thanks to TLC).  But the name you will soon be hearing a lot, and need to learn now, is Steve Kemble.

Steve Kemble spotlights as the wedding planning guru of Weddzilla.com.  (And according to the first page of his site, the "American's Sassiest Lifestyle Guru")  Notice my lovely blog award over thar (right sidebar) from Weddzilla? Well that is the same wedding planning site where Steve Kemble contributes his event planning knowledge.

You might recall back in March I attended the launch party for Weddzilla.  It was, as Steve Kemble says, "Fabulous!"  While there I participated in a silent auction to benefit Children's Hospital. I bid and won a 30-minute phone consultation with Steve Kemble!  The most I knew of him at that time was that he was wearing the shiniest blazer ever (who knew they made sequined tops like that for men) and that this Weddzilla thing thought he knew his stuff.

After our conversation it was more than apparent he knows a thing or five thousand about event planning, and planning it well (with "a dose of sass" like his blog would say).

We talked about so many things, but mainly focused on things that drive me crazy: my color scheme, bridesmaids dresses, the chuppah and lots of peacock feathers (which don't drive me crazy).

For the color scheme he suggested focusing on the colors in a peacock feather: teal, shades of blue, lime green, and purple.  The lime green scared me, but it definitely shows up and accents things nicely.  It offsets the focus color, teal.  The purple does the same, however he recommended a lighter purple, but not lilac.  Royal purple shows up and does not wash people out.  And I like it. I can totally see teal off set by a lighter (not deep) purple and accented with lime green.  How fun and summery! Fabulous!
I know you can see the colors coming together!

As for the bridesmaids, you all know how deciding what they are to wear drives me insane.  I simply cannot pick clothes for other people.  Steve agreed that cocktail or tea length dresses work well for summer.  He also highly suggested matching shoes since everyone will see their feet.  Nothing expensive though.  I can totally get on board with that idea (sorry ladies, I promise the dresses won't cost an arm and a leg!).  Steve suggested that a royal purple (not deep, not washed out) will look good on any skin tone.  It is also versatile and suggests an opportunity for additional wear.   Fabulous!
All the colors to give you a mental idea of the color scheme, but only purple for the girls.
And not necessarily that dress. Actually, not at all. 

He gave me great chuppah decoration ideas, too that incorporate hanging crystals! Gah! So beautiful (and fabulous).  Now how, or who, to make it?!

Before I wrap this post up, I'd like to thank everyone for their support yesterday.  Your comments meant a lot to me; it's good to know when things get rough I've got my bloggy friends to cheer me up! Mike might call you my "imaginary friends" but your words are real and meaningful!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kristen Steele stole my prize.

Recall me "winning" an online giveaway for the destination photographer? Recall my utter bliss at winning? and saving money?
Oh me too.
I remember the excitement over budget bliss and the sheer excitement of being chosen.
It was almost too good to be true.

Because it was too good to be true.
No, really. The rug was pulled out from under me.


See, this photographer waited until something else panned out, as in another bride with a wedding the day before ours.  Obviously that conflicts right? You can't shoot a wedding the night before and fly to DC the next morning to take my getting ready shots.  That's quick turn around.  This photographer told me she didn't think that the bride would sign the contract. Then why even give her the contract?
But she did. And she signed it. And it conflicts with this photographer coming to our rehearsal dinner.
In further email correspondence she said would take the first flight out the morning of our wedding.
She seemed to think this would work out fine.

So I asked it to be put in writing.
I wanted to see that she would take the first flight out the next morning and fly into DCA.
Because whoever offers something free and then goes and schedules something conflicting is out to make a buck.  I didn't want to get screwed over.

And then I got this email:

So the bridezilla in me lashes out with a "WHAT THE FRICK?!" Except it wasn't "Frick."  Followed by some more characters I can't repeat on this respectable blog.  
Wasn't SHE the one who first suggested flying in the morning of?
Didn't SHE meet with this other bride, schedule the other wedding all while KNOWING she offered me the prize for service on  June 19?

And what's this "avid blogger" crap that promotes me saying "The prize is no longer available"?
Let's say it like it is, Kristen Steele: YOU SCREWED ME OVER.  You offered me a prize and then decided not to follow through.  You devised a contest, picked a winner, and then went and scheduled something else.

Ok, yes, I had yet to sign a contract and had no real rights to her yet, but let's remember I didn't even receive a contract to look over, until after the other (paying) bride had her contract.
I can clearly see where the priorities are.

I was offered no consolation prize, nor means to reconcile her mistake.

So we need to let the people of Nashville and the world know, that this photographer they have in their midst need not be trusted.  Sure she can take pretty pictures, but at what price? If she offers you something, sign your contract before she can change her mind, especially if she offers a discount.
Because professionalism is not part of her services.
You'll pay a pretty penny for that.
If you even get it.

We're out a photographer.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Main Event Catering Tasting

Last Friday we attending our third catering tasting, with Main Event Catering.  You might remember our previous two with Windows and The Unnamed Caterer.  With Mike back in school and the school year in full swing for me, as well, we struggled to find a time that worked for everyone to hold this tasting.  Finally, our calendars aligned and we dined!

Looking back on our menu, we somehow left out the vegetarian option, which is all over shocking.  I know I included it in our RFP (request for proposal).  But we also entirely overlooked it when reviewing their proposed menu.  I blame Mike.  (because pointing fingers is fun. and it's never the bride's fault. right? hehe)

Upon arriving at Main Event the tuxedo-sporting server greeting us with champagne flutes.  The staff lead us into a candle lit room, showcasing linens and flatware options.  They set the table with basic white linens, accented by votive candles.

Once seated our three hors d'oeuvres were presented, plated for the purpose of the tasting.  At the event they will be passed.

Hors D'Oeuvres
1.  Cheddar Pierogies:  lightly fried with sauteed cabbage & a dollop of creme fraiche
2.  Goat Cheese Quenelles:  fig + honey glazed pecans on an endive spear
3.  Grilled Chicken Pinwheels: corn + peppers, tortilla pinwheel, dark mole sauce

The Cheddar Pierogies (1) tasted amazing! Being of Polish heritage, we picked these out for our menu with out a second thought, and am glad we did.  The pierogies were slightly fried, as opposed to boiled or sauteed, as I am accustomed to - however this serving option makes more sense for finger foods.

Having never heard of a Quenelle (2) before, I did not know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised.  This sweet combination of goat cheese and pecans laid on a small endive (fancy lettuce) boat.  This hors d'oeurve was a nice contrast to the others, but still complemented them well.

I expected the Pinwheel (3) to be a boring wrap, but the mole sauce really kicked it up a bit.  It was a little spicy and we don't want our guests gulping down their cocktail to remedy this, so we asked that the sauce be taken down a notch. 

Overall the hors d'ouerves tasted great!

Next up: First Course
Salad of Royal Lettuces: baby romaine, lola rossa, frisee + endive, sliced summer straberries, crumbled chevre cheese, champange + strawberry vinaigrette;  Cornbread muffins with salted butter or apple butter

Honestly this salad didn't WOW me, but being a former vegetarian, I have high salad expectations.  It did a solid job and tasted great.  (However, nothing can compare to the salad at Window's Tasting!)  We asked for the amount of frisee to be reduced, because it looks and tastes like a weed.  I always eat around it.  I can do without the texture variety.  The cornbread muffins were tasting and great with apple butter!

The Entree: Pan-Seared Free Range Chicken
Chicken coated in herb bread crumbs, marsala mushroom sauce, sunburst + starburst squash of teeny zucchini with roasted shallot butter and Yukon Gold Mash(ed potatoes)

We give the chicken a solid two-thumbs up.  It was tasty and the meal was well presented.  It reminded us of to chicken-fried-chicken, but without the unhealthy aspect, being pan-seared instead of deep-fried. The mashed potatoes totally rocked, and the squash paired perfectly.
I still don't know how we managed to set this up with out the vegetarian option!

For desert we will have wedding cake.  However they sent us away with their signature Deep Dark Chocolate Truffles ("deftly hand rolled").

Uh. Maze. Ing.
Luckily you can purchase these for guests as well.  However, when trying to keep costs to a minimum, I don't foresee our guests having the privilege of tasting these yummy balls of chocolate. Sorry guys! (If you live close to me I might share my doggy-bag of them with you...)

All in all, this Main Event Catering Tasting went well.  We enjoyed all the dishes presented and they were very open to hearing our feedback and adjusting the menu.  What Mike and I both liked best about this caterer was their family-like quality.  This tasting being a couple days before Halloween, some of the other staff dressed in costume. So fun! Also, being after school hours, their kids were in the building, too (but not running around like crazy, but still there). I like a company that respects and understands that people have lives and families, and allows them to be a part of their business.   Also, the chef came out before and after the tasting to hear our ideas and talk openly with us.

Their kosher options are much more involved than other caterers.  They offer salad, bread and the entree all on kosher china from the JCC.  But you pay for that, as you cannot return the china after.  The per person cost for a kosher meal is twice that of a normal meal.  Gah!  I like the idea of our kosher-eating guests having their three course meal presented on china and not airplane style, but still.  Nice, but expensive!

Main Event Catering is a lot less corporate and more small-business minded.  We liked that.
However, they are slightly over budget (of course).  We plan on asking them if there is anything they can do for us, and sharing with them the other proposal prices offered to us.  Maybe they can work with us?  We'll see.  We have our last tasting this coming weekend.  A yummy decision will be made soon!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Queen has Left the Building!

Well, not really, but sorta.
Also? I'm not a fan of referring to myself as "The Queen" but it works in this context.

At any rate - If you're looking for me I'm over at Meagan's blog: The Twenty's Roar writing about a great traveling experience abroad.

Go check 'er out!
Tomorrow - a catering tasting review! yum!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wedding Art Show

Mike's cousin, Rachel, wedding takes place the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Thankfully (no pun intended) we will be back from Florida in time to attend.  The bride chose to incorporate art into this special day. Included with their invitation, "As a part of our celebration, we would like to have an art show and share the artistic talents of our friends and family." 

I LOVE this idea!
And I love the idea of participating!
Of course, now I can't decide, for the life of me, which photos to submit.
Having never displayed my work, aside from the internet, I simply do not know which to choose.

Do I go with all black and white shots?
Do I stay with a theme? All babies? All flowers? All abstract?!

I feel I should narrow it down to five choices.
You should also know they will be printed as 8x10s, matted 11x14.
Also, I need titles.

So extended internet family, please help me choose!
If you would be so kind to comment below with your favs, it will really help me!
(They are numbered, for "voting" ease)










(pretty sure about this one)




(I plan on making this one black/white)




Related Posts with Thumbnails