Friday, July 30, 2010

Pretttty Please?

I entered a contest for this here lovely blog to become a Weddzilla Blog Guru.  If all my wonderful, faithful followers vote for me - then I actually have a chance!  Honestly though, I would love my hard work to help others and for brides to be to find my blog with this "guru" label.

Click here to vote

Then scroll through to find Crowning Victoria (the logo is there, too).
Last I checked I'm around #6 in popularity!!!

[EDIT: To vote you simply click on the arrow next to "Crowning Victoria."  Simple and no email or creating a log-in required.  I believe you can vote once a day - so every time you vote, leave a comment and that can be an extra entry into the giveaway! Or you can just vote for funsies!]

The top 25 vote receivers will win the title of "Blog Guru 2010" from
I really want to win so other DC brides can use my (and Mike's) research to make their wedding planning easier. 

Oh and if you vote and come back and comment here saying you did, I will give you an EXTRA ENTRY for the Green Nest Cleaner giveaway!  If you already voted, comment and tell me that too!
(I can track the number of votes I get so no fare saying you voted and didn't!)

PS:  Meagan, my high school bestie and bridesmaid, is coming into town this weekend!!!! AHHH!!! yay!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Looking for Me?!

Today you can find me at Raising Madison guest blogging about what home means to me, with a slight twist.  Joey asked me (ok, and some other bloggers) to write while she focuses on preparing her house for the market.
So go on and find me there.
It's an awesome post.
On an awesome blog.

And then come back and register for my Green Nest All Purpose Cleaner Giveaway!

Oh, while you're doing all this housekeeping you might want to update your bookmarks to

(and I smell another awesome Giveaway next week from Simple Green, valued around $35!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catering Tasting at Windows

Yesterday Mike (fiance), Diana (bridesmaid) and I took a short trip down to Virginia to meet with our representative from Windows Catering.  Let me say this now:  catering tastings are amazing, more amazing than creating a wedding registry.  As Mike put it, "forget the master's degree, I want her job!"

We arrived to find a table set with teal linens and my beloved gold chiavari chairs.  In my excitement I forgot to take a picture of the entire table, but I did get close ups of the place settings and menus, and candles.  There was no centerpiece at this time because most likely we will have flowers.

When our rep. emailed to asked my colors, I stumbled.  I wrote her telling that basically peacock feathers are my inspiration but have yet to narrow it down -- something in the jewel tones: deep blue, turquoise, with gold and copper (brown?) accents, maybe even some purple to keep it interesting.  Once I see some bridesmaids' dresses (this weekend!) I think hope I will have a direction.  I really did like the teal tablecloth accented with the candle holders, though.

Here's our tasting menu:
1. Griddlecakes and Smoked Salmon: wisps of potatoes and zucchini, sauteed until crispy, topped with Norwegian smoked salmon, with creme fraiche and snipped chives
2.  Mozzarella, Oven-Dried Cherry Tomato and Basil presented on coins of tempura-battered Japanese eggplant
3.  Phyllo Purse of brie cheese with almond and pear wrapped in delicate phyllo layers with a curry aioli for dipping

Arugula Salad with Sliced Pears: sliced Anjou pears with Derbyshire stilton, tender arugula leaves and spiced Georgia pecans, dressed with a warm, Modena barrel-aged 80 year old balsamic vinaigrette served with a cornbread madeleine

1.  Big Island Chicken: breast of chicken in a macadamia nut crust served with grilled pineapple, steamed rice and coconut milk and dark rum sauce with grilled asparagus
2.  Twin Artichoke Bottoms: artichokes stuffed with roasted garlic spinach in a sundried tomato with butternut squash battons, California asparagus and baby carrots
3. Kosher Meal: outsourced  (will rant about this later)

Wedding Cake, coffee available

All the hors d'oeuvres were amazing, especially the phyllo purse.  I could honestly eat a whole plate of those as my entree!  We realized though that we only have 3 hors d'oeurves and need an additional one.  Mike also pointed out that I neglected to pick any meat hors d'oeurves.  Our 4th choice will  involve some meat.

The salad kicked any other salad's butt.  Amazingly yummy.

I enjoyed the artichoke entree, but found the texture tough.  Diana pointed out that it replicated a meat in that sense, which I totally understand but question if others will love that.  We are revamping the veggie entree choice.  (Do I smell another tasting?!)  Also we discussed the possibility of me, the bride, having my own special entree.  I love salmon and tilapia, but not all vegetarians eat fish so we kept away from that as an option.  That doesn't mean that I can't have it on my big day!  We are working on this option.

Lastly we discussed the flatware, which I doubt anyone pays an inch of attention to at the wedding.  However our rep assured us that it mattered for me: I get to chose what my day will look like, down to the forks.

We dined with "Choice A" but then shown "Chocie B."  I really like the simplicity of B with the rounded, skinny handles.  (Do you call the stems "handles" ? I have no clue).   I chose B.  So ya'll better really pay attention to my silverware at the wedding.  I want pictures with those forks!  Or not.

On Saturday we meet with our other catering option, a smaller up-and-coming business whose proposal comes well under that of Windows.  However, having your tasting served by a waiter in a tux, red and white wine available, many linen options laid out, a flat screen playing a picture slide-show, and all your dishware options presented is pretty snazzy and swayed me a bit.  We shall see how the quality and service match up on Saturday!

Are you hungry yet?!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Green Nest

Today we have our first catering tasting.  I'm nervous because I always mess up business deals.  As a good friend suggested, I need to keep food in my mouth so I don't say anything I'll regret! :)

Moving right along...
My "Green Soapbox" is overflowing with soap alternatives, thanks to many supporters.

Green Nest sent me a great eco-friendly product: Green Nest All Purpose Cleaner.

It comes in a concentrated formula (see 4 oz smaller bottle) that you pour into another container (such as the spray bottle they supplied) and add water, according to your cleaning needs.

Green Nest cleaner is a simple formula that requires water to activate it's goodness, that then breaks down completely into water and carbon dioxide in 27 Days.

At first I though I better get cleaning - no fair watching the grime collect! I must use it all in 27 days! (Let's be fair though, I wipe down the counters daily.)  But there's no need to use the concentrated formula all at once.  Their site contains dilutions for use of the cleaner on different items.

Important Features about All Purpose Cleaner from
* Is environmentally safe.
* Is 100% readily biodegradable.
* Is non-carcinogen/non-corrosive.
* Is Water Based.
* Has a Neutral pH Factor 9.5+/-0.4
* Is odorless and colorless.
* Is economical.
* Saves time and labor.
* Is safe on any washable surface.
* Will remove oil stains from driveways.
* Will not attack wax or paint.
* Requires no rinsing.
Each 4 ounce bottle of concentrate will make 2 gallons or 8 quarts of all purpose cleaner.  The average retail cost per quart is $1.13

I feel good about my experience with Green Nest cleaner:  it cleans well,  it lacks a chemically-gross smell, and makes me feel good about not killing the fishies in the sea.

And you too can have all of the above!  
Buy it:   for $15.95 you can purchase your own from

or Win It here!  One lucky winner will get a 4oz bottle of concentrated Green Nest All Purpose Cleaner, a spray bottle, and a $10 gift card to (which has many other lovely products to choose!)

To Enter:  Follow me publicly with Google Friends Connect (left side bar) and comment telling me you are a follower. This is mandatory before you do any other entries.  
(Friends who already follow with GFC must comment telling me they are a current, public follower to enter.) Please ensure your email address is somewhere -- in profile or listed.

*Additional entries (leave a separate comment for each):
Sign up for my RSS feed or Email subscription (1 entry)

All entries must be in by 11:59 EST on August 4th.  Winner will be drawn using on August 5th.  Open to the US only, please.
Disclosure: Green Nest sent me my own 4oz bottle of concentrated cleaner, spray bottle, and $10 gift card to to facilitate this review. All opinions about the cleaning product are 100% honest and my own.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Registry 201

I figured something out.  It's no big secret, and in fact it's quite obvious:
creating a wedding registry at a second store is much easier than your first go 'round.

After our four hours at Macy's we knew anything after that was smooth sailing.

Target yesterday was a breeze (aside from taking 45 minutes to get to the first Target store due to a Boy Scout parade shutting down all of the National Mall area, thus making getting TO the highway a royal pain.  Then finally arriving at the first Target only to find out their registry system needed repairs.  We practically begged them to call their other stores and find out which ones were working.  Then a torrential downpour out of nowhere caused us to travel at snail-like speed to the next Target store.  Finally, price scanner in hand, we were ready to register a second time).

The experts (I have no idea who they are) recommend creating a wedding registry at up to three stores. This helps guests living in different areas who have access to different stores.  Although, I'm sure the "experts" came up with this idea long before internet aided shopping.

So at Target we merrily walked the store and played the "Oh I want that!" game.  We were much less serious (and less focused?) this time around.  That might be why Mike ended up scanning three home theater systems and me: various travel coffee mugs and two different food processors.  Oh I should mention that Mike intends to research the different systems and delete two.  Still, we even considered board games for the registry. Is that tacky?

What funny things did you register for, or do you joke about adding?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Registry 101

I got school'd yesterday, wedding registry style.

Fun? Yes.
Price scanner gun? Oh, yes.
Overwhelming? You have NO idea. (unless, of course, you've done this recently then you know all too well how many choices and questions pop into your head)

My number one piece of advice: JUST SCAN. Ask questions later.

The following is my attempt in making any future registry processes successful in less than 4 hours.

1.  Do your homework!
-Go to TheKnot and use their registry creator and print out your list(s).
-Go to the online site for the store you plan to register.  Look at their china patterns, flatware, etc. and write down the names of the ones you like.
-Think of things you're pining for and add it to the list(s).

2. Wear comfortable shoes, no sandals.

3.  Remember a water bottle and take breaks, at least one for Auntie Anne's Pretzles.  Send your fiancee to do this.  Diet Coke is your friend.

4.  Ask for help from the associates.  They know more than you.  Hopefully they guide you well.

5.  CHINA:  Everyday-patterns ("casual dinnerware") turn over with the seasons.  If you are registering way ahead of time (over 6 months) then it is best to register for something that will be around for purchase closer to your wedding date, and beyond (because plates break).   Bone china is top of the line.  Porcelain is higher.  Remember that patterns decorated with silver/gold/metal cannot go in the microwave or washing machine.  Denby brand can go in the freezer, oven, microwave and dishwasher - but is likely to chip.  Many of their patterns are around for years, so is easy to replace.  Waterford, Lenox and Mikasa brands vary as to their abilities, and are very trustworthy and beautiful.

6.  FLATWARE:  The same is true of "casual dinnerware" as is of "casual flatware."  The higher quality brands have styles intended for longer shelf-life, meaning 10 or 20 years from now if you need another place-setting, you can most likely still find it at Macy's.  Here's the tricky thing:  you can purchase it by place-setting (one big fork, one little fork, one knife, one big spoon, one little spoon) OR you can purchase it by entire sets (entire 4, 8, or 12 place settings).  Because you want to provide your guests with a variety of gift price-level options you register for both.  Maybe someone is generous and buys every place-setting in a huge 12 p-s kit.  Awesome!  Or maybe some guests prefer to buy you 2 place settings at a time.  If you end up not making 12 settings overall by this one-at-a-time method, you can return the settings and keep the 12 p-s kit.  Or maybe you return the extra towels and get the other p-s you are missing.
Eight or Twelve is the "normal" place-setting size, but honestly depends on how much you want.

7. COOKWARE:  We chose anodized aluminum pots by Calaphon.  I had the privilege of cooking on my sister's Calaphon and loved it, so I knew that brand was for me (plus my Tweeps confirmed).  Anodized metal is created from electrochemically hardened aluminum.  The sealed metal is not likely to leach into your food.  It also conducts heat well, thus heating fast!  Again, purchase the big set as well as the same thing in pieces, as to meet different price points.

8.  Kitchen appliances:  Go crazy, scan everything you want.  There are a few "recommended" pieces: food processor, giant awesome mixer of goodness, hand-held mixer, espresso machine, coffee maker, coffee grinder, microwave

9. Kitchen utensils:  Again, just scan, scan, scan....unless of course you are like me and feel a strawberry huller, avocado slicer, and mango peeler are too specific to justify purchase.

10.  Bar/StemWare: If you're like me you have wine glasses from tastings at 4 different wineries, pint glasses stolen from late nights at bars, and juice glasses with rabbi's on them.  It's okay to register for more.  Just don't forget is your friend (as are your friends) when those ole' pieces are on their way out.  But the rabbi juice glasses are staying.
As for fancy stemware, Waterford and Mikasa make beautiful things.  Remember you need enough sets as you have place settings!

11.  Miscellaneous (Luggage, vacuum, and garment steamer):  sure we need those, scan!

12.  Knives:  I have yet to figure this one out.  We went with a brand we knew and was not the cheapest option.

13.  Bedding:  Many of our sheets are 200 to 300 thread count sets.  It works for us.  But if you're getting married then step it up a notch!  Go for 400, maybe 600!  Also, register for the whole set: bed skirt and all.  Remember, you are trying to hit different price points.  Don't forget an extra set of sheets. (Many patterns turn over with seasons.  Be prepared to update your registry if your choice is taken off the shelves)

14. Towels: touch ALL of them until you find the softest, biggest ones.  Then wrap them around yourself, and scan.  We put on a total of 4 towels, but 2 are the big big big ones and 2 are the normal sized ones.  Don't forget the hand towels, wash cloths, and bathmat!  (and the bathrobes, too)

15.  Wedding Stuff:  If you're having a reception then most likely you will be serving a wedding cake and toasting.  You will need cake cutters and toasting flutes for that.  People like to buy cake cutters, toasting flutes, fancy silver frames, and vases.  So register for them!

When you get home, remember that you can always view, change, and add to your registry from online.  Check to see how it looks online and make any necessary changes.  You can always come back to it another day (or many days).

I am tired.
We plan on registering at 2 other stores, one that includes power tools and another that has furniture.  It is also recommended that you overlap the items you register for at the different stores. 

Later I will show you the purdy flatware and china we chose!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Market, To Market

We're headed to Macy's today to create our registry!
I! am! so! excited!

Can you think of a time you picked out your gifts that people purchased for you? Aside from wedding, new home, and baby registries I come up with nothing.
How fun will this be?!
Watch me get totally stressed out about fancy glasses or something.
Our house could really use it (as could we) and this is something we do not take for granted.

I know a few things that must go on the list:

 Kitchen Aide Mixer


*I love my bubbly water.



And Mike wants this (in brown).  I told him not to hold his breath:

 ANY Recliner

I hope I/we get to use a price scanner gun!
What were some things you just HAD to HAVE on your registry?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Catering to Our Needs

I wrote up and saved exactly what we need from a caterer, in a word document.  I did this for two reasons: 1) Our desires are detailed and ultimately I forget something when asking for a proposal from different caterers and 2) I'm too lazy to retype it every time.
[edit: 3) also because I never remember how to spell "hors d'oeuvres" and"chiavari" and need to stop googling it every time]

The blurb goes something like this (cut, paste):

Wedding, 6/19/2011 5p - 10:30 at the Carnegie Institution, DC.
-We are looking for a seated dinner for 170 (max) guests, including the band.
-We are interested in up to 4 passed hors d'oeuvres and with two different entree choices: one chicken, one vegetarian.  Please avoid over-use of mushrooms as the bride and maid of honor do not like them. -About twelve guests will need outsourced prepared and packaged Kosher meals.  They will not be eating the choice entree.
-Please focus more on vegetarian friendly options for hors d'oeuvres to stray from blatantly non-kosher options ("Kosher style" is fine).  No shellfish or crab, or meat/milk combination (blatantly non-Kosher) like cheese on top of meat. (A small amount of milk in a dish containing meat is fine, just so long as it's not covered in milk).
-Desert will be the wedding cake.  We would like the cake cost included in our proposal.
-We will provide alcohol, but need to rent your glassware and use your liquor license.  Please include soft beverages.
-We need enough chiavari chairs for guests during the ceremony to be used also with dinner. Six-foot-wide tables are provided on site.  Basic linens are fine.
-Please stay below our price point of $BLAH (sorry readers, that's private)

These are chiavari chairs. {source}

So far we are looking at 2 different caterers.  Let's call them A and B.

Caterer A is a well known DC company recommended to us by a friend who happens to be a wedding planner. Because of this reference they were able to meet our price point ($BLAH) by giving us complementary soft beverages and food containers.  Who knew you had to PAY for the containers they use to transport the food to your wedding?  The wedding cake is included and they do LOVELY things with icing. 
However, Caterer A neglected to include the tax in our quote and we are over our price point by $2K.
We have our tasting with Caterer A on the 27th.

Caterer B contacted US from  (don't know it? you post what you need and people come to you. amazing.)   Caterer B greeted us in an email containing 4 previously drafted proposals for others, all under our price point.  I sent him my blurb and he responded well, reaching the price point to a T.  Interesting how that happened when none of his previous proposals even came close to our ceiling.  After many emails back and forth to iron out details Caterer B remains cordial, helpful, and bending over backwards for us.  He even threw in a "late bites" section and an extra entree choice - which, if we cut, then our price comes down drastically.  No cake involved though.  Thanks to our request, he now has a bakery partnership.  We think this is good.  Hopefully we like this bakery.
Oh and all this correspondence is with the chef himself, just the chef and us working on the basics.  It's quite refreshing.
We have our tasting with Caterer B on the 31st, with an extra guest in attendance (a bridesmaid).

So we'll eat, drink and be blogging about this soon!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Green Bride Review: EO products

I reached out to EO Products for the opportunity to explore a more "green" approach in life. In looked to reduce my carbon footprint, I want a product (or even a whole line of products) which take an environmentally safe approach from beginning to end.  Also, please don't test any part of your product (partial or finished) on animals.  I know poor little bunnies don't enjoy getting things stuck in their eyes to see if it hurts.  Of course that hurts!

Here's a little info from EO's site about their product vision:
  • We manufacture consistently excellent essential oil formulations that are efficacious, safe and made from natural, sustainable botanical sources.
  • We create products for our customers that allow them to treat or relieve specific needs and to maintain overall good health through the benefits of therapeutic botanicals.
  • The continued and ongoing development of new and innovative products that meet our stringent formulation criteria.
  • Innovation without compromise: Personal care must perform. We pledge to continue to research new natural ingredients that can provide function and benefit without compromising our natural integrity or product performance.
  • We develop innovative formulas based on researched herbal and aromatherapy knowledge.
  • We know that the formulation of beneficial herbs, essential oils and natural ingredients is truly an art form.
  • We work continuously to source natural and organic ingredients with uniquely therapeutic properties.
  • We also choose not to include synthetic colors, fragrances or harsh chemicals in our products.
  • EO® products must perform given the expectations of our customers.

So I asked EO Products to share the love and allow me to experience their line.  And share they did!

I received samples of French Lavender Everyday Shampoo & French Lavender Everyday Conditioner, French Lavender Shower Gel and French Lavender Body Lotion, full sized bottle of Vanilla and Coconut Bubble Bath, full sized bottle French Lavender Liquid Hand Soap, Lavender Hand Sanitizing Spray, travel pack of Lavender Hand Cleansing Wipes, and a full sized bottle of All Purpose Soap.
It was like Hannukah in July!

I absolutely love lavender scented items and enjoyed the pleasant fragrances in each product.  The bath products were soothing and easy on my sensitive skin.  The hand soap is stationed next to our kitchen sink and I honestly look forward to washing my hands!  Using the hand cleansing wipes on the go made public transportation a breeze.  But by far, my favorite product that will become a staple in my life is the sanitizing spray.  It smells amazing!
Oh, and who knew you could clean anything with their all purpose soap? Anything!

So the next time you're out at Whole Paycheck (you know the grocery store I'm talking about) look for EO products and know that it's money well spent on a wholesome, earth-friendly, animal-friendly, wonderfully smelling and very effective product!

EO: Love Life. Live Clean.

[EDIT] Disclaimer: These opinions are 100% honest, and my own.  Aside from receiving these products to review, I was not compensated in any way.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Polish Side

Two words that carry a lot of history:  Pani Mloda

No I didn't sneeze or write a horrendous typo.  I didn't allow my cat or dog to take over the keyboard either. 
Pani Mloda is the oldest wedding tradition I know of in my family.  I can remember my cousins and sister doing it at their weddings.  We will most certainly dance the Pani Mloda at my wedding, too.

The Pani Mloda is The Polish Money dance, also known as The Bridal Dance or The Money Dance.  It involves dollar bills and paying to dance with the bride.  And while you might be thinking this sounds like more of a bachelor party event, it's not.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

The dance is a typical tradition for children or descendants of immigrants.  I have no idea why, but it is. 

To help the newlywed couple prepare for their honeymoon and future costly endeavors, guests donate money for the privilege of the dance.  In my family the Maid of Honor typically wears an apron and holds onto the money for the bride.  She's also responsible for keeping the line moving along.  However, more money equals more dancing time.

There's also something about the bride wearing a babushka on her head to make her "old."  I'm thinking I need to iron out these details before the big day.  (Or maybe even before I publish this post... nah).

When I recently went to Texas, I went through my sister's wedding "stuff" and we found the apron my mom used at her wedding, and then my my sister at hers.  Now I have the apron too and will use it just like the other women in my family! 

 I'm excited to carry out this tradition and to use the same apron!  Our band even knows the Pani Mloda.  Bring on the polka dancing!

Here's a very short You Tube clip or what it looks like in action:

What special traditions were a part of your big day?

Friday, July 16, 2010


In my left sidebar, right over yonder ::holds up hand to make an L shape, points thataway::  you'll find a  cluttered mess.  In said organized chaos I spy with my little eye a blue envelope.

That envelope is magic (but you gotta say 'magic' like you're talking to my three year old niece and convincing her that eating peas will make you fart like a fairy).

Click on it.
I dare you.
Then my posts will magically appear in your inbox!
Poof! Fart!

The RSS feed button immediately next to it works something like that too.
But I only know about peas and beans, not RSS feeds.
Click, click, click!

(excuse my sillies, but toddlers wear off on you like that)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nom Nom Nom

Remember a little bit ago when I won a cookie giveaway?  What a yumtastic giveaway to win!  I chose to have said cookies delivered to my sister's house in honor of her new baby girl, Madelyne. (Where I'm visiting and can still enjoy the cookies, no need to worry!)

My sister "wore" Madelyne on our trip to the mailbox where we found the package from TRBrown waiting for us.
Inside were yummy cookies, very well packed.  They made the delivery in one piece!
Madelyne  loved the cookies.
As did I!
Thanks to TRBrown and The Tater Twins!
(All photos by yours truly, raw and unedited)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

As Mike Sees it (1)

I've begged asked Mike to guest blog (its about time) and help me out while I'm doing the family thing with my sister.  I have to say, when I read the title I worried.  But he's a part of this whole wedding thing too - so I might as well let him have a say on the blog!  (See if you can find my favorite part!) Stay tuned for possibly more in a new series I call "As Mike Sees It."
*note: Mike originally titled this post: "To get involved, or not......"


While Vicki is out doing the aunt thing in Austin, I've been holding down the fort at home in DC. So I guess it makes sense that an extension of that would be to make sure all is well here at Crowning Victoria and that there are fresh posts for you all to read. So now it's time for what you've all been waiting for: wedding planning from the groom's perspective.

From the beginning of this process I've said to Vicki (and anyone else who asked) that there are three aspects about the reception that I wanted to be involved in; choosing the venue, the music, and the food/drink.
My logic on this is twofold: I feel like those are the key ingredients to the party so I want to get my two sense in on them, and also that means I can stay out of Vicki's way for the rest of the stuff. It's not like I don't care about things like photographers, decorations, invitations, etc., it's just that I care a whole lot less than Vicki does. I have known from the beginning that this day is about her and really my job is to sign on the line, look good in a tux (mission accomplished), and say "I do" when the Rabbi pauses and looks at me. But it's been tricky trying to balance demonstrating that I am involved and willing to help if she wants/needs me to while at the same time making sure that she knows this is her show and she can have what she wants (within reason, I hope).

So now we've got a venue, we've got a band, and we're setting up tastings with caterers (most of them allow you to supply your own alcohol, so I've got that covered). I guess that means my role is now to negotiate the prices down as much as possible once Vicki settles on a vendor, help organize things like the guest list, and just try to be supportive whenever possible. And of course, get as many free tastings from catering companies as possible. For what these people charge I'm milking them for all I can get. But from here on out, I'm mostly along for the ride. Should be interesting......

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rules of Engagement

When Mike first proposed and we called friends with our great news, for some reason they immediately asked, "When's the date?" or "When's it gonna be?"
Like we had any clue that early on in the game.

We promised ourselves a week of celebration, enjoyment of this new status in our relationship, and no wedding planning.

Until I went out 8 hours later and purchased a wedding magazine.

Then all bets were off. I considered every date on the calendar.
Mike ignored this, until  SNOWMAGEDON 2010 (when DC achieved record breaking snowfall status for a combined total of 52" in one winter).  This Floridian loved/hated it.

Mostly, though, we used our "staycation" to iron-out our guest list and entertain dates.

When it finally came time for us to seriously consider an answer to that aforementioned question, it went something like this:

March 2011, because rates are cheaper in DC (offseason) and Vicki can take advantage of time off during Spring Break.
For a split second (our neighbors wielding good advice to have a shorter engagement) we claimed August 2010 before school starts up again, then remembered my sister's due date falls in July (she had her baby!) and that would be just plain mean of us.  Plus, we needed more time.
September 2010 holds my birthday and the Jewish High Holidays.
We found no dates to work with in November 2010.
The snow scared any major winter date out of me.
Back to March 2011, oh yeah we decided against that.
Then it became April 2011, since we never bothered to check when Easter fell in 2011. 
Mike's birthday falls in early April so we focused on Late April.
Somehow May 2011 became the best idea and we even put a hold on a venue for Memorial Day Weekend.
Mike received his acceptance letter to George Washington University's International Affairs Masters program a few months ago and we realized not only are my summers free, but now his too!
June 2011 fit well with our schedules, and our attendants schedules.
The last day of school for me falls on June 17, 2011.

Let's be honest here: the last week of school serves as a great time to wrap up the year, do fun arts and crafts, and enjoy longer recesses and maybe a movie or two.  I can take days off and not fret about my students, or even worry the parents think I love my future-husband more than my job.

It was decided: June 19, 2011.
The whole decision process took about 2 months, or more. After waiting 3+ weeks for the Rabbi to confirm his schedule, we set the date! (you might remember my lovely first VLOG on the matter).

Some people are surprised by our "long engagement."  It works best for us, considering our schedules.  Sure,  6 to 9 months is plenty of time to plan a wedding, but not when one of you teaches 20+ second graders and the other is going back to grad school!

Honestly, if timing was right and everything fell into place, I'd sure as hell marry Mike tomorrow.  Now I get to plan, plan, plan to my little heart's content (and watch plenty of My Fair Wedding, Say Yes to the Dress, Platinum Weddings, and of course Bridezillas, all while taking notes on how my day will turn out).
And drive Mike crazy.  That's what really matters anyways.

That leaves me to wonder two things?  Do you want to see news video footage of our engagement? SURE YOU DO!
How long was your engagement?  Is 16 months long to you?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wedding Plans, thus far!

To put things into perspective for myself, and for my new followers who might need some catching up on the plans, here's what we know so far (with lovely little links to related posts!):

Date: June 19. 2011

Location: The Carnegie Institution

Time: Evening, 5-10:30 (tentative)

Attendants: 4 on each side, with the cutest flower girl ever

Ceremony: Jewish, lead by a Rabbi

Reception entertainment: Time Machine Band (10 piece!)

Color scheme: peacock inspired (deep blues, teal, copper and gold - possibly with purple accents)

My gown: PURCHASED and a SECRET! ha! (still in need of alterations)

We have 11 months to figure out many details, but the latest and greatest on the table are:
-Caterers (we have two lined up for tastings, YUM)
-Bridesmaids dresses (my bestie, Meagan, is coming in town in 3 weeks to shop with us!)
-Photography (a hobby of mine, so I'm super critical about this detail!)
-Honeymoon (thinking Greece? Maybe something on a beach?)
-first dance song (our list is about 8 long, as of now)
-Save the Dates (sending out paper ones)
-finalizing our invitee list

In other news, if any married lady is interested in guest-blogging about their biggest planning 'snafu' please email me at:  CrowndVic (at)

Friday, July 9, 2010

SITS Friday Potluck!

Today my Last Name Love post is featured in The Sits Friday Potluck!

SITS is an amazing women's blogger group, which stands for the Secrets In The Sauce.  What's the secret, you ask? It's comments.    Who doesn't love some comment support?  I know I love me some comment love.  It's like a present. Or a liquid lunch.  OR AYCD buffet style liquid lunch.
Yeah, comments are awesome.

So if you're stopping by from SITS, feel free to snoop around: open some drawers, search through my fridge, and see what I'm all about.  I DARE ya!

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Puh-lease follow me with Google Friends Connect (left side bar) OR my RSS feed (icon in left side bar!) OR subscribe to have posts delievered via email (icon left side bar!!).

I promise not to disappoint!
(and WHO doesn't want to read about my upcoming 6/19/11 Wedding and plans?!?!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The evolution of my hair

I have thin, limp, blonde hair.  It takes more than an ounce of product and at least 20 minutes of serious blowdrying to get it to "shape up."  I long for bouncy, curly hair, but understand that it comes with baggage, too.  My awesome stylist of 5 years, David, offered to do my hair for the wedding, but I have to follow his rules.  David is the best, flamboyant, hair-stylist I ever stumbled upon.  Never would I dream of cheating on him.  I honestly trust this guy with my hair's life, and will do whatever he says (within reason).  Here are his prerequisites for my wedding-hair:
1)  grow it out (fine, ok.  Mike loves long hair anyways)
2)  grow out the bangs (ugh, ok, if I must...I've had them for 3 years anyways)
3)  highlights (only about a month prior to the big day, therefor no upkeep - I can do that)

That's not so bad!  But to give you an idea of where I've come from here's a photo history.

The Evolution of My Hair:

July '06
-shoulder length
-long straight hair

April '07
-broken foot
-short bob

 July '08
-shoulder(ish) length hair
-longer bangs (b/c I was too lazy to get them trimmed before our trip to London/Barcelona)

April '09
-shoulder length
-shorter bangs

Dec '09
-slightly longer?
-I'm sensing a trend
-perhaps it's time for change?

March '10
-I insisted on my last bang trim before our engagement photo shoot

Wow, is it time for a new hair style, or WHAT?!
The things you learn about yourself through blogging, I swear!

Are you in need of a hair-change?
What's your hair trend?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Green Bride Review: Pure Ayre Odor Eliminator

You all know the moment when you swear an odor is not-so-secretly squatting in your home and a floral freshener simply masks those stinky smells.  You might even try to bleach it out.
The real challenge comes not only in removing said foulness, but doing so in an environmentally friendly way.  Many aerosols, while free of CFCs, are made with non-biodegradable ingredients and chemicals, or worse are not safe for accidental inhalation by Fluffy, Fido, or Frank/Francesca. 

I found the solution: Pure Ayre Odor Eliminator.
(Yes, another amazing eco-friendly product that does AMAZING things in mysterious ways!)

Here's some info from Pure Ayre's site:
"PureAyre is composed of plant-derived enzymes, purified water and essential oils. It is the first and only food-grade odor eliminator. That's why it's safe. And PureAyre is the only product with enzymes specifically targeted to break the bonds of all odor-causing compounds found in nature. That's why it's strong."

To really test this product I went to the smelliest place in my humble abode: THE LITTER BOX!
Pure Ayre can be used to treat, but is not limited to: "etroleum products (like gasoline and diesel), sulfides (like rotten eggs and skunk), ammonia (like urine) and aldehydes."  It can even remove stains.

While the litter box contained nothing, this "clean" cat toilet still emanates a funk.
I sprayed Pure Ayre all over the closet where the LB lives (it's safe on all fabrics, but test an inconspicuous spot first) and directly on/in the litter box.
Instead of some fake, overwhelming floral or allergic reaction inducing fragrance I smelled a faint mint scent.  The scent is so faint I struggled to smell it at all - which is when I realized that in a matter of moments the funk disppeared.
Fast forward to 10 minutes later and I think the cats are still trying to find their litter box.

Pure Ayre is a great, effective, and environmentally product that I happily recommend to all.
How can you get it?
But it now online, or look here for an index of stores and a store locator!

Note: I received no compensation, other than a sample of Pure Ayre, for this review.  It is 100% honest and all opinions are my own.
Also, for what it's worth, I pre-wrote this post before my trip to Texas!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We have a band!

Ladies and gentlemen, we booked a band!
Looking back to the start of our wedding entertainment/music choosing adventure, I feel silly about the whole thing.  We are so particular.  Like almost Bridzilla-particular.

Band Requirements:
1) able to play more than one Hora ("Jewish Music")
2) able to play more than one Polka
3) knows Bridal Dollar Dance Polka (aka "Pani Mloda") post for another time to explain
4) familiar with contemporary and oldies
5) horn section
6) the band as a whole has to be fantastic (bold, underline and italicized)

Because of all these stipulations, I leaned towards a DJ. (plus they're cheaper)
However Mike cares more about this part of our wedding, so he's in charge of researching/finding/booking the musical selection.
I mean, I helped and all when consulted.  I left the details of this up to Mike.

Meet Time Machine, our 10-piece variety band with a 4 page, two column song list!

Here's how they match up against our requirements:
1) know a Hora Medly, 6 other Horas, and Jewish Wedding Ceremony music
2 & 3) know 6 Polkas, including the Bridal Dance
4) see 4 page song list!
5) horn section included!
6) "Time Machine creates a party atmosphere wherever they perform" (-from website)
Also, in our twenty (yes really, 20) emails back-and-forth we've experienced wonderful customer service.  AND (last thing I swear) they will learn any song! (with 6 weeks notice).
I just hope they know the electric slide. *wink*

Here's a little taste of Time Machine and their talent!

You can watch more videos (and get ready to party for our wedding) HERE.

Which favorite songs do you love to dance to at a wedding reception?

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Sister's Name is Hope

{source} Inspired by Emily Dickinson

Well no, my sister's name is actually Marlo - like the famed Marlo Thomas.  And it's fitting because my sister is famous, at least to me.

Looking back on my life, when I think of a source of hope and inspiration my sister comes to mind.  Without a doubt my sister, who is eight years older than me, definitely pulled me through many a tough time. Times when I felt like all was lost, or nothing was going right, or boys confused me, or I questioned myself, these are all moments when my sister shined a light - a ray of hope - for me to see.

Take the time when I was 14 (or so?) and dealing with my period.  [This is not graphic, keep reading].  Tampons confused the heck outta me.  After 30-plus minutes in the bathroom I came out intimidated, scared, overwhelmed and just plain hormonal, and broke down in tears.  Marlo saw my pain, empathized with my frustration and pulled me into her closet with a bunch of tampons.  [again, not graphic, keep going]  She calmly told me that tampons were silly and nothing to fear.  Then I watched her literally fling one out of the package into the air.  She handed me a bunch and proceeded to rip open more packaging and shoot them like torpedoes around us.  Before long we were laughing, and laughing so hard tears streamed down my face.  My sister managed to calm my fears, soothe my worries, and make me cry again - but in a good way.  I felt hopeful about being a woman.

Another time I emailed her with my worries about dating and boys.  She wrote back what ended up being my maid-of-honor speech at her wedding.  "Tell boys they're smart and funny and repeat things they say."  I swear this advice only works on high school boys, but none the less she managed to build up my confidence and help me to see my self worth.  And it made a hilarious, yet heartfelt, speech, by the way.

Now here I am in Texas, miles away from my DC home, watching my sister and brother-in-law successfully raise their two daughters and I think to myself, There's no way I could EVER do this.  As I hold my 4 day-old niece, Madelyne, I think,  There's no way I could EVER give birth to two - let alone one - babies!  I watch her meet the needs of my oldest niece, Eleanor, and am amazed how she soothes both little-ones.
I ask her how she does (raise a family, have a great job, own an awesome home, successful overall).  How does she feel? Isn't she worried about, uh, stuff? and life? and raising her baby girls and the world around them?
She told me she, "hopes for the best."

Sometimes that's all it takes is a little hope to get you a little farther.
Before you know it, you're there.
You just gotta fling tampons and give wacky advice.
And hope.

 My sister and I, with her two daughters ...sisters!

Friday, July 2, 2010

That's right, you're not from Texas

I LOVE that Lyle Lovett song You're Not From Texas
It's so catchy and fun.
And I'm not from Texas, but Texas wants me anyways.
Or maybe just my sister and brother-in-law and niece and... newborn niece!!

I'm headed to Texas for a couple weeks to be with my sister and her family.
Any pending review items during this time will be blogged about after my return, as I will not be able to accurately blog about an item I haven’t used yet. Thank you for understanding!

In the meantime...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I am a dork.

I said it, and I know it to be true: I'm a dork.
I love technology, sci-fi movies, and reading - among many nerdy things.
Some might even consider me "smart,"  but I'm not that conceited to go so far as to say it myself.
And I'm blonde, so how intelligent I am might be overshadowed by my hair color.

At any rate, here's proof of how dorky I am.
I created a shell for my new My Touch Slide from Tmobile.
I love this phone so much.
I love my blog so much.

Now the two can coexist in dorkiness, in my purse.

Needless to say, I can't WAIT for it to come in the mail!
The Tmobile Studio has the SkinIt tool available to create shells, skins, and more for many phones.
You too can play the day away, personalizing your phone!
Maybe I'll even make one for my wedding day?!

What's your dorky/guilty pleasure?
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