Monday, August 30, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Simple Green Naturals

My green cleaning power overflowith.

Thanks to Simple Green Naturals my home is not only clean, but in an earth-friendly way.  Simple Green's newest line of cleaners, Naturals, are "100% naturally derived, with ingredients originating from nature: chicory, coconut, corn, palm, naturally occurring minerals, salt and sugar, and water. Nothing else."

And they clean just as well, if not better, than the Simple Green original cleaner we know and love.

Simple Green Naturals provided me with 7 different products: Carpet Care, Multi-Surface Care, Bathroom Cleaner, Glass and Surface Care, Floor Care, Dish Washing Liquid, and Liquid Hand Soap.   They were all great!!  Many have a "foam" setting on the spray nozzle, too!

Naturals are safer, effective products that offer:
• 100% natural ingredient sources
• Biodegradable formulations
• Full ingredient disclosure
• International scientifically-accepted ingredient names
• Naturals scents are IFRA compliant and made of 100% natural essential oils & plant extracts.
• 100% recyclable PETE plastic bottles with 25%+ post-consumer content, printed with soy inks
• Natural Versus Naturally Derived
• No animal testing
• Non-toxic formulations

You can win Simple Green naturals!
What you will win:
A Simple Green Naturals Kit including 7 full-sized cleaning products 
(pictured above.)

Here's how to enter the giveaway:

Mandatory Entry:  Comment below telling me why you want to win Simple Green Naturals Cleaners.

(**You must do the first entry first to qualify for bonus entries. Please leave a comment for each entry! If it says 3 entries then leave 3 entries! You must be 18 years old! No PO Box addresses will be accepted! Please make sure you leave an e-mail address or have it in your profile! If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask!** )

Bonus Entries
1. Follow my blog publicly with Google Friend Connect (1 entry)
2. Like me on Facebook (1 entry)
3. Subscribe by email located on left sidebar to my blog (1 entry)
4. Add my button to your blog or add me to your blogroll (2 entries each)
5. Blog about this giveaway. Leave me link. (3 entries)
6. Follow @CrowndVic* on Twitter and tweet** this giveaway (1 entry/tweet)
*Tweets protected.  I will approve you as long as you're not a bot.
**Anything appropriate w/URL or something like:  "I want to clean green with @SimpleGreenNews and @CrowndVic #giveaway "
7. Follow @SimpleGreenNews on Twitter (1 entry)
8. Like Simple Green on Facebook  (1 entry)
9.  Vote for this blog*** (Crowning Victoria) for Weddzilla's Blog Guru award! (1 entry)
***Must be a new vote if voted previously.  Scroll through pages to find my button. Click arrow to vote.

Giveaway will end on 9/24/10 (my birthday!) at 11 PM EST.

Winner will be chosen by and will be e-mailed. The winner has 48 hrs. to respond to my e-mail or another winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner on my blog.
Open to US only.

{photo 1: Yours Truly, Me}   {photo 2: source}

Disclaimer: These opinions are 100% my own.  Simple Green provided me with full-sized bottles of their products for the purpose of this review and giveaway.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: Jammie Girl jammies!

This summer I scoured the PJ department in stores looking for a light-weight, matching set of jammies.  I wanted a pair I could wear when visiting family: something comfy, yet that wouldn't cling to me and obviously show I don't sleep in a bra.  In the privacy of my own home that works, but I'm sure my bro-in-law would appreciate something more, uh, modest. (Hi, Matt!)

Jammie Girl contacted me with the perfect review and giveaway opportunity!

These Malabar Bay organic cotton, super comfy jammies came in a cute drawstring pouch, inside of a Jammie Girl bag!
In Sea Stars Blue print, they are perfect for my visits to Florida.

I found the jammies to be true to size and the right length.  I ordered the medium because I wear a size 8, and these PJs were just right if not a little roomie.  They wash well and easily, too.

In about a month's time, in honor of my birthday, Jammie Girl offered a giveaway, too!  You can win a great pair of Malabar Bay PJs from Jammie Girl!  Stay tuned for this giveaway in about 2 weeks! (Oh, and be sure to check out Jammie Girl's site, blog, and follow them on Twitter, for their super cute PJ options - like the ones featured on my most favorite show ever, How I Met Your Mother)

Penny Lane and Melonball highly recommend these jammies, too!

Disclaimer: These opinions are 100% honest and my own. Jammie Girl sent me the pair of pajamas for the purpose of this review and upcoming giveaway.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Dream Wedding

I did it. I survived the first week of school.  Thank you very much to all my guest bloggers who filled in for me while I tried to keep up with my new class of twenty 7 yr olds!
Get ready for Monday when Crown'd Vic returns to share an awesome giveaway! 

Here's our last guest blogger: Sarah Ruth whose beautiful wedding went off without a hitch, minus having to move the date up to accommodate her future-hubby's Army deployment!   Her husband is overseas in Afghanistan while she is a stay at home wife, trying to find a way to make money from home! Her hobbies include scrapbooking, making jewelry, most craft things, blogging, etc (a girl after my own heart!).

I started dreaming of my wedding day when I was just a little girl. I always wanted to get married in the same room my parents did, the chapel in my home church. With my best friends standing by my side. All of my friends and family there to watch my become a Mrs. Every little detail would be perfect.

When Matthew proposed, we knew he would be deployed at some point but we thought we had plenty of time to plan my dream wedding. The day after I got our personalized napkins in the mail we found out his deployment had been bumped up by 6 months and we would have to change our wedding date.

We finally decided on January 16th, 2010. With only 4 months to plan, we had to move quickly. It also meant that a lot of our family and friends could not make it to our wedding. We invited a little more than 100 people. Which for some people is big. However, with the size of my family and the number of friends we have, we wanted to invite over 300!

A lot of the small detail we worked out the way I wanted them. My flowers and my sister’s flowers. The colors we used. The paper lanterns in the reception room. The purple shoes with my lime green nail polish.

One big thing that didn’t happen. My grandparents weren’t there. My dad’s parents have both passed away. My mom’s parents are still alive and very much a part of my life. Due to their health, they were not able to travel to my wedding.

We had our ceremony in the foyer to the chapel. I loved how it turned out! The candelabras are the exact same ones that my parents used in their wedding.

Matthew’s brother Keith was his best man. My sister Hannah was my maid of honor. Matthew’s daughter Callie was our flower girl. Our friend’s son Ty was our ring bearer. Matthew’s best friend Rodney sang for us. The rest of the guys Matthew asked to be groomsmen couldn’t make it. That’s why we decided to just have a best man and maid of honor. We did have ushers who were (from Left to Right) my cousin Eric, our friend (my “brudder”) Brian, our friend (My “brother”) Toye, and my best friend Josh. My best friend Kelly was my honorary Matron of Honor. I felt bad about not having my other bridesmaids stand up with me. I didn’t even get pictures with them. That’s definitely something I would have changed.

These center pieces were EXACTLY what I wanted. My mom did such an amazing job with them! We only did half of the center pieces like this.

I absolutely loved the cupcakes we had. They were adorable and SO yummy! Probably the best I’ve ever had! But I think I would have a cake at the next wedding.

I had a vision of my reception being in a beautiful ballroom with chandeliers galore. I am very pleased with the way it turned out though. I think the only big thing I would change about the room itself would be: No Fluorescent lights!!

Here’s a big detail I would change. We originally wanted to have our “guest book” be a signature picture frame. When we have our “BIG” wedding, we will do that.

We decided to do a “unity candle” in our wedding. Since we plan on having a bigger vow renewal ceremony for all of our friends and family, we are going to do a sand ceremony. We didn’t want to do that for this ceremony since you can only mix different colored sand once! LOL!

When I look back at our wedding, it was really the perfect day. There were things that didn’t go as planned. There were details I will change for our big ceremony. But the day I married the love of my life was absolutely perfect. I will never think differently.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I hope you all enjoyed my pictures! I'm so glad that Victoria asked me to do a guest post for her blog! I feel honored! To read more about my wedding and married life, come visit me at Sarah Ruth Today.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rehearsal What?

What if I told you I actually KNEW the next guest blogger from Real Life?!  I know, it's hard to believe. Joanna is a college bestie of mine, from back in my days at the University of Texas.  The interwebs reunited us, and I have her to thank for showing me the blogging ropes.   You MUST check out her blog, Raising Madison, and read all about her squish-tastic cute, little girl - oh and her life, too.   Joanna is one determined, amazing, woman.
Everyone should know and love her, too!

In the months counting down until my wedding everyone joked about how I was going to be bridezilla. To say that I don’t handle stress well would be the understatement of the year. I am a drama queen & I know it. I have learned to embrace it and I even found a man willing to put up with love me for eternity.

I can’t be that bad, right?
The big day came and to everyone’s surprise I was NOT bridezilla. I was cool & calm. It didn’t matter that the ice sculpture had our married monogram wrong, that the DJ screwed up our first dance or that the bartender told people we were out of beer (which we were NOT).

But I’m not here to talk about how calm I was on the day of my wedding. I’m here to talk about THE breakdown of 2008… better known as “Our rehearsal night.”
The day started off like I imagine it does for most middle class, suburban couples. Clint went off to drink beer & golf with the men. I spent the day giggling with my girlfriends getting mani/pedis. I was surrounded by my best friends and things seem perfect…. Until they weren’t.

This would be a good time to share with you that by the time of our wedding we were on our THIRD wedding coordinator at the country club. I booked the country club in March and my wedding was in November. I found out Linda* was the third & final wedding coordinator exactly 2 weeks before my wedding. I was assured there would be no issues & a smooth transition.
Clint met me at the house to change & head to the country club. While on the way, I received a phone call at 5:15 p.m. from Linda, our wedding coordinator at the club, asking me where we were. I explained to her that the rehearsal was at 6:00 p.m. and we were on our way. Her response to me was that the rehearsal was at 5 p.m. and they were waiting for us. When I said we thought it was at 6:00 p.m. and asked if it was a problem the response I received was "well, it's Halloween and we'd really like to get home to our families, but we'll make it work."

You’ll make it work? Really? Will you? How about those tens of thousands of dollars we are paying you for this wedding… will that help you MAKE. IT. WORK. {insert expletives}?
We all eventually made it to the rehearsal where we greeted with the issue of the century, which I will summarize for you now.

The room for the ceremony was set up without the piano. I had requested that it be in there for the ceremony several months prior to the wedding. (Read: with wedding coordinator NUMBER ONE). I was quickly informed by Linda that the piano was just for show and was never used or tuned.
Yes, you read that correctly. The piano was there- just for show. The same piano that I was told could be used for both my wedding ceremony and for music during the cocktail hour.

She then went on to tell me there was absolutely no way she could move it into the ballroom for the ceremony. I figured now was a great time to mention that I not only requested the piano for the ceremony, I wanted it moved BACK into the other room with the cakes for the cocktail hour. Linda's response to me was they wouldn't be able to do that either. I told her that when I made these requests with Sam* (wedding coordinator #2), I was told there would be no problem. We even confirmed with Jose* on the day we met with Sam* and him.

Linda's curt response was, "If I had been your wedding coordinator, I would have told you that logistically it was a bad idea because you want us serving your guests, not moving a piano."
So there I stood, 24 hours before my wedding, being told that she would not have allowed the use of the piano and moving it wasn't feasible. I had planned my whole wedding ceremony and cocktail hour around that piano and had confirmed all these details the week prior.

To this day, the {lack of} customer service still blows me away. In my mind, there should have been one thing said to me, “we’ll make it work.” And that should have been the end of it.
Needless to say…. Bridezilla began rearing her ugly head.
After the issue with the piano, I stepped away and Linda walked up to my fiancé, Clint, and said that she went back to her office, looked up our rehearsal and it WAS at 6:00 p.m., not 5:00 p.m.
2 years later, I’m still waiting for my apology.

In the end, my wedding came together beautifully. Our guests ate, drank & danced the night away and I walked away married to my true love. I’ve watched many of my friends get married in the years since my wedding and my one bit of advice to them is that NONE OF IT MATTERS on the day of your wedding. The sky could be falling and it just would not matter.
By the next morning I was cool as a cucumber, all traces of bridezilla had melted away & I soaked in every moment of my wedding day.


*Names have been changed. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not So Picture Perfect

Randa, from The Bewitchin' Kitchen, is a newlywed!  Her recent wedding provided many great photo-opps, but I'll let her tell you more about that below!  She's got a great blog with awesome giveaways *ahem...Dysoncontactme...ahem* and even though she's all the way up in Canada, she's just a tweet away!

I really shouldn't complain. I was fortunate enough to have a beautiful wedding and everything went beautifully. No guests got too drunk and made a scene (okay one or two decided to throw up, one right outside the main doors and one right in front of the empty candy bar, but I left by that point so I really don't care). However, when I got my wedding photos I did have an issue with a couple of them...

First off, I want to state that this was not the fault of my photographer. She did a wonderful job, this was a little detail ALL of us had a hard time noticing. My husbands brother (one of the groomsman) kept having his sunglasses on in the photos, which I mean mistakes happen BUT we had to constantly tell him to take them off and he just kept putting them back on. (The same thing happened with my husband's father...which was really upsetting when we got the photos back, which we don't really care about because we never planned on blowing those pictures up.)

Here is what made me really sad. There was ONE SHOT, that is just beautiful. We planned on blowing it up and having it magnificently framed in our living room. It was the photo we were the most excited about seeing...and this is what we noticed when we got it back...
It's truly a beautiful shot. A great photo to have up in my house, but those damn glasses! Luckily, we have another beautiful group shot...

But it's just not the same, the last photo was beautiful. This one is ... cute. With a little bit of comedy. I do have a couple of more photos with the sunglasses, but none that I care about. The first photo was one of the only photos I cared about, and that is why I am disappointed.

Really, I shouldn't complain. No one said negative things (to my knowledge) about me at my wedding, nothing embarrassing happened, everyone had a great time. But these photos last forever...

For more wedding photos check out The Bewitchin' Kitchen and find Wedding Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Today's story is brought to you by Krysten, a sweet, warm, fun woman from  After 'I Do'.
She lives in River Falls Wisconsin with her husband, Dustin, and their zoo - 2 cats named Metro and Molly and a toy poodle named Monte (love it!). Dustin is a computer technician and she works part time at a clothing store called Maurice's.  If that's not enough she's also a full time student with a major in sales and marketing!  In her spare time she enjoys being with friends and family, reading and writing and of course blogging.

Hi all, I'm Krysten from After 'I Do'. When Vicki asked me if I'd like to guest post about mishaps on my wedding day, I knew right away what I wanted to post about.

I was married nearly two years ago on September 27th, 2008 and it was a day to be remembered. The ceremony was so sweet with plenty of smiles and not a single tear shed by myself (despite the fact that I am a major crier). The cocktail hour was overwhelming with everyone wanting to talk to us but such a great time to see everyone. And the reception, well, that was just plain fun.

However, along the way to the big day there were mishaps, such as losing three wedding party members, finding out just days before the wedding that one of my readers wouldn’t be able to attend, finding out the day of the wedding that another reader didn’t want the job anymore and, oh yeah, the fact that my mom and I were in a car accident the day of the rehearsal.

Today, though, I’d like to talk about our wedding officiant Doug. Doug is a long time friend of my dad’s. They’ve known each other since high school and now they live in the same time and get together quite often to play cards, go boating or just hang out. When we found out that Doug could perform wedding ceremonies we knew that we wanted him to do ours.

In the months before the wedding, we worked with Doug to perfect our ceremony. We didn’t want a religious ceremony as neither my husband or I are religious. We found a book on how to construct a personal ceremony and eventually we figured out something that was perfect for us.

During the rehearsal we found on small kink in the ceremony: my husband’s last name (and soon to be my last name). You see, when my parents first met Dustin and I told them his last name my dad had a bit of a hard time with it. Dustin’s last name ends in STEIN and is pronounced STINE. However, my dad constantly wanted to say STEEN. Because of this, our officiant Doug had a bit of a difficult time remembering the right pronunciation. We rehearsed the ceremony multiple times and we kept saying, “STEEN Doug, like Frankenstein!” Eventually he seemed to get it and all was good.

Like I said, the ceremony went without a hitch. We figured out the situation with the readers and that went beautifully. Doug gave a wonderful speech about love and marriage and Dustin and I were able to give each other our personal vows without any problem.

Then, it was time to pronounce us husband and wife and to announce Mr. and Mrs. And that’s when it happened. Doug slipped back into saying STEEN instead of STINE. It could have been a big issue if I had been one of those brides. However, when multiple people, including my new husband and myself, all said, “It’s STINE Doug!” no one could help but laugh.

In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal of all and now I look back on that memory quite fondly and with a big smile on my face. It may have been a wedding mishap, sure, but it was one that I certainly didn’t mind and it’s part of what made that day fun, loving, special and silly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flower Power

Today's stellar post comes from Natalie, a fun chica and happy wife in San Diego. She is a proud mama to a pug puppy (cuteness!) and keeps herself busy with work in corporate communications and an MBA in marketing. She loves all things fashion-related and writes about glam and women's issues at The Bobby Pin (where "Life is scattered, like bobby pins in your bathroom drawer.")

Hi, I'm Natalie from The Bobby Pin. When Vicki asked me about my wedding disasters, several came to mind. But truth be told, it turned out amazing. We planned our Newport Beach wedding from Utah, and I never met many vendors in person, including the cake decorator and the florist, and I met our photographer the day of. So it could have been crazy. But we never had any problems with vendors. I didn't even have a coordinator, we just went with it. While I might not advise that, I would definitely adopt the attitude we had of "everything will work out, even if the cake doesn't show up," because it made the day a lot more stress free.

It is a wedding. But it is the start of a marriage, and so far the three best years of my life.

That said, it is one of the bigger events you plan in your life, and so you'd like it to be as disaster free as possible. We were not immune. The paramedics showed up when a guest went into shock. We had the typical family drama. But talking about those wouldn't help anyone.

So, the true near-disaster was when that blue flower

Met this white dress

When we took this picture:

After that picture we realized that I had a blue streak across the front of my gown. Heart attack.

Luckily my best bud whipped out a Shout wipe. Pure amazingness. It removed the stain and  we ripped out the blue flower from husband's bout to avoid it happening again. You know when they tell you to have a little bridal emergency kit ready? They aren't kidding. Those mishaps that you just can't expect might happen and you want to be able to take care of them so they don't ruin your day.

Good luck as you plan your wedding, Victoria. Avoid pressing flowers with your wedding dress. Oh, and take your dress to the dry cleaners immediately after. My dress is still in the basement with sand on the bottom. Yes, three years later I have yet to take it to the dry cleaners. I'm too scared to look at it at this point.

Monday, August 23, 2010

When DJs attack

My first week back-to-school with my 20 second graders will be chaotic, fun, and busy.  The beginning of the school year is such a great time, but honestly I will have no time to plan a wedding or blog about it.  Thankfully I have 5 lovely guest bloggers lined up for your reading pleasure!
We all know things can go awry when planning huge events, such as your wedding (which you secretly hope will go without a hitch).  These posts over the next few days detail what can, and did, go amiss for 5 different brides.
Because we all need an outlet for stressful situations, and because some of their stories are too funny not to share, I bring you these bloggers for your reading enjoyment!

First up is Nicci from Changing the Universe.  As a wife and working-mom, Nicci faces the challenge of spending quality time with their ah-dor-able baby boy, Aric (love that spelling!) and bringing home the bacon.  We share a mutual love affair with our cameras and dislike of Brett Farve.  Nicci's great for a random tweet and for evoking food jealously through her scrumptious blog posts!

I married my husband on March 29th, 2008. It was an early spring day, a bit chilly and windy, but no rain OR snow (the snow held off until we were about to take off on our honeymoon!). I was determined to make the most of my wedding and laugh off any snafus that might arise and call them "Stories to tell the Grandkids."

There was the un-coordinated wedding coordinator who locked us INTO the church as we were trying to process out. Hilarious! I still laugh about that woman. There was the lack of bread for me to munch on before the ceremony, but I really didn't need it anyway.

But there was one problem in my wedding that to this day I still haven't been able to really talk about. The DJ.

I knew when we first met him that something was off and that I wasn't going to be happy. But soon-to-be husband assured me it was ok. We had very few requests, but they were very specific and very hard to mess up. We had three very specific songs we wanted played at very specific times. He didn't have 2 of them, so we made a CD for him.

We wanted "rat-pack" style music during dinner and a microphone at the head table for speeches and something special my sister had up her sleeve. His response? "Oh, I have some ice-breaker games we can play before the dance." I explained to him that that wasn't necessary, but he blew me off. Then, we requested to hold back on the clubbing music and country music, but otherwise, have at it.

This is what we got:

During the Grand March, he pronounced our last name wrong. Even though we told him several times how to say it and he spelled it phonetically on his little sheet thingy. Oh, and he'd double-checked with the hubs right before the march.

I can't tell you if we had rat-pack style music during dinner or not. He kept playing stupid "ice-breaker" games and interrupting our dinner time. At one point, he announced a game that we were all gonna play that was a "tradition in the bride's family." Um, buddy? Yeah, most of the bride's family is Italian. We don't play stupid little games like "Who has the most money at the table." Our traditions include shots of Annisette at the start of the reception, giving out awards for the most drunk family member, and bringing sacks of White Castle to the after party.

So I guess I got the quiet dinner atmosphere I wanted, if by quiet you mean children running around with forks and other people's shoes playing scavenger-hunt-musical-chairs.

The microphone? Not even at the table. I had to stand-up at my table, flag him down, and shout to him that I wanted the mic. Very becoming of a bride, no? Then, after each speech, he took the microphone BACK with him to play more stupid games even though we had five speeches to get through. Apparently we wanted the DJ to be the star of our wedding. Forget the heartfelt, hilarious speeches, bring on the PARTY GAMES!!!

The first dance and the wedding party dance went off without a hitch (thank the heavens above!). But then, oh then. My mom and I have this little thing that we do. When she re-married when I was a senior in high school, we performed "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen at her reception. We wanted to do the same at my reception. The DJ assured me up one side and down the other that he had that song. I asked if he was sure since we were already making him a CD, we could throw that song on there too. Nope, he was sure. I asked again and told him it was VERY IMPORTANT that he have this song. Again, he assured me he did. (Can you get a hint at where this is going?) That's right. He didn't have it.

It was at this point that I started crying. He had already been playing absolutely crap-tastic music at this point. I didn't notice too much, since I was still working the crowds, but I had noticed that no one was dancing. My mom flipped her lid. She was the one paying for him, after all! She stormed up to him and just ripped into him! She screamed at him about having a bride in tears because he sucked so bad. She asked if possibly he could play music from, oh, I don't know, any time AFTER I was born.

And then he turned into an ass. Whenever anyone would request a song, he would reply, "You have to ask the bride. Her mom yelled at me so I can't play any requests any more." Um, EXCUSE ME?!?! So that was fun, having people come up to me repeatedly asking if this song or that song could be played. At least I prevented any Spice Girls from gracing the speakers.

So then, it was the end of the night. Our final request to the DJ was that the very last song played of the night, the VERY VERY last song that was played, be "Yellow Ledbetter" by Pearl Jam. He played it at the end of the night ...... then played three more songs.

My mom had planned on tipping him in cash that night. Instead, she and my step-dad went out for a nice dinner the following weekend with some extra cash they had laying around :)

In conclusion: When it comes to wedding planning, go with your gut. Don't take the easy route and just use whatever company works with your reception hall (which is what I did). Do your research. If you leave the initial meeting with a feeling in your stomach that something isn't right, DON'T use that company. Or, have another meeting to clear up any issues you thought there might be.

All in all, my wedding day was fantastic. And honestly, if the DJ was the worst thing about it, then we did a darn good job! And I would relive that day over and over again .... even with the DJ from Hell :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Something Blue 2

You might recall my previous search for Something Blue in which I purchased many pairs of blue shoes and decided on one. I picked the Nina pair, but at the time they were only available in mint green.  I waited 2 months for my china blue Nina Electra shoes to become available and pounced on them.  They are mine, all mine!
While they sit in the closet, neatly in the box, waiting for their unveiling, I found lovely, expensive, beautiful Louboutins.
Oh these Christian Louboutins are stunning.  Darn that bridal magazine for flashing them into my line of view, and into my heart!  I really, really, really want them - like I've never wanted shoes before.  I'm not a shoe girl either (I know ladies, pick your jaw up off the floor).  But for these stunning beauties my heart beats a little faster.  They're designer. I've never ever owned designer shoes before.  What better time to own Louboutins than for my wedding?!

However a good friend made a great point: who will see them? Honestly, aside from the photographer, I'm not sure who will see the shoes.  But I do think I might walk up to a few of my girl friends, slightly lift the hem of my gown and proclaim "LOOK!" while beaming with pride.

Then one of my Tweeps made another case: she bought $200 shoes for her special day and never wore them again.  They sit in their fancy-pants box, hanging out, not being worn.
Many brides even take off their 4" heels to dance, donning a much less expensive pair of wedge-flipflops in favor of comfort.

To make matters worse and the decision harder, the lovely Louboutins which normally retail at $500+ run a mere $157 on one site (thanks to Ali for that find!!!!).
I can totally see myself wearing them again.

I'm blue for my shoes. So what to do, internet?
My faithful bloggy followers, please tell me your vote.
(Oh and share YOUR something blue!)

{Nina's source}
{Louboutin's source}

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ten Months Away!

We're Ten Months away from tying the knot, and are plugging along!

So far we've secured our date, location, officiant, and band.
We have a block of hotel rooms at two different places.
I have my purdy dress and Mike owns his tux.
The Save the Dates are set to print and we should receive them soon. 
(And I will blog about that when I'm not so darn busy with preparing my classroom for the school year!)

We're so extremely close to deciding on a caterer, but there are still a few companies getting back to us on our Request for Proposal (RFP for people in the know!).

I even know my Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed ...and my Something Blue will be revealed tomorrow!

We're working on:
-Day After Breakfast menu and logistics (which we forgot to budget.  BIG OOPS)
-Wedding Bands/Rings
-hiring a photographer (without going broke)

And I'm sorta thinking about:
-Bridesmaids dresses
-alterations for my gown
-my hair, oh my hair

Whats everyone else up to these days?!
{image source}

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Something Borrowed

So far we have:  Something Old, Something New....
I mentioned previously that my sis and I went through her wedding stuff and I stole borrowed some of it.
Ah ha! "Something Borrowed"

I've also mentioned my adversity to veils and the need to wear one for the Bedeken.
I found the perfect solution to my veil issue.

My sister's veil will be my "something borrowed."
And from what I remember, she MADE that awesome thing!

So I'll wear it for the Bedeken to cover and uncover my face.
Then I'll take it off for the ceremony! Poof!
Something Borrowed!

Oh, and since you can't see it in the collage so well, I will share this picture separately because I love it.

{All photos by Yours Truly, Me}

What was YOUR "Something Borrowed"?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something New

This one is boring.  My dress is my "something new."
Well of course it's new.
I mean, I guess it could be rented or even borrowed.  (And more power to those girls who go that route!)

But I think I want something ELSE new.
Ohhh, earings?
Or a necklace?
Or that peacock clutch I saw on Etsy...

I think I will start my Etsy prowl today.

Here little shiny thing... come to Vicki!

Anyone want to sponsor my wedding and supply my "something new"?
I'll write a review blog post for ya!

Or anyone have suggestions?
What was your "something new" ?

 {picture source}

Monday, August 16, 2010

Something Old

While visiting my sister in Texas, we went through her wedding keepsakes.  I loved seeing what she chose to remember her special day.  Among those items was the handkerchief my mom carried with her on her wedding day.  My sister used this item as her "something old."

I decided to do the same and make it my "something old."  I feel this is a really special idea, and hope that my nieces and future daughters (?) will also be able to use it. 

There's a small brown stain on it.  It looks like a wine glass rested on it and left a ring, or maybe mascara?

I set out to remove the stain and return it to original condition.  I wondered if this is how archeologists feel... not that I'm calling my mom old... OK I'm stopping there.
The fabric is delicate (and about 45 years old) so I treated it with care.  First I soaked it in Woolite for about an hour.  No luck.  Then I put stain remover on the spots and let it soak for another hour with baking soda.  Nothing.
I got brave.  With fresh, warm water in the sink I dropped in a tablespoon of bleach and promised myself to not let it sit long.
Well two hours later (I blame the internet) I jumped out of my chair and ran to the bathroom cursing along the way. I was sure I had ruined it, expecting to find holey bits of fabric floating amongst nothingness.

I was wrong, thankfully.
(Mom you can breathe again now)

The handkerchief is fine, and stain free!

Now, I do not recommend doing this to anything you care deeply about.  The risk does not outweigh the possible outcome.  I got lucky.

Oh so beeee-u-ti-ful!
Now to keep it away from red wine on my big day!

What was/will be your "something old" ?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer's End

Simply writing that title makes me want to sleep in an extra hour tomorrow.

I feel like a toddler about to throw a class A tantrum.
I. Don't. WANNA. go. back. to. school.

I love my summers off.  I work hard during the year and earned this break!

This summer, in particular, allowed me some of the best relaxation, celebration, and libations.  Best of all, Mike enjoyed the same time off.  Together we tackled this wedding planning and enjoyed each others' company.

-I welcomed my newest niece, spent the most time with my sister since she went off to college, and played with my eldest niece.

-I relaxed, drank too much beer, and then swore I'd ease up on the drinks.

-I planned a quarter of my wedding, took photography breaks, and blogged my heart out.

-I caught up with Meagan, shopped for bridesmaids dresses with my girls, and laughed to 'til I cried.

Looking back at my Summer Bucket List that I wrote at the beginning of summer, I did "alright."
From my list, I managed to:
-sit by the pool (albiet the baby pool, but it counts)
-hire a wedding band
-got a new cell phone
-helped with the arrival of my newest niece
-played with playdoh (with my cute, cute niece)
-met up with friends for drinks (more than once)
-went to the super, dog water park
-stayed in PJs all day
-photog'd the neighbor's babe
-finished not one, but 4 books (Ok, so what if it was the Twilight Saga?)
-went to not one, but 2 doc appts
-made No Pudge Fudge brownies

I'll neglect to mention what did not get done :)

As I go back to work, I compare this time to Santa Claus preparing for his Christmas rush.  A teacher in their classroom before the school year begins is a real sight to see.   I suspect that my blogging might take a hiatus at this time, because I will have little-to-no-time to even think about my wedding.
Soon I will welcome lovely guest bloggers sharing about their wedding mishaps.  There are some crazy, yet inspiring, things these women went through on their wedding day!
Thank you, ladies, for helping out a bloggy friend!  (This iwll begin the day the kids come back to the classrooms, Aug 23.  Teachers go back on the 16th. Monday. boo.)

Stupid last Friday of summer vacation.

{All photos taken by Yours Truly, Me}

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dirty, Little Secret

I know a dirty secret that I'm about to share with you.  And oh, it makes me so mad.  Mad like nobody-does-this-to-Vicki-and-gets-away-with-it mad.  So I'm going to share it with you, and the internet, the world.  This is my redemption.

But first, some back story:
Remember back in the beginning of wedding planning when the location decision stood between Glen Echo National Park and The Carnegie Institution?  I love Glen Echo's whimsical feel, casual setting, and carefree ambiance.  I also love Carnegie's sophisticated style, up-front elegance, and gorgeous architecture.

To get a picture of the overall cost for Glen Echo I contacted a caterer who tried their best.  The caterer was the one to inform me we would need to rent a tent (an extra $750) since GE has no on-site kitchen.  GE finally told me about this, and that the carousel would run until 6p.  No muting it. Overall, too many details caused us to worry about Glen Echo and executing our perfect, special day.  It's a darn good thing we decided not to go with Glen Echo, because I found out something nasty about them.

Get this:
Glen Echo requires caterers to mark up their costs 10% to go back into Glen Echo's pocket.  They require you to put your catering contract in Glen Echo's hands, who then marks it up in price, and keeps the difference.  But Glen Echo never tell you this.
I have my sources.

How wrong!
As if brides and grooms don't have enough to spend money on for their wedding?!

So here we go, how many google searches can I cover?
Glen Echo Wedding
Glen Echo rental extra costs
Glen Echo secrets
Glen Echo mark up

Brides beware: Glen Echo doesn't tell you everything you need to know.
I hope your pockets are deep.

{picture source

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn!

Buckle your seatbelts for an EPIC POST:

Take a look at Scott Circle in DC.
The green arrow locates Scott Circle.
The purple star shows the location of our wedding and reception: The Carnegie Institution.
All the red letters show hotels in the immediate area.
So. Many. Choices.

Mike took on the responsibility of calling the many hotels and negotiation room block rates.  (I strongly dislike phone correspondence.  Give me email any day, but please, oh please, don't make me pick up a phone!)
Mike also possess the skill of talking people down on price.  I normally give up and pay what they ask. I don't win at flea markets.

One hotel in the area wanted $300/room/night and $2800 for the honeymoon suite.  Not kidding.
Another slightly under that price demanded an attrition rate. [Attrition rate: if your room block is not filled by a certain date you are required to pay 80% or so of the cost of those rooms not rented. aka: BS]

Soon enough we settled on wanting to see The DoubleTree, The Courtyard Marriot, and The Rouge.
Each are within four walking blocks of our venue - an easy enough jaunt there and drunken stumble back.

The DoubleTree

Tyrone from The DoubleTree is a customer service genius.  He honestly knew what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.  I feel completely comfortable working with him and enjoy his sense of humor.

The hotel was clean and beautiful.

The DoubleTree room block runs $129/night.  There is no attrition rate so long as we do not exceed 40 rooms/night.  If we fill  80% of our block, we receive 5% off a day-after breakfast.  If we fill 90% of our block, we get 10% off!

Tyrone even even allowed us to peek at the Presidential Sweet (aka Honeymoon Suite) even though the cleaning staff did not get to it yet.
It's spacious, gorgeous, and even has two bathrooms!

 The space for the Day-After Breakfast is bright, airy, and lovely.  It can seat up to 100 easily.

 Oh, and Tyrone gave us parting gifts for stopping by: a copy of The Knot DC and cookies!

The Courtyard Marriott

I know I promised not to cross any honest company trying to earn their money, unless they crossed me.  Well after waiting for The Chick-whose-name-escapes-me (not even the person Mike coordinated the room block rate with on the phone) to finally show up we then saw the Day-After Breakfast room.  It's dark and only seats 60.  Blah.

Then on our way to see the rooms The Chick realizes her master key doesn't work and leaves us standing there in a hallway for 5 solid minutes while she ran "real quick" to get more keys.  The rooms are nice, clean, but all different sizes as the building was once an office space for the NRA.

The Chick asks about our big day, making small talk, she then chuckles under her breath, "A Sunday wedding?! Haven't heard of one of those in awhile."    She's our age.  In awhile? Come on. Be professional.

The Courtyard Marriot runs $200/night and requires you to use the adjoining restaurant's catering service, with no discounts.  I don't believe there's an attrition rate. But there's The Chick to deal with.
The Honeymoon Suite was nice, but not very spacious.  (And covered in a little too much animal print for my liking)

The Rouge, by Kimpton

Immediately upon walking into The Rouge, Kate greeted us by name at the door. She then offered us ice tea and lemonade at their credenza, where they serve complementary wine from 5 to 7 daily during the summer.  Um, WOW.

The Rouge works off of a boutique hotel idea, but is owned by a small chain.  It's also DC's only green seal certified hotel.

This hotel ROCKS.  It's so avant-garde and fashion forward, I love it.  It runs on a red colored, retro theme throughout.

The block room rate for The Rouge runs $179 for a king room and $199 for a double queen. (No attrition rate, ever)  It's honestly worth the extra dough for such an awesome place!

 The only bummer is the space for a Day-After Breakfast can only hold 40 people.

However their Junior Suites all come with Wii game systems!

The Decision
What it boils down to is this: 
The DoubleTree not only has the best rate, but great customer service.  Their space for the Day-After Breakfast is gorgeous and the discount incentives are great.  We will reserve the bulk of our rooms there.
(Plus they gave us COOKIES!)

Since The Rouge is closer to the Wedding/Reception site, second best in price, with great customer service, we will block the rest of our rooms there.   

(BTW, The DoubleTree is "C" on the map and The Rouge is covered up accidentally by my purple star - even though the star represents The Carnegie Institution!)

Now to put all this together to go as inserts with our Save the Dates! Whew!

{Map of Scott Circle thanks go Google Maps}
{All other photos courtesy of Yours Truly, Me.}
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