Saturday, July 2, 2011

Married? Yeah, Married! Jeez...

This is it, Hive.  Today's "the day."  Nineteen months of planning, anticipation, and major uncertainty have come together.  It's finally here!

It's way too early to wake up, but that's okay.  The sun is rising over the Hudson and I'm curling up with my laptop. Would you expect anything less?

I know I'm still pretty new around these parts, but I want to thank you all for the words of encouragement.  I'm so grateful to you all. And to all the brides-to-be that are planning despite changing schedules and long distances, know that there is an end in sight and it will all come together! 

To my future husband, I love you and I choose you today, and everyday from here forward.  Can't wait to start our new adventure!

There is still so much to share!  I'll be back very soon. 

Alright friends, I'm hopping in the shower and getting this show on the road.  I'll see you on the other side!


The (very) soon-to-be Mrs. M

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Everybody Knows I'm A Mother-Flippin' Monster


I'm turning into a little monster.

Image via Z100.Com / Photo by Tzirel Kaminetzky

No, not that kind of little monster.  I'm more like this little monster:

Image via Wikipedia / Photo by New Line Cinema

I'm anxious, jumpy, quick to anger, impatient, and emotional.  I'm a ball of nerves.  A creature compared to the regular ole me.  Not so fun to be around. 

And I've had a lot of people tell me that.  It hurts a lot and I wish they'd understand that right now I'm in crunch time.  Right now, it might not be okay to be a little monster but it's probably normal. 

The stress of the wedding and the move down south has gotten the better of me. I'm up against a time crunch.  And not just a time crunch, there is a whole lot of emotion that I don't think people really understand.  In practically no time, everything about my life is going to change.  But for now, nothing has.  

I still work really long hours.  I'm still tired when I get home.  I still push myself to exercise daily.  I still have a list of things to do, and I don't want to cut things out of the list because "I work too much and I'm tired." NO WAY.  And the thing I've had no time to really think about is how I feel about moving away from everything and everyone I know. I'm sure that reality will hit me the morning I awake in my new home.

So a creature I am.  Until the wedding.  I'm trying to be nicer, trying to be more patient. Trying not to flip out on people who are slightly rude and insensitive.  I'm trying. 

Just have faith, World, that I'm not changed forever.  This is one little monster that will go back to normal when the sun rises on the morning after the wedding.  At least, that's according to legend. 

Has the stress of your wedding gotten the best of you?  Have you acted like a "little monster" from time to time? 

*Ps-- Triple double bonus points if you recognize the title!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Divide & Conquer - Bridal Edition

Divide and conquer is a motto of ours--it's how we attack every menu we come across, and it works every time!  We have a tendency to get really excited about that skill 

ME: Mmm...disco fries...
Mr. M:  That sounds good.  How about this (ridiculously big/greasy/bacon-laden sandwich)?  It sounds amazing.
ME: Mmm.  I want that. 
Mr. M:  Ok, you order yours.  I'll order mine and we'll eat EVERYTHING. 
Me: Sold. 
(High fives)

We high five at mealtime on occasion. Doesn't everyone?

But now with time winding down, I'm going to have to take our motto and use it to re-imagine the "honey do" list. 

Image & download via Each Pretty Penny / List Design by Vale Designs 

The thing is, I've been planning this wedding on my own for such a long time.  And I'm having such a hard time of letting go of MY projects. But I know better.  I know that there is no way to get anything done without teamwork.

So, now that he has some time off I have a little list of things for him to do to help me out.  Right now, the thing I can't do (that I wish I could) is run errands.  There's just no time.  I start work before stores open, I leave work after they close, and I don't have the luxury of a lunch hour to go anywhere.  But, Mr. M does! So it's more like "Honey Go" than "Honey Do."  

Mr. M has also been a great partner-in-crime-craft projects. He's been getting in touch with his DIY side and has traded in his circular saw for a hot glue gun.  This is our list to date:
- Create photo booth backdrop 
- package and send out wedding invitations Check!
- Escort card design 
- Press table runners  
- Create seating chart
- ceremony readings/music to select Check!
- Put together OOT bags

I know we'll get through the rest of it in no time.  Hooray for the "Honey, Go/Do" list!

Have you been able to divide your to-do list in any way?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sweet Snacks!

What Summertime treat is just perfect around a campfire?

Image via 


Image via SmittenKitchen

Sweet graham crackers, melt-y Hershey's chocolate, and gooey marshmallow join together for a tasty and messy dessert.  No one in the world could resist them...except for me.  I don't like S'mores.  Never have.  

You know, I'd always enjoy making S'mores but I never liked the taste or how they were so hard to eat!  I'd get halfway through one gooey sandwich and reach for the bag of marshmallows, because I love roasting marshmallows!

And what does this have to do with our wedding?

Our reception site has fire pits that are lit after dark!  And I thought it would be a brilliant idea to roast some marshmallows. The a few weeks ago, we learned from our site coordinator that Highlands offers S'mores as an option for a late night snack.  Nice...don't you just hate it when you find out that something you thought was original suddenly isn't?  Oh I totally thought that up? Oh, I didn't.

So I sheepishly mentioned that I was planning to bring in marshmallows on my own, since I don't care for S'mores (or melted chocolate near my dress for that matter).  And then she said that I could either bring them in myself or let them take care of it!

Hooray!  Of course I started working on the design of the marshmallow packaging right away, until Mr. M pulled the brakes on my plans.  There is a tiny cost difference if I make them on my own and there's a huge time crunch ahead of me.  Mr. Marmalade came to my rescue and insisted that we have our venue take care of the details, even if I could have come up with some really cool packaging (I totally could have).  I'm still going to make a sign for it, so there. 

But what a "sweet" way to end our night!  I can't wait to hang around the fire with friends and a flaming marshmallow at the end of my stick (I always burn them).  

Did you serve your guests any late night treats?  Am I the only person in the world who doesn't love S'mores?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Holding Onto the Memories: The Results

After some thought, I decided that I was going to carry my loved ones down the aisle with me in a locket attached to the handle of my bouquet.  For me, the locket was a sweet touch, and something subtle enough to let me keep a little part of that moment private.  

(Wouldn't this be a great way to remember your loved ones too?)

Growing up, I was totally enamored by lockets.  They're so feminine, so beautiful, and I knew that whatever was inside had to be special.  I own a couple, my favorite is a large oval locket I purchased in college. But after wearing it daily for 3 years, the clasp finally broke and there's no way to fix it.  So I turned to Etsy and came across these lockets in BedazzleBead's shop for a whopping $2.85 plus $1.50 for shipping:

I was skeptical, but for that price I could afford to take a chance.  And just a few days after I ordered, the lockets arrived.

(personal photo)

Perfection!  The vintage inspired detail in the locket is gorgeous and adds just the right amount of interest.  I got to work on this project as soon as they arrived. 

(personal photo)

In all of about fifteen minutes, I'd reduced two of my favorite pictures to 1" x 1" and printed them onto some photo paper I had lying around.  Then I grabbed the scissors and looked for the crazy glue to secure the images inside.  Of course, the crazy glue was dried out (seriously, I have never kept a tube of that stuff for more than one use) so I reached for a bottle of my handy-dandy clear nail polish.   I cut the pictures to size, and then lightly dabbed the nail polish around the inside edges of the locket.  Then I waited about 20 seconds to let the polish dry a bit before I carefully placed the pictures inside.  

And voilĂ !

(personal photo)

A beautiful locket worthy of a very special place on my wedding day.  All for the whopping grand total of $4.35. MacGuyver would be proud!  He totally kept a bottle of clear nail polish around--true story.  
Can't wait to have this with me on my walk down the aisle. I'm so happy to be keeping my loved ones in my heart in more ways than one.  

Have you decided to add anything special to your bridal bouquet?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hey Sista, Go Sister, Soul Sister!

Miss Marmalade reporting for duty!  And oh my goodness, I'm so excited to join the Hive that I could burst into song!

Oh yes I did.

I'm still in shock as I write this post. I got Pengy's email while I was, err, recuperating from my bachelorette weekend.  The sun was pouring in through the window as I laid in bed trying to sleep, but before I could pull the blankets over my head I grabbed my phone to check my email (it's a knee-jerk reaction) and I saw it:

ME: Wait, what?  WHAT?! OWW. (Happy but groaning in pain) Oh my gosh.  No way. Oow, yeeaaaaah!  Anyone awake?  (Lifting my head to see that my friends are still sleeping it off, regretting that move while the room started spinning.)  Oh my God ow my head, oh my God I'm a BEEE!  (More happy groans.) 

I realized that I needed to close my eyes for a sec but before I did, I sent Mr. Marmalade this text message: 


To which he responds "Wooooooooiiiiieeeeeeeee.  My little wedding beeeeeeee!"

Aww, right?

So why Marmalade?  Well, there are a couple reasons.  Reason one: my Yiayia (Greek for "grandmother") makes her own delicious "marmalada," and there's always a jar around the house. I despised marmalade until I was seven, when my parents sent my sister and me to Summer camp in Greece for a few weeks.  Camp was great but I hated that they didn't have sugary cereal for breakfast--they only served apricot marmalade on buttered bread!  EEW, gross...until I tried it.  Now it's more like YUM.  Marmalade has a special place in my heart, just like Mr. M.  Reason two: "Lady Marmalade!" Did you hear LaBelle work it out?  This music nerd "lady" could not resist! 

And who are the Marmalades, you ask?  Well, here we are!

I'm a first generation American, from a big fat Greek-Ecuadorian family, a creative type with too many crazy ideas to count. He's an all American guy--lacrosse, football, boats, and beer.  He's my best friend, my rock, and my complete opposite.  We met in high school history class and turned into an odd pairing of friends until four years ago, when he returned from a deployment to Iraq.  It's been long-distance love ever since.  Our long engagement is finally coming to an end now that he's back from a tour in Afghanistan.  We're planning a modern military wedding at the oldest chapel on the campus of the oldest military academy in the United States, his alma mater.  We're crafting a wedding that combines tradition with romance, rustic elegance, outrageous fun, topped off with nerdy touches of literature and history.  I can't wait to share our story with you!

Gitchy gitchy ya ya da daaa! (That's Marmalade for "see you soon, lovelies!")



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sample Shopping City! Population: Me.

Once the dust settled on my dress drama, I realized that I needed to look for a dress right away.  So as I let the information soak in, I asked the salon if I could try some gowns on before I left sans dress. 

And just like that, I entered the world of sample dress shopping.
I dug through the racks on a mission, there had to be something that could come close to what I want.  Wait--what do I want?  What am I doing?  Am I seriously looking for a dress right now?!

I composed myself and started trying on dresses, again.  And found two contenders:

Dress A:

Dress B:

I only mildly liked Dress A.  I was shocked that I liked the shape of it but it was so comfortable!  The one thing I hated was that there were feathers sticking out of it in random places--not for me. It was in pristine condition, and it was almost the right size!  But the feathers really bugged me, could I have someone pluck them off? 

My mom loved Dress B, but again I was "meh" about it.  I loved the beautiful lace, but the bottom was too much for me. It wasn't the kind of beautiful I'd want to wear on my wedding day.  The fabric was layered and the colors were beautiful, it resembled a sunset.  And the sample had been worn a lot. The lace and the tulle were darkened by wear (it looked much darker than the picture above).  I couldn't do it.  And then, I finally had a moment of panic.  I held my head in my hands, as the tears flowed and I let my frustration get the best of me.  With a month left to go, don't have a dress!  Either one of these dresses could work with some tweaks but there is no time for changes now!

Lesson learned: some samples are on sale for a reason. Sample shopping isn't for everyone. And somewhere out there is a beautiful bride who would look stunning in either without the "tweaks" I would want.  

So I went home to relax and think.  It's just a dress, it's just a dress, it's just a dress...breathe.  I turned to my good friend, Google and searched "wedding dress straps sleeves" and came up with a bunch of beautiful dresses but I wasn't wowed.  Then I paid a visit to Once Wed to see what was new in the world of pre-loved wedding dresses and I found it.  Wanna see?

{TIME OUT:  Bear, I know we agreed that you weren't going to catch up on the blog until after the wedding.  But just in case, do not read further.]

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Somethings Blue

We all know the saying by now..."something old, something new..."  I can't say I've done a good job at collecting any of them yet.  My pre-loved shoes are the "something old."  Everything else I'm wearing is my "something new."  And my something blue could also be my something old but I have a much better idea.   

I'd like a real life something blue.  

I came across a blog post on A Practical Wedding about bridal party alternatives a long, long time ago.  For reasons that I'm still not too clear on, I bookmarked it and pushed it to the back of my mind.  Fast forward to 9 months ago, when I had to decide on a wedding party.  Without thinking, I drew up the names of ten women.  Ten amazing, fabulous, love-them-for-life friends that I am lucky to have.  But ten, was way too many.  

So I thought about it rationally, and I made a decision.  My friends from college (err, my first college) are some of the best friends I could have ever asked for, but I couldn't ask them to be bridesmaids.  But nearly all of us live really far away from each other-- one lives in Hawaii, the other in Arizona, and the third lives in New York (like I said, nearly all).  I realized that traveling to attend my wedding was going to be challenge enough and I felt that asking them to be in the bridal party felt a little selfish for me.  Then I remembered the blog post and this amazing bride:

She found herself blessed with too many bridesmaids, so she kept it simple:  her sisters were her bridesmaids and her 13 (yowza!) friends were her "somethings blue."  

So I called up my friends and asked them if they wouldn't mind wearing a blue dress to the wedding.  I didn't want them to go out of their way or anything, but if they found a blue dress (or even accessory) in the process of choosing an outfit then great!  But what else?  Well, I'm not sure.  I've asked them to come get ready in the bridal suite with me, and we're going to take some pics with the photographer.  

They understood the reasoning behind my decision and are really excited about it.  I'm thrilled that I get to spend time as a group again--it's been nearly ten years since we've all been in the same place together!  

So now, my bridal posse is finally complete!  7 bridesmaids, 4 somethings blue, and one bride all ready to rock.  

Have you turned to any alternatives for your bridal party?   

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dress(less) Distress

I'm not sure how to tell you this, so I'll just go ahead and say it:  I don't have a wedding dress. 

With a month to go, I fear that I may end up walking down the aisle in the nude, like girlfriend up there.  

You may be asking, how did this happen?

Well, it's a long story and I can't get into the nitty gritty of it.  So I will tell you that there was an issue with the order, a miscommunication, that resulted in a less than perfect dress.  Yes, I could have worn it but I would have hated it.  I would have resented the store and myself for playing nice and being too polite about something as important as my wedding dress.  So I complained about my dress and pointed out the mistake.  There was an emergency fitting, and a conversation between a manager and myself and *POOF*..."look mom, no dress!"  And for the record, there are no hard feelings with the salon, I know a ton of people that have had amazing experiences with them.    

That being said, I should feel like this right now:

But I'm too busy looking for replacements.  It looks like I'm going to have to purchase a sample and make it work!

I'm strangely confident that I will be able to find a dress that makes me smile (that's within my budget) and ready in time for the wedding.  In fact, I'm going to take this on like a challenge!  With one month to go, I'm back at square one, determined to find my dream dress.  Will it be possible for me to keep my cool and find a gown without too many tears shed?  

We'll see! 

Have you run into any major wedding drama before your big day?  How were you able to overcome it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Holding On To The Memories

My must-have accessory for our wedding day is not my earrings.  And it's not my veil. Nope, my must have accessory is going to be something to remember my loved ones that are no longer here.

It's been a little over a year since my Papou (grandfather) passed away, and I miss him terribly.   And a few years back, I lost my Abuelita.  It would mean so much to me to keep them both close to my heart on my wedding day.  So I've started to look for ways to honor them on my bouquet. 

My florist started me off by suggesting I wrap the handle of the bouquet with something meaningful to the person I want to remember.  Like a hanky, a piece of jewelry, or even a rosary.  But with two people in mind, it was hard to find two small items that fit together without being too bulky for the bouquet.  

I love this gorgeous charm by Paloma's Nest. It's custom, so you can really make it personal.  I like the idea of using two, one to mark the occasion and one with a monogram of the person you want to carry with you.  

These picture charms are beautiful.  I love the idea of carrying a picture of the loved one you would like to remember.  The glass is  a modern and delicate touch. 

And I love the idea of using a vintage locket, something that you might have worn in the past, as a more subtle way to remember your loved ones. 

I think I'm leaning toward the locket.  I already have one that I've worn for years, but it needs a little love.  And I like that a locket has enough room for two pictures inside, perfect for me. 

Are you remembering your loved ones in a special way?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


It's time to get real with myself here.  


My four page, color coded list needs a makeover.  

Excuse me, I meant, a make-under.  

Step one: GET REAL.  Time is running out!

Step two: Cross off almost everything that isn't essential.  

Step three:  Delegate, relax and enjoy the ride!

It sounds really easy to say but now that we're only a few weeks away I need to cut my list down, but I seem to be adding things to it every day!  

So I've tried to cut it down to the essentials.  Table runners?  Pretty essential.  Drink flags? Cute, but I think people can probably stir their drinks with whatever our venue has.  But they are so cute!

Just. So. Cute.  

So I'm giving myself two weeks to work on my checklist, and then...this color coded list of stress turns into a pumpkin.  I have to keep things in perspective, I don't have time to do all the DIY I had in mind.  So if it's too hard, or too expensive, or just too complicated for the few hours I have to give after work then away it goes!

Have you had to cut back on projects you planned for your wedding?  Or were you able to accomplish everything?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY Decor - The No Sew Burlap Table Runner!

I've been drooling over pictures of burlap table runners for months now.  But after shopping around, I found that purchasing these things could run me $20-$30 per table.  So I did a tiny bit of research (like, 5 minutes worth) and bought myself a roll of burlap, determined to a stab at making my own table runners.  

First, I ran to my closet and dragged my sewing machine out prepared to take on the challenge.  Then my genius Lil' $is asked me "why don't you just use Stitch Witchery?"  And that's when the daunting task became easy enough for me.

I found this amazing tutorial Living with Lindsay and got to work!

Supplies used:
- Burlap
- Scissors/Fabric Shears
- Seam Gauge
- Ruler
- Tape Measure
- Sharpie
- Stitch Witchery
- Iron

Step 1 - Get the dimensions for your table.  I learned from the tutorial that table runners are typically about 14"-18" wide and should typically be 6"-8" longer than your table.  Now according to the tutorial I read, you should leave a two inch seam allowance but I didn't.  I went with a one inch seam allowance, which I'll explain a little later. 

Our tables are approximately 88'x 47'.

So I ended up cutting out pieces of fabric that were 20"x102".

One thing I learned about burlap is that it's very, um, "natural" and has a bit of a smell to it.  Once you cut the pieces, you'll need to wash and air dry them but I don't recommend using the heavy duty cycle because you'll shred the fabric and end up with a mess in the machine. 

Next, I grabbed the seam gauge and started folding the hem over 1"  and used pins to keep it in place.  Now, I initially started with 2" seams and planned to fold the edges twice over themselves to hide the raw edge but I quickly realized that the burlap was too bulky for this.  My solution was to fold it over once, cut it as cleanly as possible then leave the edges raw. Sadly it took me a couple minutes of disappointment to realize that it's burlap!  Raw edges are expected!  And hopefully no one at the wedding will be picking them up and checking out my handiwork.  

But if you want to hide the frayed edges of the burlap, you can use a little grosgrain ribbon and some hot glue (but careful, too much glue will seep through the fabric) to cover the fringe.

Then it was time to iron!  Set it on the highest heat and steam setting--the burlap needs the heat.  Then press your hem.  

Tuck your Stitch Witchery in the hem and get to work!  You'll need to place a damp cloth between the fabric and the iron.  Place your iron on top of the cloth and then hold for about ten seconds.  Lift and repeat.   

Remember when I said that burlap was very natural aka it has a smell to it?  It wasn't totally gone after I washed the fabric.  So I added about a teaspoon of Febreeze to the water in the iron. You could also use an essential oil like Lavender or Eucalyptus (just not too much!)  and that should do the trick! Just be careful not to use too much, the goal is to eliminate odor not to create another one.  

AND TADAAAAAA!  The no-sew burlap table runner!

On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give this project a 1.5 for difficulty.  It took some practice to get the handle of making really straight edges. Some of my runners look a little wonky.  

But overall I'm thrilled!  So thrilled I set up a little tablescape for you all:  candle, books, orchid, and giant mylar kitty toy.  You know...just some stuff I had lyin' around...

So what do you think?  Have you taken on any decor DIYs?

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Crowning Glory

It's one thing to decide on a style of veil.  It's an entirely other thing to find that veil in your price range. After some thought, I set my heart on a cathedral length drop veil with lace trim to compliment my dress.  

I didn't have to think too hard about it.  It was the same veil that was placed on my head just before I said yes to my dress--as Monte from Say Yes: ATL would say, it's the veil I wore when they "jacked me up."

My first instinct was to call Kleinfeld to inquire about the veil I had originally tried on,cathedral length drop veil with lace edging, and got an estimate of $1,200.  I tried to be polite as I picked up my jaw from the floor and hung up at the same time (they don't teach you these things in school, folks).  

So I began looking around local shops.  I found some contenders by Enzoani that came in at the $400-$500 mark, but I wasn't in love.  And for $500, I better be in love with whatever I'm buying.  It started to feel like I was going to have to rethink my veil, when one day, out of nowhere, I remembered a veil post from WeddingBee by the lovely Mrs. Lime that lead me to Candi Merle of Crowning Glory Designs.  Her reviews were stellar, and her work was gorgeous. Just look:

So, I crossed my fingers and emailed her and she was as amazing--the reviews were spot on (duh, I know).  She mailed samples to me right away, and once I'd picked the lace for the veil she gave me a quote.  JAW DROP, again.  This time it was for good reason:  my veil, my gorgeous lace-trimmed-custom-veil, was a tiny fraction of what I was originally quoted.  Just a few weeks later, the veil of my dreams arrived on my doorstep.  

Wanna see?

Whoops!  Didn't realize how impossible it would be to take a decent picture of an enormous veil...will you forgive me if I just share these previews until I can finagle some pics of me wearing my whole ensemble?  Please?

I am overjoyed by how it turned out.  The lace, oh the delicious 3 inch lace border, is exactly what I wanted!  Can't wait to see it in action!

Working with Candi was a pleasure.  She was really easy to communicate with (and she lives in California, so there was a decent time difference), extremely responsive, and she was able to translate my description into a real veil that's just perfect for me!    

How about you?  Are you wearing a veil or hair accessory?  Did you go the custom route?