Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Lived-In Living Room

I want to share with you a couple of updates we've made to our apartment over the past three months. For some before-before pictures, check out this old post.

This week, I accomplished something I'd been thinking about since before we even moved. Residing in our living room is my couch from college. It's actually a couch I inherited from an older roommate, and I'm pretty sure she had inherited it as well. I'm really not sure of this couch's origins, but let's just say that it is showing it's scars. As a matter of fact, I just looked through all of my pictures, and could not find a single picture of this couch in its original state. This means that never once did I find it at all suitable, even for a post-AYCD night picture in college.

However, it's a couch. And we need a couch. And would prefer not to buy one (yet). So, I gave it a makeover.

The first thing I did was buy this super-cute slipcover from Target's Simply Shabby Chic line. However, when I tried to stuff the back cushions under the slip cover, it looked like... well, I can't think of a PC description, so we'll just say I was not a fan. I knew I needed new cushions, and decided I could easily make them myself. You see, back in the day, I had a business. Yes, the year was 1995, and I spent the summer selling homemade Beanie Baby beds on the corner. Every afternoon, I would wheel my red wagon filled with little pillows and sleeping bags down the neighborhood street, and do business with the community Beanie Baby fans. And, because I know you were wondering, yes, they did come in sizes (regular and teenie).

Due to all of this pillow-stitching and -stuffing experience, I felt confident in my ability to make new couch cushions. All summer I've been planning this in my mind--looking at fabric, pricing European pillows, and playing with color combinations. Through the planning, it seemed as though the pillows themselves would run about $20 a piece (and I needed five of them), then it would take about 2 yards of fabric per pillow, not to mention the fact that I'd need to coerce my mom into helping me set up and thread her serger (which is a pain in the *&@). Plus, in all honesty, I had to admit that the likelihood of my actually creating five pillow shams successfully was slim-to-none, meaning I'd need to splurge on at least four extra yards of back-up fabric.

However, I was determined. Until I went to Bed Bath & Beyond, found the pillows on sale for $10, and shams on clearance for $5. I bought three of those, and splurged on two fancier accent pillows, thereby transforming our couch.

P.S. In the 1.5 months that I was out of the blogging world, Blogger changed their picture-uploader and i do not like it. I apologize for the super-blurry pictures that I worked really hard to create in Photoshop. I need to figure out this new system.

I am so excited about our "new couch" because it has really transformed our living room. Check out the difference between our living room in April, and our current room.

You will also notice the addition of the shelves and picture frame above the couch, and the new curtains. This isn't the greatest picture of the curtains, but I love that they tie the green and creamy-white of the couch with the blue of the arm chair. Oh, and then there are the candles in the fireplace, which I love. They're just there for the summertime; with these 100+ degree heat indices, we really have not been wanting any fires.

I need some advice on another aspect of this room, and this is where you come in.

We have this huge empty space above the fireplace. And while I fully intend to paint soon, which will diminish slightly the glaring-white effect, I need to put something there. I originally pictured a big, round, ornate mirror. Maybe with some rustic-looking swirly-ness around the outside. But, at the same time, that seems a little overdone. Anyone have a more creative idea?

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Wedding Whirlwind

Now that I'm back in the blogging world, let's rewind and recap the big event on June 11. You'll remember our long to-do list (that did all get done!), the vendors we worked with, the wedding nightmares, our DIY projects, banners, centerpieces, and favors, as well as the invitations, and the rings. Well, I'm happy to report that it all went according to plan. Literally. It all went perfectly. I'm not sure what percentage of that was my stellar planning skills, and how much was
just pure luck, but the day could not have been any better.

The weekend actually began on Thursday night, when out-of-town guests started to arrive. I remember being somewhat surprised when we walked into B's

parents' house for dinner that evening and a large group of his California relatives were there. Wow! I thought. This is it! This is actually happening! Somehow, seeing these relatives made me realize the reality of
the situation. And it only got better. I can honestly say that was the best part of the weekend--getting to see friends and family that we visit with so infrequently all there together to celebrate our big day.

I'm fairly certain that we had one of the biggest rehearsals ever to happen at GCPC. Since so much of our family was in town, they pretty much all showed up at the church, whether or not they actually had a role in the wedding.

The dinner was wonderful. Since we had originally wanted to have Spin! Pizza for our rehearsal dinner (long story...), the chef at the Doubletree agreed to go off their regular catering menu and whip up some flatbread pizzas for our party. Complemented with toasted rav, chicken fingers, fruit, and cookies, our "finger food" rehearsal dinner turned out fabulously.

Brandon's mom did these centerpieces--don't they look great? And now we have a plethora of bud vases left over. Good thing they're en vogue.

We used some time at the dinner to thank our wedding party and our parents. These gorgeous flower arrangements were done by our florist in these gorgeous vases from Macy's.

Our flower girls (all four of them!) got T-shirts from that say "I'm in Charge of the Petals", and our ring bearer's says "I'm in Charge of the Rings". The shirts are personalized with their names and the date. We even customized the hair color of the little character on the shirt. They turned out super-cute.

I gifted my bridesmaids with monogrammed tote bags from L.L. Bean (no longer available, but similar to these), as well as bedazzled "bridesmaid" t-shirts. And Brandon gave his groomsmen each a nice bottle of sustenance for the weekend.

That night, a bunch of our friends and cousins hung out at The Other Place. We love this group picture of so many of our favorite people at one of our favorite bars.

As I already mentioned, everything came together for a perfect wedding day. I feel so blessed that I remembered my earrings, got my hair done on time, and actually showed up to the wedding--all nightmares I was scared would come true.

Mom was the best at lacing up my dress. I'd say "Pull tighter!" and she'd yank and pull until I could hardly breathe. (My MOH did have to loosen it after dinner.)

These next few pictures are from our Private Reveal.

And these next couple show proof--we did it! We're married!

Our one bad wedding decision? Birdseed. After being pelted with those hard little orbs, I had birdseed wedged in every crease and crevice of my dress, glued in the hairspray in my up-do, and even down my dress, staining the skin of my stomach. Oh, and I forgot to mention that somebody didn't even open the bag first. Yeah, really...

In the end, our centerpieces turned out great, the Dairy Queen ice cream cake was a huge hit, my DIY banners and place cards were bright and colorful.

So, there it is folks. Our wedding in a whirlwind of a blog post. Don't worry--it was that much of a whirlwind for me, too. Last night, we finished our last batch of thank-you notes (I know, we took a little too long. Sorry, Miss Manners.), and I completed making our 75-page wedding album on Shutterfly. Those were the last of our wedding-related tasks to be completed, so I guess it's officially over.

The good news is that now I'll be one of those women who, looking back over the years, will be able to say, "Our wedding was perfect. It was the happiest day of my life." And I'll really mean it.

P.S. We purchased the rights to all of our photographs from RVR Photography, but I'd still like to offer them kudos and a huge THANK YOU for the beautiful images. Not all of these in this post are theirs, but some are.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My First Lesson in Marriage

I'm happy to report that we've made it through 5 1/2 weeks of marriage. Life doesn't feel too different, except for the fact that I now introduce B as "my husband", which takes some getting used to. Not that I expected it to be any different, but I would liken getting married to celebrating a milestone birthday. There was no overnight change in our relationship, just as there's never any overnight aging realized the morning of a birthday. As a matter of fact, the morning after our wedding, we headed back to our apartment from the honeymoon suite at the Doubletree. We opened the door, dropped our bags, and looked at each other. "Well, I'm going to take a shower," I said. "I think I'll start a load of laundry," B said. And we went about our business.

However, even after dating for four years before getting married, I'm learning things about B that I didn't know before. I knew that B was a naturally cleaner person that I am. My first clue into this reality was once when I was helping him clean his old room, and he assigned me the task of dusting the power cords. Who does that?? So, although I had fair warning, I'm not sure I realized the extent of B's cleanliness.

Let me paint you a picture. I wake up in the morning, stumble out of bed, generally to the bathroom or to the kitchen for a glass of water. By the time I return, B has made the bed and placed his neatly-folded pajamas on top of his pillow. Then, we head into the kitchen where I make a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, and settle into the couch to watch GMA. B finishes eating his Cheerios and Bagelthin, jumps up, and washes his dish and my bowl before the first commercial break. "I'm happy to do my dishes, babe," I say. "I know, but I don't mind!" he answers. However, I'm beginning to realize that it's more his not being able to stand my dirty bowl sitting on the coffee table in front of me for the next half hour than anything else. After B leaves for work, I usually hit the gym and run some errands. When I return home, usually in the early afternoon, B has been home for lunch, emptied the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, and put away his clean clothes from the day before. Wow!

Don't misread my commentary. This is certainly not a fault of my hubby's. I LOVE that he helps around the house and is so organized. The "problem", if you can even call it that, is that this talent so does not come naturally to me. It never has. Growing up, the cleanliness and organization of my room was a constant battle between my parents and me. They tried to help, and tried to instill a sense of responsibility when it came to the subject--but it just didn't work. In this post I touched on the fact that my mom was never really into the stereotypical home-making or home-decorating. And, although I want to have a clean, inviting home, I truly just do not know how to make it that way.

Instead of feeling inadequate about this (which I totally do), I'm trying to view this as something I can learn from B. After all, there are many, many (MANY!) things he can learn from me :-)