Archive for April, 2009

I’ve been thinking lately about certain elements of our wedding that might up the ante for our guests and might not cost too much. We are having an open bar at our reception; our caterer does not negotiate any other way, except to perhaps skip the bar altogether. While we were visiting, our wedding coordinator was unable to give us a tour of the facility, and so the owner gave us the grand tour himself.

Later, my father went out of his way to compliment the owner on the beauty of the facility and his business skills. My father, a dynamite businessman himself, enjoys going out of his way to do these things. “Thank you,” the owner said, and then instructed the coordinator to add an ice sculpture and a martini bar– normally two extras that the caterer can provide at the expense of the couple– as his gift to us! To which I say, way to go, Dad!

Had this not been the case, I probably wouldn’t have considered a signature cocktail as an option for our wedding. We’re Irish, and like our beer. But, since it was gifted to us… well, that’s another story entirely! A few cute names, some signage, and green-colored drinks, and we’re good to go. And… sorry, but did I mention that it’s free?

Here are some options for frou-frou signature cocktails–


This gimlet was featured in this month’s edition of Martha Stewart Weddings, and I kind of love it. It’s so cute and summery feeling! Granted, I’ll be honest here and tell you that I have no idea what a gimlet is– what kind of alcohol does it use? Those look like mint leaves, right? Any ideas?

Speaking of mint leaves, a Mojito is another great green option. While The Knot tends to overwhelm me, they have some great (color coordinated!) signature cocktails, including this mojito!

Mojito   What You Need   Handful of mint leaves 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice 3/4 oz. simple syrup* 1 1/2 oz. light rum Club soda Lime wedge, for garnish    How to Make It   Muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup. Add ice...

Thank you, Carly Roney, for including the recipe:


What You Need

  • Handful of mint leaves
  • 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup*
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum
  • Club soda
  • Lime wedge, for garnish

How to Make It

  • Muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup.
  • Add ice and rum and shake briefly.
  • Pour ingredients into highball glass.
  • Top off with club soda.
  • Garnish with lime wedge.
  • *Dissolve 2 cups sugar into 1 cup boiling water. Let cool. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Also on The Knot, I found another adorable summer-y drink, the Key Lime Pie. 

Key Lime Pie    What You Need   Lime juice Crumbled graham crackers for rim 1 1/2 oz. KeKe Beach Key lime cream liqueur 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka Squeeze of fresh lime 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half    How to Make It   Saturate rim of a martini g...I’m very intrigued by these crushed graham crackers…

What You Need

  • Lime juice
  • Crumbled graham crackers for rim
  • 1 1/2 oz. KeKe Beach Key lime cream liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half

How to Make It

  • Saturate rim of a martini glass with lime juice.
  • Dip upside down into graham cracker crumbs.
  • Pour liqueur, vodka, and squeeze of lime into a shaker.
  • Shake and strain into a martini glass.
  • Add half-and-half.


Of course, if you’re thinking about green cocktails, the first thing that pops into your mind, as it did mine, is an Appletini. Well, maybe not the first thing, but it sure is up there. The Knot provided another recipe for this drink.

Appletini    What You Need   2.5 oz. sour apple liqueur 2 oz. vodka Sour mix and triple sec to taste Apple wedge, for garnish    How to Make It   Shake and strain ingredients except apple wedge into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a...I really like the color of this one, too. Also, the woman’s hand featured in this picture is very nicely manicured. Well done, woman in black dress, well done.


What You Need

  • 2.5 oz. sour apple liqueur
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • Sour mix and triple sec to taste
  • Apple wedge, for garnish

How to Make It

  • Shake and strain ingredients except apple wedge into a chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with apple wedge.

This is probably one of the most feasible drinks to make, since it was a martini bar that the owner of the site gave us, not a catch-all cocktail confection. Also, remember how I was planning on having apples in vases at the bar? Could be way cute! What if I could do the Appletini and the Key Lime Pie to go with the bar decor of apples and limes?

Oh, goodness. I need to be reeled in. Love the enthusiasm, though.

What do you think? Do you have a signature cocktail? And how did you name them?


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So, I went back to Anthropologie to try on the dress that I blogged about before– you know, the turquoise number? However, when I got to the store, I was disappointed to find that my memory failed me. It wasn’t turquoise at all, but emerald green. Pretty dress, but I’m really not feeling the color. So, I’ve done some more internet searching, via Nordstom and Bluefly– and I still haven’t given up on Anthropologie. Here’s a few of my favorites!

This first one is from Anthro, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from shopping at Anthropologie, it’s that you need to try their clothes on before purchasing, unlike perhaps Gap.


My eyes are blue, so I’d really like to wear a blue dress. This one, however, from Nordstrom, is not blue, but I love it. This is my sister’s vote.


While I also like this dress, my fear is that it may look like an Easter dress from middle school when it’s actually on me. This Betsey Johnson dress from Bluefly, while whimsical, would have a different affect:


I will certainly continue looking, but I wanted to leave you with perhaps my current favorite dress from Bluefly. Wouldn’t you know it– I showed it to my sister, and she said, “That’s the dress that I wanted to buy!” I pulled the bride card, which I’ve only done on a few occasions, and told her that I  think I win when it comes to the rehearsal dinner. : ) I love it because I can wear those awesome yellow shoes I liked.


I love daisies. Absolutely love them! And while I didn’t want to wear a black dress, the very bright color in this one is beautiful. I love it! Perhaps I might be making a purchase very shortly. We’ll have to see!

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Now that spring fashion is upon us and in full-swing, I’ve been terribly excited to buy honeymoon-related clothing, including swimsuits. While I usually hate swimsuit season, I’ve been excited because now I have a VERY exciting reason to wear these skimpy little swimsuits!


on615107-12vliv011I love Old Navy bathing suits! I just think this green paisley print is really cute and fun and Hawaiin. It feels very tropical! I also got this cover-up to take me from the pool/beach to the cabana for drinks/meals.


This sundress is just so bright and colorful! Hopefully, it won’t make my skin look too awkwardly pale. It was really cute in the store, and then when I tried it on again at home! I can just picture myself walking around a lovely hotel, sipping a mai tai, enjoying my honeymoon and attractive new hubby. What fun!

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A few weeks ago, my lovely Aunt gave Brandon and I an incredible gift! She bought for us all of our dishes– every last place setting– as well as the completer set. I decided that I had to show you!


Sorry for the small size and blurry shot! Crate and Barrel won’t let you copy pictures from their website. So sad.

We chose the Margo place setting. Initially, we’d really love the Rustic White earthenware, especially being free-form. But, it’s not dishwasher or microwave safe, which makes it a bit tricky. Sadly, we said goodbye to that set of dishes, and Hello! to Margo. In addition to all 12 place settings, she also purhcased a completer serving set for us.


We feel so incredibly blessed!

For our birthdays, which are a mere four days apart, my mother decided to be similarly gracious. She purchased our pots and pans!


Yes, that’s my thumb. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless cookware, from Macy’s. This is a 17-piece set, which apparently, she got for a steal.

Between my mom and my aunt, Brandon and I should be quite all right in the kitchen. He’s insisted, however, that we also register for a Wok. Luckily, this design by Cuisinart comes with a wok as well. Some unwitting person might make Brandon’s lifetime by giving us a wok. The boy loves his stir-fry.

As I watch our registry dwindle, I am consistently overwhelmed by the beauty and generosity of the family and community I live in. I cannot believe all the support that Brandon and I have gotten. It’s not the gifts that people give us that matter, it’s the thought and effort that they put into giving us the token that makes me believe we will constantly be supported. With a gift comes their sign of approval, of love and care. It makes us feel so blessed.

And the beauty of it is, with the gifts that we receive, we are able to begin a community as well, opening our home to those we live with, and serving others in the way that our community has served us. It’s a beautiful thing.

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I suppose today is the time to keep on posting about stationery. At least this is a stationery success story!

I love the look of a hand-addressed envelope, especially the return-address on the back-flap. I think it’s really classy, and a nice touch to complete the entire suite. Martha Stewart has a wrap-around address template that I used for invites for my best friend’s bridal shower last February (which was awesome, by the way) which I really like, but it seems to be a little lacking for wedding invitations. A little too casual for me.

Ready and Labeled

That’s not to say I won’t use something like this for Thank You Notes. With over 250 guests, you can bet your bottom dollar I will.

For invites, though, I just wanted something a bit more special. We’re having Jessica Lynn over at Penned and Pretty do the calligraphy. She suggested that, so save some money on calligraphy, to purchase a custom address stamp for the return address. What a lovely idea! I thought. A custom rubber stamp provides that I can use the same color ink as the calligraphy, just by browsing around at AC Moore or Michae’ls for the right color stamp pad. Also, my parents will be able to keep it and use it long after the wedding is over– providing they don’t move.

I started searching, and last night, after all of the stationery drama, had a bit of success. Of course, I made my way to Etsy. I purchased this custom stamp from lovetocreatestamp‘s shop:

Custom  Personalized   wood handle address  rubber stamp cute  wedding  gift - style 9008

Custom  Personalized   wood handle address  rubber stamp cute  wedding  gift - style 9008

I thought the font choice and the scrolls would go nicely with both the calligraphy on the front of the envelope, and the scrolling on the invitation itself. My mom also loved it! Score!

I just have to buy a stamp pad in chocolate brown, and all is well in stationery world. (Of course, I’ll also have to address a few envelopes, but we’re not talking about that any more today.) We’ll send them out in late May/early June, and get them back by the First of July (here’s hoping!) for an early August wedding.

And so– ha ha!– victory is mine.

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Stationery Snaffu

Last night, my mom and I were working on the final guest list so we could get it sent to our lovely calligrapher, Jessica Lynn, over at Penned and Pretty. I’m very excited about Jessica, as I’ve posted about a few times already, because I am a terribly impatient person. If I had to spend all of the time making my invitations look as beautiful as this…

…I’d probably go crazy. I nearly went crazy last night as my mom and I were working. Unfortunately, since I’ve been out of state, we’ve had two different running guest lists. I do not recommend this type of guest listing. She sat at my family’s desktop, and I sat at the desk in the office with my laptop, calling names and addresses back and forth. We ran into a few… um… issues.

First, my computer, which I got when I was entering my first year of college and is nearing the end of its non-Mac, slow-moving, gradually malfunctioning lifetime, decided to freeze and not auto-recover my Excel Spreadsheet of the guest list. So, while my mom and I had a common base, all of the additional people that my father and B added were gone– in all, about 20. Granted, this isn’t a big deal. At the time, however, having spent about an hour and a half working on it, I was ready to throw my already piece-of-#@$! computer against the wall. My mom peacefully left the room, took my little brother somewhere, and I calmed down. OK, OK… I thought, it’s not that bad. All of the addresses were correct– I knew that much. I only had to play catch-up with less than 20 names. No big deal.

While my mom was away, I caught up on all of the work that had just been lost. My dad, sometime after we’d ordered the ivitations, decided that some of his B-listers should be added to the A-list, as most of them probably wouldn’t be able to make it anyway, and well, we might as well send an invite in the first round. I don’t have a problem with this– we invited Brandon’s family’s A- and B- list in the first round. And really, since they probably won’t be able to make it, it’s not that big a deal.

As I added up all of my dad’s additional guests, as well as the late-in-the-game guest list that B made for me, I started to fill with fear. And then, when all was said and done, I looked at the final count. 138 invitations to send… we’d only ordered 125. NOOOOO!!! I scanned the list, and took all of the wedding party off… but then put the ones with spouses back on, because you never can tell about work. All in all, there was only 3 invitations that ended up coming off the list from the wedding party. My head started scrambling. Can I take the invitations to Kinkos and just have color copies printed on nice cardstock? Is that legal? And more importantly, is that tacky? Answers: No. No. Yes.

Sometime around when my heart palpatations were reaching critical, my mom came home. Calmly, she told me that she would just order more invitations. We discussed getting this next batch of 25 without reception cards. Certainly, my college-aged, frat-house cousin is not going to notice or care that he does not have a reception card, whereas, my father’s work colleagues, or the President of our university might. No problem, money saving, and some simple rearranging.  That same cousin also won’t notice that his envelope was “calligraphed” by me, and not professionally, whereas my father’s work colleagues might. So, I’ll address the invites of the people that don’t care, since we don’t have a full list or more than 130 envelopes to send the calligrapher. OK. Less than 20 invites to address? I can do that. Heck, I  might even print.

OK. OK. Everything is OK. As I write this morning, I still have to tell myself, it’s really OK. It’s not that big a deal– really, it’s just a few clicks of a button on an incredibly convenient company’s website. Maybe it’s just one little oversight, this one tiny little failure, that’s messing with my perfectionist planning head. I keep telling myself that I just need to let it go. Really. It’s not the end of the world, the end of my life, the end of my relationship or the end of the wedding. Far from, in fact, on all counts. Just one little mistake.

How do you handle mistakes in planning? Did anything blow up in your face at the last minute?

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One thing I haven’t blogged about yet– shame on me!– is our honeymoon. Brandon and I went around and around on our destination of choice, and finally came up with a conclusion: Hawaii!

We had a few criteria for choosing our honeymoon spot. Firstly, we needed ample amount of adventure. We’re not the sort who spend all day lying on the beach, as lovely and needed as that is. Partly my very fair skin keeps us out of the sun for long stints at a time. I love my time on the beach as much as the next girl, but we wanted other activities that would keep us busy and active– for two whole weeks. Yes, that was another qualification. We wanted a long honeymoon.

For as much as we wanted adventure, we also want guilt-free downtime. My cousins went to Australia. When I heard about their vacation, I instantly started checking it out online, drooling at the possibilities. There’s just so much to do! Although we wanted a long honeymoon, MA classes start up in late August, so we didn’t have that much time. Capping it at two weeks meant that Australia didn’t place as high on the list, because there’s more than is possible in two weeks. Hawaii is appealling, in that we can relax pool- or beach-side and not feel even slightly guilty. That’s what Hawaii is for!

We also wanted it to be a new place. We’ve both travelled quite a bit, so we wanted to make sure that we were both having a new experience. Ultimately, we chose Hawaii, which I have visited before. But when it came right down to it, a honeymoon is completely different than your eighth grade family vacation; my expectations are set for a brand-spanking-new travel experience. Also, we couldn’t imagine ourselves just up-and-vacationing to Hawaii. Paris was in the running for awhile, but it would be so easy to vacation to Europe, visiting Paris along the way.

Food. We need to go somewhere with yummy food. B and I are avid sushi lovers, so aside from visiting Japan, Hawaii came in pretty high on the list.

Travel and culture were both issues well. Being on the east coast, we can get to Europe quickly; the Caribbean doesn’t take much time either. From my experiences in the Caribbean, though, there isn’t much exploration to be done outside of the hotel. When I visited St. Maarten, the Bahamas and St. Thomas, we might leave our hotel for a restaurant, or local shopping, but those outings were few and far between. So, though we take a travel hit on trekking to Hawaii, the mobility and cultural experiences we could have outweighed the Caribbean.

So, Hawaii it is!!

We’re spending the first week in Oahu, and then being super-cute, puddle-jumping, jet-setting, island-hoppers, and making our way to Maui for week two of our spectacular honeymoon. This is the part of the trip that I’m way excited for. We have hikes planned on both islands, but we’re going to a traditional luau and snorkeling on Maui.

Here’s some shots of our hotel on Oahu, the JW Mariott Ihalini Resort and Spa:



And, from our second hotel, the Marriott Wailea in Maui:



hnmmc_phototour46Oh, I am so excited!

My cousin, Melissa, recently made a honeymoon registry– she and her fiancee are also headed to Hawaii for their honeymoon. I’ve been thinking about it, and really can’t make up my mind. She and William have both been living on their own much longer than B and I have, and so didn’t need as many essentials. We have a ton on our registries, though, so I’m not sure how I feel about adding another. Any thoughts on the subject?

Hope all is well in internet land!

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