Friday, December 31, 2010

Raise a glass...

... to 2010! It's is almost gone, much like a good glass of bubbly. For those of you with gift registries on the brain, here's a round-up of champagne glasses to suit everyone's taste (be it extra brut, sec, doux or somewhere in between).

Classic: Schott Zwiesel - 2 for $78
Minimalist: Verve - 9.95
Modern: Edge - 8.95

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Happy anniversary Mom & Dad!

Thirty-one years!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Accessorize me

What was the one thing I wanted to do before leaving the Priscilla of Boston store? I bet you can guess on the first try. Try on my lovely gown again! The sample has seen some wear since the last time I visited, but the gown still delights me. (Even after the Vera beauties.)

I brought accessories (and my camera) to see what would work with the gown. In tow were my Seychelles wedding shoes, several pairs of earrings and a bracelet. First up were my favorite earrings and bracelet:

My clear crystal earrings & the pink J. Crew version

My crystal and gold cobblestone bracelet and a similar black J. Crew version

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bridesmaid Dress: The Color Reveal

The bridesmaid dresses arrived a few weeks ago and I am just now getting around to picking them up. To explain, the shop is 45 minutes away and the weeks leading up to the holidays have been a bit, ahem, hectic. I also wanted my local bridesmaid, BM R, to join me. She's a wedding expert and my advocate when I'm being too polite... so if the dress, color or something else was not as ordered, all would be fixed.

*Tangent Warning*

While the dresses were retrieved from the lower level, BM R and I browsed the bridal gowns. (You won't mind the distraction, will you?)

Mmmm, texture.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's party time!

Our annual NYE party is just around the corner. As such, I've convinced myself I need a new cocktail dress. One with sequins. Because sequins are festive!

Here are a few gowns (under $250 please) worthy of co-hosting duties:


Fun color, chunky sequins - source

Saturday, December 25, 2010

O' Piney tree, O' Piney tree

One of our favorite holiday traditions as a couple began as a small-space (and partially lazy) solution. We acquired a rather large antique icebox. Come Christmas-time, we realized it was firmly planted where our Christmas tree would normally go. There was no room for a tree in our small home, but we couldn't not have one.

2006 & 2007 trees

Genius struck that fateful year (2008) when I half-jokingly suggested an alternative: create a tree out of leftover pine branches and arrange in a vase. We wouldn't have to buy or schlep a tree home. It wouldn't be wasteful; in fact, it's downright green. It would fit on top of the icebox. No stringing tangled lights. Just a few ornaments and we're done. For the time-pressed, space-challenged or just plain lazy, this is awesome.

So I got a few branches from a co-worker who'd just purchased a tree, snipped a few sprigs and voila! Meet Piney...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve

Dusting off the photo archives to bring you this holiday treat.

Christmas 1979 (Mr. P) and 1982 (Miss P)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rock me, baby

Inspired by last week's ring about metals and rocks, I thought I'd share a little gem with you. Growing up, I collected things. I was the kid who'd come home from a walk with my pockets filled with treasures, hands carrying what wouldn't fit elsewhere. Leaves, wildflowers, seed pods, rocks... if it was a found object, I loved it.

Once I was old enough to receive an allowance, the collections turned a little more material. Postcards from our travels, pencils/erasers to trade with the other girls, an embarrassing but thankfully short-lived troll doll phase, etc. But there is one collection that has remained close to my heart for 20+ years.

Rocks. Yes, I collected rocks. Rocks and gemstones. Found and store-bought. (God, I must have been a slow walker... always studying the ground for unusual specimens.) On my last trip to WV, I brought the rock collection home.

(Unfortunately for Mr. P, just one of my boxes. Also, note the cotton batting and labels. Apparently, this was something I took very seriously.)

If you were wondering how committed I am to exposing my dorky side, here you go...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Party Architecture

As perennial party hosts, we've thrown enough parties to have the basics down. But what about the intangibles that elevate a good party to an awesome party? You know it if you've ever attended a party where something was missing... but you couldn't put your finger on it.

I'd read about "party architecture" on Apartment Therapy a few years back, but now that we're planning a wedding (really just a BIG party), I'm seeing it with new eyes. The four aspects of party architecture are density, structure, lighting and flow.

1. Density - crucial for dinner and dancing. While you don't want to cram your guests around a table for dinner, a packed dance floor is less of an issue. Especially if you have issues about dancing. *raises hand* A crowd can hide a multitude of dancing sins. Unless you're the one in the big white dress. Crap.

Our venue's living room. Our dance floor and DJ booth.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There's an App for that!


Our registry just introduced a barcode scanning app for adding items and managing the list on the go. That's great news for these two iPhone users!

It's downloaded, synced and ready for use. Just need to test it out on some unwitting barcodes.

The only downside? Giving Mr. P's iPhone "scan gun" capability. They might have created a monster. But hey! Since I have my own phone, I'll finally get a chance to scan in some items.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Registry Meh

Two stores. Almost a half day at the mall. We felt victorious, but our registry still had gaping holes. No matter that Macy's didn't carry the vacuum or clothes steamer I had in mind. We had an upcoming trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond.

When the selection at BB&B failed to impress, I was left adrift (and without a decent vacuum). We already had three registries. We were NOT making it four. If we couldn't find what we needed from the existing registries, then we'd have to do without. The floors would just stay dirty. Wait a minute... that makes no sense! I was conflicted. On one hand, I felt like we were being greedy for needing a fourth registry. But the missing things were some of the very first items we brainstormed to put on the list.


What's a girl to do?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

5 Gold Rings -- gold, really?

Once I had settled on a ring design and placed the custom order, all we had to do was wait. It only took a few weeks to get the call. The proof was ready. However, there was a mix-up with the order. Oh no! My stomach flip-flopped before Mr. P could finish his sentence. Mr. P grabbed me by the shoulders before I could start worrying and explained it was good news. Instead of creating a wax mold, the company skipped right to casting it in white gold. So you're telling me I don't have to imagine what this green wax mold will look like when it's actually a ring? That is good news.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Round and round we go

Unable to track down a two-band crossover ring, our jeweler decided a custom band was in order. My eyes must have bugged out when he broke the news because he was soon reassuring us it would actually be slightly cheaper than the other bands I'd liked. How is that possible?

To make our trip worthwhile, Joel pulled out a ring that simulated the crossover design that would be the basis of the custom band. Cover the two parallel bands and you've got it.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lights, camera, action! Lights... lights??

Guess what I overlooked? Yep, lighting.

My lightbulb moment came this afternoon as I was running down our list of vendors. It's an easy thing to overlook. DJs or tent companies are the usual suspects. For our reception, there is no tent company as the tent comes with the venue. Our DJ can provide uplighting or dance lighting (No thank you, we don't want Mr. P to start rave dancing. I'm looking at you Mr. P!). But what about overhead lighting?

It's not like I haven't thought about what we'd like. Here's some of my inspiration images for inside our tent.

Love the cluster of lanterns:
source: left & right

Mix in some color and texture (you know me). Group them on the ground.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mexico, a go-go

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
Moon's so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right


The backstory: Mr. P's close friend (and the last roommate before I moved in), got engaged about a month before us in 2009. Due to the timing of our engagements, both couples were fated to the same planning timeline. However, I'm a planner so I pressed fast forward on my to do list. First time on the to do list: venue, and consequently wedding date.

At the same time, the friend and his fiance (N&D) decided on a destination wedding, location and time TBD. We were one of three 2011 weddings and need to pick a date ASAP. A few weeks later, our venue was secured and a date of 6/4/11 was set. Soon after, I heard N&D were considering St. Lucia. I knew we couldn't afford a St. Lucia trip the same year as our wedding (and honeymoon). We'd priced it out in 2007; for the same money, we could do 7 days in a high-end Mexican all-inclusive. (We went. We had a fantastic time.) So this is what I relayed to N&D.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Get ready girls!

The bridesmaids' dresses are in!


They're hanging out at the Ardmore store waiting for us to visit. Maybe when we pick them up, I can try on my dress again. Maybe. I'd really like that.

Oh, and we'll be able to finally see what color yellow the girls will be wearing. When the order was placed, it'd been months since I'd glanced at the one inch swatch. It will be nice to know what color yellow we're working with!

Did the colors of the bridesmaid dresses surprise you when they arrived?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Easy peasy presents

After the last shutter click of our engagement shoot, our photographer asked what we would do with the shots. Mr. P and I looked at each other and shrugged. I knew we'd do something with them, but what exactly had yet to be determined. Once the online proofs were in and the families (read: the moms) raved about them, I knew we had foolproof Christmas gifts.

We ordered ten prints from our photographer's Pictage account after Thanksgiving. Turnaround time was estimated mid-December, which wasn't fast enough for our early Christmas in WV. Hoping the prints would arrive just in time, I put a 2-Day rush on the order. We missed their arrival by less than 12 hours, so the rush shipping fee ($16) ended up being a waste of money. And to rub salt in the monetary wound, free shipping was offered on Cyber Monday and is now 50% off.

So how did the photos turn out?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time isn't on my side

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." - Einstein

Then why does it feel like these last 6 months are a pile of rapidly compressing marshmellows massing into one humongous, melting, out of control giant 'mellow. (Perhaps dessert is my next "to do"! Seriously, is there anything better than a homemade marshmellow dipped in dark chocolate?)


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Whispering sweet Nom Noms

It was with a little apprehension we reached out to a new cake vendor, the Hotel du Pont. Our venue encouraged us to call the bakery department and let us know how it worked out since they wanted to create a partnership with a new cake vendor. But we were still cautious. Our friends assured us the quality was there. (No rotten cherries.) So I left a message and waited to hear back. A patient week passed. I grew anxious, especially after my last interaction with Baker #1, and shot them a follow up email. I confirmed our tasting meeting as soon as I heard back, also asking questions about what to bring (Mr. P said glass of milk) and where to meet. I never heard back.

Hotel lobby

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Grab a fork and a glass of milk. It's time to dive into cakes - face first!

(This year's birthday cake - I didn't wait for a fork!)

Here are some of the inspiration images we brought to our cake tasting with Baker #3, Hotel du Pont. Divided into categories for easy browsing too!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cake Take Two

One of the bakers under consideration is Papa's Pastry Shop - our neighborhood pastry tasty. They're our go-to store for birthday cakes, cookies (pignoli!) and more. It all started when Mr. P brought home their chocolate cake for my birthday in 2006.

Then we brought one of their Italian Rum cakes to north Jersey for a family function. When the family (chefs and persnickety folks) raved about it, we knew it wasn't just us that had fallen in love with the cakes. Pretty soon, we were picking up cakes for every birthday.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Home for the Holidays

We're spending a few days at my parents' house for an early Christmas. Trying the alternating method for holiday time with our parents until we have kidlets. This year is a "stay home year" but my folks couldn't make the trip to Delaware later this month. The upside to celebrating the holidays early means no procrastinating on presents, less stress and more holidayness.

While I'm home, I thought it'd be nice to finally clear out my boxes of stuff. Last night I found notes from each year of high school. Not kept in a shoe box but a binder in protective sleeves, organized by year. Apparently my organizational tendencies go back further than Brian and I realized. Digging past the notes, I found old school newspapers, book reports, class schedules, awkward artwork, etc. Most of it got tossed, notably love letters from my first boyfriend and diaries... some things I am not sentimental about!

Tomorrow I'm tackling the baby albums.

When did you start delving into the family archives? What did you find?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Officially speaking

The officiant search started in August, stalled in September and October, then resumed in November. Now that's it's December 1st, we're ready to pick an officiant. Finally, right? I don't know why we took so long to make a decision! It took all of 15 minutes to review the available officiants, select a package and email the coordinator. Procrastinating just made it worse and turned it into something that gave us agita, like preparing and filing our self-employed tax returns.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Falling flat: a cake story

Pinning down a baker has proved tricky. Our venue recommended Baker #1, a popular bakery with a great pedigree, but offered us the option of using a credit toward whomever we wish. Since we knew nothing about wedding cakes or the process, we started off with Baker #1. We were still a year out and hadn't even found my dress, let alone picked colors or flowers. In our initial email, we emphasized that the flavor of the cake was more important than the appearance. And we were more than willing to pay for the privilege of a tasting. Just let us know the cost and when would be a good time. And that's where Baker #1 dropped the ball.

A cake that has fallen. Quite literally.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We need a wedding

Our holiday weekend in New Jersey was meant to end on Friday morning, but it's late Monday night and we're just now returning. Tragedy struck Thanksgiving night. Mr. P's grandfather suffered a fatal heart attack, which we unfortunately (and fortunately) witnessed. This is the third Thanksgiving in a row that we have spent in mourning. (It's the fourth death in 3 years for the family.) I'm beginning to think there is a black cloud over the holiday and our engagement.

To say we are exhausted is putting it lightly.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble gobble

We're out of town for a few days so posting is on hold. Lots of late-night entertaining (ah, here come the holidays!) has kept me from building up a cache of vacation posts. Once we're back, I'll make it up to you! In honor of the gluttonous holiday before us, I'll have two cake-related posts, including a tasting, for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goldilocks of wedding gowns

Whose been wearing my wedding gown? Uhm, no one, that's who! *

One of the inherent problems with choosing an uncommon wedding dress is you don't have the benefit of seeing it on other brides. Everyone has different taste but seeing how other women accessorize it is oh so helpful. I'm talking about the veil, shoes, hairstyle, jewelry, makeup and more. I'm visual (and a planner) so naturally I googled all the possible name combos to find photos of this elusive gown. Here's what I found:

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Heart Paper Art

Collages by Helen Musselwhite

Probably the easiest to attempt out of everything on this page, but I'm not fooling myself. It's still hard. And time consuming.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rittenhouse, a year later


Smack dab in the middle of the park is the guardhouse.
Where Mr. P proposed.
In front of everyone.

Happy Engage-iversary

In what simultaneously feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago, Mr. P got down on one knee in the middle of a Philadelphia park and asked me to marry him.

We're heading back to Philly today to remind us of the what and why behind our decision while remembering our past and planning for the future. (My camera is coming with me this time!) As I type this, the church bells at St. Thomas are pealing. I can't help but think of weddings every time I hear the bells.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Something in the water

With almost 2 full years of engagements and weddings, our circle of friends and family averages a wedding every 2.3 months. We're in the middle of the celebrations: 6 down, 4 to go. It's a lot of showers, cards, gifts and vacation time. When I bring this up with anyone in outside of my generation, there is no sympathy. Instead, it's a "been there done that" attitude and a variety of explanations:

1. It's cyclical. What does that even mean? We're not cicadas.
2. Everyone is the same age so of course they'll do the same things at the same time. This is so not the case! The age range of these couples runs from 24-50. We have friends that are far older who haven't begun to think of settling down and younger friends with several children. When you get married has little to do with age and more about where you are as a person. Sorry, I just don't like sweeping generalizations...
3. You're just more aware of it since you're getting married. Also crap. Looking back over the last 10 years, it's been one wedding (at most) a year -- not every 2 months.

All together now

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bridesmaid Revisited

Quick recap: The 'maids and I thought their gowns were all set when we walked out of the doors at Priscilla. They'd been measured, gave their contact information, approved the color and even agreed on the same gown (save for a small difference in the skirt). Then I received an email that changed all of that.

Things happen for a reason. I wasn't feeling the first choice so this setback wasn't actually a bad thing. It gave me a chance to regain control of the creative direction. (That sounds awful, but true.) I knew what gown to order. It was an early favorite that wasn't given strong enough consideration. I didn't speak up even though it was my favorite... Making sure everyone was happy was more important. Lesson learned. Now that we were on the same page, I had their blessing to pick the back-up:

PB 415

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shoe kismet

Aside from keeping my feet happy and having some style, I don't have too many requirements of my shoes. Why would my wedding shoes be any different? I am not one to suffer for fashion. My high arches turn even sneakers into torture after awhile. While I love my stilettos, they are not comfortable for all-day wear, especially when showing house after house or trekking across lawns. My favorite shoes are kitten heels and flats. They're my go-to styles for sophisticated comfort that lasts all day. (I sound like an orthopedic shoe ad...)


Before I even found my dress, I knew I'd wear flats. For so many reasons.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Matchmaker, matchmaker

Do you remember taking those teen magazine quizzes? Most of us probably did at least once or twice, right? Please tell me I'm not the only dork who thought it was fun! And who didn't look forward to Psych 101? It was one of the more interesting freshman level offerings.

(I remember buying this one.)

Now we're a little old to buy teen magazines... so I've got a new quiz for you to try, no teenybopper magazine required.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I think that's what I'm going to feel after my first yoga class tonight.

That's me.

It's something I've wanted to start for over a year and just never found the right combination of motivation, time, and people. I'm not a Y or gym membership kinda girl. The whole gym thing intimidates me, which is odd considering how athletic I was in high school. But that was 10 years ago!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let the DIY begin!

Once the Evites for our annual NYE party were sent out, it meant our first DIY project was fast approaching.

The Photobooth.


Early on, I decided our wedding would have one. D&T's wedding last December was a blast, partly because of their very busy, very funny photobooth that hosted all sorts of mischief during the reception.

Yep, that's us. Being goofy.