Monday, January 31, 2011

Wine bottle DIY: Crushing

Now that you've harvested your bottles for the wine bottle centerpieces, we're ready for the second step in winemaking: crushing/de-stemming, aka cutting the bottles.

Let me begin by saying there are many ways to do this, ranging from "so simple I must be missing something" to crazy dangerous... like an alcohol-soaked string that is then lit on fire.
Like I said. Crazy. Dangerous. - source

Moving on. We started on the easy end of the spectrum...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Just a taste...

Our tasting appointment has been booked - it's this Friiiiiiiday.


The four of us (Mr. P, me, best man/brother M and BM R) are very much looking forward to it. Having M (a Manhattan chef & caterer) on hand to provide culinary advice is beyond awesome. And I could not believe BM R had not participated in a tasting yet, given all her wedding experience. I think it's a great idea to have not just the bride and groom at the tasting but a foodie/friend whose opinion you trust.

So what's on the tasting menu?

Saturday, January 29, 2011


(Not trying to be a Debbie Downer with this post - bear with me, it gets better.)

Early in our engagement, Mr. P's grandmother passed away followed a year later by his grandfather. Finding a way to honor loved ones who are no longer with us became a priority. I suggested a photo display of portraits and weddings to Mr. P and he thought it was a lovely idea.

Mrs. Jellyfish's elegant photo table, one of my favorite examples

A few weeks ago, I had an ah-ha moment. Our photo table will have an extra layer of detail and sentimentality. (We're determined to make our guests cry...) For each grandmother that has passed, a single bloom of her favorite flower will be interspersed among the photos with a tent card explaining the significance.

My great-grandmother, Granny Greene, loved pink peonies ("panhk" with her southern accent), which grew in abundance around her Arkansas home.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wait a minute Mr. Postman!


Attention all brides who've not yet mailed invites!

On April 17th, postage rates will change. And they're not going down. Anything more than the standard 1 ounce letter will cost an additional 3 cents/ounce, which equates to an extra $3.00 minimum if you're mailing 100 invites. Be careful with those heavy invitations!

Brides sending out postcard STDs or RSVPS also take note: stamp prices for those items will go up 1 cent (to 29 cents). So just a mere dollar if you're sticking with the above example.

Canada and Mexico will run you 80 cents; all other international mail is still 98 cents.

Forever stamps are always an option, but the Liberty Bell doesn't ring my bell.

Would you push your invitation "release date" to save money on postage? Any anti-procrastination tips for this bride? (I really need to get crackin'!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unveiled: Anthropologie's Wedding Label

Coming February 14th...
{discovered on Effortless Anthropologie}

Sneak peek? - source

... Anthropologie's wedding brand! Squee!!!

Snow Day!

No surprise work is closed today.

It may not look like much, but giant snowflakes have been zipping down for the past few hours. It's supposed to intensify this afternoon so I'm happy to not drive in it even though I could really test out my new tires. Wonder of wonders, a city truck plowed and salted our street. That never happens!

I love waking up to the sound of snow shovels. Without even opening my eyes, I know there's a good chance it'll be a day off. Which is good, because we've got a lot of Wedding Things looming. The not so good part is the next post in my DIY wine bottle series is sitting on my work computer. So that'll have to wait another day or two. Sorry kids!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NYC weekend

This past weekend Mr. P and I ran up to northern NJ to see his brother for his birthday. Any visit there isn't complete without popping into the The City. Oh yes! *excited dance* With six hours to kill before our dinner reservation, the below freezing and windy weather didn't slow us down one bit.

Sight-seeing from the High Line doubled as our diversionary route between destinations: Eataly and the Chelsea Market. It's a much better way to walk the city! No waiting at lights and a lot less people, all like-minded cold weather wanderers.

Looking toward 18th St. entrance

Fantastic architecture: IAC Building

Sunset over the Hudson River from our vantage point on the High Line

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wine bottle DIY: Harvesting

Any winemaker worth their merlot will tell you harvesting is the first step in wine production. For our DIY project, we followed a similar path... only we're harvesting bottles instead of grapes!

Ffffwooosh, Napa countryside whizzing past
on our way to another winery.

We *heart* wine.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

She's here! (unwrapped)

Someone get me an implement of destruction

9.5 pounds of ivory awesomeness!

Digging through the layers

Happy Birthday M!

Happy happy birthday to our Best Man (and my future brother-in-law)!

The boys - 1977

We'll see you soon and we're bringing cake!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sharp Dressed Man

I never realized menswear had so many nuanced variables. A suit was just a suit... and then I looked closer. Spending a solid Saturday suit shopping (excuse me while I untie my tongue) with the future mister will do that to a girl.

Going into it rather blindly, a grey, preferably slim fit, suit was my pick. He wanted ABB (anything but black) since "black is too severe and doesn't go with [his] coloring." Funny how this stuff comes out now. I had no clue he felt that way.

Store 1: Jos. A. Bank
Mr. P's go-to store for work suits was a logical first stop. Here, the suits lean toward traditional fabrics and cuts. Which is fine for work, but a little too boxy for a semi-formal wedding. Winter is probably not the best time to go hunting for a summer suit, but there we were. Lots of black, brown, charcoal and navy, but not a lot of lighter grey. Our favorite suit was this medium grey number.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's Only a Paper Moon

One of those Oriental Trading Company catalogs came in the mail this week. Before committing it to the trash can, I flipped through it - just for fun. I was surprised to find products we'd actually use, including paper lanterns. But I knew they could be found for less! A little internet sleuthing yielded some deals.

Oriental Trading - limited colors (no yellow), accordion pleat design.
18" - 4.16/ea (6 for $24.99)
10" - 1.16/ea (12 for $13.99)

Ivory lantern

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sweetest Favor

One of the easiest decisions we've had to make is wedding favors. Because we've gotta guy... A Swiss chocolatier to be more precise! Mr. P's mom worked with Neuchatel years ago. But the confection connection doesn't end there. His brother, a NY chef and caterer, orders custom truffles infused with a favorite spirit, usually scotch. Whooo - those things are potent!

Someone went to Neuchatel!

I wonder what's inside...

Mr. P introduced me to the fan-frickin'-tastic chocolates by way of their chocolate covered potato chips. Yes, salty and sweet in one snack! They're like a drug, a very delicious drug. The chocolate is imported from Switzerland, the oh so delicious cream comes from the cows in nearby Oxford and the potato chips are sourced from the Herr's factory down the road.

Friday, January 14, 2011

She's here!

My dress is in! My dress is in! :D

Pardon me, I'm out of breath from running around in circles like a crazy person (ahem, bride). My Friday morning got a little boost when I opened my email to find this:

To save money on PA sales tax (6%), the gown will ship to me in Delaware (0% sales tax) rather than paying for/picking up at the store. I still have to pay for luxury overnight shipping (~$150) but that's still cheaper than paying sales tax. BM R is actually going to be near the store this weekend so maybe we can skip shipping it too.

I guess it's time to dust off the elliptical!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sail, snorkel & sand: The BVI

Remember last week's freak out post about the budget? That's what happens when you fall in love with a destination before fully pricing it out. Our travel agent sent over 6 possible BVI resorts ranging from ehhh, okay to spectacular. There's a big price gap between ehhh and spectacular!

Little Dix Bay - our hands down favorite! Gorgeous accommodations and views from the cheapest rooms, lots of included amenities; near the top end of our price range.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow

Once we crunched some numbers, it became apparent that dream destinations like the Seychelles, Maldives, Fiji and French Polynesia were out. The airfare to these gorgeous spots ($1k+/person) coupled with 12 hours plus of flight time was a double whammy. My inner bride was bummed. In my head I'd always pictured a honeymoon as a luxurious, secluded beach retreat with fantastic food and plenty of free activities.

Refusing to scale back on the quality of the resort or length of stay, we turned to nearer beachy spots... and our travel agent. Running with a budget number supplied by Mr. P (much less than I thought we should spend), she asked what I thought of Panama. My mind was truly blank. All I could think of was, "A man, a plan, a canal - Panama??"


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wanna get away?

I can think of no better time to dream of a tropical getaway than in the middle of yet another January snowstorm. The snow is just pouring down but our thoughts are on planning the honeymoon.

When Mr. P asked what sort of trip I wanted to take, my only requirement was "warm and beachy." After the stress and exhaustion of planning and hosting a wedding, I don't think we'll be game for anything more strenuous than reaching for margaritas and guacamole.

Warm and beachy is a good place to start. Our ideal destination wouldn't take more than 6 hours to reach and the airfare shouldn't eat into the room and board budget too much. Ideally... There are a handful of destinations below for which we may be willing to bend the rules a bit. Without further delay, I present the "Could you be our honeymoon?" contestants:

Anguilla - Simply sand, sun and surf
Best beaches, upscale laid-back vibe, food
7 hour flight from NYC ($750)

Belize - Adventure awaits (source: 1 & 2)
Beaches, adventure (jungles, ruins, cave tubing), culture & authenticity
5 hour flight from NYC ($580)

Friday, January 7, 2011


Looking at budget spreadsheet may cause: stomach pains, dizziness due to hyperventilation, tightness in chest, stress headache, urge to curl into fetal position, whining, and possibly a hangover. The severity of your hangover will depend on the severity of previous evening's symptoms.

(I'm getting a lot of mileage out of these old family photos. [circa 1983])

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another kind of PWC

Not long after ordering my dream gown, I had an idea. An idea that wormed its way into my brain and wouldn't dislodge. Considering my guilt over the money invested in it and obsession with it, it would be a damn shame not to wear my lovely again. So I would.

But how? Not again as a wedding dress. You only get married once. (Well...) Not for a trash the dress shoot.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Color Forecasting

And the color for 2011 is...

(not what I picture when I think of the fragrant yellow and white flowering vine)

When I saw Pantone had announced their Color of the Year, I may have geeked out a little. You see, I majored in graphic design in college. Pantone was our color bible and there were always piles of these swatch books laying around.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Photobooth: the results

Warming up to the photobooth.

Getting the hang of it.

Some of the boys.

Love the expressions in this one!

Photobooth: the test run

Knowing a DIY photobooth is in our future, it is important (for my sanity) to work out the details of the how as soon as possible. Our annual New Years party presented the perfect opportunity to set up a prototype booth. Of course, Mr. P and I had to get the thing working in a matter of days but those are small details, right? Hah. Once it was up and running, our friends would test it out and find the flaws.


I did some research, finding free and not free programs. Heck, I even have a program on my MacBook that does the hard work for me. But I didn't like any of these options. I wanted more control (and to keep drunk people with liquids away from my laptop).

Monday, January 3, 2011

That boat has set sail...

The engagement session I wish we could have had!


As much as we would have enjoyed a sailboat/marina e-session, asking our photographer to travel 3 hours to the home marina wasn't in the cards. And the boat had already been pulled out of the water ("on the hard") in late October so we wouldn't have gotten the desired shots anyway! (Here's a look back at our pictures.)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!

Just popping in to wish everyone a Happy New Year!


We had a blast hosting everyone last night! The photobooth was a big hit and we have more food and alcohol than we started with, as usual. You know what that means -- a second party ("no BYOB/F") is coming very soon! I wouldn't leave you without some sample photos from our little DIY project (details to follow). For now, it's just pics of us - pending model release from our friends.