Monday, August 24, 2009

Excited (and a wee bit nervous!)

Thursday is the day! Not for our wedding, silly. That's still over a year away. But Thursday is the day that we not only skip out of the country for Ned's first visit to Europe, but it's the day of our first engagement shoot!

You might be wondering why I say "first" engagement shoot and that's because Ned and I decided that we needed not one, but two engagement sessions! Im incredibly excited, but at the same time super nervous. I can't really figure out if the butterflies are due to the photos or the trip or everything combined. Im a seasoned traveler and have been visiting Austria multiple times a year for almost a decade so Im thinking the nervousness is due more to the photos.

See, I'm someone who loves to be behind the camera, not in front of it. Just the thought of someone taking a picture of me starts to get me going crazy. I wonder about my hair; how will I style it? Does it need to be colored? What about a haircut? I wonder about my teeth; are they white enough? Do I have time to bleach them? What about my clothes? What will I wear? What will look just right? Dear god, what about SHOES?! I cant forget the shoes! Oh, and then I freak out that all this worrying will cause my skin to break out.... It just goes on and on and on.

Ive been trying to get things taken care of ahead of time to avoid going crazy over the little details at the last minute as much as possible. I took care of coloring my hair about a week or so ago. Ned and I both went and got haircuts together this last weekend. I started going through all my clothes (which, if you know me, you know is a huge task) and started to not only put together the most perfect outfit, but also pick out what I want to pack for our trip. It still feels like there is so much to do though.

We are probably overdoing it by planning our photo shoot for the morning of the day we are leaving for Europe, but it's the only day we will be able to visit the Minnesota State Fair this year. The Fair opens the day we leave and ends before we come back! We both love the State Fair and would be so sad if we missed it. Last year we had so much fun that we actually went twice. It only seems fitting that our engagement photos are taken there. Unfortunately, our wonderful wedding photographers, Graddy Photography, are booked on the only day we can make it to the Fair. (We get a free engagement shoot with our wedding package.) But we are super lucky to have the amazing Jenn Barnett instead! We are still going to use our engagement session with Graddy at a later date, maybe this winter or in the spring.

Im really excited to have our engagement photos done, but tomorrow is going to be a whirlwind. So much to do in such a short time. Im keeping my fingers crossed for nice weather!

I wanted to make a post about getting an email from The Knot yesterday that we reached our 13 months mark, but I just don't have time. Expect a big update when we get back! For now, here are some photos of us from the MN State Fair last year.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

To cover or not to cover?

I wanted to make this post yesterday, but I got sidetracked by life. I also had to reschedule a tattoo appointment to finish up my newest piece till next month. By the end of the day I just forgot I promised this entry, but it's definitely something important to me so I want to write about it.

Something Ive been asked quite a few times is if Im going to cover my tattoos for my wedding, either with makeup or my dress. The answer for me is really simple; no.

I love my tattoos. If I didn't, why would I have them? They make me who I am. I chose to get them for a reason. I don't see the point in covering them for my wedding, or any day for that matter. Im actually incredibly confused by those that choose to cover. I guess I just don't understand why you would cover them. Maybe you don't think they are appropriate? Or they will upset relatives? Or they aren't classy enough for your wedding? Or....I just don't know. But I ask again, why have them if you want to hide them or you don't think they are classy or appropriate?

(Credit to Allebach Photography)

There are some tattoos you get in places that aren't seen on a daily basis for a reason. They aren't ones you want to show off to the general public. They are personal or private or whatever. Or maybe you have a career where you just can't pull off visible tattoos. I guess it makes sense that if you don't normally show them off that you would cover them on your wedding day. But mostly because they are in spots that are naturally covered.

My tattoos are pretty visible and I like it that way. Not because Im screaming to be looked at, but they are an expression of who I am. I consider them artwork. They are in places that are seen on an average day and will be visible when wearing my wedding dress. I wouldn't want it any other way.

I want to be myself on my wedding day. That means not hiding my tattoos or taking out my piercings or keeping my hair at whatever color I think is beautiful at the time. To me, the most beautiful woman is a woman not afraid to be herself. And on such an important day, you should be yourself. It's YOUR wedding. And this also goes for grooms, too! They should be able to express themselves and be who they are on their wedding day.

(Credit to Rebecca Peters Photography)

I guess it's easier for me because I think tattoos and piercings are attractive, especially on brides. I don't have to put much thought into the fact that I'm going to show my tattoos on my wedding day and that I'm going to have a dress that compliments them. I'm also fine with the fact that my bridesmaids have tattoos and theirs will also be visible at my wedding.

This is me and my MOH, Amanda, at GWG '09. My chest piece, that is still lacking color, along with my back piece, will be completely visible at my wedding and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brides with tattoos?

One more quick post for the day since I just got a call from my tattoo shop reminding me of my upcoming appointment. Make sure to check back tomorrow as I discuss my thoughts on being a bride with visable tattoo work.

(Credit to Tasha Hundahl and

After thoughts...

I wish I could say that trying on wedding dresses was magical and amazing and that I had such a great time. That all my fears just disappeared. I will say, in the end, I did have a good time, but thats just because I have amazing friends. Unfortunately, it did turn out to be exactly what I was afraid of.

The first shop we went to, which I wont mention by name anymore cause they suck, was horrible. I knew going there that they are a consignment shop so I was taking a big chance not only that they would have something I liked there, but also something in my size. But they do carry the La Sposa line which ranges in sizes from 2-24 so I figured they would have SOEMTHING in my size to try on. Im considered pretty average as far as American sizes go. I didnt really expect it to be too much of an issue. I had also heard really good things about this shop.

I was pretty frustrated from the beginning though. The store was really small with maybe 2 tiny dressing rooms. The ladies working there didnt seem too thrilled that we stopped in even though you dont need an appointment and I had even tried to make one earlier that day. I started going through the dresses while Rue snapped photos and we waited for Ama and Hal to get there. I really didnt see much I liked except one vintage dress that was very simple. Definitely not my ideal wedding dress, but I would have bought it for another special occassion.

I picked out that one to try on and one of the ladies suggested a couple others. Nothing really fit though. She shoved a couple dresses at me in the dressing room (I should mention she just kept walking in without asking me if that was ok or not) and there were a couple I could get on, but they were not what I was looking for. She repeatedly told me that the La Sposa line comes in all sizes so they can order me something, but why would I want to order a dress I cant try on and have no idea how it would look or fit? Maybe thats the way the bridal world goes, but I at least need to be able to try on something similar so I can get a feel for it. She also knew this was my first time trying dresses on so I had no idea what I liked or what looked good on me.

After dealing with this bitchy lady, I may or may not have left the store in tears. Of course the only thing I wanted at that point was to cuddle up in Ned's arms and cry about how Im never going to find a dress so we cant get married, but I was with my girls and they were determined to get me excited again. My idea of cocktails was postponed until I checked out another shop. The only one we could think of where it didnt matter if we had an appointment or not was David's Bridal.

Im not a big fan of David's. Most of the dresses seem pretty basic and I find the materials to be a bit on the cheap side. I know that I want a more unique dress than something at David's. But what the hell, right? What did I have to lose? At least I knew there would be tons of stuff for me to try on and I could maybe get an idea of what style I like. And that I did.

I only tried on about half a dozen dresses there, but I did get a feel for what I like and what I feel pretty in. The first dress was awesome. It totally made me feel good about myself again. There were a couple dresses I didnt like and two more that I thought were really pretty, but probably not right for my body type.

(I will also mention that Robyn threatened the sales lady at David's that if she made me cry she would kill her. Haha. My bridesmaids are very protective! Dont mess with them!)

And even though David's Bridal is not for me, I was happy we went there. They did have really nice sales people working there and a huge selection of dresses in all sizes. I definitely felt better after the whole experience after visiting them.

So what now? Well, now Im going to Europe to forget about all of this for a couple weeks! But not really. Ned and I are going to Europe and we leave in a week, but all this wedding stuff will still be on my mind. Im actually looking forward to resuming my dress search when I return. There are a few more shops I want to check out. But to tell you the truth, Im pretty sure Im going to have my dress made for me. I dont think Im going to find that one magical dress and I would rather just design it myself. I have a lot of ideas in my mind after this first dress experience and Im determined to have that amazing dress that makes me feel like a million bucks on my wedding day.

I only have one photo to share from the night right now and that is Robyn on her bike. She road all the way from Lake City to my place in Minneapolis wearing pearls and still had fabulous hair! I love this girl!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The magical dress

I have butterflies in my stomach today. Not quite sure if they are the good, excited butterflies or the nervous, 'oh my god I dont want to do this' butterflies.

See, today my bridesmaids and I are going to look at wedding dresses for the first time. And even though I want to be jumping up and down with joy about this, I cant help but think it might be a disaster. There is a part of me that is just dreading it.

Normally I love shopping. I cant get enough of it. I go every other week or so to my favorite shops. And I LOVE dresses. I have a closet full of them. But wedding dresses....scare me.

I dont mind that its a lot of money to spend on something Ill only wear once. I want to feel amazing on my wedding day and I want that special dress. But spending the time and effort to find it does not sound like fun.

But maybe it will be. I dont know. Ive never done it. Ive never been a bridesmaid before either. I did go with two different girl friends to help them pick out their dresses and their experiences werent horrible. Maybe mine wont be either.

I guess the reason Im dreading it most is that Im worried Im going to look in the mirror and hate what I see. What if Im not pretty enough for the dress? What if I look fat? What if I hate the way my ass looks? What if I cant find a style that is flattering for me?

Most girls seem to have an idea before they go to a boutique of the style they like. Or they even have that one dress in mind that they found online or in a magazine. I have neither. Ive gone through countless magazines and webpages and havent found a dress I can call THE DRESS. I went through over 3,000 dresses on The Knot and didnt find a single one that moved me. Ive been able to find bits and pieces of dresses I like, but not a single dress that Im dying to try on. And Im not talking about dresses within a certain price range, Im talking about ALL the wedding dresses Ive looked at.

So far, this has been the least exciting part of wedding planning for me. I would rather stay at home and work on DIY projects with my darling Ned. I have a year to go though. Hopefully during this time Ill be able to find a dress I not only love, but that I feel beautiful in. Something that makes Ned's jaw drop.

Im just gonna cross my fingers that tonight isnt too hard on me. The shop we are starting with is a bridal consignment shop so they have all sorts of different style dresses from different designers. Its kinda exciting when you dont know what you will find. But also a bit terrifying when you dont know if there will even be something in your size to try on. And let me just also add while Im talking about size, that I hate that wedding dresses are sized so differently than normal clothes! If I wear a certain size at The Gap or H&M (normal places I shop), then I want to be that same size in a wedding dress, not 6 sizes bigger! I thought the point was to make brides feel beautiful so they spend thousands of dollars on a dress, not to make them feel fat.

Brides of France


Sunday, August 16, 2009

DIY BM Cards

Im a pretty sentimental girl. Ill admit it. I like doing things for those I care about. I like making things special and having them stand out. I like creating memories.

When it came to asking my girl friends to be my bridesmaids, I knew I wanted to do it in a special way rather than just blurting it out. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was planning to ask all three at our Girls Weekend Getaway, but unfortunately Hallie couldnt make it. So I asked her the previous weekend when we were spending the afternoon together baking cookies and taking the dogs to the dog park. With Amanda and Robyn, I was able to wait until we were up at the cabin.

I didnt really have a specific image in mind when it came to making the cards for my girls. I just happened to be at a craft store looking at paper when I came across this really cute pink swirly pattern and a chartreuse stripey pattern. I knew I somehow wanted to use them, but wasnt quite sure how. I also picked up some ribbon, envelopes, basic white card stock and some sparkly cardboard letters. At another trip to the craft store I also picked up some little mini black frames and a dress stamp. (The swallow stamp I also used was one from my own collection.)

When I sat down to make the first card, it just sort of fell together. I left the pink paper as is, but reinforced it by gluing white card stock to the backside. I wrapped the ribbon around it and affixed the letter "H" for "Hallie". Then I used the dress stamp and cut it out and put the little frame around it. Inside the cards I wrote a very heart felt message to each girl. I lined the envelopes in the stripey green paper and tucked the cards in. I also wrapped a wider ribbon around the outside of the envelope and repeated the process with the swallow stamp and the frame.

And for each girl, I got a gift bag full of LUSH products (bath bombs, bath bars, massage bars) and tucked the card in there with a picture frame, journal and imported vegetable French soap.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

One Year

Yesterday, my Ned and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Crazy, huh? One year together and we are planning our wedding. What I always tell people when they comment on the fact that its been such a short time is, "when you know, you know." Its pretty simple actually.

I think we both knew right away we were smitten. Our first date was a blind date and even though I like to say that I wasn't so sure about him in the beginning, I also have to admit that I called my dad right after that date to tell him about it. Thats how I know, I know he's the one.

The first couple weeks I joked about all the "red flags" and how I liked Ned, but I wasnt sure he was right for me. But then there was that night...the night he first kissed me. All questions were gone after that moment. It was just a small goodnight kiss at my front door. But that little kiss changed everything for me.

Not even three months later he proposed. And now here we are - 406 days until our wedding.

Last night on our anniversary date we sat reminiscing about all our favorite moments from the last year. The list of things that meant something to us was pretty long. From our first date to his proposal on Franklin Avenue to our trips out to San Francisco to buying our first house...this year has been packed with so many incredible moments. I wish I could share them all here, but it would take me all day.

And as I sat here writing this entry, I got confirmation from a photographer/friend that she is available to shoot a session for us the day we leave for Austria in two weeks at one of our favorite MN events. Im so happy and excited.

For now, Ill leave this entry with a couple of my favorite photos of me and Ned from last September. This is us at Mill City for one of our early dates. We were there for the Kid Dakota show and it was such an incredible night.

And as a little teaser of our photo shoot to come...


Friday, August 14, 2009

My amazing bridesmaids

Since I officially asked the last two of my bridesmaids this last weekend to be a part of my wedding, I feel like its alright for me to start talking about them. Im so excited to have these three amazing women in my life. I couldnt be more thrilled that they all said yes.

The 4 of us had been planning a girls weekend getaway (second annual one) for a couple weeks. Unfortunately, I knew one of the girls, Hallie, wasnt going to be able to make it due to morning sickness as shes 11 weeks pregnant. I had been planning to ask all 3 girls at once, but realized that wasnt going to be possible.

The weekend prior to Girls Weekend Getaway '09, I got Hallie's gift bag ready and headed over to her place to spend the afternoon. She was incredibly surprised by the gifts and card, but immediately said yes and I could tell she was truly excited. I dont think she had even considered I would choose her, but I have no idea why I wouldnt! She is one of the sweetest and kindest girls I know. She is always there for her friends and has such a positive attitude about life. I have been so blessed to have her in my life this last year.

Amanda technically already knew that she was not only one of my bridesmaids, but actually my maid of honor. I let that slip the night we went to The Knot party at the Graves hotel. I had already ran it by my fiance that I was going to ask her, but wanted to wait until GWG. But when we got to the party I introduced her as my MOH and told her the plan. Thats kinda what happens with best friends, its hard to keep secrets. I dont think there is anything I can keep from Ama. She totally gets me. I know she is always there if there is anything I need and is incredibly supportive and always encouraging me.

I brought Ama and Robyn's gift bags with me to the cabin for Girls Weekend and surprised them when we got there. Robyn also seemed incredibly blown away by the whole thing, but she jumped up and down and gave me a huge hug. Robyn is one of those people that has an infectious smile. She is always finding something to laugh about and has this incredible way of looking at the world. Shes always ready to take on a project and I dont think there is anything she cant conquer. Ive known her for about 5 years and my life has definitely been for the better with her in it. She inspires me so much.

Heres to the amazing women in my life! Thanks for not only being a part of my wedding, but for being in my life. I dont know what I would do without you.

Girls Weekend Getaway '08. Hallie (Hal), Robyn (Rue) & me (Gan).

Girls Weekend Getaway '09. Robyn (Rue), me (Gan) & Amanda (Ama).


Monday, August 10, 2009

Yah but it's the Nebraska Game...

I was late rushing into work this morning.  

Gan was finishing up her four day weekend today and it took every ounce of strength on my part to go into work and not to call in with a severe case of common sense.  However once I got to work, or more appropriately as I was riding the elevator up, as my luck would have it, some women just happened to be talking about weddings.

"So it sounds like they are going to have a short, quick honeymoon, maybe two days" one woman was saying. "And then a longer one later in month."

"But why," her co-worker asked. "That seems like a large waste. Especially for Hawaii."

"It is, but he really doesn't want to miss The Nebraska Game."

At this point, the women started talking about how Hawaii was a terrible place to go on a honeymoon and Fiji was just SO much better, but I had already tuned out.

The Nebraska Game?

You could tell just by listening to the conversation that the bride wanted nothing to do with the truncated honeymoon, but the groom was going to have his dream wedding and his dream football game too. To be honest, I felt kinda ill.

But then it occurred to me that I would do anything for Gan and who knows, maybe she has a "Nebraska Game" out there just waiting. I mean, we have agreed on everything up to this point. Heck, that's really an understatement. Every idea Gan has had I've been excited and enchanted by and I've received pretty good feedback on the two or three ideas that I've had.

Everything about the wedding has just been all so easy up to this point. And think it's because Gan and I see eye to eye on a lot of the details.  I really believe that we are going to have an amazing day because when we think about the wedding, we are seeing the same thing.

That isn't to say that I wouldn't do anything for her if she had a Nebraska Game out there. Lurking. Just waiting. But I'm sure whatever comes along, we'll roll with it. Keep that communication open and flowing.

Eye to eye

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The story of Plus One

When I was very little, I used to have these competitions with my dad over who loved who more. He would say he loved me, I would say I loved him more. He would say he loved me most, I would say I loved him infinity! And then he would say he loved me infinity plus one. Nothing could trump the "plus one". No matter what I would say, he would add the plus one to it. If I would say I loved him times a trillion, he would love me times a trillion- plus one.

When my fiance and I first started saying we loved each other, I introduced him to the plus one rule. He never could have guessed that there was something out there more than infinity.

After that he wrote the cutest, albeit a bit dorky *wink*, blog entry about Plus One. It was probably the sweetest thing anyone had ever written for me.


As a child, I learned of true magic playing Dungeons and Dragons. I discovered, early in the game, there were normal, forged items, such as swords, shields, and rings, and
then there were objects that were imbued with... something extra - the blades that glowed when orcs were close or a suit of armor that enhanced a person's strength. Magic always meant something extra - the usual plus a little more. Magic meant +1.

Magic trumps just about everything. For example, in science, there is nothing larger than infinity - it's a concept that has no equal and no end. Infinity is supreme, practically its own damn theology, and there's nothing larger. Nothing, that is, except for Infinity +1. I love you. I love you more. I love you infinity. I love you infinity +1.

When it comes to weddings, dates are commonly referred to as +1 - you and that someone extra. Suddenly magic axes are replaced by a partner or a child or a true friend. It's no longer just you by yourself on your adventure, exploring the dark passages by a flickering torch. Suddenly it's you and your +1 - one upping infinity - being with someone else, someone extra special.

If I had a wish, a wish that knew no limits, I would wish that every person could have a little magic in his or her life - that every person could have a +1. Even if it is merely access to magical Potato Salad (+1 to constitution) or an enchanted pair of shoes (+1 to charisma), I would wish that every person in the world would have access to an additive that would shine against the darkness.

Have you found it?

Do you possess that object that gives you that extra strength to battle the demons?

Have you found that special someone that gives you the power to one up infinity?

I wish with all my heart that, if you haven't found it yet that you find your +1.

Because the only thing that's better than a world with you in it - is a world with you in it +1."

Now whenever we are across a crowded room, or a store, or a park, or wherever from each other, one of us will hold up our hands in the shape of a heart. The other will then follow by making a plus sign with his/her fingers and then the number one. Its our way of being able to tell each other that we love each other without speaking. We love each other- Plus One.


Was it Shakespeare?

Famer's Market

Wasn't it Shakespeare who said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"? Well that's swell, but who goes to a wedding to smell the flowers?  

Me?  I want color.  In fact, I want, like, SHAZAM!, kind of colors.  Nothing to upstage the bride mind you (like that would be possible) but something that can bring the magic and dynamic of the outdoors through precise and careful placement.  

And what better way to do this, in my humble opinion, than flowers or maybe I should say "colorful" flowers to be precise.    

Gan and I had no easy task finding colors that we wanted so late in the season.  We wanted the pop of spring but the sophistication of late summer.  And we wanted to do this while trying to avoid the fall, pumpkin Halloween colors.  So, we focused on royal colors that would contrast well against the "PARTY ON" green and give the event the prestige it deserves.  

So, I'm always on the lookout for colors, especially in flowers, and especially in a season that is almost a year away from our special day.  

I snapped this picture today with my cell phone at the farmer's market on Nicollet Mall downtown.  It's slightly over-exposed and this washed out the richness of the color, but you can get the idea.  Darn close to our colors without getting too trick or treat-ish.   

Now, in truth, this flower is a little too round for me and doesn't go with the lilies and other flowers that Gan and I were looking at.  At least, for the main table, this isn't the right flower. But the colors... ah yes... I think they would make great decorative flowers for other areas where we wanted a splash of color.  (Bathrooms, distant bar tables, Uncle Mike's why-didn't-I-get-one corsage, flower pedals for the flower girl to throw, etc.)  

I have no idea what KIND of flower it is, but as for colors... well this flower is pretty damn nice. 

Quick update

Very excited to have my fiance be a guest blogger on here. Or maybe he will be a full time blogger? Hes definitely way more entertaining than I am. (And more dedicated to blogging.) Im very happy to have him be a part of this.

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