Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cyber Diary

A lot of the emails we get on a daily basis are what we categorize as, "junk email".  Most of them are from our favorite shops and they contain the newest sale options or thrifty bargains. Unless a birthday is coming up or I just realized I have an abundance of money lying around (because that happens so often), I delete them.  

The other emails we receive are the professional emails...you know, the ones with to-do lists, outstanding projects, the refined budget, or upcoming events.  These, although important, aren't the ones we look forward to.  They aren't the ones I look forward to.

I like the ones from the people in my life; my family and friends.  These emails hold a sense of value that those other correspondents do not.  I love looking back over emails and see how my relationships have evolved.

What is your favorite email?  Maybe it’s a message from your brother, telling you how your niece talked about you during her Show-and-Tell session.  Or perhaps you want to save the email from your boss in which he praises your insight and persistence in finishing a particularly difficult project.  And of course, you’ll want to save the sweet flirty emails from your crush or love notes from your significant other.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ruby Red Slippers

One of my favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz.  I can remember sitting down and watching what seemed like a really old movie.  The black and white soon transformed into a magical world of color, munchgins, high hopes, and a long journey.  Dorothy was a character that resembled innocence and determination.  Her braids and basket shouted sweet while her new ruby red slippers spoke of a passionate longing for familiarity and family.  Those shoes not only dazzeled the yellow brick road, but it remains an iconic symbol of good ole home.  It makes me think.  She simply had to put on ruby red slippers and click her heels three times to find out what she loved best: home.  I had a pair of shoes that did this for me.

Granted, these shoes were not of a brilliant color and they definitely did not shine; more importantly, they did not look like something a girl would wear.  Rather, my shoes were dull and brown that laced up my ankles, as these were boots.  Bulky, cheap, pleather boots.  Aside from the vast difference in appearance, these shoes offered the same comfort.  After spending minutes putting them on, I wouldn't click them together.  Not even close.  They were not my secret weapon in getting me to what I loved best, but I was offered the safety that a home would offer.  

My dad wore boots a lot.  Mainly because he was a solider in the army.  His boots were symbolic of his bravery and hardship for a country he called home. Mine did not carry that much weight and burden.  But I looked to my boots the way my dad might have looked at his; the way Dorothy eventually looked at hers.  They reminded me of my dad's courage and it gave me courage.  I felt like I could do anything.  I thought, 'with these boots, I can climb a mountain!'  or 'with these boots, I can travel through any kinds of weather!'.  I don't know where those boots are now, but I can remember wanting to wear them all the time.  Now my 'go-to-shoe' is a pair of tennis shoes...

What are your favorite shoes?  When did you get them?  Why do you love them so much?  Write about those shoes that made you happy and paste a picture of you sporting those kicks.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Ugly Stuff

Sometimes happiness can come from the ugliest things.  I'm taking this approach with the latest news feeds from the 2012 Presidential Election.  I wasn't like the obscene dancers on TV, I didn't wiggle and jiggle when the President was re-elected.  It might take me a few days to adjust to the ugly... next four years. But, happiness can stem from this.  God is in control.  He has a plan and it is sovereign.  So, while I adjust I might just create a little ugly of my own.  I'm going to be a creature maker.

I'm going to invite a few friends over, crack open a bottle of wine, and I'm going to craft the ugliest monster I can possibly fashion.  It will help with the adjusting.  I will give this little monster a ridiculously sweet name, a history, a life story.  I will love this monster.

Confused yet?  Use the Very Easy Creature Recipe.

Here's what you'll need:  2 sheets of felt (cheap...fancy...homemade...however you feelt), embroidery thread in a complimentary color, scissors, a marker, a file folder (or cardboard), buttons, bits of yarn, scrap fabric, beads, and other accessories.

Start by drawing a simple shape for your creature on the file folder/cardboard.  If you’re a novice crafter, stick to a simple shape for your monster like a square or a rectangle.  If you’re a comfortable crafter, you can choose a more adventurous shape.  Use a copier to blow up these templates 200% (or any size that will work with your felt).

Cut out your template.  Trace it on the felt twice.

You now have the front and back of your creature cut out of the felt.  Sweet!  Now, you need to sew the two halves together.  Put the two pieces on top of each other.  Make sure that the “ugly sides” – the side of the felt with the marker trace line – are facing out.

Sew the two sides together.  If you’re an excellent seamstress, you’ll make tiny perfect stitches.  If you’re like me, you’ll do the best you can.  Be sure to leave a 1-2 inch hole unsewn.

Flip your creature right-side out through the unsewn hole.  Fill the creature with stuffing.  Chopsticks are handy if you’re stuffing long and skinny arms or legs or other bits.

Sew the stuffing hole closed.

Make a face using buttons, markers, embroidery thread, and anything else you have on hand.

Lilo had the right idea...

...like I said, I'm adjusting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Language Guru

While I was in Guatemala, I realized just how vital it is to know at least the basics in other languages.  It was hard to communicate.  I found myself doing a lot of hand gestures...pointing to colors or buildings.  When it came to actually having to use Spanish 101, my vocabulary was slim.  While I was there I picked up a few nice sayings, "Hermosa bailarina" (beautiful dancer) or "Dios es amor" (God is love).  So in all this effort to communicate I thought about how nice it would be to learn to compliment someone in another language.  It seemed to go a lot farther in Guatemala than "Hola" (hello).

Here are a few of my favorites!!

Spanish     Me ecanta el sonido de su risa... I love the sound of your laugh.
French     Tant que vous etes la, je ne m'inquiete pas ou nous allons... as long
               as you're there, I don't care where we go.
Dutch     Je maakt me een beter mens...  You make me a better person.
Filipilino     Mayroon kang maraming klase...  You have a lot of class.
Latin     Qui habitu procedit ut puteum cum tone de corio tuo...  That dress goes so well with the tone of your skin.
Learn how to compliment people in another language, but make sure the compliments are unique and quirky and slightly crazy. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cheering for America: A small testament for a big country

Election day is closing in for 2012 and already it has been an eventful year for the red, white, and blue.  The olympics kicked up the dirt in patriotism and all Americans threw up those #1 foam fingers and unraveled their pom-poms.  Mitt Romney's slogan, whether you are with or against him, is something we should all have as bumper stickers: "Believe in America".

We are a people, a nation.  Shouldn't we essentially be on the same team?  Whether in swimming, racing, or dancing, aren't we all excited for America to be the best it can be?  Politics always has my head spinning.  Aside from the nominations, the beliefs, and disagreements, I can't wrap my mind around it.  Sometimes it seems so simple... can't we all just get a long?  

At the end of the day I'm cheering for America.  She is my team.  At this next event, I will not be wearing a bold red or a diligent blue but a combination of the three colors that resemble a strip and a star.

Let your inner cheerleader out by attending an event where you can cheer people on – a marathon, sports game, or a parade will do the trick.  Cheer with abandon and let yourself become a super fan!  Write about the experience in the comment box below. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To burst my bubble

Do you know that saying, "to burst your bubble"?  It's something I use a lot.  I use it in reference to spoiling someones perfect moment (in a kind way of course) or in reference to their personal space.  Something I didn't realize until a few days ago was just how much God bursts our bubbles.  We live in a country and a generation where we bind ourselves within a comfort zone, aka the bubble.

I was invited to join a team of 18 vibrant people to walk through the dust to the poverty side of Guatemala.  Our mission as Christians is to minister to those around us, even to those we cannot see.  So the Lord made way for me to be apart of this Vision Trip.
Before I explain to you the events that took place, it's important that you get a feel for those that were with me for 9 days.  God strategically chose this group for the said bubble bursting.
Gerson Cerritos - He was meant to be our chauffeur and translator, although he became much more than that.  He became a friend who holds a great passion for Christ in which he spoke about with much intensity.
Doug and Stephanie Charbonneau - A couple who has been apart of this ministry for years.  They have so much love and spirit.
Andrea Sosa Cuevas - She was also a translator.  She has an extreme knowledge both mentally and emotionally for God.  Her passion is breathtaking and genuine.  I am grateful to have found this new friend.
Pastor Jorge, Marlen, and Kayla Hernandez - This family showed us the streets of Guatemala.  They are the glue that holds this ministry together.  After we are gone, they remain.  They have so much strength and faith in the Lord.  An example, for sure.
Brain Keller - He has a way with the truth and a magical way with children.
Ashley Metz - I have had the very real pleasure of calling her a friend.  She is a true role model for the compassion and tender nature a child of God should have.  She speaks with soft words and a joyful heart.
Robert and Vicki Pait - This couple exalts a combination of grace and laughter.  Two people that make it so easy to confide.  Two people that remind you of the true fulfilling manner in which you can live as a person seeking the Lord.
Anita Pifer - With a beautiful smile, this translator kept us on our toes.  She has a passion for the Guatemalan people and was a great example of that.
Tony Price - He created a balance of love and crazy.  A heart longing to be in the right and a wonderful example of what it means to willingly step out of the bubble.
Paul and Laurie Romanstine - The couple that has held this trip on their shoulders for almost 8 years.  Without the heart and sacrifice, Guatemala would not have been laid on our minds.
Greg and Danya Rock - A couple that is the saying, 'live, laugh, love'.
Paige Starnes - Talented and enthusiastic. She always lifts the Lord on high.

Day 1 - Travel to Guatemala
Day 2 - Feeding the Children of Sakerti and the Homeless/Home Visits
The first day was an overwhelming day.  The kids would bring anyone to tears.  Their innocence and high spirit would warm your heart.  We fed them breakfast and played with them for half the day.  We did face painting and gave away stickers...we jumped rope and watched everyone play soccer.  After lunch, we did home visits.  We saw a man with no legs, a child with an extra thumb, and a man addicted to alcohol.  Even amongst all of that, these people are so faithful.  We prayed and encouraged them.  Later that evening, we walked the streets and invited the homeless to have coffee and bread.  Before we passed everything out, one of our team members, Tony Price, gave an incredible testimony.  A few people responded and wanted Paul Romanstine to pray for them.  One man in particular, Antonio, is who I'll remember.  Paul placed a hand on his heart after talking with him for a minute (all of this being translated, by the way), started to tremble.  It was a severe sort of shaking...and he eventually collapsed to his knees in prayer.  It is an amazing thing to see first hand what God can do to people. 
Day 3 - Church in Guatemala
Worship in Guatemala is not like worship in the states (at least in SC).  I don't believe there is anything wrong in the way we worship, as long as your heart is in the right place.  Needless to say, it was different.  Folks were consumed by the holy spirit and they danced with their whole bodies.  The first service was in the street where everybody could see.  Brain Keller gave his testimony and mentioned the importance of those walking past us, seeing and hearing what was going on.  The second service was at the rehab center or the half-way house. I gave my testimony there, read part of chapter 3 from Ecclesiastes, and sang 'Amazing Love' with Paige Starnes.  It was an exhausting, yet uplifting day.
Day 4 - Pastor Juan and his ministry
On our third day, we drove to Patzun.  It was roughly two hours away from where we were staying.  Pastor Juan works with ministering to children.  We were able to visit one of the schools and we played with the children there.  After that we visited Pastor Juan's house and ate lunch with him.  This man played the accordion and sang 'I've got the joy' both in Spanish and in English.  What a blessing!  That night we got to go to Casa Chapina.  It was a nice way to break up the week.
Day 5 - It's all about the children
We went to Kayla's school and played with the children there and later on that afternoon we played with some kids in the park. Throughout the day with did home visits. We had a church service that evening.
Day 6 - Home Visits/Wednesday Church service
We did home visits and a church service. They don't normally do as many services, but since we were there, they did them for us. I was moved. They dance around a lot, so I danced with them. More like you would at a concert, hopping around and clapping. Then I prayed for a man, George. I also prayed for him the night before. I don't know him, but I feel so weighed down by his burdens. Then I sang with Pastor G again. We did 'Amazing Love' and 'Open my eyes'.  I was able to completely let go.
Day 7 - Pastor Avalino and his ministry/Street Kids
We fed children with Pastor Avalino. There was a woman there...at the end of the line...that had four children. She had been raped twice by gang members. I felt so much compassion for her. After that we spent time with the Street Kids.  Not all of them are actually children, although some are.  These kids are drug addicts.  We just did crafts with them. They have this program that tries to get them off the streets.
Day 8 - Antigua
After a week of bubble bursting, we were able to visit the market place in Antigua.  There we experienced the swindling of Guatemala and had some much needed downtown and fellowship with our team.  That evening we had our last service. 
I feel so strongly about what God has shown me here. He's opened me up. I knew that's what I needed and why I needed to come. Of course, after bonding with these people and their children, I have to return. One of the little girls the other day asked how long it was going to be until I returned. I can't lie to her.  I want to be able to communicate with them better and to watch them grow physically and spiritually. It may seem odd, Paul coming here for 7-8 years. But seeing him here...he's a part of their ministry just as if he were a member of their church. It's completely understandable. He has a loyalty to them and it's amazing what they have been able to do with our help. They are building an army of God. 
Day 9 - Travel home
I couldn't wait to get home. There are so many things I have missed...coke. Their coke here is different. The sugar is different somehow...or maybe its the type of syrup they use. I missed ketchup...it's the same way. Not as sweet or something. I missed having loads of ice in my drinks. The water isn't safe here. I missed brushing my teeth without a water bottle. I missed the comfort and security in eating whatever I want. The food here is filled with bacteria. (Although we did eat a ton at the fast food restaurant...) I missed my bed and my dog and cat. I wanted to hug them because there were TONS of homeless animals. But most of all I missed talking to and seeing my family.

 I know I'll miss Guatemala and it will be hard being home because I will remember the smell and the dirt. Everything is dirty....the people, the animals, the streets. The children's hair and clothes and finger nails. There hearts are pure though. I am filled with so much compassion for these people. With all the diseases, poverty, and insecure streets, they still have so much faith in God. And so much passion. It has taught me so much. I'm going to miss giving them joy. Playing with them. Putting stickers all over there innocent faces. I will miss praying for them and comforting them. But I did miss home. That's why I know two things...I had to go home but I also have to go back there.

God bursted my bubble on several occasions while in Guatemala but can I blame him?  Is that not the reason I needed to go?  It's interesting, since I've been home, many have asked me if the trip was life changing.  I tell them, rather it was eye opening.

I think the life changing part has to be up to me and you. 
Will you love your neighbor now that you have loved the neighbors of Guatemala?
Will you be filled with joy as you were in seeing the passion of Christ through his people?
Will you be at peace in trusting our Lord and savior?
Will you show kindness to those you meet?  Say hello and tangle a child's hair. 
Will you not be filled with goodness, ready and willing to spread the Good News?
Will you not have the faith of those you prayed with?
Will you have the same gentleness you shared with those homeless children or the spaced out street kids?
Will you have self-control in knowing what's good for you and what is not?
Or will you leave the lessons behind in a separate country?  The life changing part is up to you. 

In a year from now, how will you be able to answer that question about the Guatemala Vision Trip of 2012?

How has God burst your bubble?  Leave a comment in the box below.
Visit www.gloriaadiosguatemala.blogspot.com for information on Guatemala Vision Trip planning.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Surf art by Heather Brown!

While in Hawaii last year, I fell in love with art.  I finally understood what it would mean to decorate your home with peices that opened up a world combining color and perspective.  I do not have any specific favorites, but a friend of mine did.  Looking through these paintings and wondering which I would choose to keep was a lot of fun.  I want to share these because it reminds me of the most beautiful place I've ever seen.  It floods my memory with sweet Hawaiian happiness.

Visit www.heatherbrownart.com!

Curate your own art collection, right in this blog.  Find pictures and postcards and re-create your favorite pieces of art here – you know, the pieces that fill you with awe and wonder, the pieces that provoke you and fill you with joy, and the pieces that inspire you to be an artist yourself.  You can also include other types of art, from your favorite cartoon to a magazine photo that catches your eye.  – The Happy Book

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Acrostics for the 4th!

Independence Day celebration
Nation in unision
Day with family
Every sacrifice remembered
Patriotism throughout hearts
Each color represented
Night sky sparkles
Do not forget
Everlasting freedom born
Never stand alone
Casting prideful smiles
Everywhere people reflect
Dedications ring out
Americans joyful song
Young, Proud, Strong

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nature's Miracles

Have you ever thought about the life cycle of a lady bug?  Until recently, I hadn't either.  This thought occurred while standing under a tree in Greenville.  I was with a friend and she noticed a bunch of odd looking bugs.  They looked similar to a ladybug (redish tent, black spots) but they were furry almost.  We did a little research and soon discovered that they were in fact ladybugs, only they had not yet turned into what we are used to seeing.  Sometimes its nice to stop and take a moment to appreciate what nature is doing.

The Egg.  As most insects, the lady bug does hatch from an egg.  What we saw were very small black spots and they were attached to leaves.  It would have been very easy to miss... I found that they are usually a pale yellow color, althought that's not what we saw.  Maybe the eggs we discovered were old?!  It takes 3-5 days for the eggs to hatch...so not very long at all.

The baby.  I've had tiny lady bugs land on me before and of course I always refer to them as the 'baby'.  Those tiny lady bugs are just that...they are small.  Actual baby lady bugs do not resemble their 'adult' nature at all.  It's actually pretty gross if you ask me.  They are scary and if something like this landed on me, I would not believe that luck was coming my way...nor would I think of it as a lady.

The life cycle of a lady bug makes me think a lot of captipellars, while they are young they spend their time eatting...and eatting...and eatting.  They do this for about 2-3 weeks.

The Pupa.  After filling up their long ugly bellies, they attach themselves to a leaf and pupate.  This would be like the cacoon.  They stay inside a 'shell like' home for about a week.  These are the little bugs we came across in Greenville.  These little guys sparked our curiousity.
There were a lot of them on the leaves and with a little time to kill, we started looking for them.  Don't they resemble the lady bug were used to?  The fur I was talking about early is what's closest to the leaf.  It may be hard to see in this picture.

The Lady bug.  Once the lady bug removes itself from the shell, it may be different alterations of red and in some cases more of a yellow color.  The shell will still stay on the leaf.  The lady bug is a fond insect once it's an adult...but somehow I won't ever be able to think of them the same.

What little things in nature are miracle enough?  The pattern of frost on your window?  The veins of a leaf?  A blade of grass?  The life cycle of an insect?  List them in the comment box below.

Monday, June 18, 2012

No need to BLUSH ladies!

I know what your thinking...it's about time she moved onto something else...I don't think I can handle much more featurettes.  The good news is, this is the last of them for a while.  The great thing about this website, is that before I get married, or buy a house, or have a baby...I will visit this website often.  It's a tool I can use as a single women or a married women; a gypsy or a homemaker; an independant women or a mother.  This website piggy-backs off of The Knot, The Nest, and The Bump but offers a wide range of everything fashion.  The older I get, the more fasinatied I become with make-up, clothes, and accessories.  I try new things and invent others.  This website features all sorts of geniune ideas about high-tailed fashion.  Be sure to visit The Blush for today's obessions!!

Maxi dresses under $100

I love maxi dresses.  It's one of those dresses that fits all sorts of people. If your worried about length you can either alter it or strap on a pair of HIGH heels.  You can wear it to a wedding or over a bathing suit at the beach.  Love them!!

Goddess Daydream Maxi Dress found at ThreadScence.com for $64

Quiz Cream, Pink, and Aqua Floral Print Maxi Dress found at Debenhams.com for $85
Blurred Ikat Animal Print Maxi Dress found at Loft.com for $79.50

Bar III Dress, One-Shoulder Ombre Belted Maxi found at Macys.com at $69

Stencil Print Maxi Dress found at Oasis.com at $72

Sassy New Nail Colors for the Summer

Wooden Shoe Like to Know by OPI for $8.50

Action by Essie for $8

Dayglow by Orly for $8.50

Rory by Zoya for $8
Covet by Urban Decay for $28 (they say you have to try the Emerald Green)
What every 30-something women needs to know...

1. Wear foundation or tinted moisturizer (your skin loses its natural glow because of sun exposure)!  Wear primer!
2. Wear daily and nightly eye-cream
3. Find a few minutes a day to do what you love
4. Use more natural products and less chemically based products
5. Infest in Spanx and a tailor
6. Work more on the inside than what's on the outside...after all that is what lasts forever
7. Wear your hair in a playful ponytail every now and then
8. Remember to include plenty of vitamins, nutrients, and water in your diet
9. Stray from using eye-liner or mascara on the bottom lid (in may draw attention to fine lines)
10. Respect yourself and have confidence!
11. Remove make-up before you go to bed!
12. Thin brows are not in...let them grow lush and beautiful.  (ps this is news to me, my brows are still thin...*sigh*)
13. Be proactive in what you wear...
14. Mosturize that skin!
15. Apparently...you can excersize your skin just like you can your muscles.  Skip the botox and find out more from Cynthia Rowland.
16. Your best beauty accessory is your smile.

What to wear on a first date

Flirty Ballerina

Cute and Comfortable

Natural and Sexy

Just be yourself

What's your best 'first-date' outfit?  Leave your answer in the box below.

Monday, June 11, 2012

For glowing Mother's-To-Be

If you've taken a look at either The Knot or The Nest from my previous posts, you may have noticed the second sister website The Bump.  I've driven my closest friends crazy with my 'make-believe' life altering events.  I just can't stop while I'm ahead.  I've worn the imaginary veil and held the very thin key.  For the glowing mother's-to-be, I'm taking a few steps for you.  I can't promise I'll have all the inside scoops on pregnancy, but I'll list the few features I thought might be most promising!

Super Creative Baby Shower Ideas!

Showers. "This theme takes the shower in baby shower very literally."

Voting Ballad. "Don't know if it's a boy or a girl? Get guests involved in guessing baby's gender."

Bird Theme. "This is a sophisticated take on a classic motif like birds. Decorate with a birdcage perched in pretty branches."

Candles. "Luxe candles are a great favor for guests. You can buy some inexpensive ones in bulk."

Cupcake Toppers.  "We love these 'Eat Me' cupcake toppers.  They're easy to DIY.  Get some printed card stock and cut it into fun shapes; then glue another sheet of paper with fun sayings or illustrations onto the card stock."  Plus, it reminds me a little bit of Alice and Wonderland!!

Best Maternity Collections

A Pea in the Pod.  This well-known brand has its own collection of clothes created just for its store from designers such as Splendid, 7 for All Mankind, J Brand, BCBG and Lavish by Heidi Klum.  www.APeainthePod.com
Japanese Weekend.  For easy-to-wear pieces with a trendy edge, check out this down-to-earth designer's maternity and nursing line.  www.JapaneseWeekend.com
Liz Lange Maternity.  Clothes that fit and flatter!  www.LizLange.com
Breastfeeding as Baby Grows

This topic has been in controversery lately.  Some want to 'feed' their young a lot longer than others.  I noticed The Bump featured this topic and I wanted to take a look at it.  I wondered, more than anything, the minimum amount of time you should breastfeed your child.  After that point (and even before), it's really up to the mother to decide when it's time to pour from the carton.

The Bump says this, "there's no such thing as an 'extended' breastfeeding".  What that means is there's no requirement on how you nurture your child.  Most mom's breastfeed until the infant turns one, but other's do it until the infant is a toddler.  Apparently there's no right or wrong way.  Breast milk is good for nutrients, vitamins, and antibodies.  Some say it's good for bonding as well.  

The Bump had much more to offer regarding this subject.  Visit the website and find out about how much time it will take to do it, how much your baby is drinking, the distractions that will come, solid foods taking over, and introductions to new milks.

Most Popular Baby Names

Top ten baby boy names.  Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Matthew, Alexander, Michael, Joshua, Christopher, William, Anthony

Top ten baby girl names.  Emma, Emily, Ava*, Sophia*, Elizabeth*, Isabella*, Madison*, Olivia*, Abigail, Chloe

The Bump also has popular baby names in other categories: African, Biblical, celebrity, English, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Latin, Russian, Spanish, Unisex, and Welsh.

Having a baby seems like a miraculous adventure.  It's sure to make anyone happy.  Preparing for a new born and celebrating with family and close friends; choosing a name that has meaning and value; or learning better ways to keep your baby healthy and strong can put a smile on any new mother's or father's face.  Visit The Bump for all your baby needs.

What would you name your children and why?  If you have children, why did you choose their names?  Leave your comment in the box below.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Building the nest

Do you remember the three things I listed about what generally is someone's happiest day?  A little review....
"the day I bought my first home"
"the day I married the love of my life"

"the day I saw my baby boy/girl for the first time"

It just so happens that The Knot (the website that perfected wedding planning) also has a sister website called The Nest.  I had so much fun pretending to be a bride, I thought I would step into the mind of a potential home owner.

As I did before, I'm only going to review my favorite features as each website has SO much to offer.

Summer Inspired Rooms

What's a house without a fabulously decorated room?!

"Cottage Modern Guest Bedroom: The greens and blues keep this guest bedroom fresh while also inviting in inspiration from the colors of the sea."

"Writer's Retreat on the Dunes - Breakfast Room: A Russian satellite spy photo of Chicago from the 1950’s hangs over a table and chairs from the same era, offering a slice of Americana with breakfast."

"Seaside Bathroom: A beautiful Malibu, California, weekend house gets a seaside makeover courtesy of interior designer Kerry Joyce, who lined the room with shallow shelving to display starfish and shells. The walls are painted a pale aqua by Donald Kaufman Color."

"Funky Sitting Room: Create your own charming corner chat room boasting with modern style. Paint wicker chairs a bright shade of aqua and add cushions in funky black and white polka dots and stripes."

Or go neutral. What's so great about a room like this is that you can turn it from a summer inspired room into more of a cold weather abode.  I love a room like this, and the green is such a great color!

Scrumptious Grilled Recipes

I have discovered the world of hosting.  Sometimes it can be hard work, but it's rewarding.  It's nice to surprise your guests with a new receipe.  I find receipes from many different places, so The Nest has sparked my interest.

Comme Ca Burger   
9 oz. of best ground beef you can find (Prime Angus recommended)
1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
a dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 oz sliced iceberg lettuce
1 1/2 oz sliced onion
2 slices cheddar cheese
One bun
1000 island or a similar mayonnaise-based dressing of their choice.
1. Mix chili powder and cayenne into the burger. Season both sides of the patty with salt and pepper.
2. Sear the meat on the grill over high heat for about 1 ½ minutes until the meat has a nice dark brown color but not burnt.
3. Place on hot side of the grill to the side of the hot coals for about five minutes for medium rare and then let it rest for 3-4 minutes to the side of the heat. Just before serving, put two slices of cheese on the burger and place it in the oven or covered grill to melt.
4. Dress lettuce and onion with 1000 island.
5. Place on bun, add lettuce and onion and serve.

North Carolina Eastern-Style Chopped or Pulled ’Cue   
Makes: at least 10 servings
One small (1 1/2- to 2-pound) bag hickory wood chips
One 10-pound bag charcoal briquets
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
One 9- to 10-pound pork shoulder butt (all skin and fat left on)

1. In a pan of water, soak 6 handfuls of the chips for 45 minutes.
2. Open one bottom and one top vent on a kettle grill, place an aluminum drip pan in the bottom of the grill, stack charcoal briquets evenly around the pan (not in the center), and ignite the coals. When the coals are ashen (30 to 45 minutes), sprinkle 2 handfuls of the soaked chips evenly over the hot coals. Place the grate on the grill about 6 inches over the coals.
3. In a nonreactive bowl, combine the vinegars, sugar, red pepper, Tabasco, salt, and pepper and stir till the sugar is dissolved and the sauce well blended. When the coals are ready on the grill, position the butt fat side up on the grate over indirect heat, mop it with the sauce, close the lid, and cook for 3 hours, mopping the meat every hour and replenishing the coals and chips as they burn up. Turn the butt over, close the lid, and cook till the meat is very tender, 2 to 3 hours longer, mopping every hour and replenishing the coals and chips as needed.

Shrimp Sausage Kabobs
Makes: 4 servings
8 bamboo skewers
1 pound large shrimp (26–30 size), peeled and deveined
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 3/4-inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into roughly 1-inch squares
Spray cooking oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

One hour before grilling, soak the bamboo skewers in warm water.

Prepare enough coals for a hot charcoal fire, or preheat your gas grill on high for 10 minutes with the lid closed.
While the coals are heating up, thread the shrimp, smoked sausage, and red pepper squares onto the skewers, making sure not to crowd them too closely.
When the coals are ready or the gas grill is hot, spray the kabobs liberally with cooking oil and place them on the grill.
Cook for 3 minutes. Spray the kabobs again with oil, turn, and grill for 2 to 3 minutes more, until the shrimp are just cooked through.
Transfer the skewers to a platter. Drizzle with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Grilled Sicilian Caponata
2 large eggplants
1 large zucchini
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium sweet onions, like Vidalia or Maui, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
10 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced, or 3 cups canned Italian chopped tomatoes,undrained
1 tablespoon capers, drained
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup small green olives such as Picholine, drained and pitted
Kosher salt to taste
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped just before using.

Preheat a gas grill or build a charcoal fire for direct grilling.
Cut the eggplants and zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut the halves lengthwise into slices 1⁄2 inch thick. Brush with the some of the oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place the slices on the cooking grate over direct medium heat and grill until tender and well marked, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large, deep, heavy pot like a Dutch oven or sauté pan over medium heat, then add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, capers, 3 tablespoons of the vinegar, the red pepper, sea salt, and olives and simmer for 15 minutes. While the tomato mixture is cooking, dice the grilled eggplant and zucchini, then add to the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, another 10 to 15 minutes.
Mix the remaining 1⁄4 cup oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar together and stir into the vegetable mixture.
Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more vinegar and salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve warm or cold. This will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Grilled Steak With Cracked Peppercorns   
Serves: 2
Time: 30 minutes

4 teaspoons black or mixed peppercorns
1 to 2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 Porterhouse steaks (or other cut of choice)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lemon wedges (optional)
Preheat the toaster oven to broil (the oven should be good and hot before you put the steak in the oven). For easy clean-up, line the toaster oven baking tray with aluminum foil. (Check your manufacturer's instructions, however, for any cautions against the use of aluminum foil in your toaster oven.)
Crush the peppercorns and salt in a mortar using a pestle. Rub both sides of the steak with the olive oil and press the peppercorn mixture into the steaks. Place the steak on the prepared tray. Place the steak under the broiler and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes on each side, until the steak reaches medium doneness. (The time may vary depending upon the thickness of the steak you have chosen and the degree of doneness you prefer.) Remove from the oven, transfer to plates, and serve immediately with lemon. 

Renting your first home?  Renters problems and solutions.

Unwanted guests.  The Nest says to take a good look at your lease.  It may mention infestations...rodents or bugs.  That's something you'll want to pay attention to.  If your lease doesn't mention them, check your state's rental laws.  It may help in preparing you for any problems.

 Broken Appliances. The first thing you should do if appliances start doing crazy things, is speak to your landlord.  Early and often!!  It's a good lesson to learn.  The Nest says that most landlords have a "duty to repair", which requires them to keep things running.  Be sure to document which appliances start knocking and what exactly is happening with them.  Note the date you notify your landlord.  If your landlord doesn't respond within an appropriate amount of time, speak to someone at your local housing officials.  Be sure to read your lease beforehand, you need to know if your responsible, as the renter, to do repairs. 

Damage.  Okay, so sometimes accidents happen.  You gave the landlord a security deposit for a reason.  Fix it if it's small but if it's a bigger problem you should notify your landlord.  The landlord will probably decide on wether you should repair the damages or wether they will deduct the cost from your security deposit.  Or you'll just get kicked out.  Hey...The Nest said it was a possibility.

Foreclosure.  There isn't much of a solution with this.  But a silverlining... your entitled to a certain amount of time to move out... on average, 90 days (3 months). 

Needing to move back before your lease is up.  This is one of those things that calls for landlord permission.  It may be mentioned in the rental contract...check to be sure! 

Unliviable and neglient landlord.  You have the choice to move out as you please.  Breaking a lease is not uncommon, but each state has different laws.  Check these before you start packing!!

Okay, so owning your own home is a lot more work than planning a wedding.  A lot of the responsibility falls on you, unless your renting.  The best part about having a house though, is creating your own utopia.  Choosing the color paint and style of each room can make it all worth it.  Host a party and cook up something on the grill and your bound to forget about a broken appliance that needs fixing.

Whether your getting married or buying a home, life is going to give you things to worry about.  Your job is to work around that and to make the most of it.  That's how we do happiness!!

What part of your home do you love the most?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tying The Knot

There are only a few days in a lifetime that someone might consider the HAPPIEST day of their lifes.  Everyone has their own set of happy moments, but it stands to reason that the general public might vote on one of three things. 

"the day I married the love of my life"

"the day I bought my first home"

"the day my beautiful baby boy/girl was born"

Of course, if you are not married, do not own a home, or you have no children, your response might vary.  I decided to do a little research on just what it takes to create one of the happiest moments of your life.  I, myself, am not yet married, but I've attended many weddings and most of my friends are headed in that direction.  So it would only make sense that it would be a topic we share in most conversations.

This year, alone, I am apart of two weddings and have been invited to four others.  Three of those six weddings are in June!!  I've seen a lot of bride/groom showers lately and wondered if it were the new norm or if something like an engagement party would be more worth it to show off your soon to be...

The Knot Wedding Network seemed to be the best place for my questions as a wedding guest.  It seems to be the best place for a little Bride browsing as well.  I've highlighted a few of my favorite features below!  Be sure to visit the website for further planning.  They also have a magazine (and an iPad version) you can subscribe to!

Finding Your Wedding DJ

Finding a DJ might be not be the route you want to go.  Perhaps you'd rather have a live band or a playlist from your iPod.  Every couple has their own taste and budget.  However, if a professional radio operator is your way to go, The Knot can help you find the perfect match!

DJs are listed by state and city!  They spotlight a specific Disc Jockey, so you can see what's most popular at the time and for your location.  There is a handy little key located at the bottom of the page to offer assistance in looking for exactly what you need. 

Gorgeous Cake Photos

What kind of party would it be without a little cake?  The Knot features all sorts of delicious and beautiful cakes.  You can search for a cake by icing color, by style/shape and you can look for vendors in your area!  Notice the attention to detail and the assortment in toppers or lack of.

7 Hottest Invitation Trends

The invitation that your guests recieve is the first impression of the style you've claimed for your wedding.  It's important to pay attention to detail.  The Knot keeps you assured of this.  

"Forget patterns and motifs -- this trend is all about pretty penmanship. Make a statement with flourished fonts and ornate calligraphy."

"Just about every designer showcased a line in this cheerful hue -- from subtle yellow-bordered invites to bold chevron pieces."

 "Try rich colors like magenta and even olive green like this suite."
"Embossing (indented or raised designs) creates a beautiful, tactile pattern that's delicate and stylish at the same time. It's perfect for the traditional bride who's looking for a subtle, modern touch."
"Try neon!  We love how this fun orange invite is bright without being too daring."
"Invitation designers are reinventing the envelope, and liners like this one add a personal punch and a daring design element to your wedding suite."
"Die-cut details like this petal-shaped envelope add an unexpected twist to an otherwise classic invite."  (My favorite!)

Pretty Ceremony Decor Ideas

Stumped on ways to create a vintage ceremony? 
  • Try lining the isle with silk flowers instead of real flowers.  There may be more work involved, but it also might be a cheaper way to decorate the ceremony than buying real flowers.  Not to mention, you could save them!! 
  • You could use a bird cage for your guests to put wedding cards in.  This should be placed on the gift table.  So the guests aren't confused, you could place an empty envelope in there, so that the first person will see the it's used for.  Otherwise, they may just see it as decor.  
Do you L.O.V.E cherry blossoms or calla lillies but you're not sure how to use them?
  • For the cherry blossoms, you could try decorating the alter with cherry blossom planters.  What's great about this is that the plants are portable.  So if you are inside or outside for your ceremony, you can still use them.  Also, you can take them home with you!!
  • For calla lillies, you could line the isle with calla lily bouquets!    
See The Knot for other fantastic ideas and different styles!!
25 Romantic First Dance Songs

Choosing the first song to dance to as husband and wife is a unique choice for the couple.  Most times it's the 'song' you chose to symbolize your relationship long before you decided to get married.  Other times, its a song of hope for your future or of the love you have found within eachother.  It will portray your relationship in music and in lyric.  It may be something you can dance to, a form of dance you have perfected together.  Or it may simply be a chance to show your family and friends how much fun you are as a couple.  Regardless of your reason of choice, the first dance is an important one.  The Knot listed romantic songs, maybe one of these will be a good match for you and yours!

1. I can't help falling in love with you by Elvis Presley*
2. Never my love by The Association
3. You are the sunshine of my life by Stevie Wonder
4. It had to be you by Frank Sinatra
  5. At last by Etta James
6. That's where its at by Sam Cooke
7. Make you feel my love by Adele
8. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
9. Rose of my heart by Johnny Cash
10. Everything by Michael Buble
11. Steady as we go by The Dave Matthews Band
12. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
13. First day of my life by Bright Eyes
14. Crazy Love by Van Morrison
15. What a wonderful world by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole
16. The Luckiest by Ben Folds
17. That's how strong my love is by Otis Redding
18. When you say nothing at all by Allison Krauss and Union Station
19. In my life by The Beatles
20. Lucky by Jason Mraz
21. Amazed by Lonestar
22. Let's stay together by Al Green
23. Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
24. You are so beautiful by Joe Cocker
25. The way I am by Ingrid Michelson

Find Your Wedding Dress

Finding the perfect wedding dress is what every little girl dreams of.  The Knot would knot be an official wedding site if this weren't an option.  What's so great about what The Knot has done is that you can search for ideas by categories.  Of course, when it comes down to finding the right dress you'll naturally want to try them on.  But looking for an idea and searching vendors is something you can do at anytime.

You can search for a dress by the following categories:  silhouette, neckline, price range, gown length, sleeve length, and sleeve style!!  You can also search by designer!  The best part?!  ...as you find wedding dresses you like, you can save the images to your Knot Notebook and the Wedding Look Book on your Knot Bio!

You can use their local resource guides to find bridal salons and wedding gown shops near you. Bring the pictures you've found to the stores to see if they carry those dresses, but don't be afraid to try on other styles.

(My Favorite!) The Ultimate Wedding Checklist

How perfect is it that The Knot has a checklist?  They say the worst part about getting married is planning the wedding.  It's a lot to handle and it's a big party.  Not only that but it may even be the happiest day of your life, so you want it to be perfect, right?  Before I break down the list for you, from The Knot, I would suggest getting your bridal party and family to help you.  Delegate jobs for them, that way you have a hand in putting this thing together.  They want you to be just as happy as you want to be!  Trust me, they are willing to be in on that special day!

The Knot has a general checklist, but what's great about this is you can add to it as you go.  Each wedding is unique and you may have something that other people don't.

According to your wedding date, The Knot will tell you exactly when you need to start doing things.  But they have a general timeframe as well. 

Another great feature is that they have an option for you to assign this task!!  Get to delegating!!

12+ months before your wedding, you should:
  • Get organized.  Set up an account on The Knot or another wedding website.  Create a binder for all your ideas and suggestions.  Make sure you have a place for vendor contact information.
  • Envision your wedding style and wedding colors.  You don't have to make any choices right now, just start looking at photos and have an idea of what you want.
  • Assign tasks.
  • Create a budget.
  • Protect your engagement ring!  Make sure you have it insured!
  • Submit an announcement to your local newspaper.
  • Pick a wedding date.  Finalize after talking with important guests, like your parents, etc., ceremony and/or reception location, and ceremony officiant.  Think about holidays as well.  You may want to plan to have your wedding on a Saturday, your guests are less likely to be working.  It may be easier to take vacation! 
  • Interview wedding coordinators/planners.  (If you want one.)
  • Envision your wedding dress.  It's never too early.  Take the same approach you did with your wedding style and wedding colors.  No choices need to made right now.
  • Get in wedding day shape.  If this is a priority for you, start eating healthier and excercising now.  It's sometimes hard to get started.  Stay dedicated!  Assign a coach!
  • Hire a wedding coordinator/planner.  Sign the contract.  (If you want one.)
  • Research caterers.
 9-11 months before your wedding, you should:
  • Scout reception sites in your area. 
  • Look for a ceremony officiant in your area. (If you don't already have one in mind.)
  • Plan for your engagement party.  (If your having one.)  ...set a date, draft a guest list, and order the invitations.
  • Book your reception site and sign the contract.
  • Start your guest list.  Decide how many people you want to invite! 
  • Find a ceremony site.
  • Choose your bridal party/groomsmen.
  • Settle on wedding colors.
  • Plan your receiption menu.  Decide on a caterer and figure out price per person.
  • Start shopping for wedding dresses.
  • Finalize your wedding guest list.
  • Make a list of yours and your financee's family traditions, religious traditions, or culture traditions you might want to incorporate in the ceremony/reception.
  • Sign the catering contract and send in a deposit.
  • Make appointments with wedding florists in your area and talk about options.
  • Look for reception bands or DJs in your area.  Be sure to hear a sample of their work.
  • Research lighting and rental places in your area.
  • Envision your invitations and stationaries.  Use the same approach as your wedding dress.  No choices need to be made right now.
  • Head out to bridal salons to try out styles.  Take pictures of all your creations, it may be easier to make a choice of hair style and stylist. 
  • Continue to set up florist appointments to discuss options.
  • Plan out the ceremony with your officiant.  Discuss any religious requirements or prematiral consulting.
  • Research photographers and videographers in your area.
  • Start your registry at one or more of your favorite stores.  Try to decide on things you'll need before things you want.
6-8 months before your wedding, you should:
  • Buy your wedding dress.
  • Think about your bridesmaid dresses and what you want them to look like.  Use the same method with your invitations and stationaries.  No choices need to be made right now.
  • Hire your photographer and videographer. Pay the deposit and sign the contract.
  • Have engagement photos taken. (If you want.)  This is a great idea to get comfortable with your photographer before your wedding.
  • Decide on a florist and pay the deposit.
  • Book your recepition band/DJ.  Pay the deposit and sign the contract.
  • Search for local cake bakers.  Think about your caterer.  Can they do it?
  • Start searching for make-up artists in your area.
  • Book your honeymoon.  Flights and hotel rooms.
  • Find ceremony musicians in your area.  Listen to demos.
  • Prep for out-of-town guests.  Book hotel rooms or make accomodations.
  • Finalize bridesmaid dress picks and have them tried on and ordered.
  • Start your wedding registry, if you haven't already.
  • Book your cake baker.  Pay deposit and sign contract.
  • Create wedding website, if you haven't already.
  • Send save-the-dates out to all your guests.  Have your wedding website on this!
  • Make sure out-of-town bridesmaids have ordered their dress.
  • Finalize the ceremony music contract and pay deposit.
  • Plan your rehearsal dinner.
  • Order your wedding dress, if you haven't already.  Be sure your contract information is correct before signing.
  • Work on invitation wording and figure out the design you want.
  • Finalize your invitation wording.
  • Finalize the menu and service details with the caterer.
  • Research wedding insurance and purchase it as this time.  (optional)
  • Order your wedding invititations and announcements.  Don't forget to order extra envelopes.
4-5 months before your wedding, you should: 
  • Hash out flower proposal with your florist and settle on a price and sign the contract.
  • Decide on formalwear for the groomsmen.  No choices need to made right now.
  • Finalize rental list.
  • Book a calligrapher.  (If your using one.)
  • Plan the groomsmen attire.
  • Groom should go ahead and buy/rent formal attire.
  • Book your wedding-night hotel room.
  • Update your wedding website.
  • Book the rehearsal dinner site and finalize menu plans.
  • Make all honeymoon travel reservations, if you haven't already.
  • Finalize groomsmen formalwear.  Inform groomsmen, ask them to be fitted.
  • Address those invitations!  Send them out at the three-month mark.
  • Take dance lessons. (optional)
2-3 months before your wedding, you should: 
  • Choose accessories for your bridesmaids.  This might include jewelry and shoes.  Pass along this information to your ladies.
  • Shop for and purchase wedding bands.
  • Buy/rent/make ceremony decor and reception decorations that aren't included with your flowers.
  • Start a beauty regiment.
  • Double-check that your bridesmaids have bought their dresses and accessories.
  • Decide on wedding favors.
  • Pick up invitations/finish making them.
  • Get all the 'under the dress' essentials and any special lingerie before your first fitting.
  • Gather any honeymoon documents, if you need any.  i.e. passports, birth certificates, visas, vaccinations, etc.
  • Groom should get measured for his formalwear.
  • Finalize ceremony song list and readings.
  • Reach out to those you want reading the ceremony readings, if applicable.
  • Schedule your dress fittings and confirm delivery date for your wedding dress.  There are three fittings: your first is at six weeks out, second is at one month out, third is at one-two weeks out.
  • Confirm the bridesmaid dress delivery date (if you are handling the order).
  • If you haven't registered for wedding gifts yet, be sure to do so.
  • If you want to get your wedding bands engraved, send them out now.
  • Change your insurance policies to include both of your names.
  • Groom buy your accessories.  These may include shoes, shirt stays, cuff links, pocket squares, etc.
  • Plan bridal shower.
  • Arrange day-of transportation for you, your wedding party, and guests (as needed).
  • Send out invitations at the three month mark.  Be sure to add extra postage when needed.
6 weeks before your wedding, you should:
  • Make parking arrangements for the receiption.
  • Figure out all your accessories prior to your final dress fitting.  i.e. veil, shoes, jewelry
  • Work on your ceremony vows, if your writing your own.
  • Finish your ceremony programs.
  • Make a kids plan for your recepition and arrange for a babysitter, if necessary.
  • Submit your newspaper announcement (if you were planning to).
  • Have your first dress fitting and make sure you have everything you need for it.
  • Confirm out-of-town guest hotel reservation.
  • Research local marriage license requirements.
  • Grooms buy gifts for your guys.  Guys should include bestman, groomsmen, ushers, and ring barrer.
  • Brides buy gifts for your ladies.  Ladies should include maid of honor, bridesmaids, and flower girl.
  • Start Thank-you notes for any gifts received at the bridal shower.
  • Have your final dress fitting.
  • Groom attend your bachelor party during this time.
  • Make a hair trial appointment to make sure you get your style down before the wedding.
  • Finalize your ceremony vows.
3 weeks before your wedding, you should: 
  • Decide on a guest book.
  • Have hair and make-up trial runs to estimate how much time it will take for all your ladies.  At this time, you should also make appointments for the day-of.
  • Send out rehearsal dinner invitations.
  • Finish up your ceremony programs.
  • Wrap all gifts for your wedding party and write each attendant a nice note.
  • Confirm wedding-night and honeymoon reservations.
  • Bride shop accessorries to finish off your bridal look.  i.e. earrings, a clutch, shoes
  • Finalize the ceremony.  Schedule a follow-up meeting or phone call with the officiant to go over ceremony timing and details.  Go over any personalized ceremony details.
  • Get your marriage license and make appointments for blood tests (if necessary).  Note the expiration date.
  • Pick up wedding rings and check the inscriptions (if any) before you leave the store.
  • Work on a 'must-play' wedding song list.  Also, include any songs you DO NOT want the DJ or band to play.
  • Confirm that your insurance covers your rings and gifts.
  • Discuss your ceremony music with musicians and agree on final choices.
  • Decide on your something new, old, borrowed, and blue.  Don't forget your garter!
  • Get going on 'thank-you' notes of any gifts that were sent in advance.
  • If you are changing your name, work on all the paperwork to make it happen.
  • Work out a day-of schedule.
  • Bride get your final hair-cut, if necessary.
  • Finalize any special ceremony details.  Put it in writing for your officiant.
  • Brides pick up your wedding dress, if you haven't already.
  • Email your bridal party for essential wedding weekend info.  Dates, times, directions, etc.
1-2 weeks before your wedding, you should:
  • Confirm that all your vendors have access to the venue when they need it.
  • Bride practice walking in your wedding shoes.
  • Call important guests, i.e. family, who have not RSVP'd.
  • Bride pick up your veil or headpiece, if you haven't already.
  • Email or call your bridal party to give them all the details on the day (day-of info and timeline).
  • If you're having a receiving line, decide the order you want everyone to stand in.
  • Give final head count to the caterer.  Confirm all catering set up instructions and menu items.
  • Put the reception seating plan together, if you're having a seated receiption meal.
  • Confirm details with your cake baker.  i.e. head count, delivery time, reception location, etc.
  • Decide on your escort cards.
  • Plan a bridesmaid tea or just a party to thank your attendants.
  • Groom get your final haircut.
  • Shop and pack for the honeymoon.
  • Re-confirm location, date, and time with your photographer.
  • Confirm delivery locations, times, and final arrangement count with florist.
  • Confirm details with with your videographer.  i.e. location, date, and time
  • Groom pick up your formalwear and try it on.  Don't wait until the day-of to do this.
  • Email transportation providers a schedule and addresses for pickups on wedding day.
  • Confirm all final payments amounts with your vendors.
  • Prepare your wedding toasts or thanks to family and friends.
  • Plan any night-before activities with friends and/or attendants.
  • Give seating chart to caterer, location manager, and/or host.
  • Distribute wedding-day directions, schedule, and contact list to all parents, attendants, and vendors.
  • Designate who will meet and greet the vendors on the wedding day.  This person should be the site manager, the coordinator, or another important person thats not apart of the bridal/groom party.
  • Put together an overnight bag for the wedding night and designate someone to deliver it to the hotel for you, if you cannot bring it with you.
  • Bride get a manicure and pedicure.  Invite your bridal party if you'd like.
  • Leave a copy of your honeymoon iteniary with someone incase of an emergency.
  • Confirm details with your receiption DJ or band.  This should include date, location, time, playlist, etc.
  • Confirm details with your ceremony musicians.  This should include date, location, time, playlist, etc.
  • Ask someone to take care of wedding gifts and any cash brought to the wedding.
  • Confirm wedding day beauty appointments.
  • Put together final payments and cash tips for vendors and give to a designated family member or friend to distrubute on the wedding day.
The day before your wedding, you should: 
  •  Give wedding announcements to your maid of honor/best man to be mailed on the wedding day.
  • Wedding Rehearsal.
  • Get much needed pampering and sleep, if you can!!
  • Pull together a last minute emergency kit.
  • Confirm all honeymoon travel plans.  Include transportation to airport, if need be.
Day of your wedding, you should:
  • Remember to thank your parents and tell them you love them!!
  • Confirm all reception toasts with your VIPs.
  • Relax, smile, and enjoy your day.
Soon after your honeymoon...
some of this stuff you might want to designate to a close family member/friend... 
  • Remember to review your vendors...so that future brides will know what to expect.
  • Keep a look-out for your wedding photos!!  Frame them...show them off!!
  • Freeze the top layer of your wedding cake!  Save some napkins too!
  • Perserve your bridal bouquet and other wedding momentos...
  • Have your wedding dress and veil preserved.
  • Make sure all your vendor bills have been paid in full.
  • If you used a videographer, find out when you can expect the edited version of your video.
  • Work on those thank-you notes!!  (Try to get them out within the next two months.)
What made your wedding day so special?