Monday, November 30, 2009

For the love of letterpress!

Let's get this straight. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that I love more than to see letterpress printing. There's just something about feeling the texture of those etchings in a piece of paper that makes me smile. Which is why when I saw this post on 100 Layer Cake's super-fab blog, I did not hesitate to enter, so I could get my hands on some little letterpress lovelies of my own. So you can imagine my excitement to see this even better post last week, informing me I had won the giveaway! Out of 156 entries, folks! I am the luckiest letterpress-loving girl in the land. :)

And I mean it too. I got them in the mail already and that's exactly what I'm going to do with my first note, though they are almost to pretty to use. Those girls at Peach Press (don't you just love that name, southern gals?) know their stuff! If I lived in LA, I would most definitely be making a weekly visit to see them. That said, we can't hate on the amazing little shops we have right here under our nose in Nashville. Such as this awesomeness.

Launched in 1879, this is one of the world's oldest letterpress print shops, and their work is nothing short of amazing. The Ryman Auditorium, which you all know is dear to my heart, is one of their biggest clients, having used Hatch to design the posters for all those great country acts since the Grand Ole Opry was housed there. I just think it's so cool to know that they've been cranking out these babies all these years, and now they've become collector's items. And that is your history lesson for the day.
P.S. I think they make fabulous Christmas gifts, myself. Check out their store, housed in our very own Country Music Hall of Fame, and see if you don't agree.
P.P.S. I was lucky enough to hear Jim Sherraden, the Manager, Chief Designer, and Archivist at Hatch Show Print, speak last week at a luncheon, and it was fascinating. You wouldn't believe the jewels of history he has in his amazing collection. He's been commissioned to do designs for everyone from Johnny Cash to Louis Armstrong to Brad Paisley and he's also written this book, which would be a great gift for the music lover in your family. Just call me one of Santa's elves.
Had I more time, I would have done something like this poster below to have on hand at the wedding reception, and let all the guests sign around it instead of the traditional photo, but he informed me you need 4-6 weeks lead time to turn something custom around. Epic fail on my part, I know. But for all you brides to be out there, I woud definitely think about having it done - it's so very NASHVILLE!

In other news, we're now at 32 days and counting til The Big Day. Picture me pumping my fist and saying "yesssssssss." I am finally to the point where I'm loving every minute of it, and am ready to coast for this last month of the process. The wedding invitations are out the door, the rehearsal invitations and bridesmaid brunch invitations will be in hand this week, and the RSVPs are starting to come in! And the gifts - LAWD! Girls, let me tell you, it is feeling like Christmas every day and it so much fun getting all these fun things! My favorite gift so far has been "His" and "Hers" quilted stockings from my crazy awesome best friend/maid of honor - they are our first official Chrismas decoration! We're doing the official Christmas decor shopping trip on Friday - wish me luck on convincing Mr. T that yes, every room does in fact need some holiday love. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Top Five Things I Am Thankful For...

So my good friend and fellow blogger Marcie had a great idea to do this post a few days ago, and because A) I liked it and want to steal her idea and B) I, too, have so many things to be thankful for, not to mention C) sometimes I want to do a blog post but don't know which morsel of information to share from the thousand things that are rolling around in my head, this is an easy out. At least I'm being honest. So in no particular order, here we go...

1. God - for the amazing ways he has blessed my life in the past year. I truly had no idea when I moved to Nashville almost two years ago that the Lord's hand was orchestrating something so beautiful in my little life. Now, here I am with a wonderful fiance, a new house, a great job, and a pretty fantastic life. I never want to take any of those blessings for granted, and have the most grateful heart. My cup overfloweth.

2. Mr. T - that incredible fiance of mine. I've had my fair share, scratch that-plenty of bridal meltdowns over the past few months, and this man has been so patient, so thoughtful, so understanding and so very kind. He truly knows me better than anyone else, and sees all my stubbornness and sassiness in full effect and yet somehow, he still loves me and never lets me forget it. I absolutely can't wait to walk down that aisle, say our vows, and marry my very best friend.

3. Family - Which just so happens to include my own and the one I'm about to inherit. Mr. T and I are so fortunate to have such amazing models for marriage in our parents. Mine encouraged me to chase every dream I ever had, and go whatever direction I needed to, even if that meant away from home. His raised him to be a man of character, integrity and purpose, and brought him up with a solid standard of morals and downright good sense. Not to mention his mom is one heck of a cook, and I'm hoping she'll share some recipes with me while we're visiting over the next few days. If we grow up to have half the marriage they each have, I'd say we'll be doing okay.

4. Nashville, my new home. This may seem like a silly thing to be thankful for, but ever since the first day I arrived in Nashville, it has truly felt like home to me. And somehow, deep in my heart of hearts, I knew it would, if I could ever just get here. It's not just the fact that I found it VERY cool that the CMA Awards were taped about two miles from our house, or that I am so proud to take friends to the Loveless Cafe while they're visiting. It's not even the fact that everytime I see that stinking skyline, as cheesy as it is, I smile a little, because I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be. It's really just the sense that I've found my place to land for a while, and it just feels right. Nashvillians unite.

5. Friends to "do life" with - near, far and everywhere in between. I really believe that friends are the family you pick. And I feel like I have picked some amazing people to be in my lifeboat. Some I've known for years and are like sisters to me. Some I've met since I've been in Nashville and already feel close as kin. And some have been placed in my path to share one experience or another at different points in my life, and will never even know what their friendship has meant to me. I hope they all know how much they are cherished. Life just wouldn't be the same without their sweet spirits, and I am better for having them around.

So in the spirit of thanksgiving, I urge you, dear readers, to pass it on and post what you're thankful for this year. Chances are, there is plenty! Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For the Love of the 80's

Without further adieu, here are the much-anticipated photos from our fabulously fun 80's themed wedding shower last weekend, hosted by sweet friends of ours Lauren Wade and Stephanie Delcambre, aka the hostesses with the mostest. These girls thought of everything - starting with an 80's themed invitation with a splatter paint border to announce the party, a subtle threat to all invitees to dress up or not be admitted, an 80's soundtrack that rocked all night, a fire pit, Firefly, and glow sticks as party favors. Seriously, how could you NOT enjoy that?

So behold my handsome fiance...

The man is clearly not afraid of a dress up party. I was flipped over drying my hair getting ready (the bigger the better, right?) and when I stood up, there he stood in the bathroom in all his 80's glory. I screamed for a solid five seconds. And then I laughed hysterically.

I actually love him a little more for his willingness to go all out. P.S. Please forgive the smoky effect on the photo - that fire pit was putting out some heat! I think everyone should have one of those things...too bad Craig and I have already burned our deck using the one we just bought. :(

So this is the adorable Amber and Justin (yes, that is a Joan Jett t-shirt he is sporting) and they are the next in line to get married in July. Um, maybe the best female costume all night. You can't tell as much from this picture but this was a pink romper complete with shoulder pads.

Dear friends and recent newlyweds Elizabeth and Adam. She opted for the sparkles and neon colors, he opted for the high waist jeans, mock turtleneck and blazer look. Nicely done, you two.

Lovely hostess Lauren (in full Jane Fonda gear), her main man Steve (Top Gun - natch) and Baby Layla Delcambre - wondering why the heck we all look so weird. She literally started crying the moment she saw my fiance.

Our other lovely hostess, Stephanie, rocking out her belly band as a miniskirt. Way to get maximum usage, my dear. And seriously, you don't even look like you had a baby! I like that her feather earrings match my hair. :)

The ladies, from left to right: Lindsey, Lauren, Amber, Steph, Me, and Liz

And the fellas: Justin, Chris, Steve, Adam, Mr. T, and Dan

After we moved inside to open our awesome gifts, Mr. T stood up to say a few words about how much we appreciated the party. I'm not sure if anyone could take him seriously in that get-up, though. Please note how I'm smiling at him in support and trying to keep a straight face - won't I make a good little wifey?

We had a blast at this party and are so appreciative to have people in our lives who like to throw pride to the wind, dress up, throw down, and have a little fun. In the spirit of Thanksgiving (and my new blog design, thanks very much) I'd just like to say I'm pretty thankful to have such awesome friends. Enjoy the pictures, folks. They'll probably stay up all of two days before Mr. T asks me to take them down. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

Christmas! Can't you feel it coming right around the corner? I sure can, and I have never been more excited about it. For many reasons, really. Which include the fact Mr. T and I will be buying a REAL Christmas tree for the first time very soon. No more artificial ones for me. I am converting and I'm not looking back. AND I just added the cutest pair of quilted stockings to our Pottery Barn registry, just because. AND I got entirely too carried away at Michael's this past weekend perusing their decorations and finally settled on a basket for the guest bathroom that simply has "Happy Holidays" embroidered on the mint-green fabric lining. It's the little things, people.

And speaking of little things, please hop over to this blog and check out this fabulous giveaway from A Paper Lane on Etsy. I think these personalized recipe cards would make for a very fabulous Christmas gift, don't you? My new kitchen would be very happy to make their acquaintance. The giveaway runs until Thursday, November 19th so get cracking!

Speaking of recipes, my mom gave me her "Easy Pot Roast" recipe a while back and I've been waiting on just the right time to bust out the crock pot and try out this bad boy on Mr. T. So I put a shoulder roast, a packet of Lipton's onion soup, a can of Golden Mushroom soup, and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup all together in my pot about 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. Around 4 I added red potatoes, carrots, onion and mushrooms. And at about 6:30 I served it up with Mary B's biscuits and high expectations after I had been smelling the lovely aroma all day. And at about 7:00 p.m., Mr. T. and I were both licking our plates clean. I mean it was DELICIOUS. And I don't feel bad bragging about it since it's not my own creation. Just a handy recipe that I will definitely be making again on the next cold winter's day. I highly suggest you give her a try.

And if you're needing a kickstart to get in the Christmas spirit, head on over to Etsy for a little look-see. The first day I discovered it I thought I had died and gone to handmade heaven. I've found gifts for my bridesmaids, jewelry galore, and even cupcake toppers all in a day's time. But my newest obsession are all their Christmas-themed items, like holiday cards, address stickers, and gift tags. I am that girl who obsesses over these things, and I'm not ashamed. And if you say your heart doesn't race when you get an adorable card in the mail, then you are not my friend. Kidding. A little.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake! Or not...

So it's time for another quick poll, blogosphere friends. I've pretty much decided to axe the traditions of the bouquet toss (to my single girlfriends' delight, though I do think it's pretty cute to play Beyonce's "Put A Ring On It" while they all scramble for the prize) due to the fact that I always despised participating at others' weddings. Partly because of the pressure if I actually caught the thing and partly because a bunch of women grasping for a bouquet because of some silly symbolism that they will be the next in line is just a little ridiculous. We've also scratched off the garter toss (to the delight of Mr. T's friends, who would probably have to be bribed with a beer to even participate) because to be honest, I don't like the idea of my 82-year old aunt seeing Craig dive under my wedding dress for a piece of lacy ribbon. Now for any of you who chose to do these things, don't hate. I totally support your decision and I hope you rocked it out. It's just not our style. And the beauty of getting married at 29 and 34 respectively is that those little "musts" just don't seem quite so important, especially as the number of single friends begin to dwindle. Just imagine, if it ended up being you and one other person out there, that would be a bit of a buzzkill.

The other decision I'm wrestling with is the beloved wedding cake. See exhibit A:

Now this is one of my favorites. She looks beautiful and delicious, the way the frosting is whipped all over. Yum. But underneath all that beauty, it's just wedding cake, and that doesn't get my engine going. Now I've seen some pretty cool updates on the classic cake from Martha and the like, from an over-the-top cupcake tree to a display of several homemade cakes and pies that are passed down family recipes. But my heart longs for something a little different. Something like this!

Melt in your mouth, perfectly drizzled and positively delicious Bananas Foster! No other dessert compares, in my book. So we're thinking a Bananas Foster Action Station, complete with an attendant who can flambe the dish right in front of you!How cool will that look on a cold winter's night? Quite.

Mr. T learned about my love of this dish early in our relationship and took me to the Mad Hatter for our three month anniversary, where we finished off a lovely dinner with one of the most divine versions I've ever had. I almost turned the plate sideways and licked it clean. I also hear Valentino's does one tableside, so it's next on my list. And any other suggestions will be duly noted.

So the question is, should we add a groom's cake or even a small supplemental wedding cake to make the traditional folks (and my traditionally-minded mother) happy? She said some people would be expecting it, and I would hate for them to be disappointed. And also, I realize not everyone loves Bananas Foster like I do, so maybe another option would be nice. Ah, the decisions we brides face...

(Oh, and we do have one other small surpise planned in the dessert department. Let's just say it goes quite well with our coffee bar. And policeman like them a lot. And it rhymes with schmosmut.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Recap

So I'm back from quite a whirlwind weekend in the 'Loosa (my lovely hometown of Tuscaloosa, that is) that consisted of a second round of bridal portraits shot by the phenom Scottie Jones, not one but two totally fun showers, and perhaps best of all, a chance to see my Tide win the SEC West for the second year in a row! Clearly I like having things in "twos." :)

Scottie lives on an amazing farm with all this unbelievable land about thirty minutes outside of Tuscaloosa. You already know I have a soft place in my heart for this type of location from our engagement shoot at Southall Eden. Something about being out in the middle of nowhere just makes you breathe easier, I think. Well of course I was having one heck of a hectic day (after driving the four hours from Nashville into town, picking up a bouquet that was NOT my favorite - white roses that were already wilting, seriously Mr. Tuscaloosa Florist? - and having hair and makeup done in 30 minutes each) and my dear friend Candice came to meet me at the salon to serve as Stylist Extraordinaire at the shoot. Word to the wise for those of you planning your bridal portraits: bring a friend. It makes everything so much easier in terms of getting in the beloved dress, fixing stray hairs and wind-whipped veils, and giving just the right number of "oohs and aahs" that make you feel all special. Even better, when you and said friend get caught in the middle of a funeral procession just as you're leaving the salon and stay behind them for the entire 25 mile drive to the farm going 30 mph down old country roads (I kid you not), it gives you someone to laugh with. Props to you for keeping me sane, Candice!

Next up my little dear hearts from my church back home threw a lingerie and lotion shower for me at one of my favorite restaurants, Cafe Venice. It was so great catching up with them and hilarious that each of the first four girls to show up was preggers! Something must be in the water down there, so I'm glad I'm drinking the no-kiddo water in Nashville! For now at least. :) I got some amazing little things that I can't wait to bust out in Mexico, and it was the perfect way to start off the weekend. The crazy thing was that the restaurant was so packed from all the football fans in town, the kitchen ran out of food just after we were served. Talk about perfect timing!

Saturday morning I headed over to Belk to do a little exchange on the 12 piece corningware set that arrived on my doorstep with a broken dish on top. Sad day. That simply wouldn't do for this domestic diva. So I exchanged it for a brand-spanking new set and decided to splurge on my new winter signature scent on my way out the door. It takes major willpower to walk in a mall and leave empty-handed, people. Introducing Lola, by Marc Jacobs...

It is SO me. I seriously love it! They didn't have a sample (which I always try to get first, to make sure I like the fragrance on me) so I bought the body creme, but it is so heavenly, I'm definitely going back for the perfume. It is fabulous, and I will fight you for it.

On Sunday I had a bridal tea to attend at my parents' church, which I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to all that much just because all I could think about was how I'd be getting on the road at dark for the drive back, which I absolutely despise. Thanks, Daylight Savings! I get all out of sorts when it gets dark at 5 p.m., like slam-your-brakes when you're approaching a curve because you can't see where the road is going anxiety. I bet the people behind me hate me. Oh well, anyway the shower. It was actually a LOT of fun. There were so many women from the church I grew up in that came to hug my neck and drink tea and fuss over all the pretty gifts I received, and I'll be honest, I loved every minute of it. We got so many great things it was like an early Christmas! And the little women were so cute all dressed up for the occasion. I'm such a girl sometimes, I know. And to go completely girly on you, I had a fabulous new purple dress that was just perfect for the occasion. Why do I blog about that? Because I want to remember how when I was getting ready to leave for the shower, I came in to tell my dad bye and kiss his cheek, and I loved how it made me feel when he said "Oooh, look at my pretty pumpkin." So I guess I'm not just a girl, but a bit of a Daddy's Girl, and I'm actually quite okay with that. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two Months Out!

OK, we are officially at two months and counting, people! And no, I am not freaking out. I'm very proud of that fact. In fact, after having my bridal portraits done yesterday, I'm feeling more ready by the day. And I discovered what it felt like to be a celebrity...for an afternoon at least. I had my bridal portraits done at the unbelievably gorgeous grounds of Cheekwood (you must go if you live in Nashville) by the adorable and uber-talented Evin Krehbiel of Evin Photography. Just look at how cute she is. Don't you want her to be your friend, too?

What's even better is that about five years ago, I rushed this sweet little chic at Samford, and basically told her I would threaten her life if she didn't "go Chi O." I wasn't really into the whole sorority rush thing, but I would get these little "rush crushes" and pounce on them from the minute they walked in the door. So imagine my delight when I move to Nashville, find out she's making a wonderful little life for herself as a Franklin-based photographer, and get to have her shoot my bridal portraits? I was stoked, people. And then the most glorious weather EVER decided to showcase itself yesterday for our session. Thanks to the Big Guy for doing His thing.

But back to being a celebrity. Before I could flash my first smile for the camera I had the pleasure of getting completely pampered and primped by the super-fab Alicia Keagy (of the Rodney Mitchell salon - love her!) She actually came to my house so I could just be lazy on Sunday morning and have her fix me up in the luxury of my own bedroom. The girl worked some major magic on my hair and makeup and I felt like a very put-together and fancified version of myself before I walked out the door. We had done a little run-through on my mop on Thursday night, so we could practice using the little lovely Chelsea made for me. And oh is it tres chic! I heart it. But no previews of it just yet, you'll have to be patient. So we got all finished and made sure Mr. T left the premises so she could stuff me in the back of the car and drive us to Cheekwood. Word to the wise: be SURE to bring a friend, and preferrably even a stylist friend, to your bridal shoot. She was able to fix that out-of-place hair, apply that last bit of lip gloss, and fluff the train just so before Evin snapped the shot. I could really get used to that kind of treatment. I'm not gonna lie, I kind of love having people fuss over me like that.

And before I could get completely primped I had to get a bouquet for the shoot, of course. Well I say "of course" but I actually forgot about that little detail until the week before. Awesome. But I had the best little appointment with Caprice of The Enchanted Florist at Fabu, where we got to pick out lots of fun items for the ceremony and reception decor. Mr. T even came with me and nodded helplessly as we talked about pin-spotting the centerpieces and such. What a troooper! And at the end of it all, I walked away with this beauty!

Forgive the picture quality, but this was taken with my iPhone. And yes, it looks like Heaven is beaming through my window. One of the perks of having lots of natural light in the house!

Want to know just how good Miss Caprice is? Here is the picture I gave her to show what I liked...

Dead on. Love her! It was so perfect with all the fall colors - I even put it in water after we were done to see if I could savor it for a little longer.

Oh and the best news! I found a veil! The lovely ladies at The Bride Room let me bring in my dress and try on almost everyone they had so that we could match it perfectly. There were several that I liked, but only one that gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling. Now you know I can't show a photo, but like my dress, I put it on and immediately knew it was "the one." I just love when that happens.

And let me just add a plug for Amy, the associate who helped me. Not only was she wonderful to work with, she also discovered I had left my phone behind after we took some photos of me in the veil, and then even tracked down my parents (she must have called "Home" - good to program that in I guess) and delivered it to Mr. T at the Vanderbilt stadium on Saturday afternoon so I wouldn't be without it all weekend. Now THAT is some customer service, folks. So thank you, Amy! You are a lifesaver, and I love you for doing that. I would have been a nutcase without my cell phone all weekend.

I'm heading to DC tomorrow for a work event, so I'll be MIA this week. But I will get to see my lovely MOH and BFF. And because I enjoy ending with a photo, here we are. As you can tell, I love that girl.
60 days and counting!
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