Monday, August 2, 2010

love in the bloom: bridal deets

Allow me to set the stage: it was about 2:30 in the afternoon when the photographers arrived at our suite in the Indiana Memorial Union. Our hairs were did, our make-up complete, and we were all lounging about making death stares at the TV. By we I mean my mom and bridesmaid M -- T, because of my inability to understand hairdresser talk, missed her original appointment and was being hustled through back at the salon. Crisis Number One.

Or really Crisis Number Two, because Number One was the weather. The whole week in Bloomington it had been raining. The humidity was high and the weather report suggested more of the same. But as we watched the endless loops of The Weather Channel, our hopes diminished until I got a text from a friend: "Radar looks great!" With that vote of confidence from someone not utterly hell bent on having an outdoor wedding, we made the call to have it all outside!

So there I was, lounging, as I said, and secretly nibbling on gummi bears. I have evidence.

I already had on my feather hair piece, from Sweetpea and Fawn. I also had the courtesy to match the room's wallpaper.

Of course all of my other pretty things were ready for their big moment too.


As I sat there, chowing down on gummies, the moment was drawing closer and closer: putting on the dress.

All photos by Heidi with Our Labor of Love

Monday, July 12, 2010

name, last

I've been married for a month and I still have no idea what to do about my name. Here's where I am:

I like Kirk's name because it's unique and would therefore make me unique. If I ever want to be famous (duh I want to be famous), I would monopolize the name on Google!

I like my name because it's somewhat common. I have a certain amount of anonymity. I never appear in Google searches because there's some writer who has my name, an artist.. I am buried in the depths of Google!

My name is alliterative. His is not.

I have two sets of double letters in my first and last names!

If I were to take his name and have two middle names (original middle and maiden), my initials would be C.N.C.N. Which is cool.

I work in the same small industry as his father. So far I fly under the radar of that, but if I use his last name, the associations would be constant (and possibly problematic).

I want people to know we're married. I like the unification of one name.

I don't want to be Mrs. Kirk Lastname. I know it's traditional etiquette, but it really bothers me. It's devoid of all personal identity and therefore icky to me.

Was changing your name an instant decision for you or something you agonized over?

Friday, July 2, 2010

new blog!

After the wedding planning blog, there comes the lifestyle blog.

I've started a new blog to cover all of my married life adventures. I will continue my wedding recaps here, but if you're interested in non-wedding me, head over to There Comes a Yes!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

honeymoon tips

Whether you're going to the desert, Europe, or just the next town over for your honeymoon, I have a few tips to make your trip fantabulous.

1. Tell people you're on your honeymoon.

We almost didn't do this. When we arrived at our hotel, it was still three hours before their usual check-in time. We had been traveling for six hours; we felt super gross and just wanted to get in a room. So Ribs very politely mentioned to the woman at the front desk that we were on our honeymoon and if there was any flexibility, we'd appreciate it. She told him he should always note if it's a honeymoon or anniversary (FYI!), gave us a card for two free cocktails at the bar, and asked us to wait a little longer.

We waited about twenty minutes with our cocktails in hand when the woman came back and said we had been upgraded to a suite and the room was ready. Booyah!

2. A point and shoot can take good pictures.

I don't have a DSLR camera. Instead, I own a Leica D-Lux which is really just a designer version of a Panasonic Lumix (same manufacturer, different badge). It's a fantastic little camera with some manual settings.

All I do is turn off the flash and mostly use its "aperture priority" setting. I don't have to worry about exposure in this mode, but I do get some control.

If you have Photoshop or download a trial of it, you can download the Pioneer Woman actions. I used the 70s action on all of my photos for that dusty, vintage look. I did not manually alter the pictures beyond what the action did!

3. Your phone takes good pictures too.

I forgot my camera sometimes, so we took a lot of pictures using our iphones. All you need to make the pictures look stellar is an app called Camerabag. My favorite filters are Helga, Colorcross, and Instant (a Polaroid imposter).

4. Be Seriously Lazy.

I'm impressed by the go-getter type of honeymooners, but personally, the lack of a schedule was so refreshing. Planning a wedding and having a full time job is a struggle. So doing absolutely nothing with your new spouse, starting happy hour at 11 a.m. because dammit you can -- beyond the best thing ever.

Those are my tips for a well-documented, well-rested honeymoon! What would be your tips for soon-to-be honeymooners?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

old hollywood honeymoon: joshua tree

We really did almost nothing during the honeymoon but lie around by the pool, which was intentional and fantastic. But I knew I'd feel guilty if I didn't venture outside of the lush confines of the Viceroy and actually see some of California. This was, after all, my first trip out west!

Our original idea was to rent a car for just one day; we would drive out to the Joshua Tree National Park for a morning hike and then come back in the afternoon, get some In-N-Out Burger (Palm Springs proper did not have one, for shame) and spend the rest of the day being lazy, as was our way. Well the daily highs were 105, which is okay in the shade, under misters, or in a pool, but not so great when you're tromping around the actual desert.

So we hopped on from our phones to rethink our options. The number one rated Palm Springs activity was something called Elite Land Tours. We made reservations for a nocturnal tour of Joshua Tree.

We were picked up the next evening at the hotel in a gleaming white Hummer. It was just Kirk and I and our guide, an extremely knowledgeable and chatty man who came with snacks. Snacks! Everyone loves snacks.

We drove out to Joshua Tree which involved going past this spectacular valley filled with windmills and then crossing the San Andreas Fault. After about 20 more minutes of driving, our guide suddenly turns off the road onto what I would've thought was unnavigable. We were actually taking some crazy back roads into a more pristine portion of the park. Quite the adventure.
On top of Eureka Peak

sunset at joshua tree

The first thing we did was hike to the top of Eureka Peak, which at sunset, provided some tremendous views of the surrounding desert. Also notable, the temperature at this elevation dropped to 60 at night! I was freezing my tail off.
not a tree
moon and tree(s)

After snapping some pictures, the guide drove us to our next stop: a wide expanse of Joshua trees and rock formations. We hiked around, saw a rattlesnake, and then as it became dark, we looked for scorpions! Our guide gave us black light flashlights that illuminate scorpions, making them look like glow in the dark toys. Hiking some more, he showed us the oldest tree in the park. (Interestingly, Joshua trees are not at all trees, just plants!)

The tour was pricey at $220 for both of us, but when we calculated what it'd cost for us to rent a car and just the one-on-one tour guide experience, we really felt it was worth it.

Next, we eat. A lot.

Monday, June 21, 2010

old hollywood honeymoon: the viceroy

We're back from the honeymoon! It was the most relaxing and lazy trip I've ever taken. We're having difficulties adjusting to "doing things."

So Palm Springs. About a month ago, I started to really worry about the honeymoon: after all, who goes to the desert in the summer? I thought we made a huge mistake. Well, that was needless worrying because Palm Springs is simply amazing in June! The daily high was around 105, which sounds brutal, but without humidity it is solidly pleasant in the shade of a cabana or floating in a pool.

We stayed at the Viceroy and got 25% off our room rate, food, and spa services. I was absolutely in love with their Hollywood regency look.
The grounds were gorgeous too.

We barely left these spots the whole trip.
Service at the Viceroy was impeccable. There was always a friendly face coming by with drinks to the pool, feeding me way too many sweet potato fries and mojitos.

With a view of stunning mountains, I did not miss a lapping ocean at all. Next up, we went to Joshua Tree National Park and sampled a few restaurants!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

off to indiana

If you're reading this, it means I'm currently in a Mazda somewhere on I-70, eating Swedish Fish or licorice, singing along to the Eagles with my almost-husband. If we're not singing, we're likely debating the nuances of a Jon Stewart rant or wondering aloud what the Kitty is doing. We're going places.

We have a packed four days ahead of us -- first meeting with our officiant, my one and only hair trial, reuniting with friends we haven't seen in months or years, and the last minute details every couple deals with before their wedding. While the stress of planning may be high, I feel so calm and okay knowing what lies before us.

Marriage was always the inevitable for us -- I knew this as soon as I met Kirk. I think at the very beginning of our relationship I resisted believing this because it felt too easy and too right. Three years later I know it isn't easy, it's just a willingness to change for each other, to understand each other, give when the other can't, and take the moments as they come.

These are the days we'll string along forever, knowing happiness isn't a permanent realization, but just a series of small pleasures and glances, kind words and embraces, laughing at jokes we'll soon forget and being with people who love us madly. Planning this wedding has given me new friends and new moments to tuck away, with only more to come.

For now, we're driving. It's a long road, but it's love all the way down.

Another Miss signing off,


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

embracing the semi-polish

I am half Polish. I grew up thinking my family embraced our Polish heritage because we ate sausage and did polkas at weddings. It took me quite a while and seeing how other people celebrate their own culture and customs to realize that my family was quite lazy at being Polish.
My parents at their quasi-Polish wedding almost 35 years ago

My great grandparents emigrated from Poland during a time where it wasn't so hot to be Polish. In fact, I think it was quite awful because my grandpa changed his family name, removing the -kowski, in order to Americanize himself and fit in. Diversity wasn't valued back then and I think that was a major reason my grandparents never taught me much about my heritage. I don't know any Polish words, I don't know how to cook Polish foods, and I definitely have no clue where my family came from.

But us Midwestern Polish descendants, maybe even specifically Northwest Indiana Poles, have one wedding custom that I do know about: the everyone get in a circle around the couple and sing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" while also randomly shouting "she's still ours!" in Polish. What, that's not a thing? Well it is in my family.

You see, I've looked everyone on the internet for some indication this was a wedding tradition. Apparently the "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" serenade is usually reserved for sorority/frat sweethearts? Or something. I never went greek so I do not understand these things.

As for the shouting in Polish part, it seems to have roots in a Midwestern Polish custom where the father says the phrase "Jescze nasza" and all of the men at the wedding form a circle around the bride and exchange dances, for a small fee.

So it seems my family mushed together some things and came up with the Let Me Call You/Jescze Nasza. Now all I have to do is try to explain this to my DJ.

While I'm sad I've missed out on a lot of Polish heritage, I will say one thing: I am so glad I don't have to do the babydoll apron. If you're trying to picture it and getting confused, no, you are in fact doing it right. It's precisely an apron that has plastic babydolls stapled to it. Not all Polish traditions need to be embraced!

What cultural traditions are you adopting, eschewing or reinventing?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

last minute projects

I am the queen of procrastination when it comes to DIY projects and I have proof.

Exhibit A: My cake topper.



Exhibit B: The giftbox. Confession: semi-DIY. I asked a salesgirl at the Kate Spade store if I could have a large gift box and she obliged.



Exhibit C: The menus. They are not kitty-proof.



Exhibit D: Table numbers.


Exhibit E: Tags for the whoopie pie favors.


Exhibit F: Door tags for the the ceremony and the reception entrances. The IMU is large and confusing. The poodles are a long story.

So that's what I've been up to. How do you cope with deadlines?

Friday, May 28, 2010


School spirit, yes we do, or something along those lines.

Kirk and I are both IU grads. Since we're getting married on campus, it feels prudent, nay necessary, to tip our proverbial hats to our alma mater. I just don't know when or how!

There are three school songs: two fight songs and "Hail to Old IU," the song that makes me cry my eyes out for the glory days of Mother Bears pizza and Ballantine Hall.

My original idea was to have a mini pep rally at some point after the ceremony, since many of the guests are IU grads too. My problem of course is timing. Is this best suited for cocktail hour (we'll be able to make the second half of it) or some point during the reception? Should the DJ play a recording or should I conspire with the IU grads to burst out with an a cappella version? Opinions are requested on when and how!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I've been hush hush about rings since my slight meltdown over the Dior ring. I mourned it and moved on with a little help from a small jeweler out of Philly, Bario-Neal.

They use recycled metals in their rings, have pretty affordable prices, and Kirk and I could get matching rings. Yay.  I ended up with the Milla thin band in white gold and Kirk got the Milla round. Best of all, Bario-Neal shipped the rings in adorable glass bottles!



The rings took about six weeks to arrive and we definitely cut it close (they came yesterday!), but the rings are gorgeous. Happily, both rings combined cost less than the Dior ring.

Which of your wedding disappointments had a silver lining?

Monday, May 24, 2010

after the wedding resolutions

I've started an impromptu list, not of DIY projects or wedding day time lines, but things I want to do after the wedding. Part of it is to cope with post-wedding planning blues, but mostly I want a life again.

So I present to you the highlights of my "After the Wedding Resolutions."

1. Start getting weekly polish changes and monthly pedicures. Totally selfish and wonderful.
2. See plays, musicals, and ballets more. We went to only one this past year. Fail.
3. Take dance classes.
4. Every other weekend, do a museum or otherwise historic thing in or around DC. I've lived here for 2 years and still haven't done everything. That must change.
5. Buy records.
6. Volunteer.
7. Get a Sunday newspaper subscription.
8. Reinstate date night. Date night has disappeared for us. It's morphed into Kirk watching Dr. Who while I work on the computer/cut stuff out/glue crap/etc and half watch the vampiric fish people. I want to go to movies again, eat popcorn and Sour Patch Kids, hold hands, nuzzle on the way out, argue about the movie, get ice cream, and then metro home in that blissed out hazy state of being too full of sodium and sugar.
9. Re-watch BSG from beginning to end again. I am a nerd.
10. Read again. I've been reading exclusively issues of Poetry, mostly because they're a handy size for the bathroom... 

What's on your "after the wedding" list?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

get yer programs

The fun/tedious part of planning is the evolution of ideas. At one point I thought I had a clear idea for a ceremony program and then I fell victim to second-guessing. The cover was changed, more information was added, and did I mention I only got these printed today? Oh yes that happened.

I had these printed on text weight paper, i.e. crap. I had big ideas about tying them with a black grosgrain ribbon, yadda yadda, but that felt silly when it was basically photo copier paper. Instead, I busted out the twine.




The lesson here is if you're smarter than me, you print the cover page with a light cardstock and then the interior pages with text weight paper. It gives the programs a lot more heft. Learn from my mistakes.

Did you reinvent the program wheel or stick to the basics?

Friday, May 21, 2010

man flowers

I have a certain fear.
All of the flowers are going to be roses and peonies. So while for the most part that means a ton of fluffy goodness, it can also be concerning. For evidence, see above. 

My beef with rose bouts is this: they remind me of high school dances, where every single date of mine had the same tight rosebud bout. I also don't love how far it sits away from the lapel. I'd like to avoid this. 
Those aren't roses, they're dahlias, but they sure are awesome. Note how the flowers lay flat across the lapel and while they're large, they're a quirky large, not "I'm a giant bud" large. 

Another convincing argument:
So I think at this point, a rose is not the ideal flower bout for me. But peonies are a little delicate and I assume they would not hold up as a bout either. Do you have any last minute suggestions for a flower available in June that'd be flat and big and lovely?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

getting a garter

I've reached the point in planning where there is no such luxury as shopping around. There are things on my list and I either buy them or strike them. The garter was something I put off and put off some more for months. We won't be doing a toss, so it never seemed urgent or required, but recently I just felt it was something I wanted. Being four-ish weeks out from the wedding, I had to make it happen now!

A big shocker here: I got mine from Etsy. I bought from JLWeddings, who makes some very sweet, delicate garters for an affordable price, like mine for instance!

It feels good to pay people to make pretty things for me, let me tell you. Do you have a buy it or leave it list?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

booty ouch

Almost two weeks ago I started a new workout routine that I sort of believe in. That's pretty much the best endorsement exercise can get from me.

I read Gwyneth Paltrow's newsletter, GOOP, for the lols. Usually she's talking about the $900 boots you need for fall or her new diet that consists entirely of kale juice. But the other week she had a video created by her trainer, Tracy Anderson, that really intrigued me. To view it, click here.

Why do we care about Gwyneth "goop" Paltrow's workout? Because these are her legs:
Now that we're on the same page, I liked this workout for two reasons: it doesn't require any equipment, so I don't have to drag myself all the way down the hall to the gym. Secondly, as someone who took ballet all the way through college, her moves come very naturally to me. Nothing feels awkward or stilted like a lot of other exercise videos out there.

The first time I did the mat workout I was ready to die. My butt was sore to sit on. The GOOP newsletter mentioned doing dance cardio after the mat workout, but being an intrepid internet denizen, I managed to find a meager replacement, for free of course.

Apparently Miss Tracy is a promoter of dancing on a treadmill. If you have a giant house or a park nearby (and a lot of self-confidence), you can of course do all of these without a treadmill. But I lurve it. Skipping on a treadmill is so hard, I use running as a break from it.

Though the weight loss has been limited to a pound or two, I've noticed the lovely sore feeling in my butt all week and my arms look a little more defined. These are things I like. The only major drawback is you're expected to do these 6 times a week, which is pretty time consuming. I made it five days last week and twice this week, in addition to being totally incapable of doing her cardio for 45 minutes straight, so my results are on the wimpy side, I assume.

What's your favorite free workout source?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

getting down to the skivvies

Here's a doozy: my mom took me lingerie shopping. Not that I'm exactly into the sexed up stuff that would really embarrass me, but it was still a little strange picking out thongs with my mom.

To keep the experience light and not make my mom think I was a dominatrix, we stayed classy at Bloomingdale's. For some reason they were passing out champagne, which certainly helped along the whole experience. Our list was brief: one robe or cover-up and a bra and panty set for some unknown purpose on the honeymoon. Off topic: does your mom play dumb when there's any mention of sex, whether it's on TV or someone in person makes a reference? Because my mom does and it's the funniest crap. I digress.

My mom picked out the robe, a sweet 70s throwback in chiffon.

For the lingerie set, I picked out something on the subtle side. Remember, I was with my mom.
You can't tell from this picture, but there are bitsy glitter dots all over it, making it less of a snoozefest.

My mom was so very generous with the lingerie gifts, but my honeymoon bedtime wardrobe wasn't complete. I'm a big time believer in the romper, so I snatched one up from Target.
To top it all off, I dug through my underwear drawer and found all of the lingerie I've been too lazy to wear. Yes, I am too lazy to wear pretty underthings. I've promised myself that I will only pack those pieces in the honeymoon bag. Well, except for one or two pairs of cotton briefs for the plane ride and hiking day!

How have you handled your honeymoon lingerie? Any awkward familial involvement?

wedding day pretties

Some time ago, I talked about my wedding day jewelry: a rhinestone hair doodad and earrings. It took me a while to be able to actually decide between the two earring contenders due to the fact my left ear piercing closed and I had to get it re-pierced!

Last weekend marked the point at which I could take out the tyke earrings. I jumped in front of the mirror to try on both pairs of earrings and I was completely wowed by the studs. Enormous and sparkly, I felt like an ex-wife of Donald Trump, in a good way. But even with big first wife earrings, I felt a little bare, so I went out and bought a bracelet on sale. It is perfection. I have a funny neurosis about wearing earrings and a necklace together, don't ask.

wedding pretties

Of course, the wedding get-up isn't complete without perfume. I bought a small bottle of Miss Dior Cherie just for the wedding and honeymoon. The plan is to wear it on anniversaries and other special events, but we'll see how that shakes out!

Was finding your wedding day accessories a lengthy process?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

bridesmaid dress update

Quite a while ago I said my bridesmaids would be getting their dresses made by a seamstress local to Indiana. Well, I actually have an update and I call it: Slopcity!

Before I get into that, I'll just explain the process we've gone through. We contacted a seamstress in the winter and she gave us a slot for March to begin sewing the dresses. My mom helped source fabrics by sending me various swatches of green silk and taffeta. We also consulted patterns that had similar skirt fullness to the designs we chose to figure out the needed yardage. We ended up buying 10 yards of emerald green taffeta, at a price of $5/yard.

A few weeks ago I went to Indiana for my shower, so we stopped in at the seamstress's to see the dresses. Bridesmaid M had already been in for a fitting before, but Bridesmaid T's dress was being made entirely from her provided measurements.

Now I finally understood why dress fittings were so traumatic for many women. My own wedding dress was close to my size, so I never had to deal with a too-big dress that looked shapeless and sad and depressing. The dress I tried on for Bridesmaid T though, who is close to me in size, was all of those things. I could see that it looked like the design we chose, but it was just enormous and baggy, hence, Slopcity. Fortunately she'll be able to come in before the wedding to get it properly fitted.

So I begrudgingly offer a photo of the bridesmaid dresses in a very in-between stage. Bridesmaid M's dress is also too big, as you can see. We departed from the original design a bit to provide wider straps and more boob coverage.
I look so enthused, yes?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

gifts for the girls

When it came time to buy gifts for my bridesmaids, I really wanted to get them something lasting, like jewelry. But the more I looked and the more I thought about what I consider "lasting," I realized I was probably going to fail. There are very few pieces of jewelry I would consider classic for my personal style. So I felt way too pressured to find something perfect for their personalities.

If by some off chance either of my bridesmaids are reading, move along!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

honoring my namesake

On Weddingbee I'm known as Ribbons, so I figured I should perhaps do a ribbon project.

Kirk and I decided to do a sweetheart table, so I wanted to hang something above our table, to denote it and add a little bit of interest to our room.

I liked the big tissue balls from a past MSW issue, but I wanted to do something different. I didn't document the whole process because I'm bad, but I bought the following materials:
  • 20 yards of ribbons in various colors, plus a "mega-roll" of low quality wide ribbon from Michael's
  • 3 embroidery hoops
  • twine
With a hot glue gun, I glued ribbons to the inner hoop of the embroidery hoops. Here's how they've turned out:
The idea is they'll hang at different heights and the last one will be solid light pink. It was really easy and fast, probably one of the most satisfying DIY projects I've done yet.

Do you have a favorite DIY project?