Christmas Decor [Day 8]

Tom and I have not decorated our apartment for the holidays since we moved here. BUT we have had soft white and multicolored Christmas/string/fairy lights up year round since we moved in. So that kind of counts.

They are especially nice this time of year because A) the holidays and B) it gets so freaking dark so freaking early that it’s nice to have some soft lighting all night before bed.

Anyways, today’s post is supposed to be a picture of Christmas decor. I love decorating for the holidays and just in general, but there’s not much room for excess stuff here in Brooklyn. When we have our own house one day, I plan on going nuts in the decorating department.

Buuuuutttt since we don’t have any decorations here, I’ll share a picture from two Christmases ago when Tom and I posed with our engagement ornaments. The quality is pretty poor, but the memories aren’t. And it’s Christmas decor. So there.

IMG_0418

One month until ‘I Do’!!!!!

Don’t you just love how attractive we are in that featured image?

So this week and a half was more productive and eventful in the wedding planning arena! And the excitement builds more and more each day!!!

I had my dress fitting last Tuesday and – hallelujah!!!!! – it fit (and then some)! The first seamstress came in to zip me up and get an initial view of it. I asked her about getting cutlets, which are basically just the padded cups from a bra, because I’m not well-endowed up there if you catch my drift. She brought two in, slipped them into the top of my dress, and (voila!) I had a little somethin’ somethin’ going on.

The second seamstress came in and got down to business. My first concern was the poofy crinoline/tulle at the bottom of my dress, so she got right to cutting it out. I was really nervous; I mean she was cutting it out of my dress right then and there, so there was no going back! What if this completely ruined my dress?!

Cinderella dress upset gif

Thankfully, when she finished cutting and I let the dress fall, it looked perfect and just how I wanted. Phew!

She ended up having to pin about half an inch on each side along my torso to make the dress hug my body better. After all that pinning, I made sure that I could still sit comfortably and that there would be room if I ate or drank (seeing as I plan to do both the day of the wedding). I was able to sit without hearing any ripping sounds, so I won’t have to stand or starve all wedding day!

I was relieved to find that my shoes worked perfectly with the length of my dress, so no hemming is involved; that saves me $150 right there! The last thing she worked on was the bustle. Now, all 3 of us (Tom’s mom, sister, and I) had thought that a bustle was just one button with one loop to hold the train up off the floor. Easy peasy, right?

Nope. I guess the standard is about 8 buttons and hooks; my dress will have 11. Like, what?! It’s going to take a team of people to bustle the thing! Once she had it all bustled, it looked amazing. I scheduled my final fitting for the 29th so I have to keep up the workouts and healthy eating so that the dress still fits. I won’t get to take my dress home that day because they will still have to press it and the veil after the final fitting.

I met with my photographer, Jon, on Thursday to go over day-of details. It was so great sitting and talking with him – we went to SUNY Geneseo together, so it was nice catching up. I had a few pictures/poses pinned on my Love & Marriage Pinterest board and I knew that I wanted a romantic style with a little fun and silly mixed in. I definitely knew I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful grounds at the country club, and the (fingers, toes, and eyeballs crossed!) beautiful August weather. But other than that, I figured I would wait and get Jon’s opinion.

He was very thorough since he’s done this before and knows what works and what doesn’t. We talked about the overall rough schedule of the day, where certain aspects were taking place, who would be giving toasts, what family members would be included in family pictures, and stuff like that. I’m really, really excited now that we’ve gotten to talk about everything and have a good idea of what will happen on August 16. Go check out Jon’s website/work and tell your friends – he is an amazing photographer!

So in my 7 week update I mentioned the debacle with my mom – I got her a laptop but the nursing home had no flipping idea what the internet password was. Update: they still haven’t figured it out. Like, how have you all survived this long in life? Cue cat face palm.

Cat Face palm gif

I’ve been trying to think of alternative ways but if they can’t get her connected to the internet, live-streaming seems pointless (at least in her case…but she’s the only case at the moment). So Tom and I talked about getting two Go-Pro cameras and setting them up at two different angles in order to catch the goings-on of the ceremony. Then we could edit it and show it to Mom while we’re upstate for the reception. She wouldn’t get to see it as it happens, but it’s better than not seeing anything.

Tom had his bachelor party Friday night with the guys. I got sent a few pictures throughout the night, which was comical, and I’m pretty sure they all had a good time together in Fire Island.

I ordered another piece of my bridesmaids’ gifts. That’s pretty much all I will say about that.

The deadline for RSVPs was Saturday and I still have about 35 people that I have yet to hear from. Sigh. Lots of phone calls/texts/Facebook messages have already been made/sent and many more need to happen.

I am making my own escort card display and that’s what I plan on accomplishing this coming weekend. In the meantime, I’ll be inputing peoples’ names into a template that I ordered on Etsy for the actual escort cards. It’s so convenient and I figured out the font combination that is both legible and pretty – it’s all in the details. I can’t really finalize any of those until I work out the seating chart, which I can’t really do until everyone responds and tells me whether they’re coming or not. Sigh again.

The plan for the seating chart is something I’ve seen on Pinterest and was also told about from friends. So I’ll get a big poster board, draw the floor plan on it with table numbers, write everyone’s names on skinny Post-It notes, and arrange them around the tables. This saves lead, erasers, and time because moving people is as easy as pulling up a sticky note and then laying down said sticky note elsewhere. So smart!

wedding seating chart post-it notes

I talked to a few of our vendors Monday and Tuesday of this week just to make sure things are going kosher-ly (word?). And they are! Once I have a better idea of a final headcount, I can order our cake. I also have an idea for a cake topper, so I’m going to see if I can make one myself or if I need to look into buying one already made.

Side note, let’s hope that the Long Island Rail Road strike doesn’t actually happen because that will be a pain in the ass for us trying to get back and forth from the city to do all this wedding stuff, and for out-of-town wedding guests come August 15 and 16! Fingers crossed!

 Gosh, I think that’s it. I can’t believe we’re only one month away! Can’t wait!

I’ll be Harrigan-ized in 6 weeks!

Another week, another wedding update, and I’m feeling a bit more accomplished this week.

First off, I’ve been dealing with some garbage for the past couple weeks that I won’t get into detail about but have talked to a few people about because it just bugs me so much. It’s frustrating when someone tries and tries and TRIES to make your and your fiancé’s wedding day about themselves and you so badly want to tell them off but realize that you need to be the adult in the situation and just stay calm and cool and instead of blowing up at them and telling them what’s really on your mind and to put them in their place (as they have deserved for many years now) you remain level-headed and explain your perfectly reasonable rationale for decisions you’ve made concerning their part in your big day (for the twelfth time) when you’d rather just tell them not to come because you don’t need the added stress and frustration.

Jennifer Lawrence mad gif

Whew, had to get that off my chest. Moving on…

I sent out the remainder of the Thank You cards for everyone who attended my bridal showers. It felt good dropping the last of them in the mailbox on Wednesday!

I continued hunting for bridesmaids gifts and although it seemed as if I couldn’t come up with anything before, now I have too many ideas and need to narrow them down. Like, now I’m juggling between getting the girls Lamborghinis or Corvettes; how is a girl to choose?!

Haha just kidding because mama don’t sleep on a pile of gold ya know. I mean, does anyone? If so, how is that working out for you? Do you see a chiropractor often?

Anyways, I think I’ve decided what I want to get my girls thanks to Tom – he helps me rationalize things when the emotional and stressed side of me gets too strong – so I’ll get their gifts soon.

OMG Shoes

Also, I bought my shoes!!!!!!! I’m not usually this excited about shoes, although I think I would be if I had cute, non-deformed feet. We’re getting down to the wire here and I’m so glad I finally found a cute pair that fits, seems comfortable enough, and meets the height requirements. I found them at David’s Bridal and found out that they were on clearance – bonus! I need to start breaking those babies in so my feet don’t want to murder me on the day of because foreign objects are rubbing them the wrong way all day.

My dress fitting is this coming Tuesday (so I should probably stop snacking on these Reeses Oreos I bought Tom as part of his birthday gift) so it’s good timing because I need the shoes to wear at the fitting to make sure they aren’t too tall. I also started a new fitness plan called Tone It Up to (try to) keep me motivated and moving throughout the days. I’m going crazy not having a job to keep me busy and occupied and moving all day, so hopefully this helps. I’ve been running regularly but this plan provides toning exercises (they even have a Bridal workout section!) to complete on top of my regular cardio.

Let’s see, what else? Oh! We bought our airline tickets and booked our rental car and hotel for the upstate weekend shindig! I think the credit card was smoking a bit after those purchases. Goodness gracious but that was a big check off the list!

Oh, I actually ended up getting two invitations returned to me this week. Like, thanks USPS for waiting 3 weeks after I sent them to give them back. So I’m sorry to those people who will be receiving theirs with only 2 weeks left to respond. The RSVPs keep coming in. It’s funny because one day there will be none or maybe one in the mailbox, then the next there are about six.

I have been working on getting up an “Our Story” type blog post since this website was created. At first, I figured it would just be my point of view since I’m the one manning the wedding website. But as time has gone on, I decided it would be pretty cool to get both of our perspectives. I tend to write a lot, and I’m very descriptive, and I (sometimes) remember more than Tom does. So instead of just having one post with my POV, I’ve asked Tom to write his perspective of how we met, when we dated, got engaged, etc. So be on the look-out for those posts in the coming weeks!

Wedding Update: 7 weeks to go AND Happy Birthday Tom!!!

First off, make sure you wish Mr. Tom Harrigan a very Happy 26th Birthday (tomorrow)! Although he hates them because they mean he’s getting older, tell him that birthdays are special and he’s becoming wiser and that he needs to enjoy every passing year. Especially because this is the last birthday he spends as an unmarried man, so next year’s will be that much better! I love you, Tom!

Okay, now to the wedding stuff. Less than 50 days ladies and gentlemen!

RSVPs are slowly trickling in; I’m excited every day when I check the mailbox and find one or two tiny envelopes. There are still about 3 weeks left until the respond-by date, so not too much a rush is necessary.

Downstate bridal shower thank-you notes have been sent, so that’s a big check off the list! Most upstate notes have been written but they’re still a work in progress.

We’ll be emailing our venue coordinator, Rich, about our menu selections this week. I remember last August/September when we met with Rich and booked the venue and he told us we didn’t have to choose our menu until two months before the wedding. That seemed like light years but it’s happening so soon now!

Maybe we should contact the cake bakery to give them our decision for the cake, too. And I think we have a couple additions to our florist order, so I’ll call her soon. Heck, I may just talk to all the vendors soon so I can make sure everything will be as it should. And to keep track of the stuff we have vendors for. And to make sure I remember everyone we need to pay. That would be good.

I think we’ll book our accommodations for the upstate reception this week – flight, hotel, rental car, etc.

I started getting some gifts for my bridesmaids, so I feel a little accomplished in that area, but that’s also a work in progress. We’re still working on ideas for Tom’s groomsmen. I mean, how many flasks, tie clips, money clips, cuff links, or pocket watches do guys really need in their lifetime? And do they actually use any of these things, honestly? I could see using the flask once in awhile, but if anything more than that we have a problem. So we’ll see what he ends up going with.

Okay so if you remember I purchased a laptop for my mom so that we could video chat, send emails and pictures, and so that she could watch the wedding. First off, I still have to figure out how that will work in terms of the venue’s Internet situation, where the camera is going to be, whether someone would have to man (or woman) the camera, etc.

Well, when I was upstate, I revealed Mom’s present to her and she was in disbelief. I couldn’t really show her how to use it because it was Sunday so no one was in the office that could tell me the wi-fi password; it’s a Chromebook and everything needs Internet to work. So I went back the next day and wouldn’t you know no one in the office has a clue what the password is. Apparently someone changed it and they can’t remember what they changed it to. Really?

They keep assuring Mom and I that they will set it up for her in my absence and make sure she sees the wedding. It has been over a week now and it still has not been resolved. “That’s just terrific,” is something my mom says when she’s none too happy, so I think that would fit perfectly right here.

I’ve been worrying more and more about my dress fitting coming up in 2 weeks. I mean, what if it doesn’t fit? I know I just had it on a couple weeks ago and it fit, but what if I can’t sit in it comfortably? What if the alterations still don’t make it look like I want it to? And I still haven’t figured out my shoe situation because narrow your search between 1” and 2.5” heels it’s like a no-man’s-land. And if you’re lucky and do get a few results, they aren’t dressy enough or they’re just plain ugly. And I have horrible feet to begin with, so that kills the search completely. I’m going to check out David’s Bridal tomorrow because they seemed to have a few options that weren’t terribly horrible.

I know, I know, #firstworldproblems.

Anyways, that’s pretty much it for now. In the next week or so, as RSVPs continue coming in, we can begin making the escort card display and seating chart, but not much else can be done until head count is finalized.

Happy Birthday Tom and Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Wedding Update: 10 Weeks?!

Holy cow, time is flying!

So I made a decision this week – hold your applause – to make the updates weekly now because the last 2ish months will contain the most activity. All the big things have been taken care of over the past 9 months, and they were more spaced apart. I’m realizing that everything from here on out will take more time and effort; all the little things are and will be the most time-consuming!

Well, since my last post, a lot has happened; by the end of this post, you’ll see why we need weekly updates! Most of this stuff happened last weekend, actually.

Last Saturday was crazy. My future mother- and sister-in-law spent practically the entire day together running around doing wedding stuff with me. Our first mission was to go to the bridal salon where my dress is from to get a sample of my veil to take to the hair stylist. When we arrived at the dress shop, they said I was able to take my real veil for my hair trial; so exciting!

They had called earlier that week and said that my dress was also in and that I should schedule my first dress fitting in July – eeek!!! – so we scheduled it for July 8 (my sister-in-law’s 22nd birthday…so we will be celebrating all day). I’ve been thinking about what shoes I should get to wear with my dress, but was unsure of how tall I could go without being too tall for my dress. The lady at the salon told me I could just try on my dress if I wanted, and then try on a few of the shoes they had for this purpose.

So there I was, putting on my wedding dress! It was just as pretty as I remembered. And it fit (whew)! But something just didn’t look right; I realized it was a little too poofy and stiff in comparison to when I tried on the sample. Long story short, I don’t remember there being crinoline under the dress.

poofy huge wedding dress

When I go for my fitting, I will see how it looks with the crinoline steamed flat but may just have them remove one or both layers. I also found that any shoes less than 2.5″ will work for my dress, so I’ve started hunting for possibilities so I can get them and start breaking them in.

Before going to the hair stylist’s house, we went to a kiosk in the mall to look for a pretty barrette or hairpiece to use. I ended up choosing a sparkly barrette and some little gems that you twist in the hair when it’s finished.

When we got to the stylist’s house, I told him what I wanted for my hair first. He did a loose version of it and we tested out the barrette and the veil, and they worked beautifully together. My hair looked and felt really nice and soft even though he sprayed a bunch of hairspray on my hair. I don’t think I’ll end up using those little gems on the day of the wedding, so that stinks because the kiosk charges a buttload for all of their items.

It was then time for makeup. On a daily basis, I really only apply makeup on and around my eyes. That is, of course, unless it’s that time of the month and I have more need for concealer on my face. Even though he prefaced (pun intended) my makeup trial with, “I really push brides to stay as natural as possible,” I was half expecting him to put a bunch of foundation, concealer, powder, blush, eye makeup, etc on my face. But I’m so glad he didn’t. He only put concealer on my eyes, around my nose, and on the one pimple near my mouth, and then set it with a little powder.

Heavy makeup

I was kind of nervous about how much blush he put on; I know they say to put a little more on than usual because otherwise you look washed out in pictures, but this seemed kind of excessive. He also put some blush on my eyelids and I wasn’t a huge fan. The blush was a peach color so my eyelids (and cheeks) looked very pink-y orange. I told him I think I’d like to try a little eyeshadow, so he showed me the options and they were gorgeous; I definitely want to use them when the day comes. As long as I don’t look like a clown, I’ll be happy.

I also didn’t really like the lip gloss he used at first; it was too glittery and frosty for my liking. I showed him my favorite lip gloss for everyday use and he said, “Oh, you must not wear any makeup!” because it is just a natural pink color. So he got a lip gloss that had a little more color and was more on the mauve-y side. He then said he would use a different blush that would complement the lip color better.

When we left, my mother-in-law commented that my makeup looked less harsh in the natural light versus the lights in his salon. I’m glad I spoke up about my thoughts and opinions though because I still wasn’t a fan of the super peach-y color on my fair skin.

Which brings me to the next shenanigan…

We were home for maybe half an hour before my sister-in-law and I took a trip to the tanning salon. I have been talking about going and trying out a spray tan for awhile now to get an idea of how it might look for the wedding. I didn’t want to just try it for the first time days before the wedding because what if it turned out looking ridiculous?

I could’ve ended up looking like an oompa-loompa. Or Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars. Or any cast member on Jersey Shore.

Orange

We went to the Beach Bum Tanning Salon since my sister-in-law is familiar with the place. The guy at the desk was really friendly and informative and helped me make a decision about the color. I went with the light color (duh) and opted for a bronze boost to give me a deeper undertone without making me look orange. He took me to the spray booth, explained what to do, and left me to it.

The actual spray process took maybe 3 minutes but it felt a lot faster; it was the post-spray that took a little longer. I felt kind of sticky, even though I stayed in the booth for the entire final drying cycle, patted myself off with the towel they provide, and danced around for a bit to dry off. Yes, I looked like a freak. But you get your own room, so whatever.

I left looking a little tanner because of the bronze boost, and it only got darker throughout the night. So since I had been running around all day, that night I decided to relax a bit and began addressing invitations!

I practiced my curly capital letters in order to get my prettiest writing and, since starting, I’ve become more confident and it’s become a lot easier. So far, I’m about 90% finished with addressing, stuffing, and postage-ing invitations and have about 30 extra ones in case we find more people we want to invite. I’m so glad I opted to pay a bit more for self-adhesive envelopes – best decision I’ve made so far. I have only messed up on a few of the envelopes so that’s pretty darn good!

Practice cursive writing

As the night went on, I could tell my skin was getting darker, and when I woke up the following morning, I was quite surprised by how dark my face looked. I mean, I could’ve been Puerto Rican or something. Luckily it toned down a bit once I showered, and my mother-in-law said I looked healthy and not orange. All good things!

Not only did my glow-y skin made me look healthy, it also complemented my bridal shower dress way more than my pasty skin did. My dress was a cream color, so instead of my skin matching my dress, you could actually tell where my skin ended and my dress began.

Which brings us to my bridal shower! Since this post is so long already, I’ve made a separate post for my bridal shower here!

My next missions for the following 2 weeks include:

  1. Finish addressing and mailing invitations
  2. Write and mail thank-you cards for bridal shower #1
  3. Figure out escort cards – I have the idea in my head, I just have to find somewhere to purchase them or figure out how to create them myself.
  4. Find a dress for and attend bridal shower #2 – I am so pumped to see everyone!!!!!
  5. Stay active – my last day of work is next Wednesday, so I will have a lot of free time to eat chocolate.

Wedding Update: Bridal Shower #1

This past weekend I was so blessed and honored by the beautiful bridal shower hosted by my future mother- and sister-in-law.

The day went off without a hitch. To start, the weather was absolutely amazing; leaving the house and being greeted by the sunshine was fantastic.

Pre-shower sunshine

Not only that, but the restaurant, the food, the staff, and of course all of the wonderful ladies that attended made for a perfect shower.

We arrived at The Country House in Stony Brook and everything was decorated beautifully. We had the largest of the 4 dining rooms and as we entered the room, a large punch bowl greeted us. It was filled with a champagne and fruit juice mix with blackberries and strawberry pieces floating in it. I immediately took a glass and was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t too bubbly but also wasn’t too juicy; I ended up having 3 glasses without feeling any effects, so it wasn’t strong.

Each table was set featuring lavender napkins and centered with a bouquet of flowers. I chose a seat more towards the middle of the room so that I could mingle with everyone instead of being set apart from them all. Mrs. Harrigan bought a huge balloon featuring wedding bells to tie to my chair, making it known who the bride-to-be was.

Big Bride Balloon

I met so many women that I had only heard stories about and sent save-the-dates to, so it was great finally putting faces to names. Meeting some of Mrs. Harrigan’s work friends was fun because I’ve heard hilarious work stories featuring them.

Once everyone had shown up, the staff served us salad to start before bringing out the entrees – a choice of chicken marsala or salmon with risotto. I went for the salmon and it was divine.

After the main course, they brought out the coffee, tea, and cake. This cake. Oh my goodness was it delicious. It was a vanilla cake with a chocolate mousse filling and buttercream frosting. The actual cake part was so moist (ugh, I hate that word), and the frosting was so soft. And to top it off, there was a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Let me tell you, it was Heaven on a plate.

Cake

Once all the place settings were cleared, it was time for presents. It was great because the staff members of the restaurant were at the ready so whenever I was finished opening a present they would come over and take it to another spot in the restaurant. This way I wasn’t accumulating a pile of stuff around me and it made the process of loading up the cars easier.

I could not believe just how many presents were filling up the present table. I (and Tom, by default) was way too spoiled, but I’m so excited about everything I (we) received. Thank you all so much for your kind and entertaining company, loving support, and well wishes.

As people left, they were reminded to take a favor, these adorable little mason jars wrapped with burlap and lace and filled with jelly beans. My sister-in-law found it on Pinterest – she finds the best stuff on there.

Tom went out to lunch with his friends and his dad while us ladies were at the shower, so they came at the end of the party to help with loading the cars and to mingle a bit with those who were still around.

Lovebirds

I have my second bridal shower in 2 weekends upstate where I will get to see my friends and family from home! I am beyond excited to see everyone and have a fun-filled (and hopefully cake-filled!) weekend.

As time continues to wind down and August 16 draws closer, I get more and more excited to be marrying my best friend and (officially) becoming part of the Harrigan family. I love you all and thank you for everything.

Engagement Photo Shoot Outtakes

So here it is.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for.

Even if you didn’t know it, I assure you, you’ve been waiting for this moment.

The moment when you see just how awkward and ridiculously hilarious two people can look. And how fantastic it is that it was caught on camera.

The moment you find out that 99% of engagement pictures turn out looking like hot messes, only to produce a select few worth editing and retouching to make somewhat presentable photos.

Then again, that might only pertain to this situation.

The moment you realize, uh oh, you might need to change because, hey, you think you just wet yourself from laughing so much.

*So if you haven’t already done so, you may want to psyche yourself out and look at the decent ones here to prepare yourself for this. Kind of like the calm before the storm type deal.*

So now, without further ado, here are the (seemingly unending) outtakes from our October photo shoot; I didn’t include every single one because some are repetitive. Now grab your Depends, make sure you’re sitting down, and let the mayhem begin.

My friend Courtney was downstate for that weekend and came along for the shoot, so she makes a great addition to a couple of the pictures. 🙂

Oh and if you don’t automatically see anything wrong with a picture, make sure to examine both of our faces, Tom’s eyes, my hair, our body positions, etc. You’ll always find something…

Well, congratulations if you made it this far! I’m even more impressed if you did it without peeing your pants. I mean, I was part of the shoot and have looked at the pictures multiple times since October. They still get me to the point of crying; sometimes from embarrassment, but mostly because they’re hilarious.

Let me know what your favorite(s) is/are and don’t be afraid to like and/or bookmark this post. That way you have easy access to a surefire pick-me-up when you’re feeling blue. Or need a good ab workout.

Photo Shoot

So back in October, we asked Tom’s dad to go to the beach with us to take some pictures. I saw it as an opportunity to get some nice pictures at the place where we got engaged. How cute, right?

The sun was out and the weather was gorgeous, albeit a bit chilly. So I put on a dress, Tom put on a nice sweater, and we headed to the beach. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded at all, but it was a bit (read: a lot) windier at the beach than we had anticipated.

What ensued was quite ridiculous. My hair was all over the place due to the wind. Tom’s eyes were closed most of the time because he could not handle all of the sunlight. I mean, we were just a couple of messes, coming together to make one big mess. Ahh, love.

I plan on making a separate post for the outtakes/awkward/hilarious pictures. This one is dedicated to the few that were “decent” with a little cropping, color changing, and editing. So here we go with our crazy, windy, sunny, hilarious, and fun beach photo shoot!

After the beach, we headed to the Stony Brook Village Center and got a few more (last 2 pictures).

I hope you enjoyed these and I’m certain you’ll enjoy the outtakes. Courtney (our friend and my MOH) and I laughed for probably 2 hours looking at them. So look forward to that. Make sure you wear a diaper.