Days 86 - 92

so it's been kind of a busy week, but not so busy with wedding stuff.  so i will take this opportunity to blah blah about the venue and what we're thinking for things --
the artists for humanity is a great organization! here's some of the 'about us' from their website --

At the heart of Artists for Humanity is the belief that skills equal power and opportunity. AFH has three goals, which provide inner-city teens with:
  • a safe meaningful place where they are respected for their contributions and develop mentoring relationships so important to teens;
  • an opportunity to have a voice through exhibitions, commercial services, and public presentations;
  • the respect and responsibility of paid employment that promotes self-esteem and financial accountability.  At AFH, young people learn entrepreneurship and get paid for their own creative production.
While the goals remain stable, methods of reaching them are constantly evolving. AFH reaches into every niche of the city to ensure fresh input, new projects and media, and a unique outlook.

i mean, really. really, if we're spending so much cash on this big day, then we thought that the money should at least go to support something meaningful in the community. and the walls will be covered in art created by the kids - we have no idea what will be hanging on the walls next sept, but i'm sure that bright colors will fill the space  - and who knows, maybe there will be a life-sized incredible hulk exhibit like there was last year in another wedding i happened to stumble upon (aka wedding stalking) in my venue research. i hope that people find a new piece of art that they can't live without while visiting southie....

what else interesting is there to say? well, we'll be having both the ceremony and reception in the same space which may be a new (and totally cool!) wedding concept for some folks. oh and since it's a green building, it's full of interesting things created using recycled materials, including windshields from old boston police cars as the railings for the stairs and 2nd floor balcony.
so hopefully our 'sustainable' ideas and the random stuff i've posted about are beginning to make sense to people now.
looking forward to sharing more with my 4 followers :)
and thanks steve, for mentioning the comment box - hopefully it works now...

Days 76 - 85

So we finally did it - the save the dates hit the mail box today! there are still a few more we need to finish up and verify addresses on, but whew! i can't believe the coffee and dining room tables are finally cleared off. for some reason the final steps to finish up the project were just too daunting and we kept postponing it. and now, since addresses are current and in 1 spreadsheet, i can send out the holiday cards that i bought last year and never opened. oops.  so that's the goal this week - write those damn cards out!

what else? oh, i've started the part time job with locately and have been busy working on location analysis projects for them over the weekends. it's actually pretty interesting (and yes, i am a big nerd) i've already completed 1 project and received my 1st check! whoo hoo! i'm hoping this gig will pay for the photobooth that i really want, but we'll see.

Days 64-75


ok so i realized that i started a post last sunday night and never actually posted it. i was doing way too many things at once i guess. so i'll give a brief update on the happenings of the week --
  • super excited to sign the contract with our photographer ashley o'dell !! she is awesome and we both felt really comfortable with her. and she's from the midwest, which is a fun fact too!  as i may have mentioned, we're not doing a very traditional wedding, so having a photographer who gets that and will capture the moments is important. we're not going for the 'stand here, look this way, say cheese' images'. 
  • we made our way up to NH on sunday and have acquired the chandelier!!! it is freakin' cool and  can actually be wired to use in a house. not that it will work in our small condo, but perhaps someday in some larger abode with a grand entrance way...
  •  we also found these old bottles that are from the new england bottle company back in the day. we're planning to use these for the table centerpieces.
  • save the dates are about done and will be mailed very soon. they look pretty cool too, i must say.
  • the wedding website is up and running and will be listed on the save the dates. people can find wedding details there.
 ok well short and sweet today - more this weekend, i promise :)

Day 63

i'm not sure where the weekend has gone.. it's sunday morning already and the save the dates are still in a pile on a table. i'm still hopeful that today will be productive.  no chandelier today -  i think we'll go out to NH next weekend to pick it up, and perhaps along with some mason jars too. i spent most of the morning yesterday updating our wedding website, it's actually kind of fun (and yes i am a nerd) and the website builder,  wix, is actually pretty easy to use, but it is a time suck. i was also playing with my google picasa album and figured out a way to create a new page in the blog that links to my pics on picasa. if you can't see the pages on the left (links for 'extra ways to fund the fun' and 'pictures'), let me know as i think there may be a bug in the system. anyway, keep an eye on the pictures over time - i think the slide show will automatically link to my album and i may not need to post as many pics within each post. who knows though...

we also had a good talk about the ceremony last night and came up with some good ideas (thanks, rebecca!)
there are still lots of decisions to make as far as what type of person we want to officiating, what exactly we want for the ceremony, and how to involve the guests. at least we still have a bit of time - we're only at day 63 since starting the blog counting to 365 days...

Days 50-62

it's been a pretty busy week and we've made some good progress on things--
save the dates
we spent about 5 hrs or so last saturday on the living room floor figuring out how to use create the best water/gouache mixture, painting both sides of the post cards, stamping the front of the cards with both the blue and black ink stamps, and hoping that we'd have enough cards in total after screwing up a few of the stamps...take a look at some of the pics

 we plan to finish the back of the cards this weekend and to have 1 project completed
meeting with coordinator 
on thursday, we had our 1st meeting with ashley, our coordinator and it went very well! she totally gets our concept and we are ok with the logistics. she seems like a perfect fit with us! we can get all of our 'stuff' to them before the wedding and they will also hold everything for us after the wedding as well. whew! we were both getting nervous that things would not work out, that our ideas were crazy and would not come together, and that we were in over our heads. but, ashley and shane at AFH both seem to like our ideas and think we can definitely create a warm vibe with these vintage elements in the modern space. ahsley took lots of notes and will be sending us her spacial design once she draws it out in a CAD program - how cool?!  they also said the chandelier is fine and so i'm emailing the woman to see if she still has it and then it's off to new hampshire tomorrow i think.
getting excited for more craigslist and antique fair adventures...
 say cheese!
i think we're going with a photobooth! not a big red booth, but a simple, sleek touch screen from picture this. they have never done any events in the boston area, and i think we've cemented a deal with them :)
i figured that with all of the focus groups and research studies i'm doing, i'll be able to come up with the extra cash for this

Days 36 - 49

it's been a pretty busy few weeks and i haven't had much time to post...

let's see, what's been happening??
  • we finally tried on our dresses and had a fashion show party with some talented ladies and we have official approval from both the little ones and jess. thanks for coming by and bringing the girls, great ideas for dress accessories and yummy cookies! i think we're keeping the dresses! i'm still not 100% sure, but i think i'm just shocked that we got 2 dresses for so cheap (mine was a shocking $59) and can't believe it worked out...
  • i am officially obsessed with evernote and have spent the weekend mornings reading blogs and clipping the images i like into my evernote wedding notebook. seriously - everyone needs to use this for both work and other fun stuff.
  • we finalized the save the date image with liana's cousin (thanks again, tina!) and have ordered custom stamps for the post cards. i was hoping to start this project over the weekend too, but that just didn't happen.
  • i was on the for sale boards at wedding bee and found this chandelier for sale. we may go pick it up next weekend in NH.
  •  
  • i started cleaning the shutters last weekend and at 30 minutes a shutter, i didn't get very far. we look like 'that house' with these random 17 dirty wooden old shutters scattered all over the back deck. good thing their in the back yard and not bringing the property values down OTB. so, the cleaning project will be continued today before the trick-or-treaters arrive. here's what we're going for with the shutters -they will be hinged together and used to separate the ceremony space from the rest of the massive room, hopefully creating a more intimate feeling for the ceremony. the plan is to move them after the ceremony and use as decor throughout the space.
i found this blog where they used shutters and we love the idea! the wedding was also featured on ruffled. cross your fingers we can really pull this off...

  • We have a meeting with our coordinator from russell morin next week and will be doing a walk through with her at the venue. I really hope that she'll tell us we're on an ok track and that these projects will work out for us. we're nervous about the logistics -- i mean we're talking about bringing in shutters, frames, maybe a large mirror, small tables and a huge chandelier to hang. and everything needs to be out of the building that night -- apparently people do this all the time, right?

Day 35

so we made an amazing pizza last night and i woke up this morning to find an email from the wedding channel about a new contest -- couples who cook

if anyone is reading this and would like to comment on the contest page about our caramelized onion and portobella pizza, please do! i mean, really, doesn't this look tasty?!

Days 16-34

so it's been a hectic few weeks and i can't believe i haven't posted in so long! we've been super busy and traveling through new england a bit over the past few weeks. ok, so we made 2 trips to NY, but one of them included a drive from brooklyn to rochester for a wedding and then to montreal --technically we were in several states and did a lot of leaf peeping :)
the wedding was beautiful and very traditional, but did give us some great ideas (thanks nicole and jon!). in an effort to remind myself later of things --
to do:

  • include a fun, low key night before the wedding with everyone you love at a local pub
  • make personalized gift bags for out of town guests (ie. some people enjoy hiking, while others are more into shopping or photography museums)
  • great food, drink, and music is a must
  • make sure you talk to everyone and dance as much as possible
  • day after brunch with everyone to get a chance to actually talk to people, relax, and talk about how awesome the previous day's activities were
now that we're back from our road trip adventures and i'm able to catch up on my blog stalking, check this idea out --

wheat grass - how cool is this?
wheatgrass DIY on ruffledok so i've never actually had wheat grass (as far as i know), but i do enjoy the concept of growing a tray of wheat grass and somehow incorporating it into the space. we're still not sure how to or if we want to do seating arrangements, but i'm sure we'll find a way to use it! maybe i'll buy a kit and practice growing it to see how it looks...

and i just found a wheatgrass centerpiece kit for sale! they have 10 in circles which may end up being cool and they are cheap too!

oh and by the way -- while in rochester, i got a call from JCrew that they found my dress somewhere in transit and it arrived yesterday and liana received her dress right before we left. of course it's still in the box, but, hopefully we'll get a chance to try them on this weekend and see if we really do like them together.

Days 10-15

i really wanted to post more last week, but the week just got out of control. i mentioned that i had a catering interview last wed - well i think it got it assuming that the background check goes ok :)  i did get an email back from the manager at wolfgang puck catering and i since i didn't include my entire address history on the application, i had to email him back with that info. it's really not my fault that my 8 addresses in the last 10 yrs didn't fit in the 4 lines on the form...anyway, $17/hr and it's work as much or as little as you want and you're not tied to a set schedule, i think i'm into it.

i also spent time responding to more studies and have updated the other page with details. oh and i did a focus group on eye care on thursday and made a fun and easy $150!

what else? i think a lot of stuff happened during the last 5 days... the most exciting part -- we went to j.crew wedding yesterday for an appointment. i was a bit nervous and wasn't sure what to expect since it was our 1st time trying on dresses. but since we were in the j.crew store, it wasn't too overwhelming and was actually kind of fun once you got into it.
and the crazy part?! we ordered these 2 dresses! liana is going for a different color instead of the brown (see the blue dress below). i think the blue and aluminum will work well together. i'm still not sure if i love my dress or if it's too plain, but once i spend some time looking at funky shoes, perhaps a blue sash, or fun hair piece, it could work out...

the best part is that they weren't that much and we can return them if they don't work out. i still can't believe that we just ordered dresses, but it's exciting. we're still planning to look around more, but you never know.  we were also on the fence whether we should go shopping together for dresses. i'm so glad we decided to -- i didn't think about the importance in the fabrics as well as the colors and styles needing to complement each other. who knew?! screw 'tradition' - we need to look good!

Day 9

Not much movement on the planning today. though i did get a call that I won a $300 gift certificate for some beauty treatment (laser hair removal or facial rejuvenation or something) and scheduled a consultation for this thurs. after reading the yelp reviews of this seemingly sketchy establishment, i think i may cancel the appointment. apparently everyone 'wins' this prize and this was nothing special...so sad.

Other than that, i've been making lots of progress on research studies! and they are all single or 2-visit studies and so it's ethically ok to be in enrolled more than one at one time. read more on my funding the fun page for details.

and we suck and still haven't signed the contract with the photographer (no links to post ---don't want to jinx it yet). oh, i emailed this guy from cali who posted on craigslist that he's going to be in boston soon and wants to shoot engaged couples. i need to let him know we are probably not interested in buying much (or anything at all), but i think he wants experience, so that should be cool.

Days 7 & 8

Ok so i made it almost a straight week posting daily. yesterday was kind of tiring. for starters, we spent the morning scrubbing the carpenters trunk /  future coffee table that we recently purchased. then we headed to the great bridal expo, which was quite the experience. liana was feeling ill and high on allergy meds, i was ready to tackle the expo tables, and we got slightly lost walking from the train to the westin hotel. the supposedly 8 minute walk took us 45 mins and yes, once we got to the hotel, you could actually SEE the T stop...it was really probably a 3 minute walk. it was crazy inside, tons of people and not as many vendors or free stuff as i had anticipated. i was hoping to see lots of DJs and maybe some local flower shops. they also sold perforated cut outs with your name and contact info for your to quickly enter contests ($6) instead of writing your name at each booth. that was a pretty smart move. a smarter move was the chick we saw with her mom with sheets of those stickers you use on envelopes with your address. brilliant. i also nearly fell over when liana pointed out the couple sitting in front of us with matching bride and groom hats. oh yes, i am not kidding, they wore them and wore them proud.
we did love the westin  westin on the waterfrontand realized it is super close to AFH. i plan to call this week and talk to them about reserving a block of rooms. there are also 2 bars and we had a much needed glass of wine after at city bar and thought it'd be a great place for drinks at some point before or after the wedding.

 i also started playing with the stamp kit  we bought at staples - the one we got has 7 lines and 2 ink pads, but i couldn't find the link. we're planning to use this on the save the date postcards, invites, and other future stuff we send. there is enough space for our full address as well as space for our wedding website -cool huh?!
Once we figure out how to use  'gwash' then for real DIY here we come. it was a rather embarrassing trip to the art store when i asked if they had something called gwash (didn't see the huge signage in the aisle next to where i was standing) and then when at the register with 2 paint brushes we didn't realize we had $26 brushes in hand. nothing like looking like most non-artsty-cool people in the store on a busy night.

Day 6

this morning, i was annoyed with a certain wedding blog that i shall not mention. i was simply trying to find the local wedding boards which are sometimes useful. the site keeps changing the content and location of various components and i decided to email the company to vent a little -- here's what i sent:

Hi,
I'm not sure if I'm emailing the right place, so forgive me if I should have
found a link on the xxx.com website for web issues. I find myself getting very
annoyed on a regular basis with xxx.com. A few complaints from a UI
perspective--
1. the site links, icons, and content are not consistent. I realize that changes
are necessary to stay current, but the pages change on a weekly basis. For
example, there was a 'daily give away' section with a link from the top of the
main page. There was also a community board for specific locations as recent as
last week. The message board page was completely revamped recently and it's not
good.
2. I get that you need advertisements, but when I spend 5-10 minutes trying to
locate helpful content in a jungle of pop-ups, loud videos, and small boxes
everywhere trying to sell me something, I quickly leave the site and head to
another blog or site where I know I can immediately find what I'm looking for or easily
search the site.
3. The vendors are probably picked based on the advertising money they spend,
but I have not been able to find any vendors I ended up using from your site. I
found my vendors elsewhere.

4. The search options are not efficient. I tried to search for my
ceremony/reception site and had to 1st search by location and type of vendor
from the main page (selected reception site, entered Boston). Then I was brought
to a 2nd page for a wedding venue search. Clearly my location was not saved. I
then had to enter more info into the local vendor fields to find what I was
looking for (Artists for Humanity). This is just an example of the inefficient
searching capability of xxx.com.

If the purpose of the site is to provide easy to find, useful, local resources
for planning a wedding, in my opinion, the site is decreasing in value.
Thanks for your time, I wanted to share my thoughts on the user interface of
your site.
Best,
Jessica
 i'm not sure if i'll get a response or not, but i was irritated this morning when i was trying to relax and read up on fun wedding planning stuff.

bridal expo tomorrow -- maybe the website people will have a table and i'll be able to chat with them in person and give my two cents then. i also realize that i may sound like crazy person here, but i'm really not. these things just piss me off. i currently work with a team to implement a web based system and these types of  things are really important to maintain credibility. and really, the people who know me can attest that i'm not crazy :)

Day 5

friday, friday, friday---tonight we rushed home from work to head right back out the door to the friday night date night macy's registry party. overall it was a good time, but had a slightly rocky start. it was supposed to be a 'sip and scan'. who would have thought that 'sip' meant bottled water and soda water with a splash of cran? not us! once we got over the food and beverage selections and annoying couples, the evening progressed. we actually had a good time looking at everything and made pretty thoughtful decisions on what to register for. the whole concept of registering for gifts is a little strange to both of us and it was a bizarre experience picking out things we'd want people to buy for us. as an aside, we are hoping to skip the shower thing as neither of us feel that celebrating our marriage means that others should shower us with gifts. we have plenty and are thankful for what we have. but, back to the registry process-- everything we picked out we can actually see ourselves using on a very regular basis. we are currently using one steel sautee pan that was my grandmothers (I think) and not level. we also do not have toaster (no jokes, please) and currently toast bread by placing it on another non-level pan which never actually toasts anything.
as lame as it is, one exciting thing was the message on the top of the registry print-out that the nervous suburban woman gave us, which was a cute message celebrating the wedding of jessica and liana. it felt so official and exciting to see it on paper for us, even in silly macy's.  the saleswoman was either just nervous and awkward in general, or was totally freaked out to meet (cute) lesbians in person. oh and the bonus gift -- free high quality wine glasses! not a bad deal after all...

Day 4

well it's thursday and i'm so ready for the weekend. we do have some wedding-y events which will keep us busy though. tomorrow we're going to macy's for a registry party --not sure what to expect exactly, but i'm ready for free wine and snacks! on saturday, we may start the save the date project. i don't think i've mentioned it, but we bought some HAM radio post cards from the 1930's on ebay that we're going to paint and stamp with the save the date message/image. check out the before pic. we've even framed a few and they are now hanging in the living room (next to the brimfield fair empty frames).  on sunday it's the bridal expo. i'm pretty nervous for this and am not sure if i'm ready for all of the crazy brides out there, but again, it's all about the free stuff i hope to attain :)
i'd also like to officially sign the contract for the photographer this weekend, then we'll have most of the major things booked.
ok maybe i'm not ready for the nutty weekend ahead...

Day 3

well not too much movement on the wedding planning today. i did spend time again entering contests. our good buddy martha has more contests posted today, so of course i entered them all...


what else? on monday i went to a tailor that came to town for the day (i know totally random) and was fitted for some pants and shirts. while i was browsing through their stuff, i looked at some beautiful dresses and skirts in their books so i had them take my measurements just in case. we're going to the j.crew wedding store next weekend for an appointment, but since i have no idea what style dress i'm looking for, i figure it can't hurt to keep my options open. and besides, that'd be a good story -- where'd you get your dress? oh, it's just a dress my tailor from thailand whipped up for me.

Day 2

so i've spent some time this evening trying to find random gigs and focus groups to fund this shindig and hopefully have a few leads on a server gig and research study.

Other than that, i've been stalking the few blogs i have listed and entering contests. yes, i do realize that my chances of winning the everyday food $5000 tour of italy and kitchen renovation contest (http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/sweepstakes) are slim to none, i am still a believer that it's worth a shot. what are 10 mins of my day entering a few contests if i end up winning an amazing prize? i've actually had a bit of luck so far too - i won a large fake gold and pearl fashion ring that was actually kind of cool, but i just don't think i'll be able to pull it off. i mean i know i'm pretty hip and trendy, i'm just not sure about this one.  oh and as an FYI, JCPenney does an online wedding registry party and they give out some good swag. granted it was painful watching the webinar thing, but the crazy bride-to-be's in the chat room are amusing. i almost asked if there were any other gay weddings out there, but i decided to forgo that question and focus on the contest at hand. unfortunately i didn't win any of the prizes during the show, but i did receive an unexpected UPS package a few days later full of kitchenaid kitchen tools. liana may laugh at me, but she is reaping the benefits - the scrambled eggs were just so much better with a heavy duty spatula!

we will need to spend some time in the future canceling the many store registries i've created --oh well, i'll sleep better knowing i'm still in the running for some amazing grand prize somewhere.

Day 1 of my 1st ever blog

well this is really a pre-blog kick off post -- there are actually more than 365 days until the wedding, but i wanted to post early as i'm just now figuring out how thing blog-thing works.

it was actually kind of a manic insane weekend with wedding planning adventures. i was up early on sat reading various wedding blogs and found this great wedding that featured wood shutters. yes, wood shutters from an old house were involved with the decor. so a few hours later, i was on craigsist and this nice guy had just posted 100 year old shutters for sale. we decided that we could not miss out on 17 blue, green, and black shutters, so we hopped in the put-put car and headed out to get 'em. $200 later we acquired some amazing items that we hope to use to break up the space between the ceremony and reception. we'll see...good thing we have super creative people in our lives to help with the vision...

100 yr old shutters from craigslist
and then yesterday, we got up early and headed to the brimfield antique fair. this was crazy and maybe the most wonderful place on earth. we didn't go too crazy, but we did find some great picture frames, a pizza oven paddle thing, and perhaps a carpenters trunk which will act as a new coffee table. ok so not everything will be used for the wedding, but we now have many more ideas and inspiration for the concept we're going for. the plan is to use as much as the wedding decor/other stuff that we buy after the wedding in our house. fingers crossed we'll find a use for those shutters...

About this blog

in an effort to keep me sane, relaxed, organized, humored, and hopefully useful to others, i'm going to document the next 365 days of wedding planning. i'd also like this to be a way to keep family and friends that don't live in boston feeling like they're in the know and involved over the next year. in a nutshell - liana and i are having a very non-traditional, modern wedding with vintage and sustainable elements. these 'elements' are still in progress and over the next year, we'll be on ebay, craigslist, random blogs and websites, trekking out to various antique fairs in New England, and using the skills of our friends and family for DIY projects.

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Boston, MA, United States

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