The Horror


Alright everyone, it's happened. I had my first wedding nightmare.

The dream opened with me in a locker room style setting surrounded by several girl friends and it was time to get ready. Why it was a locker room with benches and tall lockers rather than the pretty bridal suite at the Colonial Dames, I have no idea. Maybe I was drawing on my many years of competitive sports. But that definitely set the tone - something in the milk ain't clean.

Instantly I realize that it's the morning of the wedding and I don't have a slip or any proper undergarments for my dress. Cut to me breaking and entering into some lingerie store (and for some reason I now realize it's still dark out...which perhaps is because we're having a morning ceremony in the winter...) I was instantly caught by the shop attendants, but they decided to take pity on me and gave me the one extra large full body girdle apparatus left in the store. I say thank you, grab it and race back to my locker room where there are now 20 more people that aren't suppose to be there or even invited to the wedding. Some young girl I don't know comes up to me and tells me that somehow she's managed to soak the bottom half of my dress. (Yes, now my dress has become detachable. Which seemed oddly normal in the dream). I start screaming bloody murder at the trollop who has appeared out of nowhere and destroyed my "skirt".

This is when my friend, who is a make up artist and will be prettying me up on the real morning, shows up and tells me it'll be ok. She can fix the dress. But let's get my hair done so she can start the make up. And it hits me. I don't have anyone to do my hair. And in the middle of this horror, it just feels like the worst thing I could have forgotten. I mean, how can I possibly walk down the aisle with my thin, stick straight hair?

The end of the dream was the absolute worst. All of a sudden it's the next morning, I'm standing with Marrvelous and I turn to him and say "I can't remember any of it". And I realize that I went from locker room debacle straight to the next morning. And I try and try and try to envision the ceremony, the reception, anything, and realize I can't.

The wedding happened and Marrv is showing me photos and I don't remember any of it and now it's done and I have no memory of the day with our family and friends.

It was a horrible, horrible feeling. And when I woke up, I instantly rolled over to get a hug from Marrv and remind myself that it was only a nightmare. The first one; hopefully the last one! But if I happened to spend a few hours today trying to sort out a few more of the items on the "To-do List", that's not necessarily a bad thing. Right?!


Random Dress Musings

I got the call. My dress has arrived at the shop. I was told it would take 6 weeks and it took 2. And now I have what feels like 1000 thoughts running through my mind as I get ready to go pick it up Saturday.

1. Where the heck do I store it? Besides the fact that we only have one closet that is full-length and that happens to be the coat closet under the stairs (our clothes are stored in a wall to wall custom built wardrobe style thingy), I don't want Marrv seeing it pre-wedding. I know more and more couples are doing things differently, but this is probably that one small tradition I'm choosing to hold on to.

2. With that said, I immediately thought to take it to my aunt's home (the aunt I went shopping with) out in the 'burbs. She just also happens to be out on the west coast for the next month visiting my sister. So then I started to wonder, will it be ok in a closet in her home with no air condition going on for another month? I don't even know if that's a ridiculous thing to be concerned about or not. But I am. So what do you think - does a home with no air condition turned off for the next month and a much warmer than average summer happening have the possibility of destroying my newly purchased dress?

3. Is it wrong to be eyeing shoes that cost almost as much as the dress? How soon did people then buy their shoes? Should I definitely have "the pair" ready for when I go for alterations?

4. And alterations! Is it just easiest/best to do it at the store where I bought the dress? (the thought of scary Russian alteration lady fussing on me again certainly doesn't have a calming effect)

5. Alterations also means I need to get my act in gear related to the bits that will go on first, underneath the dress. All those fancy pull, lift, squeeze, smooth bits. (and that's as far as I go discussing that since I know the in-laws read this from time to time - Hello Marrvelouses!)

6. What else do I need to consider, think about, stress over, freak out on?


Summer 2010 Girls Getaway #1 (or the weekend I got heatstroke)

Every summer for the past 5 years, a group of girlfriends and I pick a weekend to get out of the city and go camping. The campsites have varied over the years from middle PA to the past two years when we were in Henlopen State Park in Delaware. This was the ideal spot because it also had beach access! Not sure how many of you have camped before (and no, we're not badass and doing backwoods camping - I'm talking car camping where you drive up to your spot and pitch up your tent), but it's always ideal to have something to spend your day doing so that it's not just 48 hours of sitting by your tents. So Henlopen was great - we could be on the beach during the day, it's a state park so there was some hiking around too, cook our dinner over the fire back at the site, sometimes they'd have nightly ranger talks (though we pretty much got kicked out of the one we went to) and then a little midnight moonlight beach trip as well. Good times.


20 Random Facts

So I saw this on other local Philly bride Dana's Lover's Waltz: Our Low-Key Philadelphia Wedding site, and I thought - hmm, we're not all about our weddings and our honeymoons. Why not talk a little bit about all the other stuff that helps to make me who I am. Both of those ladies wrote 25 facts, but I had to weed it down to 20 so as not to bore myself to sleep!

1. I love surveys. I'm a sucker for them. Exhibit A: this blog post

2. I have been an aunt since I was 13 and now have 6 nephews and 1 niece - all of whom I adore. Here I am, about to get schooled in Guitar Hero by my 7 year old niece!

3. I have a ridiculous, insane fear of birds. I typically clench up as I walk by pigeons on the sidewalk and have been close to hyperventilating in places like St. Mark's and Trafalgar Square.

4. I really love watching pelicans soar in a line, dipping over the waves though.

5. I have been to 6 of the 7 continents. Antarctica anyone?

6. My Africa, Asia and Australia continent exposure could use some boosting tho!

7. I could read every book by Jane Austen over and over without getting bored. The same goes for Harry Potter 1-7, for sure.

8. I'm 50% Lebanese, have studied Arabic in classes, workbooks and cds. And can still only say a minimal amount like "hello", "Yes", "my name is", "I'm lebanese" and "Kiss my ass". You know, the basics.

9. Losing my mother at 15 is the event in my life that has had the most impact - both good and bad - on me. And it's something I still deal with 17 years later.

10. I could eat Mexican food every day for the rest of my life and be happy. Marrvelous has frequently asked me if I'm totally positive that I don't have some Mexican ancestry and noted that he has eaten more tacos, flautas and tortas in the 17 months we've been together than in his whole life.

11. Madonna Like a Prayer is my go-to karaoke song.

12. I insist on seeing all Oscar nominated films and those that have the actors/actresses nominated before the Oscars - even if it means seeing two movies back to back to fit them all in before the big night.

13. I am the biggest texter you'll ever meet. I know several people who have had to up their monthly texting capacity since meeting me. If you want an immediate response, text me. If you call, I'll probably screen it and just text you later. Sorry, nothing personal.

14. I played competitive sports growing up, including Division I lacrosse in college and really miss playing competitively. It tends to come out instead in any other sport-related activity in which I participate. As seen here in a wicked game of water balloon toss (look at that form, that determination...)

15. I love a sporty guy - so it's a good thing Marrvelous is also competitive and athletic. He is currently helping me with my golf game. He's a professional golfer and a great coach. And I admit, the first time we went together and he hit the ball 300 yards long and straight...my knees got weak.

16. I really want to live overseas again at some point. I'm hoping to use Marrv's golf career as a means to end up at some fancy beachy resort in Central America. He can be the golf pro while I lounge beach side. A girl can dream.

17. I've recently (like the last 6-9 months) become a lot more conscientious about my eating habits. I don't know if it has to do with reading Michael Pollan's works, getting older and starting to think about my health differently, or consciously thinking about someone else's health as much as mine...but I now frequent the farmers' markets regularly, look for the grass-fed, no anti-biotics, organic labels, and ask about where my food is coming from.

18. If I could have anyone's job in the world it would be Anthony Bourdain. I always do extensive research on local food and top restaurants when I plan for a trip. Mmmm, chowder bowls in SF! Look at that expressiveness - I'd be a natural on camera!

19. Introducing Marrvelous to National Lampoon's Animal House may be one of my proudest moments.

20. I can never seem to choose in the "beach house" or "mountain home" debate. I love an early morning walk along the beach, followed by a few hours on the beach cruiser, drinks with the sound of the ocean in the background, and wearing your favorite hoodie at night while you sit on the balcony watching the stars. But I love long hikes, and getting out on lakes to kayak or canoe. And I love building a good fire and being bundled up with great big trees all around. Soooo, I'll just take both. Thank you very much.


How It All Started

After meeting Marrvelous, I have become a firm believer in the idea that things happen for a reason. I know a lot of the time people cling to that little phrase in order to justify or alleviate the confusion they feel after something bad or upsetting has happened. But the situation with Marrvelous and me at the very early stages of our relationship just made us both realize that when one door closes, it's because another one is going to open and help you continue on the right path. (sidenote: I think that will be the last cliche in the post...maybe)

It was a Thursday night in late February 2009. I was exhausted from work, and to be honest, exhausted from life. Or rather, the romantic life. A month earlier I had finally, officially ended a two year relationship that had been teetering on the edge of destruction from almost the beginning. Two people who wanted different things and yet took (way too) long time to determine that once and for all.

So back to the Thursday evening when I went home from work debating whether I would actually go to the happy hour/night out for a newish friend's birthday. I told myself I'd nap, skip the happy hour part, and see if I felt up for the festivities a bit later in the night. I awoke to several messages from friends who were already out celebrating, encouraging me (and harassing me) to get out and get some drinks. So I did.


The One You Always Dreamed About...

Just about three weeks ago, I did it. I went dress shopping.

Since getting engaged, I definitely had spent a good chunk of time over the past 6 months or so looking at dresses online and in magazines. I was also well aware of my limited budget, plus honestly, there is a part of me that just screams "you only wear it once, for one day" over and over inside my head. Don't get me wrong, I fell instantly in love with every Monique Lhuillier, one or two Jim Hjelm and quite a few Melissa Sweet. I also incorporated many hours on the Weddingbee classifieds, Recycled Bride pages and PreOwned Wedding Dresses. But then I always got freaked out about sizing and what the dress really looked like in person, the feel of the fabric, the weight of it...and I could never bring myself to buy one.

I had it in my head that I would visit Nordstroms (for the customer service alone it makes me want to open my wallet), Saks, Bloomies, etc and see what I could find off the rack. Not only did I think these would fit in my budget, but I have a confession. As much as I love buying new clothes, and I thought the dress part could be fun and really pretty and all of that -- I get a little antsy about being the sole center of some salesperson's attention. I don't think it's just that sometimes salesclerks can be pushy, or that you walk away buying 5 more products or articles of clothing you didn't even need (and jeez, 1 hour in Target lets me know I'm capable of overbuying all on my own, I don't need a trained salesperson to help). I think it's also because I just like the independence and having that quiet moment with your own thoughts before having several people flock around you and tell you 'get this' or 'try this'.

So with all of these different thoughts running through my head, I made an appointment at a local shop with the intention of a Nordstroms' visit immediately after, called up my aunt who I'm super close with and said "Um, do you want to go with me while I look at dresses?". She was pretty touched that I asked her, of course I wanted her there, but my thinking also involved the following:
1. My mother passed away when I was 15
2. My mother in law lives in Scotland
3. The one person, my MOH, that I've asked to "stand up" for us lives on the other side of the country
4. How could I possibly subject other friends to the horror of sitting in a bridal shop for hours while I walked in and out of the dressing room huffing and puffing my way through a ton of dresses!


Viva Espana!

Felicidades, Espana! The 2010 World Cup Champions.

Yesterday was insane - we watched the final at an outdoor block party at our local Irish pub and by the end, I had lost my voice, was waving my red belt over my head and dancing my tush off to the Gypsy Kings along with the other Spanish fans clogging the street (honestly, I was surprised by the number of Orange Crush supporters, who knew so many Dutch lived in Philly!).

I've been rooting for Spain from day 1 (sorry, USA) so even though Marrvelous had chosen to support the Dutch - he was happy for me.

If you haven't seen it already, please find the video of Spanish keeper Iker Casillas's post game interview with his girlfriend Sara Carbonero (a reporter for Telecinco) - even if you don't speak Spanish, it'll make you weak in the knees!

A bit tired today, struggling to get through work. So I leave you with these pictures via Fifa.com. You're welcome.


Save the Date Y'all!

Save the Dates designed and sent - check!

Ok, I know, that seems like a relatively short time between when we decided upon our *new* December wedding date and Save the Dates dispatched. Let me introduce you to a little friend of mine: Paperless Post

Paperless Post is an online invitation service that I stumbled upon over the past 6 months of wedding blog addiction. I wish I could remember the first blog where I spotted information on it, but to be honest, I had even forgotten about the site until a few weeks ago when my bestie brought it up randomly as something we might want to consider. After playing around for awhile on it, and talking more with Marrv, we decided we wanted to go the paperless route - at least for the Save the Dates. It's definitely economical, it was easy for us to play with the designs and personalize them without having to be a graphic designer or be a photoshop expert.

This was my first time using Paperless Post, but so far so good. Or rather, so far SO Amazing! Honestly, it was so easy and they have so many cute designs to choose from. They have so much more than Wedding Invites/Save the Dates (and even more than just wedding related parties) - I have a feeling this will be an account I use for years to come.


Ceremony Venue - Check!

It's all falling into place...and I love it! With less than 6 months to plan a wedding, and planning a wedding that is so much more "us" ... well, it's been a lot easier for both of us to get excited and also to cross things off the list.

Like today for example. Ceremony location? Done! Marrvelous and I took a quick visit to one of the two locations we had it narrowed down to (and I visited last week without him and we agreed felt more right). After I took him through the house and gardens, we sat down with the estate manager and signed our contract (and opened the checkbook - ouch! but in a good way :)

Let me introduce you to the gorgeous building where Marrvelous and I will say our vows in front of family and friends this December ...