Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Step At A Time

The time has come for me to officially start training for the Boston Marathon.  It's not until the middle of April but  I've been pretty lax on my running for the last month or so, therefore necessitating a longer training period than I normally do since I have a lot of miles to log.

People generally tend to be impressed when I tell them I'm running a marathon and I often get comments like, "I could never do that" or "Good for you! I can't imagine running for that long."  I'm here to tell you that anyone can run a marathon.  ANY.  ONE.  My philosophy on marathons is this: If you can run a mile, you can run a marathon.  Seriously.  All it takes is one foot in front of the other, step by step, as you cover those miles.  It may seem intimidating but it's a slow and gradual build-up of mileage that if done properly, can get anybody over the finish line after 26.2 miles.

When I'm marathon training, I start pretty small and every week add one or two miles to my long run.  So if you can run 3 miles comfortably, the next week you would push yourself to run 4, then the next week 5 and so on.

For example, on Thanksgiving Day I ran 6 miles at a comfortable pace.  It's probably the longest run I've done since September.  Now, I'm a slight mis-example because I work out enough that I can almost always run 5 miles easily, so for this recent run I pushed it to 6 miles.  I'll do a few 30 minute runs this coming week and probably at least one 45 or 60 minute sesh on the ol' elliptical before trying for 7 miles next weekend. And so on and so forth, until April!

Completing a marathon is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I've ever had in my life.  If you've ever thought about trying to run one, DO IT.  You will not be disappointed, I guarantee it.  I really believe in the powerful and positive benefits of running and personally, I think running a marathon should be on everyone's "Bucket List." The rewards, both mental and physical (hello, fitting into your wedding dress!) are beyond limitless.

If you would like more advice how to train for a marathon or how to get started, feel free to PM me and I'll happily answer any questions you might have...Now go get running!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Girl Can Dream...

... About wedding dresses! Yup, it's time to talk about the dress.

First and foremost, my dress is not pictured in this post.  Awwwww, you're disappointed? Understandable and I promise to show it soon but I want to get a picture of me in the dress after it's been fitted so you're just gonna have to sit tight and look at how my decision-process unfolded.  And drool over pretty dresses.  Hey, it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it...

The dress was high on my list of priorities after I got engaged.  In fact, the salewoman at Saks, where I went to first try on some dresses, told me dead serious-like that the dress was the focal point around which the entire wedding should revolve...Interesting, very interesting.

When I first started looking at dresses, mostly in the pages of the bridal mags I bought obsessively, I was honestly a bit put off by the majority of them.  Not that they weren't pretty but they were definitely not what I was looking for.  I'm pretty short (5'3" on a good day) and I knew I wanted an outdoor wedding, so a big, poufy ballgown was out of the question.  I initially decided I wanted to go super-simple for my dress, no lace or beads or any type of embellishment, country-chic, if you will...

Here's the first dress that really stopped me in my tracks while looking through magazines...

I still love this dress, the neckline, the pockets, the thing delicate straps, everything about it...But I knew where the Amsale store was located in New York City and it happens to be in one of the poshest shopping areas around (5th Avenue, right down the block from Gucci, Prada and LV) and  deep down, I knew that I couldn't afford the dress so I never even bothered to go try it on...Next!

Have I mentioned how much I lurve JCrew? Oh, I have? Alright then, so it should be no surprise to anyone that I was also pouring over the online bridal section...There were three that I was particularly enamored with but one is no longer on the website, so I can only show you two...

This one is kind of like the poor-man's version of the Amsale but for only $650, seemed worth checking out...

I was also head-over-heels for this one...It's hard to tell but there is very delicate beading throughout the entire dress, which I love...

I did eventually go to the JCrew store to try some of these on but ultimately decided that I wasn't absolutelypassionatelyinlove with any of them, so I kept looking.

I tried on a few Jenny Packham dresses at a discount bridal store here in New York City and decided that I actually did like beading on certain dresses...Jenny Packham gowns are incredibly gorgeous and if my budget had been slightly bigger, that's probably what I would have ended up with (they were between 3-4k at this store)...Look at these two:

After several fruitless appointments at various bridal stores in NYC, I caved when I saw that Kleinfeld's was having one of their famous sample sales. I originally didn't think I'd be able to afford a Kleinfeld's dress but  I made an appointment, dragged MOH Pip with me and proceeded to try on about 20 dresses.  A few of the more popular ones...

This Jim Hjelm dress is ethereal, floaty and most importantly, empire-waisted, a style I was becoming more and more enamored with...

This Magia By Pronovias gown was simple and elegant and had a silhouette I liked...Yet I felt like that certain je ne sais quoi was missing...

I also liked this Pronovias...

I didn't actually try on this Oscar de le Renta gown but I tried on a few that were similar and (shocker!) decided I liked flower embellishments...Plus, how freakin gorgeous is this dress?

I would say the vast majority of my inspiration dresses or dresses I tried on that were contenders were very simple, with minimal beading, lace or embellishments.  And of course, the dress I ended up choosing has all three, which is a little too ironic, as Alanis might say...

My dress is not among these so I will leave you now, hanging in suspense, wondering which one I chose...I promise to reveal it soon and tell the saga of how it ended up hanging in my closet.

Did your wedding dress decision evolve over time or did you know right away what you were looking for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fine China (or lack thereof...)

Guess what arrived in on our doorstep last night? A very exciting belated engagement present, our dinner plates!

While Mr Trail Mix and I decided not to register for a complete set of fine china, we did feel that a 6-piece set of plates would be a welcome addition to our mish-mosh collection of plates, most of which are hand-me-downs from my grandmother.  I actually really and truly love the way non-matching plates look in a table-setting, so I was pretty sure that registering for an entire set of china would be unnecessary.

But we did want to be able to have at least one nice set of plates for all the fabulous dinner parties we host (note: That was sarcasm regarding dinner parties, our studio apartment does not allow us to host dinner parties.  But hopefully we will someday.) So we picked out some beautiful, Portugese-inspired plates from William and Sonoma.

I was a little disappointed initially because when we got home after registering, we realized the plates weren't available online and I really didn't know if anyone would end up getting them for us.  Luckily, one of Mr Trail Mix's groomsmen's parents (Holla, Mr and Mrs R!) came through and now we have our lovely blue-and-yellow plates. Ha, yellow and blue, notice a theme here? Check 'em:

Love WS gift wrapping, I have so many of those little pineapple things stored in my craft drawer, waiting for inspiration to strike...

(Personal Photo)

First look.

(Personal Photo)

One more, just for good measure.  Oh and by the way, these things are huge! Way bigger than the rest of our plates...

(Personal Photo)

It seems to me like registering for a whole set of china is going by the wayside in the wedding world.  What do you think? Did you (or are you going to) register for china or no? I'm interested to know, I can still have time to add china if I want to...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why I Love (and sometimes Hate) J Crew

Oh, JCrew, how I love thee. It's been a love affair that's been going on since high school.  Alas, I love the clothes but hate how much money I spend there!  I think the vast majority of my wardrobe has been furnished by the Prepsters of Preppy Goodness, so it's no surprise that a lot of my wedding attire has been made possible by the fabulous Ja Crue!

For example, my bridesmaid's dresses are all from JC, remember?

Now, today I made another important purchase, thanks to the great sales section that I follow stalk (seriously, it's a problem, I'm on the sale site at least once a day, if not more...) Today I bought my (dum dum dum,  intro music needed for this announcement).... Wedding shoes!

Or at least, I bought my first pair of wedding shoes (ok, fine, they're my second pair! But the other ones were definitely not right and I bought them during the summer for $40 so I'm not going to count them...They were also from JCrew.  I'm serious, I have a problem!)

Anyways, here's what inspired me to commit to such an oh-so-important (I don' mess around when it comes to shoes) purchase.  Last weekend, while treating myself to a little birthday shopping from my hallowed mecca, I came across some beautiful, glittery, gold peep toe shoes...In a size 7...One sale for $79.99...

They looked like these, only with a peep toe instead of a closed toe:

JCrewWeddingShoes2.jpg picture by mdropkinfrank

So gorgeous, right? I know, I know, you're thinking in your head, Trail Mix, you idiot, why didn't you snatch these pretties up when you had the opportunity?!?! At least, that's what I am thinking in my head now...Alas, I've had a vision of yellow shoes for my wedding day since I picked out our colors and even though this gold is pretty damn close to yellow, I wasn't able to commit to a new vision on such short notice (these are major major decisions, people, it's not sensible to make them on the fly in the JCrew store while surrounded by beautiful merchandise and crying babies!)

I called my mom then and there, talked it over and decided to hold off on purchasing the shoes.  Fast forward to a week later and I was seriously regretting my decision. Luckily, JCrew has the best customer service ever and when I called, first they checked all the stores to see if they had my size in stock (no dice...6.5 and 8, argh, so close!) and then they offered to put me on their wish list in case someone returns a pair! Excellent, I have until February 1 to hope and pray that someone with a size 7 foot decides these shoes were not meant for them and returns 'em...

However, that got my shoe cravings going and when I spotted these babies on the sale section at JCrew this morning, I didn't waste a second...Here is the pair I actually (hopefully, finger's crossed) managed to purchase:

JCrewWeddingShoes.jpg picture by mdropkinfrank

They are like a more subdued version of the originals (the Diet Coke of the originals, if you will...)  For 60 smackeroos, I'm happy.  The heel isn't too high so I'll be able to dance the night away but still high enough to give me the few extra inches we short girls tend to crave.  They are a bit plain and little more bridal than I had originally envisioned so I'm thinking of jazzing them up with some cool shoe clips, like these ones that I found on TwistedCrystal's shop on Etsy.

Wouldn't those be perfect? I'm waiting for the shoes to come in before I make a decision on the clips though...

Oh JCrew, how I heart you...

But just like any seemingly-perfect relationship, there have been times when the Crew and I have been on rocky ground (hence the hate part in our love-hate relationship).  Case in point: Two weeks ago, I found these seriously cute satin, yellow clutches in the sale section (I weren't lying when I said I was OBSESSED!) and at $20 a pop, quickly put 4 in my shopping bag for my bridesmaids. I placed my order and went on my merry way, so happy to have found such a bargain as part of my gift to my girls...

Well, three days later, I got a form email from J Crew very glibly apologizing for having "run out of stock before completing my order." And guess, dear readers, just GUESS what they had run out of stock of...Yup, my pretty and cheap and basically perfect satin clutches.  The bastards.  When I called to complain, the woman was very polite and agreed that this was not an ideal situation and offered to give me a 20% discount on any other clutch they had in stock, which was nice but not helpful since none of the other clutches were A) yellow or B) even remotely close to the fabulous price of $20. JCrew FAIL!

But overall, I have to say that this encounter has not stopped me from stalking the sale section at JC and I think it's safe to say that my shoes will certainly not be the last wedding purchase I make from them...

Are you into the Crew the way that I am or do you think it's over-hyped and over-priced??

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Aruba, Jamaica, Ooooh I Wanna Take Ya...

Ahhhhh, the honeymoon.  I seriously cannot wait! By the time Mr Trail Mix and I actually embark on our travels, it will have been close to 2 years since we have taken a vacation together.  I know that sounds kind of spoiled to say but before this draught, we've been used to taking at least a vacation or two each year.  So going two years without feels like forever...

I will say that the Mr and I travel very well together, which I like to think is a good sign.  It feels like when you travel with someone else, you have to get on very well with them to have a good time, which we always do.

So, dear Bees, I would like your opinion on where to go for our honeymoon.  We've narrowed down the list to 4 possibilities (although we are still open to other ideas so if you think you have a better one, shout it out!)

Idea #1- St John

We've been here before since Mr Trail Mix has very close relatives who live there.  The last time we went was in 2006 and it was one of the best vacations I've ever been on.  Mr TM's relative's have a beautiful house in Cruz Bay we could stay in (complete with it's own hot tub, deck and kitchen, yowza!) and they are always so welcoming and friendly.  This would definitely be the most economical of our options. St John's (in my mind) is one of the most beautiful places ever...

(Personal Photo)

I sooooo want to be back there right now!

(Personal Photo)

Idea #2- Costa Rica

I did a semester abroad here in Heredia, a small city in Costa Rica, when I was a junior in college but I've only been back once since 2004.  Mr Trail Mix and I took a 5-day trip there in 2008 and it was awesome!  The best way I can think of to describe CR in my mind is my home away from home, truly siempre in mi corazon.

I would love to return, because between the beaches, hiking, wild life, volcanoes, horseback riding, fresh mango smoothies, fishing and zip lines, there is more than enough of the perfect combination of beach relaxing time and wild adventure time for any and everyone, no matter which perfect, little beach town you end up at....

The last time we went, we stayed in Manuel Antonio, which is about 3 hours south of San Jose...I'd love to get back to the Guanacaste Peninsula and re-visit some of my favorite sleepy surfer villages....Serious bliss.

(Personal Photo)

Idea #3- Brazil

Between Rio and Buzios, it's the perfect combination of old city architecture and beautiful beach town.  I've always wanted to go to Brazil and heard nothing but good things...However, I speak Spanish, not Portugese so that's a a little bit of a downside, I would love to go somewhere Spanish-speaking so I could practice a bit. However...

I would happily drink a mojito on this beach...

Idea #4- The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador

This one would be the wildcard of the group, definitely the hardest to coordinate but possibly the coolest.  I will say, it has always been one of the top places Mr Trail Mix has wanted to visit at some point in his life.

I think the wildlife is a big draw for the Mr...

Plus, the cities of Ecuador are unbelievably beautiful ...


Hmmmm, this not going to be a easy choice...I think I have several good options for the honeymoon but I'm  pretty undecided about where which one to choose...All four have appeal but a lot of the decision will have to be based on our budget and what kind of job Mr Trail Mix is able to obtain after finishing school in May...

If money were no object, which one of these four would you choose and why??

Anyone honeymooned at any of these places??

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seriously Easy DIY

The last DIY I attempted, while successful, was also not as easy as I originally thought and I was honestly beginning to think I might be a little craft-challenged...Oh the shame, what would Martha say?

This minor but cute project gave me my confidence back and it's super easy, I swear! So without further ado, I present Miss Trail Mix's (aka borrowed-from-Mrs-Taffy)...Drink stirrers. A minor detail no doubt but it will be a (hopefully) cute touch!

I made my way to our beloved Michael's  and picked up 2 rolls of grosgrain ribbon (blue and yellow, duh) some double-sided tape and some very thin, 24" sticks of basalm wood that I simply eyeballed when cutting into 3 pieces using a scissor.

Personal Photo

I then cut a piece of ribbon about 3 inches long, stuck a piece of double-sided tape shorter than the ribbon on it, then wrapped it around the wood piece.  The best part is, it totally didn't  matter if my ribbon didn't match-up evenly because then I just cut a little notch in the ribbon to replicate a flag.

Personal Photo

Personal Photo

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Badda-bing, badda boom, all done.  So simple and so sweet.

I easily whipped out about 15 of these in 20 minutes, so I think making about 100-150 shouldn't be too difficult a task.  I think they'll be a fun garnish in guest's drinks during the cocktail hour, don't you?

Alright, I will confess that the second half of this project was a big FAIL.  I bought a package of smaller sticks first, thinking they would work as well but alas, they are too short and simply fall into the drink.  And on top of that, I also bought a silver and gold pen, thinking I would personalize the drink flags even more by adding our wedding date.  This was a bad idea.  The ink bled a bit, it was hard to read and my handwriting isn't the greatest.  Good thing I only wrote it on a few.

Yeah, those are ugly.  Shame-face.

But I'm very excited about the tall ones, I love the way they look all together...

Got a rediculously easy DIY project?? Share, I'm all ears!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Wedding Band Dilemma

In case you're confused, I'm not talking about the kind of band that plays music but the kind that is all sparkly and pretty on my hand! Yes, I've been stalking wedding bands and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  It's way more fun than when I was stalking engagement rings because I don't have to be all sneaky and not tell Mr Trail Mix what I'm doing (yes, I was totally that girl.)

Anyways, I've got a lot of different ideas for a wedding band.  Let's take a look at how my decision-making process evolved and afterwards, I'm going to ask all you readers for your input, if ya don't mind.

First off, just for fun, you all remember my ring, right?

Well, in case you've forgotten what it looks like, here's a refresher:

(Personal Photo)

Round center stone, smaller diamonds that I believe are set in a shared prong setting.  The band is about 2 millimeters wide.  So the easiest and most obvious choice would be a matching band of the same width.  Classic and (I like to think :) beautiful.

Something like this...

This one is a full eternity 2 millimeter band from Bluenile. I love it but it is not cheap and not the most original choice ever.  Still, a top contender.

This 2 TCW (that's total carat weight in case you didn't know...Oh, who am I kidding, any weddingbee girl knows that :) is my total dream and and Mr Trail Mix would totally laugh in my face if I showed it to him. A 3 grand + ring is not in the wedding budget (but no offense to those of you who have a ring like this, more power to ya!) Maybe for a push present later (hint, hint, Mr TM...)

While I was looking at matching bands on Bluenile, I found this pretty 5-stone ring and started picturing it against my ring.  I liked the idea but again, still too expensive so I turned to vintage wedding bands...Let le  fun begin!

Lord knows I love me some vintage (fashion and recycling!)

It's hard to tell if this ring would look as yellow in real life as it does in the picture...I actually like the idea of mixed metals so I am hoping it's yellow gold (I emailed the jeweler, waiting to hear back.)

Once I started looking at vintage wedding bands, there was no stopping me.  I decided I like the look of a band that would not create some sort of gap between my engagement ring and not have the band sit flush.  I think this one's so pretty.

This next one's sort of an awesome combo of several ideas.  Yellow gold, significant bling bling and would not sit directly against my ring but it is on the expensive side. I'm reluctantly considering it...

I got excited when I saw this eternity band for within my budget but alas, the website says it cannot be resized and it is more than a full size too large. Sadness.

I've also always loved bezel-set stones.  I heart.

I also looked at a few diamond and sapphire rings but ultimately nixed the idea.  I want someone else to get this band, maybe if you had a sapphire engagement ring?

This is the last contender... My friend has the white gold one and it is thin, delicate and stunning on it's own. But I would probably go rose gold.  I really love mixed metals and this one is just...dreamy.

So, dear Bees, which band should I choose? Let's poll it out...

Option A- Matching 2 millimeter eternity band
Option B- 5-stone band yellow gold vintage band
Option C- 2 thin bands intertwined
Option D- Bezel Set
Option E- Thin, rose gold

Many thanks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Organza Flower Use Idea #1

Remember my organza flower DIY craftiness? I mentioned that I wasn't 100% sure what I was going to end up using the flowers for.  Here's one idea (inspired by bunting flags!):

(Personal Photo)

(Personal Photo)

I used my handy-dandy glue gun to attach a few to a yellow ribbon I got at Michael's in the clearance bin.  My own take on a combination of Martha Stewart's bunting flags and fabric flower decorations.  I'll either string these from the sides of the Chuppah or use it to decorate the guest book/family pictures table.

Pretty, no?

Got any other ideas for uses for these?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The After-Party

Our wedding reception is set to end at 11:30 pm.  While 6 or so hours of drinking, dining and dancing may be enough for most, it's the only wedding I'm having so I'm a-gonna prolong the fun for as long as I can (and I've spent 14 months planning this thing so gosh darnit, it's going to last as long as I want it to!)

Enter the concept of the After-Party.  Excessive? Perhaps slightly.  Majorly fun? Hell yes! All the wedding's I've been to have had some sort of after-party, be it an actual party in a different room of the venue or an informal gathering at a local bar or even a hotel room!

I would love to do something at a dive bar (can you picture me in a wedding dress at some grimey, hole-in-the-wall bar? I can!!!!)  But sadly, my town is so stupidly small that there is no bar for us to go to.  There's one restaurant that also has a bar but things are usually shut down by midnight.

So that leaves us with the few bed and breakfast's that all of our friends will be staying at.  Unfortunately, most of the rooms are not big enough to accommodate a party of more than 2 (and THAT type of party won't be happening until waaaaaaay later in the evening. :)

Enter the idea of a late-night bonfire.  The bed and breakfast where we'll be staying, along with the bridal party, has agreed to allow us to host a bonfire after the wedding reception! I'm so excited, I'm picturing s'mores, red plastic solo cups, a keg and me in a hoodie sweatshirt over my wedding dress.  It will be a time to kick back, re-live the night and prolong the inevitable yet sad end to hopefully one of the best days of my life.  To me, a bonfire conveys a nostalgic, old-timey atmosphere that makes me think of banjo music, whiskey and reminiscing on good times back in high school and college.

Take a look at a few other wedding's that have done something similar...

See? Super-duper funness...

Are you having an after-party? What's it going to be like?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Let The Sun Shine...

...for my wedding photos. Although I have yet to reveal my photographer to you guys (I will soon, I promise), I am happy to share some of my inspiration photos that I plan on showing to my photographer at our next meeting.

I seem to be constantly drawn in to photos that use sunlight as a way of creating a mood in the picture.  Almost all of these present the couple in front of the light, suggesting an ethereal, dreamy quality that I adore.

I particularly love this pose (note to self, show to photographer!)

I love the long shadows created by the sunlight in this one.

Totally gasp-worthy, right?

I love how this one has just the bride, the groom and the sunlight.  Absolutely beautiful.

I've got plenty more where these came from but that's enough drooling for now.  Did you find yourself drawn to a certain shot or type of photography? Share!