Friday, December 26, 2008

Wedding Ring - Yes or No?

Before I was engaged, I never imagined having more than one ring. And since I have an extraordinary engagement ring, how could I ask for anything more? When Michael and I went to the Jeweler about a year ago to have the engagement ring made, I told him that he could place the prongs of the diamond all the way down the sides of the band since I would not be wearing another ring next to it. This design keeps the diamond lower so that it doesn't stick up and out too far. This also means that a wedding band/ring would never be exactly flush next to the engagement ring. I don't want to wear two rings on one finger. I feel that in doing so, neither ring would get the proper attention that it deserves. Plus, it would be a bit bulky I think. However, I'm not opposed to wearing my engagement ring on one ring finger and a wedding ring on another ring finger. Currently, I wear my engagement ring on my left ring finger, as tradition dictates. I'm thinking about moving the engagement ring to my right ring finger after I'm married and wearing a wedding band on my left ring finger. My loving fiance thinks I should stick with my original plan and just wear my engagement ring on my left ring finger forever. I'm really drawn to these rings though - they're so natural, simple, and organic looking (and affordable).

K. Brunini's "Twig" Collection
Beth Cyr's Love Knot Tree Bark Ring

Beth Cyr's Tree Bark Ring

Beth Cyr's Tree Bark Ring

X-Mas Is Over, Now It's Time for Bridesmaids Dresses

J.Crew has "extra 20% off final sale" sales frequently, and they're having one right now. I thought I had definitively made up my mind that I was going to get the bridesmaids dresses from Aria Dress, but J.Crew keeps tempting me otherwise. One of the biggest challenges I have found so far, is finding bridesmaids dresses in both blue AND orange (or variations thereof). Aria Dress has over 50 silk shantung colors to choose from, including several blues and oranges. I had Aria Dress send me fabric swatches. I have 'Periwinkle', 'Light Blue', 'Sunset Gold', 'Burnt Orange', 'Royal', 'Midnight', and 'Paprika'. My two favorites are 'Periwinkle' and 'Sunset Gold'. Aria Dress dresses are also made in U.S.A. (That's hard to find in the wedding industry). They are also reasonably priced. Today, at I found these:
These dresses are called "Berry-trim Strapless Nathalie Dress" and "Berry-trim Nathalie Tank Dress". These two awesome colors are "deep persimmon" and "bright peacock". I can imagine my bridal party wearing any combination of these 4 dresses and looking spectacular! Of course since these dresses are on sale, their sizes and quantities are limited. I don't know about any of you, but I've had problems ordering from J.Crew's website because they don't seem to keep their availability up-to-date. About a month ago, I ordered myself a party dress from I put in my credit card info and the order went through fine. 24 hours later I received an email notifying me that my order had been cancelled since they didn't have the dress in my size. I went back to the website and sure enough, it was still listed as available. <-- What's up with that?! That's my hesitation with J.Crew...
What do you think?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Last night for Christmas Eve, Michael and I rented a couple of movies: 'Elf' (one of my FAVORITE Christmas movies) and 'Step Brothers' (since we were already in a Will Ferrell mood). We made a boboli pizza and snuggled up on the couch watched movies for hours. Today we are just hanging out at home. Unfortunately we ran out of propane. I had just enough hot water for a quick shower but now we have no hot water or use of the stove until tomorrow. Bummer. I have the TV on in the background with 24 hours of 'A Christmas Story' on TBS playing. We will go over to Mike's Mom's house in a little while. I hope you are spending this day just the way you want. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Party Success!

Saturday was our Christmas Party. Approximately 30 of our friends came. Mike and I served 2 out of 3 batches of our homebrew. We weren't satisfied with the 'American Red Ale' since it lacked carbonation. The 'German Lager' was well-liked and the 'Hop-Nog' appears to be gone too. People drank several varieties of wine, Bailey's, gin and tonics, rum and cokes, and many different beers that the guests brought. There were lots of great snacks, sweets, and dips. Most people dressed according to the "semi-formal" dress code I instilled. This was my 5th Christmas Party, and every year the majority of people love dressing up. Here is a look at the party through history:





No party in 2007 [I lived in a studio apartment.] :-(


Thank you friends for coming. We both had a great time and we hope you did too! Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Photographer: √ (check) !

Keira Lemonis will be our wedding photographer. Her work is fun, creative, and artistic - just what I'm looking for (i.e., there will be no mid-air shots of me and my bridal party jumping).
NOT a photo by Keira Lemonis
I must admit I pondered the photographer selection for several weeks, but I'm confident and excited to have Keira booked. Mike and I will even have an engagement photo session, probably in the spring.

I called Yvonne's Bridal Gallery last week to check on the status of my dress. It is on schedule to arrive in late February 2009. I will do a full review of Yvonne's after I get the dress in my possession.

I quasi-designed, ordered, and have already received the save-the-date postcards from VistaPrint. VistaPrint is a huge online print shop that enables self-service design, proofing and ordering via the web<-- how easy is that? They were fun to make, ridiculously inexpensive and ready for distribution after the Holidays.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crimson Christmas Dress

I decided several weeks ago that I would buy myself a new semi-formal dress after I could no longer fit into three of my old favorites. One of the old dresses I gave to my [smaller] friend Lydia while the other two ended up at the church thrift shop. So, now I only own one semi-formal winter dress and I just wore it to our friends Paul & Kelli's Wedding last month. Therefore, I needed something new [that fit me] for the upcoming Christmas Party Mike and I are hosting later this month. I have been looking at dresses online for weeks and was close to acquiring a new one from But, 24 hours after I placed my order, J.crew cancelled it and claimed they were sold out. Then I found a dress I liked at But, since I've never bought/worn/seen a dress from there, I was hesitant about taking the risk with an online order. I even browsed some department store websites like JCPenney, Sears, Macy's, and New York & Company. Last night I went to Colonie Center to browse. I wanted to check out a couple of dresses I saw online at Sears and New York & Company. The Sears dress was in stock, available in all sizes and drastically on sale. I tried it on. It fit. It looked nice. It was missing something. It was missing oomph, va-va-voom, glamour... Here it is:I decided to keep looking. If I didn't find anything better, I would come back to Sears and buy it. I went to Boscov's next. I did try a few dresses on but they were all too old-looking and frumpy. Next I went to New York & Company - one of my favorite stores for buying work clothes. They aren't known for having or selling many dresses, but they do feature a few each season. Sure enough, they had a killer, red dress on a mannequin near the front of the store. I thought to myself "Those dresses always look better on the model or mannequin than in real life, but what the hell?" I tried it on. "Whoa, can I pull this off?" was my first thought. The strapless dress had some difficulty staying up with my modest chest. But I figured with a couple of small alterations and the right bra, it was doable. Other than that, it fit me well and I grew fond of it. I pretended to greet my imaginary guests in the mirror of my dressing room. It worked. I loved it. I bought it. It was on sale AND I opened a store credit card in order to save an additional 20%. Check it out:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where are the Leftovers?

The turkey was delicious; no children cried; nothing was broken; the messes have been cleaned-up by the dogs' tongues = Thanksgiving Success! The weirdest part of the day for me was rubbing the raw turkey. Mike and I ate leftovers on Friday and Saturday and now they're practically gone. I always imagined we would be cooking/eating turkey for weeks after the big Holiday, but no dice!

Mike and I both had Black Friday off from work. My Mom, Dad, Aunt, and Friend came down from Albany to tour our house and we all went out to lunch in Windham. We ate at "Michael's Diner" (no relation - coincidence). Yum! On Friday night, Mike and I bottled our German Lager and transferred our I.P.A. to a secondary fermenter. Confused? (We're homebrewers.) On Sunday we started a batch of American Red Ale. Come to our Christmas Party and you can try all three!

On Saturday, Mike and I moved into our new bedroom. Now we slumber in the house's master bedroom. We celebrated by going to Albany and boosting our struggling economy. We bought a love seat at Old Brick to match our living room couch. Unfortunately, it probably won't be here by the party. We picked up a new beer kit and fermenting supplies at Hennessy Homebrew Emporium in Rensselaer. We got curtain rods for our new bedroom at Target. We bought white fabric at Jo-Ann's for curtains. Mike's Mother is currently sewing them for us. We bought several hardware supplies at Lowe's. The evening ended with a fun, delicious hibachi dinner at Hiro's Japanese Restaurant on Central Avenue in Albany. Mike and I were seated at our very own, private hibachi table. We both had shrimp and lobster hibachi. Mike drank a sake martini and I had a Kirin Ichiban (beer). Our hibachi chef was friendly and entertaining (as always). We had a great time.

On Sunday, our friends Kristi & Liam came over with their dog, Kody, for a play-date with our dogs (mostly Daisy). We also watched the NY Giants football game and chatted about our upcoming nuptials. Despite a few scuffles (between the dogs, not the humans), we all had a fun time.

Phew! The long, active weekend is over and I'm tired.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will be cooking my very first turkey. Michael and I are having his Mom and Sister (Loren) and her Family over for Thanksgiving Dinner. Our modest dining room will hold 5 adults and 2 children. I have done extensive online research on turkey roasting. I chose a recipe from the Food Network website. For the main seasoning, I acquired 'Herbes de Provence' from the Albany Co-Op. Mike will be making the mashed potatoes and I will be preparing the frozen corn and Pillsbury crescent rolls (whoopty-do). I keep worrying that our turkey will turn out like the one in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Oh dear.I'm sure it will turn out fine. Just in case, I have plenty of beer and wine to numb the void. At least there will be Rice Krispies Treats for dessert (my fav!). Mike is very excited at the thought of leftover turkey and all the things we can make from it. For that reason, we got a large, 16 lb. bird. Good luck to everyone out there who is cooking - may your turkeys be moist and your families sane!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hide Your Children

No, I don't have any children, but a friend of mine does... muh-ha-ha-ha! Luckily my good friend Lydia (or BFF for short) has no misgivings in my interaction with her children. I always have fun with them and I think they have fun too. A couple of weekends ago, Lydia and her daughter Adelaide came over for part 2 of our Anne of Green Gables marathon. We watched 'Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel' on DVD. Lydia and I shared tears by the end of the movie. Adelaide sat in between us and gazed up at each of us wondering why we were crying. We ate chips, pizza, and ice-cream and all slept in the living room. It was a blast!
Adelaide and Me

Here is a photo of Filo and me at the 6th Annual Fall Camping Trip in October at Lake Taghkanic State Park. [What a great influence I am.]

Me and Filo

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Interview with the Photographer(s)

Even though I'm not done with the the caterer vendor selection, I'm ready to start the next vendor selection - photographer(s)! There are so many to choose from! Luckily I have recommendations from friends and the photographers' creative websites to browse through. My former roommate, Nicole, got married a couple of months ago and absolutely loved her photographers. They were Paul Grupp & Brenda Tompkins of Upstate Photographers. I met them last night at a local Starbucks and discussed with them my vision and plans and options and budget. They told me a little bit about themselves and their philosophy. I find their work beautiful and perfectly aligned with my vision. I love how they photograph all the wonderful details of the day.
Tonight I will meet Kiera Lemonis of Kiera Lemonis Photography at a local Panera Bread. Her website is very creative and fun and the work she has done so far looks great! I do not know anybody she's worked for but I'm sure she can provide references if I ask. stay tuned.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Higgins & Roche Wedding

This past Saturday was the wedding of Paul Roche and Kelli Higgins in Skaneateles, NY. It was a perfect day, sunny and brisk. The ceremony was held at St. Mary's of the Lake and the reception was at the Skaneateles Country Club.

Paul and Kelli actually met at my Pimps and Hos Party in June 2005. Oh, how far we have come.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Roche! Enjoy your honeymoon in Arizona.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Couple Time

Ahh. The holiday weekend is over and it was a great one! Michael and I got a lot done and had tons of fun too. Friday night we rented a DVD and ordered a pizza. We watched M. Knight Shyamalan's "The Happening". I would describe this movie as an apocalyptic thriller, borderline horror film. IMBD states, "It's a paranoid thriller about a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity." We both really liked it. I knew it affected me when I had a nightmare about it Sunday night. Freaky.

Saturday morning I slept in. It was glorious. Then I went outside and took photographs of the dogs frolicking in the backyard. Check it out: The top dog is Shadow. The middle dog is Tyson. The bottom dog is Daisy.

Saturday afternoon, Mike and I went to a 50th Birthday/Housewarming party at Mike's Accountant's house in Round Top. Mike and the company he works for helped build her brand new dream house. This party was extravagant! It was catered by Mod Gourmet Cafe in Catskill. There was a chocolate fountain, a pumpkin-painting table, luminaries lining the long driveway, open bar, a huge heated tent, and flower arrangements in big pumpkins. I even indulged in the "Bouncy Bounce". We were some of the last guests to leave (who can blame us?). One the way home we spontaneously decided to stop at the Blackthorne Resort for a beer. Well, of course we had to go to the Massacre Mansion while we were there. The Massacre Mansion is the on-site haunted house that the Blackthorne Resort hosts every year [since 1997]. This was my fifth straight year attending. My group of friends used to go to the Massacre Mansion and the Blackthorne Resort during our Annual Fall Camping Trips (in the three years we went to North South Lake in Haines Falls, NY). Although we don't go as a group anymore, I've been able to attend since I now live 10 minutes away. "Michael the Irish Bartender" was there and all three of us downed an "Irish Car Bomb" [for old time's sake].

On Sunday, Mike and I arose early (much to my hangover's dismay) and drove to East Rutherford, NJ for the 1:00 PM New York Jets football game. We arrived several hours early and tailgated in the parking lot. Mike successfully negotiated with a T-shirt vendor in the parking lot: a tie-dye T-shirt of Brett Favre (for me) for a sausage sandwich, a beer, and $7. This was my first Jets game. Mike was giddy with excitement at seeing his favorite NFL team. The New York Jets beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-14. Yay! Check out the progress on the new stadium.

Monday was a packed day of household chores and errands. Mike and I went to East Berne and Greenville and drove through Westerlo too. The foliage was at its best. I gave Tyson a trim and bath in the afternoon. I also drove up to the Windham area to get water from a mountain spring. I brought home 9 gallons. I took a relaxing bubble bath. Then I drew a bath for Mike and he did the same. As we ate an omelet dinner, we started to watch the New York Giants game. After some police presence on our street regarding our neighbors, we went to bed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Caterer Interview

Yesterday I met for the first time with a potential caterer. I brought my Mom with me and we drove to the caterer's office/facility in Albany. Although we had to wait almost 15 minutes past our appointment time, we were offered (and gladly accepted) cold drinks (apple juice and diet soda). I had prepared a list of questions based on online guidance and personal preferences and concerns. Our planner, Kathy, was polite, knowledgeable, and patient. This catering company has done many weddings at the Pruyn House before and Kathy was very familiar with the layout and grounds. She had many good ideas and advice for us. For the purpose of Kathy preparing us a detailed proposal, my Mom and I picked-out specific menu items and food selections. This caterer, if hired, would be able to take care of the tent rental, linens, dining supplies, and even the cake. To check out Classé Catering, click here.

Now I am waiting for them to prepare our proposal and e-mail it to me. I'm prepared for a high price. My parent(s) and I plan on meeting with a few more caterers to fully research our options.

My old apartment-mate, Nicole, married her long-time boyfriend, Pat, two weekends ago here in the Capital District. From the photos I've seen (and I've seen hundreds!), it looks like it was a beautiful day and lovely event. Check out Nicole's blog for photos and info.

I love Nicole's choice of hydrangeas, roses, and seeded eucalyptus.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Girls' NightS Out

I have one weekend to go in the 3-week streak of fun, girlie weekends. This past weekend was Kelli's Bachelorette Party and the weekend before was the New Kids On The Block concert in Montréal, Canada.

The trip to Montréal to see the New Kids was awesome! Katie and I drove up the Northway and picked up Kelly in Keeseville, where she left her car at a friend's house. When we arrived in downtown Montréal, we checked into the Residence Inn and strolled Peel Street for a few minutes before choosing our dinner destination. We ate at Carlos & Pepes, a Mexican Restaurant and Bar. Delicious.

After a good night's rest, we spent the day shopping. We covered a lot of territory with street shops and the underground mall system. Each of us made a purchase (or two or three). At afternoon's end we headed back to the hotel to relax before the big show. Katie and I went to the grocery store and bought beer and brie to enjoy back at our room.

We did a NKOTB mad libs in my old activity book and pinned old NKOTB buttons to ourselves. We were ready for a nostalgic night of pop music and screaming. We reached the Bell Centre right at 8 PM. We had just enough time to grab a beer and find our seats when Natasha Bedingfield came on stage as the opening act. She sang well and was a fun performer but our anticipation was growing stronger and stronger for the quintet we know and love. Finally the New Kids came on stage. Their entrance was dramatic and exciting. We screamed our heads off the entire show. To read a great review of the concert from a Montréal newspaper, click here.

This past Saturday night was Kelli's Bachelorette Celebration. Like the chic woman she is, the night mirrored such a theme. Seven of us met out on Lark Street and had dinner at "A Taste of Greece". After a delicious meal and several bottles of wine, we crossed the street to the "Wine Bar & Bistro". We sat outdoors on their back patio surrounded by dim lights, fountains, and foliage. There we enjoyed several more bottles of wine (and candy necklaces). One of us had to leave and then the bar closed, so six of us then walked down the street to DeJohn's. We ensured Kelli always had her favorite drink in hand, Bombay Sapphire & Tonic. Kelli briefly indulged in adorning herself with the silly bachelorette accessories we offered her. As the time approached closing hour, Kelli and her friend called it a night. Then, the four of us scurried to the Lionheart where we had to beseech for one more drink. Even though we missed "last call", the bartender gave in to our polite and persistent request for "one more". By 4 AM we were quickly finishing our last drink and being corralled towards the door.

There will be more girl fun this weekend when several of us head out to the Finger Lakes Region of New York for Kelli's Bridal Shower and wine tasting this weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wedding Dress: √ (check) !

[In spite of a possible copyright infringement...] Last night I "said yes to the dress!" After weeks of grueling shopping (not really, it was fun!), I have made my decision. I choose the 2Be Bride dress from Yvonne's (it's not currently on the Designer's website, so you won't be able to see it). It was a tad over my originally intended price range, but (prepare for the cliché excuse now) "hey, you only get married once." I love this dress! It has no beads, no sequins, and no lace. It's a mermaid cut and it's symmetrical. It's exactly what I wanted. It will take several months to arrive so I can relax awhile and move onto other wedding matters.

This weekend I'm going to Montreal, Quebec with Katie and Kelly (also in the bridal party), to see a reunion concert of the New Kids On The Block (NKOTB). When the NKOTB were in their prime, we were in the 5th grade and at the perfect age to gush over these semi-talented teenage icons. This concert will be my first NKOTB concert (I was too young in 1990(according to my parents)). Tomorrow night will be a blast from the past and a riot! I predict the boys will sound even better than I remember (especially after a few tasty beverages). The concert is at the Bell Centre in downtown Montreal. We reserved a hotel room for the weekend and will be sure to spend "girl time" shopping, dining, drinking, and giggling.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dress Shopping Part IV

I'm sure you're pretty tired of reading about my dress shopping by now. [I know I'm tired of going dress shopping.] So I'll be brief. This past Saturday I went wedding dress shopping with my future Mother-In-Law, Dawn. We went to a local shop called Hillary's Bridal Boutique in Cairo, NY. They did not have any dresses that fit my criteria. I still tried-on a few dresses anyway. I browsed their selection of bridesmaids dresses as well. We stayed for about an hour and even chatted with the owners for awhile (who were very nice).
On Sunday, my Friend/Bridesmaid, Lydia and her Daughter, Adelaide came over to watch 'Anne of Green Gables' on DVD. We had been meaning to get together and watch it for almost a year now. Adelaide had never seen 'Anne of Green Gables' before and Lydia and I were super-excited to show it to her and see if the magic we experienced as little girls would be bestowed upon her. Maybe she was still a little young for Anne, but I think she will fondly remember the sweet story of the little red-haired orphan girl in Prince Edward Island. We only had time to watch the first movie of the trilogy, 'Anne of Green Gables' (almost 3 and a half hours). Next time we'll watch 'Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel', and then 'Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story'.
Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dress Shopping Part III

This past Saturday I went wedding dress shopping with AnnMarie. One could say this was her first official duty as bridesmaid. I made an appointment at Annette Bridals Inc. on Central Avenue in Albany. AnnMarie and I arrived at 10:30 AM and were given instructions on how to proceed. We looked through several tightly-packed racks of dresses and pulled out the ones I wanted to try-on. Then AnnMarie took her place out in the front room on a chair while Annette and I went into a dressing room. Annette assisted me in putting on each gown (which were all several sizes too big) and adjusted the size with clothes pins to try to make the dresses fit better. I then came out into the front room to look in the mirror and have AnnMarie snap a photo (which was allowed here). Most of the dresses I tried-on were just too big to properly visualize how they would really look when the correct size was ordered and the proper alterations made.

Now is a good time to tell you what my wedding dress criteria is (and has been) since I began dress shopping a couple of months ago. "No beads, no sequins, no lace." I have stated this goal in every store I've been to. The reactions I've received have all been a little different and amusing. Mind you, I have been and are quite willing to try-on dresses that do contain one, some, or all of these characteristics. But, my initial hunch was correct that I prefer the dresses without. After trying-on a few different shapes of dresses, I knew pretty early that I also preferred a "mermaid cut" (aka "trumpet cut", aka "fishtail cut"). My last [and most ridiculous] criteria is that I want the dress to be symmetrical. When I first realized this, I remembered saying the same thing to the jeweler who was designing my engagement ring. [This also goes with the "even distribution" trend I aspire for while cooking and eating.]

Now back to dress shopping. AnnMarie and I lost track of time at Annette's and politely made our exit after 2 hours! I think Annette would have just kept bringing more and more dresses for me to try-on until I eventually bought one (or at least said I would). She was the most pushy of all the bridal shop consultants I've dealt with so far. She stated several times while we were there that she has "the biggest selection" of dresses in the area. And that she could order or alter any dress that way I wanted it (i.e. without crystal appliques or beading). She had a unique personality that mostly amused me, but one would have to be patient and open-minded to appreciate and patronize her store.

After Annette's, we rushed up the Northway to Juliet House of Brides in Latham for a 1:00 PM appointment. The parking lot was empty and the store was deserted. We were in and out in 10 minutes. I told the sales woman what I was looking for (with the caveat that I was still open-minded to other possibilities) and she basically told me that they don't have any dresses for me, but that we could look anyway. Their dress selection was much smaller than Annette's. I tried on 3 dresses in just a few minutes and was told to come back in January when "the new line comes out." [Yeah right, like I'm waiting until January!].

After our dress shopping extravaganza, AnnMarie and I went to My Place & Co. on Delaware Avenue in Delmar for a late lunch.

After three seperate dress outings and five different stores, there are two dresses that I have found that fit all my criteria. The first dress I tried-on from David's Bridal and the 2Be Bride dress from Yvonne's. I like the 2Be Bride dress a little bit more...

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Bridal Party is a Sextet

I'm pleased to introduce you to my Bridal Party:

AnnMarie Hess is a Bridesmaid. She and I met in 1995 at Albany High School. Katie Meislahn is the Matron of Honor. Katie and I met in 1998 in our first year at SUNY Geneseo. Kelly Fuller is a Bridesmaid. Kelly and I met in 1998 in our first year at SUNY Geneseo. Loren Iorio is a Bridesmaid. Loren is Mike's Big Sister. She and I met in 2007. Amanda Boyle is a Bridesmaid. Amanda is Mike's Little Sister. She and I met in 2007. Lydia Pray is a Bridesmaid. She and I met in 2007 at the NYS Department of Civil Service.

I will feature a small biography on each lovely lady in future posts. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sports Fans Rejoice!

Blue and Orange... our wedding colors. Most folks associate these colors with a popular sports team. We choose these colors simply because they are each a favorite of ours. Andrea = Blue. Michael = Orange. It's still too early to tell exactly which shades, hues, tints, and versions of each color will be used. Coincidentally, the City of Albany's (the Bride's hometown) colors are blue and orange too.

Tomorrow I'm going wedding dress shopping with Bridesmaid AnnMarie. Stay tuned for "Dress Shopping Part III".

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bridesmaids Requests

I had Decadent Designs custom design and hand make these special bridal party cards for me. The designer/owner, Lynsey, used our wedding colors (blue and orange) in the creation of these beautiful cards. Her shop specializes in handmade invitations and correspondence that is not premade nor mass produced.
Outside: "Will you be my Bridesmaid?"
Inside: "My wedding day will be perfect with you by my side."
This morning I mailed these cards. Hopefully in a few days I will have my bridal party happily confirmed.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Lucky Love Frog Worked For Me

On February 14, 2007 there was a huge blizzard in the Northeast, especially in Upstate New York. I trudged home from work that day (Albany) in several feet of snow. I had planned an informal 'singles' outing at a local bar that night, but the snow cancelled the event. Instead, I was stuck in my apartment on Parkwood Street, with no Valentine. After a few hot cocoa and Bailey's cocktails, I ended-up calling my dear Aunt in Syracuse for a minor pity party. A few days later, I was very fortunate to receive this gift from my Aunt in the mail.

The tiny charm came with an explanation. "THE LUCKY LOVE FROG: This lucky frog charm will help you find the perfect man who's smart, handsome, and kind. Keep him close to your heart any day or night until you find your prince charming or at least Mr. Right!" I've always been a fan of frogs, so I receive frog-related gifts often. However, none have been so powerful and wonderful.

Michael and I met about 3 weeks later.

You can purchase your own 'Lucky Love Frog' at

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

15 Breweries in 7 Days!

I knew we could do it. My fiancé and I took a week-long vacation and leisurely travelled through 3 New England States (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), visiting as many breweries as we could. We camped in State Parks every night but one, when we got a hotel room instead. The smallest brewery we visited was the Italian Oasis Restaurant & Brewery in Littleton, NH. The largest was Anheuser-Busch in Merrimack, NH. Mike's favorite stop was Milly's Tavern whereas mine were Anheuser-Busch and Mt. Washington.

Here's a list of the places we visited (in chronological order):

We had such a great time. My gas-friendly Civic only needed fill-ups 3 times. I fed a worm to a huge frog. I tasted my first 'Pumpkinhead Ale' of the season. Mike caught 2 fish. We brought home a nice sampling of fine, craft beers and quickly divvied them up in the fridge. You see, I haven't had a beer in days. I've instilled a sort-of "detox" for myself. I'm almost back to 'normal' (whatever that is).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Calligraphy Course

I have registered for a Calligraphy Course at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, NY. It starts in mid-September and meets once a week for four weeks. I've always been sort of interested in calligraphy and now I have a legitimate excuse to learn it. My potential skills could have a myriad of uses in the wedding world.

An interesting update on the country-of-origin of the 2Be Bride dress: I contacted the designer directly and inquired if the dress was in fact "made here (New Jersey) with foreign material". The answer is "no". It is made overseas. I'm trying to remember exactly what I was told at the bridal boutique since I was led to believe otherwise...

I'm off for vacation now for about 9 days. My fiancé and I are going on a brewery/camping tour of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. So, I won't be posting anything new until the week of August 24th. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dress Shopping Part II

Saturday I went to the 'Bridal Gallery by Yvonne' (Latham, NY) with my Best Friend, Katie. This boutique was more upscale than the previous two I visited. We had our own room with a couch and changing area. My consultant, Linda, is a DEC retiree (for those of you who don't know, DEC = Department of Environmental Conservation = where I currently work). After a brief chat about my dress aspirations, Linda disappeared into a back room and emerged a minute later with a few dresses she thought I might like. She hit the nail on the head with the very first one. I loved it! It fit my stringent criteria perfectly and looked great. I tried on the rest of the gowns but then put the first one back on. That's when Linda brought me out of the room and into the boutique and put a veil on me. The other store employees gathered round and "oohed and ahhed" over me and the dress. (This is standard, they do this at every bridal store.) The price discussions ensued and I now I have more to think about.

After Yvonne's, we decided to go to David's Bridal right there and then and see if I could try on the dress from last weekend. I did. I still love that dress too. Now I love 2 dresses. Yvonne's doesn't allow photography. So, unfortunately I can't refer back to anything. The only picture of the dress I can find is on the designer's website (2Be Bride) and it is too small and doesn't really show the dress or its details well.

The country of origin is a factor in my wedding dress decision and other aspects of our wedding. I was told by Yvonne that the 2Be Bride dress is made domestically with some foreign material. I'm still researching where the David's Bridal dresses are manufactured...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dress Shopping

Yesterday I went wedding dress shopping for the first time. I was terrified. I thought I was going to feel unnatural and out-of-place. I was also afraid I wouldn't like any of the dresses. Boy, were my fears silly. I had a blast! I liked several dresses and loved one in particular. My future sister-in-law, Loren, was nice enough to accompany me and act as my advisor, photographer, and friend (Thanks Loren!).

We began our journey by fueling our bodies with lunch at the Wolf Road Diner. Then we went to David's Bridal in Albany for my 12:00 PM appointment. "Becca" was my "wedding services coordinator". She was very good. Loren and I picked out six dresses and the journey began. First, David's outfits you in a tummy-covering bra (that they of course want you to buy). Then I began trying on the dresses one by one. With no mirrors in the actual dressing room, you're forced to come out, stand on a little stage and display yourself for all to see. That's okay though. There are plenty of mirrors and people's faces to tell you how you really look. David's also outfits you in the appropriate slip. Then they put a veil, shoes, and jewelry on you. It's so cool to see how you might actually look on your wedding day (minus that special hair-do and make-up).

There was one dress that I loved! I had noticed it months ago in the catalogue. There are a couple of options for customizing/personalizing it for myself. I suppose I can't tell you much more or else it could ruin the surprise. They let me prance around in it for about an hour while trying on the different options and accessories and such.

After David's, we headed up the Northway to Saratoga Springs. We went to Danielle's Bridal Boutique. Their selection was not as vast but I still tried on several more dresses. There were a couple nice ones that I took note of. My skin was itchy and I was hot and tired by afternoon's end. I have a dozen or so great photographs to refer back to and lots to think about.

After a junk-food stop at the gas station, I dropped Loren off with her family and headed south to go home. I was so beat when I got home that I had to take a nap before dinner. Needless to say I was up late last night busily working around the house. My wedding dress journey is far from over. I must continue to see what's out there and weigh all my options. Where should I look next?

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Proposal

On the morning of Tuesday, April 29, 2008, Michael proposed to me. I was getting ready for work, in the bathroom, putting on my make-up. He simply walked into the room and asked me to marry him. I said "yes," and he gave me the ring. It was wonderful.

Ahhh.. the ring.
Some history:

My Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother's Tombstone in Fulton, NY

The original ring was given to us by my Mother and Aunt. It was my Great Grandmother Margaret Hartnett's Anniversary ring. It contained an Old European cut diamond and was set in a simple 14 Kt. gold band. We decided to have it re-set into a new setting.

The original ring from my Family

I saved the photo below from a Catskill Mountain Region Guide from 2004. The top ring in the photo was my inspiration. We choose Hummingbird Jewelers in Rhinebeck, NY to make the ring because that was the jeweler who featured these rings.

The inspiration for my Engagement Ring (top ring), photograph by Hummingbird Jewelers

The new custom made ring is 18 Kt. white gold, centering the round Old European cut diamond weighing 1.72 ct., I color, VVS1 clarity, set in a 4-prong fishtail setting with channel set diamonds, G color, VS1-VS2 clarity, .30 ct. total weight, and sapphires, total weight .50 cts., alternating 2x2 with a double milgrained edge and hand engraved sides.


Mark Your Calendar Folks!

I think it's safe to say that our venue and date have been finalized. We are getting married on Saturday, September 26, 2009 at the Buhrmaster Barn on the grounds of the Pruyn House in Newtonville, NY - in the Town of Colonie. It's been a grueling search and it feels so great to have this decision made.

Buhrmaster Barn, Photo from the Town of Colonie Website

The Pruyn House is a beautifully restored home situated on 5 ½ acres that was purchased by the Town of Colonie In 1982. It was open to the public in 1985 as a historic and cultural center. There are ten outbuildings including the Buhrmaster Barn reconstructed on the grounds in 1987 and the Verdoy Schoolhouse which arrived in 1996. Other structures include a smokehouse, a potting shed, a woodshed/privy building, a carriage house, wellhouse and restroom facility. The lovely herb and flower gardens maintained by two garden clubs are a focal point for this site.

Gardens at the Pruyn House, Photo by Mike Carey

The Buhrmaster Barn was originally located along the Mohawk River where it was rebuilt in the late 1800's following a fire. Displaced from its original spot in 1911 when the Erie Barge Canal was built, it was moved to Troy-Schenectady Road. When condemned at that location in 1987 by the Federal Aviation Administration, it was moved to its present home at the Pruyn House. The barn features double doors, and is a lovely site for a summertime party when the gardens and the grounds are at their best.
Buhrmaster Barn, Photo by Mike Carey
To visit the Town of Colonie's website and read more information on the Pruyn House and Buhrmaster Barn, click here.