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.