Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wedding Wednesday ~ Engagement Photos

At the end of June we had our official engagement photos.  And honestly I feel so blessed to have such a photographic city.  I went back and forth about doing pictures at either Red Rocks or Downtown.  I went with Downtown because I feel that represents us more as a couple.  Fun, unique, urban.  We met our photographer Molly McGannon and it was the perfect setting for us to get to know each other better as she'll be shooting our upcoming wedding in just 37 days!!!

This seems to be every one's favorite.  @ Millennium Bridge at the very west point of the 16th Street Mall

A lot of the areas we shot at are right next to where I work.  The building I work in is technically two buildings built together.  In this photo we are right outside the other building.

This one is one of my favorites.  Right next to where I work is this big yellow wall. 

This is another favorite, because it is just us.  Plus I like to think that Chris and I are a very fashion forward couple (Chris more than me) and this one shows our style.  I love the pop of his orange paisley tie.

Love my ring.

Right across the street from where I work is the Denver Performing Arts Center.  This picture was taken right in front of one of the door ways to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Also taken at the DPAC.

Another DPAC pic
We got lots more, but those are some highlights.  I remember this day, and the weather being perfect.  We've had an extremely hot summer (62 days and counting of 90+ degrees).  We met right when it would have been the hottest time of day (afternoon going into early evening) and I think it was only in the 80's.  It could have been so uncomfortable had it been in the 90's. 
Thanks so much Molly for your fun photographic talent!  We can't wait to work with you again!
Things are definitely slowing down and I have gotten out of my funk from the previous week.  I physically have 20 journals made!, however they are still not finished.  I still need to attach the pens to the books, and put pictures on the back (each journal will have a different picture of us, we're alternating between the engagement photos and regular everyday life photos).  Once I do that the journals will be completely done! 
We're getting closer and closer to a final headcount (deadline to return RSVP's is 9/1).  Starting after Labor Day we'll be hunting people down who haven't responded. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wedding Wednesday ~ In a Funk

Yesterday I wrote an email to my bridesmaids with "In a Funk" in the title.  I'm officially over planning this wedding.  It's been 9 months since Chris proposed, and we've been pretty much planning the details ever since.  And I'm ready for it to be here.  Only 44 more days to go, and I'll be Mrs. Sweat. 
I had a rough weekend, unable to sleep, and was up at 3am Monday morning, to only sleep a little from 8am - 9am.  I called in sick to work, and told myself it was ok to take a mental health day.  To only have feelings of guilt linger in me yesterday for wasting a day away, and thinking about all of the things I could have accomplished, rather than laying on the couch. 
I knew it was getting bad when all this preparation was starting to effect my mental health.  Sleep is important, and I seem to always wake up in the middle of the night with wedding thoughts consuming my brain, and I'm unable to shut them down to go back to sleep. 
It's hard to balance.  Because truly I want to remember it all, and I know that there will the time when I "think back when" and I'll feel foolish for ever complaining about what I know will be a beautiful, fun, elegant, romantic, and meaningful wedding. 
I did make some organizational improvements over the weekend.  Rather than a huge mess on my kitchen table, I now have piles all over the house.  In the basement are a bin and one box to be taken to the Chateaux on the wedding day.  Up in the guest bedroom is a box of items to take to the hotel and the box to take to the church on the wedding day.  Tucked away in a drawer in the entertainment center are items to take to the rehearsal dinner. 
Over the weekend Chris sewed the remaining 9 journals together, and yesterday I taped the yarn to the back side of them.  Tonight I hope to tape the seam down the spine of the rest of the books. 
Today I signed cards that I'll be passing out at the rehearsal dinner, and throughout the wedding day. 
I do have a rough day of agenda for me.  I still need to follow up with the florist, the harpist, and the cake lady.
I'm still working on the song list, and I honestly think we have too many dances, that nobody will really care to watch.  We have our first dance, the father/daughter dance, the mother/son dance, then we are doing a daughter/father-in-law and son/mother-in-law dance, and lastly my mom wants to do a bride/groom, my parents, his parents dance.  I'm thinking all of our guests will be wicked bored with so many dances. 
I got my veil in the mail last week, and had my first dress fitting on Saturday.  Only a few alterations, which I'm happy about because that's a minimal cost, that could have easily been costly.
Rehearsal dinner invites have gone out, and over all things are coming together nicely.  I love our rehearsal dinner invites (probably more than the wedding invitation itself).  I found this lady on Etsy that created them for $6, I was able to use paper and envelopes from my friend Andrea (who's getting married 2 weeks before me and leftovers from printing out her own wedding invitations), so all I had to get was postage.  $6 for rehearsal dinner invites, plus postage, not bad if I do say so myself!
Once the journals are done, only a few small things are left, and the month of September is looking pretty clear, which is exactly what I wanted.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wedding Wednesday ~ Bachelorette Party Weekend

This past weekend was my super fun-filled and relaxing Bachelorette Party weekend!
Let me tell you all about it.

 The planning and details of this weekend have been in the works for quite sometime.  Around Christmas time when my cousin and Matron of Honor, Kari said that she would throw me a Bridal Shower in April, my fun, party friend and Bridesmaid Michelle immediately said she would do the Bachelorette Party.  Both Kari and Michelle wanted to be in Denver for the festivities so we immediately looked at calendars.  Since Kari has school-aged kids, we decided it would be best if we had the party before the beginning of the school year, and with that the weekend and date was chosen! 
 I got off of work early last Friday and came home to these beautiful flowers from my friend and Bridesmaid Tina!  Unfortunately Tina lives in Florida, so she hasn't really been able to take part in lots of the celebrations, but she'll be here in October, and that's most special!  The flowers were the perfect jump start to the weekend ahead!
Friday night Chris joined us for dinner at Linger, like I wrote about in my previous post.  And we had a super fun time.  My hope was to include Chris so that everyone could get to know each other better, and I think that was a big success! 
Saturday was pure bliss from start to finish.  To make this party like a true getaway I got us rooms at the Four Seasons downtown for both Friday and Saturday night.  This place is simply amazing!  First class service all around.  I didn't even feel like I was in Denver!  We stayed at the hotel the whole day and just relaxed. We started with breakfast at the EDGE restaurant, then went up to the spa.  Michelle and Kari got massages, and I got a body scrub and wrap.  I had never received such a treatment, and it was fabulous.  They had this huge amazing waterfall shower for me to rinse off in, that I felt like I was in heaven.  The spa was decked out with a steam room, relaxation room, and jacuzzi.  Amazing showers, and all the amenities needed to get ready for the day.  After our services we hung out in the jacuzzi a little bit, then headed out to  the 3rd floor patio where the pool is located!  Once we arrived the area was filled with shade, but after about 40 minutes the sun was out and our tan was on!  We had a couple of drinks and even a snack brought right to us!  After the afternoon by the pool we got ready for dinner and the party night ahead!
Once we were ready for our night out we walked and took the shuttle to Zengo where my friends Sarah and April met us for dinner.  Zengo was fantastic, and the evening ended with the waiter bringing us some shots as he heard we were a Bachelorette party!  Cheers!
I had known that there were a few surprises in store, but wasn't too sure what they were.  I thought that the rest of the group was going to meet us downstairs at the hotel bar, but when we arrived back at the hotel and went up to our room the front door was decorated.  I was immediately excited, then I heard voices from coming inside!  I open the door to a group of my friends and decorations everywhere!  Some of the details are X-rated, so I'll leave that up to your imagination!  I even had my own 3-D male cake!!! 
All of us hung out in the room for about an hour before the limo arrived.  I had a little moment, thanking these girls for being part of my life.  I'm so blessed to have such awesome and beautiful friends!
Kari and I

Cathy, April, Sarah, Sara, Annabelle, Michelle, Kari
Brandi, me, and, Denise

Kari, Cathy, Julie, me, Thea, Sara, Brandi

i think i look pretty cute

April, Kari, Julie, Sara, Brandi, Denise, me, Michelle, Thea, Annabelle, Sarah, Cathy
My amazing entourage!!!

Sarah and I dancing the night away!!!
When planning this night, my main priority was to dance.  I told Michelle that I just wanted to go out, drink, and dance, dance, dance.  Everyone pitched in and we got a super fun limo!  We started the night at PT's a local strip club with male dancers!  I really just wanted to do this, because well we could.  It is a Bachelorette Party!  Once inside I was excited as there was a dance floor and a cool vibe.  I knew I wouldn't want to be at the strip club long, so after about an hour I went to Michelle letting her know I was ready to leave.  And leave we would NOT.  Money had been spent for me to go up on stage to get my own personal lap dance!  Holy moly...I did not sign up for this!  So we hung out some more, and after my "present" we were able to leave about an hour later.  After PT's we were back on our way downtown to Chloe and newish dance club, that through the limo we got to skip the line and no cover!  Again this was something just to do because we could.  The place was huge!, again with a dance floor.  We did some more dancing, then relaxed a little bit at a table near the patio to get some fresh air.  After Chloe we headed to the Tavern, which was where I knew I would want to end the night.  I went to the Tavern for my 31st birthday and new it would have the music and atmosphere of what I wanted!  And it didn't not disappoint!  The Tavern has this awesome roof top bar with a dance floor, so we headed up there and danced the rest of the night away!!!  This was definitely the best part of the night.  Seriously a super fun night.  Waking up on Sunday night I kept thinking about how much fun I had.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where I've been Eating

I know I've said it before, and I will say it countless time now in this post and in the future.  I love food.  Food in general is a great thing.  It tastes good, it creates memories, and gives us nutrients for our body.  Something I appreciate even more than food, is good food, ...great food.  A meal shared with a loved one is just about my favorite thing.  Food and sharing a meal is hugely social thing.  As a society I think we base lots of things around food and what our next meal is going to be.  Lately I've had some truly fantastic meals.  The food was great, the company awesome, and an original and fun atmosphere.  So I thought I would take the time to give my .02cents of unoriginal reviews, because truly all I have to say is everything was great, and the food was so tasty... but hopefully I do have some highlights that are worthwhile.
First off is Lola.  Chris and I went here a couple of weekends ago on a double date, with my new friend and co-worker Andrea along with her fiance Ryan.  I was super excited for double date experience and anxious as I wanted the night to go well.  Upon entering the restaurant I loved the atmosphere.  Very chic with Latin touches.  Not too big, not too small.  We were seated right by the kitchen which was sorta annoying, but I guess someone has to sit there.  The menu was a little bit different, but something I didn't really mind as it definitely makes you read all of the details.  We ordered drinks and tableside guacamole!  Super good.  I immediately did a scan of all of ingredients going into the guac (as I make a pretty good guacamole myself) and the big differences I saw were tomato's and garlic.  I put in a diced tomato and I don't put in garlic.  It's been awhile and now I don't even think I can remember what I had.  I just took a peak at the menu and I remember now.  I had the Pan Seared Corvina, which is a white fish.  Very tasty, and my favorite part were the rock shrimp fritters.  Chris' dish was fantastic.  He had Calbo De Mariscos, which was like a seafood stew.  Simply awesome.  The other great aspect for this dinner was the company was lovely.  We sat and enjoyed the food, but also enjoyed each other.  We were easily at the restaurant for almost 3 hours!  I love a nice long leisurely meal where everything just flows and time is of no worry.      

 The Squeak Beak: weird name, awesome food.  I do pretty extensive research when selecting a place to eat, and my dining experience at the Squeaky Bean was no different.  It recently got a 4 star (out of 4 stars) rating through the Denver Post (which in the past it have never given a 4 star rating...ever!) and lots of great reviews via Yelp.  I also learned that the original location had closed a year ago to relocate and open up at new location this past June.  Chris and I dined here this past Wednesday before the Aerosmith concert. We arrived and immediately took notice to super small menu.  The menu was categorized into three sections: vegetables, fish, meat.  The prices seemed pretty reasonable, but we were thrown off.  Our waitress was super nice and immediately opened up when I confessed that the menu was confusing, and if she could us her "spill" about the restaurant and menu.  She graciously went through each element and advised that "whatever we were to pick out we would have fun!"  We started with the Shrimp Curry, which was so delicious.  They were these little shrimp wraps with curry sauce and little lime zest puree balls with coconut.  So light and refreshing!  ...I wish I had taken pictures of our food at all of these restaurants, it's just not a habit that I have!  For our main dishes I had the Pork Loin and Chris had the Fried Chicken.  Mine was so good, with flavors of peach and onion, with this little corn pudding thing on the side (it looked like a stick of butter).  And Chris' chicken was so tender and juicy!  Fabulous flavor!  The only negative to this experience was my dish had two slices of the pork.  And one piece (the smaller portion) was pure fat.  So that was not enjoyed.  The end of the meal we got a visit from this fabulous cheese cart.  We got some (free) samples and ended our evening. 

 I've read about Linger for a very very long time, and have heard such amazing things about this place!  I had tried to go in the past, but reservations were hard to come by unless I wanted to eat dinner prior to 4pm or after 9pm.  So for this occasion I planned way in advance.  I made reservations for four at 6:45pm about two months ahead of time.  So seriously if you want to check this place out, let this be your warning: plan ahead.  I would advise making reservations at LEAST 6 weeks prior, unless you do want to eat dinner at 9pm on a Saturday night, or want a table on a Tuesday night.  This place as an amazing roof top bar with a fantastic view of the Denver City Skyline (that's unfortunately half way being covered up by nearby apartment buildings going up).  Even when we arrived at 6:45pm our table wasn't ready so we went up to experience this roof top bar!  It was gorgeous!  Once we were seating at a comfy 1/2 circle booth we immediately read the menu and wanted one of everything!  This place is a great spot to try a little bit of everything and the plates are meant for sharing!!!  This menu literally takes you around the world and is split up by countries.  So if you are looking for a particular cuisine, you'll most likely find it here! We got a ton of plates: Sesame BBQ Tacos (so flavorful), Wagyu Burger Sliders (these were actually just ok, but they come with Sweet Potato Fries w/ chipotle ketchup, and I just love sweet potato fries), Ceviche (light and fresh, w/ mango!), Pho-Real Spring Roll (super good), Me Krob (now I had never heard of this, but Michelle immediately wanted to try it as it's been referenced in a "Sex and the City" episode, and had she not suggested it, I would have never gotten it, and I'm so glad that I did.  All I can say is the complexity of the flavors in this dish is amazing, and everything mixed together is just something you'll have to try, because I can't even describe it), Scallops (just love scallops all around).  And I think that's all.  Needless to say we left this super fun dinner extremely stuffed.  I can't wait to go back and try and round of new selections!  It was great to share everything and enjoy the view (as we were right next to the window) as the sun went down.
Michelle, me,and Kari @ the roof top in Linger
Saturday a group of friends and I went to Zengo.  I heard of this place on the Food Network a few years ago, and have been wanting to go since.  Super fun Latin/Asian cuisine.  This place had super fun drinks and some sushi that we started with.  I had the nightly special with was a Halibut with a potato cake, mushrooms, and lentils.  The flavors were super delish.  I'll talk more about my experience at Zengo in another post, but over all everything was fantastic!  

As you can tell I've been super busy, and one of the big highlights for me in this busy craziness going on around me is the food.  Eating definitely gives me that moment to sit back and enjoy those around me and have a fun evening and experience!  I absolutely love going to restaurants I've never been to before, and these were all first experiences for me, which was half the fun!  I high recommend any of these places if you ever visit Denver, or live here and want some good food!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wedding Wednesday ~ the wedding table

 I like to think I'm a pretty organized person.  For most part I like to keep a tidy and clean house, and usually I know where stuff  can be found.  I knew that planning a wedding would put my organizational and planning skills to the test.  And I am officially in over my head!
My kitchen table has rarely been used for the purpose of dining, but mainly for junk.  Random things.  As of late it's main job is to hold all of the wedding stuff.  At one point in time only half of the table was covered with wedding things, right now it is the whole table, and it just seems to keep on growing.  I have a huge bin downstairs in the basement full of our wedding ornaments, napkins, jewelry, and other misc wedding items.  Up above you may see a mess.  But I see our wedding bands, RSVP cards, Thank You notes, Thank you gifts, contracts, items for our Table Number/Guest Books, etc...
But I am little bit nervous, because I'm definitely NOT as organized as I thought I would be.  There have been many times I've rummaged through that table thinking that for sure the item I was looking for could be found, to only be frustrated that it's not there!
For example: the journals I'm making for the Table Numbers.  I've made 11 of them, and they require cereal boxes to make.  Well when I started this project I had 6 cereal boxes so I made what I could out of what I had.  I went and purchased ALL of the paper and other supplies needed to make the total amount needed.  Lately I've gotten the rest of the cereal boxes needed, and started round two of the Table Numbers.  When I went to locate and use the paper that lines the journals it was nowhere to be found.  Now I know I purchased enough paper.  But I just couldn't find it.  So on Monday I went to Michael's and hopefully purchased the last of all wedding related supplies and crafts needed.  I'm so over it!  And now we're going to have two different types of journals.  Obviously not a big deal and nobody will know it but me, but still.
I'm getting super anxious about a bunch of things.  I have a bunch of small wedding projects that I plan to just do one at a time, one a night, just to get it done. 
One project that I completed on Monday was our gift card box.  I bought this box on some wedding website for like $20, and got some ribbon and a flower to fancy it up.  Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

I can't believe August is here.  To be honest I'm sorta dreading it.  Way back when, and when I saw what was on my "To-Do" list for August, I just didn't want to deal with it.  Like the Day Of agenda, the details of how the transportation is going to take place, the flow of the reception (when do we do toasts, the bouquet toss, the garter toss?...).  Thinking about any of that I just get a headache.
In addition to all of the above I only really have two weekends in August to get all of this stuff done.  This weekend is a busy one and we're out of town next weekend.  If I had the whole month of August I probably wouldn't be too concerned, but knowing that the first half of the month is occupied with other things, and that only leaves me the second half of the month for all remaining wedding items, I just get anxious.  I know I still have the month of September, but I have other items that I'm taking care of in September, and I just feel like if I can get it done now it's one less thing I have to worry about.  Anything that I can take care of in August, I just want it done! 

In other happy news (because truly all of this is happy news) I found out last week that my friend and bridesmaid Tina will be traveling to Denver (from Florida) with her whole family!  Originally it was just going to be her in attendance, but she figured out away for her husband and two boys to join in the celebration!  This elated me with such joy, and we now have two Ushers!!!  Yeah for fabulous friends!!!

Countdown: 65 Days!!!