Give-Away: Retail Therapy

I need some retail therapy, how about you?

I’m just now recovering from last weekend’s disaster. As some of you might now, my phone was lost, then I discovered it was stolen – but only after I had recovered it. So, I was sort of a super sleuth, even though I didn’t know it. An explanation exists here.

While I would love to sit around and think of all the ways to exact revenge, sometimes the best revenge is living well.  And what better way to live well than to go shopping?  Plus, I have bigger fish to fry: I need to finish my outfit for the big wedding this weekend! One of my sweetest, dearest friends is getting married to her dream man this weekend, outdoors, in the afternoon AND the evening. So, I’ve chosen to go with an airy, classic navy pleated maxi skirt. But the top half? I have no idea…

If YOU can give me some suggestions (with pics or links!) of a great top to go with this skirt, then YOU could be the winner of a crisp, new, shiny $50 gift-card to The Limited!! (A big thanks to my friends at The Limited in Castleton Square Mall for giving me an extra one to give away after my awesome shopping trip last weekend!)

Post away in the comments section! I’ll enter your name in the drawing!!

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What should I wear with this skirt? The top in the picture is not an option, unfortunately. Post in the comments and you could win: $50 gift card to The Limited
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The Limited, unlimited.

If you’re a girl, then you know when you lose a bunch of weight and you get all giddy about being able to shop places you couldn’t before? Well, yeah. The Limited is one of those places for me.  Tiny little pants.  Tiny little tees.  All cut explicity not to accomodate my apple shape.  Now, they’re making their styles more accessible to all of us and bringing their new plus size line (eloquii), designed for women sizes 14 to 24, here to Indy at the Castleton Square Mall!

Yes, we still have a “plus size” distinction here in this wonderful world we live in.  Is that how it is in every country?  I imagine it’s worse in Europe.  Dear god; France.  Where a size 8 is fat.  But I digress…

I’m a shopaholic and I’ll shop anywhere once – and I’m a sucker for brands within brands.  The Limited‘s plus size line, ‘eloquii‘ promises to be “modern”, “young”, and “stylish”- all while respecting curves.  Damn, if eloquii is a man, is he single?  I know some single ladies that have check-boxes by those words on their wish lists.  🙂

The Limited is having an official Grand Opening celebration today through Sunday June 10th to celebrate bringing this line to Indy (at the Castleton Square Mall), where eloquii will be a store-within-a-store of sorts.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  I’ll be checking it out at lunch, searching for a dress to wear to the wedding of the year, and I’ll post my thoughts later tonight.

OH!  And – I’m going to give away an awesome gift courtesy of the nice folks at The Limited, too!

A sampling of the options in the eloquii summer line!

 

 

*disclaimer: You should be aware that I am eating a tiny piece of chocolate mousse pie as I write this. 

The Wedding Day Diary: Reception

After the kisses and hugs came the wrangling of family members and bridesmaids and groomsmen for pictures! This did not thin out the crowd at all. Ben’s large family + my large family = 99% of the attendees at the wedding. I thought I had fine-tuned this part so that it would go quickly and smoothly, but no such luck. I really felt bad for Kris & Nikki during this part –

  • OK, all of Ben’s family – yes, everyone.  Everyone that is here that is related to Ben by blood, get in the picture!
  • Now add me.
  • Ok, now just Ben’s immediate family.
  • Now add me.
  • Just Ben & his immediate immediate family – – where are his parents?…just a few more pics!
  • Now add me.
  • Ok, Ben & his brothers & sisters?  Ok? no?
  • Ok, my entire family – gather in the middle.  no the middle.  In a circle.  no no no – a circle!
  • Yes, the ENTIRE family – in-laws, nephews, etc.  Look up!  Look straight ahead!
  • Ok, add Ben.
  • Ok, just me & my brothers and sisters.  They’re spouses?  Dang it – no, not yet – we’ll do that next.
  • Now add Ben
  • What?  no no!  We still need the groomsmen & bridesmaids; we’ll be just a second!
  • Ok, from the balcony?  Ok.  uh, yeah cool from the balcony too then.
  • Ok, just me & my mom??  No?  Ok, add Ben

I didn’t plan that well at all.  And while I’m trying to corral people together, Ben has kidnapped Kris & has started taking Glamour Shots with his Groomsmen.

My shoes are KILLING me.

I don’t even know how long it took to take all those pictures.  But it was at least three-times longer than I planned on it taking.  I hope the appetizers kept guests occupied and full 🙂

I couldn’t WAIT to finally get to the party.  The Reception!  The Harrison Center for the Arts‘ ancient gymnasium had been magically transformed to my Shabby-Chic-Rustic-Romantic gala of my dreams by Natalie & La Vida Dulce Events, and to my knowledge the beer & wine were flowing, the DJ was rockin’ and everyone was waiting for us to show up!

We walked into the reception to one of Ben’s original songs he had written for a film he did the previous year in school – a bouncy fun piano tune.  The DJ had been having so many problems with it, he passive-aggressively made a point to highlight the fact that we insisted on playing it.   But, the DJ was one aspect of the wedding that I had to realize that no matter how much control I tried to exert over it, I just wasn’t going to get my way entirely.  I submitted a 3-hour long play list for the wedding, highlighting the songs I wanted to play at certain times, during certain things.  I just didn’t expect him to play it all before I arrived….  But, I did also have a few DO NOT PLAY UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH songs on my list, and luckily they never showed up.  But, it just irks me to have gone out of my way to designate certain songs for certain things, and then not hear those songs.  But it seemed that everyone had a fine time anyway, and he played all the requests that people could dish out!

Yes, a fine time was had by all, after Ben & I got out first dance out of the way.  We danced to Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”.  It was perfect for us!  Then we allowed everyone to eat!  The best thing about getting married is that you’re first in line for the buffet!  Ok ok, the BEST thing is getting all those awesome tax benefits.  Ok, for real, the really REAL BEST thing about getting married is being so in love you can’t contain it any longer and have to share and show your love to all your friends and family!!  A very close second is the buffet line jumping.

Trust me, you would want to be at the head of this buffet.  The Jazz Kitchen catered our wedding, and the brilliant chef-owner, and dear friend David Allee was there personally.  I’m not just saying this, because every bride thinks SHE had the best, but I really DID have the BEST food at my wedding.  Ask anyone there.  Pork loin with cranberry & apple compote, Roasted Vegetable tortellini, delicious moist cornbread…I couldn’t get enough!  The easiest, most stress-free part of my wedding was working with The Jazz Kitchen and Lu-Ann – she foresaw things I hadn’t thought of, and took care of them before there was a problem.  The food was a no-brainer; it’s my favorite food in the Midwest easily, so of course I was going to use them as my caterer; but my expectations were totally exceeded.

So what’s for dessert?  Well, SOME people, who shall go unnamed, ate their dessert FIRST!  Looking back, one of the funniest moments in mind is as Ben & I walked to our table at the reception, I gazed around, looking at the tables, the table runners, the tree-stump centerpieces, and the cakes and cupcakes that were displayed on top of each centerpiece.  Rather, that should’ve been displayed on top of each centerpiece.  My eyes (and heart) stopped at a table very close to me whose tree-stump centerpiece had neither a small round cake, nor several dainty cupcakes.  Mini panic-attack ensues, covered by a plastered on smile from ear to ear.  I wasn’t worried that the people at the table wouldn’t get cake – no, there was plenty to be had and shared.  It just didn’t look…cohesive.  There was one glaring bald spot in the meadow of shabby-chic table clothes and centerpieces.  How could this happen?!  As soon as I had a free moment, I asked.  Turns out, immediately upon sitting down, everyone at the table lay claim to one of the brightly decorated cupcakes and couldn’t just leave it unprotected upon the stump – no – they had to have it on the plate right in front of them.  Everyone at that table did this.  It cracked me the hell up.

Yes, it’s important to have good looking cakes (and/or cupcakes, whatever your preference) at the wedding.  To me, it’s equally important that they be the best damn cakes/cupcake you’ve had in your life.  I thought I had found the best cupcakes when I tasted the famous Flying Cupcake Bakery’s offerings.  But, on a whim, I decided to give an old High School friend’s bakery upstart a try – in the name of trying to keep my vendors über local.  Mica Gosnel calls her miracle creation factory “Confectioneiress Cupcakes”.  To eat one is to experience the joy of having the entire Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie explode in your mouth.  I had been looking forward to eating 5 specific cupcakes that entire day:

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Lemon/Vanilla
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Food & Drink flowed (the drinks thanks to last-minute helpers Natalie, Tony, Eric, Zach and many others) and toasts were made.  Ben’s Mom & Dad’s toasts were incredibly sweet; I’m so lucky to be so thoroughly and seamlessly accepted and loved by Ben’s family.  Zach’s speech was very funny, without being painful.  Then, who won the “painfully funny” award, you ask?  My brother.  After a long pause after the other toasts were done, Curtis (my oldest brother, who walked me down the aisle.  Who sheltered me during my first job out of college.  Who will one day insist that I pay him for his legal advice…) regaled us with good tidings and “welcomed Ben to the…genital pool.”

What?

“Welcome to the gene pool” would have been embarrassing enough, but genital pool?!  I was mortified.  Hysterically mortified.  Honestly, I didn’t mind at all.  I’m glad, thankful, that my brother got up and spoke on my family’s behalf.   And, his snafu is an exactly accurate portrayal of my side of the family!  My brother is an extremely intelligent, and very learned, lawyer, and regardless of that he’s still human.  And I think that describes me to a T too.  hahaha.  And it was one of the most memorable, funniest moments of the day.

My reception could STILL be going on right now, six months later, and I wouldn’t be tired of it.  I wish I had gotten to talk to people a whole lot more.  I wish I hadn’t danced in those damn shoes for SO long.

The next day, we were off to our honeymoon
and we’re still on it.

The Wedding Day Diary

 

The curtain has closed on our big day…

I’ve been procrastinating, being down-right lazy, not wanting to write this final wedding blog. I’m sad it’s over…no more planning, no more color swatches to toy with, no more decorations to make, no more food & cake to sample…

I at least have gorgeous pictures from Kris Arnold and Nikki Dahl (now, Nikki Arnold congrats!) to keep the wedding memory fresh. They did such a remarkable job documenting the whole thing from start to finish.  I think you can tell by the photos that the day went smoothly, but to satisfy my need to re-live the moments, and to keep my story a bit better organized than normal I’ve formatted the day’s events into a diary entry – enjoy!

9:00am: Rise & Shine!  My brother calls to see if I want to eat breakfast.  GD-it, no!  I want to sleep!  My mom can’t wait to get out of the hotel room, so she joins him.   I sleep in a while longer…

11am: I’m up and at ’em, with not too much to do.  Nothing on my itinerary started before noon (smart cookie, eh?), so I watched TV and painted my nails.

12pm:  I’m nervous that I’m not getting any calls…
Mr. M and my long-time beloved friend Mr. Chad are busy starting their day wrangling the home-made decorations and other wedding paraphernalia from my house and lugging it to the reception site.

1pm:  Bridesmaids start to arrive to my hotel, with tons of munchies, including my all-time favorite cookie that bridesmaid Monica’s Grandma makes.  But I’m too nervous to eat much.  A couple of grapes here and there.  I’m mostly nervous because there’s nothing for us to do but wait.

2pm:  Things get rollin’ around this time.  My AMAZING hairdresser Megan from A ‘Do Hair Salon arrives.  Megan gets my hair.  She just *gets* it.  And she gets it right every time.  She’s the first hairdresser I’ve trusted in a long time.  She helped me grow my hair out longer than it’s ever been…and she’ll be the one to shear it all off when I’m ready!
It’s also around 2pm that I realize I forgot to put “Pick Up The Wine!” on the Leading Man’s ‘To-Do’ list!!  I had ordered wine from Easley Winery downtown, and was supposed to have someone pick it up earlier that day to take to the reception to set up at the bar.  I was freaking out.   I called Mr. Chad, and he was amazingly calm.  One thing that I under-appreciated that day was that he was the buffer between me & Mr. M all day.  He never let me get hysterical, and probably more valuable, he never let Mr. M hear me get hysterical or stressed out.  He was soooo caalllmm.
I also called my Mighty Mouse of the day, Natalie Hinton, owner of La Vida Dulce Events.  Natalie was busy getting the lay of the land at the Harrison Center for the Arts.  She assured me that just in case Mr. Chad forgot to tell Mr. M, or Mr. M didn’t get my text, she would be sure that it got done.  Sigh. Of. Relief.  Natalie — and her incredibly all-in husband — did an amazing job for me the entire day.  You’ll see their importance throughout this blog-diary, but I have to tell you right now, it was THE BEST purchase for my wedding.  Yes, the food was amazing;  Yes, the cake was the best cake anyone has every had at a wedding – or elsewhere;  But none of it would have been possible, and would have in fact all fallen apart, had Natalie not been there to sew together the final stitches to make it all happen.

4:30pm My Mom, Bridesmaids, and I leave the hotel downtown and head to the Harrison Center.  This was one of the more acutely planned details of the day.

4:30p – we leave hotel room
4:45p – we arrive at Harrison Center to take a pre-view look around
5:00p – Shuttle arrives; Bridesmaids, Mom, and I take shuttle to the Wedding Site
5:30p – Guests start to arrive at Harrison Center to take shuttle to Wedding Site
6:30p – Wedding Starts

But, here’s how it went down.
4:45pm: We arrive at the Harrison Center, and all the bridesmaids park their car, and we slip into the Harrison Center to take a peek at the gym to see how the decorations turned out.  Natalie meets me and gives me an update.  All the vendors have been paid, and the cakes have just arrived, and everything has gone very smoothly.  I stepped inside the gym, and I am now kicking my arse that I didn’t take a picture then.  “Smoothly” was an understatement.  The bar was completely set up.  The DJ was already set. The Jazz Kitchen was ready to set out appetizers for the first arriving guests.  And from typed out notes and hand-written messages on boxes filled with home-made crafts, La Vida Dulce created my big-picture artsy reception right down to the last detail, totally exceeding my expectations!  Fabric bows on every-other chair?  yes.  Tissue Poms in the bird cage with a tree stump in the middle?  Yes.  3-4 fabric flowers around every Tree-Stump centerpiece?  Yes.  I am about to cry at how perfect it is, then the cakes start to arrive, and my bridesmaids are telling me we have to go, so we scoot out the back door where I’ve told the Shuttle driver to meet me.

So can you tell me why guests are outside the Harrison Center at 4:45pm waiting for the shuttle!!??

5:15pm:  After side-stepping Shuttle mayhem, we arrived at the house (wedding site).  Us girls ran upstairs, avoiding the guys, and took refuge in our “suite”.  It was SO HOT.  I can only imagine what the guests downstairs and outside in the sun were feeling.  I finished getting dressed (too early, probably), so all there was left to do was wait.  And wait.  We noticed our flowers had already been delivered and were set up in the corner for us.  McNamara Florists did a wonderful job.  I had originally wanted Peonies for my bouquet; but they advised that July was very rare for them to be in bloom, since it was the very end of their season.  So as my back-up I chose Anemones.  About a week before the wedding, McNamara’s let me know that their growers did not have any Anemones.  Crap.  So I really had no choice.  I just said go with Garden Roses.  McNamara said that if there was any possibility of getting either of my first choices, they would do it…but not to get my hopes up.  These things happen.  It’s just a bouquet, and really, any of the 3 flower choices would have looked gorgeous, so I was very much NOT stressing about it.  But, I was elated to see that they did end up finding the Peonies!

And I completely left the bridesmaids’ bouquets creation up to McNamara.  I just told them I wanted a “rustic, fresh-picked from the field” look, and they nailed it.

6:00pm: 6pm arrived so quickly, yet came so slowly at the same time.  The bridal party swished downstairs and I exited the room last.  This was it.  I was waiting at the top of the stairs (waiting to be summoned) and I could hear the din of voices downstairs.  I was so acutely aware of everything going on around me:  the shuffling of feet as the bridal party paraded out the door;  the violin playing outside (courtesy of our lovely friend Lauren Eison {of Sloth Pop});  the butterflies in my stomach;  the feel of how perfectly my dress fit;  the smell of the peonies in my bouquet.

Finally, it was time for me to walk out.

This was the first time on this day that I thought of my dad.  Dad died 8 years ago from lung cancer.  Eight years ago, a wedding was the furthest thing from my mind.  Even in my imagination, my dream wedding wasn’t a formal show of any sort, and I honestly didn’t envision walking down the aisle with ANYONE.  But, now, years later, I was wishing he was here.

I met my oldest brother at the door, and he escorted me down the steps, through the crowd, and into the hands of  Ben.  Our “Master of Ceremonies”, Jim Poyser (esteemed editor at NUVO Newsweekly) harnessed all the nervous and static energy that was running through me and Ben, and everyone watching and just brought it all magically down to a quiet focal point.  We all took a collective breath;  then we sang “Thank You for Being a Friend” – yes, from Golden Girls – at which point I could no longer hold in all my feelings anymore and I started to cry.  I really really really wanted to sing that song.  But I couldn’t get out two words without choking up.  The rest of the ceremony – the prayer, the tree planting, the vows – went by so quickly, and before I knew it we were headed out the gate to our get-away bike!  This was one of my most favorite things about our wedding.  My friend Scott from  DG Bikes lent us a tandem bike and it made for an awesome trip around the block, and some awesome wedding pictures!
I’ll pause here so you can enjoy a few pics; tune in tomorrow for the continuation:  Wedding Day Diary – The Reception, where we enjoy food, cake and plenty o’ drinks.

Engagement Pictures: Deja Vu

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You will remember my Flickr post of engagement pictures last fall that my longtime friend and talented photographer Samuel McDonough took at the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Ben & I are created a picture book out of those shots that Samuel took, and we needed just a few more to add to make the book complete!

Thanks to my lovely friend and bridesmaid Kate Franzman for taking a few moments out of her day to snap some shots of Ben and I at our favorite local art space, the Indianapolis Art Center.  Ben and I originally wanted to have our wedding here, outdoors, in front of this little crooked house, with an al fresco reception on the large deck overlooking the … beautiful? … White River.   However, a quite better location came available (thanks to future MIL!), so I felt the best way to use this beautiful space was to capture Ben and me within it.  It was a perfect evening, and Kate was able to capture the scenery’s magical qualities just the way we so often see it when it’s just me & Ben on a stroll.

Thanks so much Kate!

The etiquette of making it Rain.

A wedding shower is a tradition that has been passed down through bridal tradition for thousands of years.  I’ve no idea what the tradition means to the modern bride.  But oh so long ago it was a necessary part of a woman’s journey into marriage.

In days of old, the bridal shower was an occasion for the women from both the bride’s family and the groom’s family gathered with the bride to teach her how to be a top-notch bride, and to share some secrets on having a great sex life.

Now, the bridal shower is filled with cheeky games and Tupperware, and food.  I admittedly have been to very few bridal showers in my life, so I’m not sure why I was dreading my own.  Maybe it was all the frustrations my bridesmaids had planning the party, maybe it was that I secretly feared there would be actual sexual advice said aloud in a room of mixed company, maybe I was nervous because none of my family would be there.  I do know that I had no idea what a modern-day bridal shower was all about.

All my fears were calmed after just a few minutes inside.  My bridesmaids Hilary, Heidi, Monica & Kate had decorated and set up a real crowd-pleaser of a party!

They really did a great job – from the cake to the napkins – it was all SO Rebecca.  They ❤ Me 🙂

Refreshments
Cake!
Flowers!

I was really excited that everything looked amazing (and tasted amazing!)…but what were we going to DO?  Luckily, my MIL Karen came up with three n0t-too-cheesy games.  And the prizes for the winners?  Flowers from her very own back-yard garden, the very one Ben & I will be married within in just 55 days!  What a cool lady!

The first game I had to correctly guess what Ben’s answers were to 10 questions.  The questions were along the lines of “What’s Ben’s favorite movie?”, “Who is Ben’s hero?”,  “Boxers, briefs…or commando?”.   Guests kept score.  Sadly, I only got 50% of them right!  But, to be fair, Ben answered  a couple of them WRONGLY!  lol.  This game was HILARIOUS.  At least the answers I did get right, I got them word-for-word right.  It’s something.

I shoulda got more answers right!

Then, we played “What’s in Rebecca’s Purse?” – the winner was the person with the most matching items.  Luckily, I brought my full bag of tricks.

Finally, we had a fashion show!  Four teams competed in making a wedding dress out of toilet paper!  My long-time lovely friend Jon Garrison was the only male in attendance, and he was such a good sport!  He served as a model on one of the teams and allowed the girls to swathe him in toilet paper and adorn him with a flowered headdress.

And I had to pick a winner.  I chose Jon.  But it was because of his team spirit.  The best design truly did belong to the team of Kate, Monica, Sarah, and Kristin.  I absolutely would’ve worn the dress they designed.

The models!

Then, I opened presents.  And I didn’t once, not even ONCE, have to fake excitement.  I am so thankful for the small, intimate, close-knit family and friends that love me – they know exactly who I am, and never cease to make me happy!

haha! My happy-face.

I made everyone a little take-home thank-you gift — well, I didn’t MAKE them — I re-packaged locally made gourmet marshmallows from 240-Sweet.  These things are a sugar-lovers heaven, so watch out!  I packed the marshmallows in twos and made stickers for the package using an owl stamp my friend and bridesmaid Hilary got for me.

A
Treats from 240Sweet

And I must say a big thank you to friend and bridesmaid Heidi for getting us the space at local coffee shop Hubbard & Cravens.  It was beautiful and perfect for 20 or so people!

Hubbard & Cravens

I may still not know what a bridal shower means to this generation of brides.  If you have any ideas, please let me know!  But what I do know is that I definitely felt the love and support that day that often brides start to become deprived of when they bury their heads in their own little world of wedding planning.  I felt grounded and happy surrounded by that group of friends and future family that day.  And if that’s all I learn about bridal showers…then that’s enough.

xoxo

view more party fun here!

The Wedding Neckline

My dress should arrive in just a few short weeks!  So I’ve been thinking about shoes, necklaces, earrings…

I’ve fallen in love with items by local Indianapolis artist Erin Keys.  My bridesmaid Hilary discovered her at Details, a local gift and jewelry store.  Erin’s hand-made jewelry is romantic and easy to wear.  It’s tempting to just buy a few of these; they’re really affordable.  But I must wait for my dress to arrive to make sure the necklace is perfect….