Pretty thing of the day #4: gorgeous invitations

LOVE these beautiful letterpress custom invitations from HelloLucky!


Engagement anniversary!

Popping the question was a big deal for my fiance. The reason I'm sure of this is that he remembers the date of our engagement. We have never been a couple who celebrates the day we met or even the time of year that marks another year of our relationship. He's never been the kind of boyfriend who plans for weeks what he will give me for my birthday. But he's been looking forward to today, the "one-year anniversary of our engagement," for at least a week. It WAS a big deal, and I'm so glad he asked me and that he took my trembling hand that night.

This has been one hell of a year! So far:
• diamond ring + the man of my dreams
• job change
• major consulting job executed
• bathroom remodeled
• side career started and put aside
• one sister graduated from college; another from high school
• move to a new city
• cohabitation
• wedding dress purchased
• great lake vacation and travel with friends
• paralympic champion sister
• yard landscaped
• more friends tie the knot!
• first-ever deer/car collision
• official dog-ownership
• ownership of Grandma Jo's china and Granny's silver (= holy cow I am a grown up)

So, now, unbelieveably, we have 138 days until our first dance as husband and wife. Here's to many more anniversaries to celebrate!


Run, Breaker, run ...

Doggie update:

Four weeks. Five breakouts (maybe more, I've lost count). That's Breaker's record so far.

And Patrick called a little before 5 p.m. yesterday to let me know that Breaker was loose, dragging his leash behind him. It's so strange that a creature that is so doting, that follows Patrick and me around the house like a precious shadow and snuggles in the evenings and the same dog that groggily plods down the hallway to get a drink in the morning suddenly becomes a wild animal. One whiff of fresh air and he loses all sense and all smarts, all loyalty. We should have named him Forrest. I've never seen a dog run like that.

Is this how one party feels when couples end up in divorce -- confined and crazed by the temptation to run away? Is it possible to foster a partnership (with man or beast) in which neither party ever feels that primal instinct to "run!"? In the end, I think we all feel temptation and cabin fever every once in a while with the status quo of our lives. But, I find consolation in knowing that even those who yearn to run away want the comfort and safety of home.

About 20 minutes after Breaker made his run for it, Patrick heard a few yelps and barks coming from the wooded part of our yard. There he found our big black lab tangled, his leash wrapped around a tree trunk. "Come get me," he barked to his faithful owner. And he knew Patrick would come and take him home, wrap him in his arms, and love him just the same.

I hope my marriage, friendships, and (one day) my own family will be filled with the same kind of unconditional welcome and forgiveness.


Overwhelming love and gratitude

I adore Thanksgiving as a holiday. It is a day and time void of pretenses and expectations, designed to remind each of us of the many blessings we enjoy every day. This year, my mom's side of the family descended on my parents' home from all parts of the country -- Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, California -- to celebrate. And this year, especially, I was touched by so many precious and wonderful moments. I felt so much love, warmth, and genuine gratitude.

Our first bridal shower, held on Saturday, moved me to tears. It is difficult to explain what it feels like to be showered with beautiful and generous gifts simply because you are happy and in love. My neighbors Marty and Sue prepared a gorgeous brunch. Anna and Emma dutifully made ribbon bouquets and recorded gifts. We all laughed and the group watched as I opened beautiful package after beautiful package. (Above, I am demonstrating the wonders of OXO pop containers... "oooh" ... "ahhh") It was overwhelming.

Unpacking everything on Sunday, the gifts seemed to "fill" up the house. Through this process of planning and showers and gift-giving, the people we love and who love us are building our home. The coffee pots and wine glasses and throw blankets and baskets are daily reminders of those who grew us into the family we are now and will support us in the family we become.

Thank you. My cup runneth over.


Sweet memories

Today's post is a shout-out to Nicole and Matt on the week of their first anniversary. I will always remember their wedding as a day of sweet and imperfect joy. They overcame the challenges of a two-year-long engagement and many other wedding-day snafus and ended up with an unforgettable November celebration. I will always remember: sipping on hazelnut lattes at the hair salon in the early morning, the joyful, tearful toasts at the rehearsal dinner, the way she sparkled in her couture beaded gown as I've never seen her before, and laughing and dancing with my oldest friends to "Shout" at the reception. But the sentiment I think I will always cherish most is the memory of Nicole's steadfast and overwhelming sense of calm and presence of mind as a bride. She never wavered that day. She was her normal, happy self. And her surety and peace at marrying Matt calmed all around her. I love her dearly. Happy one-year, one day late!


It's all coming together now...

Here's a peek at the way inspirations are becoming realities for the big day. After all of the mind-changing, it seems like the big picture will be pretty, simple, and romantic. I'm starting to see it instead of have nightmares about it: pies, damask table runners, the blue ball jars, navy dresses, peach and orange accents, all accented by laughter and dancing! Paper products and other small details are the next step, so I'm starting to brainstorm.

T-minus 160-some days and counting!


Here’s the story: A big black lab showed up at the concrete shop on Monday and was almost hit a few times on the highway. My future husband (a.k.a the Dog Whisperer ) didn't want it to be hurt or hit, especially after said dog sat and shook and did other pet-like things. So he took it home. We called the Humane Society and they said that they'd been getting calls about this dog for three weeks; there was an ad on the paper and a notice online that a black lab dog had been found with no responses. Given the fact that Patrick is smitten with this adorable creature, I think it's safe to say big-black-dog is ours.

We've been talking about getting a puppy for a while now, but life keeps getting in the way. Apparently God had other plans, because he delivered an obedient, house-trained, well mannered, and sweet dog to our doorstep. He has huge paws and lots of puppy fat around his little jowls and neck.

Now, without futher ado I introduce Breaker, the big black lab…the newest member of our home. We named him “breaker” as in “jail Breaker” because he’s been on the run. And since I didn't grow up with pets, I'm sure you'll soon know him well. This heart-"Breaker" is sure to be the subject of many future "cohabitation" posts. ;)


Fun fixes

Since it's Friday and I haven't posted for a while, I thought I'd share this Web site with you. Miss Oops (http://www.missoops.com/) carries hilarious and suprisingly functional stuff for weddings and for everyday life. Some stuff reminds me of SPANX, other items made me go, "Ah-ha! I've always wanted something that would fix that." Above is the "Boob Tube" (ha!) which is an instant-fix when the girls want to put on a show in your favorite v-neck sweater. I've always wanted something that could the cleve' in check for the office. So clever! Enjoy!

Bridezilla attacks!

Everyone has heard of a “bridezilla.” The crazed bride who wants things a perfect, certain way for eight hours of her life no-matter-what-for-goodness-sakes. Or the panicked woman barking orders, making strange demands, complaining about every person/thing/decision in her path. And I would venture to guess that most brides (present and past) vowed never to behave in such a manner. I am one of those who disavowed the monster. Lately, though, it seems like I am on edge, emotional, distracted, and hyper-sensitive about, well, pretty much everything. I am beginning to feel like the beast, rather than the beauty.

Take it for what it is (which is rationalizing irrational behavior), but I empathize with those brides who've gone before me who may have teetered on the edge of sanity. You see, right now in my life everything I am doing, everything happening in my life -- from grocery shopping to home decorating, to choosing bouquet flowers and rehearsal dinner locations -- seems to be connected to or affected by the fact that in 170-some days I'll be a wife and we'll be a married couple. That's a lot to process. There are many details, reception/cemony-related and little life details like name changes, job changes, merging routines.

In the midst of this HUGE thing, it's hard to remember that others are not impacted in the same way by your life event. No bride needs a swarovski-crystal-encrusted, monogrammed aisle runner, a la Platinum Weddings. The world does not stop turning and life does not stop happening, and as a bride I must remember that.

BUT, I am firm in my belief that a wedding and all of the events surrounding it are enough to make a gal's head spin a little, to make her do silly things, forget, overreact, procrastinate, etc. And I think that, within reason, us brides should get a little bit of a benefit of the doubt when it comes to emotions. And I guess I have to afford myself that break, too, by remembering to not forget about other things, other events, other lives in the middle of the craziness.

*I found the hilarious illustration on the Web, but I have no idea where it originated!


Aruba, Jamaica, oooooh I wannna take you....

Honeymoon reservations are one item on the list for November. We want to go tropical, and we're thinking Caribbean. I'm wondering if any of you have suggestions on resorts, packages, locales, etc. that were fabulous honeymoon spots or wonderful vacations. I'm definitely not an expert in the luxurious travel department, so bring on the comments!


Real conversation.

P: “I slept so well.”

Me: “Mmm…me too.”

P: “That’s the first thing I thought when I woke up. And then I thought, ‘I’m so lucky to have someone like this next to me in bed every morning.’”

Me: Smile, sigh.

(Will somebody please pinch me?... :) )


Another one bites the dust

It's amazing that after so many years of knowing Amanda and Ryan as a couple, it can still feel a little strange to know that Amanda is now Mrs. Olton. The wedding was beautiful, especially the heartfelt ceremony. She cried through the vows ... and so did I! I was going to wait until later this week to post about the wedding, but was editing photos tonight and found this magical one of their first dance (prior to the moment they busted out with a coreographed routine to Sir Mixalot's "Big Butts," of course.) Wishing them a wonderful life together. 

Pretty thing of the day #3: cute cookie bar

Since Patrick and I are now consulting bakers, I've had desserts on the mind. Sweets aren't really our thing, especially cakes. We do both have favorite cookie recipes from moms and grandmothers and family members. Maybe you'll see take-home cookie bar at our reception? I was actually thinking ... why all that trouble ... until I saw the above picture on Snippet and Ink wedding blog. The bride had her family members pitch in to each make a few dozen cookies. Isn't it cute? 


My glass slippers

An exciting message awaited me earlier this week. My wedding gown has arrived (!!!!!!!) at the adorable Something Old Something New bridal boutique in Pendleton, Ind. So, today it only seemed natural to post about bridal shoes. I've seen lots in magazines and blogs lately about wearing a vibrant colored shoe to coordinate with the color palette. I love the idea of concealing that surprise burst of color under the pristine white dress. Someone like Anna (my fashion-pro of a sister) could choose the most outrageous shoe and dazzle. My other MOH, Emma, could sport a pair of fuzzy wedding slippers under her dress and be comfy and chic. However, true to my coordinated self, I placed an order earlier this week for a simple, ivory shoe with a modest heel. They're similar to those pictured above. Nothing wrong with a little tradition, right? Perhaps I can provide a surprising pop of color in other concealed places ... wink, wink. Happy Thursday!


Cohabitation part III: the shower lever

Confession: I always forget. I always forget to take my finger and plunk down the little lever on our bathtub faucet that makes the water run through the shower head. Why is this significant? It's the tiny thing that my fiance asks of me.

He brews me coffee, leaves the porch lights on for me, deposits his clothes in the hamper, places the toilet seat in the down position, and has even vacated his former t-shirt drawer for my use. The problem with my leaving that little lever up is that when said beloved pokes his head past the shower curtain to turn on a hot shower in the morning or evening, he is soaked unexpectedly. When I hear a heavy sigh or agitated grunt, I wince. "Woops, I meant to put that down. Sorry!"

My dad lovingly refers to this kind of forgetfulness as "booby-trapping." I believe all women do it. Not intentionally. I have a hunch that booby-trapping can wear on a marriage/relationship because it preys on individual preferences rather than joint decisions. I don't really care if the lever is already up...one less task for me to complete at 6 a.m. It currently is THE MOST ANNOYING thing in Patrick's life. So, I am going to try harder to remember. I would like to report: this morning, I nudged it to the down position. Sigh. Now, if only I could promise that tomorrow I'll do the same.


Awfully wedded dreams

This morning I felt compelled to write about wedding dreams. Many friends have shared their nightmares with me. The dream-state scenarios range from "I'm about to walk down the aisle and I cannot find my shoes!" to "my bridesmaids ditched their dresses in favor of camo-printed outfits!" (Yes, both are real dreams of my friends!)

Last year, amidst a sea of wedding preparations (remember, 2007 was the 'year of weddings'), I found their stories hilarious. When the scenes play in your own subconscious, though, they become a little more disturbing. Especially if dreams mean something deeper than the absurd.

I mean, my dream that some random lady was practically running me down the aisle before I was ready ... that was funny. The one when wedding day came but none of the details (hair, makeup, flowers, etc.) had been arranged ... yep, that one was my OCD-paranoia coming into play. And then last night I dreamed that my veil wasn't ready and I had a giant crater-zit on my chin ... sadly, the zit is a current reality. Oy.

All brides must have these dreams, they all must wake up flushed and confused or remember the dream hours after waking up and think, "Was that real? What does that mean?"


Pretty thing of the day #2

Love this! Not sure I will use it ... but I think it's so pretty and would add texture and dimension to an entry table in the right venue. More fun and extravagant details on the Style Me Pretty blog today if you are bored (or slacking). Thanks, too, for the many wonderful e-mails and comments about the ceremony music! It's so fun to hear different perspectives and get out of my own head. I'll post an update when we decide.


Ceremony music

Help. I'm getting ready to research ceremony music options/musicians. Some favor the booming pipe organ, but I'm a little less traditional when it comes to music in church. I love the sound of a piano or strings or a flute. A harp? Soloist?

Questions for my blogstalkers (you know who you are ;)): 1) Do you find it strange when a bride/bridal party doesn't enter to Canon in D or "Here Comes the Bride"?; 2) does anyone even notice the music/is it worth going against the grain?; 3) Any suggestions?


Dum, dum, dum, dum

There it is. The long aisle I'll walk down with Dad. Staring down it in this photo, for me, evokes the same pit-of-stomach feeling I had when we scheduled our first premarital counseling session. Yet, so far the fear was unfounded. The sessions shake me back to the reality that we are planning for a marriage as well as a wedding. We're on the path to a deeper appreciation for one another. I'm sure that in the same way, my aisle-anxiety will cease, and I'll float joyfully to the front of the church on May 2.

On the subject, I want to share a really poignant question posed by Fr. Todd in pre-canna session #3: "What do you believe?" A daunting question. We both sat speechless for a moment, pondering how exactly a person articulates faith. On the drive into work the next day, I thought more. I think that faith is vital in a marriage, but it's about more than a church or denomination. It's about faith in one another, in something bigger, in the institution of marriage. So, I'm glad for that deer-in-headlights moment. We still have work to do on defining our answers, but I think both of us agree that we believe in unconditional love and in what we have together. That's a good starting point. And those two things alone make that long aisle seem shorter, the weight of those questions lighter.


Update: bouquet possibilities

Enjoy this little sampling of possible bouquet flowers. For a soft, romantic look and organic shape: sunrise pincushion protea, blush and white peonies, manbo spray roses, green hypericum berries, pom pom/button mums, and (hopefully) hanging amaranthys. Tulips and potentially snapdragon or hydrangea with bear grass and other fillers in the ball-jar centerpieces. T.G.I.F. To come next week: more tales of cohabitation.

Groom's eye view

In the planning process, I often wonder why Patrick isn't leaping for joy over menus or color shemes as I am. He's not thinking about the wedding most of the time. And, this morning, the husband of my dear friend and talented event planner, Tricia, let me in on a groom's psyche. His post is precious, and you must read it now at www.socialbutterflyjournal.blogspot.com.Here's how he says a groom should view the wedding day: "When I was standing at the altar, watching Tricia’s bridesmaids walking down the aisle, able to see her figure in the stained glass doors, the minister leaned over to me and said, “Don’t worry… in just a few seconds, no one will even be looking at you anymore.” I kind of laughed, but looking back, that was a very wise statement. Truth is it is all about her. Sure, you have input (and when you are asked for your opinion, the absolute worst thing you can say is, “Doesn’t matter to me… whatever you want”) in the planning and it will be important to be involved in the budgeting (but don’t let money play too big a factor), but remember, she is the one who has been planning this for longer than you’ve known her..." Awww! Sigh.

P.S. Happy almost-one-year anniversary to one of my fave couples, Tricia and Jon! There they are, above, at their gorgeous October wedding.


Planning paralysis

So. It's been a while. I know. Sorry! However, I'd like a minute to explain myself. You see, I'm feeling currently a pinch of "1-2-3 over it" syndrome, also known as denial or procrastination. Patrick and I enjoyed a pleasant, playful, engaged summer. It was largely free of detail-talk and wedding conversations. We put the guest list aside, I danced around in wedding gowns with my sisters for a few weekends and blissfully perused wedding blogs and magazines. Constructing daydreams --which are, by the way, free from any form of decision-making -- is way more fun than ACTUALLY planning something.

Alas, it is now late September. I decided a few weeks ago to check in on my handy "what you should be doing this month" checklist. "Uh-oh," I said, and went back to the business of checking things off of lists.

I must sheepishly admit that I've been slightly cranky about the whole business since then. We reopened the guest list can of worms. Ugh. That was about as fun as eating dirt. And we need to order bridesmaids dresses. So many to choose from! And I just got off the phone with a very perky florist who has lots of great ideas!!! (extra exclamations to convey the level of perkiness) But are they mine? Is that what I want? Will I really care on the day of the wedding? Are we really going to spend that much on flowers? Oooph.

So. It's been a while. But I'm back on track. And we have lots of work to do. Today, listening to Happy Perky Florist, I decided: I am EXCITED! Vooten for my wedding! Wahoo for the next 219 glorious days! I promise to be more active on this blog. Seriously.



Many thanks for all of the prayers, support and well-wishes. Emma won a silver medal today at the Paralympic Games in Beijing!!!!!! A story and photo are posted on the USRowing site. They were not the favorite in this race at all.

The US clocked a 3:37.61 for the silver medal. Italy led from the start, winning gold in a 3:33.13. The U.S. crew was in third place through the 750-meter mark, but powered through Great Britain in the sprint to cross just 0.76 seconds ahead. Great Britain (the favorite at the start) took bronze in a 3:38.37, with Germany fourth in a 3:41.71. China finished in fifth place with a 3:44.15, followed by Canada in a 3:45.66." See the story and this photo at: http://www.usrowing.org/News_Media/PressReleases/detail.aspx?nws_lKey=599


Feeling small, but proud

I've been a little delinquent with blogging about wedding stuff lately (short vacation, a little bug to fend off, and other end-of-summer distractions). Unfortunately, that trend continues with this post. I just finished watching the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Weddings and the trials of ordinary life feel very small in comparison to the amazing courage of these Paralympic athletes. It is awe-inspiring enough to watch them gather to compete. But to see my sister's face among the USA athletes parading into the Bird's nest ... breathtaking. It will come as no surprise that I bawled throughout the broadcast (which I hope will be available to view again on www.universalsports.com).

At the close of ceremonies, the Olympic flame was passed from a woman with one leg in a wheelchair, to a man with prosthetic legs, and finally to a woman with a seeing-eye dog. She hands her torch to a wheelchair-bound man who literally hoists himself (and his chair) up by pulley to the foot of the torch. (See Rueters photo below from UniversalSports.) It was a testament to the unparalleled strength of these outstanding individuals.

Please say prayers for Emma and her teammates. And if you have time, check in at universalsports.com or paralympicsport.tv for updates on her competitions.


It's alive...

Our wedding Web site, that is. :) Check it out at www.mywedding.com/futureandersons. It's been a beautiful Saturday in southern Indiana! See you Monday.


Go U.S.A.!

Taking a break from domestic bliss and wedding-planning topics today. We are all so thrilled for Emma and her Paralympic adventure! The latest news: in their final race before Beijing, her team competed in Canada last weekend. From what I hear it was a breathtaking race...down to the last one-hundredth of a second. The US team earned the gold, and seeing Emma in this photo (far right) in all her red, white, and blue USA Rowing gear made me a teary-eyed and very proud big sister. LOVE YOU EM! And I also love those two cute kids with her in the second photo, my other little sibs Anna and Mike.

Though it won't be televised stateside (oh, the injustice!), Emma races in China on Sept. 9 and 10. We think it will be streamed on the Web. Stay tuned.


Pretty thing of the day

Cruising around theknot.com usually makes my head spin. So I swore it off. But they keep sending me these fun e-mails. Subject line: "__ months to go!" Now who isn't enticed by that? Anyway, I checked out some "hot florals" today. Wanted to share this very pretty, just-cut-from-the-garden looking centerpiece with you. Mom loves tulips. I've never been 100% sold. But the above is beautiful. Now. Just imagine it in shades of orange, peach, green... Happy Tuesday!


"You're remodeling a bathroom?!"

Many older, married friends and relatives chortled the above question to me when I told them we were tearing into our 30-year-old 5x8 bathroom. Shea tells me that her parents' marriage is most tense when remodeling, moving furniture, or making decisions about the physical aspects of their home. Well, mylanta! I think they all might be onto something.

As you'll see from the before and after shots, the bathroom at dear ol' 7787 was in need of repair. After three full years of complaining, begging, pleading, I finally took my place beside my beloved and picked up a crowbar. April 11 through late June 2008 could be labeled the longest six weeks of my adult life thus far. We managed to survive with few quarrels.

Let's be clear. What HGTV does not show on its clever little programming are the icky layers of demolition, the hours of leveling floors and squaring walls, the painstaking mess of hanging and taping drywall, and the seemingly endless details one forgets while standing in the wood trim or plumbing or tile aisles of Home Depot. Folks, this is no one-weekend project. Nope. Not without a crew of 50. Not even with the handiest husband-to-be on the planet. Even through all the bumps in the road, Patrick (and his trusty assistant!) produced a pretty neat little D-I-Y potty. And Sarah is H-A-P-P-Y!!



Cohabitation part II

I am so proud of our home. It's a work of progress, but it's coming along. Sharing teaser photos of the living room, kitchen, guest bedroom, and screen porch. Each room is better than when it began. The house is a metaphor for our relationship: entered into with hope, nurtured and cared for, gutted, refurbished, and renewed by patience and hard work. And better than when it began. Next post ... (drumroll please!) ... the newly renovated bathroom!



Nothing like best friends to sweep away doubt and help you clinch a final decision. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a color scheme! In a complete departure from my original thoughts... I am thrilled to say we're going with navy, coral/oranges, and chartreuse accents (see photo). With the dress, the venue, and the colors in place I can really start to "see" us on that day. Crazy.


Instant replay

Hands down, the happiest hours of my life so far were on the day Patrick proposed. I've been replaying that December evening a lot lately during my commute to and from work, trying to bottle up that pure-joy feeling so that I never forget the look in his eyes, my trembling legs and hands, his sweet and simple words, the uncontrollable tears both of us cried. I want to remember, always, the cheers from our families and the glow our being engaged cast on our relationship and on our lives in general.

So many cherished memories are joyful because, over time, they've been whitewashed by nostalgia to become flawless. I wondered if that floating feeling was just something I created for myself. But a recently married friend of mine says she still thinks about her engagement night in the same way--perfect. It's less about reliving the past than it is about keeping that joy alive. Now Patrick and I see each other every day. To me, that makes it even more important to spend a few minutes each morning reflecting on the best "yes" of my life.


In search of perfection

A recipe for indecision: Combine pages and pages of dress styles, 10,000 "knotpicks," and hundreds of magazine spreads and Web pages about wedding style. Toss with phrases such as "your big day" and "a day you've always dreamed about." Gently add nervous, excited, happy bride-to-be. Set to endless spin cycle for a few months.

Decisions were never my thing to begin with. Color is my current wedding nemesis. I just simply cannot decide. Chartreuse or olive green? Navy? What about firecracker red? Or a yellowy orange? Since my sisters are in search of maid attire, I have really been feeling the pressure to pick already.

And then today I read the entry "A Slavery of Choice" on apracticalwedding.com. Aside from her writing talent, Meg's posts are thoughtful and hilarious. She reflected on the idea that we often sacrifice the good in search of the "best." HELLO. Step back. It's just a party. It's not a peace treaty. Any of the silly color combos I've cooked up could be just lovely, but it's up to me to commit.


Sincere, classic, comfortable

I'm trying to stay focused on the point of the whole process (you know ... the marriage part), but I have to admit: I love weddings. I've been on cloud nine for a little over six months now, so I've had a long time to peruse magazines and blogs for the "ideal" color combinations, floral arrangements, etc. Not sure I've made any decisions yet -- it's harder than I thought it would be! -- but the images above are just a few of my favorite things. I'm focusing on a sincere, classic, and comfortable feel because that is how I'd describe our relationship. I love the soft, romantic feel of this floral and the sweet "lovebirds" graphic in the print materials.
(Images above drawn from personal photos, www.stylemepretty.com, and www.snippetandink.blogspot.com. Both are AMAZING blogs for ideas!)


Mom calls it cohabitation

I'm in. His house, that is. Future husband and I are living "in sin," and it's only taken me about two weeks to completely reorganize the kitchen from silverware drawer to candlestick holders. I've reconfigured and/or reclaimed all of the furniture and decorative acccessories (replacing all of them, of course, with my own!). Two closets (one in each bedroom) and an entire dresser are crammed with my clothing. Mom calls it cohabitation. It's not fireworks and butterflies all the time, but it's pretty great to wake up to, come home to, share life with a person for whom you care deeply.

One thing. I wonder if it's a biological or chemical thing that happens to women. I wonder if it's just me. What was OK before ... picking up pizza for dinner, leaving dishes in his sink. Now it's our sink. Now it has to be perfect. Ridiculous? Yep. As days pass, my insane inner housewife is starting to quiet down. Maybe that has to do with the concerned looks my new roommate has been giving me. Or maybe its the fresh pot of coffee he makes me each morning or the sweet goodnight kisses I'm getting used to...


If you build it...

I was inspired a few months ago. A Kohler commercial of all things! In the spot, a couple slams a faucet down on the table, saying "build a house around this." I thought, "weddings are like that too!" A memorable event can really hinge on one wonderful detail that inspires the rest.

For me, that detail came from my mom and future mother-in-law. They lunched. They brainstormed. They brought me green-glass Ball jars from an old farmhouse basement. The rustic feel combined with the elegance of antique glass perfectly married country and estate, a theme that is now helping me through color schemes, gowns, and flowers. Gallon-size jars will hold flower centerpieces. Smaller versions will dangle from patio trees as lanterns, and others will hold votives on tables and mantles.