Saturday, December 29, 2007

i heart my florist

Choosing a florist was a major challenge for me. I worked for one of the over-the-top event designers in Chicago as a weekend assistant and I saw some amazing floral art. They were doing the submerged cymbidium orchid thing before I ever saw it in a wedding mag. They also created a chuppah out of dangling lilies that made my jaw drop- and then they chopped off its "legs" for the second wedding in that same room and created a gorgeous cover for the band's stage. Their work was a little mod for me, however, and I went looking for someone with a more natural, organic feel.

I love flowers and I still had grand visions of what I could do with my church and my reception venue. But, as most of us eventually realize, fresh flowers are crazy expensive. I needed to find someone that had a few creative ideas for a way to make my venue feel alive and colorful without bursting my budget. I met with so many talented florists in Chicago. I was so impressed with their ideas and their dedication to creating gorgeous floral displays. After going back and forth a million times, I finally settled on Petal Play Designs.

Viviana had so many unique ideas and was very willing to work with my stickler rules and budget. Nothing submerged. No green apple cymbids. No sparkly beads, glitter or anything else that might fall in the "bling" category. When I asked for a reference, she sent me a few names, one of which was a friend of mine from high school with gorgeous taste. Done and done. I am meeting with her sometime this winter to get down to the details, but I am so excited to bring in my huge file of clippings (thank you Martha and the WB) and get to work. I will keep you posted.

Any tips for that first meeting?

i heart a good, clean shave

Mrs. Onion's post this morning reminded me of a conversation that I had with Jake and his sisters at Christmas. I think the conversation started with me talking about how I didn't know how to make my manicures last longer than a few days. After recommending that I add a coat of clear polish each day after the manicure, one of Jake's sisters advised that Jake get a manicure before the wedding. She mentioned that there were several close-ups of their hands (with their new rings) in her wedding album and that you would notice jagged cuticles. Jake just recoiled at the though of a manicure. Another of Jake's sisters mentioned that her husband would NEVER let a stranger near his cuticles. They both had some vague dislike of manicurists touching their hands, particularly in a salon. I mentioned that there are several men-only salons in Chicago, but that didn't make them feel any better.

Our photographer is a photojournalist, so I doubt we will have any of these in our album-
from the Harrah's in Reno website

Is it still a good precaution? Maybe Jake would let me do his mani rather than go for the full spa experience. I could see him getting a professional shave that morning since those can be done in a barber shop- and therefore, it is a "manly" experience. He also didn't start using conditioner until we started dating, so we need to move in baby steps.

Did your hubby get a manicure or will your fiance get one? For the married readers, did you notice his nails in any of your photos, or is this something that my wedding brain is overthinking?

Monday, December 24, 2007

i heart orange beautiful

I'm not sure how I hadn't heard of Orange Beautiful until this past weekend, but it was fun getting caught up. Emily's blog is full of inspiration and her design is full of detail. Of course, I also love that she is from Chicago.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

i heart christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it! Here are a few images of the Christmas cards that I made for the card swap.

They ended up looking pretty handmade. I'm not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing!

Just to get you a little more in the mood...

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

i heart NYC: what I bought

I am not going to bore you with the non-wedding stuff that I purchased, but I did buy one very fun item for my bouquet:

I bought this gorgeous ribbon at the the Store Across the Street (from Tinsel Trading). I'm sorry for the horrible photo. I took several pictures and this seems to be the best of the bunch. I am planning on wrapping my bouquet in it kinda like this picture from Martha.

I bought two yards. I hope its enough because I can't find this ribbon on their website! I guess I could always force myself to make another trip...

Not wedding related, but so lovely that I wanted to include it- I bought this classic looking Christmas Star. It is covered in real glass glitter. It sounds kinda dangerous, but its very pretty.

I can't believe this was the only thing that I bought in that store.

i heart NYC: where i went, part two

part one

Monday was my wedding day on the town! My first top was at Tinsel Trading in midtown. There were a million, billion sources of inspiration in there. It reminded me of Anthropologie in that I wanted to just move in.

I also wandered over to the Shop Across the Street, which is owned by Tinsel Trading and is... across the street. The walls were covered with spools of ribbon. There was a selection of Martha's craft line, which I have really been enjoying. I think Michaels has a better selection, but I am guessing that there aren't any Michaels in Manhattan. They had the newest copy of Martha Stewart Weddings on the cutting table, but I forced myself to leave it alone since my copy was waiting at home for me.

I took a cab down to Soho from there and made my first trip to Kate's Paperie. I am always a sucker for a good paper store, but it reminded me of the Paper Source. They sell many of the same items, although Kate's has the adorable Kate Spade line of papers.

Alexis Bittar was next. As I mentioned before, I loved this shop. The jewelry was just what I had been looking for. I just can't decide if I want to spend a bunch of money on my jewelry or just buy some fun, inexpensive stuff. I am going to keep shopping around, but I highly recommend it if her stuff is in your price range.

I also made a quick stop at MarieBelle chocolates. They had gorgeous apothecary jars full of tea and rows and rows of chocolates. The blue and cranberry colors of the shop were so welcoming. I ended up getting a little overwhelmed by the crowd and decided that I might go back another day. It never happened, so I never got to try the chocolate!

I was burned out on shopping at that point, so Jake and I met up at a bar on Bleecker. After a beer, we met up with my friend/bridesmaid, my brother and his girlfriend for pizza at John's. Yum! Of course, I am a sucker for Chicago pizza but it was very good. I also really like Yeungling beer and they served it by the pitcher.

My friend and I went to visit Jake at his office for have lunch. Directly between his office and hers was the Chelsea Market, so while Jake finished his workday I spent some time wandering around the Market.

I visited the grocery store with a gorgeous collection of produce. I watched them make rolls through the window at Amy's Bread. I had some delicious Rosy Earl Grey at the T Salon. That was amazing, I should have bought some loose tea to take home. I also found the handmade market and although there was some gorgeous jewelry and ornaments, I was done Christmas shopping and I had already spent enough on myself. It was such a nice way to spend the afternoon.

After Chelsea Market, Jake and I went to Pinkberry (I sat next to Julianne Moore and her family!) and loooooved it. I had a plain with pomegranate seeds. It is too bad they haven't opened one in Chicago, I would definitely be a regular. We went to visit my brother in Brooklyn as our last stop on our trip and we were en route to the airport first thing Wednesday morning.

I had an amazing time and I got to see a fun side of New York that I hadn't seen before. It was nice to wander around by myself for awhile, but then it was also wonderful to spend time with my friends and family. I'm sure I will be back sometime soon!

Friday, December 21, 2007

i heart NYC: where i went, part one

Here is the summary of our wonderful trip to NYC!

Friday: Our flight was crazy early and because of finals I was going on five hours of sleep. I had been substituting coffee for food for a few days too, so I was really looking forward to sleeping and eating. First, I got a much needed haircut at the Bumble and Bumble salon. I have been using their products for years and I was so very excited to get to visit the homeland. Oh, and I got bangs! I met one of my best friends/bridesmaid to get our nails done. It was so nice to be able to catch up with her in one of those massage chairs while someone painted my toes. Haha! Really, I don't normally spoil myself like that. Jake and I met up after that and went back to the hotel for pizza and the Simpsons Movie.

Saturday: We went to Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree and watch the ice skaters for awhile. I love Dean and Deluca, so I was very excited to get a big latte and an apple pastry. We also made it to the Stage Deli for sandwiches. I ate pastrami for the first time. Meh, I can stick with turkey.

Yummmm... look at all that meat! ;)

We went shopping in Union Square after lunch and I bought something fun to wear to my friend's birthday party that evening. We also found a "Christmas outfit" for Maisy at Trixie and Peanut. What dog doesn't need a red sweater and scarf for all those Christmas parties? After a quick rest, we headed down to the south side of town for the party. I was up until four- my body can't do that anymore. I felt old Sunday morning!

Sunday: Lots and lots of nothing all day. We went to see Juno (amazing!) and had a yummy dinner at the Public House in midtown.

This post has gotten too long and I haven't even started talking about my wedding related shopping. Watch out for part two...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i heart peacock inspiration

In honor of my new Weddingbee status, Jake and I made a peacock inspired board. If it didn't clash so badly with the decor in Cafe Brauer, I would be all over it.

Column 1: Housemartin bouquet, handsome men and seating cards from the knot, necklace from Tiffany
Column 2: Jenny Yoo dress, Momental Designs invite, Vera Wang gown
Column 3: Jennifer Behr haircomb, Alexis Bittar earrings, cake from the knot, napkin from Toast and Tables

i heart alexis bittar

I apologize for two jewelry posts in a row, but I went to Alexis Bittar in Soho yesterday and I fell in love. The website doesn't have the pieces that I am considering, which means that I am going to have to go back today, but there are some gorgeous alternatives.

I have been trying my best to take photos of my travels throughout New York this week. I feel a little awkward snapping my camera in every spot and I am pretty sure some stores would prefer that I didn't. Once I get home and upload the photos, I will fill you in on all my adventures.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

i heart helpful blogs

If you are planning a wedding, you should be reading Blue Orchid Designs. Liene has been writing a series of posts called "30 Days to Plan a Wedding" and her tips cover every aspect of wedding planning. What should you consider when picking a venue? An officiant? Linens? This is honestly a public service that she is performing. From all of us trying to get our heads around this crazy wedding planning thing, thank you.

i heart erin cole

I'm not sure if it is the gorgeous pictures, the beautiful colors or the fact that the model's dress reminds me a bit of my own, but I am really loving these pieces from bridal accessories designer Erin Cole.

This bracelet might be the perfect "something blue."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It was Miss Peacock, in the cafe, with the candelabra!

Today is my first day as a bee on Weddingbee! I needed to write a good post for my introduction, so here it is, in all its glory. I hope you will come visit me over there, too!

Hello all! I cannot believe I am actually writing this post. I am not sure if I still hold the record, but I was told that I was the Weddingbee applicant with the longest span of time between application and wedding date. Mr. Peacock and I have been engaged for one very exciting year and I still have nine months to go before the big, crazy day.

I am insanely excited to be a bee. My immediate reaction when I received the "acceptance" email was to scream and jump around our family room. Maisy (our beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) briefly woke up from her nap to see what was going on. Mr. Peacock was on his way home from the airport. I called, out of breath, to see when he would be home. Here is our conversation...
Mr. P: Why? What happened?! Did you get your assistantship (funding for my PhD program that I have been waiting on)?!

Me, slightly disheartened: No...

Mr. P: Did our condo sell?

Me: No. You are ruining it!

Mr. P: Oh, then, I'll just see you when I get home.

Me: Boo. Goodbye.
He showed some restrained excitement once he had a chance to read the email, but I was still going crazy. I called my parents and emailed friends. My dad was confused- "So, are they paying you?" They are paying me with blogging love, Dad.

I had a hard time picking between flowers, candy and birds for my icon. My favorite flowers already had bees attached to them. As much as I love candy, I don't think Miss Swedish Fish rolls off the tongue. I kept coming back to peacocks for a variety of reasons. One is my love for Clue (both the movie and the game) and the payoff of being Mrs. Peacock would be oh-so-nice.

Her glasses are fabulous, aren't they?

Another is this fun photo from Mr. Peacock and my engagement trip to San Diego. Here I am chasing a peacock, while attempting to walk like a peacock.

And finally, peacock starts with a "p," as does Mr. Peacock's last name.

Mr. P and I are getting married in our sweet hometown of Chicago. I can't wait to show it off on the WB. Since we have been engaged for a year, I have lots of plans to share and yet still a lot to do. I look forward to sharing my adventures in wedding planning as well as hearing all about yours!

i heart martha

I have been enjoying Martha Stewart's blog recently. All the work that she (and her staff) put into her home is amazing. Today, she gave us a sneak peak at the inner workings of her show. She also gave away the cover of the next MS Weddings. I've been wondering where my copy is...

Martha's blog is a fun read, particularly if you are a gardener or are interested in the lifestyles of the rich and crafty. Check out her gorgeous "barn"!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

i heart surprises

One year ago today, I received the best surprise of my life. I warn you, this is a long one. Go grab some coffee first.

It was December 5th, 2006. It was a Tuesday. I had gone to bed the night before assuming that I would wake up, go to the office and then sneak out to a grad school interview at lunch. At 4:30 am, Jake shook me awake. "We have to go, get in the shower!" He ran to turn the lights on. Jake had done things like this before as a result of a bad dream or misreading the time on the clock. I pulled the covers over my head and tried to go back to sleep. "No, really, wake up!" I pulled back the covers and told him to turn the lights off. Then I saw him grab my suitcase out of the closet. He smiled at me and told me to get in the shower. Still a little confused but starting to catch on, I jumped in the shower.

He started filling me in on some of the details. A car was coming at 5:00, so I had to be fast. He had packed clothes and shoes for me (uht oh) but I needed to get my toiletries together. I think that was my fastest shower and blow dry on record. I took a quick glance at the contents of my suitcase but I was too excited and hurried to give it much thought. I took a guess at what he might have left out and shoved it in. My face was starting to hurt from smiling.

During the limo ride to the airport, I kept begging to know where we were going, but he wouldn't tell me. He went to check-in at the kiosk and I peered over his shoulder- San Diego! Winter was starting to kick in in Chicago (much like it is now!) and some sunshine sounded amazing. He still wouldn't tell me where we were staying or what the plans were. The flight was wonderful. We drank Bloody Marys and tried to make conversation. I was still too excited to talk about anything else. Once in San Diego, I learned that Jake had sprung for a very nice convertible from Hertz. We were on our way... somewhere.

Our destination was LaJolla, a beautiful beach town just north of the city. We stayed at a gorgeous old hotel called La Valencia, aka the Pink Lady. It was very old Hollywood, complete with signed photos of celebrities (Marilyn Monroe!) on the wall. While Jake was checking in, I stepped out on the beautiful balcony off the lobby. It all hit me then. I knew why we were there. I hoped that he wouldn't wait too long! After a wonderful lunch and a little shopping, Jake and I walked down to the beach. He proposed as the sun was setting. It was perfect.

We were both walking on air for the rest of the trip. Sharing the news with our friends and family was surreal. We were on the phone all night and most of the next day. I could not stop staring at the beautiful ring on my finger and at the huge smile on Jake's face. He was so proud of himself for pulling it all off. He had spoken with my bosses to excuse me from work, arranged all the travel, packed my bags and met with my parents without me having a clue about what was going on. Going home was so sad and yet so exciting. I could not wait to start planning our lives together.

One year later, we still have 9 months to go until that wonderful life begins! Whose great idea was a 21 month engagement?! Oh wait, I think it was mine. I am sure it will be here before we know it.

Here are some photos of our wonderful trip. You can see a few more here. I highly recommend both LaJolla and La Valencia. The town was absolutely beautiful and full of fun shops and amazing restaurants. The staff at the "Pink Lady" was very attentive and threw in a few fun surprises once they learned why we were there.

Talking to momAfter a million pictures of me with my ring, happy Jake starts getting goofy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

i heart poppytalk handmade

Poppytalk Handmade Market is a beautiful online spot to buy handmade goods. Artists apply to have their work showcased and the selected items are always unique and lovely. Each month, the Market highlights a new theme and new artists. The themes for the next few months have been announced and January will be "Love Transforms, A Valentine's and Wedding Market." Wedding items, you say? I am in the market for a wedding market! I am hoping for some jewelry, maybe a few ring pillows, bride and groom themed artwork, maybe a cake topper or two?

Here are some of the gorgeous items currently up on the Market:

Alicia Bock, also highlighted by Its Lovely

Mark your calendars and happy shopping!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

i heart stale twizzlers

I swear, I am just taking a quick little break and then back to the books! I got tagged by a few fun bloggers and I had to comply pronto.

First, here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

  1. I have to restrain myself from listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I love it and I own a lot of it. I particularly love the jazzy stuff with Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong ('Zat you, Santa Claus?) and Harry Connick, Jr.
  2. I am obsessed with the mafia. I love mobster movies, but I particularly love real mob stories in Chicago. The Family Secrets trial was amazing.
  3. I also love ghost stories and I have been on a professional ghost tour and several unprofessional ones. I saw the Miami University "Motorcycle Ghost" when I was in college.
  4. When I was in first grade, I stuck paper in my ear because the boy sitting next to me was talking too loud. It got stuck and I had to go to the hospital. That year, I also pretended that I had amnesia for a day (I learned all about it on I Love Lucy). I remember my teacher telling me, during a school mass, that she knew I was fibbing and that God wouldn't like it.
  5. I love doing the laundry and ironing. I always iron my pillow cases and duvet cover and I will do the sheets if I have time.
  6. I HATE wrapping presents. I am very bad at it and I am such a perfectionist that I play around with the paper until it rips or has a million crease marks. Then I give up and buy a bag! Jake enjoys it though, so yay for me. Almost all of our Christmas gifts are already wrapped and under the tree. If only he could wrap his own gifts...
  7. I prefer some candy really stale. I think most people know about Peeps, but also gummy bears/worms, twizzlers, swedish fish and peach rings. Also, raisins, if you count them as candy.
I don't think that I can tag 7 people, I don't know that many bloggers and this little game has definitely made the rounds! It has been fun to read, though! I am going to tag a few fellow bees since it was Elizabeth (Miss Donut) who tagged me first- Meg, Tiffany and Kelly.

Thanks again to Chitown Bride, In This Instance, and A Belle Abroad for including me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i heart nyc

It is definitely crunch time for me, with finals and huge papers due within the next two weeks. I am going to take a little break from blogging so that I can try and maintain my focus. Nothing can be more distracting than pretty dresses and flowers! However, when I wake up from this school induced coma, I will be in Manhattan visiting my lovely bridesmaid Amelia and my brother. After a manicure and a wild night out for Amelia's birthday, I plan on sleeping. When I finally wake up, I plan on roaming around Manhattan and Brooklyn visiting all the fun wedding-y shops that I have been reading about. And going ice skating and tree visiting with Jake!

Here is my short list of shops. I thought I had more, but now I can't find my list!

Send me more ideas if you have them! Until then, take care!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

i heart pale pink and green

Jake helped me finish a new board this morning and I am in love with it. I dropped the yellow and picked up a little more green. I think it will really complement Cafe Brauer, my dress and the other accessories that I have been purchasing. There are lots and lots of flowers...

Images from
Martha: row 3, first image; row 4, first image
Livia Cetti: row 1, middle image
Petal Play Designs: row 2, last image
Bloom Room (thank you Daisy Chain): all other images

He also helped me make a few fun changes to the site in keeping with the theme. What do you think?

Friday, November 23, 2007

i heart my christmas tree

Jake and I put up our Christmas tree today. This is one of my absolute favorite days of the year. Three years ago, we started traveling to Tamen Treeberry Farm in Wilmington, IL with my family. Cutting down our first tree together was so exciting and so loving... then we came home and realized that we had nothing to hang on it. Neither of us had had a tree until that point and so we only had a few random ornaments that we had collected as gifts. We went to Menards and bought a few strands of lights and a bucket of colorful plastic ornaments. We weren't that crazy about hanging unsentimental plastic ornaments on our tree, but we didn't have a lot of money and it seemed strange to start buying a whole bunch on our own. We decided that each time we bought or received an ornament, we would take off one of the plastic ornaments until we didn't need them anymore.

This year we didn't have to hang one of those plastic ornaments. I am not even sure what to do with them. We have received so many as gifts and as a result of wonderful trips that our tree is full.

We hung a few ornaments from our very romantic trip to San Diego. We found ornaments from the ornament exchange that is part of his family's annual Christmas Eve party. There were ornaments from the exchange that I do with my girlfriends. There were cute bride and groom ornaments that we received as gifts last year. There was a few that included our dog, Maisy. We started telling stories of where they came from- and I just felt so fortunate. I am so glad that we get to do that every year and remember how loved and lucky we are.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to everyone reading this! I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours.

And yes, those are actual wrapped gifts under our tree. I am also thankful for a fiance that loves to wrap presents because I HATE it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

i heart chicago

from my very talented photographer, Dean Thorsen

After seeing this post on Chitown Bride, I was inspired to start a little Chicago blogroll. Check it out on the right hand side. I LOVE my beautiful city and all the creativity it has to offer. I have been trying to include as much local stuff as I can, but I think I could do a little more. I have learned in the past few weeks that there are quite a few talented Chicago bloggers and I hope this will recognize their inspiration in a special way. If I left you off, I don't know about you! Please leave a note in the comments so that I can highlight your work as well.

i heart a good love story

How sweet are these two?

Can you believe that they are 84 and 93? I just love that she is all decked out with the white dress, fur shrug and tiara and he is wearing a hat and tails. I love this quote from London's Daily Mail, too:
Deputy superintendent registrar Christine Howle told the ceremony: "If you have an open heart love can find you whatever time of life you are in."
They just look so excited and happy. Go read the whole article for a little warm fuzzy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

i heart personlized napkins, take two

I posted awhile ago about the adorable personalized napkins that my mom purchased for our engagement party. I received an email today from For Your Party announcing a few new additions to their site. The site has received a pretty major overhaul since I ordered last summer and it is definitely for the better. Everything is very interactive and creative. I think they have really changed up the old personalized matchbooks and their new products are pretty gorgeous.

Click on "Get the Look" to see the results of their partnerships with Hello!Lucky and Cid Pear. Here are my favorites-

It is a little too easy to coordinate everything... this might be addictive. I love the coasters n the last design. Speaking of coasters, these leather beauties would make a fun gift-
I also love that you can send them an image that you created for your wedding and they will work with you to incorporate it into your printed items. If you designed a monogram or a brand, you can create all kinds of fun things with it.

Oh, and they are based out of the Chicago area. Bonus!
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