Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mad Props

Yes, I did entitle this posting "mad props" and, yes, it is almost midnight on Saturday and I just lost a game of Monopoly (like I always do)....

But since I lost and had 20 minutes on my own, I looked at the blog again. I have to say that I think I deserve mad props for posting the picture of me crying on the way home from NY. I think everyone will agree that that picture is not at all flattering, but I posted it nonetheless. Here's to anti-vanity! Bottoms up!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wedding Website Woes

I am totally new to this whole idea of exposing myself (ourselves) online, both through the blog and the wedding website, so it came as quite a surprise when what I thought would make everything easier didn't work properly.

Even though the invitations have been ready to go since before we left for our trip abroad back in June, I couldn't send them because I hadn't set up the online RSVP page. Each guest's information had to be entered into the online guest book before they would be able to respond. Makes sense.

So after 4th of July weekend, I spend most of the week setting it up, and finally sent out the invitations on Friday. I did however have a mini-heart attack on Monday evening, when I realized most people had probably received their invitations, and Colleen was at my house trying to respond on the site and COULDN'T! I snatched the laptop away from her and got to work. I discovered that WeddingWire had changed their RSVP tool on Friday without my realizing it until Monday evening. After a few hours, all was better. By about 1:30 A.M. the problem was resolved.

Upon waking this morning, I went straight to the website, and saw that 20+ people have already responded! I am psyched! I've always heard about other brides who get excited to check their mail each day for response cards. I can totally relate. It's exciting to see every few hours who else has replied.

Despite the glitch, I am now pleased with the website's response feature and would definitely recommend it to other couples getting married. Not only does it save the bride and groom some money, but the convenience of responding online is great for the guests.

Again, here is the link for the website:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Look What I Found...

From the Club de Fromage website -

We're famous!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our Unbelieveable Journey to and from Upstate New York - A MUST READ POSTING!

Friday, July 11, started pretty normally. Chris worked from home so we could get an early start on our journey up to Bovina Center, NY, for Erin and Dan's wedding. We anticipated it would take about four and a half hours to get up there, and we wanted to do the trip all in daylight. So, I woke up fairly early to do the laundry and go food shopping - Kristin, Kelly, and I (and all the guys as well) rented a house for the weekend, so we needed to have some groceries in the house. Normal errand running and tasks to prepare for a trip, right? One would think that this story could be a nice tale about a scenic drive to a wedding in the country, but that is far from what happened....

I began folding some clothes from the dryer, when I felt something hard in one of the cargo pockets of Chris's shorts. What I found inside made my heart sink - both our passports had been washed and dried in his shorts! This could be big trouble since Chris's visa lives inside his passport, and now, the picture of his face is so faded on his visa page that he may not be given access to leave or reenter the country. I guess we'll have to see about that one, since neither one of us had time to deal with it before we left.

So, we start our journey at about 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon. Chris started driving, with the plan being that I would take over once we were on the slower roads in NY state. All in all, the first three and a half hours were fine. We listened to the IPod and sang along to Queen. Good times! Until...

... we were pulled over by a NY state trooper! Why? I have a headlight out on my car. The good news is that the trooper was very nice to us. He asked where we were going and I announced in my friendliest voice that we had a wedding in Bovina/Delhi area. He chatted to us for a bit, but also asked the the typical documents. Chris handed them over, then did what I consider to be one of the silliest things ever. When the trooper told us the headlight was out, Chris responded, "Oh yeah, I know, I have a bulb in the back, but didn't get around to changing it before we left." I know! Duh! Right? So, the trooper looked at us funny, as if saying with his eyes, "That was not the right response." Any girl knows you bat your lashes at the officer and say, "Oh! Really? I didn't know. Thanks for telling me!" even if the new bulb is taped to your forehead!

After berating Chris for a few minutes (after which I apologized), the trooper returned to the car asking Chris if he had a different license. He confusedly answers no. The trooper then presented us with the next problem.

The trooper told us that Chris's license expired in June! He knew we weren't trying to get over on him, and being the kind person he is, did not fine Chris for driving on an expired license. I did, however, have to produce my license and take over the driving. Before we got on our way, we were given a ticket for the headlight, but were told that if we fixed the light within 24 hours and went to any police station in the whole state to show we fixed it, the ticket essentially disappears. No fine. Sounds great, right? (I'll get on to that one later... I'm working in sequence here.)

I was not happy. The delay with the trooper set us back, and so I was driving in the dark on scary, windy, country roads notorious for deer appearances. I drove VERY slowly, figuring with our luck, if I drove above 30 MPH, I would hit a deer and really ruin the trip! At this point, it would probably be a good idea for me to mention that neither Chris nor I had cell phone reception for the last 80 miles of the trip. Because we anticipated that problem (Erin and Dan prepared us adequately about phones and deer), I printed out directions for every possible place we would need to go, knowing I couldn't call anyone for help. However, Erin and Dan talked to the woman renting our house and asked her whether our group could be given a different house from the one we originally we assigned. I think they saw both houses and decided the switch would be better for all of us. Although they had the best of intentions, we were then in the dark (literally and metaphorically) when it came to directions for the house. Luckily, Kelly arrived in enough time before us to describe how to get there over voicemail. And another lucky thing for us is that I had reception for a 4-mile stint of road, just long enough to listen to the message and jot down her directions.

So we arrive to the house, but Kelly was not sure that I received the message. Since we knew the cell phones would give us problems, we agreed to meet at the Andes Hotel in Andes, NY, about 10 miles from the house. But, we didn't have directions. Argh! So after finally managing to get directions from the woman who rented us the house, we were on our way to the Andes Hotel. We arrived at 9:55 - almost 6 hours after we left our house in Philly!

The next few parts I will skip for now - the fun we had on Friday night and Saturday at the wedding - will be documented in another posting. For now, I will skip to another problem...

Saturday morning, Chris woke up early to try to fix the headlight. Twenty minutes and no luck. So Dennis and Brian give him a hand. A full hour after starting, they give up. For some reason, all three of them we unable to replace the bulb. We didn't think that would be an issue. We thought, we'll go to a gas station, and someone there would be able to help us. So off we drive, back to Andes to a one-pump gas station. Unfortunately, the two attendants were high school-aged girls who had not idea how to help us, but thought we could get some joy in Delhi, a town about 20 minutes away. Again, off we drive. Our destination was County Tire in Delhi. Don't you know, we pull in and the mechanic is driving away. He sees us and stops. From my car window, I explain the whole thing (because I am obviously doing all the driving since Chris is unlicensed). The mechanic turned out to be a major jerk who didn't even want to point us in the direction of another place that could help us, saying that he had "thing to do" as he pointed at his watch. I guess next time, I won't ask a stranger for 30 seconds of verbal help. How dare I?! So, on the road again, we reach the town of Delhi. We stop at two gas stations and a closed auto parts store (it was Saturday at 12:15, by the way). We stopped at a car dealership - no mechanic. Finally, we decide to stop trying to get the damn thing fixed and to just show up at the police station and state our case.

I put on lip gloss before entering the police station. I know how bad that is, but we'd had bad luck, and if Avon could help me out of this one, I was gonna try! I told the officer the whole story told above, but added that I wouldn't drive at night and we'd be out of his state by Sunday afternoon. He said it wasn't a problem... just get it fixed in Philly, have a garage write a "certified" letter that they fixed it, send the whole thing back to the judge, and we'd be fine. This is clearly different than what the trooper told us, so I tried to clarify. Yeah, that didn't help. He just said the same thing again, but used smaller words as if I were some sort of country bumpkin. I decided to just be happy with his second explanation, even though as we walked out of the station, Chris and I grumbled about the time we'd wasted all morning. Chalk it up to being lazy for so long and not getting the head light fixed, I guess.

(We end up having a great time at the wedding despite all this, and although I will delineate those events in another post, will briefly mention here that due to all the problems of the morning and previous day, I probably (some would say definitely) overindulged in wine at the reception. This will be important information to know for the next problem.)

I'll keep this one brief. We left the car windows open all night, and it rained. Not gonna be a fun ride for 4.5 hours with a wet bum!

I had a hard time waking up, so Chris very nicely packed most of our stuff while I slept in (a.k.a recovered). He even packed the car completely. I was a little fragile, so I needed a bit more time to get ready, and the others left by abotu ten o'clock in the morning. We made our move at 10:30. Packed and ready to go. When I began driving, though, something didn't feel right...

PROBLEM #9 - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I got out of the car and saw the front driver's side tire was flat. As in no air. As in FLAT! I said this to Chris, and this is when I thought he was really going to lose it. He came around, saw the tire, and shouted, "Are you kidding me?!" then stood silently with his hands covering his face for what seemed to be a full minute. Chris is usually the calm one in the relationship, but it is give and take, so I thought, even though I don't feel good, I'm going to have to be strong here, otherwise this could be a disaster. Chris said, "Do you have a spare?" in a voice that was eerily calm and controlled, clearly not matching his actual state of mind. I happily replied YES! knowing that it was both the answer he wanted to hear and, more importantly, the truth. So, he put the donut on the car, and off we went, travelling no more than 35 MPH. (Remember, we had no cell reception, so we couldn't call a garage or even my parents to have them look up the nearest tire service station on the Internet.)

Chris fixing the tire.

A picture of problem #9

Almost ready!

This one is embarrassing, but must be included. After driving for 15 minutes, I decided I couldn't hold back the tears. Utter frustration! But I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry, so I did both! I told Chris I'd be blogging the whole thing, so he took this picture and made me promise I would include it in the blog. So there!

Driving at snail's pace down Route 28 for over 60 miles - while stopping at every open-looking business along the way to ask about an open garage - took AGES! We were finally on the road at 11:25, and did not arrive to the Kingston area until almost two o'clock! The drive should have taken 45 minutes! We arrived at a gas station to use their payphone to (1) call my parents who only knew we had car trouble through the short stint of cell phone service we had, and to (2) find a place we hoped would be open to change the tire on a Sunday.

We found a Walmart! We now LOVE corporate-ized America!

Above, Chris is sitting across from me at the smelly Friendly's in Kingston as we wait for the tire to be changed.

Same thing. Just done with the whole trip. This is me in the Friendly's. I was too frustrated, tired, and hungry to be worried about Weight Watchers on this day!

The car was ready at about four o'clock, so we hit the interstate at about 4:15. I was exhausted, and all I could think of was how this would make a great story. But the more I thought about it, the more unbelieveable the whole thing sounded. Despite the fact that this posting is already a few feet long on your screen, I haven't included all the terrible, soul-destroying details. I can guarantee, promise, pinky-swear that all facts above are true and happened to us!

But it's over now. And we do have a good story to tell!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I think I am going crazy over this wedding! I have really been enjoying the planning so far, and I've been okay up until now because most of the BIG things have been settled; but after skimming my "Master Wedding To-Do List" again, I realize that I have LOTS of LITTLE things to do. In addition to that....

To make my mental state even worse, I went through my banking history yesterday and realized that the check I sent to Choo Choo Trolley was never deposited. Of course they close at 5 o'clock, and I realized this problem at 5:15. When I called this morning, they said they had one reserved a while back, but never received my deposit. Argh! I thought I was organized; I guess I have to think again! The man said I could call back tomorrow to speak to one of the women at the place, who MAY be able to set me up with a trolley. Oh my goodness... I really wanted a trolley.... There goes bridezilla again!

I knew I was getting a bit overwhelmed, so I started looking into local wedding coordinators for the last minute stuff as well as being there for the wedding day and making sure it all goes smoothly. Well, we're not made of money, and I think Chris sees this as THE expense that we could avoid. I was quoted between $700 and $1000 from a local wedding planner. I am on the fence with this one... is it worth $1000 to not go crazy? Has anyone else used or not used a coordinator, and feel strongly about the decision? I need major feedback!

Later tonight, I am going to FINALLY put together a spreadsheet that lists all expenses (both paid and balances) for all wedding costs. Just knowing that I have to do this is causing me to break out in hives! I have a feeling of dread about what number I will see at the end. I should have taken all the bridal mags' advice when they said to set a budget FIRST! I'll post later. If I don't, you know the final number with dollar signs made me jump out the attic window. Oh my....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Home!

Today is one year to the day since we made settlement on our home. Yikes, a year!

Although we didn't move in until mid- to late-July, according to paperwork, we've been homeowners for a year. It's time for some reflection, I guess, and all I can think about is how much we've done in that year!

When I consider what we have done to the house in just a year, I am pretty amazed, even though there is still work to be done. We completely gutted the second floor from ceilings to floors and everything in between. I think we've definitely accomplished our goals for the first year.

Going forward, I think the focus will be getting organized and maintaining it. It's only a matter of time before Chris makes me do a "clean sweep" of the house and rid it of clothes and things not used within our first year. Of course most of the junk is mine. But I am working on it. I am much better now than I've ever been. I am becoming more tidy and organized everyday. I think that the new work-from-home job will help me to continue being more focused on keeping a nice home. (I sound like an 1950s housewife there!)

And of course, we will try to re-do the bathrooms and kitchen when we aren't so broke due to the wedding!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hen Party in London

So, a hen party is the British name for a bachelorette party. I've known that for as long as I've known British people, and I've always thought it was a pretty fun way to describe the gathering of girl friends before a wedding - the hens on the town for a night. Similarly, bachelor parties have their own funny name in the UK - stag nights! Yes, stag!

The while thing started back in May when Chris told me he wanted to have his stag party while we were both in the UK in June. Not willing to deny him the pleasure of such fun, I thought, "Hmmm, what will I do while he's out doing God knows what?" And that's when I thought about asking some girls to get together for a hen party the same night as Chris's stag party.

The girls - Charli, Jo, Kathryn, Lauren, Nicky, and Purvi - put together a great night! We started at Kathryn's flat with champagne, Pimm's, and a cake with miniature chocolate penises on it. Love it! They also "dressed the hen" by giving me a tiara with a veil (handmade by Jo), a set of pom poms, a hot pink boa, and a princess wand. And I can't forget the hen party shirts. We each got one. They are cute little v-neck black tees with "Don't Stop Me Now, I'm Having Such a Good Time" written on the front. That was a recommendation by Charli from our days of dancing on stage to that song in front of all the kids and staff at Camp Neumann. I still remember the entire dance - and do it EVERY time I hear the song, no matter where I am!

Then it was on to dinner - the Afghan Kitchen. Was delicious! After food, we went across the street to a swanky bar with yummy girly drinks. I had something that tasted like liquid marshmallows, recommended by Purvi. We then went to the pub next door with great music and cheap drinks. It was there that Lauren dropped her Blackberry in the toilet and was forced to take a shot of tequila as a punishment for answering work e-mails on a Saturday night. (Picture below!) Purvi and Jo had some sort of pom pom war which I documented with bout 30 photos on my camera - one of them is pictured below.

Once we had enough of the pub, it was off to Club de Fromage - yes, the club of cheese! And that's exactly what it was! Cheesy 80s and 90s music. I was thrilled. it was absolutely my kind of club! Lauren and Charli kept disappearing to request that the DJ play "Don't Stop Me Now." I think it was at least 2 A.M. when he finally played it! At some point, Jo got a text saying something about her friend who was willing to bail us out of jail if it came down to that! Of course we weren't that bad, but I appreciate that she planned so well, she thought of every possible scenario! Nicky decided to take my camera from me, and began to really document the night by passing it around to all the girls. Thank goodness for that, because I doubt I would have remembered to take a single picture with all the fun I was having!

We wandered out at about 3 A.M. and found a kebab shop for late night snacks. Charli, Lauren, and I went back to Lauren's flat, and although Charli swears we're wrong, we think we saw the first of the morning light on the walk back!

Hen Party Pictures

After getting dressed up as a hen!

Lauren, Kathryn, and Nicky after dinner.

Me and Lauren acting "American" as stated by Charli - pictures in phone boxes are apparently for tourists only!

Shouldn't have been e-mailing at 10 PM on a Saturday night!

The "L" plate - these are placed on cars in the U.K. when people are learning how to drive. The "L" stands for "learner." Hmmm....

The pom pom war between Jo and Purvi.

I think "Walk Like an Egyptian" was on in the pub.

Same song!

Club de Fromage - I have no idea what song I was singing, but I was definitely into it!

Jo and Charli

Me and Lauren

Nicky and me

The side of Charli's face, Lauren, Nicky

Nicky, Kathryn, Charli

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bridal Shower!

The morning of the shower - My mom with her brainchild - "the faces." (Don't worry - It's explained below!)
My bridal shower was Saturday, June 14. The best word I have to describe what my sister did for me is "Wow!" She, (my little sis, Colleen) threw a Mexican-themed bridal shower. The "fiesta" was in her backyard in Wayne, Pennsylvania. She and her boyfriend rent their first floor apartment (a single guy lives upstairs--a duplex). She cleared it with her neighbor and the landlady, who kindly had the lawn cut and shrubs manicured the week before the party. She rented a tent, tables, chairs, and outdoor linens. It was a hot day, so she strategically placed fans around the perimeter of the tent, which really did a great job of keeping the guests cool. To prevent mosquito bites, she even had citronella candles burning under the tables, carefully placed in the center so they could not be kicked. So far, it seems like she's thought of everything, right? But I'm not done describing this amazing shower....

Just a pic of how colorful and cute the inside of the tent was!

She had the food catered by a local caterer called Party Girl Planners. We would certainly recommend them. The two women who came were so nice. They had my sister's kitchen cleaned better than it was before they arrived. And my sister is CLEAN! They did not provide the cake, but cut it and served it to all the guests. Their website is They made delicious Mexican food, even though their specialties are more like the traditional American meatball sandwiches and creamy salads. We had tacos, rice and beans, and Mexican pulled pork. Colleen made the drinks--white and red sangria, mojitos, and margaritas. There was also a cooler filled with beer, including my favorite (and luckily it's a Mexican label) Corona Light with fresh lime. Because it was so hot, she also had plenty of bottled water and soda. Although I can't say I had anything but sangria the whole day!
Colleen and my mom as well as some of the bridesmaids set up the gift table away from the tent to maximize the space for guests under the tent. In fact, the gift table and drinks were right next to each other, and was the first stop in the yard for all guests entering. Next to the gifts, they placed the favors and game prizes. The favors were chili-pepper magnets labelled "One hot couple--Nancy & Chris" and the prizes were homemade salsa jars. Very cute and very thematic!

They got me there thinking it was a barbeque. Since Chris and I always hang out with Colleen and her BF Rob, I was not at all surprised that they wanted to have us over to grill and watch the Phillies game that afternoon. However, I wanted to finish the invitations at home that day, and I flat out told Chris and Colleen that I had too much to do and would not be going to the BBQ. In fact, the night before, I had written out a detailed schedule of everything I wanted to do. I had plans up to about 7 o'clock that night. Little did I know when I wrote out that schedule that I would be drinking sangria and opening gifts at the exact time I was supposed to be on the treadmill at the gym!

Because Chris went to see a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs game the night before and stayed with friends in Bethlehem, when I woke up, he had to get back early to try to convince me to go to Col and Rob's BBQ. I was adament. I was not going. It was Saturday, and we had to be out the door before 7 A.M. on Tuesday for a two-week trip to Europe. Plus I wanted the invitations to go out before we flew out from JFK. But Chris was persistent, and I couldn't stand to see him beg, so I gave in. I didn't think much of it when he actually suggested what I should wear, even though he NEVER EVER EVER tells me what to wear. I wore a cute green sundress, and part of me did it all on my own since I'd been watching a lot of What Not to Wear. I figured those cotton summery dresses are comfy and good for hot weather, and those hosts on the show are always talking about how what you put on is always about comfort. Anyway, it was a lucky week to get into that show! I've heard horror stories about girls who show up to their showers in sweatpants!

They're awaiting our arrival.


When we arrived, Rob came to the driveway (he may have had a grill spatula in his hand to look authentic, but maybe that's just my memory playing tricks on me) to tell us they were in the yard and to go on back. So, I walk around the corner of the house, and there's a tent and a bunch of people! One of the first I saw was Becky, my best friend and bridesmaid who lives out in Las Vegas. I didn't know she'd be in town, so this was quite a surprise. It took me a few moments to take it all in. I was walking around the tables and saying hi to everyone before I noticed "the faces." My mom had this crazy idea to print out 30 or so pictures of Chris's face, blow them up to life-size, and put them on paint stirrers. Why, you ask? Well, she remembered that I used to sing the Christina Aguilera song "Ain't No Other Man" about Chris when we were dating. She thought, wouldn't it be cute to play that song when I walked in with everyone holding "the faces" over their own. But I was so overwhelmed with the surprise and the people, that someone actually had to wave one of the Chris faces in front of me, saying, "Hellooooo? Didn't you see these?" before I noticed. But it didn't matter that I didn't see them right away; I still really loved the idea of the entrance. Plus I think my Aunt Anna has a video of the whole thing.

Chris enjoying his face.

During the greetings, my sister handed me a drink, gave me a few minutes to sit, then we ate. We played "The Newlywed Game" shortly after the food. I had to correctly guess Chris's answers to questions he'd been asked. I did very well, which to me only affirms our future marriage!Then, the presents! Oh my, there was quite a pile there! I am still overwhelmed at how generous people are. I am still working on my thank you cards because I don't feel I can say enough to everyone to let them know how much I appreciate the gifts and their thoughtfulness. During the process, Colleen and my cousin (and bridesmaid) Donna would lift my drink to my mouth so I could get a strawful every once in a while. Talk about being served! I was apparently opening gifts way to slowly and had several reminders from the bridesmaids that I needed to move faster. I kept thinking that rushing through the gifts might make the guests feel like their presents were not appreciated enough, which is not at all how I felt about them. I was reminded (by the bridesmaids) that I'd be sending thank you notes where I could be as elaborately thankful as I wished and to get through the opening faster. So I did.

Getting served by Col!

Getting served by Donna!

We had cake, then two more games. We played two truths and a lie, where each guest wrote 2 true things and 1 lie about me. Other guests had to guess what each lie was. It was fun. We gave away a lot of salsa on that game! The next game involved a plunger and toilet paper. I'll let you guess about that one, but it was a race with a raunchy focus, and my team lost :(After all that, many of the guests started to leave, and I couldn't help but think the whole thing went by so quickly. It was a great time, but it flew by. The next day, I asked Colleen if she thought it went by in a flash. She made a good point: she said not only was I there a full hour after everyone else, but I was the center of attention, doing everything offered, whereas the guests were not as busy. I guess that makes sense, but I hope the same doesn't happen at the wedding--all over before I know it.The boys (Chris, Rob, and Donna's husband Brian) came back from the bar where they watched the Phillies towards the end of the shower. The group that stayed late was small, but fun. It was co-ed at that point and loads of fun. Perhaps we'd had too many Mexican cocktails, but the after-party was just as great as the afternoon fiesta.

Me and the bridesmaids (from left to right): Donna, Becky, Colleen, me with one of "the faces" in my hand, Marie standing behind me.

Hope you've enjoyed this VERY LONG description of the shower.... I just don't ever want to forget it!