Monday, November 30, 2009

6 months to go!

Ok is official! Today marks the 6 month mark until our wedding! Holy crap!!!

It feels like I have a never-ending to-do list to accomplish over the course of the next few months; I really hope that I am able to tackle it all! Now that I'm home from Thanksgiving break (during which I was INCREDIBLY busy with wedding related things!), I am so excited to share my newest DIY projects and plans! Some of the things I am tackling/looking forward to show you:

*My save-the-date's (which went out 2 weeks that guests have received them, I'll reveal!)
*Planning the ceremony material
*Booking/reserving hotels for guests
*The process of creating ceremony/reception decor (paper pinwheels, here we come!)
*Creating favor bags
*The suit selection process for the dudes

Of course, this is only a small list as of now, but I'm really excited to get started!

Music Monday #11

Please click “play” and enjoy…

I’m currently loving the song “Butterflies” by Dave Barnes. It is so cute! It totally reminds me of how I felt when Justin and I first started dating…the lyrics are so fitting for that “new relationship” feeling! My favorite line is the beginning of the chorus: “and I can’t tell you what it is, but it’s the best thing that I’ve found you. The butterflies in my stomach, and my feet off of the ground!” I am thinking that it would be a good song to play…perhaps during the cake cutting???

What do you think? J

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hair Update...

I got my hair cut on Tuesday...what...a...relief! I've been growing and growing and growing my hair, hoping that I can achieve the proper "up-do" length by the time the wedding rolls around. Thankfully, according to my stylist, I am only about 1 inch away from what we want! Hooray!

Anyway, I was in desperate need of a trim/shape...and I got just what the doctor ordered! This is what I looked like right before the appointment. Notice how it hit my back/shoulders at the bottom and starts to flip out? That was driving me NUTS! Overall, my hair wasn't looking bad, per se, but it was lacking some style...and was feeling cumbersome to boot...

She went through and cleaned up the edges...and shaped/lightened it up within. See how much lighter it looks around and under my chin? It feels 10lbs lighter...and I didn't lose much of my hard earned length! Win-win! And, can I just say how much more stylish it looks??? I miss my sassy bob hair styles...but this still manages to look like I've got it going on...(haha!).

Did you grow out/are you growing out your hair for your wedding? Was it a frustrating process?

You want thing-a-ma-bobs? I’ve got twenty…


Yes, please note the Disney movie reference. You know, the scene where Ariel is swimming around her treasure trove of gadgets and gizmos? Ah, so many delightful things…

Well, I haven’t mentioned this previously, but my venue happens to have its own little treasure trove of goodies…

Back in July when we first toured Carlouel, we were escorted into a storage room upstairs…and it was filled with some pretty awesome things…vases, candles, lanterns galore!!! Shelf upon shelf of materials for weddings or events. Chuck (the manager) explained to us that he has had a lot of brides who didn’t want these things at the end of their wedding, and just left them at the site. WHAT?!?! Left there!??! Does…not…compute…I don’t see myself ever doing that, but hey…ask me again in 6 months and perhaps my story will change.

Anyway, Chuck continues to inform us that we are able to use anything and everything we find in this room, absolutely free of charge! The staff will clean containers and have them sparkling and ready to go for us. And, if we want to swing by on the week of the wedding and pick things up so we can arrange/prepare them at home, we are able to do so as well!

When he first told us this, I’m quite sure that both my mom’s and my chin hit the floor. This is un-freakin-real! There are multiple bins FILLED with different tea light candles in different shaped containers…which we will definitely be using on the reception tables…

My favorite shelf happens to be this one…it is packed from front to back with white pillar candles of different heights…these will be topping the mantle in the front entryway, as well as other locations throughout the venue!

So, overall, this wonderful discovery is going to help tremendously with some of the décor cost! Although we’d only be using small candles on each table, I want to use quite a lot of them throughout the venue…and now we don’t have to buy a single one! Pillar candles can add up in price as well, so I am so excited that we can cross that off of our “to-purchase” list!

Did your venue include some awesome extras as part of the package???

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Revisiting the venue

So, as you may have heard, I have a jam-packed week! And, thus far it has proved to be extremely productive…I couldn’t be happier!

On Saturday, there was a wedding at our venue. I was so excited that we were lucky enough to be home during a week with a wedding occurring! The manager told us that we could swing by during the early afternoon, before the guests started to arrive. I couldn’t wait to get there!

When we originally visited the venue, it was set up for normal day-to-day club activity. This time, it was in “wedding” mode. I was so glad to see the differences! Now, I’ll share some before-and-after pictures!

Remember the front entryway?


Last time, it was filled with couches and a coffee table. For a wedding, they remove these and place a skirted table in the center of the room under the light fixture.


…and that…my friends…is where the wish tree guestbook is going to be placed!

Can’t you just imagine it? The tree will be the first thing that our guests will see as they walk through the venue’s door…

Also, behind and to the side are the skirted tables for the gifts, etc. I found some great items to decorate that space with…but I’m going to keep you in suspense until later…

There is a NEW addition to our venue since we last visited! Apparently, there was a wedding at Carlouel in October that used grapevines wrapped with white lights and votive lamps. The manager liked it so much, that he bought it from the florist, and it has remained up ever since! Unless a bride requests it to be taken down between now and the end of May, we are going to keep it in place! And, the manager was nice enough to tell us that they would put it back up for us if we wanted it and it had been taken down! Yay for free décor items!!! And, ooooh I’m drooling at the thought of how it will be lit up during the reception…so romantic!

Just to give you an idea of how it looks lit up!!! So...romantic...

Last time we were at Carlouel, the “birdcage” area (I’m not kidding, they call it that…how perfect?) was set up for regular lunch-time pool activity.


This time, we got to view the bar/cocktail hour setup! They set up a really nice large bar out by the pool, remove the tables and place them outside the covered area (and cover the tables with linens), and add a few tall pub tables. I’m digging the setup for our cocktail hour (now if only the weather would be perfect….)!


So, I am SO BEYOND excited about our venue after out visit! It really solidified how incredibly awesome of a choice we made. Sigh of relief, anyone???

With subsequent trips, did you just continue to fall more and more in love with your venue???

Monday, November 23, 2009

Music Monday #10

Please click “play” and enjoy…

For those of you who may not know it, I sang a lot growing up. I went through classical voice lessons for years, was the lead in my high school musical, and went on to sing in an acapella group in college. Nowadays, my crooning is somewhat relegated to singing along to the radio when I’m in the car. Single tear, right? Anyway, I thought it would be such a cool thing to record (or sing live with an acoustic guitar) for the wedding. If I were to do so, I am quite sure that this would be the song. I’m not sure if I could make it happen, but nevertheless I think I want to include it during the day at some point…where should it be placed, do you think?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Did you miss me?

First, I apologize for the temporary hiatus in posts. Justin and I were making a bit of a trek! On Thursday, we made the long drive from VA to FL to come home for Thanksgiving week! Yay!

Lucia was such a trooper...

When she wasn't sleeping, she wanted to help us drive...
She literally switched back and forth from me to Justin...placing her head on our shoulders...awwww

Sneaking in a kiss...

It is totally normal to have philosophical conversations with your dog...right???

All in all, I am so glad to be at home, and to be with family, albeit for a relatively short time period. I miss my parents when we are up in Virginia!

Sadly, this trip is not exactly going to be leisurely and relaxing...I have a TON of wedding-related things to take care of! While I'm home, I am going to:
1. Have an appointment with my hair stylist (yay!)
2. Re-visit our venue; they are having a wedding there today, and we are going to go take a look at the setup!
3. Taste some cake (YUM!)
4. VISIT AND INSPECT MY DRESS! (the excitement is literally palpable...)
5. Practice making centerpieces/shopping for containers in which to place said centerpieces...
6. Have a preliminary tasting at our venue with my parents and Justin's parents.

Oh yeah, and I guess we'll be making a Thanksgiving dinner somewhere in there as well...

Anyway, I am so excited about all of the upcoming activities, and I can't wait to share all of the info! I'll be back soon to start with our Save the Date saga...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We have a winner!

Congratulations to PMerr from Countdown to 8/14, you are the winner of the 18x24" poster print from! I can't wait to hear how you use it...make sure to let me know!

Thank you to everyone who entered! Hopefully there will be more giveaways to share with you soon!

Dressing the Dudes…Part 2

As I mentioned previously, we are going the suit route for the dudes (ha! I rhymed there...did you catch that?!?!). But…I didn’t touch on what will go UNDER the suit (the shirt and tie, that is…don’t let your mind go in the gutter, people!).

At the moment, I love the idea of combining a light blue shirt with a blue/green tie. I think that the blue will look great against the gray suit, and it will soften up the look, since we are going for a less formal feeling. Plus, if the guys remove their jackets at the reception, they will still look really sharp with a colored shirt, rather than a plain white one!

Then come the ties…there are so freaking many to choose from! How will I do it? I’m seriously contemplating the notion of mixing and matching the dudes’ ties. As one of my idols, Stacy London, would say, “it doesn’t have to MATCH, it has to GO.” What if I get them all different ties, but in similar colors? Certainly, I would pick somewhat similar styles (maybe mixing some stripes with plaids). Since there are still six months until the big day, I figure that I have time to shop around and look for sales…and perhaps pick up coordinating ties for them all!

Here are some that I’ve stumbled upon so far…I’m hoping that when I’m home next week I’ll be able to take a look at some stores and see them in person! Obviously, there are some differences in color (some of these look more "apple," some are more "sage" green...I'd have to make sure they don't clash!)...I would only purchase ties that were very similar in color...this is just to get an idea of potential patterns as a starting point!

Following images from Macys:

Following image from Dillards:

Following images from The Tie Bar:

How did you pick your ties out (for those of you who chose suits)? Is there somewhere I should look that has awesome ties?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Over the Top!

Thanks to A. Marigold from How to Tie Knots for awarding me the Over the Top blog award!

For this award, I am to answer the following questions with one-word answers, and then pass the award on to six deserving bloggers. Well then.

1. Where is your cell phone? Ummmm…

2. Your hair? Shapeless

3. Your mother? Amazing

4. Your father? Intelligent

5. Your favorite food? Chinese

6. Your dream last night? Non-existent

7. Your favorite drink? Water

8. Your dream/goal? Joy

9. What room are you in? Living

10. Your hobby? Writing

11. Your fear? Flying

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Somewhere

13. Where were you last night? Couch

14. Something you aren’t? Messy

15. Muffins? Carbs...

16. Wish list item? House

17. Where did you grow up? Everywhere

18. Last thing you did? Dinner

19. What are you wearing? PJ’s

20. Your TV? Overworked

21. Your pets? Lucia!

22. Your friends? Delightful

23. Your life? Complicated

24. Your mood? Cheerful

25. Missing someone? Parents

26. Vehicle? Honda

27. Something you’re not wearing? Socks

28. Your favorite store? TJMaxx

29. Your favorite color? Green

30. When was the last time you laughed? Afternoon

31. Last time you cried? Morning

32. Your best friend? Hubby ;)

33. One place that I go over and over? Kroger

34. One person who emails me regularly? Mommy

35. Favorite place to eat? Couch

Annnd I’m passing this along to:

Veiled Vows, You Can’t Take it With You, Getting’ Hitched, A Bride…Again, A Fortunate Bride, and All But Lies

Retail Therapy

Hello everyone. My name is Katie, and I am a shop-aholic.

If I had my way, I would never repeat an outfit. I like trying new styles, and the satisfying feeling that you get when wearing a brand new piece of clothing is just the bees-knees. Seriously, they call it retail therapy for a REASON, people…

Now, I am a rational, sensible person when it comes to spending (at least, I like to think so). Although I love the latest fashions, almost every article of clothing I own has been found at a store like TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Hey, if I can get BCBG, Lilly Pulitzer, and designer jeans there, why should I pay triple the price? Case in point; I bought an amazing Calvin Klein dress at TJ Maxx (that I wore the night Justin proposed, coincidentally); a few weeks later, I was walking through the mall, and there was the EXACT dress on a mannequin for full price…ummm you better believe I felt good!

Ok, totally using this as an excuse to show off some pictures...but ***sigh*** isn't it a cute dress???

Anyway, I think it is exciting to go through the racks and find the rare gems among what is usually a lot of…um…interesting pieces…

This all being said, I took a look back at my spending patterns over the past few months (since we moved to Virginia), and I made an interesting discovery.

I have barely purchased a thing…in months.

No, for real…I’m not even joking! I purchased a pair of ballet flats because living in Virginia requires closed toed shoes, of which I have a VERY limited collection…but other than that? Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

In the past, I wouldn’t hesitate to treat myself to a new shirt, pair of shoes, or a dress if I happened to stumble upon it at a store. You have to treat yourself sometimes, right??? However, I’ve noticed that any and all purchases (other than the necessary groceries and other basics) have been wedding related. My hair flower, my cake topper, and my Save the Date’s have taken the place of my precious shoe budget. When I’m out shopping and I see something that I like, I start saying to myself, “nope…don’t do it…that is $30 you can spend on wedding things…”

This gets me thinking…am I the only one out there feeling the same way? Do you find yourself holding back on making purchases because the money could be put to “better” use? Are you also feeling guilty any time that you make a frivolous purchase in lieu of saving it for the wedding? Is anyone else out there anxiously awaiting the day when their shoe (or handbag, clothes, etc) budget is re-instated? What do you do to NOT go crazy in the meantime???

Monday, November 16, 2009

Music Monday #9

Please click “play” and enjoy…

Ok, I’ll admit that the music selection today is partly indulgent on my part. I am obsessed with the song “Fireflies” by Owl City. Seriously…if you haven’t listened to the entire album yet, go ahead and do that, because it is awesome! Anyway, I can’t get enough of this song. Perhaps I’ll be sick of it by the time the wedding rolls around, but if the nuptials took place tomorrow, I would be thinking of any and all possible ways to include it in some aspect.

Where would it fit? Entering into the reception? It isn’t fast enough to be a “fun” dancing song during the reception…perhaps it could play during dinner? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And the winner is...

Em from Burning River Bride - won the set of 50 custom Thank You cards from! I can't wait to see how you put them to use (seriously dude...I want to see some pictures!)!

Thank you to all who entered...and if you haven't seen my current giveaway yet, I have an 18x24" photo enlargement/poster print from that I posted runs through Tuesday the 17th, so hurry over and get your name in!

Dressing the Dudes…Part 1

One thing I’ve been continually putting off is the issue of dressing up the guys. You’d think this would be a rather simple decision…and I suppose it could be. Just throw them in some tuxedos, right?

Mmmm not so much! I think a tuxedo is very nice, but it really doesn’t go with the overall look for the wedding. We want everything to be semi-formal. So…it looks like we’re going to have to opt for some suiting!

I think that having the groomsmen purchase a suit has many advantages! If we time their purchase correctly and get a good sale, it could cost approximately the same price as a tuxedo rental (yeah those babies are not cheap!!!). Although, unlike the tuxedo, the guys will get to keep them, and potentially wear them again. Both of Justin’s brothers wear suits (or at least nice trousers, shirt, and tie) for work, so we are confident that at least two of them will put a suit to good use after the wedding is said and done.

So, we hit the ‘net, and started to search high and low for some reasonably priced options!

Well, if money were no object (and believe me, I wish that were the case…), without a doubt, the dudes would be dressed in the Aldridge suit in charcoal pinstripe. Yum. But, a $365 coat and $175 pants are quite an investment…and that doesn’t include a shirt and tie! Single tear…moving on…

I’ll save the gory details of the countless sites we investigated and get to the point! Surprisingly, Justin managed to get into the suit hunt, and stumbled upon Jos. A. Banks. There were a ton of options on the site, and luckily, we have one right down the road from us! So, we headed over to the store to see the suits in person.

One thing we knew for sure from the start: Justin needs a tailored/slimmer fit suit. He has broad shoulders and a small waist, so sometimes with regular suit coats, they can look boxy on him. Thankfully, Jos. A. Banks just came out with a new suit style: the Traveler Tailored Fit suit. We like that it is wrinkle resistant, stain resistant, and it is wool (nice quality!). It comes in a plethora of colors/textures, but we decided that we love the gray microcheck…it is softer than black, but it is still a very nice dark suit, and I love me some texture in clothing!

And, you want to know what is amazing about this??? They informed us that Jos. A. Banks typically holds “buy 1 suit, get 2 free” sales pretty often. What?!?! That…is…amazing! Although it would take some coordination between the guys, if we purchased the suits together, we could score the suits at around $233 a piece!

So, there you have it…decision is made (for now)! We are planning on purchasing the groomsmen’s shirts and ties as a gift, so I’m going to be on the lookout for some fun combinations soon!

What are you dressing the guys in? Did you opt for a traditional tuxedo, or decide on something different?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

18x24” Poster Print Giveaway!

Happy Saturday! I am pleased to announce that I have yet another giveaway for you! J

This lovely giveaway is sponsored by!

Giveaway prize: (1) 18x24 poster print for One Lucky Winner

Paper: High Gloss; Semi Gloss

Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping in the US

Eligibility: Limited to US Residents due to shipping costs. They will negotiate better shipping rates soon.

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, November 17, at 11:59pm Eastern Time. I will then select a winner at random!

To enter, you can do the following:

1. Leave a comment on my blog and let me know what you would use this print for (Christmas is coming up…my parents might like a framed photo enlargement of one or our engagement pictures!). 1 entry

2. Follow my blog (or let me know if you already do)! 1 entry

3. Follow me on Twitter @kolsen17, and Tweet the following message: @kolsen17 has a #giveaway! Enter to win an 18x24” photo enlargement!

Good luck everyone!

***As a sponsored post, I am also receiving an 18x24" poster print from for hosting this giveaway. Check out their reviews page to see how others have reacted to their products!

Also, don’t forget to enter to win 50 custom Thank You cards! The contest ends today at 11:59PM, so make sure to head over and get your name in!