Sunday, September 24, 2017

The thing about wedding planning...

photo by Jake Wood Photography

Where I left off, I wanted to share the wedding planning journey that Anthony and I embarked on last spring. The thing about wedding planning is that it isn't all cake tasting, picking flowers and sunshine/rainbows/unicorns. If you're bound and determined to plan this thing yourself, and I can see why people hire planners now, it can be a second job. Making phone calls (what happened to the hotel block?!) and clarifying your vision, if in fact you even have a vision (no mauve! no mauve anywhere!) and sticking up for the choices you've made, even if they're unpopular with friends, family, and strangers who think it's their business. Along the way, I think I've learned a few valuable lessons that are worth passing on:

1. Nail down the guest list early on. The first question wedding vendors will ask you is: "what's your guest list?" You need this number to determine what size venue you'll choose, how big your wedding band should be, and even how many centerpieces you'll need. It's all about the number.

2. Write down your wedding budget, then triple it. Maybe I went into this thing naively, but I honestly thought $10,000 would be the ideal wedding budget...and it would have been...if we were inviting 50 people. Nothing against small weddings! In another life we would have eloped to a castle in Ireland with our nearest and dearest, but we both come from large families and it was very important for us to share our day with them. The more guests you have, the more the cost of the wedding adds up.

Checking out wedding venues in New Orleans

3. Step away from the Pinterest! (on occasion). I considered hanging a "Wedding brought to you by Pinterest" banner behind our cake table. It's true. I got tons of ideas browsing, and I was able to save my ideas on a secret board (so I wouldn't give everything away) and keep everything organized. However! It is really easy to get carried away by the wealth of inspiration on the site. It's a double edged sword, it can help you focus your vision, but it can also make you question it. If you're starting to doubt your choices, give yourself a break.

4. Your groom wants to help. I knew going in that Anthony would have opinions. As is his right, it's his wedding too! He's actually been to a lot more weddings than I have, and has a great idea of what will work and what won't. At the height of my frenzy to get a lot of wedding tasks done, he stepped in and asked me to, "lay it on him." I wrote down a pretty extensive list, and we've been working through it together.

5. You don't "have to" anything. You will get caught up in all the accouterments that supposedly must accompany a wedding. But the truth is, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Wedding welcome bags at the hotel? No one will miss them. Wedding favors upon wedding favors? No one cares. Custom napkins? People will spit their gum out in them or throw them away. At the end of the day, put your budget towards things people will actually enjoy: food, drinks, and live music, and prioritize the things that you love and will make you happy.

Despite the to-do list a mile long and stressing out over the details, we're really happy and excited to be planning a wedding for our families to come together!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Da Dum Da Dum!




Kiley Kate is gettin' hitched! My mind has been occupied with the logistics of what should go where and how, but it's nice to stop and savor the creative aspects of the wedding-planning process. Invitations for example. I had no idea what an obsession I had with colors, themes, and fonts. I'm designing some of our programs and such which has been a fun foray into the creative for me lately. Maybe I could share those a bit later?

We've also decided to get married in New Orleans! Rich colors, gas flare lanterns, and visions of Spanish moss-covered elm trees have been crossing my mind as of late.

This is kind of a funky way to come back to a long-ignored blog, but I thought it would help me organize my thoughts somehow? Catalog the fun part of the process rather than the multiple phone calls and contracts that go into booking venues and vendors and hotel blocks. It's also a time of transition as Anthony and I decide what to do next. Chicago has been our home for a little over five years, but we're enjoying entertaining the what-ifs lately...we'll see!

Look at these two wild and crazy kids!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Once and a While...

It's summer...

I'm 27...

I'm well traveled...

And I'm having fun!

Just thought you might wanna know ;)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Battle Scars

I got back to my half-packed studio apartment around 1:00pm, 70 degrees, a beautiful fall day. My anxious Dad who can't sit still without drumming his fingers and yet spent two listless days in a hospital with me while I whined and felt like my stomach had been turned inside out, helped me out of his car and to the sidewalk. He carried heavy grocery bags and took small steps so that I could shuffle behind him. Bent over and running my fingers along the sides of the buildings as we passed just in case I decided I couldn't walk anymore. I was so excited to leave the hospital that I hadn't bothered to wait for a wheelchair and I'd ripped the irritating pain patch off hours ago. I was starting to feel the effects.

The previous week I had my gallbladder removed, my stomach reconstructed, and my nerves clipped so hopefully all my gastritis woes would be behind me. This following an extremely emotional time in the ER where I came to grips with the fact that I would be missing work and weeks of performances for All My Sons. Countless friends and family members were there to console me from over the phone, in person, and through some very beautiful floral arrangements. One particular special lady brought me magazines and sat by my side while I slept, mumbled and hyperventilated. Another special guy wrecked his back sleeping on my hospital room sofa so I wouldn't be alone and let me rest my tear-streaked snot-nosed face on his arm. A very special Mom helped me practice walking and getting to the restroom when I was too physically weak to sit up and too emotionally spent to do anything but cry. I'd never felt so lucky to have these people in my life while simultaneously being completely miserable about events completely out of my control.

On the warm fall day I got out of the hospital I sat down on my courtyard apartment's lobby radiator while Dad carried the groceries up the stairs. Anthony came just in time to ease me into bed and prop pillows under my feet and tell me that the pain wouldn't be forever. I cried for maybe the 1,000th time in ten days and he stroked my hand while I fell asleep.

I woke up around dusk to eat some chicken noodle soup and curl up on the couch like a rickety old cat. I watched History Detectives with Dad, who confided in me that it's exactly how he pictured us spending my recovery time together. It was a rock n' roll episode tracing Bob Dylan's guitar and a collage made by Frank Zappa. The collage struck me. An artist more commonly known for his musical experimentation producing such a wild piece of artwork that expressed his musical thoughts on paper before sitting down to write the music itself. I asked myself: "What have I created lately?" I fell still at the thought of unfinished projects, once desired creative goals and this blog.

Armed with new battle scars I'm ready to run back into the trenches of my creative outlets. To do what I set out to do when I moved to Chicago and get my writing back on track. Nothing can stop me now, not even my own internal organs. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Memorial Day weekend and it has yet to feel like summer is right around the corner. That may have something to do will the demoralizing cold and wet April, but you know how it goes: April Showers bring May Flowers. But just so you're aware, May Flowers don't bring pilgrims. Mayflowers do, and that happened in November. So explain that to me, fool. 

Nonsensical rhymes aside, I'm really excited for the upcoming summer. E will be coming to Chicago for my birthday weekend (Treat Yo' Self 2013) and in July it'll be off to Missouri for my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. And, of course, there's always Chicago in the summer to look forward to. I swear that seeing this city in the summer almost makes the winters worth it...almost.

Hope you're having a great Sunday!