Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where to start?

I'll admit that before I was even engaged I did a little bit of wedding research. Nothing crazy, just browsing I would say. And now that I'm in the trawls of wedding planning I will say, I knew nothing about how many sites were out there devoted to helping you plan a wedding.

The first site I perused was This site was great for inspirational pictures and helping me look up possible venues.

When I was ready to seriously  search for venues, these sites were my best friends:

I really liked wedding compass, because you could narrow down your search to specifics such as, outdoor, garden, or historical building. It also had some venues that none of the other sites had.

After our venue had been chosen, I had a new list of sites I visited on a regular basis.

I really like this site, and they update pretty regularly. Their wedding dress search options are awesome as well, and much easier to browse than theknot in my opinion.

 image via

Their blog is great and features a lot of what I like to call, "hot off the presses" info, like designers new dresses and new design inspiration. They were the first that I saw to showcase the Kate Middleton inspired dresses. I follow them on facebook and they post links to their latest bog entries, so I get a little taste of their site everyday. Also I won a health food bag from them! Score!

 image via

A jaw dropping beautiful blog featuring real weddings. A lot of great ideas on this site. Their look book of wedding dresses was great as well. Not as many designers as other sites, but I feel they really pick and chose who and what they want to be featured on their site. So you know they picked the best and their favorite.

The wedding section... I could spend hours. Just go look at it...

And last but not least my favorite site consists of  a number of real brides blogging about their planning experiences. I have gotten so many ideas from this site. They also have a boards section where you can post a thread and get advice. The people who blog, post on this site are very nice and helpful. It's nice to talk to people who are going through the same experiences in the planning process. And like I said before, GREAT advice given on this site. And for the most part, everyone is very supportive and helpful.

There are SO MANY resources out there for brides. Thank goodness because I would be lost without them.

I'm also always looking for new sites so if you have a favorite that's different from mine, let me know!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A living room makeover!

We had a crazy busy week. Work, rehearsal for a reading of a new musical we are doing, and preparing for something that I can't WAIT to tell you all about, but not yet :)

We did get to take a breather and see Harry Potter on Friday night, which was amazing of course. And on Saturday we set out to complete a project that we've been meaning to do for quite some time. Jeff is definitely the designer in our home. I have an opinion about what I like, but I don't have any ideas. He does an amazing job and has made our little home look great.

We we first moved in together Jeff had these awesome black and white prints of old New York Theaters. His idea was to get mismatched antique looking frames and put them up together in our living room. Well, we couldn't afford the frames so we stuck them to the wall with double stick tape...

 It actually didn't look that bad, so we didn't rush on getting the frames...

Well over time some of them fell down and our little kitties got a hold of them. About three of the photos have rips and bite marks on them, and one was destroyed completely. We were still able to use the three with the bite marks by cutting the pictures down a little.

As I said before we are preparing for something really cool that is happening Monday, and it involves people coming to our apartment and taking some photographs... So we decided it was time for frames! We went searching at our local Astoria thrift stores and came back with some frames we felt we could work with. Jeff put them in the frames and decided where they should hang on the wall. And here is the finished product!

 I like that you can see Jeff in the reflection 

So much better right??? It's only taken us a year of living here to finish it! But with Jeff and I, (Jeff especially) it takes a deadline to get things done! I hope that doesn't mean we'll be waiting last minute to get a lot of our wedding planning done!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The proposal...

I think our proposal story was so "us." It was absolutely perfect and I wouldn't change a thing. That being said, I don't think I've ever gone through so many emotions in one day. Scared, nervous, happy, angry, annoyed, anxious, shocked, ecstatic, embarrassed, and finally tired and exhausted. It was a long day and a long story. But I'll try not to make it too long :)

Mr. Castle and I spent Christmas of 2010 with our families in California. We had a lovely Christmas and we had plans to spend New Years with Mr. Castle's sister in Flagstaff, Arizona. On New Years Eve sister Castle, who is a teacher, said she had papers to grade the next day and we could take her car and go somewhere if we wanted. Mr. Castle immediately said, "I'd like to go to the Grand Canyon." To which I thought, "OK that's random..." We had already been to the Grand Canyon together 3 years earlier when we first started dating. In my mind it wasn't the ideal day trip. It was very cold and there had just been a huge snow storm. I was super nervous about driving conditions and the roads being icy. We are from California and not used to driving in the snow. My anxiety level shot up at the thought of going. But I decided I didn't want to be a baby and ruin our trip so I agreed to go.

I was really nervous the whole drive but calmed down when we arrived. The canyon was beautiful covered in snow and I was actually glad we made the trip. We got out, took the usual photos, used the bathroom and got back in the car. Jeff said he wanted to drive further into the canyon to show me where his sister's wedding took place. I said OK but asked how much time we had, we were meeting everyone for dinner at a certain time and I HATE being late. Mr. Castle said we should leave by 3 and it was about 2:15. I thought, OK we have time.
Our first few photos at the canyon

As we made our way down the road it got more icy... so I started getting nervous again. Then we passed a park ranger who stops our car to tell us someone slid off the road and we are the last car they are letting through before closing the road so they can tow the car out... I look at the clock and it's now 2:30. I think, we might not be able to turn around and head back if the road is closed... I try and remain calm.

At 2:45 we still have not found the location of his sister's wedding and I feel that we are driving aimlessly. I am super annoyed because Mr. Castle is usually really good about knowing where he is going but clearly he has no clue. We have also seen two cars that have slid off the icy road, so I'm still super nervous. I'm wondering why Mr. Castle wanted to come to the Grand Canyon when we were out of the car a total of 10 minutes... As the time rolls on I'm getting REALLY annoyed. We are still driving further into the canyon and its now 3:00... Mr. Castle says we'll drive 5 minutes further then turn around. I get moody and tell him how he is ALWAYS late, especially with his family. He is totally calm as he says, I know you're right and turns around. After he turns around we stop a couple times on pull outs off the road. He asks me to walk off the path with him a bit but I m not in the mood. We're late, and I don't want to get close to the edge of the canyon when its icy and covered in snow. I'm wearing tennis shoes, not hiking boots. So every time he asks me to follow him off the path I say, "I'm not going over there." or just flat out "no". He finally says, "Fine lets just go." I feel bad because I can tell he's upset so I try my best to calm myself down.

We are both silent in the car as we drive to leave the canyon. Right before the exit there is a turn off for parking and the beginning of little trails leading along the edge of the canyon. Mr. Castle says in an excited voice, "Oooh I want to go there!" I'm thinking, we already took pictures what more could you want... AND we're late. So in the most bratty way I get out of the car and walk slowly behind him. He says we'll walk for 5 minutes and then head back. I'm trying really hard not to ruin our grand canyon trip with my grumpiness, but I'm struggling. What was the point in us coming? Why is Mr. Castle always late? Why did we get out of the car again!? He asks me again to venture off the path and I say, "I'm sorry but no, I do NOT want to go off the path." I can tell he's frustrated... He then asks me to just step to the other side of the path, not close to the edge, just off the path. I finally do as he asks and I'm pretty pissed about it...

He then says, "Oh, I just thought of a song that I want you to listen to as you take in the grandeur of the canyon", and I think oh Mr. Castle is such a nerd but OK whatever... So he gives me his iPhone, I put headphones in my ears and he starts the "song."

I hear a telephone ring and then I hear my Mom's voice. I didn't really get it yet so I look at him and say, "You called my Mom?" I'm embarrassed to say I said that in a mean annoyed way... I was listening to their conversation and then it hit me what was happening. He is asking my Mom for her permission to marry me! I start crying, she's crying on the phone with him... then I started shaking. And then I start getting nervous for what's going to happen next...

The telephone ring comes on again and now he is talking to my Dad! My Dad can be a pretty intimidating guy. I was shocked and elated that Mr. Castle had called him.  There was a pretty significant pause between Mr. Castle asking my Dad and my Dad's response... but My Dad (finally) said it was our decision and of course Mr. Castle has his blessing. He added that he already fit in with our family. :)

Even listening to their conversations I didn't actually think he was going to propose. I thought, he's just showing me that he asked my parents and the proposal is coming sometime soon. But then he pulled out a box! And there was a ring! I was shaking and crying. He got down on one knee and said, "Miss Castle will you marry me?"  and I somehow managed to say, "Oh my God, yes, oh my God..."

We hugged, kissed, took pictures, cried and laughed about my bad mood and how we had both almost ruined it. I had absolutely NO idea that it was coming. I thought I was going to have to pull teeth to get him to propose someday. But it was perfect, even the fact that I was so mad at him two seconds before. I think it makes for a better story that way.
 Right after the proposal.
Our proposal spot

Anyone else almost ruin their proposal like I did?

All photos are personal

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Orange you glad you're reading this blog?

One thing I had decided long before getting engaged was what my wedding color would be...


I am so in love with the color orange. I love to wear orange, paint my nails orange, decorate my home with orange, the list goes on and on. When coloring with the little boy I watch, he always gives me the orange crayon because he knows it's my favorite. When I was 16 I painted my bedroom bright orange. I'm pretty sure the name of the paint was pumpkin or Halloween. It was awesome. The bright color makes me so happy. When people ask, "What are your wedding colors?" and I say "orange" the response is usually, "Orange!?!? That's interesting...Why orange??" Because its my favorite color that's why!

I did think that we needed a secondary color as well.  I didn't want our wedding to look too Halloweenish... So I thought well what looks good with orange?

My first thought was maybe a purple and orange? They look good together. I was even considering having my bridesmaids wear purple dresses and hold orange flowers. I knew my girls would probably be happier wearing purple than orange. But after pondering this for a couple weeks I decided purple was not "me." I felt it would take away from the orange which was supposed to be the "star" color. And I always imagined the girls wearing orange dresses so I decided to stick with my gut.

Our next thought was:


I think it looks pretty good with orange. After considering this option I saw this picture on a friends fb page and it really helped finalize the decision in my mind.

Photo courtesy good friend Megan Swanson/ It's so "spring time"

Another reason I'm loving the idea of incorporating some green here and there is because before I fell in love with orange, I always thought my wedding would be green. Green is my Mother's favorite color but when she got married in the 80s it was not an option for her wedding color. She ended up having to go with pink and she is soooo not a pink person. I always thought, I'm going to have a green wedding for my Mom. So our color scheme fits both of the things I said I wanted long before ever getting engaged. Another cute and fun fact, when Mr. Castle and I met his car was orange and mine was green. :) It was meant to be...

What are your colors? Did you have them picked before even becoming engaged like I did?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

First comes love, then comes wedding planning

So after getting engaged, there are certain steps to be made. I guess the obvious would be to tell everyone, get really excited, fantasize about your big day... but at some point it's time to start getting down to business.

First order of business: When should we get married?

The fiance and I got engaged January 1st 2011. We knew a couple things right off the bat. We did not want to get married this year. The thought of planning a wedding in less than one year really stressed me out. We also wanted to take our time and enjoy our engagement. We knew that we would be getting married in California, not New York where we live. All of our family is in California, it is the state in which we fell in love and you don't have to worry about the weather too much.

So the next big thing we needed to figure out; when should we get married? We narrowed it down to spring or summer of 2012. Originally we were leaning toward summer. Jeff's Mom and sister are teachers so we thought it would be better for them if they were already out of school. We were thinking semi seriously about July 16, because that is both my grandparents, Mom's parents and Dad's parents, anniversary. I thought that might be nice to get married the same day! It would definitely honor both my grandparents, without whom I would not be here. But the more we thought about it and the more research we did I discovered 2 things: I didn't want to wait that long to get married, and I didn't want to get married during the so called "wedding season."

So back to the drawing board. And that's when we realized something. Our anniversary happens to fall on a Saturday in 2012... So we thought, that could be cool... The venue we ended up loving told us they only had one Saturday left in April... our date!

We figured it was fate and booked out day. We are getting married 5 years after we first expressed our fondness of each other. We got REALLY lucky that is all worked out.While it would have been nice to honor my grandparents by getting married on their special day, this is our special day and I am happy with our decision to pick a day that is meaningful to us :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Things I Love...

Let's face it. Life is hard. Times are tough. I live in one of the craziest city's in the world. I watch a two year old child everyday. While I love my job, some days are really HARD. And let's throw planning a wedding into that mix. We are 10 months away and it seems like my to do list keeps growing... To put it mildly, I'm overwhelmed.

It's times like this I have to take a deep breath, and visit some things I love to put me in a better mood.

First up my cats

 My Boys. Looking a little sleepy in this picture

Benjamin Linus and Artemis. I always think, wow my life was so sad before them... Ok that might be a little dramatic but life IS so much happier with these guys. They snuggle with me, they make me laugh, and they are always happy to see me when I get home.

 The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. A GREAT read

I love books. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. and it is such a satisfying hobby. I always feel like I learn so much from every book I read. Even if it's that I learned I don't care for the author...

 Always loved this add campaign

I love music. I don't love all styles of music. I could listen to show tunes all day, but probably only about 20 mins of country. I love rock, pop, indi, opera, and my guilty pleasure weird AL... I also love to sing, so music is a big one.

 My Brothers and I.. and Rudy the dog :)

The people I my life bring me insane amounts of happiness. I have amazing friends and family.

And last but not least. The source of most my happiness. My Love.

Yes that's me hugging him from behind :)

Sigh... Now I feel better.