Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Facebook and the Engagement Ring Photo Conundrum

With the holidays upon us there has definitely been a recent upsurge of engagements. My Facebook newsfeed has been plastered with many newly engaged couples changing their relationship status, and posting shots of their brand new bling to their Timeline.

I recently read an article that got me thinking about the whole conundrum of whether or not to post a picture of your engagement ring to Facebook. The article itself was written in a really snarky and rude manner damning the women who choose to snap a picture of their engagement ring up-close and then send off to their mobile uploads. The writer, who is not-engaged but in a happy relationship which she felt the need to stress (over compensation, much?), got a lot of backlash in her comments section, and for the sake of preventing an internet war of words between said site and Weddingbee I think that it’s best that I leave the source of the article anonymous.

In essence, the article voices the view that it is cheesy, materialistic and alarming to post pictures of your new shiny bling to your Facebook. One of her points made sense. For instance, yes, you’re not engaged to your hand so why not snap a picture of you and your fiancé together, instead of a close-up of your ring? (In my opinion, why not a shot of both?) However, she also said some things that I found to be a little ridiculous, along the lines of, “no one wants to see your sausage fingers up-close.”

I love seeing people I knew at different points in my life get engaged thanks to Facebook. It’s always kind of fun to see that XYZ-friend that I played on the swings with is now set to become a married woman. And, like most women, I love seeing diamond rings. I really don’t mind the ring shots people post to their newsfeed. In the exciting moment, I don’t think posting the ring comes from a place of materialism. The symbol of an engagement ring, and the act of showing it off to everyone, has become a right of passage engraved into our society. How many times after your engagement did someone swat at your hand and shout, “Let me see the ring!”?

When I got engaged I was still Smartphone-less (yes, I’m a Grandma. I also still refuse to switch to an e-reader) so there was no ring shot uploaded when it happened. I posted a pic of the ring later on within our engagement album. Only one and hey, why not? I don’t see why posting it to Facebook, a personal choice none-the-less, should concern anyone. If we aren’t close anymore and you could care less then go ahead and de-friend me. Mr. P spent a long time researching and picking out the ring. It’s certainly not the most important part of our engagement, but it IS a part of it, so why not snap a shot and include it as part of the other thousands of minute details we all post about each day? Why do I need to censor myself?

In our evolving culture we definitely share more parts of our life then ever before. The article in itself made it seem like a crime to post a photo of something that is going to be (most likely) one of your most prized possessions. Whether it’s 2 carats or ¼ carat, a sapphire instead of a diamond, a simple band, or a piece of twine is not the point. The whole point in posting the image is the excitement, bliss, and joy you feel the need to share in that moment (or day or week after).

Where do you stand on posting e-ring pictures to Facebook or other social networking sites? Did you post a photo of your ring for all your “friends” to see?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Skyping with the Rabbi

The one annoying thing about planning a wedding that will take place 3 hours away is figuring out when to meet up with vendors. Since we’ve had a long engagement we were able to space out a few trips to get this done. We also made really good choices from our research, so we didn’t have to go back and forth a bunch of times to find people we wanted to work with. One trip per vendor worked for us to find the right people to work with.

The one thing that has proved more difficult is scheduling a meeting with our Rabbi. Since we don’t belong to a temple in New York, we easily decided on using the Rabbi at Mr. Porcupine’s parent’s temple in Pennsylvania. He marked our date off, we met with him briefly early on into our planning, and he told us we wouldn’t need to meet again until much closer to the big day. But, after two more short trips down to Pennsylvania without being able to coordinate schedules, our Rabbi suggested we have a meeting via Skype.

So, we downloaded Skype and used it for the first time to talk with our Rabbi. For some reason I find this hilarious. Granted our Rabbi is Reform. He's not the traditional Rabbi you might be picturing with a long beard and conservative dress. He's definitely a modern dude, but come on, having a Skype meeting with a Rabbi? There has to be a joke in there somewhere.

The meeting mostly consisted of sharing basic information about ourselves and discussing the different aspects of the ceremony. We spent an hour going over Ketubah options, parents’ names, what we’ll need to bring for the ceremony, etc. There were a few questions and tasks that left us with some work to do. For instance, my parents tracked down my Hebrew name that I had long forgotten. And, we both located some stand-in ring options, since in the Jewish tradition wedding bands have to be a single band not broken by anything (like the diamonds in my wedding ring and the lines etched into Mr. P’s). For the ceremony I will most likely use my mom’s ring, and Mr. P will use his grandma’s (unless they can find his grandfather’s). I just hope he can get the ring to even make it over his nailbed!

We were also given a homework assignment of questions that Mr. P and I have to fill out so that the Rabbi can put together a ceremony with a personal touch. It asks the basic questions such as how did we met and how did the proposal go. The catch is that we're not allowed to show each other our answers.

One of the questions asks for any personal stories about our relationship that we care to share. We have about 900 ridiculous stories we could mention. Or, we could go the traditional sweet approach with how much we have impacted each other’s lives. I haven’t decided what to share yet and I don’t know what I expect Mr. P to write. We're not a serious couple and I really enjoy funny, personalized ceremonies. I just can't think of the perfect story to share, but I do have a few months to dig into the recesses of my brain.

Did you meet with any of your vendors via Skype? Did your officiant personalize your wedding ceremony with a story? Should I stay true to us and go the funny route or serious it up for our wedding day?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Weighty Issue Part 2: The Results

When I left off, I mentioned it took me a year to get into the whole weight loss idea.

At my current job I joined the gym in the basement, using the treadmill and elliptical for 45 minutes to an hour for four or five times a week. I started eating smaller portions and better food. I started cooking with a lot less fat and a lot more low-fat ingredients. I also stopped a lot of the mindless snacking I did. It took me a year to shed 20 pounds. Since I’m short it was significant enough.

What I can recommend, which has worked for me (keep in mind I have NO dietary knowledge. This is just that works for my metabolism):
  • Stop drinking soda. Even diet soda. I was a HUGE Coca Cola freak before I cut it out back in high school. Within a week you will feel SO different. Within a month you will completely lose your taste for it. 
  • Eat more whole grain/wheat products and less white flour foods. It took me awhile, but I now like whole-grain pasta and breads (an occasional bagel in moderation is necessary though).
  • Cut your portions down. Check out a guide to portions here at WebMD. Not going to lie, it SUCKS sometimes, but slowly but surely what it takes to get you feeling full will shrink down.
  • Exercise. I hate exercising, but I’ve learned that I am not the type of person who can get away with not doing any. I’m down to 30 minutes three or four times a week on the elliptical or treadmill. When I first started exercising I only saw significant weight loss when I did 45 minutes to an hour at least four times a week. I also lift five pound weights three to four times a week while watching TV. How everyone’s body reacts though is different.
  • Cut down your use of full fat products. I hate fat free cheese/sour cream/butter/etc., but I see little to no taste difference in reduced fat versions.
  • Eat small, lighter meals throughout the day instead of three big heavy ones.
  • Don’t base your happiness on the scale. It’s how you feel in your clothing and in every day life that matters. If your pants are falling down, but the scale won’t budge- throw the scale out the window!
I still hold true to many of those tips, but sometimes my daily eating gets off course and my desire to work out weans away. Winter makes me want to do things like eat giant bowls of chili and baked potatoes smothered in cheese while wearing oversized sweaters on my couch.

I don't expect to lose more than the five pounds I've recently put on before the wedding, but I'd like to eat better and exercise more just for the sake of feeling better. Exercising and eating better/lighter just makes me feel more awake and energized. My biggest goal is to tone up my arms before the wedding. I also need to stop the mindless snacking I've been doing at night, the weekend Wendy's runs, and full fat beer drinking (Blue Moon being my new go-to).

What are your tips for getting into shape? Anyone have good arm toning workouts? Getting my arms toned has always been a tough battle for me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Weighty Issue Part 1: The Backstory

Today I signed into my registry to replace something that went discontinued (no worries- I've only had to do this 80 times already) and my jaw almost hit the floor when I noticed I am ALMOST at 100 days out. Crazy little registry countdown clock!

What the hell? I don't think I ever took into consideration that all this planning would lead to the big day, because my mind feels boggled by the concept of me walking down the aisle and getting married. And, with my first dress fitting looming a few weeks away I realized I better stop slacking at getting my arse to the gym, and I better stop eating all those damn tacos (well except for Taco Tuesdays...)

Okay, a disclaimer. I know I am not a plus-size bride and I am not here to whine that my size 2s are just TOO DARN TIGHT (because I will never be a size 2 and um, eat a potato!). But, my desire to be in shape for my wedding stems from my past. I was a chubster! Baby fat, chubby, chunky, however you want to put it I was overweight and unhealthy. I like food and I like to eat. I grew up in a clean your plate(s) family. I was the polar opposite of an active child. My hobbies consisted of doing things like poking out all the chocolate chips in my Chips Ahoys, eating the cookie, and saving the chocolate chips for dessert (yes, I really did this). So, Hive for you only (and I guess whoever else stumbles upon this blog post) I am revealing a teenage awkward photo of myself to prove that I am not BSing you. Here goes:

Yes, I am aware I had oddly un-proportional legs

I can tell you one thing, Junior High was NOT fun. I had great girlfriends my whole life, but kids in general are really terrible. I survived Junior Hellschool and during the summer before High School I remember clearly thinking, “I should lose weight.” That summer I lost maybe 5 lbs. I wasn’t weighing myself at the time so I don’t know, but it wasn’t a significant loss.

My High School was great. I can honestly say there was no teasing or cruelty that I ever witnessed. But, I still felt like I should just lose the weight already. My mom had joined Weight Watchers sometime during my freshman year, and even though I didn’t want to go to the meetings (mostly my lazy ass did not want to wake up early on a Sunday morning) I used all her books and points calculator to do the old school Points system on my own, and it worked! Again, I wasn’t weighing myself then, but I went from chubby to “average.”
Our Senior Year trip to the Jersey Shore before it was a household name... yes, I'm wearing too much bronzer in hopes of blending in with my Italian best friends

I know the Points program has changed somewhat, but I can not talk-up Weight Watchers enough. Their “diets” make sense. They don’t make you eat stupid crap that you will soon give up on. The program honestly changes your life and how you think about food. By my senior prom I was down to a size 6, and then college came around….

Like most people I ate like PURE SHIT in college. I gained the freshmen 15 and then some. I would go through spurts of “I am going to be good,” where I would occasionally hit the gym and eat more salads. However, beer + late night eating + more beer + horrible food choices for weeks on end = blubbery. By the time I graduated I was really unhealthy and felt like garbage.  I looked extremely swollen.

I could barely hustle downstairs to the subway to catch a train I heard pulling in (mind you this was running DOWN stairs, not up). The scale was telling me I was almost 160 lbs and I’m only 5’3.’’ My BMI put me as overweight, and my size 12s were telling me “ha ha you fool!” It still took me about a year after this knowledge set in to cut out the excessive vanilla lattes, bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, and craptastic snacking.

Losing weight isn't something to do on a whim to fit in a dress, but it can definitely be a great motivator. Even though my initial motivator came before our engagement, I’m not sure that my bride brain could have handled one more task. Are you trying to lose weight before your big day?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Over it!

To be blunt, I’ve gotten to a place in wedding planning where I just don’t give a hunk of doo anymore. Just me? At this point we’ve been engaged for almost a year and a half. I’ve been steadily planning since about day 3 of our engagement. I have all my vendors booked, the menu picked, my first dress fitting scheduled, and a pretty good grasp on what detail items need to be accomplished. (Damn you chalkboard frames!) The issue now is that I can’t get anything done. AT.ALL. I mean to do something, but then I can’t quite figure out what it is I should be doing, and I take to my couch and DVR.

I could sit here and wax poetic about the joys of wedding planning, the fun I’m having, the lollipops that fall from the sky every time I accomplish a wedding task, but um – no. I’m seriously over it. I want to create a bonfire of all my damn wedding magazines that have the same advertisements and the same articles in EVERY.SINGLE.ISSUE. I want to fling my wedding binder that I long ago neglected out the window at full force. I want to eat brownies and cheeseburgers (whoops, I’ve been doing quite a bit of that) instead of trying to focus on keeping the LBs off so that I can zip up my gown.

What have I done in the last month? I’ve ordered 10 invitations from Vistaprint. That’s all folks. I suck.

Before we order a slew of 100 invitations, response cards, and the like, Mr. P and I decided to make sure we like the design in-person. The smallest amount you can order on Vistaprint is ten, so I randomly stumbled upon a Vistaprint sale and ordered ten invitations for five bucks. With tax and shipping it came to be 16 dollars. I figure 16 dollars isn’t much to lose if we get them and dislike them. A lot better than ordering 100 and regretting it.

So, yea. I have 10 invitations en route to gaze at and then hopefully order another 100 of. Then what? How do I make myself care about things like the guest book, the bridesmaid accessories, and what the place cards should look like?

How did you navigate the lat few months of your engagement? Where did you find the inspiration to get into the swing of finishing up the details?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Just Dance... the first songs

When it came to deciding on our first dance song, I immediately knew what song I wanted. So, nope, this was not a joint effort and there was no way I was going to budge on this.

When we first started dating, whenever I heard “Look After You” by the Fray, it immediately made me think of Mr. Porcupine. I guess when you’re first dating every song makes you think of the person, but I REALLY loved this song. I still do, and it’s one of those songs I can play over and over again on my Ipod without killing it.

I'm not usually a sappy person, but my favorite part is:

“When I’m losing my control,
the city spins around,
you’re the only one who knows,
you slow it down”

This line really resonates with me about our relationship. I’m notoriously a psycho and running a mile a minute. I easily stress out, lose my mind, and have the urge to curse out MTA employees and other annoying individuals that populate this city. When Mr. P came around I found in him someone to level me out (even though I am still pretty much a psycho). Mr. P’s approach to life is “eh, whatevz.” So when you mix that in with my approach to life of, “WHAT THE HELL? I WILL KILL YOU!” you get something a little saner. I’ve honestly mellowed out as much as it’s possible for me to mellow out. Sorry, I will never be entirely normal…

When Mr. P heard the song he agreed that it was nice. But, he couldn’t help throwing out “Hey There Delilah.” Mr. P loves this ding-dong song. This song depresses the HELL OUT of me. It was popular during the small amount of time Mr. P and I were “long distance.” There’s something about the damn song that makes something in my brain snap and want to burst into tears. It gained popularity right when I graduated college, returned home and Mr. P returned to PA for his summer break. (He had a year of college to go after that.) The beginning of the song is pretty much the only reason it corresponds to our life at that time.

"Hey there Delilah (except well I’m not HER)
what’s it like in New York City?
I’m a thousand miles away,
but girl tonight you look so pretty, yes you do,
Times Square can’t shine as bright as you, I swear it’s true"

I vetoed it immediately. I was not having my first dance to a song about a girl named Delilah that makes me want to curl up in a corner and die. Mr. P was upset for maybe 9 seconds, and moved on. The Fray it was- which by the way we now ALWAYS hear playing at the Supermarket. A sign? Or maybe it’s to lull the rage of our deli counter people (they seriously have the psychosis worse than I do).

Then, when trying to touch on the subject of our quartet music I realized I have no idea what in the hell I want them to play for anything. I have zero classical music knowledge and something like no desire whatsoever to figure out what to play. For the procession, the only thing I definitely know, is that I don't want “Here Comes the Bride.”  For the bridesmaids walking down the aisle I like the traditional Pachelbel Canon in D, but what about when I come down the aisle? DING DING. Best idea ever. I googled my idea and yes it exists!

Hey There Delilah without the words! I actually like it better when a quartet plays it. I e-mailed our string quartet about the Vitamin String Quartet’s rendition of Hey there Delilah, and they said they’d said they could get it (I guess the sheet music?) and play it without a problem.

I was going to surprise Mr. Porcupine, but since he is a huge crier I decided it might be better if I forewarned him. So even though yes, he will still bawl like a baby through our entire ceremony, at least he won’t get a crying curveball thrown at him and fall over on our Rabbi. I can say this because Mr. P is too busy to read my blog posts (haha!). It’s fine, he owns up to it…

Was your first dance song a compromise?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Roleeeee Out

Choosing to live together before marriage or waiting until after you're married is a personal decision. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a friend’s acquaintance after a few months of living with Mr. P. My friend explained that I lived nearby (we were out at a nearby bar) with my boyfriend, and this acquaintance, who had just met me mind you, immediately responded, “Oh, I’m so glad I waited to move in with my husband. It takes all the fun away from marriage if you live with someone first.” I just stared at her blankly. My first reaction was to say, “Who the BLEEP asked you?” I relented.

It may not be the "traditional" route, but one of the benefits of living with someone before marriage is ironing out each person’s role. Mr. P and I have pretty traditional roles in our home. Since we’ve lived together for over 3 years we’ve had some time to master who does what. I'm glad we have this all ironed out pre-marriage. Things have shifted over time due to changes in work and life, but for the most part I do a lot more work around the house and Mr. P does a lot more work out of the home.

As of right now I do about 95% of the housework and cooking. It wasn’t always this way, but right now I’m pretty 9 to 5 and Mr. P. works all the time. For instance, yesterday he left for work at 7 AM and didn’t get home until about 9 PM. He’s also the bread winner right now, and provides a lot more financially. I don’t mind making up for my monetary deficiency with some more work around the house, because for the most part I don’t mind doing household stuff. I like to cook, although I do occasionally get into my “I HATE cooking, why are there so many pots to clean now?” moods. I have also found that I clean-up more efficiently then Mr. P, and it provides for fewer rampages if I just clean what I can and tell him what’s leftover to do. I really don’t think Mr. P sees dirty things or clutter. Somehow in my “old age” I’ve turned into Monica from Friends.

Yes, there are times I wish I could plop down on the couch, watch TV, and not have to cook or clean. (And, sometimes take-out and clutter prevail.) Most of the time Mr. P just has to come home, warm-up his dinner, take out the trash for the night, and put away the dishes on the dry-rack. Although he's working later at his job than I am, I usually don’t sit down until 8 PM. I get home at around 6 PM, tidy up our mess from rushing around in the morning, make Mr. P and me lunch for the next day, prep dinner, cook, clean up the mess from cooking, and then clean or vacuum something. Yes, like I said I’m legit turning into Monica….

Mr. P is always super appreciative. And, we’ve established which tasks are his and which are mine. I tend to avoid the gross-out chores. He always takes out the trash, the recyclables, cleans the toilet, etc. Every now and then Mr. P will do the dishes or make one of his dishes like garlic sautéed string beans or a pot of meatballs. Right now he doesn’t have a lot of time for all that, but it wasn’t always this way.

We’ve already gone through three different stages of work/life balance. There was our first few months living together where Mr. P and I had a pretty similar schedule. We’d take the train to and from work together, and cook/clean together. We were probably together TOO MUCH during that time. Then there were the months of Mr. P’s unemployment when he was home A LOT more and was the house-boyfriend (note to all, guys do not deal with unemployment well- I’m pretty sure he went insane). There was also the period of my unemployment when I think I did less chores than I do now (I swear unemployment makes you not give an ish about anything but getting a job). And, then there was the time Mr. P would often get stuck on the night shift leaving him more time to do things around the apartment in the daytime. It’s been a constant switch and change-up.

What is my point in all this? Not sure, but living together pre-marriage doesn’t work for everyone whether it's personal, religious, or logistical reasons. But, in our case it's what worked and made the most sense. I’m glad we can start our first year of marriage without having to figure out all the little things. It might take away “the fun” of everything as that chick said years ago, but last time I checked marriage wasn’t a game that is fun vs. not fun. And figuring out that junk isn't exactly "fun."

Did you decide to live with your significant other before marriage? Do you have a "traditional role" in your relationship?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hi, my name is, what? my name is, who?

When it came to deciding if I should change my name, I pretty much didn't think about it. I always planned on changing my name. I'm not sure why- mostly I think it's because I can be pretty old-fashioned sometimes. There is a side of me that would love to be a little Suzy Homemaker stay-at-home mom raising the kids and taking care of the home.

I know a lot of people get emotional about losing their last name, but I've never had some crazy attachment to it. Yes, it's my "family's name," but I don't see changing your name as changing who your family is. Plus, most of my immediate family has a different last name so it never struck me as something HUGELY important. My first name is pretty original, so I've always identified more with that. Like Madonna or something (without the fame, fortune, and talent).

Also, my last name is really weird. I can assure you, you would pronounce it wrong upon first glance. There are far too many vowels in a row in it. It has forever driven me insane that people say it wrong, ALL THE TIME. I've even heard variations of it that sound a lot like an excrement from your body. I could correct teachers and professors 90 times and they STILL couldn't pronounce it. It's been fun times.

My married last name is pretty common. It's not quite as common as let's say "Smith," but it's a complete polar opposite from what I'm coming from. And even though I have a unique first name, my first name + married name is a much more common combination. When I google myself now (what, doesn't everyone do that?) I only get 229 results. Most of those results are actually pulling things about me, or pulling one of the members of my family since my last name is so unique. When I google my married name I jump up to 5,670 results. I will be a lot less Googleable (which I like, I guess).

One day I was discussing this name changing issue with a friend. I realized that I will be the most upset over parting with my e-mail address. Is that odd? You see my e-mail address is simply MYFULLNAME@EMAIL.COM. Since my name is so unique it was easy to secure the e-mail address without any added numbers, periods, or middle initial. I quickly checked my current e-mail provider to see if my married name would be available as an e-mail and it wasn't (unless I add some numbers, periods, etc). Cue irrational annoyance. After checking a few more e-mail providers it turns out that only gmail had my married name available. So, what's does a psycho like me do? Sign up for it just to hold it- obviously! Well, turns out I forgot I was signed into my i-google page at my current non-gmail account so as soon as Google saw I was making the switch they took over.  Now, whenever I log-in to my i-Google page it automatically refreshes me under MYMARRIEDNAME@GMAIL.COM. This was over a year and a half ago. (Ha, oops). Not to mention gmail recommended me as a contact to one of my friends. Good thing she understands my oddball tendencies.

Thanks to putting my future e-mail address "on hold" over a year ago, I've had plenty of time to get used to seeing my new name. However, I'm pretty sure it will be Weird City when I make the official switch. I think the weirdest part though will be when people say Mrs. MARRIEDNAME to me. I get the weirds enough when people call me m'am (M'AM REALLY? I'M NOT EVEN 30 YET!) In my head that is still my future MIL's name and not my own. It will be an adjustment.

Was the decision to change your name an easy choice for you? Anyone else do something crazy like reserve an e-mail address before even changing their name?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hair Trial Happenings

The verdict of the hair trial: success.

I went to the salon that my future MIL goes to out in Pennsylvania. Considering I don't know a damn thing about salons in the area, I figured it makes the most sense to go with a salon someone knows something about. The kicker is - the hair stylist I am using has done Mr. P's hair since he was a kid (before he moved to good ol' NYC). The same stylist now also does a lot of Mr. P's family's hair. Keeping it in the family...

Here I am before in my non-makeup glory (okay, I lie, I am wearing a little cover-up stick and pressed powder)

And, here I am after....

What, not feeling the purple rollers? 

I tried to get a good shot of my eyes, but I am definitely a photographer failure so bear with me.

The pics of my "final after" I am not too into. Somehow the hairspray and the pinning of my bangs got cofangled, and it just didn't photograph well. Instead I present the "almost done after shot," that I think is what I will go with for my wedding day look. Seeing it in person I thought I needed something more, but looking at pics makes me realize it looked great as-is. We should have quit while we were ahead!

Just imagine a peacock clip in the mix

I'll just add a little bit more curls, which we did try at the trial.

Adding more curls, but my neurosis had to keep going

As expected my hair held up pretty well through the day. My face quickly sweated off all the make-up though, so I will definitely need to purchase a few of the products used so that I can touch-up my face mid-wedding.

The hair team will be coming to the hotel so that we don't have to do any traveling the day of the wedding. I originally thought I wanted to go to a salon, but I realize this will be a lot easier. There's nothing I like more than not moving....

Did your hair trial go as planned? Did you end up liking a different look other than the final one?

*all are personal photos

Monday, November 21, 2011

Time for Some Eatz

We had one of the most successful wedding task weekends ever, and it’s kinda weird that everything is starting to come together. First up, I’ll start with the most delicious part of the weekend: the EATZ.

Like most brides I worry about people bitchin’ about the wedding food. Overall, when I go to weddings I never expect some type of insane 5-star quality food. I just expect SOMETHING of substance to put in my belly so that I can have some cocktails without baby necking (when you start to fall asleep and your head hits your shoulder).

Image via Harper's Happenings (Um, how CUTE is this kid?)

Our tasting slot was early- 10 AM. So, yes, we had dinner for breakfast, and luckily it was all so good that I didn't mind eating soup with my Dunkin' coffee.

We didn’t get to taste our hors d'oeuvres (which by the way is the hardest word to try to spell in such a way that spellcheck knows what the hell you're trying to write), but we began with the fateful soup decision. We originally contemplated just cutting the soup, but after the tasting it was too good to pass up.
French Onion vs. Tomato Parmesan

The french onion soup was REALLY good, and is a favorite of Mr. Porcupine’s in general. I think we've tasted every french onion soup in our path. We had to include it. It was the clear winner.

Yum, cheesey crostini (and Dunkin' Donuts coffee)

Then we had an Italian salad in a creamy garlic dressing. I was worried the dressing would be too overpowering, but it had a light taste to it that wasn’t too garlicy at all.

Yes, garlic and onions- so far we are really looking for people to have some fantastic breath at our wedding. Maybe I should make the favor Porcupine mints.

The main courses came out next, and I think everyone will like the selections we picked. (And, if you don't- BOO- plan on filling up on the quiches at cocktail hour.)

For the chicken dish, we devoured it before my brain realized I didn’t take a pre-EAT ME picture.

Chicken Galantine- devoured

The chicken galantine course is baked chicken stuffed with feta cheese and spinach. It was served in a red pepper cream sauce along with a stuffed red pepper that we quickly eliminated from the menu. It was good, but it didn’t mesh with anything.

Grilled Eggplant Option

For the vegetarians - or HEY I WANT TO SKIP ON THE MEATS guests- we will be serving a grilled eggplant dish stuffed with mozzarella cheese and sprinkled with sauteed tomatoes. On the side we tried the asparagus tips that were the definite veggie side winner.

Braised Short Ribs 

Lastly, for meat lovers, we are switching up the usual steak option and serving braised short ribs. They were freakin’ delish. Not too fatty and not chewy at all. It melted right in your mouth & I’m not even a big meat eater. On the side was garlic mashed potatoes, which will be served along with the asparagus with all entrées.

The food was even more delicious then we expected. I can't wait to scarf down some braised short ribs after consuming straight salads the month before the wedding (I'm being dramatic, but yanno).

Were you impressed with your wedding venue food?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Unwed Holidays

Not to get deep on you all, but I have to say that sometimes I take a step back and realize Mr. Porcupine and I are really lucky to each come from a family that has accepted the other with open arms. Since the day Mr. Porcupine and I got together we have immediately clicked with each other's families.

I didn't get much of a chance to get used to the idea of meeting "the whole fam" when it came to our relationship. After about 3 months as a couple I met pretty much EVERYONE in Mr. P's family at his brother's wedding. On the flip side, Mr. P met my immediate family (parents, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparents) at my college graduation after only two months as a couple. So really early on we knew what we were getting into.  (Haha, I kid.... OR DO I?)

When it came time for the holidays, I can only vaguely remember our first holiday season together. For our first Thanksgiving together I spent the actual holiday- that Thursday- with my own family and then met Mr. P out in Pennsylvania for the rest of the weekend. Since that time it became the norm for me to go with Mr. P to PA for Thanksgiving since his whole family scattered around the East Coast meets up there. For Hanukkah, Mr. P and I spend it with my family since they throw a little Hanukkah party shin-dig. For other pertinent Jewish holidays we usually are able to find a way to celebrate with both families thanks to Jewish holidays lasting a few days (i.e. Passover).

There has never been that "well last year we spent it with YOUR family so we're going to MY family" argument.  Neither of our families have ever shown any annoyance over the arrangement either. Ever since the first time we shared a holiday together, each of us has been made to feel like our presence at the table (or perching on the floor) has always been there.

Annoyingly enough I have no photos of us during our first holiday season. But, I do have a shot of us at our first engaged Thanksgiving.

Classy Shot

Mr. P's comparison to a troll shot 

Last post-Thanksgiving weekend Mr. P's parents used the time getting the family together as a good excuse to throw a mini-engagement celebration. Since we opted to not have an engagement party it was just the usual small gathering his parents always have over along with my parents and sister. 

It was a great weekend, and since we decided to have the most annoyingly long engagement (unintentionally) ever, we have one last engaged Thanksgiving to go. This year we're spending it at my parent's. Mr. P's parents have re-arranged their Thanksgiving location since Mr. P's SIL won't be able to travel due to the impending LIL BABY!!!! (Oh, I haven't mentioned my insane baby obsession yet? 'Cause yesterday I almost got hit by a car as I smiled at a little chubby baby in his carriage-TRUE STORY). Due to Mr. P's work schedule we're staying put.

I'll have to make sure to snap a pic to mark our LAST non-married Thanksgiving. Next year we'll be husband and wife (SAY WHO-WA? WEIRD! THATZ A GROWN-UP WORD). I'm sure next year's holiday will feel just the same as always thanks to our fams.

Do you have an easy holiday-sharing arrangement with your significant other? Did you and your SO feel a part of each other's families pre-marriage?

*all are personal photos

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting my Hairz Did

I have BIG hair. Legit. I am not exageratting. Ask anyone I've ever lived with. Without product or styling (sometimes even with it) my hair is like a HUGE big ol' fro. It takes many ounces of hair gel or scorching temperatures of hair straighteners to tame my mane. It's usually curly. If weather conditions permit I will straighten it. And, that's only for weekends/special occasions. It's too much work otherwise. I envy those girls who can shower and go and their hair dries perfectly straight. RUDE!

I tend not to photograph myself when my hair is in its natural state. So here it is with some gel and a hair iron. I was adventurous there for a few months by both gelling my curls and ironing my bangs. Yes, I know- mind numbingly shocking....

I want to drink that beverage again!

An hour of hair ironing later

Some curls galore (Also red-eye removal FAIL hence my BLACK eyes)

When it comes to the wedding day I think I need to go with a curly look. My hair, obviously, holds a curl from a curling iron pretty well. My hair does not like to hold onto a straight strand. Any sign of humidity or perspiration will immediately make it curl up.  If I try to fight nature too much it rebels against me and causes a lot of crazy. 

Crazy like THIS/Image via

Or, this:

Yes, it forms 2010 glasses as well

I usually hate every single hair cut/hair styling I get done. But my favorite so far, which I had no complaints over was my Junior year sorority formal hairdo.

And I was SO tan, gah! (Will never happen again)

Mix in the classic Carrie Underwood do that every brides (okay, not EVERY, but many) stick in their favorites.
Image via Easy Curls

And, stick a peacock feather in my head via Mrs. Zebra and call me Yankee Doodle Dandy Porcupine.

Image via Weddingbee/Photography by Sara Zarrella Photography

I'm pretty set on this biz. I hate my hair pulled back. I have a weird oblong/rounded/non-cheekbone face and a very prominent nose with a bump in it so I highly dislike wearing my hair back. I like to keep my hair around my face like a picture frame.

I am off to my hair trial this weekend with these ideas in mind. We'll see what I end up with though...

Were you set on your wedding-day do? Do you have crazy, hard to manage hair too?

*Unless noted photos are personal

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

After Mexico comes... the to-do list

I am back to civilization after a mini-vacay to Mexico in honor of my college suitemate's wedding! Now that the vacation laundry is cleaned and put back away with the rest of the summer clothing, and the post-vacay depression is setting in, something else has settled in too.... I'M NEXT!

Yes, this was *it.* The LAST wedding I will attend before I'm a Mrs. The last wedding I was calculating into my equation for when to go full speed ahead on starting on all the little wedding details. Lawd!

Before I get started on the 9,000 things on my list, I think it's only fitting to share some Mexican wedding fiesta-ness with the Hive. Unfortunately, I lacked a lot of photography skills during the trip so the amount of good photos to chose from was slim pickins'.

I blame it on this...

Many fruity shots

There was also a lot of...
Swimming, or trying to swim, since it got pretty chilly and cloudy

Mr. P passing out beside his margarita

The bride and groom, obv.

Sorority sisters reunited 

Sweet dance moves... 

The yummiest wedding cake I've had yet

Balloon animals (and hats)... designed by yours truly

One glorious sunny afternoon on the beach

I've unpacked just in time to begin on a lot of wedding to-dos this weekend. In two days time I have a hair and makeup trial, our menu tasting, an attempt at getting my ring re-sized, and my personal favorite... a champagne tasting. Since we have to provide our own alcohol at our venue Mr. P's parents are picking up a few bottles of bubbly to test out while we eat dinner on Saturday night at their house.

Let the craziness begin, but before all that I leave you with a visual of what my life will be like when I have kids. Whenever I relax with a book on the beach I deal with a lot of this...

"Look, I'm a pirate... I have a peg leg."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

America's Next Top... Bride

When it comes to the big day we ALL obsess over something related to our appearance. I have never heard of a bride who was like “um, I’ll wear my burlap sack and stick a ribbon around my bird’s nest unwashed fro.” Even the brides on My Big Redneck Wedding (oh where has that show gone?) care about their appearance- even if they were getting married over a swamp. *Nothing against real life self-proclaimed rednecks out there. That show was just freakin-a nuts!

My usual concerns for any event that involves looking nice includes worrying about breakouts, my big hair, flare ups of these annoying red bumps I get on my arms, and underarm boob. You know that fun piece of blubber in the armpit area that looks like a baby boob when squashed at just the right angle.

Hmmm, I sound real attractive right now. I swear I’m not a troll living under a bridge on the regular, but when it comes to nice events I pay more attention to these things. And as a bride it’s on my mind, of course. Definitely a lot more. I think many of us can agree that we over analyze how we will look on our wedding day, and lately I’ve been thinking: WHY? I mean obviously we don't want to look bad. But, why do we suddenly need to be perfect on ONE day- especially when our significant other, family, and friends already know what we look like pretty well.

Why in the who-ha do we have this obsessive need to look “perfect” on our wedding day. (MOVIES, TELEVISION, THE DEVIL?) On a regular old Tuesday I like to shower, do something to make my hair look presentable, put on a normal amount of makeup, and match my clothes with some accessories. You know... look like a person. On a Friday night out I might apply a little more eyeliner; before a friend’s wedding I may stop eating carbohydrates every 19 minutes; and before a vacation I will probably get a haircut. Why on my wedding day do I need to add another layer of FIX THIS FIX THIS NOW to my life?

I’m not advocating going totally granola and going make-up free in a white t-shirt to our weddings. (I mean unless that’s your thing.) But, why do we over analyze every blemish, hangnail, and eyebrow hair? On our wedding day there will still be make-up, good lighting, and Photoshop. We can’t magically become perfect on our wedding day. Even Kate Middleton had a…. (okay, actually she looked perfect- whatever).

My point is that we want to look back at pictures and see ourselves. Not someone who emerged from a makeover special on the Today show. Obviously, we don’t want to look like we rolled out of bed, but we don’t need to look like a picture out of Barbie’s Dream Wedding Day.

Yes, I'm still concerned about a bad breakout or a big-hair day. I worry about spilling alcoholic libations on my white gown. But, I will not let myself get crazy. At least I can try. I'm sure my memory will wipe this concept clear from my mind about 19 hours before my wedding.

Anyone else trying not to freak out about their appearance on their wedding day? Anyone else out there watch My Big Redneck Wedding?? I can't be the only one! Gah, that show was so good!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Suit Up!

We spent some of our time this Saturday figuring out what Mr. Porcupine is going to be wearing on the big day.  We knew immediately we didn't want tuxes. They just don't fit in with the casual/rustic look of our wedding. Well, let me re-phrase. I knew *I* didn't want tuxes. Mr. P at one point said, "but, you get to wear a pretty white dress." I just blankly stared at him and asked if he'd like to wear a pretty white dress as well. He declined and we got to looking at suits.

We decided to just check out Men's Wearhouse, and although Bees before me have mentioned that you can't rent suits, I blindly hoped some mysterious suit rental program might now exist. No such luck- the groomsmen are going to have to buy suits. Although MW does have a suit rental option for boys, which might work out for our little ring bearer.

We're waiting a little bit before ordering the suits in hopes that they will have a buy one get one free sale soon, which the sales girl was kind of enough to mention "should be happening pretty soon." Not to be a bridezilla, but these boys will need a suit some time again in their lives so I don't think it's a HUGE deal to make them buy a suit. It just stresses me out that these guys are spread out all over the country. I have little faith in men overcoming logistical issues, but I'm sure Mr. P will get it all organized and prove me wrong, righttttt?...

Mr. P tried on a few options. We pretty much had free rein of the store, because I was in a "New York rage" mood particularly directed at everyone in my path in Brooklyn that day. Don't ask. Let's just say traffic clusterf*** thanks to construction at the new Barclay center (thanks Jay-z) + ghetto parking garages with broken elevators + people begging for money UP IN MY FACE at Coldstone (yes, we needed ice cream on the 50 degree day) = the fuse in my head snaps. This tends to keep the sales people away, which worked in our favor since we weren't ready to purchase anything (redhead rage WIN!).

Don't mind Mr. P's redonk facial expressions. All are personal photos.

Joseph and Feiss Two Button Grey Suit

Joseph and Feiss Two Button Navy Suit

Calvin Klein slimfit in grey

Mr. P wasn't a fan of the slimfit Calvin Klein, and thought he looked a little too much like a sailor in the navy suit. We were pretty happy with the first choice and played around with shirt/tie options.

Our choice for Mr. P's shirt/tie

Our choice for the groomsmen's shirt/tie

Mr. P decided he wanted to wear a white shirt "so people know I'm the groom" although I'm pretty sure people will know he's the groom, but whatever makes him happy. He liked the bright tie because it reminded him of a peacock. Mind you, this is the guy who was originally iffy about my peacock idea. Now he points out EVERYTHING peacock related that we can incorporate for the wedding. For the groomsmen we picked a dark blue shirt and striped blue tie.

Now we are just waiting for that buy one get one sale. We'll see how long that can go...

Was picking out the groomsmen attire a challenge for you?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Treasure in the Basement- Crafting Vintage Frames Part I

If I could write a whole post on my Super, I swear you would all be entertained for days, but alas this is a wedding blog so it wouldn’t make sense. I’ll just give you a quick bit of back-story.

My Super is a crazy-this-should-be-a-sitcom stereotype of a NYC super. She is a BIG lady who wears long skirts every single day with crazy mismatched sweaters and t-shirts, has a thick Polish accent, says things I can barely interpret, and is super protective of "her" building. She also hoards the crap people leave behind when they move and then sells it. So, there is ALWAYS something weird/old/used/potentially useful to buy when I trek down to the basement to do my laundry.

I walked downstairs one day and VIOLA – two old ass HUGE frames.

Personal Photo 

I asked her how much money she wanted for them, she said 5 dollars (she thought I meant for one). I told her I wanted both so I gave her ten bucks and called it a day.

I was worried about spending too much on antiquey large frames. They are actually pretty pricey if you check out places like Etsy, and I’m not much into trekking around antique shops/craft stores to find the right frame. I’d rather spend my weekend going for unlimited mimosa brunches or vegging out with my DVR.

Now comes the hard part. How does an idiot crafter turn those puppies into something like this?

Image via Bella Fiori

I’m thinking of keeping the gold one as it is and spray painting the other one a charcoal color. The gold one has glass, but no back, and I’m contemplating using it for a seating chart. The charcoal one I will somehow turn into a chalkboard. Since I’m a crafting idiot I would love some suggestions on how I could best accomplish this. I’m thinking of buying something (plywood?) as the backer and painting it with chalkboard paint. Then do I attach the backer with wood glue? Nail it in? Will that crack the frame? I guess this will require taking measurements. Things involving numbers- not my fav.

Should be some interesting times ahead involving me cursing, muttering under my breath, and throwing things around. Any vintage frame crafters out there with fool-proof tips?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OCCUPY.... marriage?

Warning: This might a bit of a rant, but I can’t help my annoyance!

Image via People/Photo by Clint Brewer/Splash News Online

By now everyone is quite aware that Kim Kardashian got divorced after 72 days of marriage. Most people are probably thinking something along the lines of: WHO CARES? I don’t know why I care, but I do. It pisses me off. Mostly it annoys the hell out of me because it brings to light a huge, gaping flaw in our society.

I find it incredibly annoying that celebrities can go have shotgun, ridiculously lavish, expensive weddings on a whim. Then when the first problem arises go off and get divorced, because to them the cost of legal fees is nothing but a drop in the bucket. And, oh, that lavish wedding was just a blip on the bank account radar. (Or in some reality TV cases completely free). Yes, things happen, but sometimes not so much. There are thousands upon thousands of people that can’t have the weddings they want or even a wedding at all because they don’t have the money. There are people who can’t even get properly divorced because it’s just too expensive for them. Why is that okay?

Meanwhile our country which stands for the separation of church and state is allowed to muck up the legal waters with religious views that prevent gay couples from getting married in most of the United States. There are people out there who truly want to get married for the right reasons, stay married (or at least TRY to surpass 72 days), but aren’t allowed to. Many of the rich & famous continue to make a mockery of what a marriage is. The whole point isn’t the PARTY and the E! special. Something is wrong here.

Obviously there isn’t much you can do to make people NOT get married. But, I think this is a good example of exactly why telling anyone they can’t get married is completely ludicrous. Now that the Kardashians have a few more millions in the bank, we all had the chance to see another couple make a mockery out of what everyone here in the Hive looks forward to – a future with our significant other.

Does anyone else get irrationally annoyed by celebrating sham-marriages? Sorry to the Kim K. fans out there. Nothing personal – she’s just a perfect example of my point.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bridesmaids Galore

I have a scandalous amount of bridesmaids. Eight. I've noticed that in Weddingbee world this is often considered a humungo number. Some people think it's downright ridiculous. Honestly, most New York weddings have big wedding parties. Even though I'm not doing the New York thang for our wedding, I guess I can't shake that part of my "wedding culture." It might sound like an excessive amount of girls, but they are all my bridesmaids for good reason.

My sister is my maid of honor, then I have my two best friends from home, my four best college friends, and my sorority little sister who is a major reason why Mr. P and I are even together. We may not get to see each other as much as we used to, we may not get to speak to each other as much as we want to, but I know these girls would be there for me no matter what. They have been there supporting me and Mr. P's relationship since day one, so it only makes sense that they stand beside us on our big day.

Has it been difficult coordinating schedules and getting everyone in one place? Yes. There are always ways around things though, and we've made it work. Our only group shot may be on the day of the wedding, but that's okay. Life is busy and messy like that.

When it came time to ask these ladies to be my bridesmaids I decided I wanted to be a big cheeseball. I called it a brunch day (obviously they all knew why we were eating brunch) and whipped up a fritata, muffins, fruit salad, bought some bagels, and poured mimosas.

My first time making muffins - I was overly proud of myself

Some of the spread

Each girl got a little picture frame with a shot of us from sometime through the years, and a card I printed up on cardstock. Since, yes, it's hard to get everyone in the same place at one time, half of my bridesmaids couldn't make it that day.  And, because I fail at life, I still have four presents for my remaining bridesmaids in a box at my desk. (So, hit me up ladies.) Whoops! I need to re-attach my head to my body sometimes. I have no good excuse.

I can't believe how long ago this was now that I am looking back at these pictures (at our first place)! It seems like an eternity ago, and in just a few months the big day will be here. Wacky.

Did you go the route of having a lot of bridesmaids? How do you tackle the logistics of handling a big bridal party?

*all pictures are personal photos

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Control Monster

I have this thing where I like to be in control of stuff. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the redhead domineering gene. (What you never heard of that gene before?) But, alas, I like to know what is going on. I like to do a lot of the decision-making on things I’m involved in. So, when it comes to wedding stuff, you can imagine just how antsy pantsy I can get if something falls out of my control. I swear it's not me being a Bridezilla. I am just like this every single day of my life regardless of the bride role.

Even though Mr. Porcupine supported the decisions, I really did most of the research for all of our vendors. The vendors we picked were mutual agreements because Mr. Porcupine and I have similar tastes/opinions on things, but I was the one to pick the "top threes."  Mr. P is pretty good at the “if you love, I love it” game, plus he didn't really have the time to do a lot of the wedding research, so we didn’t have any issues in that department.

Now that the wedding is actually coming up and our long engagement is winding to a close, my own actual wedding events are coming up. Say whaaa? I get to have a bachelorette party and a bridal shower? I’ve been so accustomed to going to everyone else’s wedding events that I almost forgot that I get this stuff too. And, this stuff that I get, I have NO control over. Cue the itching...

Now this isn’t to say I want any control whatsoever. I like surprises and I do not want something else to plan. I, without a doubt, appreciate people doing all the planning and work for my bridal shower and bachelorette party (THANKS YOU GUYS), but it feels weird! There is information being distributed to my family and friends that I DON’T KNOW ABOUT. I hate not knowing what is going on. It drives me up the wall. I've been so used to knowing what is going on for all of my bride friends. I'm not used to being on the bride side. I need a facebook-like ticker of what is happening in the corner of my eyeball.

Yes, I am definitely all up in the crazy department. I am right on my way to being the Director of Lunacy Affairs and Distribution. I cant help it. It's my thing. So is eating chocolate by the boatload. We all have our things, people! But. I definitely can not wait for my shower and bachelorette. I still feel really weird that it is my turn, but I can’t wait to see what is in store for me.

Anyone else have a need for control during the wedding process?

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Easter Bunny honeymoon

When it came time to choose our honeymoon spot, there were a few things Mr. Porcupine and I decided upon pretty early. We've been incredibly lucky to go on some great vacations together. So far we've been to Puerto Rico, Mexico (twice), and on a cruise around the Caribbean islands. 

[Vacationing in Cancun]/Personal Photo

[Drinks in the pool- our fav.]/ Personal Photo

[Sunset in Puerto Rico]/Personal Photo

What we love most about these vacations is being near water (any water that is not the murky Atlantic ocean will do) with a fruity beverage in-hand relaxing. What we hate the most is the horrible humidity and heat that accompanies some of these beautiful spots. So when it came time to figure out where to go on our honeymoon, we wanted to find a way to have what we wanted without the heavy heat.

Our first thought was a European cruise. 

Image via The Cruise Girl

I've never been to Europe before, even though Mr. Porcupine has, and I've always wanted to go. We thought this might be the best way to see a lot of Europe in a short span of time. We did a little preliminary research, and soon realized that this idea was out of the equation for a few reasons.
  1. The timing was going to overlap with Easter, which we thought might pose a problem in Europe's predominately Catholic countries.
  2. We needed a 2-week span of time for most of the cruises we were interested in, and we didn't want to take more than a week's worth of vacation time for our honeymoon.
  3. These kind of cruises require a lot of planning and sight-seeing and a lot less sitting around like slugs.
Next up, we considered honeymooning in Costa Rica. 

Costa Rica seemed like a good combination of adventure and relaxation. I've always heard that Costa Rica is pure paradise. Plus, I thought it would be fun to explore the rain-forests, zip-line, and spend a lot of time in-between relaxing. But, again, we came up with the Easter issue. A little bit of research showed that Costa Rica is a predominantly Catholic country. Many places close down during the holiest of days and the rest of the time becomes a popular beach holiday with packed beaches. We soon decided to scratch the idea. 

During all of the honeymoon decision-making I had one destination hiding in the crevices of my brain.  I've always wanted to go to Hawaii. Why not go there on our honeymoon? It would be the perfect reason to go clear across the United States and attend a luau. 

At first Mr. Porcupine hesitated because it seemed too cliche to him. But, after some more research he soon decided I was right. Hawaii is a perfect combination of what we want to do - a lot of relaxing and a little exploring. Not so hot that we will melt, and a lot more tourist-friendly during Easter.

Image via

We decided on the Big Island after a lot of research. Each island has so much to offer, but we're really interested in checking out the Volcanoes National Park which is located on the Big Island. Although we could island hop, since I'm not a big fan of flying we decided that staying put in one place is the best idea. Our two flights from New York (adding up to over 12+ hours in the sky) are enough for me. There's only so much Xanax I want to have to inhale. (Not funny, don't abuse Xanax. Only use under your doctor's care to treat the in-air crazies).

I can not wait to drink a Mai-Tai, take a hula lesson, road trip over to the volcanoes, and soak up some of the Hawaiian sun into my translucent skin (after proper sunblock protection, of course). I just have to make it through another frigid New York City winter, and, oh yea, finish planning our wedding.

Did holidays or timing effect your honeymoon plans? Anyone have some great Big Island recommendations from their own honeymooning?