Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"J'ai deux amours..."

...Mr. Quiche & Paris...

France is near and dear to my heart. I credit going to University in Lyon for changing my life. I've always had a wonderful life, enjoyed Ohio State immensely, but embarking on a new experience in Europe is what did it for me. It turned me into a girl obsessed with seeing the world and experiencing new cultures. Mama & Sister Quiche Nen came to visit me & the travel bug bit them as well. Mama Q and I love Paris. We've gone back to visit since then & it's only fitting that we squeeze in one more trip to the City of Lights before Mr. Q and I take the plunge.

Mama Q suggested the idea after a few cocktails one night in December...

Me, Mama Q, Sister Quiche Nen, & might-as-well-be-a-sister-quiche Friend L

So the trip is planned and we take off in a month! My mom is truly one of my best friends and I cannot imagine life without her. She has raised 3 incredible women (I'm biased, though!) and I consider us to be so lucky to have such an amazing mom. We are all so close, we don't fight & we LOVE spending our time together.

Sweet Mandy B's...yum...

So, off we head to Paris. After a quick jaunt to Normandy, we plan on eating our way across the city, spending the majority of our time walking through the neighborhoods & visiting the small, tucked away cafes, bars, etc. We're always looking for new places, so if you have any suggestions - let me know!

Do you have any pre-wedding getaway trips planned?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Swooning over Oscar Dresses...

Talk about bridal inspiration last night! White and ivory ruled the red carpet as Hollywoods leading ladies stole the show with their gowns.

In my opinion, Taraji Henson was the best dressed of the night, hands down.

The ever-flawless Anne Hathaway

And another flowy creation that I could just eat with a spoon.

Which was your favorite gown of the night?

*All pictures by WireImage or Getty Images

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sat. 10:00 - BE CALM

As you may remember from my invitation quote post, Brian Andreas is one of my favorite artists/storytellers/whimsical geniuses. I subscribe to his "Story of the Day" emails & love getting a touch of his wisdom every day.

Today's story was all too appropriate for me & probably most of you as well:

To-Do List
"You seem very calm for a woman who's getting married, I said & she nodded. It's on my to-do list, she said, so there's no point in agonizing about it."


Everyone needs time to decompress. Couples planning a wedding, even more so. I have an appointment at the salon for tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. It's what I've been looking forward to all week, so I'd say that yes, I have penciled in (no, SHARPIE'd in!) time to simply relax.

Have you scheduled "calm time" on your to-do list?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Not-So-Elusive B(lah)CBG Applique Dress

There's no way other way to say it, I am disappointed. THE Dress that I had been coveting for months (& was ready to wait 2 months for it to arrive) arrived a mere 2 days later. Mr. Quiche brought up the package and asked if I had ordered anything else from Nordstrom because there was a (badly abused) box waiting for me. I racked my brain to see if I could remember making and late-night purchases, and came up empty handed. It had to be THE Dress.

I had built up this dress so much in my head that the thought never crossed my mind that it wouldn't be perfect. I've seen pictures of it posted on the boards by readers and fellow Bees & they all looked great in it!

Am I ever glad that it arrived early!


I did not like it on me. It just wasn't what I expected, and I also suspect that, due to the high demand, the quality and construction of the dress just isn't what it was a couple of years ago. (also, if you have this dress, let me know your thoughts and/or experiences!!)

Perhaps a smile and a (really bad) pose will help? Nope.

My number one grievance with it are the flowers - and considering they are the focal point of the dress, well, it was bad from the start. You can't tell from the pictures (they photographed MUCH brighter and whiter than it is in person), but the tulle on the flowers looked dirty. & the tulle wasn't structured at all, so they just kinda...flopped.

Also, I was looking forward to the strapless style and fitted bodice, but again, it wasn't working. It wasn't very flattering on me.

WEIRD stance.

So, I promptly returned the dress & started on a new search. My signature dress style is strapless and fitted - which is unlike my wedding dress & one reason why I want a different dress for the reception. I like these two dresses from J. Crew, but worry that the white seersucker is too casual. Also, the blue one doesn't come in white or ivory, but the style is perfect.

So, trusty hive, I need YOUR help. You are all so awesome with suggesting dresses, shoes, accessories, EVERYTHING on the boards & I am hoping you might have some suggestions for me. If you see an ivory or white, strapless, knee-length, reception-appropriate dress, let me know!!

Have you ever built up something so much in your head, only to be disappointed with the actual product/result?

Friday, February 13, 2009

One HOT Photographer

Quite simply, I love our photographer. With this ridiculously amazing style, how could you not?

All pictures posted courtesy of Ashley Colhouer

Mr. Quiche and I went back and forth on photography for awhile – how much to spend, what style we wanted – and researched quite a few local Jamaican photographers. Honestly, we just weren’t that impressed with what we found. Our resort includes a paltry 36 shots with our general wedding package, and we thought we’d just rely on our talented friends for the rest.

Until Ashley and I found each other.

A little bit of background on Ashley and 13:13 ~ Boutique Wedding Photography: Ashley has been a fashion photographer for years, supporting local boutiques and models. She and her husband happened upon wedding photography only 3 years ago while shooting for a friends wedding and the rest, as she says, is history. "13:13" comes from the Corinthians passage, which was read at their wedding.

I love high fashion & high fashion photography. The fact that I could combine this with our wedding is the cherry on top. Plus, Ashley is just fabulous, period. We’re even Facebook friends now :)

I’ll let a sampling of her pictures speak to you – they are incredible. Completely our style (as Mr. Quiche says, “she kicks ass”.). I couldn’t say it better myself!


A picture like this would be perfect for our destination wedding!

I want to have details shots...

...and perhaps a few fashion shots as well!

Perhaps one of a dapper Mr. Quiche?!

I think I am one of the few people who LOVE posed shots where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling pretty (I'll let you know my reason why, soon). We are going to combine the two styles in what will be a perfect wedding package. I am so happy with our decision.

What are you looking for in a photographer?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Where did you go for lunch today?

Me? I went to Nordstrom. It is a blessing and a curse that I cross Michigan Avenue two times a day, practically tripping over Nordstrom. Day after day, I've resisted. I walk right past, head held high as I think of the precious pennies tucked safely away in my bank account.

Until today.

I caved. Gave into my weakness. Lost my backbone. Whatever you want to call it.

But, I am now the proud (soon-to-be) owner of the elusive BCBG Applique dress; Color, ivory. I plan on changing into it for the reception.


They didn't actually have the dress in stock, but they had the same style in black for me to try. Once clipped, I swear this dress was made for me! It was too big, so I placed an order for 2 sizes smaller...only to be told that it wouldn't ship until April 16th. I leave for Jamaica on the 25th, so my fingers are crossed that this sweet, sweet lover will be in my hands in time. (*sidenote - if you happen to own said dress in a size 2 & need to give her a new home, PM me & I'll be glad to take her off of your hands. Thanks!)

I've been doing so well, DIY'ing and saving money on this wedding. This expense seems a little excessive, but I've justified it to myself in many ways (that's just what I do). First off, I'll wear it for the reception. Second and third, "At Home" receptions. I've had to fight off the voice in my head that sounds strangely like one of my best friends saying "but you never wear anything twice. Let alone something that will be photographed on more than one occasion".

But, I SWEAR I will wear this dress at least 3 times. & that's like, what, $133 a spin? Now THAT, I can justify.

Do you have any expenses that you didn't orginally plan on buying, yet figured out a way to work it into the budget?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Say hello to my little friends

Invitations. Sweet, sweet invitations. I know there are a lot of invitation and paper lovers out there, and I am no exception. As DIY Brides, we labor over these little pieces of our heart. Agonizing over multipule shades of navy blue. Choosing textured paper over smooth. Lining up everything just so until we're cross eyed. And eventually, we end up with our suite of goodies.

The design of our invitation and RSVP card was so painless, it almost didn't seem real. That something wedding-related could go this smoothly? Wow! I owe it all to the incredible Karen of mtkdesigns. I found her on Etsy & she has been an absolute dream to work with. From our logo & invitations, to our upcoming programs & menus, I can honestly say hiring her was one of my best decisions to date.

For those of you who want to DIY your paper goods, but need an expert for the design, hiring a graphic designer is the way to go. Karen just emailed me proof after proof until we got it exactly right, then I took the files and printed out everything myself. I saved sooo much money doing it this way. **I also just noticed that our invitation is now available for others to customize - the "Preppy" invite - yay!

I can't wait to reveal all of our invitation details to you, but for now, I wanted to share little snippets of the (almost) finalized product.

I promise to go into the details soon - I want to put them in the mail this week!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Who are “they”?

Snippets of lyrics from Tim McGraw’s song:

They say not to have too much fun
They say not to get too much sun
Democrat, Republican
I guess I'm screwed, I'm neither one
Don't say 'hell', say 'what the heck'
Do what's politically correct
Don't pray in school, but have safe sex
Isn't that what they expect?...

Well I wonder if they've got a life
A broken car and two ex-wives
Do they drink beer on Friday night
I wonder if they like to fight
And I wonder if they've got a soul
Or if they like their rock-and-roll
Where do they live, I've got to know
So I can tell them off
Or where to go

Who are they?
Yeah you know what they say
Who are they?
Someone I gotta pay
Who are they?
And I don't care anyway
Who are they?

So who, exactly, are “they”? I see so many posts on the boards asking is it okay to do this or that - and it’s completely legitimate – I too have asked myself some of those same questions. Kara321 recently asked “Can you throw your own engagement party?” Soon2BeMrsC asked “Too Late for an Engagement Party?” (I certainly hope not, as ours was 5 months after our engagement!). Here we are, just into the honeymoon phase of our engagement and we’re already wondering if we’re doing something wrong? Supporting fellow brides decisions seems to be a general consensus amongst the board – it’s one of the reasons I love this site as much as I do.

Of course you can throw your own engagement party. Have a 1 month engagement. Have a 3 year engagement. Have 7 bridesmaids and 4 groomsmen (me!). Walk yourself down the aisle. Wear colored shoes. Hell, wear a colored dress if you so choose! Have a full bar. Have a cash bar. Do the hokey pokey AND turn yourself around! But what you shouldn’t do? Worry about what other people may or may not think is tacky.

I am really not a bitter bride. But I guess I just like to make my own rules. It’s the one day where you can do WHATEVER the hell you want…so do it! Your wedding should reflect you, not them.

So, who are “they”? Emily Post? Love you for your manners & general etiquette, my dear, but times have changed (& thank goodness!). If you want to dance and swing your arms around like “swinging ropes”, do it! Shout! Switch yourself this way and that! Boogie down, brides!

What have you done that “they” would shudder at? (Okay, another thing you shouldn’t do? End your sentences with a preposition. Oops!) :)

Sorry, I couldn’t resist a picture of Tim. *Swoon* I mean, he wears Rock & Republics! So do I! It’s fate, Edward, that’s what this is!

p.s. sorry for all of the !'s and "____"'s and (___)'s. I was on a roll this morning :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not your average personalized gift...

I love giving gifts that are uniquely personalized, but not outwardly so. Hints to a name in architecture, lovers initials "carved" into a tree...these have been my favorite gifts to give lately. They are perfect for a bridal shower or wedding gift.

As a lover of architecture, these photo wall art pieces make my heart go pitter-patter. I had all intentions of making one myself, camera slung around my neck...then decided to just leave it to the pros. Uncommon Goods has them in black & white or pop-artish color. There are more sites yet that let you pick through their library of letters so that you get the perfect "K" for your friends.

source: Wall Art
I like ordering the new couples last name, but you can have yours say whatever you'd like!

I am also obsessing over these dainty tableware pieces. I ordered the mugs for one of my best friends for her wedding shower last year. They were a hit among the guests! The incredibly talented Jessica Rust carve the intials and date of your choice into the little trees. Each mug is a different drawing of the same tree in Sping, Summer, Winter, Autumn.

A sweet set of dessert plates

Once I find a gift that I love, I tend to give it out multiple times. Do you have a fail-proof gift?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lookin' (& Feelin') Good!

In the interest of looking my best for the wedding, as well as for everyday health in general, I've been a more conscious of my daily routine. There are a few things that I would like to concentrate on in the spirit of staying healthy and toning up.

The #1 area I am toning? Arms. I was a competitive swimmer & looking back at pictures from then? WOW. My arms were sculpted. Not bulky, as I have very long arms, but seriously toned. While my gym has an 50m pool, chlorine does NOT agree with my dry skin in these bitter Chicago winters. The 100 Push-Up Challenge seems to be pretty popular around here (& is great for those who don't belong to a gym). I, however, can only do 6 "real" push-ups. I've been doing a minimum of 40 "girlie" push-ups after every cardio workout (30 minutes on the eliptical), so am readying myself for the real challenge. I have another easy tricep toning exercise that doesn't require going to the gym. I use a 5 pound weight for these, but if you don't have these, pick up a bottle of wine! No, not to drink your sorrows away - It's the perfect shape to fit in your hand & is a great weight for toning! :)

After having trouble trying to explain the steps, I found these great instructions:

1. Pick up a dumbbell with your right hand.
2. Lean forward, keeping your back flat, and rest your left hand on a bench (or coffee table, at home!).
3. With your palm facing in toward your side, bend your right elbow until your upper arm is parallel to the floor.

4. Extend your arm behind you, keeping your upper arm and shoulder immobile, your elbow close to your body, and your abs engaged.

5. Return your arm to its bent position.
6. Repeat. When you’ve done a set, switch to the other arm.


A healthy diet is important to everyone, but can be especially beneficial for stressed brides-to-be. Proper nutrition keeps your energy level high and muscles maintained. Fad diets, fasting, diet pills, etc. can be dangerous and pointless, as it isn't logical that you can maintain that weight post-wedding. I feel it's best to come up with a healthy, EASY plan that can fit into your everyday lifestyle. For example, if you are a carb-whore (such as me), cutting out carbs is the silliest thing you can do! You'll only want them more. Everything in moderation, right? (Moderation, heh. 100 Calorie snack packs are great...until you eat all 6 of them. In one sitting. Not that I've done that or anything!)

Most people do not get their daily recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. I started taking a daily Women's Multivitamin & noticed a big difference after a week, namely in the strength of my nails. So, I assume this outward affect is reflected internally as well, right?

My last bit of advice? Water. H20. L'eau. Agua. However you say it, DRINK IT.

What steps are you taking to tone up - for wedding & everyday - your life?

A lot of my information is credited to online excerpts from Cynthia Conde, author of "Bridal Bootcamp: Look Fabulous on your Big Day".

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Official Celebration

“The engagement party is the official celebration of your decision to spend the rest of your life with your fiance.” (from atoasttoyourwedding.com)

Our dear friends, P & T, threw us an unbelievable engagement party. We had the party quite a few months after we were engaged, but who’s counting? ;) What matters is that we were surrounded by friends, family and love (& great food!). T is a chef extrordinaire & this night was no exception. She is flawless with her presentation and hostessing. If only I could be that calm and collected with all of those people in my house…

Exquisite food was enjoyed by all (T even made Mac-n-cheese bites for me :)

Mama Quiche and Sister Quiche Nen flew into town for the occasion!

Mr. Quiche & his future mother-in-law :)

Introducing two of my favorite Chicago girls, Bridesmaids C & N!

& finally, the one who made it all happen. T, thank you so much!

Mr. Quiche put together an iMovie DVD of images from the past 4 1/2 years, as well as pictures of us growing up. It was a popular feature! I loved that we were able to gather everyone together for a fun, relaxed evening. It was the perfect party for us. Did you have an engagement party? What did you do to celebrate “Will you marry me”?