Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Listening to Signs

Not signs in the Five Man Electrical Band "long haired freaky people, need not apply" sense, but in the figurative sense.

Drawing by Brian Andreas

I've expresses my love of Brian Andreas in the past (his quote even made an appearance on our invites!). This story is the very first one of his that I read, some 6 years ago & was hooked:

"I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there's no laughter, I know they're not for me."

I've read a lot of blogs where a bride books/buys something based on a sign. There are a lot of cultures where signs are extremely significant. While I definitely think my life is grounded in reality, I have to admit that I've listened to signs in the past.

For example, I have (had) this pick since I was in Junior High. Yes, you read that correctly - a pick. Not a brush or a comb, a pick. I think I am the last person on the face of the earth who still uses one(?). Anyway, I LOVED this $5 Goody pick for years. When I've left it somewhere (when visiting out of town friends), I've had it FedExed to me. Anyway, this pick has been with me through everything - high school, swim meets, broken hearts, happy times - and it has been all over the world - France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Jamaica. Oh, Jamaica. My little pick accompanied Mr. Quiche and I on our "venue research" trip to Jamaica last year.

I wish I had a picture of my teal beauty to share with you...but this stock image will have to do. sigh.

& I LOST it (lost it in the literal sense this time, as in it's GONE!). I talked to my mom while I was down there (she knows the plight of the pick) & actually said "Is this a sign that we shouldn't get married in Jamaica?". We briefly considered it...then realized that it may be a bit drastic. I mean, who is silly enough to pay attention to something like that? Not me*. We booked our wedding in Jamaica & it was absolutely perfect. The loss of my beloved pick didn't make it rain on my wedding day, didn't make my dress fall down, etc. Shew.

I know this is a silly post, but we all need to laugh every now and then :) So tell me, what signs have you received and what did you do/not do, buy/not buy, book/not book, etc. because of them?

* Okay, I lied. I lost it at the Hibiscus Lodge Hotel. It's possible that this contributed to my disdain for that place & our subsequent booking of the Coyaba. shh...don't tell anyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ya Mon! Reggae Sailing

*Disclaimer: I can't even describe how difficult it is to pick only a few pictures for these recaps! When I can't pick just one (or two), I'm going to start inserting photo collages. Not only do they look great, but you don't miss anything either! Thanks, Mrs. Quiche :)

We didn't want to burden our family and friends with organized activities (after all, this is also a vacation for them, not just our wedding!), but we wanted to adequately thank them for traveling to Jamaica to celebrate with us. By Thursday night, everyone was on the island and ready to party. We wanted to get everyone away from the resort for a bit to experience another part of Montego Bay. Mr. Quiche headed up this adventure - chartering a catamaran!

He contacted a few different places before settling on Chokey Taylor's Freestyle catamaran. As an added bonus, Chokey Taylor is also an awesome reggae singer...and his website is always a treat to peruse :) As a matter of fact, I recommend opening it in a new tab & listening to the music while you finish reading this recap!

Everyone left their beach chairs around 3 or 4 to start getting ready. We gathered in the beautiful courtyard at Coyaba, then took a couple of bus trips to the boat docks at Doctor's Cave Beach in MoBay. The weather was on our side & we had a gorgeous night for sailing. We decided to have a 2 hour sunset cruise with music, dancing, rum punch, & Red Stripe. Ya Mon!

The Quiche Women

With Sister Quiche Sis & my adorable niece and nephew - AKA one of our flower girls & our ring bearer

Does this girl know how to Blue Steel, or what?!

You can also charter daytime sails with snorkeling. That went against everything I was about that weekend - snorkeling (remember my cautious side? Yep, that includes swimming with the fishies & other undesirables!) and TAN LINES. So, that "forced" a sunset cruise.

Which was just fine with us! Everyone let loose and danced!

While a lot of our friends and family from across the country have met before, it was so nice to have everyone together in one area to get to know each other better. I loved seeing my Ohio girls hanging out with Mr. Q's friends, etc. We are lucky to have such great friends and family who all get along beautifully.

As much as I love photojournalistic pictures, I also LOVE posed shots where everyone is looking into the camera and smiling! :) A collage of smiling faces make me happy!

It was nice to see another perspective of Montego Bay!

Family :)

All together now!

I am so glad that we organized the sail. It was one of the highlights of the trip!

Previously in the Quiche recaps:
Ya Mon! Back to Reality
Ya Mon! “Goin’ to Jamaica & We’re, Gonna Get Maaa-arried”!
Ya Mon! Who Zip Lines Before Their Wedding?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ya Mon! Who Zip Lines before their Wedding?

We do!

Now, I am an extremely cautious person by nature. I don't tend to do anything that I feel might cause me any type of hurt. For example, when I was little I was in gymnastics. Fairly common activity for a little girl, right? Well, when "forced" to walk across the balance beam, I crumbled. Did I mention that the "balance beam" was essentially a 2x4 laying on the floor (as in, no distance between the beam and the floor). I was the awkward girl with long as* legs doing (very, very bad) eagle spreads and herkies on the trampoline, never a flip. And the list goes on.

So, when Mr. Quiche suggested that we go Zip Lining* a few days before the ceremony, I immediately said "no". I was more than happy for everyone else to go, content arranging OOT bags (let's face it - laying on the beach) by myself. Not only did I not want to perish, but what if I swept by a tree or something and ended up with a big scrape across my arm? Or face?? But, once Mama and Petey Quiche decided they wanted to go as well, I couldn't very well say no. Right?

Exiting the bus, not looking too thrilled.

Still not convinced - especially when I realized that a hook is all that is keeping me from plummeting to the ground.

Groomsman DJ B-Fresh steps in to help calm me down!

But Mr. Quiche saved the day with making me feel great & relaxed. How can you not be, when wearing such sexy gear?!

Everyone else, though, was having a blast! Trevor, our trusty guide, had us all rolling with laughter. I *think* he was thisclose to proposing to the superfabulous Bridesmaid Bethany. He was in love. Who could blame him?! :)

A montage of us, zipping away! Notice the happy grin on my face. This was a breeze, zipping through the trees with the azur sea in the background...

Easy, breezy Quichey came to a complete halt when the 3rd platform looked like this.

(sidenote: check out Trevor's fly shoes!)

Yes, you are seeing that correctly. A vertical drop. Literally, a rope going straight down and dangling. WTF? I didn't sign up for this! I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to make it down. My breathing increased as I looked for a make-shift heli-pad (that didn't exist. We're in the trees, Quiche!). Everyone else made their way down. I had tears. Mama, Petey & Mr. Quiche all waited for me to go down first, and eventually, I did.

Vertical drop? Check! The rest of the zips (and me!) were back to normal!

After hearing about our adventure, the later arrivals wanted to book a trip as well! They all had a blast :)

*So I realize, to some, Zip Lining isn't that daring or exciting...but to me, it was! eep!

So now, I have to ask: Did you do anything "daring" pre-wedding?

Previously in the Quiche recaps:
Ya Mon! Back to Reality
Ya Mon! “Goin’ to Jamaica & We’re, Gonna Get Maaa-arried”!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ya Mon! "Goin' to Jamaica & We're, Gonna Get Maaa-arried"!

And so begin the Quiche recaps! The task of sorting through & organizing all of our pictures into a coherent (and interesting) sequence of events is DAUNTING. We have the majority of our guests pictures, along with our photographers. Added up, we're looking at THOUSANDS of pictures. Thousands. eep!

Let's go back to a chilly April morning in Chicago. Luckily, Mama and Stepdad Quiche had been in town for a few days to help get everything sorted and packed. Packing was, well, interesting. I was still freaked out about going through customs with all of our decorations, gifts, flowers, and my dress. We divvied up all of the goods and handed them out to bridesmaids and groomsmen. Mama & Petey Quiche also lugged A LOT of stuff for us. Then, very early on Wednesday morning, we headed for O'Hare. Boarding was a breeze & we were on our way!

A flight attendant noticed my dress bag & upgraded us to first class! SCORE!

I think I slept for most of the trip. We ended up on the same flight as our friends from Virginia, so it was great to see them in the middle of the trip! Imagine my excitement, though, when seeing this out of the window:

The land, sand & sea...we're here, mon!

We hired a driver with a 15 passenger bus for the first few days of the trip. He did airport runs all day on Wednesday and Thursday, drove us to the store to buy the goods for the OOT bags, took us to our Thursday night adventure, etc. It was SUCH a good investment!

The first of MANY "YA MON"'s!!!

Ahhh....arriving at Coyaba. I was instantly at peace & excited at the same time. I mean, how can you NOT be, especially when you see this...in the parking lot!

And to top it off, each guest is greeted with a rum punch upon arrival!

Bridesmaid C and Groomsmen B-Fresh were already there with their families. It was great to see familiar faces when coming into the lobby! We were starving, so we had a quick bite to eat along with the first (of many!) Red Stripe. It's funny, I think there is a Red Stripe in almost every picture. oops! ;)

With Bridesmaid Beth - love my girl!

The food at Coyaba is delicious! Lots of veggie-friendly options as well, which was a big selling point for us

Happy to be in Jamaica with my friends and family!!

For those of us who were in Jamaica early, we all (well, I was in the minority of NOT wanting to do something that could potentially kill/hurt/scrape me, but I was vetoed!) wanted to do something adventurous together to kick start the vacation.

Mr. Quiche meeting with the concierge to arrange our next adventure...what could it be?!

I've missed you guys! It's great to be back & recap!

Ya Mon! Back to Reality

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dress for budget post

Photos by Ashley Colhouer.

Shoes for Budget Post

I didn't know how else to add them to B.O!

Photos by Ashley Colhouer.

Gifting our Guests

Having a kick-ass Out of Town Bag for our guests was high priority on our list. I mean, our awesome friends and family were travelling all the way to Jamaica to celebrate us, the least we can do is try to thank them with a few goodies :)

Letter and agenda for our guests, rum, waterproof camera, coffee, DIY CD, sunscreen and mosquito wipes!

One of our first tasks upon arriving in Jamaica was buying two local items: a bottle of Appleton Estate Rum & Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. We had our driver take us to a slightly shady grocery store/bar/I don't know what, where we ended up bargaining down the price of the rum about 30%! Score!

All of the rooms at Coyaba are equipped with iPod hookups and CD players. In case people didn't bring the connector cord for their iPod (or don't have one), we decided to make CD's of our favorite island beats. You know what that means - lots of Bob Marley, Kenny Chesney & Jimmy Buffet. We made them the week before we left & they were a huge hit!

Our wedding monogram, decked out in the colors of the Jamaican flag, served as our album art. Ya Mon!

Set list!

FINALLY we were able to re-use those old CD jewel cases that have been laying around for YEARS, in the off chance that we *might* use them. Well guess what?! We did! Yay for getting clutter out of our house & not spending extra money!

We transported these down to Jamaica, along with Underwater Cameras, $1 suncreen from Target, mosquito wipes (that reeked!), and these awesome bags. I found them through Mrs. Lemon & they are a great quality bag for cheap, cheap, cheap!

We loved the Jamaican vibe of our OOT bags. Did you have OOT bags? Were they themed?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Very "Blue" Dinner!

Mama and Stepdad Quiche flew to Chicago 4 days before we left for Jamaica to help organize, pack, offer moral support, etc. They wanted to treat Mr. Q and I to dinner, so that Saturday night we headed to The Gage. We decided that we would give Mama Q her "thank you for being such an incredible mom and all that you've done for me and us and the wedding and everything else" gift that night. Sharing a love of Tiffany with me, yet never owning anything from the store, I decided to get her a necklace. For the past 2 years, Mama Q has been wearing this pearl necklace that I bought for her. It's a simple pearl on a champagne colored silk thread from Dogeared. The thought is that you're supposed to make a wish on your necklace & when it falls apart, your wish comes true (gag!)...however, my clever mother bought a spool of champagne silk thread and changes it as it starts to wear :)

In keeping with the dainty theme of that necklace, along with throwing in some Chicago love, we settled on the Bean necklace (I am not sure if this necklace has anything to do with the Bean in Milennium Park, but we decided to pretend that it does ;) ).

As soon as Mama Q read the first line of the card, she slapped it down on the table. We are a super emotional family, and the tears seem to fall when we're happy or sad.

Mr. Quiche then pulled out a flat blue box. Pour moi? Oui! I was so excited - this was completely unexpected. I tore open the box to discover a perfectly preppy, patent leather, Tiffany blue luggage tag. Oh, how Mr. Q kept with the luggage tag theme! Upon opening the tag, I see my *new* name listed & then I melted into tears :)

We commenced eating our appetizers and continued with great converstation. Then, Mr. Quiche pulls out another little blue box. I was confused - I had no idea what was going on! He then proceeded to hand me another box. This time with the words that this was my wedding gift, but he wanted to give it to me early in case I wanted to return it. Excuse me?! Return fabulous pearls? I think not.

Here they are, in action, at our rehearsal dinner:

Photo by Ashley Colhouer

Did you give a gift to your parents? If so, what did you give & did it have a special meaning?

Gifting My Groom

What do you buy for the guy who has everything he needs? While I might lust after something for months, Mr. Quiche is one of those people who, when he wants something, he goes out and buys it. (It has made birthday and Christmas shopping quite difficult at times. grr.) I needed to think of something truly unique for his wedding gift. He loves french cuffs, so naturally I thought of cufflinks. Having already bought him Wrigley Field wooden links the year before, I was fresh out of ideas. Until I saw Mrs. Tirimisu's gift for Mr. T - map cufflinks! Mr. Q loves vintage maps, so these would be perfect for him!

I searched for the best deal on Etsy and contacted the seller, dlkdesigns. She will custom make your links to your desired locale. Montego Bay was the obvious choice for one, and I went back and forth between Chicago (where we live) and Dublin (our honeymoon spot), ultimately deciding on Dublin to keep it in the wedding family. What's great is that she actually emails you picutures of the map that will be used, so if you don't like them, she'll find something else! In keeping with our pink accent theme, I told her I'd prefer there to be some pink in them.

Here was the proof:

Score! It was perfect!

Mr. Q opening his gifts
Photo by Ashley Colhouer

The final product!

Since the beginning of our relationship, I've kept a "Mr. Quiche & Miss Quiche Box of Memories", stuffed to the top with concert tickets, Cubs stubs, vacation trinkets, oh - and more concert tickets. We are quite the music-loving household, with live music being our favorite pasttime. Well, a box of memories is nice and all...but unless you drag it down from the top shelf and actually go through the disorganized mess, well, you never really see anything. I decided that I wanted to scrapbook our relationship. I talked it over with a scrapbook queen friend & we decided that it would probably be too much to take on. So, I ended up focusing solely on our "Life in Music".

In the simple album, I laid out groupings of ticket stubs, pictures and favorite lyrics on pages of black and silver. If I didn't have a picture from a particular concert, I wrote out the lyrics (or snippets of lyrics) to our favorite songs. I tried to stay away from the tragic lyrics that I love so much and focused on the happy, positive ones ;)

Well, take a look for yourself!

Oh Ray...how you move me with your perfect lyrics!

BM Nic joined us for Maroon5! (NOT groupies (I swear!)

I was literally putting this together the day of the wedding. Considering I started it mere days earlier, I was pretty proud of myself!

The handsome groomsmen checking it out
Photo by Ashley Colhouer

I never thought I'd DIY Mr. Q's gift - but I was so happy that I did. Not only did we get those memories out of the box and in something for us to see, but the personal touch is better than any other gift I could have bought.

Do you have a "Box of Memories"? Are you incorporating mementos from your relationship into your grooms gift?