Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Engagement Photo Session

I am SO excited to share our engagement photos with all my lovely blog readers - because they turned out SO much better than I expected!  One of my very best friends and bridesmaids, Courtney Elson, also happens to be a talented photographer. Although she's new to wedding photography, she offered to do out engagement pictures and I have to say, the results look like she's been doing it for year. Woohoo!

We took the pictures at Goodale Park in downtown Columbus. I used to live just a few blocks from there so we spent quite a bit of time walking our dog and hanging out in the park when Matt & I first started dating. It's one of my favorite places in Columbus and I'm sure you can see why!

And my absolute favorite picture of the shoot:

As my friend Andrew says, "the couple that scrabbles together, stays together."

If you're in the Columbus are and need a talented photographer, let me know and I'll forward you Courtney's info. She's working on a website right now and you can be sure I'll post it here once it's complete.

Check out the rest of our pictures here:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sneak Peek!

Here's a preview of our engagement session, courtesy of my fabulous bridesmaid, Courtney Elson. I just got them tonight and wanted to share one before I head to bed. The rest will come soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The End of the Fiscal Year

Or.... Excuses For Not Posting in Over a Week

In the life of a higher-education fundraiser, the end of the fiscal year is a month of pure HELL. Like most Universities, our fiscal year ends on June 30th and on that date we must add up our totals for the year and make our goal - or not as our case may be.

I am a lucky one. I exceeded my personal goals months ago. Yippee! I attribute my success to pure talent and low bars. When you're given broken fundraising programs, as I was, the only place to go it up. Score!

Unfortunately we also report as a collaborative group and that group is not going to make its goal. Bummer. So we spend our final month sending reminder letters, hand-written notes, emails, phone calls, smoke signals, over-night packages, telegrams, instant messages, tweets and facebook posts in a desperate attempt to come out on top. We're combing through prospect lists, looking for that ONE donor who has eluded us for the past year and is just waiting to write a check for $25,000 by June 30th. It's stressful. And we're not alone. For obvious reasons fundraising continues to take hard hits. Donors who gave $1,500 for years are sending us $50 and it's devastating. But we understand. Most of us are there too, analyzing our spending down to the last nickel and putting our money where we believe it will matter most. Sometimes our sympathy makes asking harder.

But just like individuals, universities and non profits are effected by a down-economy. Our endowments are under-performing and our students have greater need for scholarships and financial aid, and so we soldier on!

There are just 5 days left to raise lots of money. I have put wedding projects on hold while I work extra hours and dig a little deeper. I have made time to search for a new wedding-related toy and I am happy to say that I will soon be the proud owner of a Print Gocco!!!

This little baby is going to make me some pretty, pretty invitations and I am PUMPED to try it. Woohoo!

Have a wonderful weekend and if you are in the Columbus area, I hope to see you at Comfest this weekend. I will have a giant pink mug and my hippie dress on!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working on My Fitness

I am very comfortable in my own skin. Although I am petite, I've always been curvy and I like myself that way. However, in the past two years I have put on about 20 lbs and although I still feel attractive, I know it's unhealthy and I'd prefer to be thinner. Lots of people have told me that it's common to gain weight when you're "in love" and I think there's some truth to that. Dating Matt led to eating out more than I did when I was single. Dating is also time consuming and I often skipped working out to spend evenings with him. Over time we've had good and bad influences on each other. My healthy eating has begun to rub off on him: we have a CSA share, as small garden of herbs and greens, and try to cook with fresh ingredients at home. But his unhealthy habits have also begun to rub off on me: I have a hard time saying no to fried foods and snacks before bed when I see him enjoying them. All of that being said, like most brides, I've decided to lose weight. So far, I've had zero success so I'm starting a new plan.

Jillian Michaels' Thirty Day Shred

This video came highly recommended by several friends and I have to admit, it's kicked my butt! I've only done it a handful of times, but walking afterward was tough!

The Couch to 5K Running Plan on

This plan is geared toward non-runners, which is TOTALLY me. I hate running, but this workout combines a little running and a little walking and slowly builds you up to the 5K ultimate goal (take THAT all my marathon running friends! ;). The first week on this plan has been easily manageable and made me believe I might be a runner after all.

My plan is to do the Couch to 5K plan, which is three days a week of running plus doing a Jillian Michaels workout two to three dates a week. Each workout is about 30 minutes, which I SHOULDN'T have a problem working into my schedule (HA!).

What do you think? Doable? Anyone want to join me? Hold me accountable? Volunteer to verbally harass me until I lose 20 lbs? ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bridesmaids Dresses - CHECK!

Next to cross off of my list: my bridesmaids dresses. And this one was, by far, the easiest! Thanks completely to my sister/maid of honor who has been keeping a sharp eye out for deals.

My original plan was to let each girl pick out their own dress in a color I chose, like these lovely bridesmaids:

I was considering the mismatched dress option to save my lovely ladies some money and let them find a style that was flattering on them. I am in two weddings this fall and both brides chose dresses around $100. Now, I rarely spend $100 on a dress. And when you add shoes, jewelry, gifts, parties, etc., the cost of standing up next to your BFF while she says, "I do!" can get a bit ridiculous.  Don't get me wrong, there is almost NOTHING out there for bridesmaids under $100 and both brides picked lovely dresses that I might even wear again (score!). They are simply another victim of the ridiculous wedding industry and their inflated prices the minute you say the W word.

So, I hadn't even begun to look, or asked the ladies to look, for dresses. My wedding is 8 months away and I still feel like I have tons of time (The joke is on me, right? I know...). My sister was out shopping one day and emailed me pictures of an absolutely adorable red dress at Stein Mart (of all places...) for under $40. They are classic, pretty and wearable as you can see from my little sis modeling it here:

Cute, right? I love it! So Liz begged Stein Mart to put a few dresses in various sizes on hold for a few days while bridesmaids came to try it on. It seems like a go, although not all 5 girls have been able to try on their size. Three are being ordered from stores out of the state, so we won't really know if this is THE DRESS until they've all tried their size on and given me a thumbs up. But, I'm feeling positive about it all. The dress seems to fit well and is a beautiful red. The best part? I didn't have to do a smidge of work to find them. Yes!!

We'll still have one more lady in the wedding party to dress, but I think (fingers crossed) we should be able to find her an option that complements this dress easily.

Photographer - CHECK!

I can't express how thrilled I am to finally be getting items crossed of my wedding "To Do" list. I feel accomplished and capable knowing I'm getting it done. Woot!

As I mentioned before, and will likely mention many times more, we have a very small budget. Although we could have afforded more, I can't stand the idea of wasting thousands of dollars on one day - and important day - but just ONE day when it comes right down to it. So, in an effort to be frugal, resourceful and creative, I am doing my best to stick to it.

Photography has been the biggest headache when it came to staying within our budget. About 4 - 5 months ago I resigned myself to the idea of blowing our budget in order to get a decent photographer. I scoured the internet for deals but had zero luck finding anything. Don't get me wrong, there were photographers within our budget, but the results often looked worse that what my digital camera and I produce on a daily basis. PASS! It was looking like about double my photography budget to get the creativity, artistry and thoughtfulness that I really wanted.

Then about 2 months ago one of my favorite wedding blogs, The Budget Savvy Bride, featured a Columbus, Ohio wedding submitted by none other than our wedding photographer: Jessica Miller! In addition to being well withing our budget, her work is fabulous and I am so excited to have her be a part of our day. If you're in the Columbus area and looking for a wedding photographer, I definitely recommend checking her out!

See more of Jessica's work at her facebook page and her blog!

And CHECK photographer OFF the list!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The story of Us

In the fall of 2008, this single lady joined
Birthday Celebration, 2008

I was enjoying the life of a 20-something in the city, but hadn't met any exciting men. I was bored and needed a change. A little internet dating sounded perfect!

The second date I went on was with this guy:

He'd been on for awhile and his membership was close to expiration. I almost missed him!

On October 19, 2008, after a few promising emails, we met in person at The Rossi:

And after 2 glasses of wine, I knew I wanted to see him again. So, I did!

A pair of Mavricks, Halloween 2008

Just a few weeks into dating Matt I told my mom I thought he might be "the one." So, I dumped my other boyfriends, took down my Match profile and on December 6, we officially became a couple.

Time flew by and our relationship turned serious very quickly. We both knew we wanted to be together forever and that marriage was in our future, why waste time? In June 2009, Matt bought a house in the suburbs of Columbus.

Our home in the 'Burbs

My lease was ending and roommates were breaking up, so after some serious discussion I agreed to move in. It was the best decision I've ever made. Things have gone so well, no major catastrophes resulted from spending every waking minute (outside of work) together. He's even getting rid of all his bachelor furniture (RIP enormous, blue sectional) and letting me paint walls yellow, green and blue - woohoo!

On November 8, 2009, after 4 months of being roomies, he gave me this:

A beautiful, vintage ring from the 1920s. Perfect! 

I said yes. 

And now we are on a new journey, one that will end with us as a family. How beautiful is that?