Saturday, April 30, 2011

But. . . I don't even Like Shoes

It is so easy to get wrapped up in wedding craziness. All these books, blogs, and TLC shows convince you that you need things (that you don't really need), and to be something (that might not actually be you at all).

I'll admit it, I've been sucked up in this a few times. You can't help it really; I read all these posts on the 'Bee about two shoed brides and fancy shoed brides and all kinds of shoes! The Bees who are writing the posts are always so excited, and those feelings come through the posts. And, well? I wanted that feeling. I wanted to be a bride who had shoe excitement. I really did.

So what did I do? I spent (or possibly wasted) hours of lunch breaks looking at shoes online, from sites like Zappos and Endless.

Such. Pretty. Shoes!! Calvin Kline via Zappos

The thing is, folks, I spent hours look at fancy heels - supposed wedding shoes - and I just got angry. Angry and grumpy and upset. I fell for how pretty and nice the shoes looked, but none of them looked like shoes I could wear, and none of them looked comfortable.

Confession time: I've only ever own two pairs of high heels in my entire life. One pair I bought for my highschool senior year Turnabout, which I wore just for photos and then promptly took them off.

The other pair, I purchased for our engagement shoot.
By the amazing Sara & Ryan of Miller + Miller Photography

Ahem, yes. Notice that photo? Yup, those shoes were more of a prop than anything. I clearly didn't even wear them.

Yes, they're adorable, and yes I spent a whole week trying to walk in them. Can't teach old dogs new trick? Probably! I had such a hard time trying to walk normal and not wobble, and after a few minutes my feet hurt, and, really, I just decided that heels are not for me.

I don't like shopping for shoes, I don't have fancy shoes, and even though I own three pairs of rubber rain boots and one super cute pair of black boots from Macy's, I wear the exact same Reebok gym shoes everyday to work, and wear one of my 5 pairs of Crocs on the weekends. Really.

I like the shoes I have, and I don't like buying new ones, and I don't like wearing fancy shoes.

What kind of bride is that?!

So, I moved on; I stopped looking at shoes online because it just frustrated me. If I don't like shoe shopping normally, why was I making it harder on myself? Why would I force myself to do something I don't like? Exactly my point.

A few weeks ago, Mama Giraffe and I were going out to lunch, and stopped into the DSW next door. She held up some fancy shoes that were on clearance. I tried them on, they fit, so I bought them for $14.00. Simple as that.

No, they're not sexy, but I can walk in them and I didn't spend a lot of money for something I didn't care about. I'm a-okay with that.

Not bad, right?

But, I do love gym shoes, and I do love to boogie down, and surely can't dance in my inch-two in heels, can I? So, seeing as I only spent $14 the first time, I was able to drop $45 on a pair from DSW for the reception. And yes yes yes, I LOVE them.

Now I'm excited!! Oh, and maybe how about some new shoe clips from I think that's also a giant Y-E-S!

They definitely look better on the side of the shoes, so that's how I'll be wearing 'em!

There you have it, hive. The story of one Giraffe who didn't feel bride-y enough because she got angry whenever she looked at fancy shoes? Well, that was quite a happy ending!

Two shoed bride? Reception worthy gym shoes? Let's hear it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I Love Washington

There are very few people in my life that can rival Mr. Giraffe for the amount of love I have for him. One of these people is Best Man Washington.

See, although Washington is easily Mr. G's BFF (although he refrains from using the term "bff"), I would like to point out that I knew him first. I met Mr. G a week after I moved down to ISU, but that whole first week I bonded with Washington who lived on my floor.
A very young Washington, back in '05

Washington attended ISU with us Giraffes (although he graduated a couple of years before us), and has since moved away from good ol' Illinois. Washington will be flying in all the way from, unsurprisingly, the sate of Washington for our big day.

I think wedding planning makes you really thing about your friends. I mean, at risk of sounding like something that rhymes with schimdzilla, in 20 years when I sit back while my flying car does the driving for me and I look at photos of our wedding, who do I want to see there?

I'm lucky enough to have Washington fly all the way in and stand up for us on our very big day. He is easily one of my favorite people ever, and I would do anything for him. When I lost my grandma, Washington was there for Mr. G as well as myself, during what was a very dark time. I'll never forget the summer I spent sobbing in my apartment because of my loss, and then going out to Chili's and laughing about something stupid that Washington said, and, yes, I'm sure he said those things just to make me laugh. He made me smile at a time when smiling was not easy for me, and I appreciate it more than he knows.

I think, as a bride, I'm lucky to be nearly as close to the Best Man as the Groom is. I don't think this happens very often, but it means a lot to me for sure. I know that Washington will have Mr. G's back for anything that day, and I know he's saving me a dance for that night (...I know because I asked him to.)

Recently, Mr.G flew out to the sate of Washington, to spend his bachelor week of skiing, climbing, and hiking with Best Man Washington, and he had a great time. I'm so happy he got to do that, because hey, every groom needs to have fun before he's tied down to the ol' ball and chain. (Just kidding!)

The Giraffes, Washington, and Washington's awesome girlfriend, Glass

But really, I'm really starting to realize how much it means to have the people you care the most about take part in such a special day. It's really pretty awesome, and despite the fact that last-minute-crunch-time is threatening to make me lose my mind, I know that I'll have a great group of friends waiting for me at the end of that aisle. . .Along with a pretty hip groom, who I'm sure will look rather dashing in a tuxedo.

Picking your bridal party? How did you decide?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giraffe Loves Cake

Hey Hive, I know I haven't been around much, but I'm in crazy wedding crunch time mode, and I don't know how this wedding sneaked up on me! Seriously, though, I might turn into a crazy person in the next 17 days. Let's see what happens.

One of my favorite things in the entire world is cake. In a perfect world, I would replace every meal I ate with chocolate cake and VitaminWater. It'd be pure bliss, I tell you.

Because of my love affair with cake, I had no doubt in my mind that we'd need an amazing (and tasty!) cake for our wedding.

My previous cake experience had been pretty limited to birthday cakes, but man oh man, wedding cakes can blow your mind. The things bakers can do? Unbelievable!

Prettiest cake ever by Maisie Fantaisie via InspirationWed

As much as I love a fancy, all out, bottoms up kind of cake (which I do!), I knew it had to be something a little more simple for these Giraffes. Our wedding is super traditional, and although I didn't necessarily want a super traditional cake, I do want something a little more understated, that could tow the line between traditional and not.

Oh, and I also knew it had to be a round cake. I cannot picture myself getting married celebrating with anything other than a round cake. This is one idea in my head that I just cannot let go!

It all started with the inspiration photos (warning: these can be dangerous if you're hungry)...
via the Knot
via Simple Wedding Pictures
via Cake Central
via Wedding Cake Pictures
via Sedona Wedding Cakes
via Sedona Wedding Cakes

I think it's easy to see some similarities. Mr. G & I were really drawn to dots, swirls, ribbon, and simplicity.

But where did that get us? We knew what we liked, but we couldn't quite find the right photo to pass onto to baker. . .sooo I did what any crazy bride-to-be would do!

I built my cake in Adobe Illustrator!

I know, I know, it's a little crazy, but I knew exactly want I wanted and that seemed like the best way to do it. I passed on my Illustrator photo to the baker, and they can make it match. I'm so excited!

I think our cake will be simple and sweet, and just all around perfect! I am sooo excited/happy/want to eat about this cake!

How excited are you about your cake?

PS - Want to design your own? Here, use the Giraffe template!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to DIY a "Years We Met" Flag Poster

So, I've told you all about Martha's Flag Conversation Starter and how I had to have it. Well, team, here is how this Giraffe makes her dream come true.

Just to remind you all, to recap my last post, the whole point of this poster is that guests will write their name on a flag and stick it into the year where the met you.

What you need:
  • Foam core, based on size of your poster. I bought my foam board from Hobby Lobby, because it was 50% off, and they sell it in sizes much bigger than Miachels (Michaels only did as big as 30" and I needed 32". Michaels' board is also more expensive.)
  • Years Poster. More on this below.
  • Straight Pins. I bought mine from JoAnn's
  • Styrofoam Rectangle. (JoAnn's)
  • Half Yard of Fabric. (JoAnn's)
  • Card Stock (all ready owned)
  • Spray Adhesive (All ready own about 18 cans of it. For this project I used the Tacky brand, just because it was closest to me at the time.)
First, you need your year poster. Martha has one to download from her website. IT's the same one the photo below.
There's a couple of reasons that I didn't use Martha's poster. For one, she says just work with your printer to cut off the years you don't need . .. I think her poster starts with the '60s or something and Mr. G and I weren't born until the late '80s so I simply decided to make my own.

Quick Tip #1: Martha recommends having a copy shop print & mount this for you, but I think that this is sooo easy so everyone should just DIY it. Also, getting things mounted on foamcore can be pretty pricy so this is the way to go.

The bigger the poster, the more money it costs to get printed. Keep in mind, also, that if you want to use an unconventional size, it'll cost more. I wanted a semi-unconventional size so I had to dig for a company that would do that and do it cheaply since we're over budget a liiiittttle bit. I used a kgb deal, and got $30 to for only $10. I ended up spending a total of $11.98 on my 18"x32" poster. Perfect. Of course, I picked the size after I had designed the poster, so then I had to re-design it for a new size. Do do that ;-).

Step 1. To start, I glued two pieces of foam core together. I did this because my foam was only .25" thick, and I was worried people would stick pin all the way through it. You can order .5" foam core off the internet, but I didn't want to wait and shipping would have been more money since it's oversized. It was cheaper this way.

I laid my board down on my garage and covered it and spray adhesive. You can kind of see the spray adhesive in the photo - it's the shiny part. The I just laid the second piece on top of it.

After that, I sprayed on more spray adhesive. I wasn't careful, because I knew my board was much bigger than my poster, so I just made sure to get a bunch of adhesive on the board. Then I simply laid & smoothed out my poster on top of that.
Then I used my metal ruler, X-Acto knife, and cutting mat and cut it out. Easy Peasy.

If you look in the photo, you can kind of see the double layers of foam board.
I then let it sit against the couch for a day while I did something else.
Onto part two! Here's where the res of your supplies come into play. First, I gathered my pins & Styrofoam. Yes, I paid more money to get green and blue dress pins. Whatever, it was worth it :-D.

I also realized that I could leave the plastic on the Styrofoam, making less of a mess.

I used spray adhesive to cover the Styro-Rectangle with glue. . . And then I had Mama Giraffe wrap it up like a present with the pretty shiny fabric I bought because that step was too difficult for me.
Thanks, Mom! No, I won't shop my blog friends this photo of you in your PJs.

The bottom does not look good. At. All. But no one will see it, so I'm over that.
After that I used a scissors and paper cutter to cut of cardstock (with at least one blank side) that I all ready owned. I didn't measure it or anything. I also put it in piles of ten to keep organized.

Then, I simply stuck a pin through it and stuck the pin into the Styro-Rectangle.

And there you have it!! I told you it was easy!

Want to see the final project, one last time? Wellll, okay!
Sorry about the giant flash spot!

And there it is - if you look at the to of the photo, you can see that it almost come to Mr. G's waist. I like the size of it. Well, actually, I love everything about it. This is on project that I am super happy with (unlike that dumb card box). I just love it!

Now, if only I had a sign that told guests what to do with it. Oh wait, maybe I do. . . ;-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some Martha Inspiration

Okay, by "we", I mean "me". . .But anyways! Do you guys remember when I told you that I had to have cake flags? Despite the fact I knew they're totally unnecessary, I made them anyway?

Yup, this is another one of those kinds of projects, except it's so much more!

See, let's go back in time about two years. That's right folks, two whole years. Despite the fact that everyone and their mother (okay, well, my mother) told me not to waste time on a project like this when I had other more important things to do with my time (like uhhh get a marriage license), I did it anyway.

See, two years ago, I saw this unique little idea on the Martha Stewart Weddings website, and then I book marked it, committed it to memory, and promised myself that this would indeed be the ice breaker to end all ice breakers and people would worship Miss Giraffe for being so cool and creative, but only if they don't know Martha and check her website first. Soooo right, after all those promises of people worshipping me, I had to make it happen.

What crazy DIY project was I lusting after, you ask? It's just a coincidence that this other project I have to have also involves flags; Martha calls it the, Conversation Flag Starter. . .Although I named mine something else ;-).

Basically, it's a poster set out for your guests. It's made up of numbers that represent years, and your guests write their names on super cute coordinating flags and stick them into the year that corresponds to when the met you (or your Mister!).

Martha has a how-to on her site, and you can also download her Years poster there too.

Are you drooling over that poster as much as I am? Don't lie, I know you are! I don't know what it is about it, but I just had to have it.

You guys are going to love how we Giraffes made this idea our own. Martha gave us a great starting point, but I, of course, had to make some tweaks along the way.

What DIY projects did you had to have? Was it this one? Just kidding! How'd they turn out?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's ON, People!

Here's the thing, Hive: I have so much to tell you. I mean seriously. I'm such a bad blogger. I've been here since October and have yet to tell you about our wedding bands, our wedding venue, our officiant, the food (ohhh man, the food!!), our musicians, the cake, the 40 dozen pastries we're serving, our invitations, the millions of signage that matches our invites, the plus one conundrum (which isn't what you'd think), my dress (which I've purposely kept under wraps), Daddy Giraffe trying to buy flip flops, my shoes, the shower, my other shoes, the honeymoon, my list of bridal FAILs, and so so so much more. I've been too busy talking about my nails... oh, and speaking of which, I have more things to say about my nails. Look out for that.

Out. Of. Control.

Photo from Amazon/Direct Link to Book
But am I blogging about any of that stuff today? Nope. Now, I'm sure that you're dying to hear about our wedding venue (which is quite important), but guess what? Welllll, it's time for the
That's right, team, we're counting down. Believe it or not, we're exactly one month until our big day as of today. I cannot believe it! As much as I want to share all the details with you guys (which I really really do), it seems like so much is going on that there's not time for that!

To top it off, I started a new job this week, which I absolutely love and have never been happier. For the first time in a year, I find myself relaxed and happy when I get home from work. I've spent the last year being stressed and frustrated so I am so glad that time is over. I also get to do the kind of graphic design that I've always wanted to do. And, yes, my new job is letting me take a (paid) week and a half off just a month after I start for the honeymoon. It's perfect, it really is.

My Giraffe and I have taken the first steps towards becoming (town)home owners. This is a big deal, but we're not talking about it, because we're still finalizing things, and I don't want to jinx anything. Let me tell you, the idea of a place of our own is almost too good to be true. After the wedding, I was planning on moving into the apartment Mr. G shares with his brother, so this is a very big deal.

And, of course, there's things that still have to bee (!) finialized fore the big day. I mean, programs, seating chart, escort cards!? Yeah, there's those for sure! I'm going to do my best to keep blogging (And try even harder to keep reading the Bee as well), but as time gets sparse we'll just have to see.
Hey good lookin', where will you be in a month? Oh giving smooches at the alter? Oh, okay then! Giraffe photo by friend V.

May 2011 girls, where you at? What do you have left on your to-do list? And everyone else - how was your last planning month, relaxed or stressful?

Monday, April 11, 2011

For Those that Can't Be There

So many Bees have blogged about loss in the past, and I think its so important. A wedding is a happy occasion, but sometimes it seems impossible to be happy about everything involved. That fact of the matter is, most people have experienced loss at some point, and coping with the feelings of that loss and your wedding day is not easy. I think it's good to be honest about something like this because, no surprise here, so many of us are going through the same thing.

My grandma on my mom's side was like no one else, you guys. I challenge you to find another 70 year old woman that gets blonde highlights in her gray hair, wears gold pumps, and shops at Charlotte Russe and WetSeal. My grandma was awesome. Sure I went to college for graphic design, but she learned Photoshop way before I ever did, and even taught me how to burn my first CD when I was ten. It's a good memory, I promise. We were super close, and as Mr.G says, "I swear, you and your grandma were literally the same person." She had a great sense of humor, for sure.
Her getting sick was a surprise. My grandpa just got over cancer when we found out she had it. Fastforward a bit and both she and grandpa had beat cancer. Life was good. Then, unexpectedly, she complained about back pain and went to the doctor to get it checked out. Turns out the cancer was back, and within two weeks she was gone.

Her death was unexpected, and it was a very dark time for this Giraffe. I remember sitting on the tiled floor of the hospital just sobbing on the phone to Mr. Giraffe. (Mr. G had called off work as soon as he got off the phone with me and drove four hours to meet me and support me while I was a mess.) I spent the summer after that trying hard not to leave my apartment and watching Elizabethtown like 100 times. Thank goodness for Mr. G, Bridesmaid Marie, and Best Man Nick, because if it had been up to me, I would've spent those months in a dark apartment not talking to anyone.

When my grandma first got sick, Mr. G and I first started talking seriously about getting married. I remember saying, "Can we get married young? So she can be there?" And we thought she would.

I resented my older sister for a long time, because I was grieving and it hurt so bad that our grandma was able to attend her college graduation, and not mine. And now? It's so hard to picture my wedding day without my grandma there. It hurts to think about, and, even though its been 2.5 years, still makes me so sad.

When I first heard about the idea of a Generation Dance (where couples dance on the floor with the bride and groom, and the couple that's married the longest is the last on the dance floor), I think my heart broke a little. As wonderful as the idea is, my grandma was buried on what would have been her & grandpa's 55th wedding anniversary. It just doesn't seem fair to do that dance at my wedding when the last couple on the floor would be married some 20 years less than that. It doesn't seem right if it couldn't be my grandparents.

So how will I be remember my grandma on my big day? I've thought about the flower on the chair, and things like that, but I know my grandpa is still mourning this loss, and a visible thing like that would just upset him, I'm sure. I've decided to include a small line in our program in memory of her (As well as a line for my grandpa on my dad's side). I know it's not much, but it means a lot to me. I know our guests who knew her will see it, and I think they'll appreciate it too.

Sure, I'm struggling with the idea that my grandma won't be at our wedding, but I think it'll be all right. It's hard to believe that such a joyous occasion could bring such up such sadness within me, and that's why I'm choosing to keep a good attitude about it. Instead of thinking about how my grandma won't be physically present on our big day, I'm thinking about how she'll be watching over Mr. G and I. She'll be with us, and I'm 100% sure of it.

Oh, and want to see the most wonderful photo of all time? I found it when cleaning out my grandma's stuff. She got married at 16, and in the photo she's 17 and pregnant with my aunt. My grandpa said that in this picture, "She was so proud."

How are dealing with those that can't attend your big day?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Giraffe Photo Display: Part 2

Don't worry folks, this is the last post about our photo display (until recaps, of course). I know that you've all been waiting patiently, so it's about time I shared our wonderful results.

Firstly, big big props to friend Brooke, who was nice enough to let me share the crush I had on her wedding and the inspiration it gave me.

I told you guys about the first step of our photo display where we bought new frames and spray painted them. I told you it was easy, but let me tell you that step two is ever harder. Step two would be choosing the photos!

Mr. G and I ended up with more photo frames than we had planned for. I wanted 5-7 frames, but thanks to Mama Giraffe heading to her TJ Maxx, we ended up with 10 (which is awesome). Since we had so many frames, we decided we could use all kinds of photos from the whole time we were dating. I mean, how fun would it be to share photos of baby Giraffes?

Oh man, I'm definitely just 18 here. I can't believe how time flies!

Okay, so that was the plan anyway. Why didn't the plan work out? Well, we decided we'd start by choosing a couple of our engagement photos first, because I all ready had them in my iPhoto library. The things is, though. . . we ended up choosing 23. It couldn't be helped! Our e-pics are just that good! It's funny because out of all those photos, we definitely have different favorites.

We finally narrowed it down, and of course our super fave rock star awesome photo of our shoes was the first to make the cut. I swear, one day I'm going to have a mega huge canvas (just like the Elephants!) of this taking up two thirds of my living room. . . And then maybe an identical one right next to it in the last third of the living room because its just that epic. (Get it, anyone? Epic? E pic? Hilarious!)
Photo by our photogs, the rock stars known as Miller+Miller

After we picked out our shoe photo, we had to narrow the rest down. We used the logic of using only one photo in each setting. For example, we each loved a different photo of us on the beach, but we didn't need two. We let the one that looked a lot like our save the date photo go because our guests have all ready seen something similar, and this way they'll get the treat of seeing our mugs in a different way.
Hey good lookin' - Fancy meeting you here! E-Pic by Miller+Miller

Of course, this logic didn't hold through for the whole process. We ended up with two photos of us in the field, and another two of us in our match Chuck T's (although they're both super different than the one above), but I'm okay with it! We ended up choosing photos that we really really loved, so who cares if they're similar? I'm so excited about the result.

Oh... and speaking of result, I know you're looking for it! Feast your eyes on these babies!
Personal Photo by moi, but all e-pics by Miller+Miller

Doesn't that brown just look gorgeous? I love it! The best part about spray painting, besides having the frames be in our colors of course? If you see the brown, white, and blue 5"x7" frames in the back, they're actually the same frame. By painting them, they all look different and I didn't have to buy other more expensive frames for variety.

All right, let's go full circle and finish it up with a budget breakdown (...I'm kind of curious myself).
1 4x4 Square frame - $3.24
1 3.5x3.5 Square frame - $5
4x6 frames - 3 at $3 each, 1 at $2 = $11
5x7 frames - 4 at $3 each = $12

Spray paint from Home Depot
Two at $3.44 =$7.36

Spray Paint from Lowe's
Two at $3.78 = $7.56

Ten photo prints from Winkflash (with shipping) = $2.44

Grand Total = $48.60 or $4.86 a frame which isn't too shabby! I don't feel bad about spending $50ish on this project, because it's one I'm so excited about! Also, I feel like it's totally worth it, because we'll get to take all of photos home and display them after the wedding. It's the gift that keeps on giving, yo! But really, every time I think about these photos, I just get more excited. I am so very very happy we took the little time to do this project, and even happier that I saw Brooke's photo first, because without her I wouldn't have done this. Hooray for everything!

What DIY projects are you super excited bout?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wedding Day Nails

As we get closer to the big day, I've been thinking more and more about my wedding day look. You guys know I'm all ready thinking about hair (Still working on it!), and now I started thinking about my nails.

My wedding is on a Saturday, but seeing as I have the Friday before off of work, I think I'll get my nails done then. Bridesmaid Marie has the day off too, so she'll be joining me. Yay!

It seems like such a silly thing to think about, but I just keep thinking of those gorgeous pro-pics with close ups on the bride's hands/rings/nails/bouquet. See look - a lovely photo of a first dance, with nails on full view! See, that's reason enough to fancy up your fingers.

Photo by our rockstar photogs Miller + Miller via their blog

I told the bridesmaids that they don't have to get their nails done, but if they do, to please get french tips. I think french tips are super classy, and they always always look good!
Photo via Skinology 101

If that's the bridesmaids, what about the bride? Originally I wanted to go French Tips too, but I wanted to do something a liiiiitle more fancy/exciting than normal. Turns out there's quite a few options that are French Tip classy, but also pop and fresh.

Who knew french tips could be so hip? It's pretty cool that there are so many options for somethings that seems so simple. So what did this Giraffe decide?

Hahaha, just kidding! Although, I wouldn't be completely opposed to putting my own photo on my nails, but really, I'm thinking something simple, but classy. Like this:
Photo from Fashion Accessory Box / French Manicure - Elegant Choice for your Nail / Blue added in Photoshop by Giraffe

A little different from a normal French manicure, but just enough to give me the extra "oomph" that I'm looking for. Love it! I'm going to try and not break my own nails so I won't have to get fake ones, but we'll see how that goes.

Anybody else getting fancy nails for the big day? What look are you going for?