Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Many Faces

To continue from where I left off on Saturday, we went dress shopping.  Now, I went there to figure out what dress size/style/etc that I liked, but I came home with a more "valuable" lesson.  In the 100 or so pictures that my mother took, I learned that I make the weirdest faces.  Now, I normally consider myself a decently photogenic person, but holy cow!  I imagine that there are a good 20 pictures where I am either making angry, confused or otherwise strange faces.  This would be okay if I had been angry, confused or otherwise strange (that's debatable), but I can just imagine all of our wedding pictures turning out like this and then I would be extremely disappointed in myself.

With that being said...let me just go all out and embarrass myself with a slideshow of awful pictures.






So yes.  Apparently I am a big weirdo.  I suppose I'm going to have to work on my "wedding expressions."  And I thought we only had to worry about Adam when taking engagement pictures (Adam's inability to pose a smile shall be discussed at a later date!)

I hope you enjoyed my embarrassment reel.  I did find a dress that I like.  I'm not sure if it is the one, but I really do like it.  I'm planning on going a couple of other places before making a final decision because I like to second guess everything I do.  Here are a couple of slightly more photogenic photos of myself...comments welcome! (Update 6/21/2012 - I took down the pictures because, after much more shopping and second guessing myself...I finally bought that dress yesterday. I highly doubt Adam will ever read this, but I would really hate for him to see my dress this way.  Thanks for understanding!)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dress for Success

While I had every intention of sleeping in this morning, I am going on my first dress shopping adventure today and my mind just wasn't in agreement with my body.  I was even planning on going to gym first this morning, but the gym isn't even open yet!  So, let's use this time to talk about dresses since it's been a few days since my last post.

When I went to the first bridal show at the beginning of January, David's Bridal was giving out $20 Shutterfly gift cards if you booked an appointment with them.  Um, yes?  I really didn't have any intention of keeping the appointment because the farthest they could book was March (shame on me, I know) and I didn't really want to start dress shopping that early on.  However, after I got to thinking, I realized that it might be fun to do a preliminary search, see what kind of dresses I like, what SIZE I am, and what actually looks good on my body type.

So off to David's Bridal we shall go.  Some people have issues with mass-market dresses, however I am not one of those people.  I'm not wanting to spend TONS of money on a dress (I'm in the $500 range) and they seem to meet my price range the best.  Manhattan has a few dress boutiques but nothing large scale.  So we'll head to Topeka today and I can always go and check out the local places later on.

Lindsy's Dress Requirements and (some) pretty pictures:

1. Floor length - I'm completely in love with knee-length bridesmaids dresses (especially for a late-June wedding), but I don't feel like our wedding is informal enough for me to go short-skirting.

(photo courtesy of David's Bridal)

2.  Not too chesty.  I consider myself of average bustiness, but I need those babies on lock-down.

3.  Adornment:  ruffles, lace, sparklies, and/or layers - I'm in agreement with all of these.  I especially would like something over the stomach area as that is where I'm most insecure.  While it's true that I could have some sweet abs by next summer, I've always felt more comfortable with a little design distraction.
(Photo courtesy of David's Bridal)

4.  Nothing too "fashionable."  I laugh when I hear myself say this, but I want something more traditional and I won't look back on it in 5 years and wonder what I was thinking.  Keyhole backless dresses fit into this category for me (even though they seem to be huge right now - I just can't get into them).
(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

5.  Strapless - I am not 100% on this one.  I do find that I like some strappy dresses, but the sleeved style is just not for me.  Works great for Kate Middleton, but I'll pass.

(Photo courtesy of

6.  Price Range - My budget is about $500.  It's not a ton of money, but it will definitely be the most expensive item of clothing I've ever bought.  I also would like to leave a little extra money for alterations, although I don't think I will be planning huge alterations.  I love the lace-up backs, but I'm not sure I want to pay to alter a zipper-backed dress either.

And commence the pictures (all photos courtesy of David's Bridal):

While all of these dresses seem pretty alike, I do plan on trying other types to see how they fit my body.  I might just go all out end up with a GIANT ball gown.  We'll have to see!

How was your first dress shopping experience?  Did you have as many requirements as I feel that I do?    Did you find THE dress on your first trip?

Monday, February 20, 2012

DIY Wedding Invites: Round 3

And now for the final attempt (and my most proud)...

Attempt #3
Hobby Lobby was having a sale last week on scrap-booking supplies for 50% off.  I thought it was time to finally get the right paper that I wanted and a couple of other supplies as well.  I also wanted to see if 8.5x11 or 12x12 paper was better for making the invites and what would give me the most value for what I needed.

Materials that I bought (see my reviews below!):
8.5x11 white linen paper (50% off = .22 cents each)
8.5x11 black linen paper
8.5x11 dark blue linen paper
12x12 dark blue linen paper  (50% off = .40ish cents each)
Zision Paper Trimmer  ($7.99 with 40% coupon = $4.80)
Elmer's CraftBond Permanent Dot Runner  ($2.99 @ Wal-mart)

And thus...

What I learned:
I absolutely love the feeling of the linen paper.  It has a very clean and crisp feel to it...quite classy!  It is durable enough to feel like a professional invitation which is what I was really shooting for.

I changed the font on the logo from Attempt #2.  I like this font a lot better (Scriptina).

I will need to go to the post office and have this weighed to see if it will cost extra.

I think that I am going to swap the RSVP card size with a larger insert and turn it in to a postcard.  That way, we won't have to buy envelopes to return the RSVP and its a little bit cheaper for postcard postage than first class postage.  I will then also have to take the RSVP to the post office and make sure that the paper is thick enough for it to be classified as a post card.

These are incredibly time-consuming to do just one invite at a time.  I think if I "assembly-line it" and make all of the pocket-folds first and then the inserts and then the belly bands it will go a lot faster.  I would like to be able to make these over the summer while I am off work, but I am afraid of leaving them sit around for 6-9 months before it is time to send them off...

Grade:  A-  (Still not quite perfect, but they're in that 90% range.)

My product reviews:
Zision paper trimmer - For a $5 paper cutter, it is probably worth the value.  It comes with a cutting blade and also a scoring blade.  HOWEVER, it does not cut cleanly through thick (linen) paper that I am going to be using.  I leaves the edges all frayed looking, even when cutting only one piece of paper at a time (see Picture 3).  I imagine that it would cut computer paper just fine, but it was definitely not up to the task of cover or card stock.  I returned it to the store and ended up buying a Martha Stewart Scoring Board which only cost $7 more with the return ($19.99 with 40% off coupon = 11.99).  It doesn't cut, but it is square, has a ruler and ensures that I will score my lines correctly when making the pocket-folds.  It also comes with a bone folder (which are like $3 anyway) and has a template to make envelopes.

Elmer's Craft Bond Permanent Dot Runner - I really liked this product on plain, smooth paper, but it didn't work so well on the textured linen paper.  I had a hard time getting it to "roll" the mini-glue dots out and after handling the invitation a couple of times, the pieces started to become unglued.  I am definitely going to have to find another time of glue for the invites as I need the pocket to stay on and the belly band not to fall apart.  For the belly band, I am sure I could even use hot glue, but I will probably look for another type of double sided tape to use for the pocket.

12x12 paper - For the pocket-folds that I am making, it wouldn't save us any money to get 12x12 paper.  I thought it might be enough to make the pockets, and it is, but it is actually cheaper to get another piece of 8.5x11 paper and make 4 pockets.

So what do you think?
Time really isn't an issue for me, but I am worried I might regret making the invitations myself instead of having a professional do it.  It will save us quite a bit of money as they will only cost about 70 cents to make (excluding envelopes, tools and ink).  What did you do for your invitations - DIY, partial DIY or did you get them printed somewhere?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DIY Wedding Invites: Round 2

Attempt #2:
So after my last attempt, I decided I should try to get more appropriate colors and actual inserts to see more of the desired product.  I still hadn't upgraded to a paper cutter, scoring blade or better glue.  I'm sad to see some of the info blurred out so you don't get the entire "package," but I am much happier with this version.

What I learned:
Adding the invitation and the inserts to the pocket-fold really tied it together and made it seem a little more official and uniform.  The non-neon colors helped too (although the blue isn't quite right yet).

I'm not completely satisfied with the look of the main invite.  I feel like it is kind of bland.  I was going for a simple look, but I think there is a definite line between those two.  I would like to emboss something on the invite to give it some texture (so I am thinking to find a rubber stamp of the flourish).

I printed out our logo to put on the belly band, although I think the band needs to be thinner so its not the same thickness as the logo.

Grade:  B  
While the colors are not the ones I actually want, I think this was a big improvement on Attempt #1.  I made the right flap smaller so that it folds together nicely and I would feel okay about sending this out (although its definitely not perfect).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

DIY Wedding Invites: Round 1

I've now done three mock-ups of wedding invitations.  Over the next couple of days I will show you my progression for worst (first attempt) to better (third attempt) and what I have learned so far...

Attempt #1
I was at work (on lunch! No padding the clock here!).  I keep my paper supply at school and felt the urge to get crafty.  I had previously found some templates online and wanted to give it a try with cardstock.

Materials needed:
Cardstock - I only had neon, purple-blue and white (not exactly the wedding colors)
Adhesive - I only had glue sticks and Elmer's glue (not exactly my choice of products)
Paper cutter - I only had a ruler and scissors opened up like a knife blade.
Paper scorer - I only had a ruler and scissors opened up like a knife blade.

So with all of the necessary materials at hand...commence!


What I learned:
Despite that the first attempt was quite "ghetto" for lack of a better term, it gave me the confidence that I could actually make a semi-decent pocket-fold invitations.

I made the right flap,with the inserts, the same size at the main invite side.  As a result, when I tried to close it with the flap, it didn't fold over nicely (as you can see in the first pic).

Elmer's glue is definitely not an acceptable adhesive as it bubbles the paper.  I had already learned that from my childhood, but the glue stick just wasn't doing the job either.

I am going to have to invest in a paper cutter and scorer because I cannot cut in straight lines.

The belly band was particularly easy and pain-free.  I just used leftover scraps cut from the other pieces.

Grade:  D+  (Definitely not acceptable to send out.)

Next time...Attempt #2.  After I share Attempt #3 I'll also post the templates/measurements if anyone is interested.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Valentine

I got a valentine from my students.  Well I got a total of 4 (a new record!), but this one is particularly relevant to this blog:

Inside it says:  You're groovy  (and it has a fake tattoo...yeah!)

I thought it was cute that the kids get so excited for me. Enough that they feel encouraged to write on valentines to express it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Two Dads

(courtesy of Netflix)

While my situation is completely different than the short-lived series, I feel like this is an accurate representation of my family.

My mom and dad divorced when I was three.  Honestly, it probably couldn't have happened at a better time as I have no recollection of the fighting and I wasn't hung up on the fact that my parents might get back together (as they shouldn't have!).

My mom met my "step-dad" when I was almost 4.  I hate the word step-dad but I am going to use it for clarification purposes.  At the time, he was my "friend."  Not my mom's boyfriend, but MY 22 year-old grown-up friend.  (When I look back now, I can't really imagine taking in someone else's kid as my own at 22 years of age.  I know I'm not that much older, but it still baffles me about how it was a non-issue for my S-D.)

As per the divorce/custody agreement, I would spend every other weekend with my Dad at his home in Topeka (an hour drive from Manhattan).

"Helping" out my dad (Age 2) / Personal photo

Growing up, I never really got to know my Dad.  I would spend the drive with him in the car and then we would usually go to Chuck E. Cheeses on Saturday or Sunday.  I remember spending some time at his shop (he owned his own mobile/car electronics business) and we would go out to dinner.  Despite that we spent time together, I never really learned how to talk to my dad.  We struggle to hold conversations to this day.

On the other hand, my S-D is the complete opposite.  At the time that my little brother was born (I was 8), my S-D was the one that stayed home with us.  He taught me everything I know about sports (although I'm extremely uncoordinated) and spent hours upon hours coaching my softball teams and shuffling me around.  My S-D was the one that, with my mom, bought me new clothes, paid my doctor bills, paid for half of my first car and all of my college tuition.  I have always been his daughter in his eyes and there was never a bit of difference between me and my little brother.

My S-D and I in our Tee-Ball shirts (Age 6) / Personal Photo
Check out that hot pink room! 

So when the wedding topic came up, I had a decision to make.  Who is going to play the father role?  Who is going to walk me down the aisle?  Who is going to dance with me when they play the Father-Daughter dance?  Tough cookies.

Well, the answer is...BOTH.  While I don't think I could exclude my Dad from those honors, I knew that my S-D deserved them.  So I am going to be a double-father toting bride and have two father-daughter dances.

Just like Gossip Girl.  
(courtesy of TVFanatic)

In the spectrum of things, the decision-making was easy.  Breaking the news to my Dad was another story.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove up to Topeka to do some shopping.  Dad and I met up at Applebee's to have some lunch.  My actual motive was to discuss the wedding budget with him and whether or not he would be willing to contribute (BUT we didn't exactly get there as the conversation turned sour).  We talked about work and how we were both ready for summer.  As the conversation started to die out after about 10 minutes, I changed the subject onto the wedding.  Adam and I were about to put down the deposits on the ceremony and reception venues and I wanted to make sure our date would work for him.  After he said that day was fine for him (who really has plans for summer of 2013 yet anyway?) then next thing he asks is,

"Do I get to give you away?"

"Well, I hope you don't take offense to this but I would like Curt to be there too, to have the both of you walk me down the aisle.  He's played a big part of my life and I think he deserves to be there too. Dad stares into his plate of food.

More silence.  Ahhh the silence!

"I hope that is okay.  Is that something you're going to be okay with?"

"Well, it's your day and I figured that you might say that.  I would have been upset if I couldn't be up there."

YIKES.  Take awkward (but normal) Lindsy-Dad time and add a twist.  I decided to nix the budget conversation thinking that might be in bad taste!  Conversation resumed to a semi-normal rate after that and by the end of our meal I think things were okay.  I haven't talked to him since (it's probably been 3 weeks, but we will go months without calling each other).

On the bright side, I have one conversation that I wasn't looking forward to out of the way.  While I know that it probably breaks my Dad's heart to feel like there was someone else that filled his role throughout the majority of my life, I can't ignore the fact that it was my S-D that did it.  My S-D did it willingly, with no questions asked, because he WANTED to.

Has anyone else had to make similar decisions when it came to wedding planning?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

500 days...

I logged onto The Knot today and saw this:

I feel like that is a milestone worthy of celebration.  

Anyway, as previously promised, here is my post on our ceremony venue:

All Faiths Chapel is where we are getting married at.  It is located on the K-State campus.  I love this fact for several reasons:

1.  I'm a big K-State fan.

2.  The university has been a large part of our adult lives as we have spent lots of hours there. Adam
      especially (he's had a couple extra years than myself).

3.  Campus has tons of photo opportunities.  Since we decided to do a first look, I plan on running
     around campus and taking lots of pretty pictures.

4.  Adam and I haven't exactly been church goers in the last decade.  My family started going to church
     when I was in high school and Adam's family was the Christmas/Easter service type.  Neither of us
     felt that we really had a church "home" and didn't really entertain the idea of waltzing into churches
     and asking them to marry us.  All Faiths Chapel is a pretty, but non-denominational church (hence
     the name).  This also means that we can have a secular service, or secular aspects (readings, music,
     etc) if we so choose.  Options!

5.  We pick our own officiant.  That may prove to be an obstacle in the future, but as for now I like the
     fact that we aren't tied down to anyone.  Who knows, we could even have a friend marry us.

Here is the outside of the main entrance.

Here is the inside.  I love the giant pipe organ.

The only downside to All Faiths is that there isn't really an area to get ready in.  There is a small second chapel which is where most bridal parties wait until the ceremony starts.  Kind of strange, but it should work out.  The other chapel has really pretty stained glass which will provide some extra photo ops.

Another downside is the seating.  I would rather have pews, but at least our guests will be comfortable. I remember going here in elementary school for concerts...ahh nostalgia.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ready, (Wedding Date) Set, Go!

It's official! We have a wedding date! June 22, 2013

Adam and I went last Thursday and paid the deposits to reserve/rent All Faiths Chapel and The Wareham. I am really excited to share them both!

Manhattan is a city (town you might say) of about 40,000 people.  Kansas State University is located here so with the students we have approximately 50,000 - 60,000 people during the school year.  Manhattan is one of the few cities that is actually growing in Kansas, although there are several other larger cities in the state:  Wichita, Topeka, Kansas City (doesn't really count because half of it is in Missouri) and Lawrence (BOO K.U.).

So yes.  Here is a fun video about the "Little Apple":

Adam and I both grew up here at decided to stay for our college years, so we both knew there was no other place to get married.  Despite bigger cities with huge mansions, infamous reception halls and abandoned chic-y lofts, Manhattan doesn't have a ton of reception venues.  We looked at a couple of different places.  Some were out of our price range...
Kansas State Alumni Center (pretty...)

...and some had too many restrictions...
Purple Wave Event Center (actually an auction company)

Kansas State University Student Union Ballroom

...and so we ended up making an appointment with the Wareham a few weeks ago.

After our walk through, our mind was set. To us, there was nothing better for the price and we are free to choose our own vendors, serve our own alcohol and the staff seems really helpful and easy to work with.  I had a friend get married here a few years back so I am going to steal one of her Facebook photos so you can see indoors:
View from the balcony upstairs.  

Behind the camera is the rest of the room which is about as equally big as you see here.  Adam and I are planning on having a plated meal which will avoid the need to have the caterer set up on the stage and the lines of people waiting for food.  We are also thinking of setting the head table up on the stage since there is a small dance floor below.  There is also a really cool bar area that is centered in between the main entrance and the actual reception area.  The main colors of the opera house are black, white and gray which will also work really well with our color too.

Next time I'll share the chapel...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Talk of the Middle School

My job is somewhat isolated.  I work in two schools that are about 20 miles apart.  I spend my mornings at the middle school, pack up as quickly as humanly possible, run around the building doing last minute tasks and then head off to my second station of the day.

Home #1
My middle school classroom doesn't get as much love (or junk...)
I only spend about 2 hours here per day and share it with other teachers.

Home #2
Can you tell I teach Spanish?
This is the closest thing to my "home" and it's all to myself!

This is my 4th year teaching and despite that I get along well with practically all of my coworkers, I really don't have many close friends at work.  The fact that I'm running from one building to the next definitely limits my socializing time.  Additionally, I don't reside in either town that I teach in - I live about 40 minutes away from the both of them.  So when the school day is over, you don't find me sticking around usually.  I can't exactly run home for a couple of hours and come back for a game or something else.

So needless to say, after we returned to work after Christmas break, I didn't tell anyone that Adam and I had gotten engaged.  My coworkers know that Adam exists and have met him at various times at Christmas parties and Prom (I'm the Prom sponsor so he comes and braves the scaffolding for me!), but for some reason I didn't feel like there was ever an appropriate time to tell my coworkers my news.

So Friday at work, a coworker had realized that I had my nails done.  They were just the cheap glue-on ones, but I had the urge and bought some at the store the other day.   I took a huge leap and told her it was to show off my new ring.  She grabbed my hand and gave me a big hug and kept saying 'Congratulations girl!'  There were a couple of other teachers around as well that gave me their words of congratulations too.

I guess I would say that it was reassuring.  That teaching can get really lonely when you are with the kids all day and then work all evening to get stuff ready for the kids for the next day.  It was nice to have people be happy for me and for me to realize that I'm not alone as I sometimes feel.

Later, another teacher came over and asked to see my ring as she had heard the news.  It just so happened that there was a GIANT group of 7th grade girls standing by at the same time.  So after showing my ring to about 20 people, the word spread like wildfire.  Students kept coming up to me throughout the morning asking to see my ring and saying "Ooh, it's pretty!"

(I had the worst time trying to photograph this ring!)

I ended up telling my homeroom students that I actually had gotten engaged over Christmas break.  They were quite disappointed that I had not told them sooner.

I'm pretty sure that everyone in the middle school knows now.  The kids probably did most of the work for me.  I feel bad in not telling people my news, but I also know that I am awkward and I don't really like to make things about myself a lot.  I have an awful time with accepting compliments; I usually meet them with sarcasm and have a hard time taking credit for something when I do it well.

Now I just have to tell my coworkers at the high school...

Has anyone else had a hard time sharing their engagement news at work?