Friday, July 31, 2009

Am I in denial?

Both the WeddingChannel and TheKnot let me know, excitedly, over the weekend, that it's just three months until our wedding. Other than choose Pantone colors at the printer, and pick up envelopes at Paper Source, I've done nothing wedding for the past few weeks - not even blogging! I still haven't gotten my dress fitted or met with the prospective florists... or secured our officiant. Blame 18 hour work days and some nagging health issues (certainly related). And the fact that, at this particular moment, my career seems waaaaay more important than a party, even a party that involves all our nearest and dearest traveling from the corners of the earth to see us. Actually, the sound of that just makes me tired.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mountaintop dancing

This was the spectacular sunset view from BootCamp's wedding reception dinner halfway up Mammoth Mountain, in California's eastern Sierras. Those jagged peaks in the middle are the Minarets, named for their resemblance to the minarets of Moslem mosques, and to the right is Ritter Peak.
All the guests rode the gondolas to the top of Mammoth Mountain for cocktails at the summit. We were lucky to catch a lift with the gorgeous bride herself! Check out the mountains behind her.

I love the orange of the rose in the bouquet, and decorating the ceremony space below. BootCamp's dress was perfection itself - lustrous ivory silk and lace, suiting her perfectly because it was made just for her by a local dressmaker.

I do believe that was the most unique place I've ever had cocktails! I wish I'd taken more pictures... I was so caught up in the incongruity of fancy drinks at 11,000 feet that I neglected my camera. We were all a little spacey at that elevation.

After an hour or two of admiring the incredible 360 degree views of mountains as far as the eye could see - well into Nevada - we road the gondola halfway down the mountain to McCoy Station, the ski lodge at 10,000 feet, for dinner and dancing. Dancing at 10,000 feet is quite an aerobic workout. I felt like I'd sprinted three miles after each song!

The most memorable toast of the evening occurred when the 25 nieces, nephews and younger cousins assembled on the dance floor, and shouted in unison: WE WANT MORE COUSINS! (No pressure there!)

Though they had the traditional elements of first dance, and father/daughter and mother/son dances, they dispensed with the bouquet and garter toss, which I don't think anyone missed. We were all to busy reveling in the beautiful scenery, the wonderful new connections, the open bar and the slammin' DJ.

Had I been more attentive to my camera, I could have shown you how the pine cone/ pine needle design on the invitations matched the decor at the reception - pine cones and branches, interspersed with black and white photos of BootCamp, Mr. BootCamp and their families, displayed on copper wire stands attached a river rocks (an idea I am totally stealing!). The pine motif echoed the stained glass in the entryway at BootCamp's parents' house in Mammoth, and the simple ceremony decor, below.
Both BootCamp and Mr. BootCamp are outdoor fanatics - incredibly fit hiker/biker/ runner/ climber types, so the outdoor setting of the ceremony, in the Forest Chapel at the base of the mountain, and the classy, yet low key, feeling of the weekend suited them perfectly. I'm wishing them many, many adventurous years ahead!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Right before we ran...

near Lake George in the eastern Sierra
Mammoth, California


We were in the Sierra for the wedding of my friend BootCamp: wedding in the Forest Chapel at 9000 feet; drinks on top of Mammoth Mountain (11,000 feet, where you're already a bit lightheaded); dinner and dancing partway down the mountain at 10,000 feet.

Running from bears at any elevation: priceless.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I win!

How cute is that???

It's "Cow" by Ina of WalkingToJericho, and - holy cow! - I won it, thanks to the generosity of stationery designer Avis, at Avie Designs. Lucky me! It pretty much made my day to read that I'd won!

It was hard to decide which of WalkingToJericho's designs I liked best...

This would've been a great gift for my friend A.

Such a peaceful feeling to this one.

But Cow won my heart, with those big brown eyes, and will look perfect in my kitchen.

I'm so pleased to have found Avie Designs, after seeing Avis's wedding featured on A Practical Wedding. The wedding fiesta, with a sombrero cake, looked like such a blast, and I loved what she said about it: "the best week of my life." I wandered over to Avis's blog, and found that her stationery shop has Avie Designs, has tons of gorgeous stuff, much of it on 100% recycled paper, printed with soy inks!

Just the calling card for a barefoot website, no?

Love the pop of the yellow envelope with these 100% recycled invitations.

Yummy... I really need to write more letters. I'd be so excited to see this show up in the mail!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shoegate update

Fluevog just emailed to notify me that the black work shoes I had ordered (along with the purple boots, uh huh, yes I did!), are sold out company-wide, so they've canceled that part of my order.

Is that a divine sign that, because I was so budget savvy with the vases and votives over the weekend that I should reward myself with the Chie Miharas???

Or should I continue to look for hip/ funky/ walkable professorial shoes?

As I confided in the wise executive LPC the other day, after nine years as a grad student, wearing mainly jeans and Dansko clogs (yeah, boring), I am quite at a loss as to how to dress professionally and professorially.

Please weigh in, oh blogonistas!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend scores

In a Friday afternoon brain-dead moment, I went down to the local fancy Italian shoe store to see if they might have the Chie Mihara's I'm lusting after.

Alas, they did not.

But the Crate and Barrel outlet was right next door, so I wandered in to see how we might spend the gift certificate the my brother and sister-in-law gave us last Christmas. (You know it's a busy year, when your Christmas gift certificates are still hanging around in JULY!)

I was super excited to find these stemless wine glasses, on sale for $1.75/ each, which I think will make great bud vases to complement the larger vases I found on ebay. If you need anything in the way of vases or kitchen ware, you've got to check out the Crate & Barrel outlet. The Thirty-something Bride scored some cute vases there last week.

I realized recently that the long tables of our venue call for more than one centerpiece per table. But at $25 and up for professional flower arrangements, that's going to be hard to fit in our budget. So these little vases can hold one or two stems each -- and when we're done, they're hip wine glasses. (A further bonus is that they're apparently 30% recycled glass, according to the Macy's website where they sell for $25/ 4 glasses! And $16/ 4 at Amazon.)

Feeling that the shopping gods were with me, I took a spin by the 99 Cent Only store.

Last time I was there, I scored eight blue glass vases like this for $1 (image from here, where the price is $15!)

My intuition paid off! I scored 40 of these glass votive holders for 25c/ each - or $10 for the whole mess of 'em! (A sign of the times, by the way, that my computer keyboard has no 'cents' sign.) It's definitely worth checking out the dollar store- you never know what you'll find.

Now back to C&B tomorrow, for the votives - 30/ $6 - to go in these, and our tablescapes are just about set.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Today's obsession...

I saw these looking hip and adorable on Joslyn at Simply Lovely, and couldn't get them out of my head.

A few quick Google searches turned up nothing. Fortunately, Joslyn was kind enough to supply the deets to her eager readers: Chie Mihara, available various places around the web, for far more than a grad student - whose planning a wedding! - should be spending on shoes.

hmmm... do they look professional? Could I justify them as part of my new work wardrobe?? Not so much... Maybe my stylish sister-in-law will bring some back, next time she goes to Spain...

On the other hand, these

while equally spendy, might actually qualify as work shoes. And they're supposed to be comfortable, to boot!

Speaking of boots...

I'm pretty sure I need these for next winter.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stars and bars for equality

Check it out... the Flag reinterpreted with only the stars of states that actively perform same-sex marriages lit up. Stars are arranged on the blue field in order of each state's admission into the union.
Get it here.

Dish on dishes

Mr. Barefoot and I spent Sunday in the bowels of Bloomingdale's and Macy's learning about all the things we didn't know we needed. Let me tell you, those Registry Consultants -- and their paper swag -- are very good at upselling. The booklet we got from Bloomingdale's advised us to register for twelve - 12! - place settings!

Blissful Couple: We'll take six of those place settings.
Registry Consultant: Don't you want eight? Or ten? You can never have too many place settings. Now is the time to stock up.
Blissful Couple: uh...
Registry Consultant: What if you host Thanksgiving? Do you come from large families? How many siblings do you have?
Blissful Couple: um... Not that many actually.
Registry Consultant: Ok, I'll put you down for eight place settings.

As we've learned with All Things Wedding, it's best to
  • be prepared,
  • know what you want ahead of time, and
  • go in with a plan.
Also, shop around. Bloomies and Macy's had the same dishes - but they were 25% off at Macy's! Can we get our friends to buy gifts this week?!??!

Maybe it was Mr. Barefoot's lawyerly ways, or the fact that we pre-shopped the department, and made a list, before sitting down with the consultant, but we were able (for the most part) to avoid being talked into too many extras. And I'm already dreaming of the classy dinner parties we can have with these...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


That is, trying to select just ten, for processing, of the 85 photos from our free engagement session.

Neither of us think of ourselves as especially photogenic, or comfortable in front of a camera, but these photos are miraculous!

Rosaura Sandoval did an amazing job of helping us relax - even encouraging us to grab a glass of wine! - and have fun with the photo session. The proofs are remarkable: we look like ourselves, but better. Like a super happy, romantic comedy, googly-in-love version of ourselves.

Since we're both climbers and happiest when we're outdoors, we went up to a HUGE boulder in the Berkeley Hills and hung out on the rock. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze played through the eucalyptus, and we were totally at ease, hanging out on the rock.

I quickly shed my 4-inch Anthropologie wedges - I'd had visions of those cute shoe photos that are all over the internet, but ya know what, I'm always more comfortable barefoot. Within five minutes of starting the shoot, the shoes were tossed aside.

A few things I learned from this experience:
  • Feeling happy and comfortable comes through in the photos. The best shots are of us in jeans. When we changed into dress clothes, we weren't as relaxed, and it shows.
  • Getting makeup professionally done is totally worth it. It presents a much cleaner, more defined image.
  • Being in a place you like or that has personal meaning makes it more fun.
  • The best "kissing" photos aren't of actually kissing, but just two faces really close together.
  • Angles - bent arms, bent knees - are more flattering and add a bit of movement to the photos.
  • I scrunch up my face a lot when I smile - it would be nice to have a less scrunched smile for the wedding.
And now it's so difficult to choose just a few of these awesome sitting-on-a-rock, overlooking-the-Bay photos!

(yeah, I know my life is tough if this is today's big concern ;-) Clearly, I'm avoiding the other writing that I should be doing...)

Divine details

Did you see the darling summer-camp-inspired wedding at Style Me Pretty?
You must take a look! It's both gorgeous and laid back.

If the devil - or the divine - is in the details (which is it, really?), they had one helluva - or one heavenly - wedding.

Either way, I pretty much want to steal all their special little touches.

Mr. Barefoot is the world's leading expert on a particular of species of dragonfly found in one Rhode Island swamp. The icon made it onto our registry dishes - so we'll need some dragonflies at the reception as well.

This is exactly the sort of outdoorsy bout I've been dreaming of...

And the tables look so inviting, yet not overdone.

Another inspiring table saved long ago, from - ack! - and unknown source. I'll gladly post the link if someone knows.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Artful registry

What better way to start a new shared life than with beautiful handcrafted art from giveArtfully?

If you've got the dishes and necessary housewares - or even if you don't* - you can register for gorgeous art to warm your abode.

I love these California poppies (of course). I kinda want them decorating the reception space, actually...

... while guests sign this handcrafted guestbook, made with Nepalese fiber paper (I <3 handmade paper).

I'd love to have our wedding date - which, coincidentally, is also our address (cool, huh!) - in these ceramic tiles...

... and serve delicious fruits heaped high in this bowl.

Right now, giveArtfully is sponsoring a "Jumpstart Your Art Collection" contest, offering a $100 gift certificate to one lucky winner. Check it out here, and enter by July 22 for a chance at gracing your home with free art.

*"Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul." -John Muir

Monday, July 6, 2009

Should I be concerned...

... that our caterer thinks that my fiance is marrying someone named "Ashley"?

That's according to the contract she sent us.

hmmm.... this may be the only downside to having the groom very involved in the planning. The vendors know his name, but not mine. He coordinates, I write the checks.

On the upside, maybe all I have to do is show up!

He's no Stunt Groom!

(I'm trying to get him to meet with florist later in the week... just trying to determine the odds of ending up with all pink carnations*. Slim, I think. But I need to get those odds down to nil.)

Maybe I can get him to go to the dress fitting for me as well... Since I'm not great with self-denial, and still very much in the throes of the dissertation, which must Must MUST be done in three weeks, I'm going to postpone the fitting. I'm may be the only bride in history who has not wanted to see her dress as soon as it arrived. The time is better spent reducing stress by working out at the gym.

In other news, we also nailed down a spot for the rehearsal dinner/ welcome party. I was devastated to learn that we couldn't have a Friday night barbeque at the hostel/ restored army barracks where some - but not all - of our guests are staying. Hostel rules preclude entertaining outside guests there, so (still lacking that beautiful large backyard, and realizing that an October evening could actually be a bit cold for a barbeque) we set out on a hunt for a casual restaurant that could hold a large group. Harder to find than you'd think. None of our favorite taquerias worked out. But lo! - there's a brewery just a mile from our house! Now we're signed, sealed and delivered for beer & 'za the night before the wedding!

*no offense meant to lovers of carnations! I know they can look very chic. They're just not my flower.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Organic cotton + SALESALE = yippee!!!

Dr. Fish, she of the completed dissertation and summer of leisure, came over so that we could get pedicures in celebration of my completion of 70-page chapter on Monday. (Sorry for the radio silence: after spilling 40,000 words into that document, I haven't had much to say...)

We never made it to the nail salon, as we ended up gabbing over tea...

But she did point me in the direction of this fabulous sale at Stewart + Brown, purveyors of stylish organic cotton and Mongolian cashmere duds.

Conventionally-grown cotton requires intensive applications of pesticides and fertilizers, which can then contaminate the water supply - so organic cotton is a great choice. (You can read more here. Patagonia also makes lots of organic cotton clothing.) Given the relatively few sources that supply it, organic clothing can be hard to afford on a grad student budget.

Stewart + Brown's hip stuff is usually super-spendy. Right now, though, a bunch of the summer stuff is more than half off -- and, on top of that, you get 30% more off if you enter SALESALE at the checkout.

Saving the planet one dress at a time...

Go have a look!