Sunday, November 23, 2008

Six Months!

Tomorrow is the six-month mark. We're on a normal wedding planning schedule now, people. Not that you'd be able to tell by what we've accomplished. (Here's a hint: we still don't have an officiant! Gulp.)

Six months means I need to start seriously thinking about getting in shape. I mean, start getting in shape.

Six months means it's only a short time before Southwest will open up its air reservations to include our wedding date.

Six months means it's time to send out save the dates (we're going to address them over Thanksgiving and then I can finally share them with you!).

Six months means I need to contact bakers and order a cake.

And six months means that when Eric moves into his winter shore rental this week (yay, heat!), it will be, as he said, "The last place I have to live without you."


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Usually I'm an inclusive wedding planner

A conversation from the other day

Me: Do you have any opinion about using a dark purple table runner on our reception tables?
Eric: I just don't want anything so long that it gets in people's way or in the way of things on the table.
Me: No, this would just be a strip of purple fabric no longer than the tablecloth, just for a punch of color against the white. No objections to the color or the idea or anything except potential interference with people's comfort?
Eric: No, I don't really care.
Me: Well that's good, because I already bought them. Done deal.
Eric: laughs

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shoe dilemma

So, you may or may not remember that I bought a pair of wedding shoes a year ago. (I know; a year ago?!?! Geez, our engagement has been long.)

They look like this:

Mossimo "Hailey," Target, $19.99, in silver (also comes in other colors)

They're fantastic. I always tend to gravitate toward tall, strappy heels, and these fit the bill perfectly.

Then, around Christmas last year, I bought these:

Mossimo "Heidi," Target, $19.99, in white (also comes in other colors, and I bought them in red also, and I always get complimented on them)

Another tall heel, this time a peep toe, d'Orsay heel, and a bow. Adorable, and very bridal!

Well, you also may or may not remember that about a year ago I mentioned

"a GREAT pair of purple pumps by Michael Shannon, style name "Anna," which seems to be a discount brand that only Off-Broadway Shoes carries, which means they do not exist on the internet at all apparently, but they were ADORABLE. If you see an Off-Broadway Shoes commercial, they're the first pair they show -- peep toe with striped purple fabric... hard to explain, but very cute. And I think because they are so difficult to find, I might just have to buy them. Sigh."
At the time, those Annas had a list price of $69.99, and an Off Broadway "discount" price of $49.99. Certainly not extravagant, but I had already bought the Heidis, so I put the purple Annas out of my mind. Sort of. A few months later, I popped into the store to see if they were still there, and they were -- and still at their original price.

A few weeks ago, though -- a whole year later, I should remind you -- I popped in again (really for no other reason than to check on these shoes, because I really don't need any other shoes right now) and quickly scanned the racks. No Annas. Had I missed them completely, or might they still be on the clearance racks now? I saw a pair in an 8, which was too big (I'm always somewhere between a 7-8, but I always have to try on the shoes to be sure), and scanned the 7.5 and 7 racks, finding only a pair of 7s in another (still pretty) color. And on sale for $34.99. If only I could find a pair of purple 7s!

Out of desperation and knowing that the clearance racks are not always properly organized, I continued on into the 6.5 section. And there was a 6.5 in purple. I have to admit to trying to squeeze my feet into them, Cinderella-style, but it would have been disaster to try to dance like that. And then, on the next row, I saw another pair, in purple. I assumed they, too, were 6.5 or even 6, but checked them just to be sure, and lo and behold -- 7s!!!!

And even better, there was some sort of sale going on, so they were discounted a further 10%, for a grand total, with tax, of $33.33. And here's what they look like:

Please excuse my ugly feet. I think I took these at the end of the day after being in the OR on my feet all day. Please also ignore how stumpy my legs look; I promise I don't actually have cankles, and I actually really love my legs!

Great shoes, right? Peep toes, d'Orsay heel, and purple! So which ones do I choose? The silver ones will go with my dress really well, the white ones will go with my dress reasonably well, and the purple ones don't go with my dress at all, but would look great in pictures (you know, those shoe shots that are so popular these days). Truthfully, I think I like the silver ones best, but a part of me wants to wear the purple ones just because they're purple (sounds crazy, but it's par for the course for me).


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Food tasting!

About a month ago, Eric came to visit and we had our tasting with the caterer. At that point, we were pretty sure we were going to hire Chardeau's Classic Catering, because Michelle Pendleton was so great to work with and their prices were very reasonable, but we wanted to taste the food first to make sure. Some caterers I talked to wouldn't do a tasting until after we had signed a contract, and that really rubbed me the wrong way, so I appreciated that Michelle was totally happy to do a tasting for us.

Disclaimer: I only took one picture, at the very end. It's at the bottom of this post. It's not the best food picture in the world, so don't be disappointed once you get down there.

Here's what we tasted:

Appetizers to be passed during cocktail hour on the roof:

  • Eggplant and roasted red pepper bruschetta
  • Potstickers with ginger soy dipping sauce
  • Gorgonzola and caramelized onion crostini
All of them were delicious, although I thought the potsticker sauce was a little thick and sweet, so I am going to ask them to adjust that for us.

We will also have, but did not taste:
  • Vietnamese summer rolls (goi cuon) with nuoc mam (fish sauce) and nuoc leo (peanut sauce) for dipping -- one of my favorite appetizers ever.
  • Grilled chicken satays with chili garlic peanut sauce
  • Possibly a crudite station, but we'll see
Ahead of time, we decided on two different salads:
  • Arugula salad with lemongrass vinaigrette
  • Insalata misto (mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted almonds, gorgonzola cheese) with a balsamic-based vinaigrette
At the tasting, we just tried the salad dressings with a little bit of fresh baby spinach. I ended up not liking either vinaigrette very much. The lemongrass one was very smooth but was missing something that I couldn't pinpoint, and the balsamic-based vinaigrette had WAY too much balsamic vinegar in it. And for me to say that something has too much vinegar... well, that takes a lot. We couldn't really decide what to do about the salads anyway; we are having a buffet dinner, but I like the idea of having a plated salad served at the table to start dinner off. With two salads, the best Michelle could suggest was to simply alternate the salads so every other person would get the same one. I didn't love that idea, but I still didn't like the idea of having the salad on the buffet itself -- you either need another plate, which is awkward to juggle, or you put salad on your dinner plate and leave less room for "real" food, which would annoy me.

So now we're thinking of just one salad, something along the lines of the insalata misto, with one dressing, probably a balsamic vinaigrette, as long as Chip can make it a little less... tart.

For the dinner buffet we will have:
  • Grilled lemongrass chicken
  • Seared tuna topped with a blend of fire-roasted Italian plum tomatoes, olives, capers, and basil
  • Risotto Florentine (spinach)
  • Spicy eggplant, asparagus, and broccoli in ginger sauce
Well, we ended up scratching the veggies in ginger sauce. You see, we had an initial attempt at Asian + Italian (a nod to my heritage and cuisines we love), which works well for a mixture of hors d'oeuvres or two different salads, but the ginger sauce just competed with everything else on the main dinner plate, and on top of that, I didn't like it.

So on the spot, Chip whipped up some extra sauteed veggies in a little olive oil and garlic, and it was scrumptious. Decision made!

The lemongrass chicken was amazingly succulent, moreso than any chicken breast I've ever had. It wasn't an authentic Thai lemongrass chicken, but it used lemongrass in a very subtle way that I appreciated. I actually don't much like the authentic dish, because I always feel it to be too dry and the lemongrass flavor too strong, so this was perfect.

And the tuna... DELICIOUS! It was a huge tuna steak smothered in tomatoes, olives, and capers. It was cooked well done, but we decided as a group that medium would be a good compromise between our personal preferences (medium rare) and the good of the group (well done) for the actual dinner. And while neither Eric nor I likes olives, we decided to be grownups and believe that they serve a purpose in the dish and leave them in. Aren't you proud of our maturity?

The risotto was probably my favorite thing (have I said that a million times already?), and carbs or no carbs, I will be eating a ton of it for dinner on May 24.

What's that? The picture I promised? OK:

I totally forgot to take any pictures while we were at the tasting, but Michelle and Chip sent us home with all of the leftovers, and I finally remembered to take a picture when we opened them back up at home. The tasting was enough for lunch for both of us, and the leftovers were a great snack a few hours later! On the left you can see the new version of the sauteed veggies, and on the main plate are the remains of the tuna (right next to the fork), the chicken (on the right side of the plate), the creamy risotto goodness, and a pile of tomato-olive-caper topping. I know it's not the most appetizing picture, but it honestly looks just as delicious as I remembered and I cannot wait for more!

So that's that; the deposit is put down, we're sending in the contract this week, and one more vendor is crossed off the list!