Friday, April 27, 2012

Wedding planning starts

And so it begins... what I presume will be alot of entries about the planing of my wedding. It will be a very DIY affair with vintage flair.

I have been going nuts on pinterest and wedding blogs & sites (Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot are a couple faves) for months (and even contacted a photographer & coordinator under the radar) and am excited to get the real planning going. I set the planning process in motion by sending this letter to family members & close friends. It announces the date and scheme of our wedding and asks them to start collecting vintage plates, misc. glass bottles for center pieces, wine bottles for serving water at the reception, farmers market berry baskets, and to keep an eye out for vintage furniture for a reception lounge.

I've also been busy starting a cost worksheet so I can set a sample budget.
My next step will be to meet with each of our parents to find out how involved they want to be in planning and financing.
I have been taking cues from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Wedding (I got the 3rd edition from Half Price Books) and have been going over wedding checklists like this one.

This is really happening!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Proposal Photos

Coffee Mug Swap

What a cute idea! I'm in!

How does a Coffee Mug Swap work?
It’s easy!

-If you are interested in participating in this mug swap, simply send an e-mail to the address below and include the following information.
Send to:
Include: First and last name, Shipping Address, and URL
-You will then get paired up with someone else who wants to participate.

-Once you are paired up I will provide you with your coffee-pal’s name, shipping information, and their blog address. That way, you can go to their blog, check out their style, learn more about them, and make a new friend!

-In the next week or so (the sooner the better), send them a coffee mug that you think they would love! They will do the same, so you get a cute coffee mug in return! It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be thoughtful.

-After both parties receive their mug, blog about the mug you sent and received!

More info here

Saturday, April 21, 2012

He liked it. So...

Yep. He put a ring on it.

My darling boyfriend of 8 months and 16 days asked me to marry him today! I said yes.

The skinny:
He took me to the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival in the morning on a beautiful, sunny, low 70ºs day where we reveled in strolling around and perusing local (and less local) artists' booths: from leather purses to kinetic sculptures with all sorts of paintings, jewelry, photography, and drawings in between.
We relaxed in the shade of some trees listening to the musical stylings a very adept cover artist and were encircled in sweet symphonic samplings of Beethoven, William Tell, and John Williams from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Bass Hall. I even got to charleston and shag to the swingin' sounds of Ricki Derrik with some lovely friends before heading to Fort Worth Botanic Garden with my man for some R&R on a picnic blanket under 'our tree'.
As we walked to our spot in the garden, butterflies fluttered all around us like I've never seen before. He didn't wait long after we set up our blanket before pulling out the ring.
As soon as I saw the box I burst into tears. We both cried and hugged and blubbered so much that later we had to ask each other, "did you actually ask me?!" and "Did you say yes??". Once he got the ring on the correct finger on the correct hand (there was some confusion there in the emotional commotion) and after much hugging and tear wiping, he revealed to me that his sister was hiding behind a tree taking pictures of us. She hugged and congratulated us and shot a few more photos before leaving us to smile at my left hand and each other.

We decided to head back downtown to meet back up with our friends (or so I thought) so we headed back to the car and were again enveloped in flocks of butterflies. Steven shot some photos of me and my ring with the little darlings.

He turned the incorrect way for heading downtown and confessed that we were not going back but were heading to his apartment where our families and a few close friends were gathered for a BBQ to celebrate the occasion.

After the excitement of the day, it was clear to me that I would not be drifting off to sleep right away so I shot a few photos of the ring.

It was purchased in 1947 for Steven's late maternal grandmother. It is gold with white gold settings. The wedding band is still attached. We decided to leave it on and add our own wedding band from metal and stones from one of my late maternal grandmother's rings.

I like to imagine what it was like for Steven's grandfather to go to the jeweler in the late 1940s to pick out and invest in the ring that would change his life forever. And just changed mine.

Friday, April 20, 2012

When left to my own devices

I bake.

Tonight my love is too tired to go out so I am home for a night in without him.

Tonight it's brownies.

I'm trying this recipe that I found by googling 'flour free cocoa brownies'. I never have baking chocolate on hand so I'm limited to cocoa... if you want to call that a limit. I love cocoa.

Here is the recipe:

Very Simple Gluten-free Brownies
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
4 eggs
2 Tbs. Butter
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened powdered cocoa
pinch of salt
Nuts are optional (can add nuts and / or chocolate chips to make them fancier)
Melt butter.
Add eggs and beat.
Add sugar and salt.
Add cocoa powder
Mix till all cocoa powder is fully absorbed and well blended, but not a lot more. Bake in buttered or parchment lined pan for aproximately 20 min. at 350, or till knife comes out clean. Check after 15 minutes and keep checking.

I put it in an 8x8 pan. The recipe doesn't include a pan size.
I used almost 1/4 cup of coconut oil instead of 2T butter, sucanat for sugar, one of my 4 eggs had a double yoke, and I didn't put nuts in. I also added 1t cinnamon because of the Aztec Brownies I love so much at Atticus Bookstore & Cafe in New Haven, CT. On my most recent visit I had their salted caramel brownie which is EVEN BETTER than the Aztec! I digress. The Aztec brownie has cinnamon and chili and it is wonderful. I didn't have any chili powder so I'll have to try that next time.

I picked this recipe because it is SO simple, using no kind of flour whatsoever. It's basically just eggs and cocoa powder (which definitely made me think twice about tasting the batter... raw eggs... blech). If it turns out, it will be a great find. If not, it'll still be chocolate...

I just realized that I didn't put any vanilla extract in which I always add no matter what the recipe says... oh well.

I cooked them about 20 minutes and let them cool on a wire rack for 5 min. before cutting into them.

They have this nice swirly pattern

Official Review:
They are spongy in texture and a little bitter. I may have cooked them too long but they are a little dry as well and they stick to the pan. They hold together pretty well but the overall experience is not amazing.

My view from here

Life is very interesting.
I'm in a whole new stage that has left me little time to ponder. To sit alone and muse and wonder. When was the last time I sat alone and did nothing? Should I feel loss at that? When one enters a 'till death do us part' relationship does their alone life go to sleep forever? What happens to facing yourself and truly knowing what you think, feel, and want? It takes time to know oneself. Time and quiet.  Does that mist away and the energy redirect toward knowing someone else?
I do miss the quiet of a life that has been developed and patterned over the span of years. The comfort of knowing where you stand and how things are and what they mean.
My new life is mysterious. It is colorful and wild - untamed, uncharted. It is exciting and raw - rough and undeveloped.
I wanted the change and called for this moment. I had no idea what to expect. I still don't know what to expect.
I don't get to go back to the well worn life that mine was. I don't want to. I do look forward to the moment that my new life really feels like home. Like me.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kids these days

Kids today are so much cooler than I ever was... and probably ever will be.

Exibit A:
from FleurandDot

from FleurandDot

I can remember me and my sisters dressing up like "cool kids". We wore denim shorts (probably overalls), sunglasses, and slicked our bangs to the side. (there was nothing we could do about the huge florescent colored bandaids on our knees from ongoing outdoor adventures.)

Here's me and my older siblings:
me, older sister, older brother 1990

We were just kids being kids...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time for Tea

My four year old nephew enjoying a cup

I really like tea.
It's more than just a beverage.
Brewing a cup or a pot - wether I am slowly bobbing a tea bag up and down while my hand encircles a warm mug and the steam from the water warms my face or I am pouring hot water over a stainer with loose leaves and buds, watching them absorb and expand while the color fans out in tendrils, infusing flavor, energy, and scent into the water - is theraputic and relaxing.
The first sip, I inhale the steam and flavor even before the brew reaches my lips...

Breathe, sigh, relax, enjoy.

That is why I set up a tea station on my desk at work.
It has been most recently stocked by a trip to the Harney and Sons tea house in Millerton, NY.
I love their teas. I love their Tea House.

My Stepmom Kathy, Allison, me, and my love in Millerton March 2012

My Step Mother is the CEO of Prevent Blindness Tri State and we paid a visit to the Harney and Sons Tea factory several years ago to pick up a gift basket that the Harney family donated to a silent auction. Mike Harney graced us with a factory tour. Here we are: My dad, me, and Mike Harney March 2007

My work tea station sonsists of
* a bread box to store extra teacups, tea biscuits (gluten free for me), etc
* a tea cozy to keep my teapot warm while brewing
* a little tea pot with a strainer for loose leaf tea (purchased from Harney and Sons)
* Tea cups and coasters/saucers (I have more than one shape and size to cater to my moods)
* Tea Scoop (1 teaspoon)
* A selction of black, herbal, and green teas

I purchased this bamboo bread box at Wal Mart a couple of years ago.

My mom made me this reversible tea cozy

Loose leaf sampler, Loose leaf tin, sachets

Chocolate Hatelnut Black Tea

Chocolate Rose Valentine Tea

Lovely tea pot

My favorite tea cup. This is from an antique mall in Fort Worth

Matching coasters/saucers from a completely different antique mall in Fort Worth

Tea Scoops. My dad got me the wooden one at an antique shop.

How do you feel about tea?