Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The suit saga, ended

I realize it isn't very polite to write an incredibly long post, solicit your input, and then fail to follow up on it at all.

The suit search continued for another month, I think, before it was successfully resolved. And by successfully resolved, I mean we KILLED IT. We got the suit of glory for less than any of the other contenders would have cost. It involved the Barney's sale and a little bit of dodgy behavior*.

the suit!

It's an N. Hoolywood suit, a Japanese design, and it's gorgeous. The tailor took up the hem on the pants and that was it. $10. Done. It clocked in at under $600, which is an excellent price for any suit, much less this one. I sometimes come home and catch D trying on the jacket, for no reason.

the suit!

I love the detailing. You'll have to wait to see the fit until after the wedding.

the suit!

I won't bore you with the subsequent dress shirt saga, but mostly because I had exhausted my shopping reserves by this point and D was left to forge on alone. I also abstained from the little brother suit shopping experience, which was thankfully resolved somewhat more quickly.

Oh, and I do have a dress. The story is just way less interesting. I looked online, I made an appointment, I tried on 5 dresses, I bought one. I only had to put an hour of time on the parking meter. It was awesome. It's being hemmed at this very moment, and that was all it needed.

*The longer version - after trying the suit on in Opening Ceremony, D obsessively googled N. Hoolywood, discovered that Barney's does carry some of their line and that the sale was going on. We found the suit (40% off!) but they didn't have the right size. Luckily the NYC store did have it, and they mailed it. We waited a week, praying that the size would be right (the Japanese-US size conversion is a little weird, so we weren't completely sure). It was perfect. And then two weeks later the suit went on double discount, and we started agonizing. Is it worth it to return it and risk losing it forever? It was a very existential dilemma, but we are cheap. So we returned it and purchased it again, which is technically against the rules, but we figured the worst they could do was ban us for life, which would actually be a benefit to our bank accounts. The return-rebuy attack was extremely well coordinated. We entered and left at separate times, communicating by text only. I purchased a diversionary shirt (also, that lip gloss) which I later decided not to return, so there was a slight cost. But we won!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The weekend, sort of

These are the only pictures I took this last weekend. Probably because they were the only quiet moments in what was otherwise a complete whirlwind. We ran errands, packed and unpacked boxes, went to our 10 year high school reunion and just barely managed to get home in time to actually cook something for the first time in a week. (We squeezed that beer tasting in by calling it a wedding errand - we needed to figure out our beer order and we thought it only right to explore a local option)

on tap
{on tap}

the bruery
{the bruery}

sunday evening
{sunday evening}

The wedding is rushing towards us and we're trying to make headway on our lists and figure out our logistics, like who will take what box where and when. It's the less glamorous part of planning, but I think it's the most important. Usually I think we're doing pretty well. I'm slashing projects right and left and generally feeling okay about it. But every once in a while one or the other of us gets socked in the gut with that panicked feeling of not having enough time. We'll get there.

Obviously, there will be no schedule around here at all for the next two weeks. I have a few wedding-y things that I have written and still want to share with you and some others will have to wait until after the wedding. And I'll probably pop in with rants/updates, on a random basis.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Double chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting

Back when I thought I was going to make an entire buffet of cakes for our wedding* I realized I should probably test out some chocolate cake recipes. Chocolate is sort of meh for me, so I don't have a giant stash of tried and true recipes. But I'm pretty sure that if you attempted to pass off a chocolate-free dessert buffet to my family, rioting would occur. So I tried.

milk chocolate frosting
{milk chocolate frosting}

I made this double chocolate cake, but used this milk chocolate frosting recipe. I'm a sucker for buttercreams with cooked bases. They tend to have a lighter texture and a little less sweetness than a simpler one bowl buttercream.

crumb coat prep
{crumb coat prep}

The cake was awesomely good. Really. I ate the batter, straight out of the bowl. I ate the scraps of cake that got stuck to the pan when I impatiently tried to remove the cake before it fully cooled. I ate the cupcakes I made with the extra batter. The frosting was good too, but I'd have been happy to eat that cake plain, chocolate lover or not. I'm stashing this one away, for sure.

* The cake buffet was a cherished idea of mine. I love baking, I love making cakes. But we invited 200 people to our wedding. That's a lot of potential cakes. And then I started thinking about where I would store them and how I would transport them, and how much I will probably just want to be sitting on the patio with our friends in the week before the wedding, drinking moscow mules and not frantically frosting cakes. It became a no brainer. We're still having a cake buffet (details to follow, when I have my act together) but I will not be baking any of it. Except maybe some cookies. That wouldn't be too crazy, right? Right?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saturday, briefly

I had a bridal shower! It wasn't even a little bit terrifying! I don't do birthday parties and I was really nervous leading up to this, but Emily and my sister understand me well and they threw an amazing party with plenty of bourbon spiked punch. Being surrounded by so many of the women I love ended up being pretty awesome. Also, there were ribs and pie.


a spread
{a spread}

bourbon-peach punch
{bourbon-peach punch}

dishing up
{dishing up}


Also over the weekend, but not pictured - endless errands, ring shopping for D (!), lots of lists.

We're 2.5 weeks out and not ready. I should probably be freaking out more, but I'm having a hard time getting up the energy.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday flowers

An all white arrangement of tulips and button mums.

white tulips
{white tulips}

Our apartment had gotten out of hand chaotic, so we took a break from wedding projects this week to whip it back in shape, more or less. Flowers are the finishing touch, always. Well, flowers and a giant cheese platter, which you can just barely see in the background. They really pull a house together.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lipstick training wheels

I have spent more time at Barney's in the last two months than you even want to think about. It was part of the suit saga, which just seemed to drag on and on (spoiler - it was successfully resolved! details later!).

The Barney's in LA has the makeup counters right next to the elevator, so while you're waiting (and it is usually an inexplicably long wait), you're constantly tempted. It's such a strategic move, because after looking at $250 shirts, $25 for a tube of lip gloss suddenly seems frugal. Sort of.

new lip gloss
{beauty is life lip gloss in salsa}

This lip gloss is killer. It is overly sticky if you apply it with the wand. But if you dab it on the center of your mouth with the wand and then use your finger to rub it in? Perfect. The color sticks around for hours and it looks like you're wearing lipstick and it's the best color. I've tried buying lipstick before but I've always wimped out. I think I'm traumatized because they always want me to wear mauve and I feel like I'm instantly transformed a business woman from the '80s. I just need a power suit and a set of white high tops.

This does not make me feel like that. It feels like I should be wearing something silk and looking effortlessly disheveled. Totally worth the $25.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bottega Louie

I'm currently going through withdrawals. The courthouse is conveniently located a mere 7 blocks from the best macarons in the city. I was there for a month. I don't really want to tell you what that box* costs because then you could do the math.

d's macaron
{mandarin macaron}

I was kind of counting on my juror's fees to make up for this expensive habit. Probably should have checked to see if I was actually going to get those fees before I started indulging (turns out, federal or state employees aren't eligible for our $15 a day, which is fair enough, given that we get our usual salaries while we serve). Whoops.

*You can save money by getting them in a bag, if you are going to eat them right away, but if you're planning to transport them at all, you'll want the box so that you don't squash them flat. Also, it's pretty.

Monday, August 15, 2011

On music

1. Can DJs take the vocal tracks out of songs? Mine is currently out of town and I don't really want to be that person, pestering him while he's trying to relax or something. I've done a bit of googling, so I might attempt a DIY. I guess my other option is to find a poor college student and pay him to learn some Decemberists songs really quickly. And then hope he actually shows up and everything.

2a. Is Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight inappropriate as a father-daughter dance song? I realize that it's about love, but um, most songs are. It has childhood sentiment on its side.

2b. Are there other father-daughter appropriate songs* I should be considering? This is tougher than I expected.

* If you suggest Butterfly Kisses, I will cut you. Seriously, don't.

The weekend, briefly

It was a serious weekend of ups and downs. There was a crazy warehouse sale that resulted in us buying all our wedding vases at a serious discount (yay, Craiglist!). There was epic good beer. There were sweet new family babies. There was lots of driving and a minor injury and some unexpected sources of (non wedding related) stress and Sunday evening found me clutching two fistfuls of frosting and sobbing uncontrollably in the kitchen. But that's giving it all away!

decor madness
{decor madness}

{planning - LA craft brew crawl 2011}


seven grand
{seven grand}

d, brew crawl
{d, brew crawl}

{rachel, brew crawl}


fleur de sel birthday cake
{fleur de sel birthday cake}

cake disaster 2011
{cake disaster 2011}

Weekend notes:

:: Every single minute of this weekend ended up being scheduled, and I suddenly realized that we only have three more weekends until the wedding and they are probably all going to be like this and we still have important life things to take care of, not just wedding stuff. Cue a rising tide of low level anxiety.

:: The LA craft brew crawl was this weekend, and even though we knew the timing was terrible, we couldn't bring ourselves to skip it. It was as good as last year. So good. Totally worth the very precious hours we spent there. Don't worry - we bused it there and back.

:: For the first time in 15 years, I didn't have time to make THE CAKE for my mom's birthday. I thought I was okay with this, because I'd purchased the fleur de sel chocolate cake from Vanilla Bakeshop. On Sunday evening, after a whole day of driving all over two counties and hauling 150 vases around and breaking one and cutting myself, I went to slide this perfect cake out of the carry box and started to drop it. I managed to catch it by grabbing it on both sides, leaving me with two hands full of (delicious) frosting. I think I had about a two second delay in reaction time and then I just lost it. I stood there in front of that cake and cried, loudly, for 15 minutes. I'd like to say that it was cathartic and now I'm ready to tackle the next month like a pro, but I'm still tired and stressed. Such is life.

Luckily, the cake was awesome. I included both photos so you can see the miracle that is cropping. People, you know you should always be taking blogs with a grain of salt, right?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday flowers

garden roses + natives
{garden roses + natives}

Completely self explanatory.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pesto quinoa

I've made this (not terribly photogenic) quinoa three times in the last month. Does that tell you enough about it? I need to make it again soon, because we ate it too fast for me to get a chance to nestle a poached egg in a bowl of it, and I'm pretty sure that would be transcendent.

more quinoa

{pesto quinoa}

The recipe is from here, but I adapted it a little bit by going heavy on the vegetable components. I cut the quinoa down (used 1.5 cups raw instead of 2), used an entire package of pesto from Trader Joe's (I'm sure homemade pesto would make it even better, but this was easier), a 12 oz bag of fresh spinach for the sauteed greens, mixed in a whole bag of TJ's sundried julienned tomatoes, and added kernels from a couple fresh ears of corn, briefly sauteed in the skillet after the shallots go in. I left out the tofu and the pumpkin seeds, because I didn't have those things.

Highly recommend, in whatever form you choose to try it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On obsessing

How often have you been to a wedding and thought yeah, that was amazing and it would have been absolutely perfect if only the bride had bothered to tone her arms up a leeeeetle bit more ?

Yeah, me neither. So why did I sign myself up for a month at Pure Barre for an exorbitant cost last week?

People, I know I'm the only one who cares about my arms. Rationally. It's the irrational part that gets me every time. I am sore everywhere.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The weekend, briefly

I'm done with jury duty! It was a civil trial, I'm very glad to have had the chance to serve and see how it works from the inside. I'm also very glad to be done. Things are going crazy around here!

{notes, blinds}


{gold fringe}

{cake topper, re-veiled}

Weekend notes:

:: The reply cards are coming in and it's officially exciting. I dive for the mailbox as soon as I get home every day.

:: We're trying to figure out a meal strategy for the next month. Our current plan involves buying giant bags of pre-cut and pre-washed broccoli and spinach and then adding in quick protein. Or eating frozen meals.

:: There is still lots of wedding chaos around - I'm at that terrible place where I have so. many. things started and absolutely nothing done that I can cross of my list. It's a midway point. The fringe is for decoration. The cake topper is partially done (new veil!).

Monday, August 8, 2011


We are four weeks out, you guys. I'm a little freaked about the wedding stuff.

Seemed like a good time to bone up on the actual marriage bit. Per the wise lady's recommendation ...


I will admit that I love economic principles regardless of the topic, but I'm pretty sure you'll like the book even if you don't share my abiding fascination with dorky graphs. It's the sort of thing you should probably re-read every once in a while, as a reminder. It helped me feel way less guilty about the fact that D always does our laundry. ALWAYS. But I don't think I've ever seen him clean the kitchen, and this book is all about smart division of labor, so we're good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

D on bloggy wedding pictures

D: Wow. That looks like someone hung thongs up on the wall.

Me: Uh, that's bunting.

D: What's bunting?

Me: You know, like the stuff that used car salesmen put out, but cuter.

Apparently, someone around here isn't totally aware of all the wedding blog trends. Luckily, this was a purely academic discussion because if I had had my heart set on bunting, I would have had some serious convincing to do. Don't worry - we're having metallic streamers instead.

P.S. Still on jury duty.