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Archive for May, 2010

For the last couple of weeks I have been driving myself completely crazy over a combination of planning a wedding (a year away) and a handfasting (3 months away) and of course, all the money that goes along with it.

I’ve been stressing so much, it’s affecting me physically, in ways that makes me even MORE stressed than I was before – which of course isn’t helping the problem.

On top of all of this I realized that when I looked at the scale and saw that magical number of 186 on the scale – I realized that the number needs to be more like 145.

I’ve been saying for YEARS (since I was in college) that I’d get back to 145 – that magical, mystical number where everything will be good and wonderful in my life. We’ll have money, no stress – and everything will just about be perfect. I’ll look beautiful on my wedding day – you know, like those models on the websites and in the magazines, and everything will end up happily ever after.

Okay, so maybe the world won’t be perfect if that happens, but I definitely don’t want to look like a beached beluga in my wedding dress. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I said to Garry “I need to lose like 40 lbs”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah – I mean look at me… I have cellulite on my ARMS”

“So?”

“SO! I don’t want to look like a beached whale on our wedding day! I don’t want to look back at those pictures and say to myself ‘geez, maybe I should’ve gotten off my fat ass and went to the gym, or put down the fork or something…'”

“But you’re not fat!”

*I grab the blob of flesh on my stomach and jiggle it* “Yes, yes I am!”

“Well, either way, if you lose weight, gain weight or stay the same, you will still be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen – and that’s what really counts right? Besides, there’s this little wedding fairy that flits around making sure that every bride is beautiful on her wedding day. So you have nothing to worry about.”

I just blinked a few times at him while trying to process it all and gave him a hug. Sometimes I think guys have it down – it’s not about how good you look or the centerpieces or all the extra stuff. It’s just extra and pretty. The truly special and important part of it all is just getting married. It’s joining our lives together in an unbreakable bond – something that will grow and change over the course of our natural lives.

As we laid there in bed that night, I realized how grateful I really am for him – and for just a moment I stopped worrying about everything and found happily ever after.

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It wasn’t anything really special or even difficult, but holy cow it was tasty!

Last night I made Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta and it was awesome – and relatively not-too-bad for you.

I took chicken breast and put them in a glass baking pan lined with aluminum. I’ve learned to ALWAYS bake with aluminum lining the pan because 1. it keeps the meat moist and 2. less grossness on the pan to clean up.

Normally I cook things in a pan on the stovetop, but every once in a while I’ll actually bake meat.

So chicken in the glass pan. Then I put sliced ham (think sandwich meat) on top. Just a slice or two (one for me two for the guys) and then bake for 30 minutes. Seriously, that’s it. No seasonings or anything.

Then I made some egg noodles (I thought I had spaghetti, but apparently all I had were egg noodles) – just plain, but I could’ve done a honey mustard/sour cream sauce with chives and that would’ve been yummy (didn’t think of it until after we were finished eating) and frozen green beans.

When the chicken was done I added a slice of provalone to the top and let that melt (another 5 minutes in the oven)

And it’s done – and so tasty.

Tonight I’m not sure if I’m going to make Bok Bok’s or just some bean burritos. It’s a busy night – finishing up here, then to the radio station, then to the gym, drum circle from 7-9 and then possibly to Shagunda’s to wish my dear friend Matt a happy birthday.

I doubt I’ll make it to Shagunda’s, by the time I get home from the drum circle I will probably be pooped.

I’m hoping on Friday Garry and I will make a trip to visit Black Bear Winery – my friend Joe’s father and step-mom own it and they make tons of very tasty fruit wine and cider. They also have a really nice place that has a lot of space and maybe, possibly they could host our wedding. At least we could get a price quote. Joe said they have tents and all that so who knows – it might be a good deal.

A few other places we’re looking into:

Tioga Gardens

Cutler Botanical Garden (ceremony only)

Grand Royale Hotel (reception only)

Magpie Meadery

If we end up exhausting all of those options then I’m not really sure where else to look that not everyone and their brother has a ceremony there that’s still close by. I also really want the idea of having something where we could be inside if the weather is bad. The only place that I’ve seen that can cater to that is a place called Hill Top Inn in Elmira. The problem with that is well, it’s in Elmira – which is an hour away from Binghamton. Sure it’s close for Garry’s family and friends, but for just about everyone else it’s an hour away. At least they take care of EVERYTHING (decorating, clean up, catering – everything) but it’s for a price. Granted I’m praying that my parents will cover the catering/beverage part of it all – and it would be easy enough for them to say “here’s a check” and not have to deal with a bunch of vendors for one thing – well it’s something to look into at least.

Anyway – we’ll figure it out. I’m trying really hard not to freak out and go into uber-planning mode. We haven’t even had our handfasting and really THAT’S what I shoul be freaking out over – it’s about three months away! Eeek!

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Trial and error

Garry came home from Horseheads and LOVED what I had done with the dining room and living room. YAY! That makes me happy. I didn’t want it to be too masculine or too feminine – a nice inbetween. He said the curtains really made the biggest difference. I agree – to me curtains and rugs always make a place feel like home.

I’m still working on the end tables – tonight I might get to them after going to the gym. Yes friends – I’m going to make a valiant effort to go to the gym every day and try to lose about 40 – 50 lbs. I know that sounds like a lot, but trust me, I need it! Right now I weigh in around 188. Ideally I’d be at 145 (that’s still considered a little fluffy in the BMI world of speaking, but I think it sounds about right) so I’m going to try really hard to get there over the summer and fall. Can I do it? I sure hope so!

Yesterday Garry and I went ring shopping. I’ll be honest – it was really nerve-wracking. I don’t know why either – I think it’s just dealing with sales-people that makes me nervous. The people there knew who I was (Amanda mentioned that I was going to be there to browse) and there was no one else in the store. Naturally they jumped on Garry and I like a pack of dogs on a couple of three-legged cats. The woman that I had spoken with before was there and her eyes lit up as we walked in.

I brought my sapphire with me and they looked at the stone and then looked at me. Then the nervousness set in. Oh crap. Are they going to tell me that I bought a piece of glass? Great…

As the salesman eyed the stone he looked at me with a quizzical look “How much did you pay for this stone?”

“I think about $130 after taxes”

A look of disbelief came across his face – here it comes… the “well you paid way too much” speel…

“Really? Where did you get it?”

“At the gem and mineral show here in Binghamton in April.”

“Wow… you practically stole this. We would sell a stone like this for around $1,000 in this store.”

(I nearly fainted)

We went on about the stone for a few minutes and then started trying on rings.

 So as I sat there, sweating profusely and trying on rings (none of which fit really well which is a little disconcerting) and everything that was pulled out was really super blingy. The first one was an antique style which was WAY too much shiny going on. After that, a few more that had side stones and in general – too shiny. Augh. I tried them on, and just kind of was Okay with them. I didn’t fall in love with them like I did when I saw my stone.

One was nice – it had two small round sidestones. Again, it was okay, but not something I would’ve picked out for myself.

After really not seeing anything that I was head over heels in love with, we went and had dinner at Ruby Tuesdays – and I had a mojito. My nerves were just shot to pieces – to the point where I almost started crying. I really just think sales-people stress me out.  

Of course – I’ve only worn three rings in my life with stones in them: my class ring, a ring that Nick bought for me in college, and a ring that Todd bought for me when we were together. All of them were rather simple in style – either just a solitare or in the case of my class ring, well it was pretty ornate, but not ridiculous. I’m not really a jewelry person I suppose.

We got in the car and went home and I said to Garry that I really just want a plain band – no side stones. I liked the mountings with flatter sides so it would fit nicely against a band.

I think  a lot of people would find it odd that I would want something so simple and what most people would consider as plain or understated. Growing up I always dreamed about the biggest and best of everything and I think people still carry that impression of me. Why the change of heart? I couldn’t tell you. Maybe just realizing the kind of person I really am – I work with my hands a lot, I like to create things. I don’t want something to hinder that. And also – I think, for me at least, it’s a good reminder of not letting things get out of control, to live within your means and that sometimes the most simple things in life can carry a lot of meaning.

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Driving Ms. Crazy

Yesterday was an odd day of sorts. It started out normal enough at the office and at the radio station – then I trotted off to Joann Fabrics to buy pillow forms (I got three sizeable pillow forms for about $15!) and look at fabric for the plethora of projects I have on the table. After looking through everything I realized that it’s probably cheaper for me to purchase a lot of the clothing we were going to make for Faery Fest. That and I couldn’t find the kind of fabric I was looking for.

So when Garry gets home we’ll hop online and order some pants for him. I can make the vests without too much trouble I think because I have some stuff for them already – which of course, makes my life infinitely easier.

I’m also thinking that I’m going to forgo making a dress for the Masquerade Ball. I’ll look at Dress Barn and see if they have anything – if not than I’ll wear my black dress I wore last year. It’s not like I get to wear it all the time. I’ve worn it twice.

So really, it would be wings and the vests I’ll be making. Considering the long laundry list of items I was going to drive myself crazywith make, I think I’ve pared it down considerably and thus saving a sliver of my sanity.

The living room is painted as well. Tonight I’m just going to do some touch up and then finally move the furniture back where it belongs and get the things back on the wall that need to be there. I also need to throw my fabric for the pillow covers in the wash and I can start on the one pillow form that the fabric does NOT need washing. It’s a variation on this pillow from Rockett St. George:

I really like this pillow – the letters are made up of different colored buttons – which I really like the texture of. Mine will be a little different than this one – it’ll be all white buttons on tan fabric and the buttons are all different sizes. I’m not sure how this is going to work out really – but I think it might be nice. My pillow is also square and much smaller than this one (I think I got the 16×16 for this project) we’ll see. It might be like the Philadelphia LOVE sculpture after I plan it out. Either way – I’ll post pictures.

Tomorrow – if the weather cooperates – I’ll start working on my endtables and other things that need spray paint. I figured that latex paint is a little too thick for what I want it to look like so black spray paint will work – not only is it quicker than regular paint (gotta love instant gratification!) but it’s much cheaper too.

Oh, so going on with my day yesterday…

Garry called me at work (not an unusual thing) and at first his voice sounded like something really bad happened – which of course made me a little anxious. Well, nothing was wrong – actually he had good news! He was approved for a sizeable credit limit at Kay Jewlers! So I’m guessing the plan is that he’ll drive up to Rochester and get it all done and taken care of on the 12th.

Now a new problem is errupting. While he has a credit limit to do something superfantastic for an engagement ring – there’s practicality we have to keep in mind. First of all, I don’t really wear much in the way of jewelry. Really, I have a pair of pearl stud earrings that I wear quite a bit, but other than that I only really have a few pieces – and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not a *bling* kind of girl – Amanda… well she is – at least more so than I am.

My friend Amanda is also getting the commission from this ring – and she’s my best friend and I love her dearly, but I do feel that she’s going to try to push us into spending more money than we really want to spend. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want something really flashy with tons of diamonds. I bought the stone (a sapphire) because it was beautiful on it’s own – not because it needed other stones to accent it. Okay, I mean maybe some channel set smaller diamonds would be okay, but I don’t want “side stones” I just think it looks distracting. When she mentioned to me that she wanted us to get our bands done at the same time – well sure it would be good to get them done and out of the way (one last thing to worry about right?) but I have my heart set on a paticular kind of band and I’m not sure if it’s something her store can do. If they can then fine, but I don’t want anything with tons of (or really any) diamonds. I just want a simple posey band and it is important to me that Garry’s and mine match. Is that really so wrong?

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous sending Garry on his own without me, but then again after we go and look at what we want to look at and I decide what I like and don’t like, I know he’ll make a good choice and I hope not go crazy and spend every last cent of the credit limit. I know he can be firm and say that “this is what I want” and not be swayed into something that might be a little too “much.” I tried to explain that yesterday to her, but I don’t think it really sunk in. I like simple things. I don’t need a lot of glitz and glamor like I used to. I work with my hands a LOT (and so does Garry) so something that’s bulky and just out there is just not really a good idea.

It’ll be fine though – and I’m sure when we go shopping and collectively figure something out it will be beautiful and I will be 100% happy with it. That’s the point isn’t it?

So going back to my shopping trip at Joann’s (sorry this is so disjointed) I figured that as long as I’m there I should look at the bridal fabric. And you know what? I found some gorgeous polyester shantung at $10 a yard! I know! AND if I went in there with a coupon I could save a LOT of money on fabric. The shantung is great because it looks raw… it’s not super shiny and blingy. It’s natural looking (eventhough it’s polyester – I don’t think I can afford raw silk) and if I can hire a seamstress to make it I think I’ll make out better in the end. I don’t want anything super complicated either. I’m thinking just an a-line or trumpet strapless dress. Maybe some beadwork… or maybe just some lace overtop the bodice and have a long satin sash (okay so a little shiny) with a little beadwork or embroidery. This is the pattern I think that will work for me:

Only no bow, and the sash would be floor length. What would be OMG soooooooo awesome if I can do this – is have tone on tone embroidery of each of our famly’s coat of arms on the showing side of the sash at the bottom on the widest part. THAT would rock my friends!

To be perfectly honest, I could probably make this dress myself. I might make a test for myself for the handfasting out of a broadcloth or jersey or something like that (you know that I could hem later and wear to work) – but we’ll see. Although that’s a NEW level of crazy I’d be bringing upon myself. Yeah, that’s fun. Again, if I can’t make it difficult it’s not worth doing.

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One of things I’ve learned about myself is that I am not happy unless I have some project that I can make more difficult than it needs to be. Right now I have about 3 or 4.

First and foremost is repainting the living room and dining room. The dining room has a coat on and I need to touch it up in some spots. The living room needs to be primed first and then painted. THEN I get to get some of the stripping agent and get all the old crusted and chipping paint off of the window sills and repaint it.

After that is done I have decided I’m going to stain the end tables, dining room table and chairs and buffet – black. Most of my friends were kind of upset with me that I wanted to restain them, but honestly I think it will look really nice with the sage green walls, white molding and dark brown floors.

That will take me through the weekend no doubt.

So then what? Well then we move into the kitchen where I have to wait until we have an extra $300 or so and I can buy a base cabinet and some counter top so we can start to finish the kitchen. It won’t be really finished until we get new wall cabinets, but at least with the base cabinet I can get the boxes of crap we have in my office out of there and into a cabinet.

Aside from that – there are all sorts of little projects that Garry needs to take care of like finishing the cap on the shower wall, install a chair rail in our bedroom, and put in the thresholds around the kitchen. There is also the ever-lingering issue with the door jams (which I’d just like to replace ALL of the door jams and level them out properly) and get all the doorways fitted for new doors. We also need the back door replaced entirely.

There are some cleaning things that need my attention – both the front door and the door to the patio are pretty grimey and I’ll need to make a date with the Goof-off to get the majority of it off (baking soda can only go so far I think).

Once I can get my office cleaned out completely and everything in it’s place – it’s back to purchasing other things we need – larger bookcases, a desk and chair for me and a futon for when company comes over. At some point in there I’m going to fix the walls in my office and repaint it. I still have no idea what color yet – I’m still working on that. I’m leaning toward a mocha or deep tan color.

Then there is the multitude of finishing things like curtain rods, drapes, area rugs and artwork.  At some point I’m going to have Garry build a little cubby for the washing machine in the dining room which will serve as a nice tall stand for… oh probably a vase of flowers or a sculpture of some sort. I’d really like a hutch to put all my nice china in, but well, good luck with that any time soon – that’s dead LAST on the priorty list.

While working on everything in the apartment – I’m also working on new costumes for Garry and I for Faery Fest. This year I’m going to make life easy for myself and purchase a dress to wear. If I could pull it off – I’d purchase my dress for the Masquerade Ball as well, however it looks like it will be cheaper to make it myself (I’m just going to make a simple strapless dress out of broadcloth, sew some beads on and add a satin sash that I’ll decorate. I don’t think it will be *that* difficult to be honest.

THEN I have the planning of my handfasting looming over my head. Looming in the sense that it’s all self-inflicted and that it’s not even really “looming”. The big difference between Garry and I is that he is a very spontaneous person. He thinks 3 months is enough time to plan a handfasting. Um, maybe for him, but certainly not for me. I like a whole year. Why? Well of course to make it much more complicated than it needs to be of course! Well, that and so we don’t go into debt trying to pull it off. Considering all the major projects we have going on – I’ll have to save some pennies to pull of something next summer. Oh, did I mention that I’m having a handfasting and a wedding? Yep, I really am crazy.

Of course, all of this is before we’re even “officially” engaged. We’re going ring shopping on Monday and I think he’s going to go to Rochester to visit my friend Amanda who works at a Kays Jeweler so she can actually do the mounting and get the commission – you know, because she’s going to need the money to get back to Binghamton every so often to help me with things and keep my sanity in check throughout this whole process. As far as the handfasting – it will be relatively simple. To be honest, I could probably pull one off for August (if I knew about it now). I even have a ceremony idea started. I don’t even need elaborate table settings – just a vase of flowers on each table and some votives – nothing fancy. We won’t end up having a lot of people for that ritual anyway – probably around 30 – 40 people.  BUT STILL it’s still a lot of work and for some reason unbeknowst to me, I’ve been driving myself absolutely BONKERS over it for the last few days.

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Fail

My stomach is still not wanting to function properly. Sometimes it will, sometimes not… still not really sure what’s going on in there. It doesn’t seem to be one particular “thing” I’m eating or anything… hmm…

Well this weekend was very productive. Like I predicted, Garry did wait until the 11th hour to get everything done that I wanted him to do before his trip. So him and our friend Jeremy finished the base molding in the apartment (except for one stupid piece that they forgot) and got all of the junk off of the balcony! YAY! We’re so close to being able to get tables & chairs out there and have Happy Hour out there!

I put my headboard/footboard for sale on Craigslist (I’m hoping it sells soon!) and yesterday I got a LOT accomplished in just a few short hours. I cleaned the bathroom, did 3 loads of laundry, vacuumed…

I’ll admit, I got a little upset that Garry was going to go over to his other group of friends’ house right before going out of town for a week. Maybe it’s because I’m just that needy, but I didn’t like that he was going to go play games with his friends all day, come home around midnight and then leave the next day for a week.

So he went and did some yardwork for a friend of his while I stayed home and accomplished all of the stuff I did. And had a brownie sundae. Mmmm… it was so good!

He came back home around 4ish to spend the evening with me (after I “alledgedly” guilt tripped him into not going to his friend’s house to play games). We took a walk around our neighborhood since it was such a nice evening and there are TONS of houses for sale where we live. We can’t afford any of them, but it was interesting to look. We were going to print out a bunch of pictures from Beltane and start our own scrapbook (which surprisingly he didn’t think was too girlie for him – heh, he’s never scrapbooked with me before) but we never got around to it. (So all of my scrapbook stuff is STREWN across the table in the dining room – which needs to all be packed away again)

Since Garry won’t be home for a week  I have a lot of projects in mind. First and foremost, I’m repainting the living room and dining room. (I know, I’m nuts) and then – if I have time – I’m going to restain the end tables, buffet, and the dining room chairs and table. I have a feeling I’ll get the living room painted and possibly the end tables stripped and stained before Garry gets home. Everything else will have to wait I guess.

I’m planning on purchasing an art print to hang in the living room in an antique frame I have. Maybe some sconces would be nice to flank it.  There’s another print I want to put in the living room too – we’ll see if that works out. The dining room will need a little more work, curtain rods, curtains, chair pads, table runner, new light fixture and – of course – artwork.

I’m really liking Alphonse Mucha. He’s been a favorite artist of mine for a while now and his work is so… decadent. Might be a while before we get the artwork unfortunately.

I stripped the fabric off of an old chair and I’m going to use it to make throw pillows. And OMG pillow forms are on SALE 50% off at Joann’s this week!  *Squee!*

Tonight my plan is to get the baseboard taped so I can paint on Wednesday (or tomorrw if I skip my Crazy Lady Night) and get those pillows sewn. I don’t think I have the stamina to clear the dining room, tape and then paint all in one evening and all by myself. Okay, maybe I am that crazy to try, but we’ll see how it goes – if I at least get the tape down and everything ready I’ll be thrilled. Besides I have to paint the living room too. Ideally I’d do it all at once, but chances are good I’ll only do one room at a time.

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All week my stomach has been not wanting to function. I’m sure you all really want to hear this, but for some reason nothing will stay down or in – well with the exception of popcorn and saltines with a little peanut butter.

Garry said he had some weird stomach thing last week (I never knew about it) but for only 2 days. We’re on 4 days and counting here in my camp. 😦

I haven’t been terribly hungry either because I feel bloated. I’ve hardly eaten much of anything this week (except last night I finally ate something that you could call a meal) and oddly enough – I haven’t lost any weight. Weird. Sunday night I was feverish, Monday I felt terrible, Tuesday a little better, Wednesday was okay… yesterday was okay…

If this keeps up over the next few days I’m going to go to a doctor. I normally don’t, but this is just a little too bizarre for me. I’m hoping it just works its way out of my system, that it’s some bug and not something more serious.

Garry is going to be out of town all next week in Horseheads. Originally he was going to go visit his friend AJ out in Missouri, but when his friend Andy (who was  going to go with him and share the travel cost) found out he had finals that week – that cancelled everything. So instead he’s going to go out and visit Andy.

To be honest, I’m not thrilled. It’s like “Oh, well my trip was cancelled, so I need to be out of the house for a week regardless so I’m just going to go to Horseheads instead.” Instead of saving the money for going on a trip to Missouri in August (just by himself maybe), or putting it towards the renovations we need to do (or working on the ones that need to be done) or a myriad of other things that are more productive than goofing off with Andy in Horseheads.

What’s the difference between goofing off in Horseheads and goofing off in Missouri? Well, I guess it’s a prinicple thing. He can go up to Horseheads whenever and goof off, I can appreciate going to Missouri since it’s not like he can go all the time. AND AJ is his best friend. I like AJ. I think he’s a really nice guy who – for the most part – has his life together and a good head on his shoulders. He doesn’t act like an annoying teenager or college kid (like I find guys in their mid 20’s still are afflicted with from time to time) so… yeah.

But, I’m not going to tell him “no you can’t go to Horseheads because… xyz reason” No. Even though all of the projects I wanted him to do before he left for whatever trip he was going to go on (and agreed to do) have been ignored or are being left until the 11th hour, and I plan on doing some serious projects while he’s gone (painting walls, restaining furniture and possibly fixing/finishing some of the molding) ON TOP OF putting together favors for Adee’s baby shower, making costumes for Faery Fest… *sigh*

Maybe that’s just how I am, I need to be busy, creative… whatever. I also realized yesterday I want an easel to accomodate a decent sized sketch pad/canvas for my office. I’ve been in the mood to draw lately. So I’ll need a desk, easel and a futon.

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