Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

Having been plus sized my entire life, I've grown rather comfortable with my body.  I don't wage war on it with 1200 calorie diets, massive 5 hour workouts, or any other form of cruel and unusual punishment.  I tend to eat food that has more calories than I need, but I'm working on stopping that habit (rather hard when Matt and I eat out ALL THE TIME because who wants to be at our parents ALL THE TIME?  Lame!).  Once we are married, it will be SO much easier to eat healthier, since I will have my own kitchen.  Sweetness!

Anyway.  Back on track here.  One thing I have never done as a plus size woman is wear a bikini, mostly because I thought it was socially unacceptable, and who makes bikini's in my size, anyway?  Weeellll, I picked up an issue of Glamour on Friday, where they had "best swimsuits for your body type".  There were four for plus sized women... a tankini, two one pieces, and, hello bikini!!! What are YOU doing there?? 

"Matt do you think I would look okay in a bikini?"


"Should I get one?"

"Yeah!!"  :)  I love boys.  :)

So when I get Friday's paycheck, $80 is going to Love Your Peaches, and I am getting this swimsuit.  Which I will wear at the beach Memorial Day weekend.  Finally.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Have a Wedding for $3000 (or less)

We are planning a wedding for $3000 (or less).  Here are ways to cut costs:

1. Use a free venue, like your grandparents house, or a beautiful city park (check the rules for usage first!)  You will need to rent tables/chairs, but the cost of doing that is much lower than the cost of renting a hall. 

Our cost - FREE! (plus decorations - budget: $100)

2.  If a free venue is not available, see if you can use your church for a nominal fee.  If that is not possible, then check if your city has social halls that can be rented for a small fee.  (My city has several, and they run about $30/hour.)

3.  Either purchase an inexpensive wedding dress, or make your own (or have it made).

My cost - $400 for veil, shoes, petticoat, bra, and dress (Mom and I are making everything save the bra and shoes)

4.  Dessert receptions save tons of money.  For several hundred dollars, you can bake a thousand cookies and brownies.  Serve coffee and punch (so cheap!).  It's okay to use clear plastic tableware, and by having a dessert reception, you don't need tables, centerpieces, or tableclothes. 

Our cost - About $350 for 1000 cookies, 600 brownies, 300 cupcakes, and punch, additional $200 for plates, cups, etc.

5.  Arrange your own flowers.  Lots of girls like to use silk flowers, but if you like real ones, purchase them either at the flower district in your city, a farmers market, or online.

Our budget: $200 (at the LA flower district)

6.  Make your own wedding cake, or get an inexpensive one.  Seriously, go to Walmart.  Their cakes are delicious, and about $1/slice.  If you can't afford that, make your cake or cupcakes. 

Our cost - $200 for a tiered cake and two sheet cakes at Walmart

7.  Forgo the pro photographer and use friends and family to get all the pics you want.  Create a flicker account, and give everyone the password so they can upload the pics.  If you want the photoshoot part, you can hire a pro photographer for an hour or two at a fraction of their normal cost so you can get those cool artsy pics. 

Our cost - $0 (not using a pro photographer)

8.  iPod your wedding.  Rent a speaker system, and hook up your iPod (or use CD's). 

Our cost - estimated $20 for downloads (speaker is free from church)
Other things that you need to pay for are invitations, stamps for the invitations, and any little projects you may want to do.  Like favors, aisle runners, programs, etc.  Those are very optional things.  For your paper products, look for sales online.  I got my Save the Dates for $16.15 at VistaPrint by using a Living Social coupon.  Be creative.  Think outside the box.  And never ever ever tell a vendor that your flowers/invites/food is for a wedding.  The price will jump dramatically.

Total estimated cost: $2297.  We'll see how on track we stay!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Wedding Updates

Not that much went on this week.  I got a Living Social coupon for Vista Print (a $50 coupon for $10), so I thought, "Wow, I should use this for my Save the Dates!" (STD's, in the wedding world.)

Yesterday, I ordered these GORGEOUS STD's, but, while checking out, there was no place to put my coupon code, and I was charged for the full amount.  So I called Vista Print, and they graciously cancelled my order, and resent it with the coupon code.  So, I get 100 STD's with envelopes for a grand total of: $16.15.

Yeah, that's right.  :)  Be jealous.  :)

We picked a date for our engagement party.  It was going to be May 14, but Sharon couldn't make that (!!!) so it's June 11.  Technically too late for an e-party, but as long as we get the invites out by mid-May, I'm good.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I posted this in a wedding forum today. 

My dream wedding was a little chapel, New England style, with lunch at a eco-friendly cafe.  I wanted a 50's style lace dress with a chic birdcage veil.  It was my "grown up wedding" fantasy.

Until FI told me the entire church had to be invited.  :)  And so I thought, "Hey, if we're doing a church wedding, we're doing a complete, full on church wedding."  Cathedral length train, pipe organ, 300 + people, blusher veil.  And it's rather fun to plan.  True, it's something that my 16 year old self probably would have envisioned (at the time I dreamed of law school, NOT weddings), but everyone else thinks it's a grand wedding.

When it comes down to it, I don't expect this day to be the best day of my life.  I expect I will feel like I'm having an out of body experience.  I expect the day to flash by in a whirl.  I expect to savor a few special moments: vows, Dad walking me down the aisle, the first dance.  But I think the best day of my life will probably come later in my life.  Maybe when I get pregnant.  Maybe when I come home to FI for the first time EVER.  Maybe our 10th anniversary. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wedding Bits and Pieces

Plans for the wedding are very muddled.  When Matt and I first talked about getting married, I told him I would want a small wedding, something eco vintage and blogger chic.  I wanted a tea length 50's style dress, with bolero, sweetheart neckline, and covered with lace.  I wanted a cute fascinator with birdcage tulle - no long veil for me!

But then we got engaged.  Matt wanted a big church wedding.  I said, "OK, big church wedding needs a big church dress."  So I went to David's and found my dream wedding dress.

Now isn't that GORGEOUS??  But then I started freaking out because, "How are we gonna feed all these people!  I don't want a cake reception!  That's so 80's!!"  Matt and I talked it down to a 50 - 80 person wedding, maybe in a park somewhere?

A few days later, I realized, "I do want a church wedding."  I'm a little old fashioned.  I'm not the type of Christian that views God as my best friend, my boyfriend, or lover.  I don't sing songs to God that sounds like something I would say to Matt!  Part of me feels that for this to be real, I need to do this in a church, in front of God and 300 people.

So we are back to a church wedding.  With a cake reception, because that's all we can afford to feed all these people.  Matt's mom and my mom think we should have a potluck reception, and I'm slowly warming up to the idea, as long as people don't feel imposed upon.

Also, the wedding dress was going to cost at least $1000 with alterations, so Mom and I are going to try to replicate it to the best of our ability.  For less than $400, including petticoat, bra, veil, and shoes.

I don't think we will be able to afford a photographer, though.  I just don't see how our budget can swing it.  So if you are a reader of this blog (do I even have any readers?) and you are a budding photographer, I will invite you to the wedding if you take pictures for me!! :)  Just kidding.  Maybe. 

When Matt and I were choosing wedding colors (about a month ago), we decided purple and brown (more like gold).  Matt's mother hates the color purple.  We changed it to Black, Pink, and Silver.  Gina said, "No! You'll look like a walking Hot Topic ad!".... True that.

Purple is one of my favorite colors.  I wear a lot of it, and purple makeup looks great on me.  I LOVE PURPLE.  Plus it's one of the most significant colors for Matt and me.  (When we started dating, we used to say to each other that we were thinking purple thoughts.  Purple means passion and committment.  We have pretty much known since the beginning that this was the game plan.  We just didn't know it was this soon.)

My bridesmaids are Trinity and Beth (Matt's and my sister respectively), and my best friend Gina is my Maid (Matron?  Soon?  Maybe?) of Honor.  So they can wear ANY knee length dress from David's Bridal in Lapis.  Like the below.  Pretty, no? 

And that is pretty much everything wedding related right now.  This weekend, Trin and Andrew are coming for dinner, and then Sunday is Palm Sunday.  The church is having a carnival right after, and then the Cuff family is going bowling afterwards.  Fun times!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fun in Downtown LA

Last night was fun.  Matt picked me up after work, and we went to the Stray Cat Cafe off 5th/Spring.  It was very good, and the cafe is so cute!!  Matt had a chili burger, and I had a tuna sandwich.  It was quite good, and only like $7.50.  I forgot to take pictures there, though.

We walked up to Angels Flight (in between 4th & 3rd on Hill), and took the fununcular up to California Plaza.  Then we walked up Grand to the Music Center.  I wanted to show Matt the fountain by the Department of Water and Power but it is under reconstruction. 

I live about 15 miles from downtown, so Matt drove me home.  Lovely, lovely date.

Studying the Historical Facts of Angels Flight

The Gas Tower

Matt and Me

Up the Hill

Up the Hill II

Yes - this is a historical monument!

Halloween Orange & Black Cars

The view from up top

"Look up at the birdie!"

The fountains at California Plaza

The balancing sculpture

Matt doesn't like to smile.  :(

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Matt and the WDCH

The fountain & statue at the Music Center

They're alive!

Matt imitates the statue

Dancer's Door Sculpture

We stopped to get gas and saw this sign!  (Matt has a friend with the last name Beswick.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dinner Party

Matt's brother and sister are coming to my house for dinner, and I'm a little bit nervous.  I like them both (I knew Andrew in college and have gotten to know Trinity), but they are, shall we say, rambunctious.  I think we will have dinner and then play board games. 

I'm cooking round steak in the crockpot: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/slow-cooker-tender-and-yummy-round-steak/Detail.aspx

Macaroni and Cheese (per Trinity's request): http://cookingquest.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/perfect-mac-n-cheese/

Cornbread from Heart of Light: http://heart-of-light.blogspot.com/2009/03/cornbread-again.html

Finished with Strawberry Trifle: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Strawberry-Trifle

I will post reviews after the party on Saturday.

I think that will make a good impression!!!  Matt rarely gets a chance to sample my cooking (I really can cook!!), so I'm glad he gets to do that. 

Next Saturday, the Saturday before Easter, I'm coloring eggs and baking cookes (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/easter-cookies-10000001886355/) for the Easter Baskets.  I LOVE Easter.  It's my favorite holiday, and I've decided that I want to start the tradition of making Easter baskets for my friends and family.  Nothing huge or fancy - just colored eggs, cookies, and some chocolate eggs.  But it turns out Matt has never ever ever colored eggs before.  Ever.  In his whole life.  This will be a very fun thing for him to do!!!
This week has been rather interesting. I turned in my rental car. I've been renting for about a year, but my new assignment in downtown LA enables me to give it up. The over $1000/month I'm saving gets to pay off CBU, pay for a wedding, and apartment deposits. I'm also on the train right now.

Matt and I won't be getting an apartment until early December, but oh have I been looking. I would like to live in Silver Lake or Ktown, because it's the hub of public transportation, and I want to live near a farmer's market and in walking distance of Fun Things to Do. Matt would like to live in North Hollywood - as close to the Valley as he can get and still be near the subway. We do have friends in Burbank, which is next to North Hollywood, so it may win. It will be interesting to see where we end up. :)

Wedding stuff has been clouding my mind this week. We are trying to figure out where to have the stupid wedding (ME: wedding chapel in Vegas, MATT: no.), and this is seriously the hardest thing ever, y'all. We have a significant number of people coming from Riverside, so driving to the Valley would not be good for them. Plus using CCMV might mean that uninvited people would show up because "It's a church wedding." No. So we are trying to see if we can use my parents church in Westminster. I wish we could have it in a park but it rains in December. Mom suggested doing it at home, but that would cost too much to make it look nice, I think. I really want to get this over with. :(

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Exciting Happenings!

I started a new job in downtown Los Angeles. I am finally working in a skyscraper!! I have a 1 year contract, then hopefully the economy will be such that I can easily find a new position.

Matt and I have set a date: December 17, 2011. Yes, I will be unemployed three months after we marry. True, Matt's job may not go permanent. But we are trusting God and unemployment insurance to provide.

Last week I purchased my wedding gown!! It is truely gorgeous. I don't think I can post a picture now - I'm on my iPhone - but I will asap. It's an off the shoulder gown with a sweetheart neckline and a huge ballgown with pickups in the back and a chapel train. Only 800 at Davids Bridal! Amazing!! I'm planning on wearing a looooong veil, maybe a blusher.

I haven't decided if I want to try to lose weight for the wedding. I need to lose at least 60 lbs before we try for kids (20 years away - maybe 10). I do think that ice cream, desserts, and fast food are too much a part of my diet.