Monday, February 28, 2011

Wedding Video

Oh yeah! And we signed the contract for the wedding videographer on Saturday!

One more thing to check off on my list!

The Hunt for Pistachio Extract

I am not the biggest fan of Martha Stewart. My perception of her hovers right around mean lady with an affinity for baking, interior design, and cheating the stock market. We can blame the TV movie starring Cybill Shepherd for the "mean lady" part.

So, when my fiancĂ© got me a copy of the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook for my birthday the year before last, I was conflicted. I managed to get past the "Martha" of it and flipped through it to find some recipes that I actually got really excited about.  The biggest was a recipe for a pistachio mocha wedding cake.

Since I have/had no plans to make a wedding cake, I thought I could adjust the recipe to make a cake for my sister's upcoming birthday. So last night I was going over the recipe only to realize that the only thing that separates pistachio cake from white cake is the pistachio extract, which I don't recall seeing in a grocery store ever.

Today I started calling around to see if stores had it...and you know what? THEY DON'T! Not Whole Foods, not Henry's, not Ralph's. Online forums even said "you can't buy it. make it yourself with real nuts!"

Needless to say, I am a tad disappointed. I was able to find some pistachio extract online, but I don't want to pay for expedited shipping and I don't want to risk it not getting here in time.

So, no pistachio cake for me - and no surprise whatsoever that Martha chose an ingredient that's not exactly easy to find.

Friday, February 25, 2011

12 Steps, 10 Commandments, and Several Chinese Proverbs

Yesterday was kind of a momentous day for me. I finally got to do something I've been trying to do for months and months; voiceover.

A few months back, my brother-in-law introduced me to some of his friends who work at Learn Out Loud. He said they always need people to record audio books and it would be great experience if I could get in to read something.
I'd enrolled (and promptly dropped out) of a voiceover class at LA Valley College - suffice it to say that the class was not what I was looking for - but I didn't want to give up just because a class was not what I had hoped.
Even though I was swamped with house buying, moving, wedding planning, and (at the time) Christmas shopping, I managed to find the time to email one of the guys I met through my bro-in-law. He wanted me to come out a couple weeks before Christmas, but it was too short notice and I couldn't get away from my job at the time. He said that he'd get me in in January, but January came and went and no word, so I sent an email as soon as it was February. Almost 3 weeks later I heard back.
He started cc'ing the guy who would actually do the recording. We emailed back and forth for a few days to get everything scheduled and my recording session was set for yesterday, February 24, 2011.

I read three things; the 12 steps of AA (and a little bit about them), the 10 commandments (in 3 versions and a little bit about them), and a whole handful of Chinese proverbs.

One of them should be available online today - I plan on checking as soon as I have speaker access. The link will follow shortly thereafter.

Have I mentioned how freaking excited I am about this? I got some experience! That doesn't make me a pro, but it does mean that this is achievable, which is pretty damn awesome.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Like a Rock Star

In Spring 2007, the University of Alabama College of Communication & Information Sciences wanted to highlight the success of the Alabama Speech Team to demonstrate how awesome C&IS is, so we got to do a photoshoot outside of Reese Phifer Hall.

They printed the above picture on cards and sent them out to prospective freshmen the following Fall. And today, I checked back on the C&IS website just for kicks and there it was - this picture is the first in a series of five rotating images for C&IS.

How cool, right?

Here are some more of my favorite pictures from that day - all from my silly little Sony Cybershot

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Dress Drama

Before I begin, I would just like to ask that every time you read the word "drama", you hear it pronounced with a short a, as they would in the South in the 1800's. Please see Bill Compton of True Blood as a point of reference. Thanks.

Way back in September, I found my wedding dress. Yay! It was happiness all around. We ordered it and it arrived at my parents house about a month later. Awesome!
It was a short wedding dress. Lace all over with a sweetheart neckline, chiffon waistband and very slightly off the shoulder. I put it on and it looked awful. If it had looked like that in the store, I would never have wanted it.

The arm holes were too tight, and they hurt. The neckline was too high, and the darts seemed to stick out in a really odd way. And the extra poof that I'd was all up at the hips instead of down at the hem. When I put on that dress, I did not feel like a bride, I felt like a chubby, frumpy ballerina with fat arms.

We immediately called the designer to see if there was anything we could do, and set up an appointment so that they could see exactly what I was talking about.

They had a sample on hand that we could compare it to. It was so obvious to them that I had received a defective dress. The arm holes were close to 2 inches in circumference smaller than the armholes on the sample dress in the same size. This meant the whole dress would sit higher up, and totally in the wrong place - hence the oddly placed darts.
So we swapped. They gave me the sample and ordered me a new layer of extra fullness to wear separately underneath, and took my defective dress with them.
And for a while I didn't think about it. December rolled around - that was when the extra fullness was supposed to be delivered - and when it didn't come, I didn't worry.

Then a few weeks ago, something happened. While browsing online the pictures of other brides wearing dresses by this designer, I noticed that a lot of the brides looked frumpy in their pictures. Not wanting to look frumpy on my wedding day, I convinced myself that this was not the fault of the dresses, but the brides themselves and that as long as I kept my diet and exercise on tract, I would not look frumpy.

After a few days, the seed of doubt had been planted. One day after work about two weeks ago, I stopped by my parents house to try on the dress. And when I put it on, something about it just didn't feel right. I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't feel like a bride. I didn't feel beautiful. I just felt like I was wearing a nice dress that kinda smooshed my boobs down in an unflattering way.

So, I let it simmer for a couple days and thought it over. I talked to my mom about whether taking it back would be a possibility, and because the dress was a sample and was not custom, we would be able to return it. And then I decided to do some looking around - start from scratch and see if there was anything around that I loved.

The weekend before last, I had some free time, so I decided to drop by a couple of bridal shops with my mom and see what they had. We found, not one, but two beautiful dresses:

Neither of which I ended up getting...

I liked the second one and my mom liked the first one, and the when we went back with my grandma and big sister for help, they really liked the first one and I really didn't, and I was super happy in the second one and they really didn't like it. 

So, we decided to keep looking. 
Last Saturday, I set up appointments at three bridal salons. The first one was too expensive and the dresses were beautiful, but not perfect. However, they completely blew the other two dresses out of the water. I felt great in them, and I was very very pleasantly surprised. 
The second place was having a Ramona Kaveza trunk show. I tried on a ton of dresses at this place - especially from the trunk show...and after about a half hour of trying on dresses and feeling like a princess. I found my dress. Hooray!
It's nothing like the other two above. 
I'm gonna have to work by butt off to stay in shape for this dress, because any chubbyness will show, but I am soooo happy. I love my dress. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh, Calm Air

Yesterday Tim took a mental health day and stayed at home, I thought, to play video games, sleep, and work out.

But when I got home, he had primed and painted the downstairs bathroom! It made me soooo happy.

Pictures coming as soon as we take down the tape! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lovely Living Room

On October 28th, 2010, we closed escrow on a totally awesome townhouse. It was actually more like "almost" totally awesome because while structurally it was in good shape, there were quite a few questionable design choices made by its' previous inhabitants. 

Like the navy blue accent walls, paired with the solid pine dining room floor, stained oak steps, and laminate living room floor:
Or the faux brick facade over the fireplace:
Our first project, though not so very exciting, was the master bathroom. You can't tell so much in the pictures (thus none are posted), but it was gross to the point that I refused to shower there. Every morning, I marched my freezing cold butt downstairs to the second bathroom, where the shower head did not look like it had grown from an alien organism. We bleached the heck out of that thing, re-caulked, applied new primer and paint to the walls, replaced all the fixtures - even added a hook for my robe (yay!) - and now I love that bathroom. The light yellow color we painted it makes it so much more cozy and inviting, the shower head does not remind me of aliens or algae, and I shower in there every time. :)

Our next project was the living room. It's kind of a giant room, so it turned into a pretty giant project.

New Years Eve Tim's parents came up to help us fix the walls. Tim ripped down the above faux brick facade and left some ugliness on the wall where it had once been. 

By the end of night one, all was patched and we said goodbye to the blue walls and hello to primer:

New Years Day we painted...and then the room sat like that for the next 3 weeks. Womp womp. There was drama with the carpet, so we had to order new from Home Depot instead of using the stuff we had in the garage.
Then, like magic - and by magic, I mean I pulled something in my shoulder and Tim pulled something in his back because we moved everything into the living room on our own - our living room was put together. The guys came to install the carpet and Tim and I took 2 days to bring all the furniture up from the garage and down from the dining room...and...


You don't even recognize it. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Return of Me

Not so very long ago there was a blog. It was mildly interesting, containing mostly boring tidbits about my life and, when I had time to update it, things I was doing, books I was reading, etc.

And then, just as escrow was about to close on my totally awesome (getting-better-by-the-day) house, my email got HACKED! So, I saved what I needed and deleted that baby. 

I was sad to see it - and all that was connected to it - go, but I am excited to start anew. My hope is that now I will actually have enough time to keep it adequately updated while not neglecting any of the important things in life.

Lots has been happening, so here's to hoping I have time to get it all written about.