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I’m Yours: The Day Before

August 31, 2011

Let’s start the C and A wedding recaps!  I was so thrilled for this wedding, and I cannot wait to share all that I remember and love about it with you.  So let’s get started!

The day before the wedding was Thursday, August 18, a warm, muggy day with plenty of sunshine and lots of nerves coming from the bride and groom.  They weren’t so much nervous about getting married to each other; they were nervous about the wedding event.  I was getting a little nervous, too, about having to give my speech, but I didn’t tell anyone that besides B.  He was good at keeping secrets.

Before B and I made our way to South Berwick, Maine, we had to make a stop at my parents’ house to pick up the hurricane lamp cover for the unity candle to block the wind (which turned out to be super important).  I also had my annual physical because my doctor was going on vacation the next week, and unless I wanted to miss a day of work, I had to have it that day.  Well, at least the timing worked out.  I also fasted for more than 12 hours for blood work and then they said I didn’t need it.  Gee.  Thanks.  I would have been much friendlier and alert if I had eaten something like breakfast or lunch!

But there was plenty of food at the rehearsal dinner… which was after the rehearsal.  The wedding and reception was held at the Red Barn in South Berwick, a gorgeous open beam barn with a great golf course.  B became the photographer (and one of C’s sisters’ boyfriends thought he really was the photographer) and captured the process.

Yeah, that guy’s not the groom… He’s the wedding coordinator.  Don’t worry, she didn’t marry him.

The rehearsal pretty much went how most go.  A couple people were late, we were all a little jumbled in the beginning, and by the time we walked down the aisle and got through the ceremony, we were pros.  The wedding coordinator kept giving me high fives for knowing how weddings went.  Buddy, I could have your job.  I know what’s going on.

After the rehearsal, we all went to the magical land of food:  Cartelli’s Bar and Grill.  I was a little full since I had stuffed lunch in my face once I got into the car after my appointment, but there was no way I could say no to these dishes.  The food came out in about five courses, and I couldn’t move by the end.  We had crusted ravioli, buffalo chicken, stuffed mushrooms, Caesar salad, bread and olive oil, sausage and peppers, penne a la vodka, steak tips, chocolate cake, cannoli, and cheesecake.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I was seriously worried I wouldn’t fit into my dress the next day.  My favorite had to be the penne a la vodka.  So gooood.

I forgot my ID at the hotel, and B and I were the only ones to get carded.  B had his, so he was a good husband and shared.

As a gift, C gave me a gorgeous picture frame with a saying about friendship.  I almost lost it right there.  It is now proudly displayed on our side table by the front door.  The picture of me, B, C, and A at a Red Sox game looks perfect in it.  Love it.

But even with all of that food, the night wasn’t done.  It was time for an impromptu bachelor party for A!

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Wrap It Up, Buttercup

August 30, 2011

When it came to Bestie C and A’s wedding gift, I knew I wanted to make it special and unique.  Lots of people go straight to the registry because it’s fool proof.  You know what the bride and groom want, and you know where to get it.  Done and done.  I, on the other hand, like to think outside of the list.  I’ll use it as a guideline for what the couple wants and needs, but then I add my own twist on it.  Of course, this is much easier when you know the couple well.  This has become a lot more fun since B is now part of the gifting team because he is full of great ideas too.

For C and A’s present, we went half with the registry and half with our own imaginations.  From the registry, we got them two white towels (that were super soft and I hugged throughout the store) and the vintage-looking Scrabble game – it should be said that C is a very pure lady, but comes up with some… interesting… words during Scrabble games.  We wanted to go with a “date night” theme, since we love having neighbor date nights with them, and even though the towels didn’t really go with it, we used our imaginations to complete the gift.  We picked up popcorn, C and A’s favorite candies, and a couple of toys for their cat Bear (we couldn’t forget our favorite nephew cat!).  We also threw in a TON of batteries because we’re always running out of batteries when we play Wii together.

So how to wrap these up?  Well, option 1 was to get a nice bag, a nice card, and wrap it in tissue paper.  MEEEHHHH.  Boooorrrrriiiiinnnnggg.  Not for me.  I took about an hour and came up with an awesome idea.  See that wedding-cake-esque package?  Oh yeah, that’s ours!  I figured with white towels, I could make it look very wedding appropriate, plus I wouldn’t be wasting any paper.  I created a “cake topper” couple out of paper clips, masking tape, and markers.  Add in some tissue paper flowers, wedding color ribbons, and tulle, and you have a wedding cake gift!  When I was making it, B asked if I was making a diaper cake.  1.  I had no idea that he knew what a diaper cake was.  2.  He recognized it was a cake!  I think those are both wins.  But no… no diapers in there.  Yet.  (No pressure!)

How do you like to give wedding presents?  Have you done any fancy wrapping?

Snow Days in August

August 30, 2011

It’s a beautiful day; the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the wind is slightly blowing… and it’s a snow day.  For the second day in a row.

Sound ridiculous?  Yeah, it does to me too.  We are supposed to be on our third day of school, and I have yet to meet my students, thanks to Hurricane Irene.  Today would have been the first day I met with my seniors and study halls.  I would have also held my first official literacy class.  The freshmen would have already been through orientation, they would have signed up for the drama club, and we would be on our way into the 2011-2012 school year.

Not so much.  While I am not complaining about having a few more days off with B, I do not like the fact that we are using up storm days at the beginning of the year!  At this rate, we will be going to school until next July.  Outside of my house, there are a few more pine needles and sticks on the ground, and we never lost power.  There was no flooding in our section of town.  In my school district, a half hour away, there are roads that are impassable, electricity that has been out for about 48 hours, and water that doesn’t seem to be going down any time soon.  The district itself is 400 square miles, so there is plenty of area to screw up with a hurricane.

So we wait.  Maybe school will start tomorrow.  For now, I’m going to finish up some planning, some visuals, and some scrapbooking.  It’s kind of nice to enjoy the sunshine in late August.

How has your school year started?  Also, congrats on the first week of teaching, Al!  You can do it!

Also, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who have been affected by Hurricane Irene, in a big way or small.

Too Cool for School

August 28, 2011

When it came to school shopping, I knew I had to be cheap about it.  Right now, my priority is saving money to pay off my student loans, leaving little to no room for a new work wardrobe.  Even if we didn’t have those loan plans, I still wouldn’t want to spend a ton anyway.  I’m a born saver.

I did need a few new pieces, though.  Well, need may be a strong word.  I have been blessed with the means to provide myself with plenty of clothing, and there are definitely people in the world who need clothes more than I do.  I guess I should say that I wanted new clothes because I have lost weight and some pieces needed replacing.  With a tight budget and a few ideas, I began my hunt.

First, we went to Goodwill.  Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this place if you know what you are doing.  For those of you who are new to the idea of thrifting or shopping at Goodwill, let me give you a few tips.

1.  It works best if you have a loose idea of what you are looking for, not a tight one.  For example, if you go in thinking that you must find a pair of Seven jeans with a dark wash and studs on the pockets, you probably won’t be happy when you leave.  The clothes (and everything else) are very hit or miss, so keep your mind open.  You’ll have much more success if you go in thinking “dark jeans” instead.

2.  Try on everything.  They make dressing rooms for a reason, people!  It’s just like shopping at the mall, except that these clothes have been worn a few times.  But when you think about it, so have the clothes at the mall, right?

3.  Do close inspections of everything before you buy.  Check the armpits, the hems, the seams, everywhere!  Any sort of stain, discoloration, or hole that will make you unhappy should be seen in the store before you buy it.  While Goodwill has a return policy, it’s just easier to check before you check out.

4. Be patient.  That’s the difference between me and B.  I have the patience for thrifting; he does not.  You need to take some time with finding the great pieces, and there is no rhyme or reason in any sort of organization at Goodwill.  It drives B nuts that the pants aren’t organized by waist measurement.  The women’s side is a little better, but you cannot always count on the right sizes being put on the right rack.  Search around.  If you are good with sewing or know someone who is, don’t be afraid of getting something a little bigger and then tailor it to fit you.

If all else fails, go watch YouTube videos on thrifting tips.  They can be really helpful and give you creative ideas.

I ended up going to two different Goodwill locations, and I found an assortment of quality clothing pieces.So let’s go through each piece so you can drool over my new school clothes, shall we?  Starting at the top, I found this guy at the end of our first trip to Goodwill:It was just sitting in the jacket section, mixed in with a lot of oversized barn coats and pilly fleece pullovers, just minding its own business.  Who’s it by?  Oh, just some company called J. Crew!  I tried it on, and while I went back and forth on it, I decided to get it because my purple on is about three sizes too big.  It has absolutely nothing wrong with it and looks brand new.  I’m excited to try it out in cooler weather!

Original Price:  $118                        Paid: $4.99

Being feminine but appropriate is my main game at school.  With a larger chest, it can feel like I’m losing the battle, but when I found this Elle dress tucked into the shirt department, I knew I had struck dress gold.It appears to have had a belt at one point in its lifetime, but no matter.  I put it together with this belt from the accessories department and gave it new life.  This will look amazing with the new brown boots I ordered today from Amazon!

Dress:   Original Price:  $42                  Paid:  $4.99

Belt:   Original Price:  ~$15                   Paid:  $1.99

My school is notorious for feeling like a meat locker in the winter, so sweaters are a must.  I really liked the unique quality of the print on this Ben Sherman sweater, and when paired with a simply tank top under it, I think it will look great. Original Price:  between $30 ~ $70                       Paid:  $4.99

I cannot tell you how hard it is to find button-up shirts that fit me correctly.  If the waist fits, the chest is too small.  If the chest fits, the waist is waaaayyyy too big.  I also have a weird problem with the length of sleeves.  Apparently I have really long arms for my size (?).  That being said, I wanted to try some on, and I was lucky enough to find this pristine Banana Republic button-up hiding on the rack.It has 3/4 length sleeves, which is perfect for my long arms, and it FITS!  I have already worn it, and it is so comfortable and professional.  Plus you cannot go wrong with a pink and purple pinstripe!

Original Price:  $59.50                      Paid:  $4.99

I needed a new pair of pants to replace my large ones from last year, and I found these cute wool-blend ones from Dalia Collection.I like how they are soft, warm, and have a subtle red pin stripe in them.  These will definitely be good in the winter.

Original Price:  ~$30.00                       Paid:  $2.50

It must be my year for dresses because on my second Goodwill trip, I found a second adorable dress.  I know people who have larger chests should “stay away” from ruffles, but I love them.  I can’t help it.  Plus, in my defense, they don’t make my boobs look like a tent or a bushel of fluff berries… you know, if there were such a fruit…I’ll pair it with a skinny belt to accentuate my waist, throw on some leggings or dress pants, and BAM!  Adorable and professional.  Win win.

Original Price:  Unknown (but probably $20 or more)          Paid:  $4.99

Last but not least, I found this cute deep purple cowl neck sweater from Nicole by Nicole Miller.  Its another one that will be warm in my building and will look great with a tank top underneath.Original Price:  $30                    Paid:  $4.99

Total of Original Prices:  $344.50 ~ $384.50                     Paid:  $35.00


SAVINGS:  $310.50 ~ $350.50

Um, HELLO there, savings!  That’s amazing!  I knew I had saved money, but until I did the research, I had no idea how much!  Phew, well I feel much better about buying these clothes now!

I also picked up some really pretty jewelry from Kohls, thanks to a magical little card I got in the mail that was a free $10 gift card.  I’m not sure how it made its way into the mailbox, but it did, and I welcomed it with an open shopping bag.  Now, I wasn’t willing to spend over the gift card amount, so I just went in to see what I could get for under $10.  You know, maybe a pair of socks?

Nope.  Go to the clearance jewelry department.  Oogle the goodies.  Whoa, that sounds wrong.  Oh well, do it anyway.All of these were on clearance, so I scooped them up after hemming and hawing for a bit.  There were loads of options! The green necklace is from Croft and Barrow (anyone else think that name sounds like a rip off of Crate and Barrel?), the feather necklace was from Candies, and the earrings are from Vera by Vera Wang.

Green Necklace:  Original Price: $16       Clearance Price:  $3.20       Paid: $0

Feather Necklace:  Original Price: $16     Clearance Price:  $3.20      Paid: $0

Earrings:  Original Price:  $14           Clearance Price: $2.40         Paid: $0

Total Original Price: $46   Clearance Total Price: $9.33 (with tax)     Paid: $0

SAVINGS: $46

Round one of school shopping on a budget?  Success!  Stay tuned for round two!

What amazing deals have you found lately?  Have any good tips to share?

Five Things Friday

August 26, 2011

How is it Friday already?  And why is it the end of August?  Slow down, time!  Slow down!

1.  Today was the first contract day for all teachers at school for my district.  It was a professional day, so we didn’t have any students, but we met with a lot of administrators about our new grade book program, new policies, etc.  I’m nervous the year since parts of last year kind of traumatized me, but I am really looking forward to starting up again.  I feel more organized than last year, and it’s a GREAT feeling not being the new teacher in the building.

2. I cannot wait to wear my new school clothes!  Did you ever get super excited about wearing school clothes?  In my family, you were not allowed to wear any of your new clothes, shoes included, until school actually started.  It was a tough wait, and yet, even though my mom isn’t here to shake her finger at me for wearing them early, I still make myself wait.  Now that I’m on a budget, I had to be a lot more creative in how I shopped and saved money.  I’ll be doing a whole post on it, but I can definitely say that my new clothes cost only a fraction of what they would have normally cost.3.  I’m kind of tired about hearing about Hurricane Irene.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I feel for the people who are really getting hit with this storm.  But I live in Maine.  Come on, people.  We’ll get some rain, we’ll get some wind.  Meh.  By the time it gets to us, it will be a tropical storm.  It’s serious still, but not all that big and bad.  People are already saying that we won’t have school on Monday, which would be the quickest storm day I have ever seen.  We’ll see.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot of hype and a lot of people hungover from hurricane parties that were started a little too soon.

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4.  Has anyone else noticed that everyone seems to be announcing pregnancies lately?  I have a couple of colleagues who just announced they’re pregnant, and multiple people I follow on blogs have announced that they are expecting.  Was there something in the water?  I even had a dream that I was pregnant last night… though I knew I wasn’t and someone in my dream told me I was only because I looked fat.  Wow, that’s even insulting outside of my dream.  Am I pregnant?  No.  Am I fat?  No, and I hope to keep it that way.  But congrats to all of the mommies-to-be out there!  Good luck with your pregnancies!

5.  Along with people announcing babies, B and I were lucky enough to receive two wedding invites this week!  I couldn’t be more excited to be a guest at both.  One of the weddings is for my friend B from college.  We were roommates for part of my senior year before some differences of opinion on an now ex-boyfriend led B to move out.  It still makes me sad to think about it, but we have made amends and now chat a lot more.  Her husband is in the military, so everyone who can will be in military dress.  Awesome!  And of course there is no doubt that she will look gorgeous!  Her wedding is December 30 and in the town next door to where B and I live.

The other wedding is that of my co-coach for middle school field hockey, K.  We have been friends since freshman year of college, and she was the one who helped me get my job at the middle school, my first position in my current school district.  We coach field hockey together, and they will be getting married at the same place B and I tied the knot!  I cannot wait to be there in June!

Well, I hope you all have a fabulous week, and if you are in an area that will be affected by Irene, stay safe!  I better go for a turbo walk before the weather changes…

I’m Yours: A Wedding Through Pictures

August 21, 2011

I’m back!  Bestie C and A’s wedding was gorgeous, and I couldn’t be more excited or happier for the two of them.  While they are enjoying their mini-moon in New York City, I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures from the weekend.  We had a ton of fun, which is probably evident from the pictures!  Of course, I’ll do full recaps later!

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Congratulations, C and A!  We love you guys!

To a Bride on Her Wedding Day

August 19, 2011

Today is your wedding day!  It’s the day we talked about, laughed about, and wondered about for hours in college while we soaked in every episode of “Wedding Story.”  It’s your day to marry the best man you could have picked for yourself, and I don’t doubt your choice in the least.  What really wouldn’t make sense is if you didn’t marry A.  He’s perfect for you, even in the way he drives you crazy.

Your wedding day will be a flurry of activity.  People are excited, not just because it’s a wedding, but because you are getting married and making an amazing commitment to someone else.  People are excited because they love both of you and love that you are in love.  Yes, that’s a lot of love.  Almost everything people will try to do today is to make it the best day for you.  If not, I will hit them.  I’m pretty sure that’s in my Maid of Honor job description.

Soak in everything you can today.  It will go by way too fast, and even though you are not a fan of being the center of attention, there is only one person’s attention who really matters, and I’m sure you don’t mind being the center of his.  Enjoy this!  You have worked so hard for this day with all of the planning and preparations.  Eat something!  The food will be delicious, and even if you don’t think you will be hungry, trust me.  It’ll catch up to you.  Also, eat a couple pieces of cake.  Calories don’t count on your wedding day.  It’s a fact.

I hope you have the most amazing day today, and I am more than honored to be a part of your day.  A is one lucky man.