Monday, March 31, 2014

Where the magic happens

Okay. Forgive the horrible subject. I obviously couldn't think of anything better to quote than MTV Cribs. ;)

I have finally hung something over our bed, and I'm pretty excited. My father-in-law painted a beautiful scene from our wedding ceremony for my birthday, but unfortunately it just wasn't the right scale to go over the bed, so I had to rethink the bedroom wall art.

I found a trio of gray ombré mirrors from Target that matched our DKNY bedding perfectly. They were perfect in the corner over Emery's chair. (Emery sleeps underneath the chair.) 
 I decided on hanging some black and white wedding photos above the bed, and found the perfect frames from Ikea, which my classmate Kelly so kindly picked up for me this weekend. 
The vintage family wedding photos we displayed at our reception found a place on the dresser. All frames were on clearance from Target, except the gold one (front) which I picked up at a thrift store.
I just spent the past couple hours framing, leveling, and hanging the photos. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Waiting for the hubs to get home to see what he thinks!

the Bride

Sunday, March 30, 2014

WedLoft blog feature

Our wedding was featured on WedLoft last week! It was really fun to be back on WedLoft again after they featured our engagement shoot last July. Check out WedLoft for great DIY projects, tips, trends, photos, and advice! Also, don't forget to check out Wedding Window for useful planning and website tools.

the Bride

Friday, March 28, 2014

The #HungryHusbandProject - 1st Edition: Creamy Salsa Chicken

David and I have very different work schedules. He is the Catering & Concessions Manager at a local university and I am in school where I am a full-time graduate student as well as a T.A., and I also work part time at a vet hospital. We are seldom both home for dinner at the same time, especially since David often works late.

I thoroughly enjoy cooking for my husband, especially since we've always had a deal: I cook; he cleans. I love trying new recipes, but since we don't always sit down to dinner together, it doesn't happen often. I work Thursday nights, and the past few weeks, David has been getting home early those nights, which means I wanted to have dinner waiting for him. Yesterday, I decided to make something in the Crockpot so it would be hot when he came home. While I was researching recipes, I came up with the idea of the #HungryHusbandProject. David has already been testing out my different recipes, especially since I often eat low-carb, and I try to find ways to make something low-carb for me, but still tasty (and often with a non-low-carb option) for him. I thought it would be fun to have him rate and grade some different recipes as part of a blog project. 

Last night before work, I made some Creamy Salsa Chicken in the Crockpot. I also made my homemade salsa and guacamole. It was supposed to be ready to eat by the time he got home but somebody (our Golden Retriever) managed to unplug the Crockpot, so unfortunately for him, it was cold and he had to plug it in and let it cook. It was ready when I got off work around 10, so we ate it together when I got home. 

The recipe says that you can eat the chicken as is, or in a tortilla with toppings. I've also seen people put it over rice or serve it with vegetables. I decided to serve it in a warm tortilla with cheese and sour cream, and a side of chips, salsa, and guac. 
Here is the verdict:

 25/30  Taste
 19/20  Presentation
   6/10  Originality
20/20   Re-heatability
16/20   Overall Ranking 
86/100  Final Score
    B       Letter Grade

He said it was between "Pretty good!" (B+) and "I'd eat it again, but not next week" (B).


"Typically, I prefer beef with my burritos, but as far as chicken is concerned, it was quite good. The creamier, the better. Kudos. And NO KUDOS to a certain Golden Retriever who unplugged the Crock Pot..."

Personally, I agree with the hubs. I think to "kick it up a notch," I will use a spicy salsa next time (I used medium), or add some taco seasoning to the Crock Pot. I may try serving it over rice (without shredding the chicken). For the record, I had to explain to the husband that these were less like "burritos" and more like "enchiladas." ;) 

the Bride

PS: David and I are both in love with these Tostitos Cantina Thin & Crispy tortilla chips. They are the closest thing to restaurant-style chips that I've found!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The other dress

I just showed David the photos of "the other dresses" I tried on when I went dress shopping with my mom and Lauren. I was curious to see what he thought of them, specifically the other dress I had been considering.

Although he made comments on parts he liked (and disliked) about the others, I was relieved when he said he liked the one I picked the best. :) Looking back at the photos, I still like the one I chose the best. It makes me happy to know I made the right decision. No regrets!

Here are the two dresses I seriously considered during the dress shopping process:

The other dress:
Justin Alexander | Strapless soft sweetheart pleated French tulle accented with Chantilly lace, asymmetrical drop waist, tulle skirt with Chantilly hem lace, buttons over back zipper, chapel length train. I absolutely loved this gown for an indoor, chapel wedding. The ladies at TLC Bridal Boutique referred to it as "the cobweb dress" since the chapel length train had such gorgeous Chantilly lace detail. I also loved the bodice, which really highlighted a narrow waist. I would have chosen this dress if we had gotten married in a church.
The dress:
Casablanca Bridal | Delicately draped organza gown has a ruched bodice with a sweetheart neckline. Pick-ups on skirt create the illusion of a rose motif. The back is accented with beaded faux buttons. This is my dress, and I still love it as much as the first day I tried it on. Although I went to my first dress appointment with the idea that I wanted all things lace, I was completely surprised at how much I loved this lace-free all organza gown! There was something that was so romantic, soft, and flowy about it, yet it still had structure and a beautiful silhouette. It seemed perfect for a romantic, outdoor, garden wedding.

the Bride

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to the hubs!

Me with the handsome birthday boy!
David is celebrating a milestone birthday at the end of the month, so for his Flirty, Dirty, Thirty, I wanted to throw a special party for him. We rented a shelter through a local state park, complete with a stone fireplace. Although it was warm and sunny yesterday, it was cold, wet and rainy today, so that fireplace was our saving grace! 

Originally, I thought we would do some sort of cook-out or potluck affair, but David mentioned he wanted bbq (Eastern-NC style), so we decided to order from Clyde Cooper's Barbecue, whom our friends also used for their wedding. I planned a Star Wars-themed birthday cake for him...which soon turned into a Star Wars-themed party, complete with lightsabers, tie fighters, and blue milk. :)

Even though the weather was bad, it was a great party with sweet family and friends. We had a good time catching up, eating yummy food, and enjoying the fire.

Here are some photos of the decor and spread from the party. (I got most of the ideas from Pinterest.)

Clockwise from top: 1) I got really good at making these pennant banners, 2) Tie Fighters (cheese & crackers), 3) Storm Troopers (marshmallow-topped cupcakes), 4) The Star Wars cake (by Miah's Cakes), 5) Blue Milk (punch), 6) another shot of the Storm Trooper cupcakes (which were rainbow tie-dyed inside!)
Clockwise from top: 1) close-up of the "Star War d'oeuvres" (Get it?!) 2) close-up of the Storm Trooper cupcakes and Tie Fighter cheese & crackers, 3) Death Stars (Cake Pops...which I discovered are extremely difficult to make!), 4) R2D2 H20 (fruit-infused water in a dispenser) 5) Lightsabers (chocolate-covered pretzel rods), 6) Princes Leia buns (cinnamon rolls with orange icing)

the Bride

PS: A very special thank you to David's mom, Nancy, for all her well as all our friends/family who came (and helped set up)!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I want a refund!

After the wedding and honeymoon is over, you may find yourself left with a huge hole in your pocket and a stack of bills to pay. Don't fret! You can get a "refund" and make money back from your wedding by selling your leftover décor and supplies.

Tomorrow it will be 5 months since our wedding, and I am thrilled to say that I have sold almost all of the décor that we used for our ceremony and reception. After the wedding, we were left with a number of new and gently-used items. I mean, what was I going to do with 5 birdcages and 30 white tablecloths?

I love selling things on Craigslist and eBay, and I realized that with the spring, summer, and even fall coming up, that there would be many brides interested in finding a good deal on wedding items this winter. As of today, I have been able to make back between $1200-$1400, which I have given back to my parents. The only things I have left are 2 shepherd's hooks, a spool of ribbon, and some table numbers.

Here are 10 tips for selling your wedding items:

  • Post pictures from your wedding! People are more inclined to buy things when they can see clear photos of the items, as well as what they look like when in use. Good lighting is a plus!
  • Offer discounts. For items that I had multiples of, I offered an individual price as well as a discounted "lot" price. If someone purchased all of the items, they got a discount.
  • Call your friends. I knew of at least 5 other couples getting married after me, so naturally, I told them what I was selling. Even my mother-in-law was interested in purchasing some of our tablecloths (which she was able to use for my brother-in-law's rehearsal dinner!) 
  • Socialize. With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can reach a number of people on social networks. I had friends who "shared" posts with their friends and family. One of my friends is a photographer, and she posted my listings in a local photographer forum, which generated lots of interest.
  • Be flexible, but firm. David makes fun of me because I always try to bargain with someone when buying, yet I almost never budge on price when selling. I can't tell you the number of times I've made a contact and set up a time to meet, then met with the person and been asked to offer a discount. When that is the case, I generally stand firm and say no. My reasoning is that the person wouldn't have contacted you and set up a time to meet if they weren't already willing to pay the price discussed...but if it's a reasonable request, say, you listed something for $7 but they only have $5, then let the $2 slide. It's not worth it to lose the sale.
  • Do your research. It's fine to sell new or like-new items for what you paid for them. My theory is that an item is worth what someone will pay for it. That being said, don't expect to get all your money back on opened or used items. For things like that, do your research on Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, Google, and find the right price. If you list an item and find it doesn't get any interest, re-list it or "renew" the listing. If it still doesn't get any hits, re-think your list price. Usually a $5-$10 discount can get you a buyer.
  • Be safe. 
    • There are some sketchy people out there, and you can tell a lot about someone from their e-mail etiquette. If someone is flaky, uncommunicative, sketchy, or rude, don't sell to them. 
    • Avoid meeting a buyer at your workplace or home. Try meeting at a well-lit, open, public establishment. A good place is Starbucks. 
    • If you can, avoid giving out your phone number. Some people insist on talking on the phone but in my opinion, it's not necessary. You can communicate just as clearly through e-mail. Craigslist does a good job of anonymizing/masking your e-mail address. You could also set up an e-mail address solely dedicated to buying/selling or use Google Voice to mask your phone number. 
    • When meeting someone, bring a friend with you. If you have to go alone, make sure that someone knows where/when you're meeting the buyer, and make sure to check in with them after you you're done.
    • For Craigslist, I only accept cash. (The last thing you want is to accept a bad check and end up paying bounced check fees.) For eBay and Amazon, you can set up a payment account through PayPal.
  • Sell everywhere. I usually try selling my items through Craigslist first because I can avoid fees. However, if you want a quicker sale, you may need to sell through eBay or Amazon. These sites will charge you listing fees, and then you either have to account for the shipping costs in your list price, or pay the shipping yourself. This may or may not be worth it to you depending on how much the item is worth. 
  • Be patient. One of the ways I am able to sell items at the price I want is because I'm patient. I don't mind waiting and sitting on an item until the right buyer comes along. I can't tell you the number of low-ball offers I get from people. I turn down unreasonable offers because I feel that my prices are already fair and discounted. Often times those same people will come back and say, "Okay, I couldn't find it anywhere else. Can I buy your item?"
  • Be clear. You will avoid a lot of unnecessary e-mails and wasted meetings if you are clear in your listing. Provide clear, quality photos of your items. You can use a ruler or item of reference to indicate size in the photo. In your descriptions, make sure to list details. Include color, size, dimensions, quantity, price, condition, etc. You can also avoid questions by indicating where you're located (not your address, just the general area), whether or not you're firm on price ("firm" means you aren't willing to negotiate, "OBO" means "or best offer"), when you're available to meet, etc.

Hope this information helps those of you who are interested in selling some of your leftover wedding items. These tips can also be used for selling non-wedding items, of course. Best of luck and happy selling!

the Bride

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Vendor recap

When I first began planning my wedding, I relied heavily on suggestions from friends for recommended vendors. I also spent a lot of time Googling vendors and reading online reviews on Wedding Wire and Yelp. A college friend, Sara, had included a complete vendor list on her blog, which I often found myself referring to. I wanted to do the same, and include a complete list of vendors I used. I have to say that I was extremely blessed in the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed working with each and every vendor on this list. I was fortunate to have worked with wonderful, professional, and quality vendors for each aspect of our wedding. I have nothing but positive things to say about each and every one of them! If you have any specific questions regarding my experiences with any of these vendors, please feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me personally. I'll be happy to answer any of your questions as best as I can.


the Bride

Special Thanks: Dan Nelson, Diana Green, Travis & Beckie Kiker, Cindy McGee, Ken & Ashton Dobbins, Cheri Dyson, Sam & Krystle Williams, Bryan & Katie Barber, and all of our bridal party, family, and friends who helped us tremendously! We are forever grateful for your kindness and generosity. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Orangerie Events blog feature

I am so excited to share Priscilla's blog post about our wedding today...but more than that, I encourage you to read and marinate on the words of her post. "My inability to verbalize spiteful or harmful words isn’t a weakness at all. Words are powerful. They don’t bounce – they stick...My honest prayer is that I use my words wisely. To think before speaking. To not judge someone because they sin differently than I do. To let them marinate before I just spit them out. To remember that if they are going to stick to someone, let them be words of encouragement, positivity and empowerment. Let my words do good and not damage. If what I have to say isn’t kind or delivered in a gentle manner, then let me be quiet."

These are such powerful, truthful, and enlightening words that I am taking to heart today. I am marinating on them today, taking them to heart and praying for them to apply to me and my life.

the Bride

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wedding Feature Wednesday on Southern Bride & Groom

I got an Instagram notification that Priscilla tagged me in a photo, so imagine my surprise when I came across this! What a fun surprise on my birthday to see our wedding featured in Wedding Feature Wednesday on Southern Bride & Groom!

the Bride

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My experience with Heritage Garment Preservation

As you know, Heritage Garment Preservation did a lovely little blog feature on my wedding dress story. I am now finally getting to share about my experience with them! 

The little blue flower (top right) was dirty before I sent it in to be cleaned.
I did a lot of research on wedding gown cleaning and preservation before deciding to go with Heritage. I had a couple suggestions from different friends and vendors, but ultimately, after reading this article from the Wall Street Journal, and comparing many options, I felt the most comfortable with Heritage. For me, it was important to be able to see that my gown was clean and properly preserved. For some reason, only being able to see the top half of it in a box that I couldn't open just didn't feel right to me. My best friend and MoH, Emily, told me that when she got her gown back from one of those "box companies," she couldn't figure out where the rhinestone brooch from her garter went. After staring at the box for the longest time, she finally saw that they had stuck the brooch right in the middle of the gown. *Shudders* She couldn't unseal the box to fix it, so now it's stuck there and the beautiful garter is just plain and brooch-less. *Sigh*

What I Chose
That being said, I decided to go with Heritage, and I am very glad I did. I decided on the Heritage Select™ Museum Method. I got an instant online estimate for my dress, which was considered Average size. I also discovered their Payment Plan, which helped a lot financially! I ordered a shipping kit (to send the dress to them), and added extra insurance, a Custom Preservation Label, and a Bouquet Preservation Box which I plan to use for my silk bouquet and other items (hair flowers, garter, ring pillow, etc.) that I want to keep archival safe.

The Process
At the beginning of November, they sent me the shipping kit with instructions and a pre-paid label. I put my dress and veil inside and shipped it off to them. Carmina, the contact person, was great communicating with me and answering all my questions and concerns via e-mail and phone. They let me know when they started working on my gown, and told me that due to the unique fabric (organza), they felt their hand cleaning process was perfect for it. I received my gown back the first week of February. (Keep in mind, the process doesn't generally take that long, but I chose to use their Payment Plan, so they didn't send me back my gown until payment was complete...which I knew would be the case ahead of time.)

The Results
When I finally had the chance to drive back to my parents' house in Maryland (where I am storing my gown), I opened the box for the first time to see the gown. It was very well packaged, and the cotton preservation bag itself was wrapped nicely in another vinyl garment bag (for protection). The cotton preservation bag was great--it was clean and sturdy, and I feel comfortable storing my dress in it. I immediately admired the Custom Preservation Label, and the white gloves they included for handling the gown. I put those on and opened the preservation bag, and was happy and relieved to see my gown there, clean, and pristine. I checked the skirts, which were packed in acid-free tissue, and was ecstatic to see that it was clean. When Olga made the bustle for my dress, she added a small blue flower in the skirts which had gotten very dirty by the end of my wedding night. The small blue flower was all clean! 

The Cost
I would say the cost is in the mid-price range. I did a lot of research and found some really affordable options as well as some really unaffordable (expensive!) options. You can check their Current Discounts or Facebook pages for ongoing promotions. (Right now for the month of March, they are offering $50 off using coupon code Couture50off.)

Final Words
I am happy that I have my gown back, and I'm even happier to know that it's clean, that it's safe, and that it's protectedHeritage has wonderful customer service, and did a quality job on cleaning and preserving my gown. I cant wait to show it to my daughter some day.

the Bride

I was not compensated for this post. Heritage approached me to ask me if they could write a blog feature on my wedding dress story after I had already decided to write about my positive experience with them.

Friday, March 7, 2014

In like a lion...

They say "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a Lamb," but I'm okay with a little less lion and a whole lot more Lamb. Lamb the dog, that is. 

If you know me or follow me then you are subject to my gazillion daily posts about my three dogs...but what you may not know is that Lamby has given us quite a scare these past few months. In December of last year, we were on our way to David's parents' house to decorate the tree when I noticed that Lamb was ADR and showing signs of labored breathing. When we got to the vet,* they put her in oxygen and then I was hit with the fact that she might be going into heart failure. (Lamb was diagnosed with a heart murmur about 1-2 years ago.) She ended up staying overnight and getting both an echo and abdominal ultrasound the next day. The echo did show signs of further heart enlargement but no heart failure. The abdominal ultrasound was unremarkable.

Lamb had been seeing Dr. H previously for her heart condition, and her lab work indicated hypoalbuminia, which we were unable to determine the cause of, after running a number of tests. She has also had chronic intermittent vomiting and diarrhea, which has increased significantly in the past year. The diarrhea has gotten increasingly worse in the past few months, and she has lost close to 25% of her body weight. A week after she was hospitalized, we were at David's parents' house again, celebrating and early Christmas, and woke up to what I can only describe as "vomit-arrhea." (If you don't know what that is, then trust me, you don't want to know.) After speaking to Dr. K about previous tests we had done, and her current condition, I decided to pursue further tests, specifically to figure out if she might have atypical Addison's. A few weeks later, results came back. They were negative.

While I was glad Lamb didn't have Addison's, I was disappointed in not knowing what was wrong. Over the past year, we had done many tests (Bile Acid, Fecal Protease, food trial), in addition to radiographs, ultrasounds, and bloodwork, and ruled out numerous diagnoses. The last thing on the list was Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). "The most difficult part of diagnosing IBD is eliminating other possibilities" ( Well, we'd done all that. The problem was, "if all screening tests fail to reveal an underlying cause for the recurrent gastrointestinal signs, IBD is suspected and biopsy of the intestines is required to make a definitive diagnosis. Obtaining biopsies involves anesthesia and either surgery or endoscopy" ( Surgery requires anesthesia. Lamb has heart disease. Anesthesia could be hard on her heart.

I considered treating Lamb for IBD without doing the biopsy, but after speaking to both her rDVM and Dr. H, and considering Lamb had done well with anesthesia at her dental earlier in the year, we felt like she would do well during the endoscopic procedure. So it was settled. I scheduled her for an upper GI endoscopy with biopsies. I fasted her the night before and dropped her off at the hospital early in the morning. 

We never did find that ketchup packet again. Guess we'll see it on "the other side." (Ew.)
Before noon, I got a call back from Dr. H. Lamb had a lot of food in her belly in addition to a ketchup packet. "A ketchup packet?!" "A ketchup packet. Heinz 57." They decided to wake her up from anesthesia, keep her overnight while continuing to fast her, and then attempt the endoscopy again the next day...which I agreed to. She did well overnight and the next day they attempted the procedure again. Afterward, I got a call saying that Lamb was doing well, but after getting samples from the duodenum, her BP and heart rate started dropping, so instead of continuing and getting stomach samples, they decided to wake her up. Luckily, the doctor felt the samples she got would be sufficient...and thankfully, they were.

Yesterday I met with Dr. H before work and she confirmed that the biopsy results are indicative of mild IBD. At this point, she suggests we continue Lamb on a hypoallergenic diet and B12 supplementation, as well as add in a corticosteroid (Dexamethasone) and immunosuppressant (Cyclosporine). I will be monitoring Lamb closely for any signs of heart failure or reactions, and will recheck her albumin level and weight in a week. Lamb started the Cyclosporine last night and the Dexamethasone this morning. She also made it outside to go to the bathroom (#2) today, which is fantastic. I am glad to be off this weekend so I can monitor her closely. (Hopefully this means I will not have to bring her in, which defeats the whole purpose of being off work.)

The plan is to attack the inflammation with the Dexamethasone and Cyclosporine, possibly switch her to Budesonide, and maybe even wean her off steroids altogether (if possible). (Budesonide is also a corticosteroid, but it is largely broken down by the liver soon after absorption, so systematic side effects are minimal.) That being said, good thoughts and prayers for Lamby are greatly appreciated! I'm praying the steroid doesn't give her heart any trouble and that it will really start helping with her IBD troubles!

Lamb has a special birthday coming up next month. She will be turning 10! I can't believe my two little dogs have been with me for almost a decade. To celebrate Lamb and the start of her recovery, I want to end this post with a little Q+A and list of fun facts about my little hairless dog.


the Bride

*I have been blessed to work at a specialty/ER vet hospital for the past 4 years. I love knowing that I can take my dogs in at anytime and get them the best care possible.

Here are the answers to some common questions I get about Lamb (and the breed). 

What kind of dog is she?
Lamb is a Chinese Crested Hairless. In the Chinese Crested world, she is known as a "Hairy Hairless" because she has a little bit of extra hair.

How old is she?
Lamb will be 10 next month! Even though she is the smallest dog in the bunch, she is actually the oldest of the three.

If she is a Chinese Crested, why does she have hair?
A Chinese Crested Hairless dog will have "soft, silky hair on its head (crest), tail (plume) and feet (socks)" ( Lamb has extra (sparse) hair on her body, which I leave long. I also choose not to shave her snout.

What is a Powderpuff?
Noah is a Chinese Crested Powderpuff, and yes, him and Lamb are the same breed. The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff. The Powderpuff is the less commonly known variety, and depending on how they're groomed, can look like a Havanese, Shih Tzu, or a small Afghan Hound. (Noah and Lamb are not from the same litter.)

What is her grooming regimen?
Lamb is the easiest (and quickest) dog to bathe! I bathe her more often than the other two, but she takes no time to dry! She does have some skin problems, as many Cresteds do, but after bringing her to a number of dermatologists, we decided that her skin is not bothering her, so I don't do anything more than bathe her with medicated shampoo and occasionally apply lotion and/or sunblock if needed.  

Why does she wear clothes?
Umm, hello. She's hairless. Naked. She's cold! :)

Why does she look like that? She's so ugly!
Hey, I don't know. God made her that way. Why is your husband bald? :p

Why is she shaking?
Lamb shakes for a number of reasons. Usually it's because she's scared or cold.

Why is her favorite toy an iguana?
Both Noah and Emery have toys that look like them (I call them their Mini Me's). Noah has a small black and white stuffed dog and Emery has a small Golden Retriever stuffed dog. Let's face it. They don't make them like Lamb, so Lamb picked an iguana (Iggy).

Here are some fun facts about Lamb.

She's a clothes horse.
Lamb thoroughly enjoys wearing clothes. If she sees me take out a sweater or t-shirt, she gets super excited and sticks her head through the neck hole. Then she lifts up each arm to put through the armholes. It's entirely too cute.

She skips.
When you take Lamb on a walk, she gets so excited that she skips every few steps. Again, entirely too cute.

She likes being in a bag.
I am no Paris Hilton and don't carry my dogs in purses. Let's face it. Emery? In a purse? But the story with Lamb is that when my parents used to visit my brother in his old apartment they would sometimes sneak Lamb in to visit him. It got to the point that every time my dad brought out the gray duffle bag they used, she would hop right in. Hehe.

She's a cat.
David and I have decided that Lamb is actually a cat. She likes to rub herself on your legs (particularly David's), and furniture. She sleeps in sun spots. She jumps on you and walks on top of you like it's nobody's business.

She sings.
Lamb started "singing" to my dad's ringtone a few years back. And by singing, I mean howling. She also does this to sirens, other dogs howling, and incessant ringing phones or alarms. This gets Noah going. Noah howling keeps Lamb howling. It's an ongoing cycle. It's deafening. Cute at first, then deafening. They're known at work as the "howler monkeys."

She should have been insured.
Lamb broke her leg when she was a puppy. We think she did it digging or jumping. She had surgery where they placed a rod in her arm and she wore a cast (the size of her body) for weeks. Not long after, she had surgery again for a luxated patella. She has a heart murmur. Now she has IBD. (I don't wanna talk about it.)

She's quirky.
Lamb was a late bloomer. She never vocalized or tried to jump on furniture until much later in life. (And she learned those bad habits from a little black and white dog I know.) She's also very independent. Unlike the other two, she doesn't always follow me from room to room. If she wants to sleep downstairs by herself, she will. You may find her in the closet or the clothes hamper. Sometimes she randomly sits facing the wall or corner. She spins in circles when she's excited, about to lay down, or when has to "go." She holds her nose (and sometimes hind legs) when she sleeps. She particularly likes David when David doesn't particularly like her. She's afraid of loud things like yelling and thunder, but she's not afraid of the vacuum (unlike those other two wimps). 


Despite all her medical issues and those quirky, sometimes annoying, sometimes cute habits, I love my little Lamb. I originally got her as a companion for Noah, but she was quickly "stolen" by my mom, and tugged at the heartstrings of both my brother and Dad. My grandma met her for the first time this past Christmas, and she just fell in love! (Poor Noah was pretty bummed he didn't get all the attention.) She's one of those dogs that once you meet her, you just love her. I can't tell you the number of times a nurse or groomer has returned her to me, gushing about how much they love her. I also get the occasional negative comment here and there: about her skin, or about her breed...but I don't really care. I live by Lamb's motto: #NoHairDontCare :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Extra Extra! The wedding announcement.

To be completely honest, a newspaper wedding announcement (for us) was a complete afterthought. A 5-month long afterthought, to be exact. In fact, I never would have even considered it if I hadn't been perusing a college friend's Facebook page and stumbled across a framed copy of her wedding announcement. It made me wish I had done one. Then I started looking up the etiquette for how long you can wait to have it done. I got mixed answers. I decided I didn't care. I was doing it. Then I realized how expensive it is!

To print a formal wedding announcement in our main hometown newspaper would have cost  $576.80! Umm, what?! This isn't the Times or the Post! We decided to see how much a basic announcement would cost, and it was still $200.85. We downgraded to the "midtown" news and it was $65.60. We downgraded to our college hometown (much smaller population) and the prices were still $55.00-$250.00. Simultaneously, I had submitted a formal announcement to my hometown (where my parents live), and was waiting to hear back from them. Guess what. They are going to print our announcement and photo this coming Sunday FOR FREE. Done.

This got me thinking about the costs and rules associated with engagement and wedding announcements. The New York Times has RULES! They only report on ceremonies taking place during the previous six days. Sunday events are reported that day. Requests for announcements must be made at least six weeks prior to the event. But get this...they don't charge for publication! However, "space is limited" and they "cannot guarantee publication." Criteria include: noteworthy awards received by the couple, as well as charitable activities and special achievements. Photos are typically formal portraits. "Couples posing for pictures should arrange themselves with their eyebrows on the same level and with their heads fairly close together." (Here is a fun look at what it takes to get into The Times!)

This also got me thinking about the history behind wedding and engagement announcements. I remember looking through David's mom's wedding book and seeing her wedding announcement, clipped from the local paper, aged to perfection. In TLC's Wedding Announcements 101, "couples have been putting their wedding announcements in the newspaper long before Facebook took over the world. Having your wedding photograph printed in the newspaper is an honor and still a hot commodity in today's world. It's a sign of prestige to make it into a national newspaper's weddings section, and couples clamor for the opportunity." They go on to explain that "a wedding announcement is "simply a formal write-up published in local or national newspapers that shares the details of your nuptials. The requirements may vary from paper to paper, but the intention is the same for them all: getting your good news out into the world!"

According to Martha Stewart Weddings, "most newspapers will not print a wedding announcement until after the wedding has taken place, often running the items the week or weekend of the ceremony." Wedding announcements typically contain more information than engagement notices: place and date of the ceremony and reception, officiant name, alma maters of the bride and groom, degrees, and job titles. Some papers publish more information including attendants' names, gown descriptions, etc.

If you're interested in having an announcement printed in your local paper, contact the paper to find out about the submission process. Sometimes they will have an online form where you can submit details and a photo. Prices, sizing, format, and dates of publication will vary. Here are a couple templates that you can use for your announcement wording:

I'd be interested to hear your opinions and thoughts on the whole newspaper announcement business! What do you think of it, and did you do it? Did your parents or grandparents do it?

the Bride