Monday, October 31, 2011

I said yes to the dress!

Twice, in fact. I originally went dress shopping at a little place near my hometown; its a crowded little place full of dresses for proms, pageants, and a few wedding dresses thrown in there. Its the sort of the place that records every dress it sells and what school the girl goes to, so that no two of the same dresses show up at one prom.

I went in before valentines day, expecting to beat any prom rush; however, I guess I forgot about winter homecoming, because the place was packed. And its packed already, with dresses. The aisles were almost impassible. But I picked up a few dresses to try anyway, and waited 40 minutes for a dressing room. I felt a little loyalty to the place; its where I bought all my prom and pageant dresses when I was younger. I tried on half a dozen dresses, and none of them really looked right, until I got to the last one. It was nice - it made me look slim - and it was only $150 dollars. DING DING DING. I bought it. It was the only one they had, etc. etc. etc.

Time went on, and my thoughts on the dress went from pleasure at my deal to regret that I hadn't looked more. It was pretty, but it was plain. The fabric was somewhat cheap-looking. It was nothing like what I always pictured myself in. Over the course of my budget wedding planning, I found dress after dress with comparable prices that were more in line with what I had originally envisioned. What's a girl to do? Here's a hint... know someone who would like to buy an inexpensive wedding dress?

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Cheapskate Honeymoon

So, C and I want to go to Chicago for our honeymoon "mini moon". We're planning a big, much more involved trip (Greece? I have yet to convince C) in a few years, but for now, after just having paid for our wedding, we're thinking something small, inexpensive, and short - an extended weekend, perhaps. In Chicago. We're tossing around other ideas, but Chicago seems to be the clear front runner at this point. It has a few very nice things going for it:

--It is close enough to us that we can get there, by a variety of transports, in only a couple of hours

--Its full of museums, restaurants, and things to do

--There are tons of cool looking hotels at prices that are far more reasonable than, say, New York, one of our other contenders

--Its where they tape "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me", our favorite NPR show. Yeah, we're nerds of the highest order.

--It will be a first trip for both of us.

--Megabus goes there from here. This is vital to my cheapskate genius.

So here's my thought. Megabus offers deals that range from $1 a ticket to $64 a ticket, and they'll get us their in 10 hours. There's usually an overnight bus, and a daytime bus. The buses themselves are very nice, from all I've heard, and the clientelle is usually more upscale than your typical bus - this is due to the fact that you can't pay cash for a ticket, they have to be purchased online, through the megabus website. Also, all buses have free WiFi. I think we can take the overnight bus, and arrive in Chicago in time for a nice, Chicago breakfast, then check into a hotel.

What hotel, you ask? Well, we will probably find someplace cheap for most nights in the city, but we want to spend at least one night here, at the Sybaris Hotel. Yes. It is a hotel with pools (or at least Whirlpools) in every room. You can even book one just for an afternoon, which could be an idea if we don't want to actually stay there, because its pretty far away from the exciting parts of Chicago, but one way or another, that will be a part of any Chicago trip.

I'd also like to splurge one night and stay at someplace with a great view, and a fancy, classy, dress up bar and restaurant downstairs. The sort of hotel that's not a chain, and has a doorman. This may be out of the question, but with the money we'd save taking the bus... who knows? This place looks nice (bonus: pet friendly!). Or this one (bonus: Probably named after Daniel Burnham, architecht behind the design for the Chicago Worlds Fair (1893) and the Lincoln Memorial!). But any boutique hotel will do.

All that said, we'll probably end up spending the honeymoon at the Days Inn or Super8, because we're that poor. But a trip is a trip, and a honeymoon is romantic no matter where you end up.

Which brings me to another thought - what do you, my dear readers, think of the idea of a honeymoon registry? I've looked into them, and they seem reasonable. Basically, On a website, we'd list things we'd like to do on our honeymoon (hotel costs, airfare, dinner out, museum admission, etc), and then the site allows you to break the costs down into segments (Five $10 gifts, or one $50 gift, etc). I like the idea of my family and friends being able to contribute to a really cool experience rather than just getting me a fry-daddy (Which I would love, but would feel guilty every time I used). Check out these examples: Traveler's Joy, Honeyfund, Honeymoon Wishes. Ours woul be a lot more like Bus fare to Chicago - $15, need 4. Pizza from a food truck - $20, need 1. For the most part, anyway. One night at the Sybaris - $50, need 6. What do you think? I'm afraid people would think they were tacky, but they would help us with something that otherwise we would never be able to enjoy: A real honeymoon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

With this ring

This is my mother's ring. Not her wedding ring, or anything. I'm fairly certain my parents didn't have an engagement ring, and I'm pretty sure her wedding band fell down the drain when I was still a wee tot. This is the ring my dad gave her for their *mumblemumble* anniversary. I think its kind of rad. I love the pave feel of it, and while its not an eternity band, it goes pretty far down the ring. I always thought it would be a good ring to pass down. So when she died, I knew that I wanted to use it one day for my wedding. For a long time, though, we weren't sure what had happened to it. So you can imagine my delight when, just a few months ago, my dad called and told me it was found!

Now I have always had slender fingers, but let me tell you, my mother's were tiny. This makes sense, as she was pretty tiny all around. She wore something like a five and a half or six ring size. I wear a 7, which is probably pretty average, but makes it a little tricky for this ring to fit anywhere but my pinky. So, C is going to resize it for me, shine it up, and blam; instant wedding band. I think it will make a nice set with my engagement band. Neither of them are that traditional, and some of those stones almost match these.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anna's Oven

I'd like to try something out here. No one really reads this blog, but I'd like to post more about the miscellaneous aspects of my life. Restaurant and book reviews, baking experiments, etc. I've already made a commitment to blog more often, so lets see if I can interest anyone else in what all I have to say.

That being said, this weekend I had the pleasure of dining at a fairly new place in my old neighborhood, 39th st, KC MO. It really was a pleasure. The place is appealing, and a lovely combination of "homey" and "romantic." The chairs and tables are mismatched in a very charming old world way, some for two, some for eight, some round, some square. No tablecloths. painted wood chairs. Even the wine display is charming.

I didn't have C with me, but I'm sure he'd approve of the menu. It is full of comfort food staples like meatloaf, lasagna, roast chicken, and six different kinds of macaroni and cheese. I think that last may be the main selling point of the establishment. The prices range from $6 or $7 to about $12 for entrees, and $2-$4 for desserts and sides.

I've never been good at deciding things, and this menu had me pondering for quite a few moments. I eliminated the macaroni and cheese first off - I wanted protein; and though they'll mix in several different meats, I've had enough bad macaroni and cheese experiences at Noodles and Co. that I didn't want to risk it until I discerned the quality of the place. I finally settled on the meatloaf, and a piece of chocolate cake. My friends ordered desserts and coffee, since they had already eaten dinner.

The women behind the counter were smiling and friendly, and very attentive. They seemed to be the only two people working, besides a cook glimpsed through the pass-through kitchen. But the food came out quite quickly, and was delicious! The meatloaf was average tasting, but quite substantial - thick cut and big all around. It came with real, lumpy mashed potatoes (which there could have been more of, they were so good), crunchy steamed veggies, and brown gravy over all. Oh, and a roll, all for eight dollars. The veggies were delightfully crisp, and everything was hot and tasty. They brought out my cake when I was about halfway through with dinner. It was awesome - it was almost a dark chocolate frosting, and the cake was moist with a nice crumb. Everything was served on sturdy crockery plates, adding to the homey, depression-era feel of the place.

Only a few complaints - the cobbler my friend ordered was made with nuts, which would have been nice to know. I don't think of cobbler as usually coming with nuts. Also, the printed menu they have for you to take with you is not up-to-date, and features items that sound great but they aren't currently serving - like beef stroganoff. Finally, the caramel brownie advertised is really more of a bar cookie. A good bar cookie, just not what we expected.

As an added bonus, 50% of the restaurants profits go to "supporting education in places where it may otherwise not thrive," which is not only nicely worded but a worthy cause. It looks like they change projects periodically, but right now, its the St. Anne's Girl's School in Kenya.

Overall, I loved this place, and I know we'll be back soon! I could see it being a good place for a date or a night out with friends. 4 stars, pending further exploration of their mac n' cheese.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

6 months and 5 days

What. The. Heck. Wow, um, I feel like last month we were still looking at about two years here. How did things get this far along, without me having ANYTHING done?! Its a nightmare! Its like I woke up one day and it was my wedding day, and nothing was prepared. I actually had that nightmare the other day.
Where are my favors?
Where are my bridesmaid's dresses?
Where is my guest list?
Damn. I'm behind.

So, I guess this week I will really be getting my ducks in a row, starting some projects, getting things planned out.
I am such a slacker. I had planned to have so much done by this point, and so far, it feels like nothing. Which is not fair, as I have done a lot, including plan the whole thing out! Geez. They really mean what they say when they say planning your wedding is like taking on a part time job. And I'll be doing all this in addition to actually taking on a part time job, so we'll see how this all works out.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

May I proudly present:

Our wedding colors.

Yes! I got him to agree to purple... ha ha ha, go State!