Saturday, May 29, 2010

Planning The Bachelor Party: A Husband To Be's Story

Hey, I'm Neill.  I'm not much of a party planner unless I'm the host of the party, and in truth, it's been several years since I've thrown a bonafide shindig.  For my bachelor party, I assumed it was expected that it was planned by the best men or others involved.  I'm not entirely sure why I assumed that, but my only experiences with bachelor parties in the past were more or less planned out before I knew about them (even though I was the best man for one of them ... hrm ...).  But needless to say, I wasn't involved in any kind of planning in that capacity ... likely for the better ;-)

My awesome best men (Tom and James) waited until near the last minute for getting all of the details together.  Not to knock them for delaying their planning though -- it was more like they shot ideas around and I was single-handedly so incredibly indecisive that they didn't put their feet down until the week of the event to tie together all of the loose ends.  Thank jeebus for them really.  If I had it my way, I would have just stayed home and drank beer all day.  Not because that's what I imagine a good bachelor party being, but because I'm so easy to please sometimes.  I think at any given time I've got enough worries on my mind that when it comes time to plan something that should be a lot of fun, I tend to just go with the flow and not sweat the details.  In my experience, if you want to have a good time, a good time will be had -- particularly in good company.

Anyway, I shot down a ton of fun ideas including the following: skydiving, whitewater rafting, renting motor cross bikes/4 wheelers/dune buggies, a booze cruise, go carts, whirly ball, lazer tag, a segway tour, dave and busters, etc.  My best men shot down checking out the Windy City Rollers (Chicago Roller Derby) solely on the basis that Alisha and her crew were going to be there.  C'est le vie.  Oh, and I've never really been comfortable at strip clubs, so that was a no-brainer.  Not that I hadn't read about what goes on in them (*wink wink*), but it's just not my cup of tea.  And they smell like strippers ... kind of like new car scent or something, but with a latex dashboard.  So I heard.

In the end, James and Tom decided that we were going to a White Sox game during the day and dinner in the evening, followed by drinks.  I enjoy sporting events, but in my ~15 years living in Chicago, I had been to exactly 1 Cubs game, 1 White Sox game, and 1 Bulls game.  I wasn't really sure what to expect since I hadn't seen the Sox in probably 9(?) years or so.  Not following any sports doesn't help either.  But I knew it would be a good time with a lot of my besties there.  And that's the most important part.

Maybe next time I'll spill some details of the day, but I'm ok with that being private.  I wonder who thought it would be a good idea to have a guest post by me anyway?! :-P

I'll add one important thing that you probably don't know about me.  I started an online journal many years ago for the SOLE purpose of sharing the mundane things during the day.  Highlights include eating a sandwich, doing laundry, going to band practice, etc.  Then I discovered twitter.  With twitter, I can describe all the boring things in MUCH less time.  So now I can tweet about sandwiches and band practice.

So all of this could have wasted far less time if I was allowed to tweet it cause it would have been something like this: "can't decide what to do 4 bparty, but tom & james decided to go to a sox game, followed by dinner and drinks -- yay!  everyone's happy!! :-D"

Follow me on twitter at:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Planning A Bachelor Party In Chicago - The Groom's Side

I am very excited to announce that Neill has agreed to write a guest post for us about his experience with having a bachelor party! As you know, I think Neill is just the bee's knees and I hope all of you do too! Check back tomorrow for the full monty.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beauty Brigade

A while ago, I mentioned that I got my hair and makeup done by the wonderfully talented and super sweet Heather Massa for my bridal shower. Today, we did the the wedding trial run. Well, let me tell you - Heather brought her A game! I cannot say enough good things about her. First, let me show you my hairspiration.

I must be having a thing for blondes right now :) I sent her these pictures and told her I wanted my hair to: (1) have volume up top, (2) be pinned off my neck, (3) have some texture/curl in it, (4) be off to the side in some sort of bun thing, and (5) be secure as hell. The last thing I need is a big gust of windy city wind blowing out the whole thing!

Here are  blackberry pictures of what I ended up with! I apologize for the crummy pictures. It is very hard to take a good self-portrait with our big heavy camera!

I luuurve it! Looking back at the inspiration pictures above, I think it resembles the picture of Amanda Seyfried, but to the left. While I love the look of the messy side bun a la mischa barton , I also know myself well enough to know that (a) I'd worry and obsess about whether or not my hair was falling out and (b) if it is hot I don't want a single strand of hair to touch my neck. So, I think I sacrificed some loosey goosey hippie chic style for a more coiffed look. But, the piece of mind is worth it. Plus, I really can't overstate just how freaking windy it gets by the lake here in Chicago. Like blow your skirt up, umbrella inside out, leaves whipping around in circles windy. I think this style can stand up to the winds though. Heather used about a million bobby pins and TON of hairspray. About 10 hours later, and it has barely moved.

Mission accomplished!

When Neill got home from work I had him take some better pictures of me, but I'm still waiting for him to send them my way. I'll post them as soon as I get them :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Free Photography!

Our lovely and talented photographer, Alix Klingenberg, is hosting a photography giveaway contest. The winner will receive 5 free hours of coverage for their wedding or commitment ceremony in 2011! You can find all the details here. Good luck!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Still Alive

I survived my bachelorette party! I had such a great time - it was seriously more than i could have ever asked for. I plan to write a proper recap of the whole event and I'm also going to ask Neill to write a guest post or two on his bachelor party.

Interestingly, today I feel more confident and ready to commit to marriage than I did before. It is like making is through this right of passage or participating in this debaucherous tradition has somehow made me more confident that I can truly and genuinely commit myself to Neill.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I look forward to sharing more details of the party with you!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bachelorette Party!

it is finally here! my bachelorette party is tomorrow! while i tend to get a little anxious having all of the attention on me, i am really excited for tomorrow. there will be roller derby, hamburgers, drinks in fishbowls, and dancing (lots and lots of dancing). i'm not a big drinker so i am a little nervous about going overboard and peeking too early, but i've warned my maid of honor to keep an eye on me! i want to be in this for the long haul. that probably means no shots for me - or at least only one or two girly shots - and lots of yummy food to soak up the booze. i'm also probably be drinking my fair share of red bull so i can keep my booty shaking and my eyes open.

neill will also be having his bachelor party tomorrow. i'm so glad that we managed to do them on the same night. this way, neither one of us has to sit at home and wonder what the other one is doing. i think having my bachelorette party to think about has made it easy to not worry about what neill might be doing. also, even though i do tend to be jealous, i trust him 100%. luckily, neill also happens to have some of the most awesome friends ever (only slightly less awesome than mine) and they are all good guys. i'm sure they will take good care of him.

for those who are curious - they are not going to a strip club. neill has been to them before and i've never been bothered by it so  i was totally fine* with them going, but neill wasn't interested.  however, this might be because the only full nudity strip club in chicago doesn't serve alcohol, not because he doesn't want to get a lap dance from a complete stranger :) apparently, booze > boobs.

by this time tomorrow night we will both be partying up with our crew! i can't wait to rehash the night on sunday over brunch. 

Clean Machine

Remember when I was complaining about all of the stuff that has built up in our apartment? i was fighting some serious demons. All I wanted to do was sort, organize, and donate anything and everything that we didn't absolutely need. The problem? Not all of the stuff was mine to decide on.

Well Neill has really pulled through! I came home yesterday to find our office cleaner and more organized than it has been in quite some time. Not only did he spiff up his desk, but he tackled THE CLOSET. I know. Right? It's pretty effin amazing. Clothes are hung up and organized. Guitars are stacked. the floor is vacummed.  the surfaces dusted. and there actually appears to be some extra space now.

I'm so proud of him for choosing to part with a few things he's been holding on to and moving the rest down to storage*. does he know how to make me happy or what?

*oh storage space. what a blessing and a curse you are. im thankful that i don't have to deal with all of the stuff in our apartment, but i'm already afraid of having to go through everything we've stashed down there come move time. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nightmare part 2

thankfully, i haven't had another wedding nightmare. but, last night i had a really unsettling dream that i couldn't get out of my head.

it is all sort of blurry now (damn elusive dreams) but it had something to do with a terrorist attack. there had been a bombing and some sort of invasion and I was scared. We were living in what seems to be a big communal apartment building because my mom was there and i think my aunt was in the dream too. for some reason having to do with the invasion, i felt like we all had to stay in this one particular room and shouldn't travel around to the other apartments. but, we had evacuated quickly and so no one had their clothes or other things with them. i remember wanting to go back and get an extra pair of pants, but being worried that it was too dangerous. my mom, on the other hand, wanted to. she also wanted to go over to someone's house and do yoga with them. i remember in the dream someone (my aunt?) asking me if i was angry that my mom was planning on doing these things and i said yes. but, i think i was more afraid. aaaand that's all i can remember.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

wedding nightmare

I had a wedding related nightmare last night. It felt like the bad dream lasted all night. I kept waking up and trying to shake the bad thoughts out of my mind, but then when I drifted back to sleep I ended up in the same wedding hell. The dream is kind of fuzzy, but from what I remember out wedding was happening at the same place and time as some kind of Renaissance festival. While I think the ceremony went okay, after the ceremony we went outside and got mixed up with this festival. There were a lot of people and so it was impossible to find the wedding guests. I was alone and looking for people. Our reception was supposed to take place inside, but like only a few people had successfully made it there. Everyone else didn't know where they were supposed to be and had gotten sort of "lost" outside in the festival. I remember running around looking for our photographer and stressing out that I couldn't find her. I also remember running into Neill, who was enjoying a beer with his friends Nic and Tom. I was relieved to have found them, but also annoyed that they were hanging outside and enjoying the festival instead of going to our reception.

that's pretty much all i can remember. interestingly, i had a wedding nightmare a while ago with a similar situation (not being able to find people).

What do you think it means?

Friday, May 14, 2010

thats a no-no

Last Sunday, Neill and I took my wonderful amazing mother out for dinner to celebrate Mother's Day. Because we can be little piggies, we also used it as an excuse to try the "new" restaurant across the street from us - mado. (We still call it the new restaurant because we had never been there, but I'm pretty sure it has been open for about a year already). The food was great! My favorite dishes were the antipasti we got for the table - I love grazing through a meal! But, the entrees were really good too. Neill and I both got the hanger steak with gorgonzola polenta and my mom tried the wood grilled rainbow trout. For dessert, the three of us split a flan with a chocolate cake layer and a vanilla malt cake with boozy icing. Overall, we all enjoyed the meal and agreed that we would come back.

However, there was one seriously distracting element to the whole meal - one of the waittresses was walking around with her butt crack hanging out ALL night. It was insane. Her jeans were so low and so tight I don't think she could have pulled them up even if she had wanted to. That quarter inch of crack was a permanent installment. This was only accentuated by the super-short shirt she was wearing! We could see her belly button! Now, I promise that I am no prude and I actually rather like it when servers dress casually, but this was just too much for me. I could not get over it. I was actually tempted to say something to our waitress about it. I mean - I can only assume that this women was unaware she was flashing everyone. Doesn't she deserve a heads up? Wouldn't you want to be told?

It was just bizarre.

But, the food was delicious! Neill and I are thinking about signing up for one of their pig butchering classes. The chef demonstrates how to butcher a pig, while teaching you how to use each part. The best part? You get to take some home with you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

work it girl

The one wedding blog I have been truly, truly truly addicted to since getting engaged is Wedding Bee. I don't know why I feel the need to check it at least five times a day, but I do. I get attached to their bloggers. I can't help it. Most of the posts are related to wedding planning (e.g. flowers, dresses, choosing a caterer, music selection, invitations, etc.,), but once in a while someone writes a really good post about relationships. Just this morning one of the newest bloggers (miss seahorse - yes they all have weird nicknames) wrote a really lovely post about her relationship with her fiancee. (and i quote)

We have had so much fun, and we have supported each other through heartbreak, through depression, through big decisions. We have learned how to talk to each other, how to listen to each other and to ourselves, and how to be a family. We are always doing the work.

Marrying her, I expect, will always be work. It is work planning this wedding; it is work discussing and deciding what we want our marriage to be. It is work when it is not about the wedding or the marriage, but whose turn it is to walk the dog or clean the litter boxes. It is work in many little ways and some big ways and all of this work is so worth it.

I love this in so many ways. I think that there is a myth (in the US? In pop culture? In Chicago? I have no idea where it originates) that relationships are supposed to be easy. The myth goes hand in hand with love at first sight, maybe. That whole idea that if this person just doesn't automatically get me that this must not be the real deal. The " this partner is no good because I actually have to work at communicating  my needs to them" mentality. If someone is operating under these expectations, how will they ever be happy?

On the total flip side - there is another myth that relationships are supposed to be hard, especially for heterosexual women. This is the "no man ever wants to commit", "he is just playing hard to get", and/or "I (the woman) am just being too needy" myth.  I think this sort of thinking is just as detrimental as it promotes subjugating your own wants/needs.  Plus, I think this sort of thinking leads lots of people to make excuses for partners who are acting like a-holes.

Anyways, I think that the quote above is an example of a nice balance between the work and the good stuff. And I'm pretty sure that the work is at least part of the good stuff.

Monday, May 10, 2010

free time!

ahh remember when I was complaining about the hells of graduate school? I was so unhappy and all I could think about was my summer of freedom?


im going crazy with all this free time.

I've had enough of this life of leisure.

I need some structure!

I thought going through the closets and getting rid of everything we don't need anymore would keep me busy, but i'm already mostly finished! (two full trashbags of stuff so far, thank you very much!).

this is bad. very bad.

right now i'm contemplating going on to campus i'm so bored. do i need to? not really. but the commute will kill two hours and I'm sure I can find something to work on there for a couple of hours.

rescue me!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


this is just a little note on diets. i've heard some really crazy diet advice, but you know what I've always found to be one of the most absurd pieces of advice?

the idea that a small handful of almonds is a filling (ha) midday snack. you know what is filling? a cheeseburger with fries. one ounce of almonds, on the other hand, is not filling. not one bit.

and i'm pretty sure we could all agree on that. but, then why is gweneth paltrow recommending that we all eat A SMALL handful of almonds to "hold us over" until dinner. Of course, this is the same crazy biotch that recommends a glass of almond milk with nutrition powders mixed in for breakfast. of course you need energy powder mix ins GP, you aren't eating anything!

end rant.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

bridesmaid dresses

This morning, I ordered my bridesmaid dress for my bestie's wedding this coming October. I luuuurrrvvveeee it! Check it:

{image via bary jay}

Mine will be long and flowy, like the girl to the right, and in a heather gray color (called shadow). Grace did such a good job picking out her dresses - I'm so excited to wear it! I'll probably wear my hair up and a blingy bracelet, like the model. Now, to figure out shoes . . . I'll probably end up with a practical, black heel, but wouldn't it be fun to wear something like this?

{j crew

Friday, May 7, 2010

Flower Power

waking up to beautiful pictures is good for your health. I'm pretty sure its been proven. somewhere.
(all images via EAD)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

binge and purge

Now that finals are winding down and I have a bit more time to relax around the house, I've started to notice just how much stuff has built up in  our apartment. Neill is definitely the hoarder of the relationship and I've left him largely unchecked this year. I've known about his ever growing pile of stuff in his closet, but usually I just try and not think about it as even the idea of it stresses me out. Maintaining ignorance was relatively easy when I was gone most of the day and spending weekends doing homework, but after just a few short days at home all of this stuff is driving me crazy! And it isn't just Neill - my closet has somehow become a breeding ground of unused/unworn paraphernalia. Neill and I agreed that after the wedding, our packed closets of doom will get cleaned out. I can't wait to purge our lives of unneeded things!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

saturday night live

so here i am, just sitting on the couch innocently writing my thank you notes for the bridal shower and bam - i get all sentimental about the wedding coming so soon. According to my nifty wedding countdown, there are only 41 days left until neill and i get married. And while I can't wait to actually be married, I may or may not be getting a little misty eyed over how fast these next few weeks are bound to go by. wedding planning has, on a whole, been a wonderfully fun adventure. It was actually quite an experience to let myself fantasize about completely frivolous details and gush over all the wedding cutesyness out there in wedding blog world. And soon all of that will be over. For better or for worse, this wedding has been on my mind for more than a year. It developed residency in my brain and, honestly, I'll miss it once it moves out.


Note to self: Enjoy every single last minute of wedding planning.