Thursday, May 30, 2013

In Austin

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week dear readers! We're in Austin, and working on full time wedding planning. This is our last trip here before coming back for wedding week. We've accomplished a LOT (meetings, fittings, trials, planning, tastings, etc), but also have taken a little time to catch up with family and friends. We even took a tubing adventure while here.

And the other night, we had a date night at Kome and Spider House. I'm obsessed with the sushi at Kome...we always start with the suzuchi-kimchi (and edamame of course) and this time we had go-go roll, spooky roll, and a traditional yellowtail roll. Delicious, and the price is very-right. At Spider House, I ordered a drink called the Bill Buckin' Murray...and I'll definitely go back for this lovely lemon/lime summertime drink with the best ever namesake.

We're having a great week, but I'm missing Lola and Zoe! Thankfully, my friend Jenni is taking good care of them. I'm ready to be done with all the wedding planning (really ready, no more planning please!) but I have to hang in there. We're not quite there! I must admit, I've missed checking the mail for RSVPs!

No real "news" over here. Just wanted to explain why I've been MIA and let you know the blog will be more active soon!

<3 S, B and in good hands L&Z

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our Engagement Year

It seems hard to believe, but true: a year ago today, I said "yes" to spending my life with my best friend.

But it's still 44 days until we say "I do!" :)

I made him breakfast this morning to celebrate.

On the menu was farmer's market eggs, gingerbread pancakes from Kerbey Lane mix, and mimosas made from a leftover bottle of bridal shower champagne; a great way to start out the day.

And what a year we had to celebrate...many great things have happened since May 22, 2012. We've traveled tons, witnessed 4 weddings, planned our own wedding, made it through another successful school year, started planning for our future together, and loved one another through all the ups and downs that life has thrown our way.

If there's one thing our engagement year has taught me, it is that there is no such thing as "easy" or "having life figured out." Picking the person you want to spend all of your days with won't make the days any less chaotic or crazy, and that's okay.

So we've been engaged a year, with a little over 6 weeks left until the wedding. I think we're at the point where it is hard to wait, but I'm glad we had the whole year to figure everything out and give our friends and family time to make travel arrangements. We've had a ton of parties (engagement, couple's shower, bridal shower, and coming up bachelor/bachelorette), and it has been really nice to celebrate with everyone we love this year.

With the majority of American couples taking 13-18 months, and the average American engagement at 15 months, our 13.5 month engagement isn't out of the ordinary, but we've both reached that SO ready to be married point...and that's probably a good way to feel right now!

We took the year to start doing some important things, like starting a savings account. We've surpassed every goal that we had for ourselves, and that makes me proud knowing we can do it. We've also had a lot of important conversations about the future, as we try to sync our visions into one vision. Brendan doesn't really believe in deciding on much in advance, but for someone with that philosophy, he's engaged in a lot of conversations with me about "what ifs" (my favorite kind of conversation).

It's been a wonderful, spectacular 365 days, and now, my main goal is to enjoy the next 44. I don't want to wish them away, and I think I've done a great job of living in the present this year, but I'm just so excited to gather with the people we love and officially take our vows.

 Can't wait to say "I do," matter how hectic the next 44 days are, just remember that! :)
<3 S

Monday, May 20, 2013

First Week of Summer

It's hard to believe we've already lived a full week of summer, but it's true. We try to stay productive during the summer and on a similar schedule as the rest of the world. Sometimes, our efforts are more successful than other times, but so far, so good.

So what have we been up to outside of productivity? Here are a few things:

Farmer's market and cooking...the peppers inspired me to make chili the other night while tonight's menu includes homemade pizza with these beautiful heirloom tomatoes!

This, enough said. 

And smoothies everyday! This is a very berry smoothie:

1/2 cup orange juice 
1/2 cup apple juice 
1 handful frozen strawberries
1 handful frozen blueberries 
1 handful frozen raspberries 
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt


We hope the past week was good for you, whether you are summering or not. Bring on week 2!

<3 S, B, L&Z

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kitchen 2.0

It seems hard to believe that we moved into this apartment a year and 9 months ago. So much has happened in that time. When we moved in, we were like many couples just starting out: the apartment was a mix of things we already had from graduate school, and while nothing was fancy, it was all, for the most part, functional. 

This is how our kitchen looked August 2011: 

When we started working on our wedding registry last year, some of our things were in clear need of replacement. Hand me downs and thrift store finds that had served us well during school were starting to fall apart. There were also some things that we didn't have but that we knew we would love to own. An engagement party, couple's shower, and bridal shower later, we've been gifted some very nice upgrades and things we never had before from our very generous family and friends. After the bridal shower last Saturday, Brendan looked around our kitchen and had one question: Where are we going to put it all?

Mom and Amanda were in town, and the four of us brainstormed and came up with a great idea: We needed a Baker's Rack. We found just what we needed on, and using a couple of gift cards we had been given as wedding/shower gifts, we quickly placed our order.

The assembly was easy and took maybe 45 minutes.

Suddenly, we had a place for everything, and everything was in its place. We also had a lovely way to show off all of our beautiful red kitchen appliances...all of them sweet gifts from our amazing friends and family (Fun Fact: I seriously remember every gift we've gotten and who it is from. I don't think it is knowledge I can forget. Brendan is blown away by this "talent.")

It made a huge difference in our kitchen as a whole, and other upgrades like the Le Creuset canisters and spoon rest, new kitchen towels and cutting boards, and stainless steel trashcan helped take our kitchen from "kinda of drab" to "very fab." :)

Now that we have the Baker's Rack, we're really able to make much better use of the rest of our kitchen space.

We love to cook, and we do so almost every night, so we're really happy to have an upgraded kitchen that is also cute to boot.

Thanks friends and family: you are awesome!

<3 S, B, L&Z

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Bridal Shower :)

My bridal shower was this past Saturday in Midland, and all I can say is that it was amazing. My aunt Lisa, aunt Crystal, cousin Amanda, and friends Emily and Jill threw a sweet brunch party filled with fun, friends, and delicious food. Guests came in from Austin, San Angelo, Lubbock, and Midland to share the day, which was so special. It is definitely a day I will always remember! Luckily, my cousin Amanda is also a photographer, so I have some awesome pictures as well. All photos were taken by Amanda Figueroa.

The hostess printed and framed one of our engagement pictures for me to take home. 
Tulips and roses added the decor. Bonus: I got to take all the flowers home. 
Wedding cupcakes from SugarGirls delicious as they were beautiful! 
Mini quiches and lips and mustaches used for a fun game. 
Sorbet mimosas in orange and berry...amazing! 

Mom came in from Austin for the occasion! 
With my cousin/flower girl McKenna and Aunt Lisa 
With all my hostess: Em, Crystal, Jill, Lisa, and Amanda

Midland friends Chelsea, Kristen, and Jenni 

  Me and Stephanie 

We played a really cute game where Amanda asked Brendan and I questions in advance of the shower. She read the answers and guests had to guess who said what by holding up either lips or a mustache. Some hilarity ensued. Also, it was really sweet to hear some of Brendan's answers. I loved his answer to "Describe your first date:" He said, "I don’t know that we have a single “first date.”  We used to get coffee a lot at the bookstore and at a place called The Porch.  We worked on school stuff and talked about what we wanted to do in the next few years.  Each one of those afternoons was better than any “date” I’ve ever been on." That made me tear up a little.

Amanda rocking the wedding colors 

After games, it was time to open presents. We got many wonderful gifts and feel very lucky to have people that care so much for us.

Of course, for Lola and Zoe, the best part was playing with the boxes afterwards:

Those crazy cats!
We spent time with friends and family in town after the shower. At the end of the day, we Face-timed with Brendan's mom and opened gifts from her, which was a fun end to the day. Amanda and my mom stayed for one more night, and we said goodbye this afternoon.

I'm so thankful we have such great friends and family in our lives. Thank you to all involved and all those that sent well wishes: each one meant so much to us!

<3 S, B, L&Z

Friday, May 10, 2013

Crossing the Finish Line

Goodbye 2012-2013 school year; we are done.

It was an exhausting, wild, and well worth it year. Never have I been so exhausted after turning in grades, but I also feel very fulfilled. This year was a gift: some great students, great experiences, and learning a lot of new things. I will miss it, and at the same time, I'm in need of rest and rejuvenation. I slept for 11 hours last was amazing. 

I don't think it has hit us yet that we're about to cross the finish line. After our respective graduations at 7pm tonight, we are moving to summer schedule. Eating pizza on our balcony last night, we said nothing about summer. I think we were both just processing everything that's happened since we returned from Vegas. This was one of the fastest weeks of my life, but also one of the busiest. I'm just beginning to start to think about what I want to do this summer (in addition to getting married and honeymooning). 

I know a few things. I'm dying to return to reading for fun and writing. I want to do more work on my paper for this year's SCMLA. I want to dive in to organizing our apartment and make some trips to Goodwill. I want to spend time with Brendan: watch some movies, cook together, and just hang out. I want to snuggle and play with Lola and Zoe more (they have both been in my lap ever since I woke up 3 hours ago). I want to plan for the Fall semester: sit down and look at what works and what doesn't. I want to just "stay in," and I want to swim at our apartment pool. I want time to do yoga and my weight lifting workouts. I want some time to just "be."

Crossing the finish line is a day full of promise: at the beginning of it, you think of all the things you want summer to be, at the end of it, you watch some awesome young people earn a degree and begin whatever chapter is next for them. In a way, everyone (faculty, students, staff) hits a reset button, and in that time, anything feels possible. 

This is why I love academia and why I can't ever see myself leaving it: I love fresh starts. A job that gives me 3 a year? Sign me up. 

We hope your weekend brings rest, relaxation, and fresh starts! As for ours, we know it will be a good one. My mom and cousin are coming in from Austin tonight, and my friend Emily is coming from Lubbock, for my bridal shower tomorrow. I cannot wait to see them. 

Happy Friday! 
<3 S, B, L&Z 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

2 Months to Go!

Between Months 3 and 2 We:

Decided on music for ceremony/cocktail hour
Bride: Hair Accessories Purchased
Addressed and Mailed Invitations
Bride: Purchased Groom's Wedding Gift
Hired Bartender/Security for Rehearsal Dinner
Got Something Old (all of my Somethings are done!) 
Reserved Accommodations for wedding night

We Still Need To: 

Bride: Attend Hair and Make up Trial 2 (it is scheduled)
Bride: Finish Dress Alterations (last 2 appointments are scheduled) 
Groom: Alter Suit
Write Vows
Meet with Officiant 
Order Ring-bearer Gift
Finish up other attendant gifts 
Shop for and Stuff Welcome Bags
Write and Copy Note for Welcome Bags
Create Programs for Wedding

Create Personalized Table Numbers
Create Escort Cards
Create Place Cards
Make Seating Arrangements
Walk Through Schedule with Day of Coordinator
Decide on Menu for Reception (after tasting--tasting scheduled)
Decide on Menu for Rehearsal Dinner
Bride: Purchase Groom's Ring (it has been ordered)
Groom: Purchase Bride's Wedding Gift

Purchase Alcohol for Reception/Rehearsal Dinner
Purchase Marriage License
Purchase Garter

DIY Signs
Photo for Guest Book Table
Purchase Pens for Guest Book
Confirm Plans With all Vendors Prior to Wedding Day
Get Favors Ready 
Find Card Box 
Get Flower Girl Baskets 
Have Cake Server Engraved
Bride: Get Ring Cleaned and Ready! 
Confirm Honeymoon Arrangements 

Doing our invitations this month was a DIY project that took hours upon hours. I think we totally underestimated how much work is involved, but you know what they say: All's well that ends well! We've gotten a ton of compliments on them, making all the work well worth it. We got one RSVP card back so far (before leaving town), and I know I'm going to be looking forward to checking the mail for the next month. The wedding definitely feels like a reality now that I'm tracking RSVPs; knowing who will be there is so exciting. Last I heard, 109 nights were booked at our blocked hotel: whoa! I'm torn between wanting to speed time up and slow it down to just enjoy it and take everything in. I'll try for the later, as I think it's best to live in the present. My bridal shower is on Saturday, and I picked out some awesome hostess gifts while in Vegas. 

That's all the news we have for now! I anticipate no updates in the coming week, as we are going to be in full fledged survival mode until grades are due on Friday. We will surface from under piles of essays only to eat, sleep, and give and grade finals, but we wish everyone a productive and happy week! 

<3 S&B 

Other Checklists 
3 Months to Go 
4 Months to Go
1 Year--5 Months to Go 

Stephen and Casey's Las Vegas Wedding

Last night, Stephen, my cousin, tied the knot with Casey, his long time love of ten years!

The ceremony was at the Falls at Mandalay Bay and was beautiful. It was very emotional; Casey definitely became a part of our family long ago, so it was lovely to finally make it official. These two make such a great pair.

Casey and Stephen about to say their vows
I loved the bridesmaids different black cocktail dresses.
First kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Austin. 
A close up of the Falls 
Casey hugging her new Mother in law, my aunt Sally. 
With my parents after the wedding. 
A reception followed the wedding at the House of Blues. I was obsessed with the back of Casey's beautiful lace dress. Check out this picture I snapped of her and Stephen at the buffet.

After this, my phone died, but I loved these photos from their photographer Meg Meyer in Las Vegas:

A great night was had by all, and I'm wishing these two lovebirds a happy honeymoon to Jamaica!

Hard to believe our own wedding is in 2 months! Stay tuned for our checklist coming soon.

<3 S&B
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