Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shutter! (Not shudder)

Remember these shutters I found? Turns out they couldn't ship them. But this is one of those rare "ask and ye shall receive" moments.

Guess what my aunt had hanging out in her garage!?

Pretty, right?

I'm going to add either some hooks or small nails to hang place cards with skeleton keys. See? Kinda like this...

except different. But you get the idea! How lucky am I!? And $0 fits my budget so perfectly!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mmmmmm bread.

I need to go gluten free. At least for two weeks. Just to see if it's causing my headaches and general yucky-feeling-ness. So, I made bread. Makes sense, right?

And I made these:

They're almond macaroons. They're phenomenal!

And you know what!? Gluten free! There is exactly 3 ingredients: almond paste, sugar and egg whites.

So, I'll go gluten free just as soon as I finish that loaf of bread. (Which obviously won't be long.)

But let's be clear. I'm making more of these cookies. :)

Shoe help!

So, I ripped the bow off my shoes. I have nothing against grosgrain ribbon bows. Except they just aren't right for a wedding. If you recall, they looked like this from here:
I think they already look more sophisticated without the bows, but obviously, they need a little help.

So, this lady here mocked up a kiss pleat for me.

I likes, although I haven't really explored other options. Maybe I'll mock up some fabric flowers and see how that looks, too. I'm not sure. I do like the shape of the kiss pleat, though. So many tiny decisions to be made still! And now there is officially less than 6 months left. Should I start freaking out yet?

Also, Chris bought me flowers. Pretty!

And, not surprisingly, I still love milk glass!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cake Wreck

Have you ever had one of those days where *nothing* goes as planned? No? Really? I don't believe you.

I managed to make a cake last week that I'm afraid I might see on Cake Wrecks. While that website sometimes makes me laugh so hard it brings me to tears, it won't be as funny when one of *my* cakes ends up on there. And this cake already brought me to tears.

I should've known. A red guitar is clearly outside of my ability levels on the decorating front. I knew that going in, but the family who enjoyed the rainbow cake was so excited about their guitar cake that I think I became delusional about my abilities.

Luckily, they are super nice people and didn't gasp when opening the cake box to find this.

I tried. Hard. I even tried not to cry *in* the cake. I was successful, but the cat didn't appreciate it when I used her to wipe my tears.

And, yes, I'm aware that the neck of the guitar is waaay too short. However, if someone pays for a cake, I don't imagine they want four inches of cake and 10 inches of neck, so, I modified the thing a bit. Into a violin. Ok, even violins have longer necks than this. Sigh.

I guess it looks so-so-ok. Hopefully it won't really end up on Cake Wrecks. Because then I would cry. Again. And it would remind me of the series of disasters that this cake brought. (1) Overbaked chocolate cake! Nooooo! (That's what happens when your oven is at least 50 degrees hotter than it's supposed to be. Although I'm used to that, so what's my excuse!?) (2) The frosting wasn't thick enough to give me a nice edge. It was too schloopy. (3) The butter in the red frosting had a funny taste to it. Yuck. (4) I ran out of powdered sugar before making the white icing, so I had to use regular sugar because it was LATE and I just had to be DONE, so it was all grainy and gross. I'm not sure I've ever had such a hard time with cake before.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What wedding?

Who has time to do any wedding related things when there are so many cakes to be made? Not me!

I am, however, in looove with this vegan chocolate cherry cream cake with maraschino cherry hearts as a border. C'mon! That's cute!! I was pretty proud of myself when I thought of it. *Pats self on back.*

Then I made a vegan chai latte cake. It's gooood.

I can't decide which cake I like more. I'd say it's a toss up! (Although the chocolate gets points for adorableness.)

Since my awesome friend (and best customer) Katrina is keeping one cake for her birthday and the other is going to work with her hubby, I made mini cupcakes for her to taste test and decide which stays cake goes to work and which cake stays home. Look how small they are in the cupcake holder! They're adorable.

I can't stop eating them.

Mmmm, breakfast.

At one point during the frosting process I heard a funny sound. It was the cat sitting a few feet away, gazing lovingly at the cake and repeatedly licking her lips. Finally, when the licking got irritating enough and I realized she wasn't leaving, I got a spoon, put a teeensy bit of frosting on it, put it on the floor. She ate it up and went to lay down. She just needed a little after-dinner sweet. She's sooo my cat.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dear sleep: It was nice knowing ya!

Well, I actually got a decent amount of sleep for the past few nights. Good thing, too, because I won't be seeing any of that for a while. 5 days. 3 cakes. You do the math. Oh yeah, and a job. And teaching kids dance. And attending my own dance class for sanity's sake.

Stay tuned for photos (of the cakes, not of the dark circles under my eyes). :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I will have a chandelier!

I'm clearly obsessed. I love them all. Here are some of my fav DIY chandeliers:

This one, of course, that I found here on 100 Layer Cake.

This one from here on Design*Sponge:

And now, this one from Snippet & Ink, found here.

I kind of want them all. But no matter what, I will be married under some chandelier-type loveliness because I loves.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Relationship Workout Workshop

[Photo from]

You know how way back when I talked about how important it was to work on my relationship instead of getting caught up in all the wedding stuff? Well, it turns out that can be a challenge. Life can get so hectic without my really noticing how busy we are. Like chickens with our heads cut off many (most?) weekends, I tell you.

But we did the bestest thing last weekend! We set the weekend aside to attend a couple's workshop at the Gottman Institute.

While there are no pretty pictures to share with you (which I'm sure you'll forgive after all the cute animal photos in the last post, right?), I feel more strongly about the benefits of this workshop than I do pretty things. That's saying a LOT. I feel very strongly about pretty things, so just imagine how good this workshop must be!

I feel so very lucky that I'm with someone who is willing to take the time out of our hectic lives to work on our relationship. We both feel that the skills we learned will take us a long way towards understanding each other's needs and building a life together.

The ideas taught at the Gottman Institute are really quite simple, but also very easy to forget to do when the business of life sets in. All of these relationship goals build on one other, of course, and there's a lot to remember and to implement. I won't pretend to be able to summarize them in any way that would be useful for another couple, but just to show how brilliant this workshop is, I'll talk very broadly about what we learned.

First, know a lot of stuff about each other. You know, like friends do. Ask them about their day, how they're feeling, what's stressing them out, etc. Seems simple, but, I tell you, there are days where this takes *work.*

Be nice to each other. Actually tell each other that you appreciate the other person. Show them some respect. Again, simple, but it's so easy to take your partner for granted when you share a life together. It's easy to just silently appreciate that your husband just did the dishes and forget to actually say "thank you." These little things go a long way.

Look towards each other for help and support. Tell each other what you need. Listen to each other. No, really listen. There are lots of techniques used during the workshop to teach active listening skills. This is much harder than it sounds.

If you do all of those things for one another (easier said than done, of course, and the Gottmans have many suggestions on exactly how to go about doing these things on a daily basis), you'll feel good about your relationship. Makes sense, right? Again, sometimes a refresher course is necessary.

Then, the Gottmans talk about how to manage conflict. Apparently, studies show that couples that manage conflict well are much more likely to stay in couple-hood than those that don't. As in, it's one of the main indicators of whether your relationship will be successful. Holy cow! In the workshop, the Gottmans start to impart the skills necessary for recovering well from an argument. This includes understanding where one another is coming from (because an argument about who is going to take out the trash usually has *nothing* to do with garbage). They offer skills for listening to each other's point of view as well as starting conversations to address problems in a nice way. (Just think!) They also talked about how to deal with problems that you may face frequently in your relationship. (In case you were wondering, it is very validating to hear someone say: "every relationship has perpetual problems.") There are also tools on how to effectively work towards compromise without feeling like you are giving up your sense of self. Gah! BRILLIANT.

As the workshop progressed, the Gottmans talked about more high-level goals, such as working to make each other's life dreams come true. You know, even if those dreams are different for each person, since we are, in fact, individuals. I love it.

The last step involves really understanding what your partner wants and needs out of life, and working to share in those values and developing a shared legacy.

Doesn't this make so so much sense!? I won't lie, it sounds a lot like the mediation training I've taken in the past, but it is so so much harder to implement these skills in your own relationships. We have cheat sheets. No joke. They're awesome and going up on the fridge. We also have homework. Self-imposed relationship homework. Maybe that sounds awful to some people, but the fact that both of us are interested in working to strengthen our relationship so that we can have a successful marriage sounds like one of the best things ever.

This workshop is worth every.single.penny.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

California Dreaming

It's been a very, very busy week and a half.

There was the trip to Universal Studios to see this and some other stuff.

It was cold, but the sun graced us with its presence on day two, which was nice after getting soaked on day one. (We hadn't packed for Seattle, after all...) Then we drove to Santa Monica and we hung out here:

And there were pretty views. And children playing in the sand despite the lack of warmness.

Then we ate dinner with this gorgeous view just as the sun set:

And then we headed off to Sea World for animal attractions galore. I found Sea World to be much more interesting than Universal. But, I'm probably biased, given my lack of interest in movies and my almost over-the-top love of animals.

Killer whales seemed to actually enjoy doing this (there were a lot of whole fish treats given out):

The dolphins were very talented!

I was surprised when we were able to pet a real dolphin. Ironically, it felt fake.

We fed this guy. He scares me a little.

Okay, a lot. Can you blame me!? Look at those teeth!

This guy scared me, too. I didn't realize walruses were that B.I.G. This photo just doesn't do it justice.

And speaking of being freaked out:

There were Flamingos and Turtles and Penguins, oh my!

Dang, that snow is slippery!

And beluga whales enjoying what I was told feels to them like a Hawaiian vacation. Relaxing.

I don't know why, but I loved this guy. Not his species, just this one fish.

Plus, polar bears are cute and fuzzy. But, not friendly, I'm told. I wasn't allowed to pet one or take one home.

And they seem to have a fondness for snow.

Sea otters eat shrimp out of Kongs at Sea World, so, you know, that entertained me for quite some time.

I was thinking of teaching Raya to do this next week.

I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

There was a gorgeous sunset over the wing of our plane right before boarding...

and then we landed in the middle of a ridiculous snow storm in Seattle. Awesome.

Also, we booked the date for our engagement photos with Abbey Hepner! I know, we're a little slow on the photos, but we figured we had a better chance for a little warmness if we the shoot closer to summer. So exciting! I can't wait!