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Archive for February, 2010

He Makes Me Laugh

If you don’t know Ryan Arthur, you are really missing out.

He is one of the kindest, sweetest, most sensitive, loving, cutest, funniest and funnest people I know. 🙂 And I could go on and on with the adjectives…

Here is a snapshot of why I love being with him. These are some of the worst pictures of me ever (seriously), but I love the moments they capture because of the complete joy.

He makes me smile. He makes me smile so big that my eyes disappear and I have a double chin.

 

When I am with him I am filled with so much joy that I just burst out in laughter.

And I laugh…

And laugh…

and laugh.

Whether I’m in his arms…

or gazing into his eyes…

I am in my happy place, and I just can’t help but smile.

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful…” -Proverbs 15:13A

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Bonne fin de semaine de l’Amour! That’s a bunch of de’s. 🙂 That’s right, this weekend was Valentine’s Day Weekend, and it was a pretty big deal for Savannah and me. This Valentine’s Day marked our First Married Valentine’s Day! So we wanted to make it very special!!

We started our celebration on Saturday morning. Savannah made a gift basket that had details for a Day in Paris. Here’s the gift basket with the card she got me and the little book she made me:

The basket included plans for breakfast, a homemade dinner and a movie. We started our morning by having a French breakfast at Provence.  It was a delicious meal. We even had french hot chocolate (chocolat chaud), which was nice because it was so cold Saturday morning. They were out of the bread we wanted for our French dinner, so we then drove to another Provence location for our French bread.

After our morning activities, we took an intermission from French Day to have Valentine’s Day Tea at Savannah Tea Company with my mom and the Sweets. (We were excited to see Penelopi to give her the Valentine’s gift we got her!) Those that regularly read the blog know that Savannah Tea Company made our wedding cake. They are also a tea house that has great food and a schmorgisborg of different flavored teas. They are like the Baskin-Robbins of teas!

After our delicious 5-course meal and tea, it was back to our day in Paris. Savannah and I stopped at Corrieri’s Formaggeria to pick up some ingredients for our French dinner. Growing up, my parents always had nice cheeses with crackers as appetizers before big dinners. It was nice to actually go get the nice cheese for myself for once. Being my first time, I didn’t really know what to get, but the guy at Corrieri’s was awesome! He was a big help, and the cheeses he suggested were delicious! If you like cheese, I highly recommend making a stop. Corrieri’s is right behind Vinea Wine & Spirits, and they were actually having a $5 wine, cheese and chocolate tasting while we were getting our cheeses. [Fun fact: Corrieri’s is owned by the same people as Mafiaoza’s, which is the place that catered our wedding.]

After a trip to the grocery store, we headed back toward Bellevue and started making dinner. On the menu, french baggette and fine cheeses for appetizer, and the main course was Croque Monsieur (this is basically fancy grilled ham and cheese) and bisque de tomates (tomato bisque). It was DELICIOUS! I don’t  mean to toot our horn, but Savannah and I are excellent chefs!

And what’s dinner without some entertainment? As part of Savannah’s gift basket, she got a DVD Romantic Comedy movie pack, that included the classic “French Kiss” starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Savannah couldn’t believe that I had never seen it. I wasn’t a big fan, but truth be told, I am not a big Meg Ryan fan. Also, we have been watching Lost recently, so I think a romantic comedy wasn’t holding my attention enough. That aside, Kevin Kline was good in it, and the plot was cute, but most importantly it was absolutely lovely to get the chance to spend Valentine’s Day Eve with the most beautiful woman in the world! 🙂

So what about Sunday, Valentine’s Day proper? Well, we didn’t make any big plans for the day besides dinner reservations. We spent the afternoon finishing the first season of “Lost” and then drove out to White Bluff to give the nephews their Valentine’s presents. We ended up missing our dinner reservations, so we decided to have our Valentine’s Day dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings (romantic right?). 🙂 Savannah has been craving buffalo sauce, and we have both been wanting to give it a whirl. So we figured, why not? (It was really good, and we had a great time. We were definitely not disappointed with our choice.)

Well that was the story of our First Married Valentine’s Day. It was filled with time spent with each other, and time spent with family that we love. To those we didn’t get to see, we love you all too. We will have to give you an extra big hug next time we see you.

Love you all!

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Day 2 of wedding dress shopping took me, my mom, my older sister Brook and my BM Kelly all over middle Tennessee. It was a full day! We started at the Bridal Warehouse in Goodlettsville, which reminded me a lot of David’s Bridal, but a little cheaper probably. They were helpful, but the experience definitely wasn’t as nice as it had been at the high-end bridal boutiques in Nashville. Guess that’s part of the whole “get what you pay for” thing. While we are in that area, we also stopped at Second Time Around, a consignment store in Hendersonville that Mrs. Cheap had written about in a wedding article she wrote. I didn’t find anything that I liked in my size; the selection is obviously dependant on what they have gotten in from consignment customers. They were nice enough to call me when an empire waist dress in my size came in. But I had already found my dream dress by then.

We then drove all the way out to Murfreesboro, to visit A Bride’s Storey. Even though we called ahead and had an appointment, they were really busy that day and didn’t have time to help. We felt like we were wedding dress shopping pros at that point and just helped ourselves. With my sister and BM helping pick out dresses and my mom helping me get into the dresses, we did a pretty good job of helping ourselves. They did have some nice dresses in their shop and some reasonable prices, but they didn’t have anything that I just had to have. I took the lack of service as a bad sign, so I would have had to find a really incredible deal there to actually purchase anything from them. We stopped by Fashion Atelier on our way out because we saw a sign about wedding dresses. We found out that it is actually a seamstress shop and Tatyana, the owner of the shop, makes custom wedding gowns. She was very nice and had some pictures of some nice gowns, but when I asked her about lace gowns, she said I could probably get a better deal with a manufactured gown since lace is so expensive. She was more than happy to make one for me though. I decided that I should probably stick with the cheaper route and we continued on our way to Franklin.

The first place we went in Franklin was the Bridal Gallery of Franklin. The girls working there were nice and attentive and we were the only ones in the store at the time. By this time, I was exhausted from the four places we had already been that day, but I was also determined. So we found several dresses for me to try on, and pushed through. So glad I did. There were two dresses at this store that I absolutely loved, and for the first time, when I came out of the dressing room, everyone just oohed and aahed.  I was a little torn between the two dresses, but I just knew that I would be perfectly happy in either one of them on my wedding day. Wedding dress shopping Day 2—success! We had our last appointment for the day at David’s Bridal, so we decided to go ahead and keep our appointment to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. From this experience, I can tell you that even if you have an appointment, do NOT go to David’s Bridal on a Saturday. That place was a mad house! I didn’t really find anything in David’s Bridal that was for me. I found a couple that could have been, but they were nothing compared to the two dresses I found at the Bridal Gallery, and the ones at David’s Bridal were also more expensive! Contrary to popular belief, David’s Bridal does not have the least expensive wedding gowns.

When I got home that evening, I realized that the two dresses I loved so much (and everyone else loved on me), were the two dresses that I had in my wedding planning notebook! I was so happy to know that the dresses I initially loved were the ones that looked the best on me.

The next week as I was still trying to decide between the two dresses, I got an email from The White Room in Lebanon saying they were having a 10% off sale for Columbus Day. I immediately called and asked if they had the two dresses I liked—and they did! I made an appointment for Saturday, February 14 (last Valentine’s Day), and me and my sisters went out to Lebanon that morning to make the ultimate dress decision. (While my sweet fiancé watched two of my nephews so my sister could come with me—how perfect is he?) I had such a great experience with The White Room. Ashley was the one who helped me try on all the dresses, and she was very attentive. I tried on several other dresses just to make sure, but when I put on the original dress I fell in love with, the one I saw on Ashley’s Bride Guide, we all just knew. It was the perfect dress for me. And I bought it that day. It was $100 less than it had been at the Bridal Gallery, and it was 10% off which meant even more significant savings.

So yes, I bought my dress on Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t think of a more perfect present for the man I love. When I got back to town, Ryan and I had a date at Savannah Tea Company, which happened to be our cake vendor for the wedding. They have an annual Valentine’s Day Tea, which is a 5-course meal. We definitely recommend it. We also recommend them for cake, but we’ll talk about that in another blog. After that we went to Macy’s and Williams Sonoma to register for wedding gifts. All in all it was a very romantic and fruitful Valentine’s Day.

Here is my beautiful dress that I bought that day:

On a side note, it turned out to be fate that I got that email from The White Room and did not get my dress from the Bridal Gallery in Franklin as they ended up going out of business and locking their doors so that several brides, some who had already even paid full price for their gowns, were not able to get to their dresses. I’m not sure exactly how that worked out for everyone, but my friend Lora was involved with that, and they did end up getting their money back on their credit card after a lot of hassle. Someone was definitely looking out for me during the wedding planning process and on our wedding day.

We hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day this year!

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In honor of Valentine’s Day 2010 (our first ever married Valentine’s Day!!!), I thought I would do a recap of last year’s Valentine’s Day, which was a very important day in our wedding planning journey.

It was the day I bought The Dress.

I’ve never been one of those girls who had her wedding dress envisioned from the time she was a little girl. In fact, when looking through bridal magazines, it was rare that I would see anything that really stuck out to me. Nothing really looked like me. Thankfully, after I was officially engaged, that changed a little. In fact, one day while I was checking out Ashley’s Bride Guide, I found a dress that I absolutely loved on her site! She had posted a recap of one of the bridal shows and had a picture of a dress from The White Room. I wasn’t sure who the dress was by, but I knew I loved it. Then, when I was flipping through some of my bridal magazines, I found a couple of dresses I loved, and one of them happened to be the exact dress from the Ashley’s Bride Guide post! I was excited about my preliminary research, but you never really know how a dress is going to look on you (or any article of clothing for that matter), so I just took the print-outs and magazine pages and stuffed them in my wedding planning binder for future use.

Last January, I took a couple days off work to go wedding dress shopping, one day with just me and my mom and one day with my mom and sisters (although my younger sister got sick, so my bridesmaid Kelly came with us instead). I decided to just start fresh and see what looked the best on me. I didn’t even bring my wedding planning binder. Day 1 with my mom was a very snowy day; in fact, we were a little worried about traffic conditions and almost called the wedding dress search off for the day. But after going back and forth about it for an hour or so, we finally agreed to push through and get out and officially begin the search for the dress. We braved three Nashville wedding dress boutiques in the snow that day: The Bride Room, Arzelle’s and b. Hughes Bridal Formal. I made appointments at each of these places, and they were all really nice as I was trying on dresses. The Bride Room was especially nice, and had I found the perfect dress there, I would have definitely bought from them. I found a few that I liked at each of the places, but none were perfect. Well, except for maybe the $10,000 Oscar de la Renta dresses I tried on. I love b. Hughes and the lady helping us was so nice and attentive, but I just didn’t have the budget for a $10,000 dress. Although she did tell me that I’m “definitely an Oscar girl.” I would have to agree. Those Oscar dresses fit me perfectly. This one was probably my favorite:

We ended Day 1 with some ideas of what looked good and what didn’t, but no solid leads. We did have a great time though. Trying on wedding dresses was so much more fun than I thought it was going to be. I felt like a princess!

Sometime in between Day 1 and Day 2, I went to Faccio Bridal in Franklin on one of my lunch breaks to see what they had. They had some beautiful dresses in stock, but none that really stuck out to me, and the price range was a little more than what I had decided to spend.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 Tomorrow!

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Around Christmastime I got in an email chain conversation about good Christmas gifts for significant others. I suggested to a friend who was low on funds that she should make her sweetheart some “love coupons.” I mean, who wouldn’t want the chance to claim a massage or a kiss or breakfast in bed whenever they want? That is better than almost anything money could buy. Well this gift seems even more perfect at Valentine’s Day when the focus is on love and sweet things to do with your loved ones. I was excited to see Russell Stover take on this idea this year with this new product that I actually picked up at Walgreens:

The “Cupid Coupon,” a milk chocolate bar that comes in a coupon box. They have six coupons available: bubble bath, breakfast in bed, slow dance, candlelight dinner, make-out session and massage. And the chocolate bar inside looks like a gift certificate. Too cute! For just $1, you can give someone the gift of chocolate and the promise of a romantic moment to use whenever they choose. I’m a big fan. J

For a while now I’ve actually thought that I’m not a big fan of milk chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a chocoholic. I need chocolate at least a few times a week to really be my happiest. It’s just that solid milk chocolate always seems to make my throat burn. But not this Russell Stover candy bar. Which makes me an even bigger fan.

If chocolate isn’t your thing, you could always make your own coupons. I found these free printable love coupons online:

http://www.romancestuck.com/love-coupons.htm

http://www.houseof3.com/free-valentine-love-coupons.html

http://www.canadianliving.com/images/pool/lovecoupons.pdf

Aren’t they cute?

Hope everyone has a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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We started putting away Christmas on Sunday and finally got it all put away last night. Now that we’re a week into February, we thought it was probably time.

But before you start thinking that we are major slackers or just lazy (which might not be too far from the truth), you should know that we deliberately left the tree up through the entire month of January. Ryan justified it by saying that since we were gone for 10 days in December (for our adventure in Africa), we didn’t get as much time to enjoy the tree. I actually never intended to take down the tree until after January. That’s the one good thing about being an adult—being able to make decisions like that for yourself. Remember when you were a kid and would always be so sad when your parents started taking down Christmas? Well, that’s how I was anyway. January is such a dreary month. It’s gray on most days, snowy and freezing and gloomy too. Leaving the cheer of Christmas lights and decorations up throughout the month really helps me fight my self-diagnosed seasonal depression!

I think LuLu needed a little more time with Christmas. She doesn’t look too happy about putting it away here. I’m actually not sure if she is guarding the décor or ready to help me put it away.

On another note, Ryan and I finally started watching Lost last week. Ryan had never seen any of the episodes, and I only saw a few when it first started. I bought him seasons 1-3 for Christmas back in 2008, but we just didn’t have any time to watch it in 2009 with all our wedding planning. So now that the series is about to end, we’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon. Do you think we can get caught up on seasons 1-5 before the series finale?

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Hello Gang! Just thought I would give you all an update on our weekend. Saturday night we went to Ru San’s with some of our friends that Savannah went to college with. Savannah and I had not been to Ru San’s in FOREVER! I had forgotten how delicious their sushi is. I think we stopped going because the techno music they play, while enjoyable and creates an authentic chic Japanese Sushi Bar experience, was so loud. You can barely hear yourself enjoying their delicious sushi. Well I am happy to report, they have decreased the volume, at least between the hours of 6:30pm and 8:00pm (which is when we were there). And the sushi is still awesome! (Side note though: although Ru San’s is good, the best sushi in Nashville is Peter’s Thai and Sushi in Brentwood).

After sushi, the group went to one of Savannah and my favorite bands EVER, SafetySuit. They put on one of the best live shows. They have so much fun and such a great respect and love for their fans. They went to number 1 on VH-1’s Top 20 Countdown and still willingly agreed to come back to 12th and Porter for $10 a ticket. If you get a sec, you should check them out. You will not regret the decision. Despite the cold, we managed to show some smiles and excitement!

Sunday Savannah and I went to church at Woodmont Hills and then went to lunch with our friend Heather. We went to Chili’s on West End. I always enjoyed Chili’s but they have this new going on that is FANTASTIC! For $6.29 you get chips and salsa, a bowl of soup and a house salad. Oh wait! Did I mention they are all BOTTOMLESS! That’s right. Chili’s All-You-Can-Eat for $6.29. And if you get the Citrus-Balsamic Vinaigrette, you basically have the Quesadilla Explosion Salad, sans quesadillas and grilled chicken (which if this is more your speed, then this is their best salad and the only salad I have known Savannah to crave. She really doesn’t like salads, so this speaks volumes for her to crave it). So that’s our money saving tip for the week!

After lunch we headed back home where I proceeded to crash due to a sinus headache, which pretty much consumed my evening. I even missed the Super Bowl because I could barely move to get something to drink, let alone get out of the house. We don’t have cable and although we have a digital TV, our antenna doesn’t get CBS, so going out would have been the only choice to see the Super Bowl. I wasn’t too disappointed since my team, The Steelers, didn’t even make the playoffs. Although I am sad I missed the commercials. Thank goodness for YouTube and Hulu, right?!

Well I hope everyone had a great weekend and has a great week! Get geared up for Valentine’s Day! You still have time to get a date!

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