Saturday, October 31, 2009

DIY projects with a side of pain

Happy Halloween!

Chris & me Halloween 2008

I don’t have a scary story to tell, but in a way DIY projects can get scary…

I’ve started to notice a little trend while working on DIY projects at home – sometimes they hurt!

- While cutting paper for our Save the Dates in our living room, my back started to hurt from leaning over to use the cutter on the coffee table. So I moved to the floor so my back was supported by the front of the couch, but my butt started to get a little numb from the floor.

- I’ve burned my fingers once or twice with the hot glue gun while working on the pomanders.

- My right index finger started to hurt from the repetitive pushing in of floral wire around the tissue paper flowers into the Styrofoam ball.

- I took a little slice to my finger while cutting petals from the silk flower stem

- I scraped my leg on the edge of the guest bed while taking pictures of DIY projects. LOL, I know this one is more of my being clumsy then anything else.

All in all, none of the pain is anything too major. But whenever my back hurts from cutting paper or my thumb hurts from the scissors when rounding tissue flowers I remind myself that the money I’m saving by doing it myself is worth a little pain.

Did you have any accidents with your DIY projects?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to our roots: Trini delight (Days 5 – 7)

Ok, ok... last trip recap I promise.... then back onto wedding related items :)
Sunday included one last breakfast buffet at the hotel and packing before heading for the airport – we were not going to miss another Caribbean Airline flight! We bid a fond farewell to Stumpy who we could not thank enough for treating us to our stay at the Coco Reef! The flight back to Trinidad seemed even shorter then the flight to Tobago.

Walking out to the plane

From the airport we grabbed a cab to the Hyatt in Port of Spain, where we were greeted with a mimosa upon check in.

Chris and I were whisked up to the 19th floor (mom, dad and Dennis were on the 5th floor) where we enjoyed a spacious King size room with a view of the harbor area.

Chris in the cool shower

Our comfy bed

We walked around town, spent some time in the casino and then looked for something to eat for dinner, which was a little difficult since many were celebrating Dawali that weekend and were closed. We ended up at Subway and after what seemed like forever to get our orders right we ended up with subs with an Island twist. Mine sandwiches included BBQ shrimp and pineapples (not something that I can find in Dallas). It wasn’t really safe to be out after dark, so we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed our night there.

Monday involved a lot of walking to find the best deals on souvenirs (I couldn’t leave without a Caribbean Blue steel pan of my own) and some pool time on the 4th floor of our hotel.

In the infinity pool

The heat was a little much so we returned to our room for a nap, but I ended up finishing my book instead (it was a great book!). We made reservations for a final dinner at the poshy posh hotel restaurant where I had the best seafood pasta I have ever had, and Chris loved his curry shrimp.

Final family dinner

Seafood pasta

We capped the night off with a round of Carib (the island lager) before sadly heading back to our room to pack.

Cheers to a great family vacation

We were up bright and early, and I do mean early it was before 4 am, to check out and head back to the airport for our 7:25 flight to Miami. Once in Miami the immigration/customs process was 10 times faster then in T&T. Chris even got complimented on his tats by the immigration officer. We ate Nathan’s for lunch at our gate before boarding our last of 6 flights on this vacation.

This is one family vacation that will go down in the books as one of the best! I am so glad that Chris was able to experience something like returning to my Dad’s roots with my family. I will leave you with a peaceful rainbow that we saw during breakfast one morning in Tobago

Are any of your parents from a different country? Will you be incorporating anything from their home country into your wedding?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back to our roots: Tobago Beach Day (Day 4)

Saturday was a gorgeous beach day! We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The day started like all of our Tobago days with the yummy breakfast buffet and then we proceeded to stake out some chairs and enjoy the beach with a good book and the Nintendo DS.

Us at breakfast

View from my beach chair

Under our natural umbrella

The water was so clear and at a perfect temperature! I stayed in until my fingers started to prune and then headed back to dry out on my chair.

In the water

My ring

Once our time in the sun & water was over we changed and walked over to the public entrance of Store Bay to try another island delicacy for lunch – conk and dumplings. Dad didn’t know if we would like it so he only bought one and let us try it… that stuff was so good that he quickly went back and picked up 2 more for us all to share.

Chris enjoying conk and dumplings

We walked around the area near the hotel before returning to the hotel and watching a little college football (told you I was a big football fan) and relaxing until Stumpy picked us up again.

We learned that there was going to be a wedding at the hotel at 4 pm that day and if we wanted to watch we could from the balcony area. It was a very pretty set up of white and red.

Although the view was magnificent to recite your vows, I would not have wanted all of the beach onlookers who were no doubt in the backdrop of the pictures (at least we were above the wedding so we wouldn’t be in the pictures).

The bride walking down with her mother

Groom and Bride at the alter

We couldn’t stay long enough to see them pronounced husband and wife as we were off to another round of visits from Dad’s past, but we did see them the next morning at breakfast. We ended the night with some more smoothies (those things were so good) while watching kids practice the steel pan (which Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of).

Up next our departure from Tobago and a quick stop in Trinidad before heading home

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back to our roots: Tobago Island Adventure (Day 3)

We (and by we I mean me who then gently woke up Chris) got up early, checked out the amazing view of the bay from our balcony

Threw on some swimsuits and headed out to explore the resort

Love this picture of us, it just screams island vacation

Chris in the early morning chilly water

Once we did a little walking around, we went back to our room to change and meet the rest of the fam for a delicious breakfast buffet with interesting visitors

The owl was there to keep away the little birds from stealing food from the tables

Stumpy was there to pick us up around 9 am to begin our journey down Dad’s memory lane. The majority of the day was spent driving around the island reuniting Dad with friends and family that he probably hasn’t seen since he moved to the states back in the late 60s. We stopped by Stumpy’s hardware store, which was more like a mini version of a Wal-Mart with all of the non hardware items he sells.

Drinking some Solo (Caribbean drink) at Stumpy’s Hardware

He picked up a rental van so we would not have to climb into the 3rd row of his Land Rover, but the rental was crap and died on us several times before we finally had to push it back to Stumpy’s and call the rental place to pick it up. The climb to the back of Stumpy’s Land Rover was worth it to have a nice ride for the day! We stopped for lunch at a popular Roti place where Chris tried it for the first time and really liked it. Here's Dennis & Chris chowing down

Along the way down Dad’s memory land we also made stops to Stumpy’s brothers and sisters stores before heading to Fort George.

Dad and me in front of the Fort George sign

This fort has been around since the 1770s and is still mainly in tact with original cannons and lighthouse.

Dennis, Chris and Me by cannon

Family shot in front of the lighthouse

The final stop for the day was to the street that Dad grew up on. His house is no longer there (land was sold and there is now an ATM and doctors office there) but we did get to see an old mango tree that was there back when Dad was a kid, and Stumpy’s original family store (which was next door to Dad’s house growing up, hence how they became such close friends).

Dad in front of the old mango tree

It was getting dark, and we were getting kinda hungry so we picked up some smoothies and pizza and headed back to our hotel to call it a night.

Next up, beach day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back to our roots: Traveling adventures (Day 2)

We awoke early in the morning to grab a complimentary hot breakfast in the hotel, packed up and got on the shuttle back to the airport.

The whole family in the lobby before the shuttle

Checking our luggage was free (literally) and easy, and we were on our way to the gate to board our flight to Port of Spain, Trinidad.

On the plane to POS

The flight was a little long but we occupied ourselves with books and our Nintendo DSs.

Before we knew it we were landing on the island of Trinidad. We took this quick picture in the terminal before we were told that photos were not allowed in that area.

At this point in our wonderful vacation story, we hit a snag. Our flight from Miami landed around 1:40 and we booked our flight from Trinidad to Tobago (they are two separate islands, with a 20 min flight connecting them) at 3:30. I have been to Mexico and to Europe before and never had problems with immigration or customs taking 2 hours… that’s where I would be wrong. Dad went through the “citizens” line while the rest of us stood in the “visitors” line… Dad forgot to give us a name, number or address for the place we were staying in Tobago so all we had written on our form was “Cannan, Tobago”… that didn’t fly so much with the immigration officer. We were told that we needed a name, number or address, which we didn’t have since Dad had already gone through his line on the way to customs. After a little panic and my brother’s now infamous line “Where does it say I’m going” while throwing his paper down at the officer (not something you want to do in a foreign country) the officer took pity on us and let us just put down Dad’s name since he was a citizen of the country.

By the time we cleared immigration, we were running to make it through customs (another long line) and of course missed our 3:30 flight to Tobago. The lady behind the counter informed us that all the flights were full, but that we would be added to the stand by list. Not a great start to the trip! We ate some Churches chicken in the airport and waited as 2 flights passed by before getting called to pick up our stand by tickets.

It seemed like by the time we reached our flying level we were already descending onto the island of Tobago. It was raining as we walked from the plane to the airport (good thing my poncho was packed in my carry on) and were picked up by my Dad’s childhood friend Fitzroy aka Stumpy. Stumpy was amazing and booked us rooms at the Coco Reef where we checked in, enjoyed some welcome drinks and a night cap before calling it a night.

Welcome drinks at Coco Reef

Our Bed

Family nightcap

Stay tuned for our first full day in Tobago

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back to our roots: Traveling adventures (Day 1)

I don’t think there is a word to truly describe our family vacation to Trinidad and Tobago, it was purely amazing!

Our adventure started Wednesday after work when my family (Mom, Dad & Dennis) met up with Chris and me at our apartment. Mom & Dad brought subway sandwiches which we ate half there and half at the airport later. We packed up Dad’s Explorer (which I was surprised that all of our luggage fit with room to spare) and headed towards the airport. Chris and I had a minor issue with the lady at the counter who was too busy talking about my passport not scanning that she didn’t hear me say that we wanted our bags only checked to Miami and that we would be picking them up and rechecking them to Port of Spain, Trinidad the next morning (since we had an over night flight connection). Once all of that was settled, we proceeded to the gate ordered some Starbucks and waited for the plane to board.

The flight to Miami was painless, no real turbulence and the flight seemed short…maybe that’s because I fell asleep for most of it. Anyways we landed in MIA and made the looooong (and I do mean long) walk from the gate to the baggage claim area.

Chris & me landing in MIA

Once the bags finally arrived we called for our shuttle to the Residence Inn, which was not even a year old. The hotel had a very modern type of feel to it.

Dennis waiting in the lobby of the hotel

We checked into our 2 bedroom suite which worked our perfectly. It had to separate bedrooms (with doors) and 2 bathrooms. Dennis took the pull out couch in the living room in the middle of the 2 rooms.

Chris & I getting ready for bed

Next up, our flight to Trinidad and our encounter with immigration officers

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SHHHHH!... Do Not Disturb

Part of our venue package is the use of a suite for my bridal party to become even hotter and another room for the guys to get ready. I got the idea online to make some cute suite signs to hang from our respective rooms on the big day.

This was a very simple and quick DIY project. All it required was:
- A couple sheets of scrapbook paper (the same that we are using for all signs at the reception)
- Some ribbon (which I had left over from the invite mock ups and pomanders)
- Glue/ Adhesive
- Crystals (which I had left over from decorating our wooden signs)

I love being able to use materials that I already have! I printed out the signs on white cardstock, (in the font used on our invitations) and then glued it to the green cardstock. I glued the ribbon to the blue cardstock, and then attached the green/sign. I used a little super glue to add the crystals to the sign for a little extra sparkle and viola! Simple and quick bridal suite signs.

Here are the fronts of the signs:

And the backs:

And them hanging

Will your bridal party get ready together in a room at the venue?  What about your guys?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

OOO - Out of [the] office

Not just out of the office, but out of the country! We’re leaving tonight to fly to Miami and then off to the tropical islands of Trinidad and Tobago for a family vacation!

My dad was born and raised on the island of Tobago and we have been planning a family trip there for as long as I can remember. Every year we tried to go, another family trip came up so it was pushed back again. Well not this year! After watching Bizarre World with Andrew Zimmern (I told you I’m a TV junkie) when he was in Trinidad and Tobago last year I put my foot down and determined that we would go in 2009.

My mom has been a couple of times since meeting and marrying my dad, but my brother and I have never been. We all used airline miles to book our flights (thanks work for all those additional trips to Ohio) and will be getting a hook up for 3 nights at a bed and breakfast in Tobago from one of my dad’s friends. We are splurging for the Hyatt in Trinidad for the last two nights.

The best part of all is that I get to share this family experience with Chris! I used some AA vouchers for giving up my seat to get his ticket for only $150 (they normally run in the range of $700 - $800). He truly is a part of this family and will be along for the adventure! On the wedding related front – Trinidad & Tobago is the name of one of our tables, so I’ll be on the look out for a great picture op to use for the table name sign.

Don’t miss me too much while I’m gone!

Did your fiancé take any family trips with you before the big day?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our colors DO look good together!

This just in: our colors look awesome together!

While researching ideas for our wedding, our planner Kathie found a wedding on Southern Weddings that featured our wedding colors. She sent me the link along with the advice to add an accent color of yellow to the flowers to give us more variety to choose from.

Here are some ways that the couple incorporated the blue and green into their wedding:

Southern Weddings Source

I never really doubted our color choices, but it’s reassuring to see how beautiful they can be in a wedding.

Did you look for real weddings in your wedding colors? Did you find any that gave you more ideas for your wedding?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

No reason to go to waste

You may remember that we’re going to use tissue paper pomanders for our ceremony. The first one I made was a little bit on the short side, which probably wouldn’t cut it with the garden chairs we will be using. I also used blue tissue paper from Michael’s which was a little lighter than the royal blue I found at Party City - which I like more, and was cheaper (bonus!)

As you can see in the picture, it’s much shorter than the others

After finishing the 8 pomanders that we will need for the aisle, I still had this first “trial” one lying around. It took a while to make (practice definitely makes perfect with those pomanders) and I didn’t want to just throw it out...hmmmm what to do with it?? After a couple of days of the pomander hanging from our dining room chair, staring at me saying "Miss Elephant, please don't throw me out", I came up with an idea for it!

We will be doing a sand ceremony during our ceremony, and there will be a little table set up inside of the gazebo for this. Instead of spending money on flowers to spruce up the table, I decided that we could use my “trial” pomander!

I used materials that I had around the apartment:
-Vase (thanks to my co-worker for my birthday flowers)
-Glass marbles (picked up at Michael’s when they were on sale for $1)

I filled the vase up with a mixture of blue and green marbles, turned the pomander over, stuck the ribbon part into the vase, and then sprinkled a few marbles around the vase and viola! Instant decoration and a way to use my too short, but still cute tissue pomander.

Were you able to make use of any mistakes with your DIY projects?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh No They Didn't!

But oh yes they did! In last night's highly anticipated wedding of Jim and Pam on The Office, their co-workers busted a move down the aisle to Chris Brown's Forever. The episode had me in tears, from laughter and from thinking about our big day. The sweetest part was that the bride and groom didn't get upset, of course that may have something to do with the fact that they snuck away before the wedding and got married on a Niagara Falls boat tour full of strangers.

The touching reality that I took from this episode is that no matter how much I might stress over the guest list, DIY projects and the the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that Chris and I will be committing ourselves to each forever.

Do you ever get caught up in your projects and need to just remember at the end of the day, there's only one thing that really matters?