Yes, my friends – I. Am. Back.

So much has been going on the past two weeks – it has just been a whirlwind of wedding activities!!  I don’t even know where to start!

First of all, honeymoon details have been (sort of) finalized.  There are only about two credit cards in the entire world that will allow you to use them essentially free of charge…meaning when you charge something that’s £100.00 in London, it will show up on your statement as $160.00 (assuming a $1.60 exchange rate) – not as $160.00 + $50.00 exchange rate fee.  Capital One is one of these very few credit cards.  With that said – yes, we applied for it!  After we have a pretty little plastic (it has Raikkon’s face on it!!!) card in our hands – we’ll continue with securing our hotels.  But because I don’t want to jinx it, you won’t find the hotels until that task has been finished.  But I promise – they’re pretty cool!!  I made Neil promise me that we wouldn’t stay in a Hilton or Marriott (sorry, Em!) – there’s just something American about staying in that type of hotel when you’re in London and Paris.  So we found some cute little boutique hotels and came up with several top runners.  We narrowed it down to two and I think we’ll both be beyond ecstatic with them both!  Our next little task with the honeymoon is all the fine details.  Transportation – activities – dinners – the whole shebang.  Transportation will be finalized closer to the time we leave and activities will be selected as we’re going forward.  One thing Neil wants to do…Wimbledon!  We also found out that the World Cup will be going on when we’re in London and Paris.  Granted – it’ll be played in South Africa, but still – can you imagine what the city will be like if either England or France are in the finals?!  I can’t wait!!  I have a feeling I’m going to become quite the soccer fan!!!

Invitation Extravaganza 2010 has commenced.  As you might remember, I decided to take on the daunting task of creating our own invitations…from scratch.  That means no template, no pre-designed paper, nada.  Just me and my brain.  Well, for all you DIY brides out there…Paper Source and Cards & Pockets have been lifesavers!!  They had so many options to choose from and I was able to completely create my fantastical design from those two sites…well, I had some help from Hobby Lobby and Archivers as well.  I cannot wait to finally get these out to door!!  Personally, I think they’re ah-ma-zing!  But, I won’t talk them up too much…you know how I am!!  🙂  Anyway, I have all the pieces I need and Emily and I have a February 20th date night of dinner and wedding movies to complete the process.  In the meantime, I am busy addressing envelopes and pretending I’m a professional calligrapher.  Although, I’m pretty sure I could make some sweet bucks with my work!  🙂  But the guest room is all set up and piles have been made.  Oh, and the actual invitations have been printed!!  Yes, go ahead, I’ll accept your applause!!

Next on the “knock-out-before-the-end-of-this-month” list is cake.  Cake.  Cake.  Cake.  Did you know there are over 20 synonyms for the word “cake”?!  Weird, I know.  Anyway, that’s been the keyword the past couple weeks.  And I have been working diligently in trying to find a time with both Neil and I can head out to the bakers.  Roadblock #1.  His schedule doesn’t allow for “cake tastings”.  Oh well, mine does and so does Mom’s.  So this week, we’re knockin’ this one outta the park!  So far, we have an appointment scheduled with Sunshine Bakery (and they’ve promised to box up some cake for Mr. Groom so he can try it out!!) and I have an inquiry in with Classic Cakes.  I’ve had Sunshine Bakery‘s cupcakes and they were (channeling Alan Harper) 2 DIE 4.  Yes, I did it.  Anyway, we’ve been encouraged to check out Classic Cakes by a small catering company down in Greenwood.  Before we had decided on Piper‘s, Mom was looking at other options for catering and came upon Savor the Moment.  They were the one’s who told us about Classic Cakes.  I’ve made an appointment with them for tomorrow.  Mom and I will head up to Carmel to try them out.   Fortunately, they’re willing to work with us as well as far as getting cake boxed up for the Mister.  Lucky us! 🙂  Anyway, they both have a plethora of flavors to choose from – not to mention filling choices – and looking through their portfolio…well, let’s just say I’m jealous that I don’t have the creativity they do!!  Anyway, more to come on this subject.  I can’t wait for my first official wedding meeting!! 🙂

And tied in with the wedding cake ordeal – I have emailed Wendy so styles for cakes in Scotland that I adore.  She’s probably on major Amanda’s-emailed-pictures overload, but oh well – I’d rather be over-prepared than not ready!!  Anyway, she’s checking with the baker in Perthshire that we’ll be using and I hope to have an answer this week about what we can and can’t do in terms of cake.  I’ll also be getting the new menu for the Old Course Hotel so we can finalize menu details.  I really like what we selected last year, so it might not change at all, but I’d love to see if they have anything new that we might like instead.  And since Neil has now started eating fish…who knows what’ll happen!

Speaking of wedding meetings, we have another one this week as well (yes, it’s just a wedding-packed week!! YAY!)  Anna from Piper‘s has graciously agreed to meet with Mom and I to go over reception decor.  Mom and I went hunting a few weeks back to see if we could come up with something for centerpieces from those bargain stores, but it just wasn’t happening.  Besides – what is one to do with 22 vases after the wedding is over?!  Exactly!  So we’re going to talk to Anna and see what she can put together for us in terms of linens and centerpieces.  I really can’t wait for this meeting.  I would love to finally get something nailed down and get our wedding inspiration out into the open air!  Of course, at this point, Neil is anti-wedding.  In fact, he has asked to be 100% excluded from everything wedding related…except cake and dinner tastings (figures!).  Come Wednesday afternoon…I’ll let you know how it goes!!  In fact – it’s amazing what all will be decided before Thursday comes!!  Personally, I can’t wait!

Another thing that’s been on the wedding checklist is this doggone DJ!  I’ve checked in with Ryan from theSimpleDJ (Mr. & Mrs. Davis’ DJ) and unfortunately,  he doesn’t have our date available.  But since I am extremely picky about DJ’s, I asked him for a recommendation.  Such as Emily, we don’t want a cheesy DJ that’s going to try to “steal the show”…we want someone simple who will just play some music and make (a few) announcements.  He’s suggested Elite Beat DJ and I have made several inquiries with them about our date.  They have three DJ’s on staff, so I am hoping that we’ll be able to pick up one of them – and the plus, they’re the same price as Ryan! 🙂  Cha-ching!  I’m thinking that if I don’t hear back from them by Wednesday – I’ll give them a little ringa-ding-ding!

Major wedding preparations have been made – in terms of myself, of course!!  I’ve kicked up the workouts tenfold.  Neil and I were partaking in two days of spinning and three days of weights.  Well, I’ve switched that up a bit because I was not seeing results – regardless of the two years we’ve spent working out!  So now I am doing five to six days of hardcore cardio…that includes two days of spinning and three to four days of running and the elliptical.  I can say that I’ve noticed a boost in energy, but I also believe that boost is from the amazing smoothies I make every morning (thanks, Am!).  Either way, Neil is saying he sees a difference, and I am feeling a difference…so that’s really all that matters, right?!  I know my wedding dress fits (no, I didn’t order it two sizes too small…just in hopes of losing weight!) and I know that I still look okay in it…but I want to look fabulous!  I want to try on that dress during my first fitting and WOW! myself.  I want to walk down that aisle and make head turns!  And I know that if I continue on the track I am…I’ll make it there.  Now if only the scale would agree – I’m sick of seeing the same number!!

Of course, with that said – I don’t want to look like this…


But I wouldn’t mind rocking a back on my wedding day like this bride…


Speaking of this amazing bride…check out her inspiring story here!

Finally, two major things have been checked off the list.  Last week – Neil and I picked up our wedding bands!!  Yay!  It’s official.  Of course, I had already picked up and paid for Neil’s ring about a month ago, but after I got home and it tried it on, it was about 10 sizes too big!  Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point.  And because Tungsten can’t be “sized”, we had to send it back and get an entirely new one.  Well, the same day that my wedding band was finished, Neil’s ring arrived!  Therefore, we have 2 major items now in our possession!  I couldn’t be happier.  My ring turned out perfectly – even more perfect than I had hoped.  It looks so amazing combined with my engagement ring and as Neil says, “It’s a lot of sparkle!”  Ooh, I love him! 🙂  He spoils me so much!!

On a non-wedding note – school is starting to wind down and in exactly 96 days, I will be finished and in possession of my teaching license and a Master’s degree.  I cannot believe that I am already almost finished.  It’s so surreal because I feel like I have worked so hard for all of this and it will finally start to pay off .  Of course, it won’t really pay off until I have that job in hand – but I’m hoping to secure that in the next couple months.  Pray for me! 🙂