You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.

With only two weeks before the wedding and a week and a day before we depart, I figured now was a good time to fill you all in on the loose ends that have (for the most part) been tied up!

Reception responses have been filing in at a rate of about 2 or 3 per day and I get so excited every time someone else says “yes!”  I think to date, we’re up to about 70 confirmed guests!!  Yipee!!!  I feel so blessed that so many people want to spend a summer evening with us celebrating our marriage!!

Onto more pressing news, visas.  Yes, I found out last Thursday that despite the fact Americans don’t need a visa to visit the United Kingdom, I however do.  If you remember, I was denied a visa because I had insufficient evidence about my trip and my intentions to return to the United States (you know, aside from the fact that I know no one in the UK and that my entire family and life is here in the U.S. – but that’s neither here nor there…)  So I reapplied and Mom and I found out that if you pay the right people the right amount of money – you can get things done!!!  Well, things got done!  Our lovely friend John from Chicago has been working diligently with the British Consulate to get my visa issued pronto!  In fact, just last night I received an email that says my visa will be ready for pickup today!  Of course, I don’t want to jinx myself so I’m not holding my breath on when I’ll actually receive it!!

Everyone (that I’m aware of) has been paid and I really think this thing might actually happen!!  Everything is in order and we’re ready to go!!  My final payment to the wonderful Lorna (for flowers) was sent this morning and I think we’re good to go!!

I am so nervous but so ready at the same time.  No, I’m not nervous to marry Neil – I’m absolutely 100% ready to marry my best friend – I am however nervous about the whole ceremony and reception!  For the past year and a half, I’ve been planning things from pictures and explanations.  Aside from my own dress, I’ve not seen anything!  Heck – I haven’t even seen my Grande Dame of Honour’s dress!!!!  I have this vision in my head of exactly how it’s going to turn out – but what if it doesn’t turn out that way?  What if on June 9th, I find out that I am absolutely miserable at explaining things through an email?!  Sure, I drew a picture for Wendy and Lorna, but what if that wasn’t enough?  What if they don’t get my vision?  Sure, I know no matter what it will be the most perfect day in the world, but I can’t stop “what if-ing”.

What if my dress is wrinkled?

What if the kilts don’t fit the guys?

What if my flowers are nothing like I expected?

What if my sister hates all the gifts I have picked out for her?

What if my hair isn’t quite right?

What if it rains?

Can I forgive myself if the pictures don’t turn out just right?  Can I forgive myself if I don’t “lose those last 5 pounds”?  Can I forgive myself if I don’t kiss Neil just the right way when we’re announced husband and wife?!

Now these are pretty strong talking points – and sure, when it’s all said and done, Neil and I will just just as married.  But what if everything I have done for the past eighteen months doesn’t turn out just right?

Can I forgive myself?

These are the loose ends I can’t tie up.  These are the lose ends that will ultimately make (or Heaven-forbid, break) our wedding day.  These are the things that count.

I know sulking over them won’t make the situation any better, but talking about them and expressing my worries will maybe make my heart ache a little less.  I have prided myself on being such a worry-free bride – allowing my sister to pick whatever dress she wanted, whatever shoes.  Being calm and collected.  Being organized and ready.  Those are things that I truly think will make the wedding even better…

…but there are always the what-ifs.  I can plan all I want.  I can be more organized than any bride ever thought possible.  I can do all the research in the world and have every hair in place.  But ultimately, something will go wrong.  I may not notice it, and I may absolutely notice it.  But either way – it will happen and the day will have to go on.  How do you prepare for something that you know will happen?!

With just two weeks left before our wedding, a lot of the stuff I’ve been talking about has been going through my head…typically right as I lay down for bed, but nonetheless.  But here’s what I know for sure…

…when I wake up on June 11th, I will be waking up next to the man of my dreams – my best friend.  And even if the entire wedding becomes one big disaster – he will still be my husband and I will still be his wife.  We will have our trials and we will have our successes – and we will always have each other.

And that’s what makes planning this whole big shindig worth every crying pain.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is true!!  You are reading the (soon-t0-be) famous “engagement journal” of the new Brownsburg West Middle School cheerleading coach!!  I will be in charge of the 7th grade fall and 7th and 8th grade winter squads and I couldn’t be more excited!!

It has been my desire since before I left high school to one day be a cheerleading coach – and now is my chance!!  I was offered the job on Tuesday and accepted on Wednesday!  I still have yet to turn in my paperwork – but I have definitely accepted the position!!

In fact, just last night I judged cheerleading tryouts for the Brownsburg East Middle School and got so excited just seeing what it’s all about!  It’s sure to be a wild ride – but I am totally looking forward to it all!!!

Get excited – I’m gonna be a CHEER COACH!!!! 🙂

Saturday brought me much joy.

More joy that I thought I could have in one day!

Can I just preface this whole post by saying that I am truly blessed and I just simply have the best friends in the whole entire world?!

So the day began…well, it began much earlier as Neil and I went all the way to Plainfield to drop off his car for a little servicing, but that wasn’t the part that brought me joy – okay, it did bring me joy because I enjoy being with the love of my life…but that’s not where this story begins!

2:15 p.m. was the deadline.  He had to have me home by then…or else.

And when Emily gives you an “…or else” you better listen!!

So she showed up at the house…presents in hand! 🙂 Yiiii!!  I love presents!!!  But this one, my friends, was the most thoughtful and utterly perfect gift a girl could ask for!!!

The pretty little tag said…

For the Bride-To-Be…

Here is a gift from us to you,

Chosen and given with lots of love, too.

As your wedding day approaches, we want you not to stress,

We want you to look stunning in your beautiful white dress.

Loads of treats in this basket for you,

Lots of girly things to do.

So put your feet up for the next few nights,

And pamper yourself to your heart’s delight.

A massage and pedicure, and dinner with friends,

To celebrate your marriage that’s about to begin.

Relax and enjoy a day full of bliss,

One of the final times you’ll be considered a “Miss”.

Now, she claims to have written it herself…but I still have my doubts!! (Love you, Emily!!!)

Now for some strategically taken photographs…just for this little post!!

Me with my little present full of goodies!!!

Reading my tag….trying hard not to cry!

Attempting to open it…despite the Therese Carrico wrapping…notice Raikkon wants to help!!

Checking out all my goodies!!!

Yes…Emily and Dana love me…:)  I truly could not be more blessed…

Let’s do a run down…this is everything they got me in this super cute little basket!

  • hot pink hand towel
  • hot pink washcloth
  • pink loofa
  • pink Better Back Scrubber <—sooo cool!
  • pink InStyle magazine
  • pink Conair Section & Style combs
  • Village Naturals Bath Shoppe White Tea Body Soak
  • pink vanity mirror
  • Nicholas Sparks, The Lucky One
  • pink Colgate 360 toothbrush
  • Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste
  • Stride Uber Bubble gum
  • Sally Hanson La Cross nail files
  • Trim family manicure kit (with nail clippers, toenail clippers, cuticle sticks, salon board, and tweezers)
  • Organix Rejuvenating Cherry Blossom Ginseng shampoo
  • Organix Moisturizing Grapefruit Mango Butter conditioner
  • Sally Hanson pink and purple Just Feet toe spacers
  • soft satin and velour sleeping mask
  • St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Scrub
  • Sally Hanson Insta-Dri nail polish in Petal Pusher
  • Nutrius Decadent Amber body lotion
  • Foot scrubber with pumice, emery, brush and callus remover
  • Dr. Scholls for Her Rough Skin Eraser
  • Conair pearl bobby pins
  • Conair rhinestone barrette
  • Scotch Mini Lint Roller
  • Goody Limited Edition Sahara Night Ponytail Holders
  • Dove Ultimate Visibly Smooth “DO for my BO”
  • BIC Soleil Twilight Triple Blade razors
  • Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Gel in Raspberry Rain
  • pink Q-tips Purse Pack
  • Johnson & Johnson First Aid To Go
  • Tums E-X 750 in Assorted Berries
  • Bodycology Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer in White Gardenia
  • Shout Wipe & Go
  • Tide To Go Mini
  • …and a super cute little woven basket!!

So after being rushed through looking at my goodies, it was off to our first stop of the day!!!

Mrs. Emily (see…it just sounds weird, Em!!) booked us hour-long massages at Massage Envy in Avon!!  Ooh, it was just what the doctor ordered!!!  It was so relaxing and – aside from the major congestion from the spring cold I’m toting around with me – it was perfect!!!  After our massages here…it was on to stop numero dos!

Anyone else notice anything totally wrong with this picture!?!

No, Emily and I did not break our legs on the way to the pedicure shop…but it was nice to have a warm little towel cover our legs!! Ahhhh….

Yes, we got pedicures!!!  Which I was in dire need of!!!  So off to Perfect Pinky we were!!

Totally enjoying being pampered and spoiled to my heart’s delight!!!

After the pamper session…it was off to dinner!!!  This is where the surprises got even more surprising!!

Well, first, we took a jaunt through the ghetto south west side…but we eventually made it!!!

Spaghetti Factory!!!  We were quite a bit early for our “reservation”-ish, so we waited…and look who joined us!!!

I was sooo excited that some of my favorite girls of all time came to join in the festivities!!!!  And yes, I enjoy sitting like an awkward 3rd grader getting my school picture taken…get over it!

And just in case you couldn’t tell…that’s Kim Kardashian in the back row smiling it up with the grey and black tank on!!  Yeah, she graced us with her presence Saturday.  We couldn’t believe we were in the presence of apparent royalty!!  Love ya, Kara!!!

We considered ending the night there, but I reminded Emily that a wonderful little wine bar had opened up downtown – one that we went to in Florida – and that we totally had to go!!  So…we did!!!

Girls…I love this picture of us!!!!

Yep…Tastings downtown was the next stop!!

Me with the perfect little party planners!!!  Thanks girls!!

Me and Meg enjoying some French vino…at least I think it was French!!!

Me with Kara and Jessica…who shared the most lovely looking Tiramisu!!

Annnd because Jamie was working and it had been about a bajillion years since I had seen her, we took a quick trip to Rock Bottom to see her!!!!

Ahhh, Jamie…I miss you!!!  We really shouldn’t allow our time apart to be that long!!!

I am sooo so fortunate to have the friends I do!!!

I really cannot say how lucky I truly am!!  Jessica, Kara, and Meg surprised me for the evening festivities and Emily created the most perfect day ever for me!!  And Dana…I know you helped out…and I knew you were going to be there, so you didn’t really surprise me…but I love you, too!!

To Emily…

Thank you for being the best friend a girl could ask for.  Thank you for putting up with me and being there when I need you.  Thank you for spoiling me – even when I know I probably don’t deserve it!!  And thank you for allowing me to be me. I love you.

To Dana…

Thank you for taking me in as a friend.  I am really, truly lucky that Emily was kind enough to “share” you with me and you really have become one of my truly best friends.  I love you.

To Jessica, Kara, and Meg…

Thank you for being there.  Thank you for being part of my life the past year and for continuing that relationship beyond the school year.  Thank you for always making me laugh – because you’re truly the funniest girls on the block!  Thank you for surprising me at my party and for toting around with me as I dragged you all around downtown Indianapolis!  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  I love you all – and I am so happy that we have become the great friends that we are!

It truly was a day fit for a queen…and each of these girls truly made me feel like a queen!!  I love you all and I can’t wait until we can all be together again in July!!!  But surely there will be another reunion before then!! 🙂

…Everybody’s happy, everybody’s free!  We’ll keep the big doors open, everyone’ll come around!

Wow!  I have been waiting SEVENTEEN months to write this post.  The post that makes everything I have been doing in the past seventeen months just a little bit more real.  The post that will take us from “two months ’til our wedding!” to “___ days ’til OUR WEDDING!!”  The time.  The effort.  The sleepless nights.  The thousands of emails.  They were all worth it.  Every minute.  We haven’t even had our wedding yet – and I already know it will be exactly what we’ve always wanted!

Now, this month’s checklist is quite a hefty one – so let’s get down to it!

  • Grooms: If you are renting a tux, visit the formalwear shop to get measured.
    • Check!  All the measurements for all the men have been sent off to Wendy and she ordered the kilts a few weeks ago!  I still cannot believe how much back-and-forth there was!!  I’m pretty sure we decided…and re-decided…on kilt colors, ties, etc. about 12 times!!
  • Brides: Confirm delivery date for your wedding dress and schedule your dress fittings.
    • Yes, a couple Saturday’s ago was my official first dress fitting and it went off perfectly!!  I am expecting to pick up my slightly altered dress on the 29th of May!  Just in time for Mama & Papa to take it with them!
  • Submit your newspaper wedding announcement.
    • This will get done…but not until after we’re married.  Seems a little silly to do it beforehand!
  • Grooms: Buy gifts for your best man.
    • Eh, let’s just say that I have asked him about this!!  His simple responses is “nothing”.  I don’t think he quite understands the etiquette here!
  • Decide on what type of guest book you want.
    • Good thinking!!  I had totally forgotten about this!!!  Maybe I’ll check out Etsy and see what they have in store…
  • Finish and print ceremony programs.
    • Ugh…dragging my feet.  Yes, I have them started – but what I have started is measly in comparison to what needs to be done!!!  I just need to set aside a date to DO IT.  Of course, it’d also help, too, if I have all the songs in order.  That’s a fiasco in and of itself!  But Wendy is working diligently on it and I’m sure she’ll have some solutions soon!
  • Send out rehearsal dinner invitations.
    • Well, instead of doing this, we’re making OOT Boxes!!!  I am SO beyond excited about them.  I sincerely hope they are a token of our appreciation for everyone who has gone through a lot to make it to our wedding!!  Within the OOT box will be an itinerary for the week – which includes the invitation to the rehearsal dinner!
  • Have your hair and makeup trial runs and finalize your wedding day beauty appointments.
    • Well, I have those appointments scheduled, but obviously we can’t exactly do them until we get there!!  I’ll consider it a check!!!
  • Get the marriage license and make appointments for blood tests (if necessary).  Check when the license expires.
    • Well, isn’t that special.  Fortunately, no, we won’t need a blood test, but we do have an appointment for 8:30 am on June 1st to “get our marriage license”…
  • Work on a “must-play” wedding song list.
    • Check!  We’ve been doing this for a few months now and I think we’ve got about 4 hours of music…which is way too much in my opinion.  We’ll also have to work on this for the reception here…but I’m not worrying about that until June 20th!
  • Pick up wedding rings and check the inscriptions before you leave the store.
    • Well, no inscriptions, but we did pick up the rings eons ago! Check!!
  • Discuss your ceremony music with musicians and agree on final choices.
    • Discussions have occurred and we are currently working on final selections.  Most everything is okay, we just need a couple more prelude songs.
  • Confirm wedding-night and honeymoon reservations.
    • Check!!  I have all the paperwork and will be making the final deposit on Saturday!
  • Brides: Shop for all additional accessories like stockings, earrings, a clutch, etc.
    • Check!!  Got the earrings for Christmas, wearing Mom’s pearl necklace, got the bracelet a couple weeks ago, along with the clutch and hair accessories.  I’d say I’m good to go!
  • Confirm that your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance covers your rings and gifts.
    • We’ll probably wait on this until we get home…when we’re actually Neil & Amanda Barnes!
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting or phone call with the officiant to go over ceremony timing and details.
    • Isn’t that what the REHEARSAL is for?!  Check!
  • Wrap all gifts for the wedding party and write each attendant a nice note.
    • I’ll get around to it – promise!  It’ll probably wait until after we’re in Scotland though!
  • Brides: Pick up your wedding dress.
    • May 29th!  It’s all mine!!!
  • Brides: Make sure you have your garter and  your “something old, new, borrowed, and blue” if you want to include these customs in your wedding.
    • Check!  Stay tuned for a fun little post about that!!
  • Call or email wedding party to relay critical information related to rehearsal and wedding.
    • Hello!! OOT Boxes?!
  • Brides: Get your final haircut.
    • Tomorrow. 10:30 AM.  I’m ON it!
  • Work out wedding day timing and details and draw up a day-of schedule.
    • Currently working on it.  I am hoping to give each person their own so they know exactly what to expect for “their part”!!
  • Finalize and special preferences, readings, or other ceremony details with your officiant.
    • He’s been over everything and has given it all the big check-a-roo!!  He’s been so easy to work with – I can’t complain!!!
  • Get a head start on those thank-you notes.
    • I don’t really know what thank-you notes I should be writing…we haven’t gotten anything that hasn’t already been “thank-you’d”.  Hmm…maybe they know something I don’t….?!
  • Do all paperwork for official documents if you are changing  your name.
    • The Knot must just know things I don’t.  I read through the “changing your name” article and pretty much I can’t do squat until after we have the marriage certificate.  Oh well…we’ll consider it a check because pretty much, I’m changing my name.  Hate to break it to ya, Mom and Dad, but “Arnold” hasn’t necessarily “defined me as a person…Amanda, yes, but I’m okay either way!
  • Have your bridal portraits or boudoir photography session, if you decide to get one.
    • Eh, I think the photos on the day of are enough…I’m not that full of myself that I need a bajillion photos!
  • Call your reception site manager and make sure your vendors all have access to the site when they need it.
    • Ugh! Don’t get me started.  We don’t even have a menu finalized yet… Enough said.
  • If you’re having a receiving line, determine the order you want everyone to stand in.
    • Uh…all 16 of us?!  Yeah, I don’t think it’s t hat big of a deal!!
  • Call guests who haven’t RSVP’d for the wedding and rehearsal dinner.  It’s okay to do this, you need a final head count!
    • Well, I know the people going to Scotland…once the reception rolls around a little closer, I’ll get on this!
  • Brides: Pick up your veil or headpiece.
    • Check!
  • Brides: Practice walking in your wedding shoes.
    • Oh, my flats?!  Ha!  Check!!
  • Determine any wedding day assignments for members of the wedding party, and make lists/info sheets as needed.
    • Ohhh, I am on it!!  I love lists and info sheets!!!  Don’t you worry your little head…
  • Give final head count to the caterer.  Confirm all catering set-up instructions and menu items.
    • Head count: check!  Menu items: for another day…
  • Confirm head count, delivery time, and reception location with your cake baker.
    • Ahh…the luxury of having Wendy.
  • Put together the reception seating plan if you’re having a seated reception meal.
    • Scotland: that’s pretty easy.  Here: We’ll have to wait until we have more RSVPs.
  • Buy materials for and make or buy escort cards.
    • Again…only needed for our reception here.  I’ll do it once we return.  I am really not too concerned with our reception here!!  Let’s get one thing out of the way, first!
  • Treat your bridesmaids to a traditional bridesmaids’ tea, a party at your place, or just cocktails to thank your attendants for all their help.
    • Oh, I’m sure we can find some very traditional tea once we get abroad!!!

Wow!!  That was a lengthy one!!!  I think we’re pretty much set…  I am ready to get this show on the road!  I am ready to step into my wedding dress.  I am ready to walk down the aisle to my best friend.  I am ready for it all…I just cannot wait any longer!

Ooooh, Etsy…how I wish I loathed you!!!  If you’re a bride – you know what I mean!!!

Oooh, Etsy…you will make me one broke bride!!!!

Etsy is the most amazing website I have ever perused…  The endless possibilities.  The beauty.  The love.  The gorgeousness that abounds.  It’s disgusting!  And, what makes it worse?!  I don’t have the budget to support an Etsy-obsession!  There is one store in particular that I adore with all my heart…JMG Jewel Design.

::Visit for some seriously amazing inspiration!  She also has a personal blog at

Jessica has created some of the most delightful wedding items for our wedding – and I truly cannot wait to put them all together!!  But she’s not the only one that has taken our wedding from Drab to Fab!  Let’s go through my Etsy Obsession together…

First, it was just an innocent little hanger that I found while perusing a photographer’s blog.  I loved that photo and I wanted one of my own.  So I did some research and bam!  I found it!

Now, really, what bride couldn’t resist?!  It’s perfect for that wedding dress shot and it’s just simply FUN!!  This gorgeous little piece is courtesy of LilaFrances.  She has gotten SO popular that now her hangers are on an 8 to 10 week waiting list!!!  LOVE IT!!

Next purchase from the Etsy machine was something to doll up my hair a bit.  Sure, I’ll have a veil, but I wanted something else to make my hair make its own statement.  That’s when I fell upon this beauty…

This gorgeous piece came from Jessica at JMG Jewel Design.  This first (of many JMG items) really blew me away!!  It is made so well and I know it will last a lifetime!!  I truly cannot wait to hand this down to my daughter (God-willing!)

So, I sat dormant in the Etsy world for a couple months…when I realized WHOA!  Our wedding is coming up and I need to get some details in order!!  Of course, at this point, I also couldn’t decide what shoes to wear!  If you remember – I had THREE to choose from!  Well, I finally decided on shoes and in the process, decided that my chosen little feet covers simply REQUIRED some BeDazzling…


No!!!  Not that kind of BeDazzling!!

So anyway, if you do remember – I had a whole post devoted strictly to shoe clips!!!  Well, here are the winning clips!!!

Aren’t they just precious?!  I absolutely love them!!  And what makes them even better – they match PEARLfectly with my hair clip!  Once again – a HUGE thank you has to go out to JMG Jewel Design and her amazing ability to create the most durable and perfect pieces I’ve seen!!

So I remember a funny story from Mrs. Davis’ wedding day.  We were already at Laurel Hall and we were getting ready – dressing, prepping, etc.  Emily started going through all her stuff when she asked, “Where is my garter?!”  When no one really knew where it was – she simply exclaimed, “Oh well, I can just have Mom stop and get another one at David’s Bridal!”

Well, she found the garter – but then that got me thinking…hey!  I need a garter!!  First, I perused David Bridal’s website to see what they had.  Truthfully, I didn’t want one with the traditional light blue – first of all, it just doesn’t match with our theme – second of all, I didn’t want to do what every bride before me had!  So I turned to the trusty source…Etsy (of course!).

I wanted something that kind of fit with our theme – which is Scotland/Elegance/Pearls/Golf (kind of).  Anyway, I typed in my search and was bombarded with a bajillion hits.  Ey yi yi!  Where to start?!

At the top, of course!

And that is when my eyes fell upon this…

Ahh… Are you kidding me?!  How perfect is it?!  Do you remember my earrings?!  And the pearls.  OH the PEARLS!!!  JLWeddings was so kind as to custom make this garter set for me.  First, it only came with the main garter (top), but of course, I wanted a toss garter, too!!  And – because I didn’t techinically have my “Something Blue”, I had to line the inside with St. Andrews Blue satin (that’s the name Wendy has come up with for our colors – since I despise don’t necessarily care fornavy”!)

(my apologies for the blurry blurry picture!)

So I thought I was done…I really truly did!

But am I ever really done!?  If you know me, you know I’m not! 🙂

So I innocently searched through Etsy.  Looking up and down for something that I could convince myself that I needed for the wedding.  Surely there was something there – something that was missing from our wedding that just couldn’t be missing from our wedding!

And then I remembered – we won’t have our hair and makeup artists with us the entire day – which means I’ll need (read: probably, most likely definitely need) something to carry some touch up equipment in.  Then I talked to Mama Arnold about it and she let me know that during my sister’s wedding, she didn’t even have a couple bucks with her to get gelato while out shooting wedding photos.  Problemo solved!

This perfectly beautiful silk kimono clutch was just what I was looking for!!  The Paulownia shop created it for me and I could not be happier with the result!  It is absolutely perfect and it matches so well with everything! The background is an off-white ivory and the chrysanthemum is a beautiful shimmery gold.

She also custom-made this piece for me to fully fit with our theme!!  Check out the amazing St. Andrews Blue lining…

I know it…I am totally spoiled by these Etsy girls!!!

There are several other items I have purchased from my dear lovelies at Etsy, but for now, they must remain a surprise!  But I know that once they all come together, it will be the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed!!

Now, I can truly say that our wedding will be an Etsy Affair – and I haven’t even started planning for the reception yet…who knows what will come of that!!!  But either way, thank you, Etsy, for being my best friend and worst enemy…all at the same time!!!  I look forward to more time together soon…perhaps tonight?! 😉

A Scottish Blessing

A thousand welcomes to you with your marriage. May you be healthy all your days. May you be blessed with long life and peace, may you grow old with goodness, and with riches.