Saturday, July 30, 2011

{M+D} Party Time

What is one of the most important parts to any wedding (especially for the guests?)

The drinks, and in turn, the bar! People stand there, wait there, and mingle there, so I want it to at least have some sort of decoration! Behold, the bar:

I definitely want to have signature drinks (and mine will definitely have a barber straw in it like the first picture). I think they are fun, and gives the bar a little personality. Any guesses as to what ours will be?!?

This is a cute way to let the guests know what is being served.

I love this bar! Just flip that W over and make it an M! Our bar will be more like a normal wedding bar, but I think if dressed up with initials, a cute sign, or some other decoration our guests will have a pleasant bar experience!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

{M+D} Aisle Style

Now that we have heard all about Danny's adventures, back to wedding central! Everyone is dressed (you can check out the boys, girls, and me), and we have a venue, so we have to start decorating! John Wooden said: "...details are vital. It's the little things that make big things happen." I totally agree with this- I think that it will be the little touches that will make the day special, the little things that make you think that is so Madeline and Dan! Or wow, they took the time to think about that! The big picture is important, but it is made up of tons of little details that I want to get right!

So, I want our aisle / ceremony set up to be beautiful! It is the place I will be getting married in after all! I am not quite sure if I want to do anything up where we are getting married-- I need to go see the space again. Basically it is an alter, set up a few steps, and in the corner of the stone wall. Behind it, you can see an old barn. I think that it is beautiful on its own, but I might want something on the steps? Or up on the alter... not sure.

As for the seating, here is my inspiration:

I love the look of the small vases with flowers.

I obviously am not getting married in a space like this, but the beautiful simplicity of the ribbons is wonderful.

The flower petal initial is so so unique!
Source: via Madeline on Pinterest

I love baby's breath used as a focal point instead of a filler. All together it makes such a statement!

Any other good idea for dressing up the aisle? I want something that can be easily moved (since other things will be taking place in the space later) but that also makes the ceremony space special. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Live from Korea Pt. 2

We have a village about 15 minutes from our base. My chain of command started associating with them about two years ago as a way to better our relationship with the locals.  We try to do things with them as much as possible.  I have had the privilege to go over there twice so far.  The first time I went to teach English and play soccer with children ranging from ages 6 to 12.   They are all taught English in school already, but we go and basically just hold conversations with them.  They will ask how to pronounce certain words and sometimes then will describe something and you will tell them what the English word is for that.  For instance, a little boy described a fire hydrant to me.  And I simply just told him what he was thinking about was a fire hydrant.  Not too hard.  I was skeptical at first because I am no teacher like my wonder fiancĂ© is, but I managed to do just fine!  After the long talks we had, we then went outside to play soccer.  Soccer is the most popular sport here in Korea.  I am not too big of a soccer player, but it was still fun to run around and play with the kids : )  The next time I went to pick potatoes with the older kids.  They ranged from the ages of 13-18.  Picking potatoes wasn’t too bad.  It consisted of a lot of bending over, but they figured me out fast and made me the potato sack holder and wheel barrel pusher!  I didn’t mind.  The kids are so grateful for everything they have and I didn’t hear one complain about being out in the heat and picking potatoes.  I guess it is normal to them. They seem to still have fun and joke around while getting the job done as well. It is a good lesson for all of us.

Like I said before I work with the ROK Marines and Korean security guards.  I am the only Marine MP working for 12 hours.  I don’t do much besides patrol the base once an hour and hang out with the gate guards.  Speaking of the gate guards, I have a pretty funny story.  Last week, I went up to the gate to see how the guards were doing.  I was only there for about three minutes until they started talking to me about working out.  I was challenged by two of the guys in a push up contest.  I had to take the challenge, and proceeded to get down in a push up position.  I figured the other two guys would get down as well, but only one did.  The other guy hopped on my back!  The rest of the guards already knew the plan so they thought it was hilarious.  They call me “Mershkin”, so they said “come on Mershkin, do some pushups.”  The man on my back couldn’t of weighed more than 90 pounds, so doing pushups with him wasn’t too big of a problem.  I some how still beat the other guy.  While we were doing that, my Gunnery Sergeant came through the gate, so I quickly popped up.  He didn’t care, and from what I saw he was quite amused as well.  I’m glad I can find a way to amuse the Korean people and bring some excitement to Camp Mujuk.  All in all, my time in Korea has been okay.  Talk to you all soon : )

Monday, July 25, 2011

{Guest Blogger} Live from Korea! Pt. 1


            Hi everyone!  I have now been in Korea for a little over a month.  If time can keep going this fast, I will be home in no time!  Korea has been pretty interesting.  Once I got settled and actually stepped out of the three- mile boundary of Camp Mujuk, I started learning more and more about the Korean culture.  Everyone is always talking about the Korean bbq. I finally had some time off so I went out to see what all the fuss was about.  The two Korean security guards whom invited me out are named Jo-Mik and Mr. Kim.  They took me the best bbq around.  I cannot pronounce the name of the restaurant, but being there was quite an experience.  They sit you down (on the ground), but on a nice comfy blanket type thing around a table.  In the middle of the table is a giant grill (just like you would see at a hibachi restaurant).  They start you off with a bowl of soup.  It is normal for you to share one bowl with a friend.  There were only three of us, so I decided to get my own!  You then chose whether you want your beef or pork marinated or just salted.  We got a little of both so I could try them out.  They bring you a tray of raw meet and you grill it yourself.  The meat also came with white rice and lots and lots of lettuce and condiments such as onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, etc.  I was confused at first because there was no bread, rolls, or anything to put the meat and condiments on.  My friends laughed at me and showed me what to do.  Apparently, when you eat Korean bbq you don’t need bread.  The lettuce is your bread.  You cook the meet, grab a piece of lettuce, throw some onions or whatever on top, then roll the lettuce into a little burrito type thing and shove it all in your mouth.  My opinion- not bad at all!  I don’t like eating bread anyway, too many carbs : )  The bbq was yummy.  I wouldn’t say it was everything it was talked up to be, but I would definitely go again.  

Also during my first cultural experience I learned a couple things as well… (1) You do not pour your own drink.  You offer to pour someone else’s and they pour yours in return.  
(2) The youngest person at the table cooks the food.  It is not a rule, but more of a courtesy thing.  I, however, got away with not cooking because they were showing me the ropes.  
(3) You do NOT use your left hand to give or receive anything.  It is a sign of disrespect.  You simply use your right hand and put your left hand by your right elbow.  If you need two hands then you can use both, but if not, use your right hand only.   
(4) You must know how to use chopsticks.  I never could use these things, but never actually had to either.  Being in Korea it’s a necessity, so I have been practicing! 

Since my base is very tiny, there is no commissary to buy groceries.  Your choices are to either drive an hour and a half to the nearest American Army base or go to E-mart.  E-mart is kind of like a super Wal-mart.  Supposedly there are E-mart’s in the United States, but I have never seen one.  Have you?  I went about a week ago to grab some groceries.  For some reason, I forgot I was in Korea because once I got there I was shocked to see EVERYTHING in Korean.  Side note:  I learned the language is not “Korean” it is called Hangul.  So yes, everything was in Hangul.  I should have expected that!  It wasn’t too hard to find the things I needed, however, I like knowing the nutrition facts of what I am eating.  Obviously I could not read the labels, but I could make out how many calories or “k-cals” here so I was all right.   Luckily, I went equipped with my Korean speaking Lance Corporal.  He saved me from buying goat's milk and eggs that were not from a chicken.  E-mart was a success, but I think I’ll stick to the commissary as much as I can. 

Pt. 2 later today!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Life has been a little crazy lately. It is easy to forget about all the little things that make us happy. So, here is a list of a few things that have made me happy this week (in no particular order):

1. CVS
I bought all of this fun stuff for $8.05, and I got $16 Extra Care Bucks to use towards my next purchase. Regularly it would be $41.73 but I had coupons and Extra Care Bucks. Good deals make me happy.

2. Organization
I bought these fun file boxes from Staples- one for the middle school and one for the high school. This way, the kids have somewhere to turn in papers and I have somewhere to put their returned work and make up work. Now, all I need is to know their names! (I have 50 files in each box, however, I will be very surprised if I have 100 students. In time, thought, I will!)

3. Holly's Sugar Cookies
Mom LOVES Holly's sugar cookies, so when she was here this weekend she made a bunch for us! There are shells, elephants, tutles, sheep, zebras, and giraffes! I tried to help ice them, but as always I am not detail oriented enough for Holly! They turned out very yummy though!

4. Dan!
Dan and I went on our first Skype date this week! We both rented Tangled online and watched it together! It was fun to pretend that he was there watching it with me and the movie was really really cute! It was funny, sweet, fun, and adventurous- I really liked it!
Also, Dan sent me a HUGE box of my favorite candy ever- Crazy Core Skittles! Two Easters ago he made me a big box that says "Madeline's Skittle Stash" and said that it was his job to fill it. Well, it was running very low and to my surprise a huge box arrived! Nothing better than a fiance who watches movies with you from Korea, sends boxes of Skittles, and loves you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

{M+D} Let's hear it for the girls!

Bridesmaid dresses. To most, it is a horrible phrase. They even made a movie about how bad bridesmaids dresses can be, and mocking the phrase "at least they can wear it again!" I will admit, bridesmaids dress shopping is hard. I want all my girls to look good and they all have different body types, hair colors, skin tones, and styles. I want them to be comfortable and feel beautiful, too! So, what to do, what to do....

My colors are pink, grey, and white. BUT, I feel like the pink is so muted, everyone will be washed out by them.
(These girls are all nice and tan, so it works a little better... but they have no shape, or style really and definitely would not be worn again.)

And grey dresses with grey tuxes, might be grey overload.

These dresses are pretty, and maybe with white on top would give contract to the guys tuxes... but still unsure.

So, what I really want is...pattern!

I love this dress! And it comes in three different styles... but it might be a little bright. My color is a lighter pink, but I definitely want to use different shades to give depth. It could be catigorized under the "fun" aspect of the wedding style, but would probably look a little funny next to a grey tux though... However, I think if we used pattern, we would be able to bring in the pink and white and still look pretty. Any suggestions? I can't seem to find patterned bridesmaid dresses anywhere. Or regular dresses in a pattern I like.

Oh, and I can't forget my little girls! I have the two most adorable flower girls! My inspiration for them is tutus!

Source: via Madeline on Pinterest

Dan's mom owns a dance studio, so Danny grew up dancing, along with his sisters and now my flower girls! I think they would be fun while still be elegant and I know the girls will feel right at home in them. Plus, you can't get much cuter than a tutu!

Monday, July 18, 2011

{M+D} Groom styling

Ok, so we have the venue, you've seen the overall feel I am going for, and the way that I want to look on the day. Next up, the groom! This, in some ways was a little difficult, in others, so easy. Dan, as usual, knew what he wanted. He was wearing a tux. Think black, think James Bond. Done. Well... with all of the soft colors of the wedding and the more relaxed feel, we (okay, I) thought the tux may be too stuffy. But, he is the groom, and this is important to him, so what to do, what to do. Compromise, of course. So, here is the groom (and all the guys!) inspiration:

The compromise, you ask? Grey tuxes! They are softer, but still elegant and beautiful, and still a tux. Hopefully, we will be able to find some beautiful ones. And, of course, fun accessories: a beautiful tie, or maybe all different ties, and fun socks! I LOVE fun socks and Dan and I went knee sock bowling on one of our first dates!

Another knee sock bowling date
So, I think with beautiful grey tuxes and fun accessories the guys will look awesome and ready to dance the night away!

Friday, July 15, 2011

{M+D} Registry Must Haves

Tonight, truly is the end of an era. I will go see Harry Potter, the 7th film part II, with my sister (chances are, we saw the first movie together, so it is kind of fitting). I remember my first time seeing the books, I was in Downtown Winchester at The Winchester Book Gallery and they looked so cool. And I wanted them so bad. Mom bought me the first one and I loved it and couldn't wait for the rest. I was 11 and in elementary school. Now I am 23, and getting married. Time goes by way too fast!

But on a wedding related note, Dan and I have been setting up our registries. I know, I know this does not need to be done so soon, but with Danny so far away it was one thing that he could really help with. Nowadays, many couples have lived together or are older when they get married, thus they have a lot of the stuff that they need for their home. Dan and I have pretty much lived in college & military housing, so we need everything. It is really fun to think that everyone we love will help us turn our first house into our home, and all of those things will be with us for a long time! I can't wait- to have Dan back and to set up our first house!

So, my question to you is what do I need on my registry? Sure, I have all the basics (dishes, towels, bedding, et cetera) , but what is that one thing in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or anywhere that you just couldn't live without?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

{M+D} THE Dress

I have a confession. I have not been THAT in to finding my wedding dress. Yes, it will be my most photographed article of clothing I ever wear, and I want to love it, but I don't spend hours looking at dresses online. I don't want a HUGE Cinderella dress. I don't want to be on Say Yes to the Dress. I do, however, want to say "yes" to some dress at some time.

In my day-to-day life, I am not what I would call a weird dresser. I wear jeans and t-shirts most of the time, and usually they are pretty plain. Most of my wardrobe comes from such out-there places as J-Crew and Ann Taylor Loft, but when I put on a really dressy dress, it usually is a little out there. Examples:
Prom, Junior Year
Prom, Sophomore Year

Yes, I wore a fire colored dress with millions of sequins and a black and white dress (with an awesome back & a mermaid bottom) and gloves. Who was I? I have no idea, but I loved those dresses! It was fun being different. Now, I am not saying that I want to wear bright orange on my wedding day, but I just don't want to be too traditional. I want something I can actually move in, something that is comfortable to dance in, something that is elegant but still fun (remember my wedding planning words!) and something that is beautiful. So without further embarrassment with high school photos, here are my dress inspirations!

Any favorites? Any other ideas? Hopefully, we will go dress shopping soon- perhaps that will make me catch the wedding dress bug, or at least give me an idea of what I want!

Monday, July 11, 2011

{M+D} Invitation Inspiration

There is so much amazing wedding inspiration out there that I decided to collect things that I love about each part of the wedding. I am trying to start at the beginning (the invitation) and go through the wedding until the end (the exit?) Again, this is inspiration and how and if each picture will manifest itself in my own wedding is questionable! I don't want to show you too much!

I LOVE paper. I LOVE words. I was an English major, and I love love love seeing the words that mean so much look just as pretty on the paper. Consequently, I love looking at invitations and seeing what they actually say about the person and what the design and style says about the person. The words that I have come up with for the wedding are modern, elegant, & fun! So, combining those will be the challenge!

Modern: clean lines, simple fonts
Elegant: soft colors, beautiful fonts
Fun: washi tape, baker's twine, envelope liners, kraft paper

It is so fun to have the paper say things about you and be a preview for what is to come at the wedding! Having all the paper details match also creates a cohesive feel to the wedding, so making sure you get it right is important! So much fun!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wedding Inspiration

Wedding inspiration is interesting and can come from anywhere! All of the images below are from Style Me Pretty but I have found inspiration from everywhere! I love all of the images below for different reasons- the colors, the textures, the lighting, the type of photography. Not all of these things do I want in the wedding, but they all give me ideas for my own big day!

Things that I love:
Light- since the wedding is going to be outside, I want there to be plenty of candles, string lights, and lanterns. It just makes things magical.
White: As you can tell, white is a big color player above. I love the simplicity and elegance of the white and pops of color go a long way.
Fun details: With all the white and the elegant, I still want fun! I want the wedding to be relaxed and carefree with tons of dancing! Interesting details like striped straws (I love straws of any kind!), fun card holders, interesting guest books, and surprises are what make weddings memorable!

As  you can see, I still have some inspiration to narrow down. I want the wedding to have a cohesive feel, be elegant, fun, and represent Dan and me. That's a lot to ask for!

Any favorites? Other ideas I should think about? Like it? Hate it?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Distance Wedding Planning & Engagement Pictures!!

It has been almost 6 weeks since I graduated from W&M and it is now July! Ah! I am finally home for good (besides a weekend at the beach and perhaps some trips to DC). Now that I am here, I can unpack, do laundry, and start planning- planning the wedding AND planning for school. Being between three schools I need to be very organized, and I like to be ahead, so I will probably have at least a few weeks of lesson plans ready. I'm so excited for my own students and my own way of doing things. I have a great department and a great school, so I can't wait!

In other planning news, this is how most decisions get made:

I am so so thankful to have Skype/iChat. I have no idea what we would do if we had to wait for letters! As I said before, Dan has lots of opinions, all which are generally the opposite of mine, so we sit here and have conversations that lead to links and inspiration. Some conversations:
"Do you like that _____?"
"I don't see a ____?"
"Oh wrong link..."
"This one?"
Being on the same page, literally, is often difficult. But it is fun to look at things and hash out details- or at least decide what we don't like- that seems to be easier than what we do! Other conversations go like this:
"I haven't talked to you at all today..."
"Yes, you have."
"No, I haven't."
"Yes, I talked to you this morning."
"That was my last night!"

Despite all of these interesting aspects, we are starting to come together on some things. But inspiration is to come in its own post... promise. For now- engagement pictures! Since Dan sprung this whole getting married thing on me, and was leaving in 2 weeks, I didn't think we would even have time for pictures. In comes Larry- Dan's neighbor and photographer! He did the pictures for both of Dan's sisters' wedding and has done the dance photos for his mom's studio for a long time as well. He has photographed thousands of weddings and agreed to shoot our engagement photos the next week!  Poof- a plan!

All photos below by Larry Darling- The photos can be viewed and ordered here:

Some favorites:


As you can see, we made props! I don't want to show you all of my favorites- we are still trying to decide what to do for save the dates! Something fun? Classy? Apple Blossomy? Creative? Any ideas are welcome!
Larry did such a great job- he made us feel so comfortable and was open to anything we wanted to try!