Cheap but Chic

Hey ya'll! I've taken a bit of a vacation from anything wedding related - other than stalking my photographer's website, of course - and before I dive back in, I thought I'd share a non-wedding related post.

I was watching Channel 7 News last night (weird, I know) hoping to catch a glimpse of Obama's new economic strategy, when I found myself watching this super awesome segment on cheap stuff around Chicago! Wooohoo! They featured this adorable website, PoorLittleRichGirls, which compiles all of the deals around the city (be it food, clothes or beauty). Listen to how they define their reader:

"A PoorLittleRichGirl is a young woman living in the city earning enough money to support herself, but not quite enough to go spending it on every Jimmy, Marc and Saint Laurent she sees. She is conscious of the image she portrays and loves life’s little luxuries, but is not willing to spend a small fortune on designer goods and premium martinis. She is smart and would rather put this money into her 401K."
Ahh {sign of relief}, finally, a website after my own heart! The segment also featured some high-end designer consignment shops, such as Buy Popular Demand and Cynthia's Consignments. Just thought I'd pass this info along.

Have a great week, everyone!

Honeymoon Heaven

Our honeymoon was absolutely fabulous! It was the definition of relaxation; exactly what we needed after months of hard work. For the most part, we didn't leave the resort except for one excursion to the famed, Xel-ha, a natural eco-park (more on that below). We had decided early on that we wouldn't make our honeymoon an exploration vacation, our typical m.o., but rather we'd do our best to relax and unwind. So, we spent our days lounging on the beach, sipping mango daiquiris (me) and cerveza blancas (Nathan), and the evenings eating delicious, delicious, food at one of the seven restaurants on the resort.

We spent quite a bit of time exploring the "campus" that was the resort. It was HUGE! Above is the Lobby - gorgeous...

Nathan and I enjoying our first evening at the resort.

Above is the outside of our suite. We've decided that we're investing in these Yucatan "Adirondack chairs" - they are the most comfortable chairs we've ever sat in! Nathan has also decided that a hammock is a MUST HAVE for our new home (who knows how long he'll have to wait to get one!) Below is a photo of the "Casitas", free standing guest suites. If we ever go back to our resort, we are DEFINITELY staying in one of these. One word, luxury!

Above is a shot of the main pool at the resort. While there were over 10 pools, this is the one that got the most traffic - undoubtedly due to the HUGE attached bar. And, below is a shot of one of the resort's pets! There were dozens of these guys!

Here is the gorgeous resort chapel. There were 3 weddings that took place during our stay, but strangely, none took place in the chapel.

Here is the outdoor massage facility! Two words - a-mazing! :) Below are a few shots from our one "cloudy day". We were blessed with really beautiful weather, so we couldn't complain about the one day of massive waves and clouds - the remnants of Hurricane Paloma off of Cuba. Instead of lounging on the beach that day, we explored the resort's miles of coastline. Even while covered under a blanket of clouds, it was still gorgeous!

Our feet in the sand:

Because we were on our honeymoon, the resort gave us a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach. It was absolutely wonderful, except for this saxophonist playing Kenny G (literally, Kenny G), but that was easily tuned out by the sound of the waves and good conversation with Nathan.

Look at how happy we are!

A local artist visited the resort to sell his gorgeous "finger" paintings. Yes, he used his fingers to create these masterpieces. We totally got caught up in the moment and bought two of the
"Mexican village" paintings.

Finally, at the end of our trip, we got off of our butts to go to Xel-ha, a eco-park created from a fresh water river and lagoon and the Mexican Caribbean. I know, it's a bit controversial, creating a type of a theme park from nature and exploiting the history and resources of Mexico, but if they hadn't opened it to the public, Nathan and I would have never had an opportunity to see such a magnificent place! We swam with dolphins - number 34 on my list of 100 things to do in life. We floated down the river flanked with cliffs and mangroves. We snorkeled with schools of colorful fish (by we, I mean Nathan, because I'm too squeamish to let fish touch me) . We explored the ancient, underwater Mayan caves. And, while we didn't have time to lie in the hammocks, we admired the idea of a "forest of hammocks" from the sideline. The entire experience was AMAZING! We highly recommend it to anyone going to Riviera Maya... Note: you're not allowed to use regular sun block. You have to purchase biodegradable sun block, so to preserve the ecosystem.

Our honeymoon was absolute perfection. As you can imagine, it was difficult to leave paradise and return to regular life. However, we're comforted by the daydream of vacations to come and, or course, the daydream of our future together!

Oh entertaining, how do I love thee?

I was perusing the holiday invites over at WPD and came across this adorable thanksgiving party invitation! How cute is that!? I wish that our apt wasn't filled with boxes of wedding presents (seriously, box on top of box, on top of box) and the remnants of wedding projects! We would totally have a newlywed thanksgiving party. Oh entertaining, how do I love thee? I know it sounds ridiculous, but I seriously can't wait to host parties as newlyweds (parties that don't nearly resemble those of my college days with bad lighting, kegs, and people putting their cigarettes out on my floor!)...
photo credit: Wedding Paper Divas (my new favorite place)

Vendor Review I - Reception Music

Toast & Jam: A+

I've been sifting through dozens of emails from family and friends regarding the excellent musical selections played throughout our reception. Yep, that’s right, our DJ was so good that people are talking about her a week and a half later!

With that said, I thought I'd begin my vendor reviews with our DJ - our amazing, amazing DJ...

When we began our wedding planning process, we kicked around the idea of a band, but quickly decided that our money would be better spent elsewhere, so we began the month-long DJ search. (Literally, it took a month before we found one that didn’t scare us – and I found ours completely by accident while perusing the vendor list of this amazing blog!) Toast & Jam, the HOTTEST DJ service in town, is an all-ladies (well, there’s one dude), all amazing “Mobile Disc Jockey Service” that’s “Never Stale, Always Fresh and Sweet!”

We had the pleasure of hiring mini-master dj, Madeleine Kuhns. At first glance, you think that she’s just some adorable, well-spoken, college-age lover of music…but upon speaking with her, you realize that she is so much more! She has an amazing library of musical influences ranging from Frente to Sufjan Stevens (who, you ask – just iTunes them!). During our reception, guest after guest approached me about our “exceptional dj…and she's a chick”, as my one music-loving cousin put it! However, I think that the real test of a great DJ isn’t just the “dancability” of the songs played from 9pm – 12am (while crucial, indeed, it’s not everything), but rather the “listenability” of the music played from 6pm – 9pm (during cocktails and dinner). I mean, really, a little Frank Sinatra goes a long way if you ask me. Madeleine passed with FLYING COLORS! In fact, the music played for those three hours was arguably the best chilled-out, laid-back playlist I’ve ever heard, like ever!

Below is a short list some of the songs played during our cocktail and dinner hours. Enjoy!

Nick Drake - Pink Moon
Air - Playground Love
Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
Jens Lekman - Maple Leaves 7" Version
Feist - I feel it all
Peter, Bjorn & John - Paris 2004; The Chills
Belle & Sebastian - Dirty Dream Number Two
Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
Zero 7 - In the Waiting Line
Bright Eyes - Make a Plan to Love Me
Coldplay - Til Kingdom Come
Norah Jones - Feelin' the Same Way
The Shins - Caring is Creepy
The Association - Never My Love
Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
Radiohead - No Surprises

Cost for Madeleine: $1,000 (and worth every cent!)

photo credit: Toast & Jam

I'm back and I'm married!!!

Hi everyone! Nathan and I are back from our wonderful wedding weekend and our AMAZING week-long honeymoon. Wow - it has been a crazy couple of weeks! More on the craziness in upcoming posts.

I'm doing my best to get people to post their pics on flickr, because it will be over 4 weeks before we see any professional pics (sad face). Here is a shot of me and my father walking down the aisle. Excuse the red-eye (albeit, white-eye). Below that is a shot of my beautiful sister and I just before we all processed down the aisle. I was surprisingly calm - like totally.

I can't believe it's over. I seriously can't believe it! I have so much to post, but I have a lot of "life" to catch up on as well. I'll be back soon and get you all of the details I can gather.

Talk to everyone soon!!