Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ready, Set, Summer!

It's been a wonderful and magical year so far, and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job - but I can officially say I will have my nights and weekends FREE of work for at least a few months and it couldn't have come at a better time! Mr. Hess and I both work hard all year long, and it's finally that time of year when we get some down time, or in this case some much needed wedding planning time.  For the last 3 days I have actually gotten a full night's sleep, naps, AND checked things off of our ongoing, evergrowing Wedding "TO DO" List. 

First thing to get checked off?!
Purchasing my WEDDING BAND!!!!!
We FINALLY found exactly what we were looking for, and to my surprise it is actually opposite of what I initially was looking for.  It in no way "matches" my Engagement Ring, but instead has a completely different look and I am IN LOVE!!!! In just 6-8 weeks, she will be home in our possession ready for the BIG DAY! :) As for Mr. Hess's? Eh...we are still going back and forth between 2.  You think picking out a wedding band can't be THAT difficult, but believe can be.  We're almost there and I have confidence we will be purchasing his very shortly as well.

What else have we been up to in these past few "summer" days? EVERYTHING! It sounds so funny, but seriously the DAY my break started from my night job I was on the computer like white on rice.  I answered e-mails, scheduled appointments, e-mailed my bridal party, researched more accessories, and really started the ball rolling on tieing up some loose ends.  And the best part is...Mr. Hess is right there with me!  He doesn't really know this (until now, if he's reading) but it really melts my heart when he initiates doing something for the wedding.  I got butterflies today when he posted this song he heard onto his personal page and said it got him really excited about the summer & the wedding:

He can be an absolute sweetheart when he wants to be! ;) For the first time in A LONG time we are finally really excited about planning again.  You can say we've had a lot on our plates, especially in the last few months, so I am VERY EXCITED to take some deep breaths and really enjoy the process of putting our wedding day together again. YAYYYYYYYY!

Goodbye busy, busy April, May: I have a feeling I'm going to love you...

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the following:

  • Tuxes (SO close...)
  • Videography (how important IS this to the budget?)
  • Honeymoon (Just a few clicks away from being booked!)
  • Invitations (Our part is almost done!)
  • Decor (finally starting to see the whole picture)
  • Wedding Hint pictures

And I'm sure there will be plenty more along the way...

82 days and counting,

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gift Registries: Double Check!

For the last two months, GIFT REGISTRIES have been on our "TO-DO" list and have been something we just couldn't seem to get motivated "TO DO".  I have heard about the mixed emotions that go with the infamous task of registering for your wedding: the good, the bad and the ugly.  From feelings of excitement about getting to pick out your ultimate "I WANT THIS!" list, to feelings that became overwhelming and exhausting at "WHERE THE HECK DO WE START?," Mr. Hess and I definitely went through the roller coaster of emotions on this one.

First things first, we had to decide where we wanted to set up our wedding registries.  We knew we wanted to do more than one, but not too many to confuse or overwhelm our guests either.  Finally, after debating back and forth we decided to go with Macy's and Crate & Barrel.  We thought Macy's would be a great department store choice because it's found in almost every city of where our guests are coming from AND they always have sales going on.  Crate & Barrel was both of our first choices because they have such great kitchen gadgets, cool colors and unique home decor selections!  We loved everything about this store and it was so hard not to scan EVERYTHING.  You know that saying someone was like a "kid in a candy store?" Well, I think we should now coin the term it was like "a scanner happy couple at Crate & Barrel!" lol.

Getting ready for a day of bar code scanning and decision making!

Now that we knew where we wanted to register, it was time to finally buckle down and do it.  We decided to break each store up by a day so that we didn't get tired or drained from the process, and let me tell you it can go from fun to exhausting in .2 seconds!  So, there we were Day 1 - ready to register with Macy's:

Picking out our glasses & stemware seems to require a lunging stance.

We show up with about 3 hours of time to spend and walked upstairs to the Wedding Registry part of the store.  We didn't know what to expect, but what we found was definitely an experience.   We walked up to the desk and found a pleasant and overly excited woman, whose name we will keep to ourselves.  OH MY GOSH - it was so funny though..Mr. Hess and I could hardly keep straight faces while we were going through the process of paperwork and signing up for everything.  The lady was such a sweetheart but was extremely giggly and told us everything we would ever want to know about her family weddings.  The only way to describe this is through a video re-enactment, so...enjoy:

Pretty funny right? We thought so...we found ourselves talking like that for the rest of the night!

But, the important thing is, Macy's was a success! We knew this would be the bulk of our registry items because the store has more departments and things to choose from.  A big part of why Mr. Hess and I chose this store also over others is because we both fell in love with a bed set months ago that's there.  It's from the Hotel Collection and it's gorgeous.  There's no way we could justify spending the amount of money required on it to purchase it ourselves, so....why the heck not, we put that guy on our registry! From the sheets to the decorative pillows, that's probably one of the most exciting things on there for us.  We also registered for some essentials like a great pots & pans set, bathroom towels, a coffee maker, cooking pans and a vacuum mop.

Feeling good about Macy's we were ready to start Registry Day #2 @ C&B.  We figured this one would be a little easier because we already got most of the big stuff out of the way and were excited to hit the store.

Mr. Hess says LET'S GO already!

I have a confession. I LOVE this store.  Like, if I could literally scan one of everything in here, I would...and maybe two times.  Everything is so freaking cute & colorful!  Picking out exactly what we wanted was a little challenging because at times it was tricky to narrow things down, but I think we did a pretty good job.  

I don't think the HBSH was already there Mr....<3

This represents what forks we would each pick out to represent our bite sizes, lol.

You can say we had some fun with this, which I am so happy to report. I have heard crazy stories about registering from different friends who have gotten married recently, and made sure to steer clear of a few stores for that reason.  I would recommend these two stores to anyone asking....great product choices and great (and entertaining) service!  When I sit back and realize what exactly we were doing it is still pretty exciting to me.  We are picking out the gifts for a wish list that our guests will hopefully go off of to help start our new married life together.  Yes, the day(s) got a little overwhelming and exhausting, but the purpose of this is for one pretty important end result: MARRIAGE!  I can't believe the day is getting so close and picking out all of these things really helped me envision our new life together in just a few short months.

Kind of blurry, but our "WE'RE DONE" picture at Macy's!

C&B - double check! :)

Getting more excited every day & 88 days to go!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mr. Hess says: "FEAR the BEARD!"

Since the beginning of April, you might have noticed something different about Mr. Hess.  Along with the players and staff members, he has participated in rooting on our Orlando Magic Basketball team by growing out his BEARD!  Not just growing it out....oh no....but not even trimming or shaping it.  Dwight Howard and the other players came up with the idea of the superstition of growing out their beards and not touching them until the 2011 NBA Playoffs are over, and of course being the sports fanatic that he is, Mr. Hess was all about it.

Personally, I am all for Mr. Hess rooting for our team and in past years he has dyed his hair BLUE & WHITE to show his spirit (THANK GOD I dodged THAT bullet this year...) but to be honest, I'm just not a fan of beards.  A little scruff is fine, but this is getting a bit out of control.

Fortunately, for me (and us) the latest the Playoffs could possibly go in mid-June, so that is plenty of time before the wedding.  It's guaranteed by then that I will have my clean shaven, soft skinned Mr. Hess back...but until then he has just one message for you:

FEAR the BEARD!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah....I know...we're goofballs.

Just for fun and in spirit of the NBA Playoffs, here's some of our

NBA Playoffs 2009

NBA Playoffs 2010

Yup, he definitely went into the "hood" for this one.

So you can see...he is pretty hardcore when it comes to the Playoffs and supporting the Magic!  Looking forward to seeing how we do tonight and in the rest of the post-season!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It's been a little while since I've updated you on the progress of Roadie and his treatments, and thought that since we are just on our way out the door to go to the vets this would be the perfect time to keep you in the loop.

Best buds...they pretty much do everything together these days.

"Ro-Ro" as I call him has been nothing but adorable this last month and has truly earned his stay with us.  We used to keep him on the balcony or in the bathroom during the daytime because in the beginning when we left him for even a half an hour we would usually come home to a tornado!  It took a little while to trust him, but we've been really working hard at training him and as of the last 2 weeks I am happy to report that he has done great with staying inside!

Because we are gone so much (I's sad that we really aren't home much at all, but still I think better than him being on the streets...untreated) we unfortunately have to leave him home by himeself (if you don't count the cats) for sometimes 12 hours at a time.  Shockingly - and knock on wood - since we've given the guy the benefit of the doubt and let him roam around & stay inside when we're not home he hasn't made a mess indoors...ONCE!  He hasn't gone to the bathroom OR drug out anything and destroyed it, and believe me people THAT IS PROGRESS!!!!! Looks like our little man is growing up.... ;)

Hear all about Roadie's progress, and see what the little booger has been up to!

Stay tuned for more posts this week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wedding Hint #6


This may look a little strange at first, but if you take this picture of circles - or "art" - for more than what it appears to be you will see a few things to come for our BIG DAY!

96 days and counting...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Catering Tasting, YUMMM....

I've been waiting for THIS DAY for quite some time now...

TODAY we had our official CATERING TASTING & SELECTED OUR RECEPTION MENU for our Wedding! I can't tell you how good it feels to type those words, considering choosing and booking a caterer was one longest things on our "TO DO" list of things we've had to do so far.

We began our search for the perfect caterer at the beginning of February and met with 4 companies.  All were good and we knew all would do a great job at catering our event.  When it came down to price, we had it narrowed down to 2 companies: Millenia Catering & Big City Catering.  I've posted about these two companies before and to be completely honest Mr. Hess and I teetered on who to choose between the two by going back and forth every day for about a week.  It finally came down to a deadline to choose and BAM on the day we needed to make one comes an offer to throw in an additional few menu items, beverages, and $1,000 discount = SOLD!

MILLENIA CATERING was the company for us! I have mentioned them before, but you can find more information about them and visit their website at:

Excited to respond to this offer, Mr. Hess and I contacted Chef Lo right away to let him know we had finally made a decision.  We got on the books to do an official tasting and boy oh boy let me just say, after today we are 200% POSITIVE we made the right choice!  The food was incredible, Chef Lo went above and beyond to provide unique and personalized choices, and everything we chose is EXACTLY what we were hoping for.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about Millenia Catering and I know the food at our reception will be simply amazing!

Our personalized Tasting Menu - how cool is that?!

I was thinking about the food we were going to experience the entire day at work today and couldn't wait to preview what will make up the menu at our reception.  We were finally on our way to the appointment for a tasting and I was extra excited that for the first time in a long time we got to include my dad in the planning!  Well, he had plenty of time to get acquainted with Chef Lo, because a detour on the way there set me, Mr. Hess and my mom back 30 mins. and we were late!  Figures....right?!  After calling and apologizing for the detour, we finally arrive hungry and ready to pick out our favorites!

My parents, ready to test out the dinner menu!

The entire time, Chef Lo and his assistant Rhonda were SO nice and accommodating.  Right away, I was greeted with a glass of wine, and the table was set up so cute with place settings and fresh flowers.  They really went out of their way to make us feel like we were special, and that was such a great feeling knowing we will feel exactly the same on our SPECIAL day!  So, we started with a fruit & cheese tray, pretty standard you might say, right?  I thought so, but then when it was all said and done even Mr. Hess and I decided to jazz THAT up a little.  I can't wait to see how the final touches will be added to make everything made for US.  I'm not going to give you much more details than that, but let's just say our menu for the wedding reception is one like I've never seen before...It is very out-of-the-ordinary and anything but the traditional "Beef or Chicken?" plated dinner...(Not traditional? Us? SHOCKER, I know.)

Ready to pick out a fabulous dinner menu, and...this is just a "taste" of the fruit tray! :)

What started with a few Hors d'oeurves and dinner options turned into what felt like an 18 course meal.  We covered all ends of the spectrum with from different meats, seafood, and appetizer bites to veggie options, pastas and wines to make sure we have a variety of everything we wanted for our guests.  We were very impressed with the amount of samples Chef Lo provided for us to try and it was truly a treat to get to experience such a private dining experience, just for us. 

Today was one of the first days I could truly begin to picture what the experience at our reception will be like.  I've always said that flowers and photography are my biggest "has to be perfect"categories for our BIG DAY, and I've always said that I will be happy as long as our catering is "good."  It wasn't a priority of ours that we serve filet mignon & sea bass, but instead to provide our guests with a food experience that is one they will surely walk away from remembering something about.  You'll see what I'm talking about once the BIG DAY finally gets here, but until then I can only leave you with one hint...Check out our choice of salad - BOTH were amazing...but the set up is what we fell in love with!

YUMMY....which one to choose?!

Needless to say, by the end of the night all 4 of us were completely STUFFED!!!! I could barely finish the last few things on the menu, and for those who know me well know that in itself is an accomplishment.  Thank you Chef Lo for an amazing tasting experience and I am SO EXCITED to see everything come together at our reception.

Yup, this was the point where we started feeling the food comas coming on...

98 days until the REAL tasting begins! 
Can you BELIEVE we are under the 100 day mark?! WHOOO!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Engagement Photos are HERE!

Finally!!! After 4 months of anxiously awaiting our Engagement Photos we have the glorious CD with rights...IN HAND!

I did a post with a preview to our photos back in February, and you have probably seen our Official Save the Date Photo post as well, but I couldn't be MORE EXCITED to show you more of our photoshoot we did back in January!

When Mr. Hess and I were looking for our Wedding Day photographer, we knew we wanted someone who could do a great mix of romantic, contemporary, and journalisitc photos.  We searched for a while online for Orlando photographers, asked friends who have gotten married, and even read tons of wedding blogs and reviews to find who and what company would represent our style the best.  After seeing how our Engagement Photoshoot or "E-session" turned out, I know we are in great hands for the BIG DAY!

Showing some EI love & photo credit to all photos below go to Elegant Imagery.

The company we hired is called Elegant Imagery, and our photographer's name is Victoria.  We saw them at a Bridal Show last October, and fell in love with the bright and artistic type of photos displayed at their booth.  So we talked to a few different companies, and kept going back to EI and a few weeks later, we hired them! The day of the shoot, Victoria's dad even showed up to help get different angles of photos, as well as help brainstorm to get exactly what we wanted! This was a pleasant surprise, and both were such a joy to work with that day.  So far, I would recommend them to any bride and you can click below to find their website & blog:

So without further aideu, here are the highlights of our Engagement Photoshoot!  There were a total of 68 pictures, but these are most of my favorites.  We started off the day in the private area of one of our favorite restaurants, Civeche in downtown Orlando.  I loved how these turned out and especially loved the eye and vision our photographer had here!  After the resaurant, we moved to the rail road tracks at Church Street Station and I loved how these turned out as well!

This one was actually shot from a reflection in a mirror!

After this, Mr. Hess found an amazing grafitti wall that he said changes almost weekly from local artists or grafitti goers, if you will.  The work is actually pretty detailed and everytime we drive by we are very surprised on how often it changes!  It just so happens that during this time we found a perfect spot that also displayed something to represent the Orlando Magic - an organization that means a lot to us!

Now, I said the Orlando Magic was important to us right?!  Well one might say the sports team and organization plays a HUGE role in our lives... because that's how we met!  So you probably won't be surprised to find out our final two locations for the day: the rooftop of the Amway Center and then on the actual Magic Court!  10,000 brownie points to Mr. Hess for getting us VIP access to these you buddy! :)

AND...THERE THEY ARE!!!! I am SO happy with how they turned out and I think our photographer hit the nail on the head with capturing our fun and contemporary style.  We are planning to incorporate these into our BIG DAY, so keep a look out! :)

103 days until our next SHOOT! <3

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ash's Bachelorette Weekend!


Not mine, of course, but one of my bridesmaid's!  Ash is getting married about a month and a half before me, and I am honored to be standing by her on HER big day coming up June 4th! It's just about 2 months out...I KNOW...CRAZY TALK...and we thought it was a very appropriate time to celebrate HER and her last few months before she becomes a MRS!

Friday morning, I met up with 2 of the other bridesmaids and we carpooled down to Ft. Lauderdale for a wonderful weekend getaway with the girls!  Ash knew what city we were going to and what weekend, but that was IT! She had no idea about any of the details, and boyyyyyy was she in for a surprise! :-D

We all arrived about the same time, but we tried to stall Ash as much as possible so we could decorate her room.  We had about 30 minutes to spare, so we were rushing to get everything perfect.

WELCOME to Ash's Bachelorette Party Weekend! <3
Come on out and enjoy the view....

The Atlantic Resort & Spa - view from our balcony...such a great hotel!

As Ash arrived, she was truly surprised and had no idea where we were going to be staying!  I have to say this hotel was on the nicer end, and we truly felt like we were "getting away" the moment we stepped inside.  Immediately, we went downstairs and enjoyed Happy Hour to kick the weekend off right, and we became instant friends with one of the Hotel workers, Jeffrey.  He was a "cutie patootie" as some of the girls put it, and helped us with suggestions of what to do and where to go!  After unwinding for a little bit, it was time to get ready to go out in our "Ashley's Heartbreaker's" Bachelorette T-shirts!  Another bridesmaid coordinated theses bad boys, as well as matching koozies with our names on them - simply adorable.  Unfortuately, both Ash's "Future Mrs." koozie and my camera did NOT make it through the I don't really have a good picture of them, so bare with me! :( (I stole all of these pics from Facebook, so thanks girls for posting them!)

HM, Ash, and Me.  Besties since high school! <3
Bachelorette Party Koozies!
Ready for Night 1 on the town!

There we were, all ready to go with scavenger hunt cards in hand...ready to make sure Ash had an amazing weekend!  For the most part, this night was fun and under control, and she got a lot of points racked up! :)   

Bachelorette Weekend Fail 1: Ash's "Future Mrs." koozie disappears! One minute it was in Britt's purse and the next it's not.  Throughout the entire weekend we kept "missing" stuff and we think there was someone following us around waiting to take something each time we aren't looking!
The other bridesmaid spent at least 30-45 minutes looking for the beloved koozie, but didn't have any luck.  This brought us to back to the hotel, sad, but still ready to have a great weekend!  Day 2 arrives and we are all excited to go out to brunch!  We ate at a great crepe place called Un Bonne Crepe and we couldn't stop saying "HOLY CREPE" when we saw the size of these things! (Again I had a picture of this...but obviously can't upload it!) :( I guess you can use your imagination on this one...

Next on the list? BEACH TIME!!!! It felt SO good to finally catch some rays and take a load off.  I have to say it's always interesting going to the beach with a big group of girls because you never know what kind of  people will walk up to you.  Well, I have to say the guy that chose to say hello to us on this trip certainly boggles my mind the most...picture an extremely dark complexion, swimtrunks down to his knees, and boxers that literally say "COUNTY JAIL" on the bottom of them, and that's our guy.  He chose to use the opening line of "Hey, do you watch 90210?" and I knew from then on he was going to be a joke.  Man...that was funny.

Beaching it with the ladies!

So the BIG NIGHT was finally here! We packed up our stuff and went upstairs to get ready for Ash's NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN!!!! She had no idea what was in store for her, and I know she definitely had a good time!  We started out with dinner reservations at a great Hawaiin/Polynesian restaurant called Mai Kai. It was SO good I want to go back!  Not only was the food fantastic, but the restaurant was really looked like we were actually in Hawaii and during the middle of dinner we were entertained by a 45 minute hula and belly dancing show!  Of course, at the end they called Ash up on stage and she got to shake her money maker for everyone...YAY!  Stuffed, giddy, and ready to move on to our next destination, we all piled back to the hotel to drop our cars off and head to the real show!

Ready to celebrate a FUN NIGHT OUT with our favorite Bride!

GREAT dinner & show @ Mai Kai!

Let's just say, Ash really put her dancing skills to the test during this outing, and we ALL had a fantastic time!  By the end of the night, I was proud to say that my friend had completed almost every single check off of the real Bachelorette Scavenger Hunt we gave her.  She was such a great sport about everything we did and proved to be a true champion. 

Bachelortte Weekend Fail 2: HM lost her iPhone either on a taxi ride or inside of a club.  We are thinking it was at our "VIP" area, and once again it was there one minute and gone the next.  We were really beginning to think someone (or a klepto!) was following us!

After a few more stops, we headed to an Irish pub and was entertained by a live band that played great music!  We had so much fun - singing and dancing and taking a bazillion pictures.  And, what do you know...Jeffrey showed up!  I know he was feeling pretty good being surrounded by 7 beautiful ladies.  It was this point of the night that I was finally pleased with the amount of photos I took and knew I would have TONS to share with you all when I got home.  I put "the brick" down (as we all named her...she's a little on the bigger side but takes really clear pictures!) for 2 seconds and before I knew it...she was GONE!!! UGH!!!!! REALLY?!?!? WHO steals a camera? And as Jeff said "who goes for the brick when there are plenty of smaller cameras on the table next to it?" :(  

 Bachelorette Weekend Fail 3: R.I.P "the brick" camera!!!! It figures that as timing would have it, I am just going to keep having random extra expenses come up this year, of all years.  I was so sad to report to Mr. Hess that our beloved cam was gone, including over 2,000 pictures on our memory card! It still makes me sick to think about how much $$$ I really just lost...UGH klepto person, I think we've had enough already!

Despite our losses, we are STILL having FUN! :)
Even though we had to get through 3 Bachelorette Weekend Fails, we all had an amazing time! I love getting away anytime, but I especially love getting away as a Bridal Party and getting to know the other girls that will be next to Ash on her BIG DAY!  She has some sweet friends, and we all got along really well.  Her Bridal Shower is only a little over a week away, and I'm sure that will be just as nice of a day getaway.  

LOVE YOU ASH! I'm so glad I got to celebrate your "Final Fling before the RING!" I'm also so happy that we get to celebrate such a great event in our lives together You are such a great friend, and I can't wait to be your bridesmaid in just under 2 months from now....BFFAEAEAE! (8th grade flashback, ha!)

Love, Clothes, and CHI Straighteners,


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