Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve

If you are anything like me, you are so excited to ring in 2009 and ring out 2008!!


Like many of you, 2008 has had it's fair share of ups and downs for Mr. Peep and I. But the changes ahead in 2009 already look so ridiculously promising!!! I can't ever remember being so excited for a year to end. Most importantly, it's the year we are actually getting married!!

Is anyone else totally looking forward to the New Year just so they can finally say it's the year they are getting married???

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Introducing the little rascals

Four and a half years ago, I was so excited to become an Aunt, and have loved it every day since.

Yet, I realized right before my niece was born that as a single grad student, my brother and I lived in different worlds. And at the time my sister first found out she was pregnant, I was on date number 3 with Mr. Peep. After that, I felt even more out of the loop. They both had houses and families, and I was single and gitty over the new guy I was dating. Having little rascals in the family totally changes the family dynamics- it changes a long dinner out with your family to a quick dinner, a bath, and building blocks. Yet now, I wonder how my family was every complete without them?

To this day, I am still not at the same point in life as either my brother or sister, but I am more than ok with that. I love that I get to have little ones in my life- even though Mr. Peep and I are no where near that step. And I love even more that I get to have them in our wedding. Our bridal party couldn't be complete without all four of them.

I already introduced you to our non-official ringbearer, so I here's the rest of little rascals:

First up, the leader of the pack, our flowergirl: Miss M. She's dressed and ready to go for our engagement party in this pic:

Her cousin, our second flowergirl: currently being referred to as Category 4 (she's just like a hurricane these days, and we think her new baby brother might be a Category 5 in a couple years)!!

Here they are together having a slumber party after our engagement party:

And our official ringbearer, my nephew and Miss M's younger brother, T-man, dressed up for Halloween as a dragon, but I think he's more like a lady killer with those eyes:

And I can't resist another picture of our un-official ringbearer, King Henry, to round out the pack.

Do you have nieces or nephews that you get to have liven up your bridal party and steal the thunder for being the absolute cutest?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back on Target

Hey Hive, I am back from the holidays and my drug-induced comma that was Twilight (swoon). Much to Mr. Spice's delight, I finally finished the series last night and returned to the human race. And my, my, it is so worth the read.

So I come to you this morning fresh from a morning workout. Where like Miss Crab Cake, I started the 100 push up challenge!! I have 66 days until my first dress fitting, so it's time to hunker down and get my booty in shape.

I also need to get back on the wedding bandwagon. Yesterday a friend asked how the wedding planning is going, well it's going all right!! Where- not so sure?? I still have a lot of details to do and things to catch the hive up on, so I thought I would take some time to re-visit a previous post: re-vamping Mama Sugar's 42-year-old veil.

It was a total success!!! Thanks to Miss Taffy and her fabulous Veil Tutorial post!

I know that a lot of people really loved the bow on the veil, but it was faded and yellow beyond repair, plus just a little too retro to go with my gown. Essentially, the tulle itself was sewn straight onto the bow, so I had to detach the tulle from the bow and start from scratch with the tulle.

I didn't want to cut the tulle because I didn't really want to chance screwing up- and there would be no redo on this one. Yet there was a lot of tulle. This is not a basic single layer veil- it is a VERY FULL single layer veil!!! So it's a bit wider than a normal veil. But without further ado, my re-vamped, re-used 42-year-old veil:

Please excuse my PJ's in this one.

I plan on taking in my shoes, my wrap and my veil into the shop to try it on with my dress (well, the sample of my dress) ASAP. Pictures to come!!! I also plan to ask the shop for some pointers on cleaning the veil. Someone suggested oxiclean, but Mama Sugar thinks it would be too harsh.

Any other thoughts on how to 'freshen-up' 42-year-old tulle?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Cheer

I am trying to look at the bright side of this economic downfall- SALES!!!!

While, I didn't have any fabulous holiday parties this year that I needed to buy a holiday dress for- I do have a wedding coming up, and I noticed a lot of the stuff on sale for the holidays that could easily be purchased for wedding purposes. Here are a few dresses and accessories that I love. All of them are on sale!!

How perfect would this dress from Banana be for a rehearsal dinner:

Or this fab number:

And of course, I can't forget J. Crew!! This number is on sale for $89.99 and up. It would be a perfect Rehearsal Dinner or City Hall wedding dress!

And this is a great bridesmaid dress for $129:

And I just found out that this necklace and matching bracelet are currently 50% off on Etsy. If only I was wearing gold and not silver!!

This necklace is also divine at Nordstrom for 40% off!

What about this great pink clutch at 40% off to add a hint of color for you or your bridesmaid?

It even has a matching shoe on sale!!

And of course, I had to add a sparkling peep toe to the holiday set! No holiday (or wedding outfit) would be complete without some sparkle! Sorry, this shoe isn't on sale (yet).

Have you found any holiday sales to be helpful for wedding purchases?

Rethinking Hanukkah!!

I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone out there a Happy Hanukkah!! Hopefully the first two nights have been filled with light!! hehe.

Mr. Spice and I had a bunch of friends and family over for the first night of Hanukkah; we made some brisket and some Trader Joe's latkes (so freakin good). We lite the candles and then exchanged presents.

And let me tell you Mr. Spice hit this one out of the park! I don't know about where you live, but it has been cold for this part of the country this last week. I wouldn't have been surprised if it snowed. I know this is nothing compared to what's happening North and East of here, but it's been cold for us.

So what did Mr. Spice do, he bought me mittens!! And not just any mittens; mittens with a conscience!! They are made from recycled sweaters with ridiculously soft lining, and the seller on Etsy is donating a set of recycled mittens to the needy for each pair she sells.

How cute are these!??

And I had to show you an image of the great lining.

Anyway, this is my shout out to Mr. Spice and Rethinkcrafts on Etsy. I love my mittens so much! They kept my little fingers toasty warm on my way to work this morning!!

How are you keeping warm this winter? And are you giving any gifts with a green touch??

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tis the season to become engaged...*

Since getting engaged over a year ago, I started thinking about the next round of brides out there who are waiting for a proposal as we speak.

With the holidays approaching, there has to be a few grooms-to-be holding onto a ring waiting for the right moment. And then I found this article. It's a few years old, but it states that 26% of couples get engaged between November to December. And according to this wiki, another 10% get engaged on Valentine's Day.


And then I started thinking about the economy, and I started to wonder if the number of proposals will shrink due to the fiscal crisis. A couple of months ago I asked a vendor if the economy has started to affect them. She said no, the weddings have actually gotten bigger! I gasped. I can't imagine that the wedding industry hasn't been hit by the economy!? I know that Mr. Spice and I were officially hit last week.

So, I wanted to write this post to welcome the newly engaged couples to the hive! And I wanted to know: are there couples out there who are waiting for the economy to improve to officially become engaged?? Or have your bridal budgets been hit since becoming engaged?

*Yes, I stole the title of my post from this article.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Newest Member of Our Wedding Party

Sorry, I have been absent the last few days, we have been busy welcoming the newest member of our wedding party into the world.

Meet our nephew, Henry Ethan, our unofficial ring bearer.

He's healthy and perfect. And my sister is recovering well.

I am now an Auntie four times over, and it is exciting every time. And when Mr. Spice and I get married, Mr. Spice also gains official Uncle status.

Are you or your Fiance becoming an official Aunt or Uncle on the day of your wedding??

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Choosing and Negotiating a Fabulous Photographer

After posting our engagement pictures here, here and here, I thought I should post some tips I picked up from searching for our oh so fabulous photographer.

Photography was super important to me; without a great photographer- how would you get wedding porn??

I had seen and met* Anna Kuperberg before we were engaged, and loved her work. So the bar was extremely high. Yet, I quickly learned that producers of fabulous wedding porn with the splashiest websites would require Mr. Spice and I to lose either an arm or a leg, or both.

So I did what every budget bride does (or should do), I did a ridiculous amount of research. I highly recommend checking out Project Wedding or Yelp for vendor reviews (and don't be afraid to search for photographers on Craigslist). Read the reviews, and if you find a vendor you are interested in, email the bride/client who reviewed said vendor. This almost always gave me better insight into the photographer and a couple times the bride even emailed me a link to her wedding pictures, score.

Next, I emailed a ridiculous amount of photographers. Often just to see if their price point was within my budget, and if it wasn't, I would send a polite email back stating, "thank you for the email, but unfortunately at this time your packages aren't within our budget." This is key.

Not only is this a polite thing to do, but a few of the photographers emailed me back and asked what I was looking for, what my budget was, and maybe they could work something out.

One photographer who was willing to work with us was Carmen Alvarez Photography. She has fabulous energy and an insane ability to capture emotion. I also learned a great lesson once I contacted Carmen, don't judge a photographer by her/his website. If you think you might like a photographer's work, email them for a link to their current work- it is often better than you can imagine.

Don't be afraid to negotiate. As long as you are respectful, vendors understand that every bride is on a budget and they are often able to be flexible.

If that doesn't work, find out if a photographer you love has an assistant in the wings or knows of an up and coming photographer that they'd recommend. I loved a photographer who was well out of my budget, but she was willing to offer the job to her assistant for a price I could afford.

That goes to my next tip, don't be afraid of new talent. Especially the ones right out of school. We really enjoyed meeting Cathryn Lovecraft, who was just making a name for herself in San Francisco because she seemed to know all the latest tricks of the trade.

Next up, once you find a few photographers within your budget, set up meetings with all of them. I recommend setting up your meetings as close together as possible. This way you can compare apples to apples and ask all the same questions. I also VERY STRONGLY suggest that you make sure both you and your Fiance go to the meetings together. I met with one photographer that I thought would be fantastic, but I was alone and the chemistry was off; plus, I found the website she used to display her photos to be very cumbersome. Don't forget to ask for a link to a complete set of a recent wedding- check out the layout and pay attention to how expensive it would be to order pictures.

Finally, book your photographer ASAP. This is to ensure you get your photographer at this years price and not next years!

In the end, go with your gut. We chose Mandi because we both totally enjoyed being around her. We both left the meeting excited about our wedding and impressed with her knowledge of the area near where our wedding is going to take place. Plus, since reading Anna Ruthmann's post about becoming a green photographer, I think Mandi fits the bill!!!

As a final thought, one last engagement picture:

I think we kinda look like school kids with a secret crush on one another in this one.

Photo by Mandi at Blueberry Photography.

So what negotiation tips do you have? How did you end up choosing your photographer??

*She photographed our beloved Huckleberry for the book Designer Dogs. If you or a loved one is on the hunt for a loveable mutt- you gotta get this book.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One year ago today...

Mr. Spice proposed.

I can still remember how my heart fluttered with excitement the entire day!!This print is how I feel about Mr. Spice.

I don't plan on doing anything wedding related today, except love Mr. Spice more....

"For you see, each day I love you more. Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow."
Rosemonde Gerard.

Do you remember how you felt the day you got engaged? And do you have a favorite love quote that exemplifies how you feel about your Fiance??

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Day Near the Bay, Part 2

After a quick change in the car, Mandi took us to a spot right off the road for these next pictures. I love the colors and the background of this next set. This first one is a perfect one for the parents:

And how fun is this one:

And finally, Mandi took us down to Baker Beach. This time our little mutt, Huckleberry got to get in on the action. I love that we got pictures of us doing something so typical: taking the dog to the beach to run around. I might need to frame this first one for my desk:

Here's Huckleberry with a very typical expression. I call this one, 'what do you mean I can't run around any more??'

And last, my VERY favorite picture of the day. Huck loves to run between us at the beach, so this SO represents our family. Plus, check out that huge wave! I plan to blow this one up and frame it!!

Again, Mandi, I can not wait for you to capture our big day. I get more excited every time I look at our e-pics (which has been a lot).

All pictures by Mandi at Blueberry Photography.

Did you go to a spot or do something typical for your engagement pictures? Or did you do something out of the ordinary?

Friday, December 12, 2008

A day near the Bay, Part 1

Our wedding is going to be in a very urban environment, so I wanted our engagement pictures to reflect our less urban personality. And as any SF bride knows, there is no better place in the Bay Area then the Presidio for pictures, which is a National Park near the Golden Gate.

We started off the afternoon at Crissy Field. I have been taking Huckleberry to Crissy Field to run around for years. Seriously, I love this place!!

It was a bit windy, as you can tell by my hair in this one:

Next up, Mandi took us to an abandon building in the Presidio for some more serious photos. Did I mention that the Presidio was an army post for 218 years!

Mr. Spice calls this next one SF American Gothic.

And how GQ does Mr. Spice look here; he was such a trooper throughout the whole thing:

I'll end part one with Mr. Spice's favorite of the day:

Up next, my favorite picture of the day.

All pictures by Mandi at Blueberry Photography.

Did you choose a different vibe for your engagement photos? Or go to your favorite place in your City??

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A peek into our engagement pictures...

We finally got the CD of our engagement pictures today, and while I am still sorting threw them, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek...

I couldn't be happier. I love our photographer: Mandi from Blueberry Photography!!
I can't wait for her to shoot our big day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chrismukkah with Sugar and Mr. Spice

Mr. Spice and I are a 'mixed' family. No, not ethnically mixed, we come from mixed religious backgrounds.

He grew up with Hanukkah, Yom Kippor, Rosh Hashanah and a bazzillion more Jewish holidays that I am still trying to wrap my head around. While I grew up with Christmas and Easter.

I promise to write another post discussing all the religious facets for our interfaith relationship, but with Christmas and Hanukkah coming up I want to focus on the cultural celebration in our household: Chrismukkah!!!!

Some of you might recognize the term from the oh so bad, but totally good O.C.

For Mr. Spice and I's first holiday season together, we found an amazing website for all things Chrismukkah:, and we immediately bought this book:

Hilarious and fabulous would be how I would describe the book and our first Christmukkah together. We had a travel menorah that we carried from house to house, we even lit it while babysitting my niece, and we were both embarrassed on Christmas morning when Mr. Spice had no idea what a stocking stuff was (totally my bad for not explaining, but who doesn't know what a stocking stuffer is??).

Our second holiday season together we took a little more seriously. We enrolled in a class at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center on Interfaith Holiday Celebrations. It was quite possibly the most enriching afternoon we have spent together as a couple. By discussing what the holiday's symbols, colors, and traditions meant to us individually, we provided the ground work for how we discuss our religious differences to this day. Mr. Spice thought everyone ate ham on Christmas, he wasn't comfortable with green and red, and the tradition of trimming a tree was important to me, just as lighting a menorah was important to him.

We had to discuss what we each thought about each others holiday, what we were comfortable with, and what aspects of the holiday were important to each of us.

We decided then and there that what matter would be our own traditions.

We decided that I could decorate, but I'd use neutral colors and symbols, e.g silver and snowflakes.

We went out and bought a menorah and stockings that symbolized us, and we display them both equally on the mantel.

Here's a picture of our mantel from the first night of Chrismukkah last year.

We also decided that we would exchange gifts on the first night of Hanukkah and on Christmas morning. And that if one gift was BIGGER than the other, it didn't matter which day you gave it on.

We also found some Christmas music that Mr. Spice actually now requests! And we decided that one day around the Holidays- we would spend the day cooking a meaningful holiday meal to incorporate both holiday traditions.

We also realized that while both holidays mean different things religiously, culturally, they were about bringing family together, appreciating what you have, and celebrating joy, peace and happiness!!

So this weekend, Mr. Spice and I are going to buy our first Chrismukkah tree together and eat some latkes (Trader Joe's has some surprisingly good ones) and some Christmas cookies!!

Have you changed the way you celebrate the holidays due to your love? And have you adopted your own holiday traditions as a couple??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If I had a million dollars...

I'd buy myself a house.

And these:


But I don't have a million dollars, so I bought these:


Talk about a sale!! What do you think?? They match my something old that I will be wearing (more on that to come). I should get them in the mail any day now; I am a bit worried that they might look a bit cheap??

PS I have decided that with my obsession with peep toe shoes, I need to be a two shoe bride. So I am still on the hunt for a fabulous green peep toe- let me know if you spot one.

PPS I spend a ridiculous amount of time searching for shoes online- I am thinking about doing a Peep Toe Thursday Blog with one designer shoe and one bargain. Please let me know if you'd like for me to make this a series.

Monday, December 8, 2008

J. Crew Flowergirl Dress Deal

Just wanted to pass on a great sale for a flower girl dress!

This super cute little dress comes in pink and orange, and it is on sale right now for $39.99 in the store, plus and additional 20% off. A perfect way to add a pop of color to your bridal party.

I ordered two in pink yesterday for my little nieces. I'll let you know how they fit when they arrive!!

Anyone else have a fabu sale that they want to share???

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saving the Environment and the Date San Francisco Style

Within minutes of becoming engaged it feels like everyone starts bombarding you with questions about the when, where and feel of the wedding. Since 90% of our guests would be coming from out of town, I was quick to realize that we needed a website to help disseminate the information to everyone. I also knew it was an eco-friendly way to get folks to Save the Date.

I spent hours checking out all the available wedding website hosts, and I even set up a few trial websites. The problem: Mr. Spice. He didn't like any of them- until I showed him the following website on Nearlyweds:

We both loved that it highlighted the San Francisco skyline. And for a very small additional fee, we were able to change the colors of the site to reflect our wedding colors!! The site itself is a bit more clunky then the other sites out there, but I have to say that the folks at Nearlyweds have been fantastic to work with. Being the web-klutz that I am, they have addressed all my questions in a very timely manner.*

Check out the results:

After setting up the site, I sent an email announcing the site to all of our guests. The only problem: I didn't have all my guests email addresses and I only heard from a handful of guests that they had seen the site.

I became paranoid that my email had ended up in people's spam folder.

We realized the only way to guarantee that people saved the date was to actually send out an STD. So I hit the internet again to look for the perfect card. It didn't take me to long to find Baron Cards: an eco-friendly wedding invitation site! And amazingly enough, they (1) had a San Francisco invite, (2) they were willing to change the wording of their RSVP card into a Save the Date, (3) they were willing to match the card to our wedding colors, and (4) they were afforadable.*

So I present to you our San Francisco Style, eco-friendly, Save the Dates:

Not only is the paper tree-free, recycled cotton fibers, but they print the invites using vegetable-based inks.


I printed out the envelopes on our home printer. And voila, they were ready to go out the door.

Not only did our guest love them; I now know that they all have the date and the website address!

What wedding website do you use??

Did anyone else try to go the paperless route to find out they needed to actually send something in the mail??

*I do not work for or know anyone who works for this company, but I would recommend them in a heartbeat.

**I am holding onto the Obama's STD until they offically get into the White House. Do you think they will come?? j/k