i'm back.

I'm back from a wonderful weekend of spending time with some of my closest friends, including a beautiful bride!
I'll be back to regular posting tomorrow, I swear!

p.s. The speech went pretty well for those who are wondering, and I'm happy that it's over!



Please excuse my absence for the rest of this week, I'm off to perform my maid of honor-ly duties in my best friend Dona's wedding!  Wish me luck on the speech.
Dona and Tony I am so happy and excited for you both!  Enjoy every.single.second of your wedding day!  Love you guys.


a small town shower part one.

This past weekend was a busy one for the Mascaras, or maybe just the female half.  Of course since it was a holiday weekend we were planning on making the trek back up to the UP, but the main reason we went back was so I could attend my first bridal shower!  Mr. Mascara's lovely sisters Angela and Megan hosted the event, which was held at his parent's house on the lake.  
FMIL Connie, FSIL Megan, FSIL Angela, and I

My FMIL had taken all of the furniture out of their living room to fit all the tables and chairs, and I must say it looked absolutely beautiful!  Each table was decorated in our wedding colors which I thought was very thoughtful and cute!  To add to the cuteness, every place setting had a little vase filled with pretty flowers in it to take home.  The hostesses added a little extra something to my place setting... my very own bridal likeness in wooden form from the talented Etsy seller Goose Grease!  

While chatting with guests we were served some delicious peach bellinis, I couldn't get enough of them, they were SO good!  
My sister and BM Gaby, my mom, my sister and MOH Dani, and I

After we all sat down, the food was brought in!  They had made all Italian salads and desserts in honor of our Italian honeymoon.  I was amazed by how thoughtful it was, and let me tell you the food was DELICIOUS.  It looked good too!  
The desserts were to die for.  Italian creme cake and Italian wedding cookies, homemade by both of our mothers. Yum!
Clearly I enjoyed the desserts!
After we finished stuffing every last tortellini in our mouths, it was time to open gifts.  But not before our niece (and flowergirl) Ali could steal me and drag me outside to show me the clams she had caught that morning!  Yuck!  
After making sure her hands were clean, we admired all of the beautifully wrapped gifts and my little helper handed them to me one at a time to open.  
All the beautifully wrapped gifts!
Of course Ali helped with the process of opening as well, and I was grateful to have some of the attention diverted away from me while we opened the gifts.
Stretching before opening I guess?
This present had a monster in it.  A green one at that!

All finished!

While we opened, Angela made sure to collect all the ribbons for the traditional rehearsal dinner bouquet.
Here's my horrible attempt at modeling with the bouquet!
I was amazed and humbled by the generosity of our guests, we received so many nice things! Now we just need to find a place to put them in our not-so-spacious apartment!

The event was attended by mainly my fiance's side of the family, along with some friends and my mom and sisters.  I thought it was so sweet of everyone to make time for the shower even though it was a holiday weekend.  
Some of the guests!

My MOH and sister Dani came, even though it was her birthday (thanks love!).
I am so grateful to have such wonderful friends and family to share in occasions such as this one! 
 My mom, sisters, and I
My college friend Melissa, me, BM Kiera, and high school friends Jaime and Kate
I had a fantastic time... thanks again Angela, Megan, and Mom (and Ali too of course)!


hectic holiday weekend.

My week has been hectic, to say the least.  I've been scrambling to put a bunch of things together before I go to the UP this weekend.  The craziness does not stop at the Michigan border though, we've got a ton of things planned for the holiday weekend!

The thing I'm most excited about is my bridal shower!  This is our first official wedding event, and it's making everything feel a little more real!  I'm not sure what my future sister-in-laws have up their sleeves, but it should be fun!  All I know is that its going to be held at Mr. M's parents house on the lake!  It's supposed to be about 70 degrees on Saturday, so I'm betting the event will be held outside so we can enjoy the nice weather.  I'll let you know how it goes next week!

Unfortunately, it's not all fun and games.  I also have several meetings planned with vendors while I'm home.  I'll be meeting with the florist to put some ideas together and with the caterer to finalize the menu before the shower on Saturday.  I'm hoping to get a bunch of details wrapped up so I can stop worrying about flowers and food.

I also have my first dress fitting scheduled so hopefully that goes well!  It's going to be pretty laid back because she's a friend of Mr. M's family (she also made the groomsmans' ties, which I should get back this weekend as well).  I've never met her before, but she altered both of his sisters' dresses when they got married, so I know she will be great!

One of the most important weekend tasks is to finalize our invitation design with both of our families so we can submit them to the printer.  I've got a bit more work to do but I am determined to finish by Monday!

Lastly, we'll be sitting down with my mom to test out some cake flavors (yum!).  I'm also bringing home our clay flowers so she can see if they'll work for the cakes.

Oh yeah, and I'd like to be able to hang out with friends and family at some point during the weekend too. Crossing my fingers on that one!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!  Is anyone else taking advantage of the long weekend to get wedding stuff done?  



Well friends, we have winners!  They will each be receiving a custom 16x20" poster print from UPrinting.com.  Here they are:

Those of you that didn't win, be sure to check out UPrinting.com anyway.  
It is a leading online printing company whose high quality, yet affordable printing services include poster printing, canvas printing, business cards, post cards and more.  Perfect for printing out your save-the-dates or engagement photos!  Thanks to UPrinting for the generous giveaway!


it's finally mine.

I've been eyeing the J. Crew silk gala clutch since it came out, but I was too cheap to pay $88 for it plus shipping.  I'd been waiting and waiting for it to go on sale and then a few weeks ago, it finally did.  At $59.99, I still wasn't convinced I wanted to spend that much.  I'm cheap and I can make purses, even if I didn't really want to make one.  So I decided to take my chances and waited for it to come down in price even more.  It didn't.  Instead, it SOLD OUT.  And I was sad.
I realize it's just a clutch, and is not by any means something that I needed to have on my wedding day.  But I liked it.  A lot.  There is no denying how well it matched with my shoes!

After it sold out, I was surprised by how disappointed I was.  Yes, I could try to make something similar, but really, I don't have the time or energy to spend making a clutch when I have a million other projects that I need to work on in the next few months.  I really didn't want to spend the time looking for another clutch that I liked either, because I am what some may call picky  (I like to say "selective").  

Luckily for this lazy bride, today on the  Weddingbee boards lovely reader LilMisPriss so kindly informed us that J. Crew had added more silk gala clutches in ivory to their website!  I immediately purchased one, and now I have one more accessory to check off the list of things to buy.  Now all that's left to do is wait impatiently for the postman to bring it to my doorstep!

p.s. Sadly the clutches have sold out again in Ivory.  Hopefully a few more will magically appear in case there are any other brides who've been looking for this clutch!

Did you wait for any wedding purchases to go on sale, only to find that they had sold out?  Did you end up getting what you wanted in the end?


flip FLOP.

For a long time now (as in several months... that's a long time in the wedding planning world) I've wanted to have a basket of flip flops at our wedding for all the ladies (and men I suppose) with tired toes.  I am not one that is known to dance all night, but I know that when I do get on the dance floor at weddings in my taller-than-necessary heels... my feet usually hurt and I want nothing more than to take off my shoes and dance around barefoot.  I try to refrain from removing them though, for fear of dirt and men with shoes on, waiting to step on my toes. I'm sure plenty of other ladies have been in this same boat.  Enter the very thoughtful and strategically placed basket of flip flops near the dance floor, there to come to every girl's rescue.
The basket o' flip flops is one of those things that I really want at our wedding, but do not want to spend a lot of money on.  I've been telling myself from the beginning that I will not spend more than $1 per pair.  I've seen them at this price at Michael's, but the quality is lacking a little, even if they do only cost a dollar.  After doing a little investigating on the subject, I learned that one day each summer, Old Navy has a sale where all of their solid color flip flops are $1!  I did some internet searching to find that last summer the sale was in June, so I signed up for Old Navy spam and waited for the ad to arrive in my inbox.

Yesterday, it arrived.
For a minute I was excited, and then I realized that it's my bridal shower this weekend (yay!) and I will be in the Upper Peninsula... aka the land of no Old Navy stores.  Or any stores for that matter.  The closest Old Navy is an hour and a half from where I'll be... so I won't be driving to pick up my $1 flip flops.  Hopefully some of you who've been looking for some cheap flip flops will be within a reasonable distance of an Old Navy this Saturday so you can capitalize on this great sale!  Good luck and happy shopping!


point and shoot.

I finally gave in and bought a new "point and shoot" camera recently. We had purchased a new SLR as a Christmas gift to ourselves, but I needed something that could fit in my purse, which our wonderful Nikon D60 would not. I also wanted something at a lower price point so when I brought it out for events such as my bridal showers (one of which is next weekend!) and my bachelorette party (which I cannot wait for, by the way) I wouldn't have to wear it around my neck due to the fear of dropping it after one too many glasses of wine. My fiance insists on doing extensive research before buying any type of electronic device, so naturally I gave him the task of finding me a digital camera that was not too expensive (less than $300), very compact, took pictures quickly (I hate waiting for 5 different flashes to go off and by the time it's finished everyone is blinking), and took good pictures in the dark. After a bit of surfing the web, he came up with this one:

A Canon PowerShot SD790 IS, which was cheapest at Best Buy. The next night we went to the store to check it out in person. The floor model wouldn't turn on, which was slightly disappointing, and was a little bigger than I would have liked. There was another Canon model that had similar features, but was much more compact. We played with that model and decided we'd do a bit more research and come back the next day.  After discovering that the more compact model also had good reviews, and that Best Buy's prices were comparable to other stores, we went back and bought it! It's a Canon PowerShot SD780 IS.

I got to test it out last week while I was in Denver for work, and I am really happy with it! If anyone is looking for a great compact camera, I recommend this one.  Here are a couple pictures I took from my hotel room, sadly this was as close to the mountains as I could get with my hectic schedule while I was there!

Oh, and please don't judge the camera by these pictures, they were taken through the glass window in my room.  

What type of point and shoot camera do you have?  Do you love it or hate it?

don't forget.

To enter my giveaway for a 16x20" poster print from UPrinting.com!
I'll be picking two winners on Wednesday, May 20th!  Good luck!



Choosing the wedding day attire for my groom was the easiest and most painless decision made for our wedding to date.  Since our wedding is pretty formal, he knew he wanted to wear a tux.  Since there is only one tux shop in the city we're getting married in, you can guess where we went!  

We sat and chatted with the saleslady about the wedding details, and she plopped a large binder down that held all of his options.  To ensure he got the style that he wanted, not the one I suggested, I looked over his shoulder as he went through the book and never said a word.  Mr. M has pretty good taste, and actually probably owns more clothes than I do (we each have our own walk-in closet with way too many clothes) so I knew he'd pick a nice one.  After looking at all of the different styles, there was a clear winner from my point of view, but I waited to see which style he liked best before I gave my opinion.  I was happy (but not surprised) when he chose the very same style I was hoping he would as his favorite!  

My groom will be waiting for me at the altar, looking dapper in his two button black and ivory pinstriped suit with a white shirt and an ivory vest and tie!  He'll be wearing exactly what the model is wearing in this photo, and I know he's going to look gooooood. 

In total, the entire experience, including fitting, picking shoes, getting details for the groomsmen, etc. took approximately a half hour.  Seriously, why is it always so easy for men?

Was your groom's attire a quick and easy decision?  Did you agree with what he picked out?



I apologize for my absence the past few days, I was in Denver for a conference.  To make it up to you, I'm hosting a giveaway from my new sponsor, UPrinting.com!  UPrinting.com is a leading online printing company whose high quality, yet affordable printing services include poster printing, canvas printing, business cards, post cards and more.  
We'll be giving away two 16x20" Poster Prints from UPrinting. That means there will be two winners!

There are two ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment explaining how you would use your poster print.  Make sure to provide a valid email address in your comments so I can contact you if you win.

2. Write a post on your blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post and to www.UPrinting.com.  You can leave a link to your blog post in the comments or send me an email.

You'll be entered into the random drawing once for doing either 1 or 2 above, or twice if you do both.   Each winner will receive a 16x20" poster print of a photo of their choice. Shipping is included to the US and Canada. All other locations must pay for shipping.  

The contest will end at 11:59 central time on Tuesday, May 19th. I'll announce the winners on May 20th. Good luck!


jumping the gun.

I still haven't finished the design of our invitations, but since I am easily distracted, I couldn't help but move on to finding ideas for our rehearsal dinner invites. Imagine my excitement when I came across this lovely invitation from paper loving bride! I love the kraft paper, the simplicity of the design, and the address block on the envelope. It even has the flourish pattern that we've been carrying as a theme within all of our paper goods! Perfect!
To be honest, I'm now more excited about making our rehearsal dinner invites than I am about our actual invitations! Thanks Lisa for letting me share these!
Are you planning on sending out rehearsal dinner invitations?


no escape.

Ever notice how when you're planning a wedding, every little thing seemingly unrelated to weddings becomes wedding related?

Take today for example.  I went to Costco to buy stamps.  Stamps are typically not the first thing you think of when planning a wedding.  But when postage rates are going to increase on May 11, and one has 225 invites, 225 RSVP cards, and a whole bunch of thank you cards to mail in the next few months, somehow stamps become wedding related.  Then there is the whole issue of the look of the stamp, and debating whether or not it's worth saving the extra couple cents and getting the Forever stamps, which of course won't look that great on the envelopes that house the invitations you've been slaving over, or sucking it up and paying more for stamps that match the aesthetic of your invites.  I chose saving the pennies, because they started to add up to dollars when purchasing 700 stamps.   Fourteen dollars, to be exact.
So after putting the big cardboard sheet in my cart that signifies my desire to buy stamps, I went over to the media section to browse.  What did I come across but the newest crafting bible, also known as Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts.  If I wasn't currently planning a wedding, I would never think of putting this book into the wedding related purchase category. But since I am sporting a lovely princess cut stone on my left hand at the moment, I do, in fact, put it into that category.  It is a source of crafting inspiration, and the only crafts I'm doing at the moment are for the wedding or an event leading up to the wedding.   (As a sidenote, in case you are wondering, this book is an amazing source of crafting inspiration, whether or not you are planning a wedding!)

On my way out of the media section, with my cardboard and craft book in tow, I couldn't help but notice the DVD I have been coveting for the past few months and have been procrastinating on purchasing from Amazon.  A DVD that for a normal, non-engaged person would have absolutely positively NOTHING to do with weddings.  What DVD am I referring to?  Why, the 30 Day Shred, of course.  Which to anyone reading this blog, actually has EVERYTHING to do with weddings and the ever-popular bridal pre-wedding fitness routine.  It got added to my cart as well.
And with that, I'm going to stop kidding myself.  Until that fateful September day when I marry the man I've always known was the one for me, pretty much everything I touch, see, make, purchase, or speak of will in some way, shape, or form relate to weddings, at least in my head, whether I like it or not.


making progress.

The invites are coming along.  They're not finished, but I'm happy (for the most part) with how they're turning out so far.  As a little teaser, here's the map I came up with that will be on one of the inserts.

Sadly, even the icon of the reception venue is hideous.  I tried my hardest to make it look good from the outside and even added a flag for some visual interest.  It's just not a pretty building. You win some, you lose some, I guess.  On a postive note, check out how cute the church icon is! It's even close to the real thing.

Are you designing a custom map for your wedding?


If all it takes is some draped fabric to make a garage look this dreamy, I'm convinced everything will work out for my own ugly venue as well.  This is me breathing another sigh of relief.  *sigh*  I feel better.

Does anyone else look for inspiration to convince themselves that everything will be okay?



We've talked about my mother's attire for the wedding, and now it's time to discuss what the mister's mother will be wearing!

My future-mother-in-law had the same limitations as my own mother when it came to shopping for her dress, with the major limiting factor being that there are essentially zero places to shop for dresses in our hometown. While Mama Mascara chose the internet shopping route (with me by her virtual side), FMIL took a more hands-on approach. She came down to visit and we went shopping for her dress together, in person, at the mall.

On her first trip down, after an unsuccessful stop at Macy's, we decided to try Ann Taylor. She tried on one dress (which is actually very similar to the one my own mother purchased in the end) that I thought looked really good on her. She liked it enough, but didn't think it was anything spectacular, so we moved on.

Our next stop was Lord & Taylor, and after trying on several dresses without finding "the one", we were on our way out the door when she came upon a beautiful Anne Klein dress. It was gray and shimmery, with a cap-sleeve and some gathering at the waist. While somewhat casual, it could easily be dressed up with a pretty brooch. The only problem? Of course, it wasn't available in her size. We brought it up to the counter to ask if any other stores had it in stock, and as our luck would have it, they did not. This ended our first dress shopping excursion, as the mall was closing! After searching online when we got home (without the style number... a lost cause for sure), all we could come up with was a sold out listing on Overstock, and we gave up on finding the lovely Anne Klein.

A month or so later, FMIL came back down to visit again. After round two of not finding anything at Macy's or Ann Taylor, we went back to Lord & Taylor. Again, there was no Anne Klein, but she did find a pretty purple Adrianna Papell. She tried it on and we both decided it had serious potential. She was concerned about the dress being a tad to small, and decided she didn't want to risk it. Dress trip number two had failed!

A week or so after she got back to Michigan, she called to tell me she was having second thoughts about the Adrianna Papell dress. Since the one she had tried on was the last dress in all of Illinois (and on clearance!) I did not have high hopes of it still being at the store, but I told her I would check. I went back to the store a few days later and sure enough, the dress was still on the rack! I bought it and took it to Michigan with me the last time we went home.

She tried it on again and still worried it was a bit too tight, but said she was going to keep it anyway. Not one to give up easily, she called another Lord & Taylor store just to make sure they didn't have the dress in her size, and as luck would have it, they did! They shipped the dress in her size to her last week, and it fit perfectly! I'll be returning the other one soon.

While it was somewhat of a difficult process to find her dress, it was all worth it in the end! She loves the dress (and I do too) and she'll be looking beautiful as her only son gets married this September!

Did you help your FMIL pick out her dress for your wedding day?