Sunday, November 29, 2009

Please Hold...

Well all... Thanksgiving over. And it was not without drama. So much so, that things have drastically changed in our wedding planning. I'm going to be figuring things out with Mr Pug in the next day or so (don't worry- still getting married!!) and then will update you all. It's been an extremely tough few days, so thanks for your prayers and patience!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mr Pug and I (and of course, out pugs) all wish you a very...

I hope you all enjoyed yesterday's recipe! We are going to Mr Pug's dad's today, and then his Mom's on Saturday. I'm trying to decide if I should eat breakfast or save room.

This year, I am thankful for our ability, financially and emotionally, to bounce back from all our mini-emergencies. I am glad that we have each other and that our priorities are in order... on that note, I am glad to tell you all that with Mr Pug's encouraging, I put my notice in at NY&Co! On December 13th I will become a one-job gal again!

Though we have much to be thankful for this year, 2009 has been the worst one for us yet. I lost my job, Mr Pug has been looking for a new one (he likes his job but is as high as he can get in his company and wants to use his degree more), we've had countless financial mishaps like the use of our savings during my unemployment, and our roof leak. I've had four jobs this year! (Taxes will be fun in a few months... ha, right!) It's been emotionally draining on both of us, so most of all, I'm just extremely thankful we made it through together!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recipe (and gratuitous ring shots, natch)

Since the holidays are all about giving, here I am, giving you a wonderful Pug family recipe. I remember making this during the holidays every year, they're always a hit and they're easy!

Mama Pug is maybe notsomuch known as an awesome cook/baker. She once put ammonia in a cake by accident and then when she realized by the smell, she considered baking it!!!, saying that it would burn off in the oven!!!!! Luckily my dad stopped her and no one died. She can't screw these brownies up so that makes them inherently easy.

Miss Pug's Famous Family Mint Brownies

Layer one:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. My mom didn't remember if you grease the pan, so I very lightly greased the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

-1 cup sugar
-1 stick butter
-4 eggs
-1 cup flour
-1 1/2 cups Hershey's chocolate syrup

Mama Pug, again, said to just "mix everything." After doing this, I realized it might be easier to cream the butter (ROOM TEMPERATURE!!!!) and sugar, and maybe eggs, first. I had a hard time breaking down the butter 100%. The batter is strange... VERY watery. Don't be fooled. It is perfect. Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Here's mine!

This is important now... it has to cool. Til it's COOL, not just room temperature, but really cooled. We used to have a tiny mudroom off our kitchen that was freezing in winter, and would always stick the brownies out there to cool for an hour or so. I put mine on the counter (on a cooling rack) for an hour and then into the fridge when they hit room temperature. During the cooling stage I tried on my wedding bands. Blame me?

Oh those are some fabulous whore-ish chipped red fingernails, Pugs. Way to take off the Halloween polish, it's only been a month.

When your brownies are cool, it's time to work on the frosting.

Layer two:

-2 cups powdered sugar
-1 stick of butter (ROOM TEMP AGAIN! ALWAYS... and cut into pea-sized cubes)
-2-3 drops of food coloring
-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
-1 tablespoon water

Using an electric mixer again, mix all ingredients. It will take a while to come together, you'll probably panic, but don't worry. If you have a Kitchenaid, well, then I hate you, since they're deeper and you probably wouldn't have powdered sugar all over you 2 seconds in. Typically you will add 2-3 drops of green food dye, I used my neon food coloring (both blue and green), but pretty much anything will do. Green tends to equals mint though, so it's a good way to alert others to the flavor.

When it has come together, taste it, make your man taste it and let him marvel in your mad skillz, and then spread it on the cooled brownies. Try to make it as even as possible. Put it back in the fridge to set.

Neon mint food coloring! Woot!

Ok, now that your mint layer is cooling, you can work on the third and final layer.

Layer three:

This layer is the hardened chocolate layer.

-1 cup chocolate chips
-6 tablespoons butter (3/4 of a stick)

Set up a double broiler. That means an inch or so of water set to simmer with another pot over it, so that the steam can heat the top pot. Or you can just buy a real double broiler. I prefer to be ghetto.

Cut the 6 tablespoons of butter into bits again, and add it to the chocolate chips in the double broiler pan. The bottom pan will heat it indirectly and slowwwly melt it down.

See that butter? This recipe includes 2 and 3/4 sticks. Where is Paula Deen when I need her!?

Once it is all melted down, take it off the stove. Let it cool down a bit while you stir, until you can comfortably touch it.

Then, pour it onto your brownies! Pour it as evenly over the brownies as possible, and then use a spatula to spread it out. You could also spaz like me if you like and get it all over the pan, but that step is optional.

Immediately stick that puppy in the fridge until it's good and hardened. When it's time to serve, cut them in cute little squares. I'm talking 1 inch by 1 inch... these babies are RICH. I've wanted to try using a round cookie cutter, so who knows, I might get brave tomorrow. Then watch as people cry in delight while shoving them in their mouths.

I hope that everyone traveling for the Holiday is safe or safely en route. I cannot make it to NJ this year (stupid budget) so that means spending time in Indiana! What will you be cooking or baking for your Thanksgiving get-togethers?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

THE Wedding Shoes?

After all the strife, and searching, and almost buying children's shoes... have I found THE ONES?






I'm not sure they could be any more perfect. Except that they're Keds. And they're mildly heinous. And I would honestly never be caught dead in them. Mr Pug might immediately divorce me if I wore these to the wedding. I wouldn't blame him. But they're hilariously perfect. If you are truly interested, you can find them here.

A big thanks to Laura aka Miss Mojito from With This Ring, I Thee Blog, for sending me this and brightening my day!

Anyone else so wedding-theme focused sometimes that they end up with search results like these?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mushy Monday- Another IU Game!

On Saturday, Mr Pug and I went to the big Bucket Game aka IU/Purdue. Of course you know we're Indiana Hoosier fans!!!! Unfortunately, the game was a bust. But we had fun anyway! We piled 50 or so IU and Purdue fans on a rented bus and head down to Bloomington. On the two lane highway we were on (one lane northbound, one southbound) there was an accident. Our bus driver decided to do a U-turn.

Yea it was stuck like that. And completely blocked traffic. For about an hour.

Mr Pug and I got out with everyone else and waited for the cops and tow truck... yea, I'm not kidding.

(Yep those are the leftover koozies from our engagement party/shower in NJ!) I won't lie, I had a NASTY bad attitude about being out on the side of the road with no end in sight. But Mr Pug was charming and funny and supportive and made me (and I'm sure others!) feel positive. I mean... we had our beer!

Here's that tow truck...

One of the guys asked the cop "I bet you see this all the time, right?" He laughed and said "NOPE!"

When we finally got there, we popped around to see our friends who were tailgating.

After a few hours we went to a local bar. It was great to hang out with friends and relax with each other- no wedding talk, no work worries, nothing but IU, friends, and each other. Oh, and beer!

So for non-fans, ok, maybe not so interesting. But Mr Pug being there for me, so able to make me smile, and cheer me up, is one of the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place. I love that we enjoy sports together and have the opportunity to visit his alma mater, since it's so close by!

What things that you do together remind you why you fell in love with your fiance or husband?

Friday, November 20, 2009

4 Months, Tears, & Venue Proposal Revisions

First of all, thank you guys so much for your great comments! I'm glad so many of you are willing to offer your thoughts. Mr Pug and I talked and of course, were in agreement about getting rid of the fruits and the projector (the projector was a last minute "why not" of his, and the fruits were since we wouldn't be able to do a dessert buffet.) We are sort of ambivalent about the champagne... I said, "Remember at that wedding, there wasn't a champagne toast!" And he said, "Um, yes there was." Which says to me 1. I was too drunk and 2. If I, crazy Pugzilla Bride Blogger, did not notice or care either way, others might not either. Also, thanks Katerina from GirlWithARing who said her parents really cared about it... we realized before setting anything in stone, we should probably talk to our parents in case something is super-important to them.

Realizing what an "average" budget in your area is seems to be a hot topic. Many of you commented on it, and I noticed it on the Weddingbee boards today here. WB member Snake posted this Cost of Wedding site, where you plug in your zip code and find out the average range of the cost to get married in that city or town, not including the ring or honeymoon.

Ready for this? My hometown of Caldwell NJ has an average wedding cost of $41,918 and $69,863. Yes, seriously. Well, I guess to those of you in Beverly Hills CA ($57,216 and $95,361) would be jealous of that. (Yea that's right, I plugged in 90210!) Indianapolis IN comes in at $16,369 and $27,282, which I think is reasonable. With the $40+ a plate (for CHICKEN!) and thousands-of-dollars venue rental fees we found, I think that means a lot of Indianapolis weddings are smaller than our 200-guest goal. We had to venture north of the city to get a great cost ourselves.

Back to our proposal. I called my mom on the way home from work and had a good cry. I knew this all was coming- the 19%, the cost for drinks, etc.- but had to just cry about all the money we lost when I lost my job (and we had to spend all our savings to get by) or when we had the other money issues I haven't blogged about, and a leaky roof. I complained about the parents who give their kids 30 grand and say "have fun!" I lamented about not having people to talk to about this in my real life. She lets me vent and is so wonderful. She wishes she could help, but my Dad not having life insurance when he passed away really screwed her financially. (CALL YOUR PARENTS AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE LIFE INSURANCE, NOT JUST FOR YOU, BUT FOR THE SURVIVING PARENT!) Her support really made me feel less gloomy though, and she told me to get in there and hug my wonderful fiance. Which I did!

Just after I went over the spreadsheet Mojito helped me make, Mr Pugs was playing X-Box Live and I was folding my mountains of laundry. And the phone rang. It was our venue's representative. She wanted to clarify a few things on our proposal which I had emailed her about. The first was that I had asked her about linens- and yes, they were included in the room rental cost, not left out accidentally. (YAY!) The other was the bar. (Gulp!)

We had come up with a few bar options we wanted priced, and had expected them all to be on the proposal. In her call she said that she could only put one in that program, but wanted to tell us our other details. What we had on our proposal was the most expensive option. The soda was included (I split it off in my spreadsheet) and it was all $7/person for the first hour, and $3.50/person for each additional hour. She said the other two options would be cheaper! First was the option to buy our own kegs and wine. Second would be to do a consumption bar, where we put any amount of money down, and then decided what drinks we would serve. If the money ran out, we could pay more money that night and keep it open.

Here are my thoughts about the options:

Host Bar Option:

This sounded like a good option, but I was having a hard time deciding how much wine and beer to estimate. I looked at the Real Simple and evite estimators and struggled with, "is this the right amount?" It would be different if we were buying them ourselves, but already paying an up-charge by buying through our venue, I thought consumption might be better. Plus- we'd still have to do the pay for soda versus no soda debate!

Consumption Bar Option:

This option is where we do a set amount. We can select which drinks are available (we'd do domestic beers ($2.75 each) and house wine or champagne ($5.00/glass) and maybe even a premium wine if that means Riesling! ($6.00/glass) Sodas could also be included then for $1.50 each- that way, we pay per soda ordered, not per person! This would be a good option for a couple wanting a signature drink- if we wanted to include, say, a Pugtini, we could make that available too and only pay for the ones ordered. Any other drinks would be available but for cash. I think a good amount to put down would be $2,500. Then, if we are getting close to hitting that mark, our coordinator finds us (or a parent if we designate them) and we can add more money to our consumption bar tab. Even if we go over the original bar cost we were quoted ($3,500) by adding more later in the night, that's money we didn't have to worry about paying in advance. That's what wedding gifts of cash are for!

Here's what our venue budget looks like:

The only thing different for total cost is the reduction of the bar cost to $2,500. Choice 1 eliminates fruits and projectors, and Choice 2 eliminates those plus champagne. I feel much better! We can also do a bit between Choices 1 & 2 by doing all sparkling grape juice.

When has something bad improved for you in wedding planning? And who do you go to for venting purposes besides your fiance?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holy 19%, Batman!

If I could tell any newly-engaged girl a tidbit to help her, I now know what it would be.


Looking at venues, we would do math in our heads, looking at either per person cost, or the minimum, etc. We knew that most places have an 18-20% service charge, but didn't really think about it. I guess in my head I maybe thought it wasn't that much? Well it totally blew our venue budget. Remember when we went over what we wanted at Palomino, and she said she'd type it up and send it to us, and then we could add/change/delete? I got that email. And it blew me away. I made it into a spreadsheet, which I am going to share with you in a minute.

Before you read on, I want you to note that it wasn't an easy decision to share this with you all. A lot of money to one person is nothing to another, and vice versa. Some of you have posted your budgets, or I've seen some on wedding sites, and a lot of the time I'm sort of judge-y. You know, like, "They think that's a budget wedding?" So I'm asking you to put yourselves in my shoes- remember the cost where we live, remember that we're paying for the wedding ourselves, and remember that we are very, very poor and this is a lot of money to us!

Okay, off soapbox. Onwards!

Here's the beginning of the excel document I made. I did this so I could add columns where I could then omit items and see where we stood. The total cost is for everything listed on the proposal.

Above are the food items. This could change depending on what people order, and most importantly, how many people come! We selected the fruit and strawberries thinking it would be nice, as not everyone loves cakes. They will be getting a dinner salad and rolls, meal with sides, garlic bread, drinks, and cupcakes- $840.00 more? For that they can stop at Arby's on the way home if they are honestly still hungry after the schmorgasboard. SORRY! Geez Louise that's more than we're paying for cake!

Below are the non-food details... not so bad! I LIKE OUR SUBTOTAL! That's just above where we were hoping to be.

Wait a second... there's more.

Yep you can't forget that SERVICE CHARGE! It was nearly 2k for us, and for more pricey areas/higher budgets, this could get expensive and quick. But that wasn't all...

About 3k above where we would feel comfortable. I calmed myself down and thought through the details. I was really upset that to have a cheaper bar, we'd need to pay $2 per person for soda. They get free water, coffee, lemonade, and iced tea, so chopping this was an option. (Soda comes with any open bar package, but we chose just domestic beer and house wine.) The fruits are definitely out, as well as the projector and screen. We thought it would be nice to show a slideshow during dinner, but for that cost, the $25 bar TV's showing our slideshow will be enough. Something to do while waiting for drinks!

I took these considerations and made a few choices.

Choice 1- All options except the fruit desserts and projector. This would run us $10,116.01.
Choice 2- Same as above, but also no soft drinks. This would run us $9,608.01
Choice 3- "Bare Minimum." Same as #2 but also no champagne toast, uplighting or ceiling swags. This would run us $9,036.51.
Choice 4- "Desperation." Same as #3 but also cut our decorative mirror monogram, candle-lit window, and our sweetheart table chargers. This would run us $8,849.82.

I emailed with two of my blog gals, Laura from With This Ring, I Thee Blog, and Stephanie from I Do at the Zoo. Stephanie was kind enough to send over her bar and food spreadsheets to compare! And Laura added columns detailing what she though would be necessary versus what could be cut. Here's the spreadsheet with her additions on the right:

Luckily, Laura is also crazy about excel. I'm sure you can't read this, just trust me, it's a magnificent document.

I feel confident that Mr Pug and I can make this work. We'll be cutting things for sure! What smaller things on my list would you cut? For example- would you be ok with lemonade, water, coffee, and tea? Would you prefer to see the tulle swags with twinkle lights go, or the green uplighting? Do you think the champagne toast is more important than soft drinks? Should it be all sparkling grape juice to save money? Would you be baffled if there wasn't a champagne toast?

Thanks for not judging, guys! And thanks Laura and Steph for listening! We're going over this tonight, will probably sleep on it for a while, and then have to give the final go-ahead from our proposal in early January. I'll letcha know!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My First Wedding Nightmare... awww

Recently, Mr Pug secured his third and final usher. Usher E happens to be Best Man A's older brother. The three of them lived together for many years, and still "jam" together often. Usher E is a great guy and we are happy that he will be getting married in 2010 as well! He got engaged recently and they will be getting married July 2, 2010.

Saturday night was an engagement party for them, and we went to Best Man A's house for the fun. There were great drinks, food and friends! In fact... I may or may not have tried a MEATBALL! And... LIKED IT! But that's a whole 'nother story.

A lot of our friends there had wedding on the brain... A & E's younger sister is recently married, and our friends who were married in October were there as well. Back from Tahiti... yea, no jealousy there! Ha! There were a lot of questions about how our planning is going. So I guess I had wedding on the brain when I went to sleep that night.

Yep, I had a wedding nightmare! I never have dreams about the wedding so this was a little exciting. I tried to remember as much as possible. I was getting ready for the wedding, but sort of frantic, since our timeline hadn't been finalized yet. Sort of like if we were to get married tomorrow... lots of things weren't done. My mom was practically a DOC, running around and helping- which isn't like her at all, she's a very quiet, humble, easy-going, behind-the-scenes type of person. I was feeling better when I realized I had left my hair fascinator and jewelry at our house (which was like my old house in NJ?) and kept asking people to go get them for me. I would explain where they were (the layout of my old room in NJ was like the layout of our spare bedroom... that's where they were) but no one would acknowledge my request. I started to be ok with it when I realized it was past 4pm and we only had 2 hours til the RECEPTION but hadn't even gone to the church yet!

That's all I have. I think it's pretty evident that I'm nervous about everything coming together. And you better believe I'm putting my jewelry and fascinator in a safe place!

Do you have haunting nightmares about your wedding? How do you handle them?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Save The Date Update and a COUPON!!!!!

Remember my Save the Dates? You know, that I had to order 250 of since I needed just over the other offered quantity of 100? Yea, we have coasters for a year.

Well I do not believe I've properly bragged about the lovely etsy seller who designed them! Laurel from Go Against The Grain. Andddddd she is amazing!

She does monograms for those who tried on their own and failed (COUGH*me*COUGH). Maybe someday I'll show you my failures. Here is one of my FAVORITE successes of hers. Yes, for the cost of a small latte at Starbucks (shoot, I mean a TALL) you can get a gorgeous monogram.

Find the above Monogram here, $3

She also does invitations, which you can have her print for you or, like me, purchase just the file and print yourself. This RSVP was what pushed me over the edge for Go Against The Grain... how whimsical is that phrasing!?

Find the above Invitation Suite here, $25

She also does extras like maps, seating cards, menus, etc. Which is what I really wanted to show you all, since many people have been talking about doing maps. Look how cute this map is... she not only makes it useful but CUTE to match your colors and theme! CUTE OVERLOAD!

Find the above 1-Sided Map here, $25

Laurel also has not-necessarily-wedding items like cupcake flags and holiday cards. And she was gracious enough to let me share a coupon with you all! I got it in the mail recently after a purchase...

And yes, you can use it too! Go Against The Grain is offering 15% off your purchase! Just put FF15 in the message to sender section upon checkout, and you will be refunded the 15%. This is valid until the 31st of December 2009. (Discount not valid on rush orders.) Go visit Go Against The Grain and happy shopping!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rehearsal Dinner Drama

We have probably played around with a zillion rehearsal dinner spots. (Rehearsal dinner hereby to be known as "RD" because I am lazy.)

We aren't formal people by any means, so our RD is not going to be a formal affair. Some RD's end up as fancy as the wedding, and that is NOT what Mr Pug and I want. Before I give you our "options," here's some background. One of our hotel choices is downtown, since many guests have not been to Indy and will be tourists while not doing wedding things. Our church and home are in the "Broad Ripple" area, which is northeast of downtown. There are fun bars in both areas, but we always go out in Broad Ripple. Our church is in Broad Ripple. Ok, debrief done, moving on.

Our first and favorite option was the Slippery Noodle Inn, a historic Indy landmark.


Located a block or two from the downtown hotel we have reserved, it's a fun Blues bar with great music. However, it's icky and smoky. But our non-RD guests could meet us here after and we could all enjoy some music and drinks. So... I called them.


Big N-O from them. They do private parties, but no one under 21 is permitted. MOH R and groomsman J (our siblings) will be 19. So that won't work! He said though that they'd drop the 21 part if the smoking ban passes in Indianapolis. Which he assured me it would, and soon, since we are preparing for the 2012 superbowl here in Indy. Mr Pug, however, heard the mayor on the radio this very morning saying he would veto it if it made it to his desk. So... let's not bank on this one, I guess.

Mr Pug actually was pushing for a Broad Ripple area restaurant. While it would be less convenient for our out of town guests (not walking distance whatsoever) it is a very short cab ride. It is also very close to our church and where we normally hang out. One of our favorite restaurants, Bazbeaux, is located right where all the bars are. Parking sucks, but it's a fun area.


Bazbeaux serves wonderful original pizzas. We could just pick a few, order a bunch, and everyone is happy! Right? Wrong. No private parties, no reservations. Thanks a lot, Bazbeaux. I will miss sharing my BOT with everyone...


Yes, that is my favorite pizza above. The BOT... Bacon, Onion & Tomato. Le sigh.

Mr Pug and I pondered what to do while at Cancun, a Mexican restaurant on a main street right next to Broad Ripple. That we visit so often they know us. And then a lightbulb went off... we could have it here! So I pulled aside my waiter and asked. He said they've done parties of 100 before... you just need to call the day before. So that makes me a little uneasy, but you know that they'll shove as many people in those restaurants as they can when necessary! (Have you ever been to a Mexican place on Cinco de Mayo? Then you know what I mean.) There also are not private rooms, but we're not doing it formal, so really, why do we care? We are just out to thank our wedding party members.

Since they don't have a website, I pulled a photo of what the food would look like... you know what you're seeing, delicious cheesy, meaty, corny foods... tacky tile tables and weirdly upholstered booths... a large strong drink...


Although we'd stick with pitchers of these, we wouldn't want anyone to be too toasted!


I can't decide if we should keep looking or stick with Cancun. It's amazing delicious food... but feels like a risk! I want to include information about the RD in invitations (for those who are invited to the RD) so I need to decide in the next month. I asked for suggestions on the Indiana board of The Knot as well. What would you do?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Lucky Day!

Today must be my lucky day! Not only is it 11/11 (11 is my lucky number) but I have gotten three awards! Thanks first to Kristin at Unspecified Thoughts and Stacy from You Can't Take It With You for the "Your Blog is Fabulous!" Award! Now, if only that cute grey pooch was a pug! :)

I am supposed to list five things I am obsessed with, and then pass it on to five other bloggers. I'll leave you pugs and weddings since, well, YOU GET IT.

1. Stuffing... I can make and eat whole bagfuls. (Pepperidge Farm brand, whole wheat blend.)
2. Egyptian everything. Art, history, culture, traditions. I love it!
3. Miniature versions of things.
4. New Jersey and defending it's honor.
5. NCIS... it's my new favorite show!

I will be passing this on to...

2. Fresh Brioche aka LavenderPug aka MANHATTAN PUG :)
4. Amanda from Life, Love and Disney
5. Keepin' it Real... Organized

The next award was the "Your Blog is Over the Top!" award, from BlueButterfly10, whose dogs are ahhhhh-dorableeee by the way! (She and Amanda from Life, Love and Disney also gave me the "Sugar Doll" award. I am too lucky!)

For this award, I need to answer the following questions with one-word answers, and then pass the award on to six other deserving bloggers. Here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk.
2. Your hair? Flat.
3. Your mother? Adorable.
4. Your father? Missed.
5. Your favorite food? Stufffffinnnnn'!
6. Your dream last night? None.
7. Your favorite drink? Diet.
8. Your dream/goal? Pho-dog-rapher.
9. What room are you in? Office.
10. Your hobby? Blogging.
11. Your fear? Loneliness.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Mansion :)
13. Where were you last night? Computer.
14. Something you aren’t? Overpaid.
15. Muffins? Pumpkin.
16. Wish list item? Cash.
17. Where did you grow up? Jersey.
18. Last thing you did? Talk.
19. What are you wearing? Sweater.
20. Your TV? HD.
21. Your pets? Pugs.
22. Your friends? Far.
23. Your life? Interesting.
24. Your mood? Hungry.
25. Missing someone? Jerseyans.
26. Vehicle? Bruce.
27. Something you’re not wearing? Socks.
28. Your favorite store? Michaels.
29. Your favorite color? Green.
30. When was the last time you laughed? Minutes.
31. Last time you cried? Thursday.
32. Your best friend? H.
33. One place that I go over and over? Walgreens.
34. One person who emails me regularly? Vistaprint.
35. Favorite place to eat? Mexican!

Whew! For someone who is a gal of many words, that was hard!!!!!

Here are my six...

1. LauraLou from Lucky in Love
2. Sarah from How Engaging...
5. august15bride
6. Stephanie from "I Do" at the Zoo

And yet another award!!! The "Your Blog is Super Cute" award (although it's in Portugese, I think?) from Jill of Once Upon A Dream!

All I have to do with this one is pass it on! So I will pass it on to...

3. Ashley at Bride on a Budget
5. Miss Mojito from With this ring, I thee blog
6. Stacy from You Can't Take It With You

Thank you all! I am in the middle of trying to finish my invites so I will definitely have more updates for you soon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pug DIY and a Little IU!

Back to those pug shirts!! Remember our wonderful Save the Date postcards, which featured the puggies in their coordinated shirts?

Yep, those! I knew I'd never use them again, and we're on an uber-budget, so it made sense to recycle them. The shirts were purchased months ago from Blank Dog Tees, and we even made it onto their gallery! It's a great place to buy plain, blank, and inexpensive shirts for small dogs.

On Friday, I purchased a white fabric remnant (check the remnants at your fabric or craft store- they can be REALLY affordable!) and some fabric paint pens with my 20% off Jo-Ann coupon. I made a template out of a magazine page, and cut three pieces of fabric to look like cards. I then drew the markings in pencil and colored them with paint pen.

I rounded the corners and then used Liquid Stitch to glue them to the shirts. (If you cannot sew, BUY LIQUID STITCH! It has saved me so many times!) To add both extra security to the corners and definition to the cards, I outlined them in puffy paint.

You can still sort of see the words underneath the cards (even though I got a thick fabric!) but unless you are looking, it isn't really noticeable. I let them dry overnight and then got the pugs all dressed up on Saturday!

Get it... they are THREE OF A KIND! Or... "Crazy Eights" as some friends noted!

I hope this project proves that I can actually DIY some things! :-)

Last night, Mr Pug and I got to go on a DATE! His boss (and many of his coworkers) also went to Indiana University, and the big boss has season tickets to IU basketball games. He is on vacation this week and offered Mr Pug his two tickets. Um... 8th row. Behind the north basket. YES PLEASE!

Here we are, decked out in our cream and crimson! Can you tell my hair is growing out...?

Look at our view of the court! No zoom was used for this picture! It was amazing. This was my first IU basketball game!

We also were lucky enough to have dinner with Mr Pug's youngest brother before the game. It was nice to catch up with him and talk fantasy football, college classes, and holiday plans.

Mr Pug and I speak longingly of the days when we will be able to spend our money on vacations and dates, dinners and presents. Without free tickets like these, last night would not have happened. We couldn't stop talking about going to games at IU again "after the wedding." I feel like a lot of things are being put off til then... March 21st and on will be a mix of relief to be able to enjoy spending money again, and despair at not having a wedding to plan! What do you give up in order to have the wedding of your dreams? What will change after you are married? If you are married- what is different in this sense?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Peanut Butter Crackers

Growing up, I had a dirty little secret. I tried to hide it all the time but it was painfully obvious at family get-togethers or vacations.

I was (and well, still am) a horribly picky eater.

I remember vaguely my mom asking our doctor once if I was going to be ok, since all I ate was peanut butter crackers. She assured her I'd grow out of it. Which I did, kind of. I didn't eat meat from age two until a month before my 21st birthday. I can attempt a list of foods I ate during my grade school years...

Peanut butter on crackers (NOT on bread- that's gross), green grapes (not red), American cheese (and it had to be yellow), carrots sometimes, raisins, pasta with butter and salt (no sauces or anything in the pasta), plain cous cous or pastini (sometimes with milk in it), PLAIN PIZZA (and plain from the start... I wouldn't let someone peel of pepperonis and call it "plain"), waffles with powdered sugar (but not pancakes, and definitely no syrup), Cheerios, yogurt (but nothing with any texture to it like fruit on the bottom- had to be a flavored kid's yogurt or Dannon vanilla or lemon), plain or salt bagels, apples (without the skin, preferably with honey for dipping), and that's probably it. Of course I also liked sweets but what kid doesn't?

Picture proof...

Yea, that's me in a really cool dress. And I think I did my own hair. But check out my milk mustache, and my green grape / American cheese dinner. I can't believe I survived!

I also had (and in some cases, still do!) and aversion to fruit textures. See below:

Looks like that bowl is untouched. Red grapes? No way. And what is that, melon? Not a chance!

I grew out of a bunch of these dislikes. However, it became a real anxiety/phobia for me. I won't try foods in front of random people or even friends- I have to be comfortable and no one can watch me. At my horrible old job my boss grilled me about it at a convention dinner, and I started tearing up. The thought of trying new foods gives me so much anxiety that I shut down. (She later gave me an etiquette pamphlet for dinner events... thanks.) I've been brave and now I eat chicken, hot dogs, pepperoni, and bacon, as well as hummus, pasta with sauces (marina AND vodka!), apples WITH skins, things like onions, tomatoes (normal salad or pizza topping ingredients!), pancakes with syrup, all cheese except bleu and ricotta, and even "weird" foods like chicken sausage. Some things haven't changed though, like my dislike of any texture in my yogurt, aversion to strawberries, dislike of sandwiches on soft bread slices, or my prejudice against red grapes.

When I started dating, I kind of freaked out about my food dislikes. Most of my family and friends were understanding, but meeting someone new it's like having to admit a scary secret, but on your first date... while ORDERING food. Some guys were cool, some guys weren't. But all guys noticed. Mr. Pug has been great about making me comfortable to try new things. I want to be a "good try-er" but sometimes, my anxiety gets the better of me. This is coming from the girl who sat at the dinner table alone until bedtime- in the dark- since I wasn't allowed to leave the table until I ate my full portion of steak. We're talking a bite about 1/6 the size of a normal bite. So when Mr. Pug tries to sing the praises of a well-cooked steak, I have a hard time going along with it.

Usually it's not a problem for us since he is understanding, and I've been making small but steady strides. Every once in a while though, Mr Pug gets bummed. Once, we talked about trying a new tapas bar downtown, but Mr Pug was apprehensive since tapas = sharing, and he knew he'd have limited choices due to my dislikes. Last night, when we were planning meals for the week, he got upset while going through a cookbook and realizing he couldn't make a bunch of the recipes because I wouldn't even try them.

I feel horrible that this anxiety comes between us sometimes, and hope that I'll continue to improve by a few foods each year. But to be honest, the thought of liking every food out there is severely overwhelming.

Did you have a secret you were nervous to divulge to your significant other? Does he have something like this that he brought into the relationship? How do you deal with differences, whether it be tastes in food, music, religious differences, or something else?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Calming Down my OCD Tendencies!

To prove I can actually DIY some stuff, I waited anxiously all week for my 20% off WHOLE PURCHASE Jo-Ann's coupon start day today. Yes, the elusive craft store full-purchase discount! Mostly I'll be DIY-ing my pugs' Halloween costume. Yes, I realize it's November, but we celebrate at our pug meetup group's November meeting. Yeah... we belong to a pug meetup group. Feel free to judge me.

I'll show off their outfits tomorrow, don't worry! In the meantime, let's rewind. I'm in the car driving to Jo-Ann's and call my mom on the way to thank her for sending me a purse one of her relatives didn't want. She then mentioned her dress for the wedding cautiously. I had previously said something short was fine, preferably black or green. We did some online searching weeks ago, but nothing she liked looked good on her. On the phone tonight, she mentioned that she went to a boutique with a friend from work, and found what she thinks is "the one." She loved it. But... she was worried I wouldn't let her get it since it was a blue-ish purple color.

Normally, I get so wrapped up in little details about everything, that I freak if it's not perfect. Once in grade school I drew a great picture but got a smudge on it... so I ripped it up. When I was younger, I was known to cry if whoever bought bagels didn't get what flavor I wanted. (Please note that NJ bagels are good enough to cry over, I'll give myself that!) I wasn't always easy to deal with, and I have always been overly detail focused. I know my Mom was nervous to mention this dress to me because of the color. How horrible of a daughter would I be if I said, "Nope, sorry! Get a green or black one!" The color will look great with our flowers and next to the black bridesmaid dresses. Maybe I'll even buy her a green pattered pashmina as a gift. I was just so happy to hear her happy about a dress. And she was happy to hear that I thought she should get it. She went ahead and sent me the cell phone picture she took in it. How hot is my mom!?

Yea I severely doubt she'd want her face all over the internet so I put a nice little pug face on there for her. But check out that hot little body! Isn't she adorable? I am so glad she's getting this gorgeous dress that she loves!

While at Jo-Ann's for the pug costume items, I found these totes for my bridesmaids! $6.99 pre-tax, but after the 20% off, that's $5.60 pre-tax. I'll take that!

I had to drop my OCD tendencies for this one too since 1) they didn't have six of each color (and an associate said there weren't more in the warehouse) 2) the green isn't exactly perfect. I sucked it up though, because- let's face it- they won't be in the wedding! I got three of each color and now have the task of figuring out who would like which color more. I will also try to monogram them with a first initial in some way.

Where did you find bridesmaid gifts? Did you randomly bump into them or plan out the purchases? And how did you decide what the mothers in your wedding would wear- did you tell them guidelines, let them pick whatever they wanted, or somewhere in between?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I'm mostly distracted today because of work and worries over the Bugg, but thought I'd distract myself from my distractions by doing the survey-thingie that everyone and their mom seem to have done already.

Since it's almost Thankgiving, here's a gratuitious photo of us on Thanksgiving-Eve two years ago. Mr Pug's first post-bar NJ diner experience. Unfortunately for him, I was so drunk that I could barely take a picture.

Yes, I am putting back a basket of curly fries. And why yes, I slept on the couch and... puked on the couch that night. Don't worry mom, we flipped the cushion after cleaning it. Yummy. Thanksgiving Eve is never kind to me. Never.

Onward to the survey!

1. What are your middle names? His is Christopher. Mine is Jeanne (pronounced JEAN) and my confirmation name is Bridget.

2. How long have you been together? Almost three years.

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating? We were going on dates for about half a month before we were "boyfriend/girlfriend" (you know, on Facebook.)

4. Who asked who out? I'm not sure, we just sort of agreed to "meet up."

5. How old are each of you? I'm 24, he's 27. He'll turn 28 the week of our wedding and I turn 25 the week we get back from Jamaica.

6. Did you go to the same school? No, he went to IU, which is south of us in Bloomington, I went to Elon in North Carolina. Go... Phoenix? (I have no school spirit.)

7. Are you from the same home town? No where near it... Mr Pug grew up in Indianapolis with a brief stint in Maryland. I grew up in the land of bagels and pizza (New Jersey) just outside of New York City.

8. Who is the smartest? He is a better businessman and knows much more about history, politics, etc than I do... and has much more common sense. BUT I scored higher on the SAT's! (1440. From back when it was out of 1600. I hold onto that dearly as my greatest accomplishment/history's biggest fluke and spend far too much time trying to find out ways to slip it into conversations. Like this.)

9. Who majored in what? He majored in Finance and I majored in Corporate Communications and Art. One might argue he also majored in Partying. Then again, I was freaking T-Shirt chair for my sorority... do we really want to go there?

10. Who is the most sensitive? DEFINITELY me. I cry and cry and cry over mostly nothing, far too often.

11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Las Vegas! We weren't fans of that flight, it was insanely bumpy. We've also been to Clearwater Florida, and various car trips around the Midwest and to the Dirty Jerz.

12. Who has the worst temper? Mr Pugs. He is more quick to get angry and then let go, while I'm sensitive, let stuff build up, and then let it bother me for, oh... ever.

13. How many children do you want? We want 2 or 4. No odd numbers if we can help it!

14. Who does the cooking? Mr Pug is a better cook but we try to split it. I am great at baking though! Usually we each have our specific dishes that we cook (like Mr Pug's buffalo chicken dip, chicken parm, or anything grilled; or my English Muffin pizzas... hey I said he was better.)

15. Who is more social? I'm more social in a "I talk to strangers" sort of way. When we're in our element (with close friends) I'd say I'm more social/outgoing by a smidge, but since we live in his hometown, we're around his friends more, and I seem a lot more quiet than I am.

16. Who is the neat freak? Neither of us are "freaks" about it but he is neater for sure.

17. Who is the most stubborn? This is pretty even... I call it a tie!

18. Who wakes up earlier? When the alarm goes off, I get up and take out the pugs while he gets their food ready and makes coffee. Then I shower while he eats breakfast. He goes to work earlier though.

19. Where was your first date? OPT's aka Old Pro's Table, a bar in Broad Ripple. We drank Blue Moons and stared longingly into one another's eyes. We then went to Red Room where I embarrassed him by forcefully making out (classy).

20. Who has the bigger family? HA. Me, no contest. He has his mom's sister (single) and brothers (single, he never sees them) and then his dad's sister (married without kids) and brother (married with 3 sons- two of whom are married with baby girls!) So that's like, 14. My Momma Pugs is the oldest of 10, my Dad had two families... we've already discussed my 25 cousins. I love my huge amazing family!

21. Do you get flowers often? Not recently! :( But alas, we are poor.

22. How do you spend the holidays? The last two years we have done Thanksgiving in NJ and Christmas here. It's worked out well and we'll probably continue that, but this year we couldn't afford to travel. Which is fine- I'll see everyone in March! Eventually if we move out of Indianapolis I'd like to alternate and try and get people to come to US... I would love to hostess and not have to board pugs.

23. Who is more jealous? HAHA we both have our moments. I've stink-eyed the girls Mr Pug was "seeing" before he met me. (Stupid biotches!) And he likes to know who a guy is if he writes on my Facebook wall or something like that. Healthy amounts of jealousy, more like curiosity... nothing huge.

24. How long did it take to get serious? We moved super fast. Dated a few weeks before it was official per Facebook, then moved in together literally four or five months later. We bought our house almost exactly eight months after we started dating.

25. Who eats more? I'm mildly competitive and make sure we always split things 50/50 so sometimes we eat... um... the same amount? YIKES!

26. What do you do for a living? I'm basically a glorified secretary. He's a sales/account manager for a parking construction company but is looking to get back into finance and maybe into the health aspect of it.

27. Who does the laundry? We do our own... we are far too particular about our clothes and how to wash them. Seriously, I challenge you to dry Mr Pug's work clothes on high heat.

28. Who's better with the computer? Definitely me, but he's not bad by any means. I just know Macs AND PC's and I know a lot of design programs. Oh and I have a major love for Excel as you probably know.

29. Who drives when you are together? 95% of the time, Mr Pugs. His car accommodates him better (no one over 6 foot likes to slump down into the Brucemobile, aka my Corolla) and he likes to drive. However he drives all day for his job, so once in a while he's so sick of it he asks me to drive. I try to drive when we're in NJ though... you know us crazy Jersey drivers!

30. What is your song? We don't really have one... I like Michael Buble's "Everything" but it's not really his type of music. This will have to be saved for another post!

Ok now everyone else do this- I've really enjoyed reading them!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tasting, Yo!

We had our tasting tonight at Palomino!

Granted, we knew what we were ordering, but... we wanted to taste it! Plus ours were free! We invited Mr Pug's mom as well. We tried the Caesar salad as well as the garden salad. Their honey mustard dressing was an A+ (my favorite) and Mr Pug was ga-ga over their ranch (it is homemade!)

For our meals, I started with the chicken. It was lightly breaded with some sun dried tomato cream sauce drizzled on. The flavor was great! It came with mashed potatoes (also A+) and green beans. We all loved it.

Mr Pug started with the vegetarian lasagna. It had spinich and carrots in it. None of us are vegetarians so it was more of a side dish to us, but we think it will be a hearty option for our vegetarian friends. It came with green beans as well.

On a whim we ordered FMIL Pugs the pork. It was herb encrusted and FMIL Pugs, who normally doesn't love pork, was all over it. We'll have to look at cost and see if we might offer that as an option if it's only $1-2 more than the chicken. It came with roasted potatoes (delish!) and a lemony broccoli.

Naturally, I forgot my camera (I'm a little distracted by something going on with our Bugg) but made Mr Pug take a picture of the bar area on his phone.

I forgot how HUGE it is! All around this room there are tiny tables with 2 of those red chairs at each. There are also 2 TVs that can have our photos on repeat. I think this will be great for our wedding!

Did you do a tasting before picking your menu?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pet Giraffe!

On Friday, I got a wonderful package in the mail from one of my favorite retailers, RedEnvelope. If anyone hasn't been to RedEnvelope... go. It's a great high-quality but less-pricey gift shop. I got a special email price for an item I really wanted- $10 less (and free gift box, which I turned down) so after Mr Pug agreed it was worth it... I pressed "BUY!"

This baby was sitting on my doorstep after work on Friday!

Most RedEnvelope gifts come with a card that explains the item a little further.

I instantly ripped it apart, pulled out my present to myself, and sighed with happiness. I love giraffes. LOVE THEM! So this giraffe ring holder spoke my language. After losing a stone from my ring (twice), and noticing how it sometimes causes pulls in towels or blankets, I decided to take it off at night and put it on post-shower in the morning. However, I am messy! I knew on my nightstand I would lose it. So my new pet giraffe will sit on my bathroom counter... beautiful and functional.

Pet giraffe ring photoshoot starting... now!

(That other ring is my promise ring, with Mr Pug gave me exactly one year before proposing!)

Mr Giraffie McRingholder has happily acclimated to a life on our crowded bathroom counter, next to my jewelry pouch, candle, and disgusting array of beauty products.

It's only been a few days but it's VERY weird to get used to not wearing my ring 24/7. Besides cleanings and repairs, I've worn my ring 100% of the time since Mr Pug proposed. This will be a change for me!

How do you care for your ring? If you take it off at night or to shower, where do you store it?