Saturday, January 30, 2010

Making the Best of a Poop Day

Mr Pug used the wedding to distract me and get me out of the house today. We went to the south side to try on a crinoline that was for sale on craigslist. Unfortunately, it was too small, but we were not deterred! We headed up to Shane Co with our gift card in hand to pick out his ring.

And pick out a ring we did! We wanted white gold (not a fan of tungsten or titanium) and they were all quite pricey. Silly me though we could get a white gold ring for $200! The one we picked was one of the least expensive. I know Mr P liked another white gold one that was over $700. I told him we could try to finance it, but he said he'd rather get a less expensive one that he liked, and upgrade in the future if he wants to. I agreed, since then if he does decide to upgrade for say, our 5 year anniversary, he can use his first one for backup, vacations, etc.

I wish we had the money to get him an expensive ring he is all melty & ga-ga over, but he does really like the ring we got.

After tax it was $347. It is white gold with the beading on the edges. Detail:

He got sized and his ring will be ready on Tuesday! Not bad for $147 after our gift card. Once we make sure the size is right, I'll get an inscription engraved for him.

I also talked to them about getting my rings soldered. I brought them all and showed him the fit on me, because I was concerned they'd be a bit snug once soldered. He agreed and suggested that when I take them to get soldered, I have them all upped 1/4 size. They said it would only take a few days, but I'll probably do it a week before the wedding at least, justtttt in case.

We went to a celebratory lunch and then I decided my day of fun was over. Time to sit on the couch and wish this icky day away! At least now I have a happy memory for 1/30 - picking out my fiance's ring with him!

Were you surprised at the prices of men's rings? How did you and your fiance pick his ring - together, or one of you alone?

Six Years

Ok dudes, sorry to bring the mood down! But my mood is pretty down today so I'm dragging you all down with me.

Today is the six year anniversary of losing my Dad. I was a freshman in college, and he had a heart attack. He was gone by the time my Mom called me. It was a horrible miserable experience I don't wish on anyone, and while you learn to cope, it never ever gets any easier or hurts less.

Time to share some pictures... I like to reminisce and browse them on days like today, Father's Day, and his birthday.

Here I am with Dad right after I was adopted.

He had horrible fashion sense but we loved him anyway.

Even though I'm adopted, we really looked a lot alike.

Here's a bunch of us- my Dad with me (bottom), R (top), and M (right) on the first day of school.

Our Christmas card one year. Looks like sweatpants were contagious?

A family trip to Arizona my sophomore year of high school took us to Camelback Mountain. That was one heck of a hike.

This is my favorite picture (well one of them.) It was my Dad's 50th Birthday roast my senior year of high school. I made a list of the "Top Ten Things You Don't Want John to Say," things like "I can fix that!" and "I'm going to Home Depot." I've never been 100% sure, but I think he's giving me the finger! Which would be very typical of him.

This year is very hard because I so, so wish he was here for this big event in my life. I was the lucky one out of the three of us who got to have him there for our high school reunion. We all missed out on so many memories with him. I wish he had gotten a chance to meet Mr Pug - they would have had so much in common, from guitar and their love of music to their sense of humor.

I will never get to have him walk me down the aisle. I will never have a father/daughter dance. He'll never get to hold his (hypothetical, future) grandchildren. It's such a loss for us and everyone who should have known him.

So everyone, go hug your Dad! Take tons of pictures with him, since I didn't and wish I had. And please make sure your parents have life insurance. My Dad didn't, and it has made this tragedy even harder and sadder for all of us, and we're still feeling those effects six years later. I'll never take my important relationships for granted again and I hope you all won't either.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fill in the Blanks & Name Change!

I was very excited to win something this morning! Name Change Express is doing giveaways (one Name Change Kit given away for every 300 followers they get!) and I signed onto twitter this AM to see this:

WHICH IS GREAT! Except that... they don't follow me. So I can't DM them. (Direct Message, for you non-tweeters.) THUS began my quest to hit them at every social media outlet. I tweeted that I couldn't DM them, I commented on their Facebook, and sent them a message via their website. HOPEFULLY... I will be getting my Name Change Kit! Keep those fingers crossed, guys.

I also read this great fill-in-the-blank thing on Cole's blog, Love and Happiness. Check it out here, and here's mine!

1. If I weren't a glorified secretary I'd love to be a dog photographer, event planner, or cupcake baker. Or maybe a teacher.

2. When I'm super upset I cannot think about anything else, and cry, cry, cry my eyes out.

3. My favorite thing about myself is my humor. When it works, it's great. When I make myself laugh, I'm ecstatic. When I make others laugh, I succeed.

4. If I found a $100 in the pocket of last winter's coat I'd spend it on wedding stuff, of course! But after the wedding, it would be spent on crafty stuff or a dinner/night out with Mr Pug.

5. Even though some people might consider this a flaw, I love that I am from Jersey, loud and proud. I am much more shy after years in Indiana, but I will never apologize for my out-of-control, quirky, certifiable excitability. And loudness.

6. I love the way I feel when Mr Pug tells me how beautiful I look, or how proud of me he is.

7. I love my hair most when it's shorter and THICK THICK THICK!

Grab that fill-in-the-blanks if you want it! And hope that I get the Name Change Kit and won't be stuck with my manly last name forever!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gifts, Giveaways & Laziness!

Well now, I am a lazy lazy girl. I have literally a gajillion things - literally! Not hyperbole at all! - that I have received and not posted about!

First up is the lovely Christmas present from my one and only Mom. I had to measure my wrist for it though (luckily the seller remembered my fat neck and had the foresight to ask for my fat wrist measurements - and also sent a necklace extender!) It took me oh 2 weeks to get around to measuring since I'm a lazy girl, so it came late. But isn't it beautiful!

It's by Luxe Deluxe who made my necklace and earrings!

This is the same crystal charm that's on the earrings. I liked that it wasn't too large or bulky.

I also got a gift from my sister M - bareMinerals! It was a few products I already had so after trying to exchange it at Ulta (they don't take back ANYTHING without a receipt, ew) and Sephora (they take back anything, opened or not, receipt or not! ...but not what I had since they don't sell it) I realized that there are actual BareEscentuals stores... and exchanged it there. Yippeee!

I also won some kick-ass giveaways and haven't mentioned my winnings! First up- my honeymoon sandals!

These sandals were the prize from a giveaway on Ashley's blog (Bride on a Budget.) They're from Best Wedding Sites and I love how comfortable they are! They're nice enough that you can wear them with a dress or jeans and look equally as put together.

Another giveway I won from Ashley AGES ago was stationary! It's from Pink Lily Press.

I am amazingly in love with poppies - the red color, the look of them, everything. So I naturally picked this card design.

I got my married name... WEIRD! PS I think by now everyone knows my name is Kelly. But the full name is Kelly Jeanne, Jeanne being the same exact pronunciation as Jean. Which means my name rhymes with Jelly Bean. It's cool... except on Easter. In any case, this just means I'll always be KJ!

Last but not least I won a Uprinting rolled canvas print from my buddy Miss Mojito!

Above is a closeup of the picture we chose. And by we, I mean, the picture I chose.

It's from our engagement pictures. It's one of my favorites because one, it's sepia. Two - look how much fun we're having! Three, it's mostly focused on my favorite part of Indianapolis- the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. I hate having too many "gahhh look at my face twice the size of real life!" pictures around the house, and this I think represents us well and makes me smile without being too abrasive. I haven't gotten around to framing it yet (are you also getting the lazy vibe?) but I think a polished dark brown - almost metallic/copper - frame would look great, and I assume that will take some searching.

Are you a winner? Have you struck giveaway gold like me, or are you still waiting for your time to shine? If you are, and you are wanting or needing some stickers... check out Katie's blog (Random Reflections of a Perfectionist), Laura's blog (With this ring, I thee blog), and LauraLou's blog (Lucky in Love) for a chance to win 250 stickers from Uprinting! What do you have to lose?! Their blog links take you right to their giveaway pages. They are awesome gal-pals to me and if you haven't checked out their blogs yet (cough::unlikely!::cough) you should!

RSVP Cards... ugh.

I'm really happy with the way my RSVPs came out. However, there is one thing I'd definitely change. See under the checkbox, "number of guests?"

To me, that meant the number of guests we can expect - you and a date = 2, you alone = 1, etc. But to some people, that meant the number of guests that person will be bringing. I realized the message wasn't 100% clear when I saw the above RSVP. It was confirmed when Mr Pug's coworker gave him his RSVP and it said "number of guests: 1" but he mentioned how excited he and his girlfriend were about attending.

I would recommend using something like "Total number of guests attending," "Number attending," "We should save __ seats for you," or... I don't know. Something else creative. Don't make the same mistake I did!

Thus far, we've had 35 guests RSVP "yes" and 40 RSVP "no." We counted each guest and their dates separately. Our number of invited guests is 254, but many of those are dates of invited guests (many of whom have decided to not bring a date.)

I've had some disappointments while getting these cards back. 41 of the 75 guest RSVPs we have received are my family or friends, and out of those 41, FOUR are coming. It stinks having them make up almost the whole "no" list thus far! I understand, I can't say I'm angry or don't sympathize... it's just not how I pictured my wedding. Oh well- there is still time! I'm hoping against hope to hit 15 family/friend guests!

Luckily, I have the most amazing Mom in the whole world. She called tonight to see how I was doing and I updated her on our progress and RSVPs. She let me cry and vent to her and made some great suggestions. I'm really the luckiest person to have such a supportive Mom. She doesn't make this about her - she gives advice and ideas in a respectful way, always listens, and cares about what Mr Pug and I want. I could only wish for her to be closer! Luckily, she'll attend some bachelorette festivities in New York City with us, and might even make it out here in February for a dress fitting.

The moral of this happy story? Think more about your RSVPs, and be thankful for your Mom if she is awesome like mine! How is your mother involved in the wedding process? Do you have a friend or family member you go to when you need a "boost?"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cookie Field Trip!

I found a gem of a set of cookie cutters on Williams-Sonoma's website on Friday. I sent the link to FSIL and Mr Pug's Aunt P, to see if they'd be willing to bake some with me for favors the weekend before the wedding. They both were excited about the idea- and I'm excited about a wedding task I can do with my future fam!

Aunt P then emailed me about going out on Saturday, but didn't tell me where we were going. She picked me up at 11am and we went west. We were going to a self-described hole-in-the-wall baking goods store! We were in heaven. I wish I remembered to take pictures! There were aisles upon aisles of cake decorations, pans, sprinkles, candy making supplies - pretty much everything you could imagine.

Aunt P treated me to cookie-making goodies! She got us royal icing mix (since we didn't feel comfortable using eggs in ours), good food color (the gel/paste type that's super concentrated) in green, little decorative shiny balls in black and pearl, a few piping bag tips, bags to put the cookies in, a booklet with good cookie recipes (they suggested one that wouldn't rise), and probably a few other things.

We then went to get Mexican and she let me vent about the wedding process and missing my Mom. Aunt P is the one person out here who really seems to care about us and our wedding, and it's so great to have someone like that available to me. My Mom was really glad to know that even though she can't be with me to do all this stuff, I have support from someone who keeps me happy and positive.

When Mr Pug and I went shopping that evening, we picked up the cookie cutters and Williams-Sonoma. Behold!

This green one in the scalloped shape was my inspiration. I think it somehow fits my theme perfectly! I'd like to do the white along the scalloped edge though.

I wish I was talented enough to make designs like this:

These are what the cutters look like. That bag is full of alphabet letters for you to slide in, as well as some common phrases.

This is the cookie we'll be doing. I flipped it in photoshop so you could read it! We'll give these cookies out as people exit the church, as a yummy favor.

I also threw together this one to make Mr Pug smile. And to see if he could read backwards (again, I flipped it for ya'll.) Although, this would be great for a birthday or Valentine's Day cookie!

We didn't know it, but the cutters come with a recipe.

The best part? These cookie cutters, which will allow me to make adorable cookies for tons of types of parties for years to come, only set me back twenty bucks!

I didn't know Williams-Sonoma sold things for less than twenty bucks! HA!

The rest of the evening was spent baking cake balls for a huge important thing that was going on on Sunday...


YEA BABY! AFC CHAMPS! It was a wonderful game, and the Jets played well of course, but I was OBVIOUSLY glad the Colts won. I actually had an old high school friend in town (he's a Jets fan, like many of my Jersey peeps, including my sisters!) Mr P and I went downtown after the Colts game to have a few drinks with him during the Saints - Vikings game. I was very glad to see the Saints win and can't wait for the Superbowl!

Yesterday I had a "swap meet" with some of the girls I know through Mr P's friends. We all brought a few items we didn't use anymore (I brought a purse, sunglasses, and some necklaces) and some wine. We took turns each picking an item until we were all satisfied. I got a small lamp, a painting, a set of decorative plates, and two scarves! It was an awesome night and such a great idea. Plus, someone brought their pug over, which makes everything better :) It was such a success we planned to do it again next week.

Any other Colts fans? And is anyone else DIY-ing edible favors?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Let Me Eat Cake, Yo!

Since our lovely changes to the wedding I haven't discussed our cake situation. Our changes brought financial difficultly, and we weren't sure what to do about cake/dessert in general. Our package at Buca included tiramisu or cheesecake, so that was an easy possibility. But, we still wanted our delicious Holy Cow, Cupcakes! cuppies. (Remember our tasting? MAPLE BACON?) The only issue was cost. Funds are tighter than ever now that we are getting zero help.

That's when my friend Laura stepped in - and said she'd do our cake for us as a wedding gift! We know first hand that her cakes are amazing. She makes a cake called "AYFKM Cake" (Are you -- kidding me?) and has brought it to some of our pug get-togethers. (Yes, she has a pug too!) For our get-together around my birthday last year, she made this cake:

Best part? Ok there are two. The pugs on the cake are cookies, and are decorated to look like my pugs Dixie, Sophie, and Harley! The other- it is red velvet! A two-layer red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and white chocolate shavings on top of the icing between the layers. She gave this to us to take home and we ate it for like, weeks.

See how excited I am!?

We haven't decided what she's making yet. It will depend on the number of RSVP's, etc. We will do either cupcakes or a small cake for the Buca dinner. If it works out that our friend will host an after-party, we might do a second sheet cake (like the pictures) for the party.

Part of the reason I love cupcakes is that I'm not a fan of the overly-decorated cakes you see everywhere. I think fondant tastes nasty. I think designs and flowers are overkill. I like a plain buttercream cake. Old school.

I searched "plain buttercream wedding cake" and this came up. SERIOUSLY?


Something more like the one below- simply decorated and nothing over-the-top. Just... take off the flowers and put some pugs on top, k thanx.


However, Laura has a cupcake tower, and I'd love to do cupcakes at the Buca dinner too. This would probably be an easier option for Laura as well- and we could still do a small cake on top to save for our 1 year anniversary! (Or one month, let's be honest.)


Yes, our colors are green, black, and white. But when you're not having a true reception - and the inside of the restaurant you're having dinner at is CRAZY with red & white checkered tablecloths- you have to let go a bit. So I did, I let go. I think I could, in fact, embrace it with checkered red and white cupcake liners and red sprinkles. It goes with the fun Italian atmosphere inside the restaurant.

My only problem? I want my Holy Cow, Cupcakes! Maple Bacon screams my name, and of course, their Cookie Dough cuppies have a place in my heart. Solution! Our Indiana backyard celebration this summer. We can get an array of cupcakes and set them out at the party instead of a cake or other dessert. Brilliant! Then we can even be more creative, since I'll be doing themes/colors for the summer celebrations. Summer = bright colors right? I can't wait!

What lucky breaks helped you out when you needed it most? What are your likes and dislikes you discovered while looking at cakes? Are you buttercream all the way or a fondant groupie?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wedding Nightmares are Contagious

There are not enough words in existence to describe how much I adore my Mom. (There are also not enough words to describe how much she hates being photographed.)

Oh yes, that's me like forty billion pounds ago. Sigh.

It's come to that point where even my mother is having wedding nightmares. My hands-off, "I'll do whatever," "Do you really need flowers" mother is having wedding nightmares. We frequently chat via gmail and had this conversation:

Mom: i had a dream last nite about your wedding
and at the last minute
you decided not to wear your wedding gown
i was so mad
me: LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!
What did I want to wear?
Mom: and not to have a ceremony
just a quickie in the park
and you didnt tell us
and we almost missed it
i was so mad!
me: awww! I wouldn't do that!
don't worry
Mom: I woke up in a bad mood x-(
me: LOL!
it was a dream!!!!
Mom: thank goodness
not as good as my dream about bruce springsteen :)
me: LOL!!!!

Seriously, she is the best mom in the world. We didn't always see eye to eye but that's the gracious thing about growing up. I'm so glad I have her as a mother!

You guys having wedding nightmares? What about your family?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Today is huge. Today, I enter absolute freak-out mode. Today... is the two month mark.


Wasn't I blogging about six months just yesterday? Le sigh. I wish that was truly a peace sign and not a sick twisted countdown.

We've gotten in some RSVP cards, probably about 10. The first few were Indy people who know Mr Pug, so they were yes's. However I got a bunch of NO's from people near and dear to me yesterday. I have a feeling this part is going to suck a bit. However I'll just have to look forward MAJORLY to our summer celebrations.

Since it is always on my mind, I made a list of things I have left to do for the wedding. Thanks to Ashley at Bride on a Budget and Em at Burning River Bride for sharing their to-do lists, they were super helpful! I'm going to list my to-do list here, and yea... normally, I HATE that. If they are long (which mine is) sometimes I'll just skim. But if you are a reader, and know me, and want to help, could you please read it and tell me what I might be missing? I feel like I'm forgetting something...

Ok, here goes! (Oh and before you read, I should tell you that one of my dear dear friends will be making our cake (YAY!) and one of Mr Pug's friends offered to host an after party at his house if the guest list isn't too big. I haven't talked about those yet, so I wanted to mention them briefly to avoid confusion.)

To-Do List

-Pick out shoes (must do before fitting!)
-Pick out clutch
-After-party dress (NO idea what color/style/where)
-Bolero jacket (buy one if WB reader's doesn't fit)
-Get appropriate dress undergarments!
-Get my dress fitted... yikesssssss!
-Hair trial
-Find/book a makeup artist
-Tuxes for the boys (find a place, get B measured)
-Gifts for groomsmen/ushers
-Buy the nail polish for BM gifts
-FIND/buy the pashminas for BM gifts
-Look into hoodies for BMs for getting ready
-Assemble BM gifts in bags
-Gift for my mom? Maybe a fun patterned pashmina to go with her dress?
-Finalize photography schedule
-Figure out WHERE we're taking pictures
-Determine who is coming and talk to them about splitting a small party bus/van thing
-If above doesn't work, figure out how everyone is getting everywhere (many ppl can't rent cars and I need to have recommendations)
-Finalize cake plans with Laura (who is making it for us)
-Send final #'s to Buca
-Make programs (I just had a panic attack realizing I have to do that)
-Determine what's going in the OOT gift bags, and how many (Indy popcorn, maybe chocolates from South Bend Choc Co)
-Put together OOT bags and deliver to hotel
-Finalize church decor
-Finalize the service (readings, order, script)
-Confirm organist & music choices
-Buy B's ring & get engraved
-Get rings dipped and soldered together
-Get stand-in cheap ring for few days before while mine is being soldered
-Determine guest count and give to MH & RS to figure out if we can have our after-party at their house
-Notify guests where the after party will be
-Send invitations to guests who will be invited to Buca (immediate family & wedding party)
-Frame the pug print with matte for signing (& get pen)
-Find out about easel for pug print - rent/borrow if necessary
-Find holders for the programs and photo cards
-Schedule nail appointment for that day
-Highlight appointment for hair week of wedding
-Birdhouse for gift cards for the church
-Teeth whitening
-B haircut weekend before wedding
-Notify Wedding Party about rehearsal time & dinner situation after (that we aren't paying but we're going to Cancun and anyone is welcome to join us)
-Cake cutting - will Buca provide or do we need a set?
-Music playlist for getting ready - see if Omni has a iPod plug in?
-Make sure documents are ready (passports!) in a safe spot for HM
-Book haircut appointment for day after wedding (PWC)
-Make or buy pug caketoppers

Basically, a lot depends on finding my dress for the after party. I'm about a 16 in dresses right now, which is hard, because it's either the biggest size in a store, or the smallest in plus size stores, and sometimes isn't carried. I would LOVE it to be white but black & white or a green would be fine. Also, I hate tight dresses. Any recommendations would be great. Once I have that, I can pick my shoes and bag, and once I have shoes, I can get my dress fitted... all hinges on this stupid dress. GAH!

Thanks for not calling me psycho, guys!

Also, I added a really cool little bot to the right. It's my formspring site, you know, that thing everyone has where you can ask anonymous questions? I've gotten a bunch via twitter (FOLLOW ME!), but feel free to ask away or just view my answered questions. Like for example, if you wondered if I was like those people on the Jersey Shore show back when I was in Jersey and went to the shore?

That tan is 100% all natural, baby. And I'm loving my pink eyeshadow. Circa 2004 in a house we rented in Seaside right next to the water park. Sweet goodness I am showing a lot of skin! My friends' faces have been masked to protect the innocent!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Merry Christmas to Me!

I got my Christmas present from my sister R aka MOH R today in the mail! (Along with 5 "no" RSVPs... all from my side... yippeee.)

Yep it is a LilaFrances hanger for Paige (my wedding dress, remember?!)

I wish you all could see how truly beautiful it is. I can't wait to hang her up on it! Even Mr P thought this was "pretty cool," so I guess that earns it an A+!

Also, how gorgeous is that shower curtain? It's a pattern from 2006 Pottery Barn, I got it early 2007 on sale, it matches our guest bedroom duvet as well. They would make wonderful colors for a fall wedding!

Tomorrow is a big day... lookout!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Update!

Andd I'm back. I can't believe it's been four days since I blogged. I guess since I'm a celeb now, that's how things are gunna be.

KIDDING, obviously! But in all seriousness, the commercial recording session was really cool. The person I worked with was in Colorado (I assume that's where Shane Company is headquartered) so they connected him via phone. I went to the office of a radio station, and the man I was meeting there brought me into a recording studio- just a tiny room with computers and mics, etc. They had me read it one, then asked me to slow down. Then again- and asked me to have more emphasis and emotion. Only two or three more times and we were done! It was over in like, 15-20 minutes! They were really nice and thankful for my help- to which I said THANK YOU for letting me do this! I am still finding out when it will air but will update all of you!

Something Mr P has been working on (and me, sort of, but we'll get to that) losing weight and eating healthier. He started Tuesday and has already lost 9 pounds! We are not eating out (or at least avoiding it when we can, and on days where we need something quick, making smart choices) and cooking healthy meals. We also really cut portion sizes. I'm a little different because I haven't weighed or measured myself yet, and I'm starting with the Special K challenge during the day to get used to smaller, smarter portions. I feel really motivated and excited about being more healthy and fit, and wanted to give it up to Mr Pug a little since he motivates and inspires me so much.

Saturday we went to see Avatar in IMAX 3D (AWESOME) and then over to some friends' place to watch the Colts game (GO HORSE!) Instead of beer, we drank vodka and club soda with a splash of a sugar-free fruit drink. We also were very smart about our eating during the game... which isn't easy!

The friends, who many call "The Dudes," have a VERY extensive hat and wig collection. At some point we all put on hats and wigs as good luck. We had a Colts horse head, redneck camo hat, inflatable Motorola headset, pizza, hotdog, pot with plants, foam helmet, Luigi, Toad (both from Mario games), a police cap, an Egyptian headdress, and...

Aren't I just the classiest 50-something lesbian you've ever seen?

Note: not putting down lesbians. Just everyone immediately said "You look like a lesbian." Which means if I want to hold onto Mr P I should never cut my hair like this.

I also got a GREAT award this week!

Thanks to Tenille at Nine Years in the Making for this great award! I need to pass it on to 6 fabulous gals who make my day. I'll give this to:

Born to be Mrs Beever from Thoughts of the All Consumed Bride
Amy Jean from Relentless Bride
Hannah from A Very Gator Wedding
Em from Burning River Bride
Miss Mojito from With this ring, I thee blog
Amanda from Life, Love... and Disney

I apologize if any of you already got this award! If so consider yourself EXTRA "glamourous!"

Hope all of you have had a great weekend! More wedding updates coming soon! Oh and of course GO COLTS!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My last day as a commoner...

...because tomorrow, I become famous.

Ok, not really. But tomorrow I go to a studio to record my radio commercial for Shane Company Jewelers!!!!

I wrote a comment through their website's "contact us" feature. I had gotten kind of mad about all the Distinctive Diamonds commercials I heard... well, maybe I should back up and tell you my ring shopping stories first.

After a few shorts months with Mr P I already was looking at rings, since for the first time, I was with someone I could see myself marrying! For Christmas 2007, he got me a Promise Ring from Helzberg Diamonds. Whenever I was near there, I'd stop in, get it cleaned, and oogle their rings. When Mr Pug and I started talking seriously about marriage and rings, I asked questions when I was getting it cleaned (in the summer of 2008). The ring I liked was at a set price- and the stone couldn't be changed. You couldn't decide your own diamond? But what if you want a brilliant colorless stone, but don't mind inclusions? Or if you have a gold setting and can go a little more to the warm tones in the color scale? I was turned off by this and moved on.

We looked at a few more places. I was kind of naggy and annoying. After a dinner, I made him go into Distinctive Diamonds. They were very nice and had great diamonds and settings available. I put it out of my mind. Then one day - October 30, 2008 - we were driving somewhere and a Shane Company commercial came on the radio. And I was naggy, and said something like "we need to goooooo!" and Mr P said something like "not today" and I said something like "you always sayyyy thattttt!" And you know what? He turned the car in the direction of Shane Co! And boy am I glad he did - he actually bought the ring that day!

I was deciding between my setting and the setting below. I illustrated it for you with a 2 carat diamond because, why not?

The saleslady asked me which setting I wanted to try with a diamond first. I picked mine to try first and she put away this one- her trickery worked, and helped me pick out my dream setting.

Here it is, with my promise ring peeking out below!

The reason I was so glad we went to Shane Company, and why Mr Pug was happy to put money down that day (besides the great selection and service) was realizing the value we got. You see, we saved over $2,000 compared to a nearly identical setting and diamond at Distinctive Diamonds! Nearly the exact same .9 carat center diamond and halo setting... two grand saved. AND you can say nearly two grand saved if you count the price of my ring and the two bands we purchased. That made a big difference! Plus, Shane Co offers great incentives, like lifetime care, cleaning, fixing, etc., and even allow you to trade in your diamond for the amount you paid for it. So, should I ever want to upgrade in the future, I won't lose money. We were sold!

I heard the Distinctive Diamonds commercials saying they had the BEST value and would NOT be undersold, and got a little angry. I did some shouting at the radio ("LIESSS!") and sent the people at Shane Co my email. A while after I sent that comment I was contacted by a Shane Co representative. In return for taping the radio commercial (it's a "Dear Tom" letter to Tom Shane) they will be sending us a $200 gift card, which will surely help with the cost of Mr Pug's ring (which no, we have not gotten yet... so behind.)

I must be pretty jazzed about tomorrow since I forgot to wear my ring today! That hasn't happened at all since I stopped wearing it at night back in November and got my cool ring giraffe.

Also- a note about something Mr P and I learned while ring shopping. We saved a bunch by doing a .9 carat center stone. It's a big jump in price from .9 to 1 carat... that wasn't worth it for me to be able to say it was one carat. I find it to be the perfect size!

I haven't shared these stories with anyone, really. I don't usually offer the information that we shopped around together. Were you surprised by your ring, or did you shop with your soon-to-be-hubby? Did you both (or did he) shop around or find it on the first try? Any great shopping stories?

I should also add that this is not a compensated post. Yes I am getting a gift card for doing the commercial, but this post was my idea, solely to share my experience with all of you, and has not been compensated.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

They're Leaving Me!

That's right, folks. My invitations are leaving me today! They're sitting in a big box ready for the mailman to come take them off my desk.

The past few days were a lot of work! If you are planning to at all DIY your invites- even just assembling them- it takes time. Lots of it.

I ended up going to FedEx to print my labels and maps. I'm really glad I did- I learned about the difference between laser and inkjet printers. Inkjets are ink in the sense you'd imagine- and that's why when it hits the paper, it can bleed a bit or smudge. If water hits it, it will definitely run. A laser printer uses a powder ink that sets. It looks much sharper and won't run or smudge. I was so happy I went with FedEx printing! It was a splurge at .59 cents a sheet, but worth it. I had a feeling trying to print them on my own would be more frustration and time that I didn't have.

I used my paper cutter to cut the labels and maps all morning Sunday. Then I spent the night rounding the corners of the RSVPs, invitations, and map inserts. I started assembling but, because we didn't have stamps, I had to wait until Monday to finish them. Monday I stamped the RSVP postcards (postcards saved me .15 cents in postage per RSVP!) Last night after stamping, I was ready to stuff and stamp the main envelopes.

So the labels went closer to the bottom, they were not the exact same from one envelope to another as you can see by the stack, but they won't know that!

Here's the finished stack.

I then had a minor stamp emergency. I had Mr Pug pick up 115 stamps of each. When I was done, I had 4 regular stamps left, and 5 postcard stamps. I was afraid that in my stamp-then-stuff assembly line, I had forgotten to include an RSVP postcard in one envelope! Since they were the thickest/heaviest stock, I felt for them in all the invitations, and per my inquisitive feeling skills, they all had one. What I am thinking is that one RSVP card will be without a stamp- they were sort of clinging to one another in their pile while I was stamping them, it's a definite possibility. Or perhaps the post office goofed up and either gave us and extra stamp or shorted us one. Less likely, but a possibility nonetheless. In any case, I just hope the stamp-less RSVP card doesn't go to the wrong person, like Mr P's upper-class aunt who thinks we are doing ourselves "a major disservice by not registering for china" and that our Sandals honeymoon is like "ordering lobster from Houlihan's." I'm not sure she'll find Dixie on our RSVP postcards as entertaining as we do, either!

I boxed up our invites last night to take them to work today. You can see that we used the wedding ring stamp.

I had wanted the King and Queen of Hearts stamps:


...but they were all out when Mr Pug hit the post office. He was quite smart to grab the ring ones instead of the flags or forever stamp! I just thought the king & queen had colors that would work better with our invitations. OH WELL... there are polar bears on our RSVP postcards, for goodness sake!

In case anyone wondered, here is our breakdown:

Invitation and RSVP postcard printing: $81.98.
Note: The breakdown of this price is weird. The invites I originally ordered were $77 for 150, and then two $2.49 upload fees. They re-did them for free and added in my RSVP postcards. This worked because they wanted to fix the issues in my invites, which meant reprinting, and then I had won a contest as well. Usually you can get a good amount of postcards free though. I had free 3-day shipping as well.

Label sheets (100 sheets): $11.99 (I used 29 sheets, so that would be $3.48 if I could sell what's left.)

Linen paper (100 sheets): $28.79 (I used 30 sheets, so that would be $8.64. We can use the rest for future resume distributions.)

Paper cutter: $0 towards invitations. I couldn't find it online to show you all, but it was Staples brand and a little over $30. I will use this for so much more though, so I'd prefer to just count the full paper product costs, and not count the paper cutter.

Printing: $36.62 (At .59 cents a sheet, times 58 pages, is $34.22 pre-tax. Not horrible for laser printing.)

Postage: $87.20 (THAT HURT. We'll probably have 5-10 leftovers but I wanted to be safe rather than sorry.)

Total Costs: $246.58

We have 110 ready to send, but about 5 more to go out later because of address changes, etc. Divide that by 115...

Cost per Invitation: $2.14

In itself, that isn't horrible. Things like the printing could have been worked out earlier - find a friend with a good printer willing to let me use it, or use a laser office computer. Also, having to buy 100 labels was a pain. (Anyone want to buy some label sheets? They work on inkjet OR laser printers!) But at the end of the day, postage was the worst. Each one cost us .72 cents in stamps alone. So they were only $1.42 to make. I can be happy with that!

Did you guys learn anything from my experience? I hope it helped a bit. If I had realized how much time this took I would have started a while ago. It also doesn't help that everything but the actual invites were purchased this week- we are down to oh $6 or so until I get paid on Friday! Spreading this out would have been less stressful on my time and wallet for sure.

Where will you be getting your invitations from? Are they more DIY or painless? And what is your per-invite budget?

(ps- I suppose I maybe should maybe include the invitation design fee which was like $30 or so, give or take $5, but that was FOREVER ago and since I re-did them and such, I didn't feel it was necessary. But just realize, if someone designs your invitations, you pay them!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mappy Map & Round or Square?

I slaved last night. And made a map.

It's WAY not perfect. It's too small (I forgot to enlarge the map picture from mapquest before tracing it in Photoshop) but our church is luckily REALLY easy to get to. This will be the insert for our invitations.

Today I also went to Staples and purchased a paper cutter:

Some full-sheet labels to print the addresses on (and cut with the above cutter.)

And some linen resume paper to print the inserts on, so they are a little thicker and match the linen finish on our invites. (Note the inserts printed on the left below... again... no green ink in my printer! Whoops!)

I love the linen texture! Gratuitous ring shot woot!

So the neat thing about my paper cutter is that it has 4 blades (regular, perforation, scoring, and squiggly) and a corner rounder! I decided to try out rounded corners on my invitation, RSVP card, and insert. I put them on a paper towel so you could see the dark invites better, haha. SO ghetto.

I think it adds a bit more to the funky-contemporary vibe. Do you guys think it's worth doing?

Here's a close up...

I'm kind of digging it, but it's work, and I think I'm losing it in general, so I'm polling all of you. Round or Square edges?

Puggy Seacrest, OUT!