Friday, November 6, 2009

MIA, but I am back ... and off to the honeymoon in 6!! days

So, another disappearance. A serous remodeling with knocking out walls + moving into this half way finished house = 0 blog posts. The last three months surely had us occupied and, ironically, kept me and my newly minted husband (of exactly two months!!) more apart than together.

But, there is going to be light at the end of this tunnel - our honeymoon is 6 days away!! And, even I have not shared much about our wedding, this post is going to be about our trip.

First of all, our honeymoon is 2 months and 1 week apart from our wedding. Good or bad? Here is a plus: we get to go on the honeymoon after already feeling a little bit like a family. We have already taken a glimpse of our wedding photos and talked about the wedding with family and friends.  Drawback: definitely, the impressions of that special night are a bit in the past, they are not as alive.

Nevertheless, excitement and anticipation of the trip have never been greater for me. Our honeymoon destination is ... Thailand (Bangkok, and than - Krabi). History, culture, food, summer weather, beautiful beaches are just ahead. We are going to pause the winter for two weeks and finally, unwind.

I am pinching myself when I look at the pictures of the beautiful places we are going to vist. You'll understand me, here they are:

One of the fun projects we thought of for the honeymoon is to create video "letters" for our children  and "letters into the future" for ourselves to see when we are older. We'll do them here and there while we are on the trip. May be, if the project is successful I'll share the clips here, on the blog.

What were or will be yours special things to do on your honeymoon?

Monday, September 28, 2009

My first post as a WIFE!

So, it's been more than a month that I have disappeared from the blogersphere. There is a good reason for that and yet, no excuse!

Many girls out there are in their last three weeks of wedding planning and anticipation and still blog. They even blog on the day of the wedding! My respect goes out to these wonderful multitaskers, but I just couldn't do it.

Three weeks before the wedding and than some after the wedding are like going into a deep dive, having the wedding at the lowest point of this dive and than slowly coming back up. I know that this sounds gloom, but actually it is a very happy time, beyond any comprehension, and, emotionally speaking, very "drunk" time.

Finally, I am becoming "soberer" after this avalanche of events and emotions and can share them one by one. I think I will do the sharing in parts and this was just an introduction. Here is one of the pieces of magic captured at our wedding by our dearest friend and extraordinary artist - Yuka

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shooting in good light

You'd probably say I am nuts to be thinking about anything other than wedding when we have about 3 weeks to go. But, yes, indeed, this post is NOT ABOUT THE WEDDING! :) I am still thinking about it, though.

It's just I am excited to share some of my photography projects. I have a long list to post, but this one is the most recent. So far I have been quite lucky to practice photography at my work that didn't include photography in my job description.

Last week on Tuesday, on our first no rain day in many weeks (even though I am one of those few that didn't mind our rainy summer - the grass is greener!) I was a part of the photo shoot for our yellow pages book cover. While the really young looking photographer we hired was producing amazing shots with his Nikon and really cool off-camera lighting (and I suspect some pocket wizards), I got to snap some shots too.

Since I was not the primary camera, you'd have to forgive me that most of the time my subjects were not looking into the camera.

I was amazed by the lighting we got around 5 pm in the Buffalo Marina and than even more amazing light at around 6:30 at Lafayette Square.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

1 Month before the wedding: anxiety

I have to admit that despite all the efforts not to be, I am a little behind on my wedding planning.

Luckily, only minor details are left to plan. Unluckily, these are the details that will make the day extra special, therefore these are very important. And, on top of the wedding anxiety, my job became way more hectic (that comes in the package with more interesting projects).

So, I am feeling quite stressed for about two weeks now.

So, here is what calms me down and keeps me in order (or at least prevents complete chaos):
  1. Summer - just going outside and noticing how everything looks and smells makes me calmer, because I enjoy this summer, even though it rains a lot. I actually don't mind rain.
  2. - I think I finally found a way to track things. I wanted Google to come up with a task tool like that, so I can keep everything in the same spot, but this free tasking program so far wins over Google tasks for me. Toodledo gives you literally any criteria you can imagine to sort your tasks and keep them as together or as separate as you want.
  3. My fiance is back home from a two week long trip. While I don't mind some time apart, in the last month before the wedding I need him like air. And not just because that he helps with planning (!!), but just having him around makes everything better.
  4. Zoom out: when I feel completely tangled in the details of the day, I force myself to zoom out and look at myself, as if I am watching a movie. This helps to keep first things first.
  5. Blogs that I follow: Blogs are a window of inspiration and emotional recharge for me, since everything there comes from talented self creators, and I am learning to be one. Jasmine Star's blog is my favorite, when I read her posts it feels that I am right there with her watching everything happen. Her posts are completely captivating and a work of word art.
According to Jasmine, every post is better with a picture. I agree. Here is one of my favorite shots I captured to date.
Wishing everybody a productive, everything-goes-as-planned week. (Wishful thinking, but we will try, right?)
How are you coping with your stressful moments?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

3 things you need to remeber when dealing with wedding invitations

1) As soon as you know your wedding date, count backwards:
1 month before: this is your reply by date
2 months before: this is your send out date
3 months before - you need to decide on the way you are printing and you will need to have information on the time of your wedding, reception and on dinner choices.

2) There are several ways to print invitations:
- you can buy a kit from a crafts store - the best ones are in Michaels and in Target - and print the invitations yourself. Total cost would be about $150 for 75 invitations plus your time, ... lots of your time!
- you can buy your invitations from Wedding Paper Divas or Minted (there are many more companies out there). You still need to print your envelopes and apply postage. Cost: $300 - $2000 per 75 invitations, depending on number of items in your package and the type of printing. Letterpress is the most expensive (and beautiful!).
- you can use a local invitations specialists to print the invitations. This is a way to still receive personalized invitations, and it can be even less expensive than going through an internet company. Maggie, our day-off coordinator has offered her services, but I wasn't quick enough to take her offer (my schedule got a little out of hand). This service will cost about $350 per 75 simple, elegant invitations minus all the hustle and headaches of printing and mailing. The price is an approximation, as it heavily depends on the invitations themselves.

3) if you end up with one of the do-it-yourself (partial or entirely) options, make sure to invite a couple of friends to stuff your envelopes. Goes sooooo much faster!

Which route I took? Wedding Paper Divas + printing the envelopes at home. I didn't follow my advise #1, so this was my only option. :( ... :) The company has excellent customer service, by the way, and I am really happy with their job.

The best way to do wedding invitations in my opinion? If you have time, do them yourself from a kit. They do really have beautiful kits out there!

If there is no time, hand it off to your invitations specialists. It might cost you a little more than ordering invitations online, but it is way less hustling. Maggie Heely in my opinion is just the right person for this task and for wedding planning in Buffalo.

This is how our invitations turned out.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And, our cake is...

I bet you didn't even think of this one, but here is the cake we chose:

Photo via Project Wedding
This might be a little unexpected choice, but actually it fits into the wedding theme, I promise! The tie-in of this cake to the wedding is ... my dress. :) Also, sometimes Andrey reveals the most incredible little things that matter to him: it happens that he can not have a cake at his wedding that is square or blue. Just like that! (Actually I sort of understand his fears - I can not drink Blue Gatorade). So, we are all about compromising and finding a choice that makes both of us happy. This cake did the trick!

Oh, and I just have to tell you about our baker, Zilly of Zilly Cakes.
Photo via Zilly Cakes
Zilly is first an artist, than a baker. When we were going through so many options for the cake flavors, proportions, colors, icing, Zilly never said she would not be able to do something. She also seemed to be picturing the cake just as we were, not even caring that our fantacy can transform into too much work for her. She was eager just as we were to create a cake that we would enjoy.

I anticipate seeing and tasting our wedding cake from Zilly with excitement for the beauty and for delisiosness!

If you are looking for a wedding cake in Buffalo that would be created with care, talent and creativity, you should definitelly visit with Zilly!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How to Chose a Wedding Cake

There are so many very good looking options for a wedding cake. How to chose just ONE? What do I like and what will be beautiful for my wedding? - This was my dilemma. The problem of too many choices, yet again.

I am the kind of a bride that saw many weddings before we had to plan ours. I always admired people's good choice in different details of the wedding. However I was not the one to write down good ideas in "my future wedding" planner. I always knew that my wedding planning will be based on the relationship that led to the wedding. So I had no expectation for a wedding cake when I started looking, except one - it has to taste good.

I had to start my search for a wedding cake with no preferences in mind. A good helper in this task was Project Wedding. After looking through myriads of cake photos, I chose 8 different cakes I liked.
Which one d0 you think I chose? And which one was my close second?

All images via Project Wedding
I will tell everything about our choice in the next post in a couple of days. Let me know what do you think was our choice.
Update (7/1/09): there was a problem with some images today on this post, so I will leave you guessing for the cake we chose one more day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson!

I was going to share our cake selection story and what was involved in this process, but .... Michael Jackson died. :( I can not really believe I am writing this. I couldn't peel myself away from the TV with Lary King's show on devoted to MJ. I couldn't hold back the tears.

All genius people have a weird side to them. May be this happens due to the forces of balance - if you are extraordinary good at something, you are also extraordinary bad at something else. But I wish this wasn't happening, I wish talented people really understood they had to preserve their talent for more people to enjoy it, get inspired from it, benefit from it.

To me Michal Jackson was talent, inspiration, example of excellence.

I was about 12, when even from our television signal challenged apartment house my dad managed to catch us the first commercial channel. Even on the best day the signal was weak and the picture was fuzzy, but we watched it anyways. Right after I came back from school the music videos were on. This is when I first saw, what remain my favorite videos by Michal Jackson.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our short trip to Europe.... oops! ... Montreal, Quebec

Last Thursday Andrey and I excitedly packed our car and drove off to Montreal. I am usually overjoyed to go anywhere and especially somewhere that is known as Europe in America.

I have to say: indeed! (That comes from a renown European "expert" that has only been to Italy and Prague in Czech Republic). Well, at least I can say with a certainty, that Montreal does not feel American, and it is different from Toronto.

We enjoyed the historic architecture and details:

Loved (!!!) just installed city bike system - it lets you have a bike for $5 /24 hours and has stations to take/return bikes all over the city. It is called BIXI - bike taxi - cute! Pretty amazing, especially if you are a tourist and want to go places.

Andrey was such a gentleman to carry around my camera backpack! By the way, about camera bags: I am using Kata. I was torn between this one and Lowepro. Their products are very compatible in quality and price, so I chose the one that also offered a trolley. A set of wheels on something that contains a camera and a laptop can be very helpful at the airport. This model is DR-467. Good for transportation and sightseeing (when you need to stuff some personal items to the same backpack), not ideal for photo shoot carry-around. The carry around is going to be my next purchase. May be even the raved about professional photographers Shootsac.
Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral impressed beyond expectations! I've learnt it is a 1/3 replica of of St. Peter's in Rome. Never seen any church that big!

Our breakfasts took place in Eggspectations. Scrumptious! And a Marketing masterpiece.

Here is my delicious, freshly squeezed Banango: mango, banana, pineapple blended with fresh orange juice and ice.
Finally a couple of other views of Montreal:

Last logistical remarks: We stayed in Delta Centre-Ville hotel and were very satisfied: good service, great, clean rooms with a view (we stayed in a renovated premium room), reasonable prices. It is better to leave your car in the hotel parking lot and get around by public transportation and BIXI - my favorite.

Could I live in Montreal? Yes, for the months of summer. Winter is too cold! :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Off to Montreal for the weekend!

Just wanted to drop a note: on the wedding side of things - we have started exploring our cake options - I will share the details very soon. But for this weekend we are taking a mini vacation from planning and going to Montreal! Have a great weekend! !!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bridesmaids Dresses: what I like

One of the brightest traditions of American wedding is having a "court" - wedding party. Usually all bridesmaids and groomsmen in the wedding party are wearing the same outfits. Every girl in the party is wearing the same dress, and of course, not everybody is happy. Hence, the movie "27 Dresses".

I thought having my girlfriends wearing the same dresses would be very cute. But after thinking about fitting all the girls in the same shape and form, I felt this would be a little unfair. It is my special day, but I do want all of my friends feel beautiful and special too. Besides all traditional bridesmaids dresses are kind of plain to mine and my girls tastes.

So my bridesmaids will wear similar dresses - similar color and fabric, but not the same. See, I am not brideszilla!

This wedding party is very close to what I picture so far:

Photos by magnificent Jessica Claire

Update: one more example!

This wonderful implementation is via Emily Photo

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reading is like living a double life

I love to read. Most of my middle school and high school summers I spent under an apple tree on an old coat (serving as a mat) in my grandma's garden. I actually don't read, I "watch" what happens with the main characters in the books. "Watching" is possible if the book is well written, of course.
Here are the latest of my "second life" journeys:

1) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - I have been reading it almost constantly since last September and just finished it - the slowest read of my life, but also, one of the most mind-opening, thought provoking, implacable in language, full of discoveries. About life, goals, happiness and love. Simply one of the best books I ever read.
2) Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - I always thought that it would be very interesting to travel in time, but after I watching "Back to the Future" I realized that we could alter our present if we do something in the past. The author of this book explores a different idea: what if nothing can be changed in the past or future, and you can only watch what happens, you don't have the control over "when" you are traveling: how are you supposed to live your live, have a family when you are time traveling?... Interesting!

3) Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee - a story about a foreigner fitting into American culture, Wall Street and figuring out how much of her own Korean culture she should really reject and how much IS she really different from her family. The storyline is not that twisted, but if not for life's wisdom, this book is a good read for its language and the way the story is presented. In the introduction of this book I read that the author is a fan of Russian classics and uses traditional to Russian literature way of unveiling the story - in each scene the reader learns about his and hers feelings and thoughts. No wonder I liked the book so much!

4) Anna Gavalda's "I wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere", "Someone I loved" and "35 kilos of hope" - this new french author's creations remind me the ones from my favorite Russian author Victoria Tokareva - simple truth of life through the finest lace of the language.

What are yours latest best reads?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What Birthdays Are Made From

Birthdays are made from rays of love from parents, teasing from brothers, happy tears of grandmas, cards from the most special, most wonderful husband-to-be with flowers in 8 in the morning, visits from future newest part of the family, calls and emails from the closest friends, and finally a cozy gathering of friends around the picnic table on a golden from the sun May afternoon.
Complete and blesses with so much goodness I enter the new year of my life. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Simple Pleasures of Home on A Saturday

I love the home we made of our apartment. Here are little things that make our home so cozy for me:

Our new white & fluffy blanket:

Colorful balcony rug and brand new greenery outside:
We found a color match for our red chest at the end of the bed...
These curtains immediately played up the presence of the chest in the room!

Ok, back to wedding planning: bridesmaids dresses, cakes, officiant (!). Happy beautiful long weekend!