November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for so many things today, but I will just put a few:

-God's great love for us - He always pursues us
-my new husband - his gentleness with me, work ethic, and friendship
-that I'm not living alone anymore
-all my friends - I miss you!
-our awesome honeymoon, wedding gifts, and time off that we got after our wedding
-our fun things - new games, movies, and the wii!
-delicious recipies that I can't wait to try
-Christmas is coming so soon!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2010

Honeymoon: Second Installment

Since last time I didn't really talk about our honeymoon for some weird reason, I will now!

We had SO much fun! I was expecting way more sun and heat and lounging on the beach, but our trip turned out way better than I would have planned. There was a hurricane dying down the week before we got there, so it was still cloudy and a little rainy when we were there. There was one day that was really beautiful, but we were still got to lay out in the warm sun for about 30 minutes. We decided it was perfect because it was in the 70's, so it felt nice to be outside, but a little chilly, so it was perfect hot tub weather, and still warm enough to get in the ocean a few times. If it had been hot and sunny the whole week, we would've been way lazier/tired and gotten sunburnt. Instead, it was the PERFECT relaxation weather and resort.

I LOVE islands and beaches, so I was hoping I wouldn't be disappointed with our resort because the beach was small (and the view of the water was obstructed by a pier). It ended up being the perfect honeymoon spot. Jamaica is so lush and green (which was not the case in the beautiful beach lands of Aruba & Curacao) which was so refreshing after living in dry, arid Venezuela all year last year. There were beautiful mountains, and it just felt so tropical. The whole resort was covered in beautiful flora. I loved it! It felt like we were in the jungle. The beach wasn't "the perfect beach" but it was still nice. The water was pretty, and I ended up really enjoying the pier because there was a lot of seating on it, so we got to sit out there a few times and enjoy the ocean view sitting above the water, which was really cool. We even got to eat dinner on it one night! So cool.
And even though there wasn't lots of sand, there were lots of restaurants overlooking the beach, so that was great. And we really enjoyed our ocean view from our room. We also loved all the amenities at our resort. Sandals resorts always have all-inclusive restaurants, but at ours we had tons of places to eat - 7 restaurants, 3 bars, 2 swim-up bars, and they were building other ones while we were there.
Our room was central to everything - three restaurants, the beach bar, the beach grill, three pools, two hot tubs, a piano lounge, and the water sports area. It was so nice to have everything be so close! One of my favorite parts of every day was eating a huge breakfast buffet at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water. One of Whit's favorite parts was sitting on the balcony. We each got a few mixed drinks during the day - sometimes from the bar, sometimes from swim-up pool bars that we would immediately take to the hot tub. My favorite thing to do was go to this secluded hot tub surrounded by plants and trees.
It was nice to have alcohol included because neither of us had ever had many mixed drinks before, so we got to try a bunch of different ones for free and if we didn't like it, we could just get a different one instead. We also had a bar in our room with full bottles of rum, whiskey, gin, and vodka with mixers. Whit had fun experimenting with making mixed drinks for us.
Mostly all we did all week was chill - sitting in different relaxing spots, going to the hot tubs, and looking at the beach. We also played a bunch of fun games - mostly pictionary. We did do some of the water sports though, which were pretty chill. We learned how to sail, went on one of those big aqua trikes, went on a mini snorkeling excursion, and took a ride on the glass bottom boat. We ate every lunch at the beach grill, and Whit fell in love with jerk sauce. We bought some and made hamburgers yesterday with good! Dinner was always the highlight of our day - we would each get 2 appetizers, wine, a delicious entree, and then dessert. We always took so long at dinner! We couldn't figure out if other people weren't maxing out their food options, but we certainly took advantage of the 'everything is included' policy.

We had a really fun week being together and enjoying each other, but weren't too disappointed that we had to leave because we had a room full of wedding presents to open and a house to unpack! I feel like I left out a lot, but it was a great trip! Check facebook for pictures soon :)

November 20, 2010

Mellow Mood

I broke my promise again but I couldn't help it - I got a $25 gift card to Shutterfly for that last post - yay!! Also, I know I had put that first card up as what we'd be getting for our Christmas cards, but it turned out that I couldn't use that one to get the 50 free cards. So the last post is indeed our card for 2010 - I love it! I can't wait to send them out :)

Okay, finally time to talk about our honeymoon! If you didn't know, Whit and I spent the week in Ocho Rios, Jamaica at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios resort. AWESOME. For a few years, I have been dreaming about my honeymoon. A little dreaming about the wedding, but mostly the honeymoon! I LOVE traveling and I love islands, so the honeymoon seemed like the perfect opportunity for a romantic retreat to the Caribbean. I knew I either wanted to stay in a private villa or go to Sandals resort. Whit didn't want the hassle of flying somewhere, but since we got married in November and it was cold everywhere close to us, he realized we would have to fly to get somewhere warm. Sandals sold him with the wonders of being all-inclusive.

We found a sweet deal at Grande Ocho Rios where we could stay in a villa (with living room, kitchen, and semi-private pool) for cheaper than the lowest room category at any of the other resorts! The resort had lots of restaurants too so we decided it was a perfect fit (Whit loves eating out) even though the beach wasn't quite as nice as some other places. I was really looking forward to our little villa, which was actually located on the mountain side of the resort (not the beach). When we got there, our bus driver dropped off half the people on the mountain side and told us to stay on to go down to the beach side. Whit didn't seem to be disturbed, but I knew something was wrong - I wanted to make sure they didn't mess up our room, since it was going to be really awesome. We heard a bunch of people whispering about upgrades and we decided we'd just wait and talk to the people at the front desk once we got down to the ocean side.

When we asked them what was going on, they told us they had upgraded us to an oceanfront room. Apparently a lot of other people had the same thing happen to them. To ease our pain and confusion, a waiter brought out glasses of sparkling wine to welcome us and put us at ease. Although they told us it was an upgrade, we were skeptical. I mean, our villa room was supposed to have 3 rooms and its own pool. A hotel-style room sounded like a downgrade. They tried to convince us it was an upgrade and told us to try it out for a night and if we didn't like it they would try to get us one of the other rooms that we had requested...but they said that most people wake up in the morning with the ocean view and don't want to leave. I was a little disappointed, but we went to check out our room.

It was just what we suspected. We couldn't figure out if it was really an upgrade because the room was smaller, but the ocean view was definitely nice. I wanted to keep weighing the pros and cons of each room, but Whit just wanted to make a decision and enjoy our vacation. After spending the night there and realizing how close we were to all the restaurants, activities, and the beach, we decided we were better off (on the other side, we would have had to taken a shuttle every time we wanted to go to the beach). I liked it more and more when we hung out in our room with the door open to the ocean breeze, sound of the waves, and live music that we could hear downstairs. We knew we made the right decision when we woke up the next morning to the sun shining through our doors with the beautiful Caribbean below us.

I'm not really sure why I spent all that time talking about our room upgrade, but the point you can take away is the Jamaican attitude that we learned through this: No Problem. Jamaica was the perfect place for our honeymoon because the people really helped us to relax and not worry about anything. We had been so stressed out with planning the wedding, so once we got there we just enjoyed ourself. We would ask questions like "Can I take my drink down to the beach?" and "Can I order two appetizers?" and were always answered with "Yeah mon, no problem." It made for a really chill week. If you're looking for a great, relaxing honeymoon destination, Jamaica is it.

November 16, 2010

Christmas card 2

With Love Chartreuse Christmas Card
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November 15, 2010

Christmas cards!

I am way too excited about Christmas cards. When I bought my veil this summer, David's Bridal gave me 3 $20 gift cards to Shutterfly. I had never used Shutterfly before, but when I went on the website to make a book of our engagement pictures, I found out how easy and cheap it is! I made an 8x8 hard cover book of our engagement pictures to give to my mom (and dad), and also to display at our wedding....but when I was looking at the website, they already had Christmas stuff up!! And that was only in early October. Since they had so many awesome deals going on and I had that gift card, I was able to get the book, 24 address labels, and a folded holiday card for only $12. Now that we have our wedding pictures (well, some of them), I can finally make our Christmas cards!! Yay! I already have some of the address labels (they match - so cute!!), so now I can order the cards. The exciting thing is that I am getting 50 cards free just for writing this post! If you have a blog, you can get them for free too by advertising Shutterfly on YOUR blog. Do it!
Above is the card that I picked out...I love it because we can put a "J" on it since we just got married - and we can use 5 pictures! I already have the pictures uploaded to it and it looks so good! But you have to wait to see it until after Christmas! ;)
You should make your own cards or other fun things:
Click here to post on your blog to get 50 free cards!
(Sorry for the intermediate posting. Honeymoon will be next!)


Whit and I have been married for a week! All those stressful months of planning finally culminated in one PERFECT day last Saturday.

Friday was hectic - trying to gather everything we needed, get it in the right place, assemble the centerpieces, and be everywhere on time. The girls and I enjoyed a fun, full day together. We had lunch at Feathernesters - a full four-course meal including pumpkin muffins, quiche, and peanut butter pie! Then we headed over to the reception site, Independence Golf Club. This was the first venue we visited and I was sold after that one meeting. They are SO flexible to work with and the site is GORGEOUS but pretty cheap!! If you know anyone getting married soon, I would definitely recommend it! The awesome thing about them is that they are so willing to do anything you want! They let us have the entire place whenever we wanted on Saturday, and allowed us to come in to set up started at 11am on Friday! If you don't know anything about wedding venues, that is unheard of! Sometimes places only let you come in to set up an hour before your reception. So after lunch we hauled all our gear over to the golf club to put stickers on mini buckets, unwrap lanterns, and coordinate pictures. It was a crazy time - the time flew by and we didn't get to finish a lot of things. I hurriedly told our coordinator where things should go and prayed that she would get it all right! Then we threw our stuff in our sweet cottage, changed, and rushed to the church for the rehearsal.

I was very overwhelmed when I walked into the church lobby for the rehearsal. There were SO many people!! Who were all of those people?? I had so many things on my mind and wasn't expecting to see 30+ people. It seemed unusual! I figured out later why - at the other weddings I've been a part of, the church lobby is small, so everyone hangs out in the sanctuary when waiting for the rehearsal. For us, our church lobby is huge, so all those people easily fit there, so everyone was hanging out there instead of the sanctuary. Another slight detail that stressed us out a bit Friday night? Our pastor didn't show up for the rehearsal! Oh dear. (He thought that the rehearsal was after the dinner....) At least we had an awesome wedding coordinator who let us run through the processional and recessional and check the sound. It was fine, but meant that Whit and I had to talk to him later that night so we couldn't fully enjoy our sweet cocktail lounge as much at our rehearsal dinner at the Tobacco Company.

The rehearsal dinner was SO much fun! In all our planning, the thing I was most looking forward to about our wedding was probably the rehearsal dinner. The ceremony would be lovely, and reception would be fun, but the rehearsal dinner is where we would be surrounded by our very closest friends and immediate family. I couldn't wait to celebrate with just our closest friends. It ended up being more fun than I had imagined! Our table was SO FUN! We each got to have our 3 closest friends/wedding party members and then one of their dates. Since we mostly all knew each other, we had a blast telling stories and being crazy and laughing a lot. I could barely eat my food though!

I mentioned our cottage earlier - Independence has two places you can rent to stay in - a cottage and a lodge. My parents rented both for our family and my bridesmaids. The girls got to stay in the cottage, which had about 3 living rooms in the middle (seriously - 3 sets of couches, a big table, a mini kitchen, and water fountain) and then four big rooms with two twin beds each and their own bathroom! It was perfect for me and 5 of my bridesmaids (we missed you Danielle!). I was so looking forward to hanging out there after the rehearsal - since it was so big, I invited a bunch of girls to hang out there with us before I got my beauty sleep for the big day. The big bummer was that me and Jamie rode home together after dinner, and inevitably, we got lost. Typical. Interstate exits in downtown Richmond are very elusive. We missed the weird turn and the GPS screwed us up from that point on. It tried to take us further and further into the ghetto. At one point we were at a stop light next to a sketch Adult Day Care building. Oh yeah and throughout all of this the gas light had been on! So after driving completely out of town (the wrong way) we stopped to get a gas - in the ghetto - at a place with a bunch of souped up cars and sketchy people. Well, we didn't get to hang out with everyone at the cottage (the ones who came left before we got there), but it did make sense that that would be my last night as a bachelorette - it brought back some great memories of getting lost with my bff and maid of honor.

The Big Day was all that I imagined and more. It was so weird for me to be the bride since I've been in a few weddings recently. I felt totally normal though, which was the weird part! I didn't get nervous at all (including Friday night) until 10 minutes before...which makes sense because I had to stand by myself (so Whit wouldn't see me) while everyone else walked in to Isaac's amazing piano. When the doors opened I was so surprised to see everyone turned around looking at me so joyfully. For some reason I never though about that moment! I had thought about seeing Whit, but all those smiling faces were quite an overwhelming, yet happy, surprise. It felt like a dream! I fought back tears as I searched for Whit's face (no center aisle = Whit had to run up the stairs to catch my eye!). It was SO fun standing up there with him. I didn't listen to half of what Dwight said (but the things I heard were perfect!). The hardest part about the ceremony was looking into Whit's eyes the whole time - dang, if you are trying not to cry that is NOT the answer! Kati and Zach sang Before the Throne absolutely perfectly, but I realized I should have picked a less emotional song! I mostly sung in my heart so I wouldn't cry even more. My favorite parts of the ceremony were corporate worship, communion & prayer with my almost husband, and when Dwight got ready to announce us and Whit looked so ready!

After we were wed, Katelyn (our photographer) graciously gave us 5 minutes to be alone - just us! It was such a blessing. We hid ourselves and found some chicken nuggets and fruit leftover from lunch. We took many pictures, and I was so proud of myself for scouting out two great locations at the golf course - by the lake and with the club house in the background. The pictures (check Katelyn's blog!!!) turned out SO much better than I imagined! Peeeerfect. The reception was a dream. It was so beautiful inside, the food was delicious, and all our friends were there. The only problem was that after fighting back tears for 4 minutes of the Father-Daughter dance, I couldn't keep it together! So I was basically crying or close to crying for the whole second hour that Whit and I were married. Hah. Getting married is emotional! My favorite parts of the reception were the slideshow (that I put together - it was so fun getting to see everyone's reactions to it!), the toasts (so true & sentimental), and our SWEEEET glow stick exit. We ran through our line of guests as they tossed glow sticks back and forth over us. I came up with the idea due to many Phish shows that Whit and I have attended together. ;) It was such a weird idea but I'm so glad we did it because it was SO MUCH FUN! It got me so pumped up and so excited as we left. The reception went on for awhile but seemed to go so fast! We were just too busy the whole time (we missed the passed bacon-wrapped scallops and only got one slice of cake). It was so fun to see the car all decorated, too. As we were sitting in the car getting ready to leave, everyone kept throwing the glow sticks at our car! It was too fun.

In all the mayhem of the day, I forgot to put my bag for the wedding night in our car, so we had to have Jamie come bring it to to the hotel. She was such a huge help! When I asked her to be my maid of honor I had no idea all that she would help me do, but she did it all and helped me so much! So a huge thanks to her - and to the many others who helped us pull off the most amazing day!! Oh yeah - Saturday night we stayed at Hotel Sierra next to Short Pump mall. I paid for it with my skymiles so we got a sweet room for free. We stayed in the one bedroom corner suite with tub, and it was awesome! I would highly recommend staying there. I really want to go back for our anniversary, because we had to leave before the supposedly delicious breakfast buffet. Our only complaint was that we had told them it would be our wedding night and asked if they could do anything special, and all they did was give us a bag of M&M's and some popcorn!! Whatever.

Sorry for such a long post/wedding recap. Look for the next installment: Jamaica!