shhh don't tell alex.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
sometimes a store is just a store. they sell goods, you find yourself in want of such goods, you go there, you find, you purchase, you leave. your needs have been fulfilled.
other times, however, a store is more than a store. it's a diversion, a tourist attraction, an entity whose value exists beyond its mere ability to provide a means to your ends. it's a sort of museum for the consumer's senses, a place you find yourself off-handedly suggesting as a date night destination, a place where you accidentally find yourself caressing superfluous tabletop knick knacks after a double margarita saturday lunch. it's ikea, it's restoration hardware, it's williams-sonoma. it's the kind of place where i drag steve through the door only to find him deeply engrossed with a hammered-copper-compass-slash-clock-slash-sundial-slash-desk-lamp five minutes later.
case-in-point: it's the sort of place where your wedding registry can get completely out of control if you let yourself go wild.
registering for wedding gifts is both a fun and an insufferable process. when i was contacted by williams-sonoma to do a blog post about wedding registry do's and don'ts, i immediately remembered all the things i wish someone had told me when it came time to register for our wedding gifts. now that we've had a chance to put some of our haul to use, i present to you the key advice i wish i'd had a few months ago.
WHAT TO DO
DO...register for china. i've heard all the excuses for not doing this. why? because i made them. when you're 24 years old living in a 700 SF apartment and you do the math on the cost of a 10 piece china set it seems reasonable to say "forget the china." after steve and i spent our first thanksgiving stuffing ourselves in style, i can honestly say wedding china is worth it. it's hard to imagine i won't look back on our first thanksgiving with our incredible turkey, half-cooked apple pie, and hike on padre island every time we bust out the china for fun formal events. and there's just something truly lavish feeling about setting your tiny driftwood table with crystal and salad plates. check out my pick from williams-sonoma's china collections here.
DO...consider the return process. i had a fun time registering at crate and barrel, because when else could i freely admit to wanting a hamsa hand shaped serving tray without having to pay for such a thing? what i didn't anticipate was ending up with lots and lots of frivolous accents and lacking any sort of king-sized bedding for our mattress. alas, when we shipped our returns to crate and barrel we neither received a commensurate refund nor did their inventory supply us with any bedding to buy with our store credit. if you do register for lots of "fun extras," be sure the store they come from also stocks items of functional value should you need to get practical retroactively. fortunately, williams-sonoma has you covered in the bedding department.
WHAT NOT TO DO
DON'T...expect a standing mixer or a roomba. somehow it seems like a standing mixer has become a wedding registry staple, but at $300+ these pricey items are probably outside the spending range of most people who give physical gifts. if you consider items like a roomba must-haves, it's likely you'll be buying them yourself with the help of your gift cards.
DON'T...overdo it with an amazon registry, honeymoon registry, or "alternative options." those of us who grew up with the internet are very used to finding the perfect specific item to fit our wants and needs. however, the fact of the matter is that the etiquette of wedding gifts remains a bit more old-fashioned. while some of your younger guests might get a kick out of getting you exactly what you want like an ipad or an extra excursion on your honeymoon, others would prefer their gifts play a more traditional role in your wedding day and marriage. try to accommodate your guests' generosity with traditional options as well.
for more tips and resources visit the williams-sonoma wedding registry resource page.
what do you think? any advice of your own on wedding registries?
what do you think? any advice of your own on wedding registries?
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
after our epic day in athens, when we exhausted ourselves trying desperately to see everything we possibly could, we woke up for our first morning on santorini ready to continue the extreme touring madness. we found this to be an excellent strategy for travelling in greece. we wore ourselves out at the beginning and enjoyed relaxing later on in the trip.
i was stunned by how much there was for us to do on santorini. the island has such a reputation for being a relaxing paradise, i think it occasionally gets a misleading rap for being just a pretty view. while you’ll certainly still enjoy yourself on santorini if all you want is cliff-top scenery, there were definitely more amazing activities than we were able to squeeze in to our time on the island. while we were there, we had to skip the local wineries, and we did not make it to any of the black sand beaches or the ruins of ancient fira. we didn’t try our navigational skills on a four-wheeler, nor did we get to do the hike between fira and oia. oh well, just means we will have to go back!
now in light of all those amazing sounding things we missed, what we did do was absolutely fabulous. our first day, marios from hotel Antonia (i seriously cannot oversell how helpful marios was) booked us tickets on a boat trip to see the volcano of santorini. on our way to the port, we picked up a hot sundried tomato and feta breakfast pastry from a gelato shop. it was unbelievably delicious (we went for another the next morning too). we had no idea what to expect from our boat trip, and thus, flip flopped and swimsuitless, we boarded one of the gorgeous tall ships taking tourists out into the blue caldera, to the sounds zorba the greek and other traditional music.
when our boat docked at the black, ashy volcanic island in the center of the santorini caldera, we learned that we could hike to the top for some natural history lessons, sulfur stank, and breathtaking views. though we hardly had the footwear for such an occasion we trekked to the top of “new burnt island” where a panorama of the entire island of santorini waited for us. but 360 degrees around we were able to see more than just santorini. across a suspiciously brownish orange channel of water, we could see “old burnt island,” which looked like something out of a tropical middle earth style fantasyland. the island of therasia lay not too far off as evidence of the atlantis-legend ancient eruption that sunk most of santorini. it was, as the tour guide promised, breathtaking.
after our hike we were taken to swim in the brownish orange channel, which is the hot spring created by the active volcano. we weren’t as prepared as most of our shipmates, but decided to jump off the boat in our underwear anyway to swim in the lukewarm water. a saltwater-in-contact-lens fiasco took place, but other than me looking like a victim of violence for the mascara-smeared afternoon (thank goodness for big sunglasses) the boat tour was a total hit.
in the afternoon we rode the bus down to the village of akrotiri to visit the famous red sand beach. akrotiri is a hidden gem on the island in my opinion. it seemed like the village is probably busier in summer months as it has a very “beach town” feel. it is a small trek from the bus stop to the red sand beach and there are some really wonderful sights and smells of fresh agean seasfood along the way. it’s quite the rock climb getting to the beach, and the “sand” is really more like pebbles, but the view was one of the best of our entire vacation, if you ask me, and the beach itself was definitely one of the coolest places i have been in my life. there are mysterious doors into the cliff that i can only hope lead to incredible cave dwellings where steve and i can stay next time we go.
after the beach we stopped for a drink with growltiger the one eyed cat of akrotiri (as christened by myself) and by the time we got back to fira we were absolutely starving. fortunately marios (that magical human fountain of knowledge) had hooked us up with the what’s-what and we headed out to carboload on homemade bolognese and tomato fritters at o souvlaros, a very sweet little family owned taverna in fira, where our english finally did us no good! fortunately pointing to the menu worked out fine, and let me just repeat the phrase “tomato fritters,” because no amount of gushing about how amazingly delicious they were will do them justice. we continued to eat them at every opportunity, but i am certain o souvlaros were the best.
so yeah. day one on santorini was pretty darn good.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
as stated before, music was a huge priority for me in the whole wedding planning process. one of the biggest highlights of the night i got to marry steve was our absolutely PHENOMENAL band. i discovered the truth in jazz orchestra online when my grandma gave me the name of one my grandfather's old band buddies, whom he used to play with when he was a professional musician.
it was amazing getting to work with friends of my late grandfather, and dave collee, my point of contact with the group, was extremely kind and helpful assisting us with our plans. though the truth in jazz orchestra was a twelve piece jazz band, dave and some of the band's other members comprise a smaller ensemble as well, called the skylarks. the seven of them were perfect for our reception.
i received so many compliments from our guests about the skylarks and genuinely consider them to be a favorite part of the evening. we can't thank them enough for the fantastic job they did. click here to listen, learn more, or book them for your own event!
Sunday, November 9, 2014
our first stop on the island of santorini was the main town of fira. we spent our first two nights on santorini in fira at a really charming little place called hotel antonia. they were extremely well reviewed on trip advisor, and for good reason. priced extremely affordably, we were welcomed by marios with wine and a quick map-rap session where we were directed to the best restaurants, views, and things to do on the island. truly, the hoteliers of the greek islands are absolute gems. we always felt like the most well-treated guests.
after enjoying a little welcome wine on the spacious balcony of our room at hotel antonia, we continued the somewhat lush, dionysian evening with a stroll through the winding staircases, considered to be streets, per marios' recommendation for the restaurants with the best views in fira. we stopped for a few big mugs of mythos at a caldera view bar, to give the sunset a little catch-up time so it would be part of the entertainment at dinner.
of the many delicious looking restaurants over-looking the caldera in fira, we settled on fanari, where we enjoyed incredible service, local wine, and a sampling of the seafood specialties we would spend the next week eating. i had my first taste of grilled octapus at fanari and life has genuinely never been the same. goodness gracious is it ever fantastic. i'm also pretty sure the waiters on santorini all have training in photography. they are pros at capturing that view.
it's still pretty mindblowing to think the trip only got better from here, but our first night in fira really set an unimaginable tone. if ever you're looking for a spectacular value in fira don't hesitate to check out hotel antonia. we felt incredibly welcome and centrally located between all parts of the island we ultimately visited.
these are probably getting boring, but oh well, i'm going to keep posting one day at a time! happy new week everybody!
Friday, November 7, 2014
steve and i were unbelievably lucky to have such fantastic music at our wedding and to have such wonderful people involved. our DJ, todd brown, of kalamazoo's mobile music entertainment did an absolutely phenomenal job with both our ceremony and our reception. he was an excellent MC, he saved our ceremony rehearsal, and he worked with our band extremely well, i cannot recommend his work highly enough.
on top of all this he also flattered me immensely by complimenting my taste in some of the music he had never heard before. i have to admit, music was a huge priority for me, having spent tireless amounts of time (
shh over the years) planning my wedding playlist. we wanted to keep it classic, but still nicely unique. but now that we're married y'all can enjoy it all the time! the playlist is on spotify: