Monday, April 20, 2015

Wedding: Chalkboards Galore

Chalkboard signs were a pretty big part of our wedding day. They are such an easy (and cheap) way to add a lot of character to your event. I got mine signs from my wholesaler (because I'm super fancy like that) but I know a lot of stores on Etsy or Hobby Lobby sell wooden signs. Then we painted them with chalkboard paint from Lowes (two coats) and I commissioned my sister and MOH, Hillary to do all of the writing for me.

I wasn't super prepared for this....I think I maybe gave them to her a week before our wedding. So looking back I wish I would have gotten a few quotes that meant more to us vs popular ones (such as F. Scott Fitzgerald one).

One quote that I have always LOVED is from Jim Halpert (The Office) about Pam. We couldn't fit it on one, so Hillary split it up between two signs.

Here are the rest of our signs. I had Hillary do smaller ones that said "Reserved" for our Family tables and sprinkled throughout the venue were signs with our hashtag "StewPartyof2" (I wrote a post here sharing why I think an event hashtag is a must) so people would remember to use it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wedding Vendor: The Venue

My venue. It was one of the very first decisions I made. It is a really cool venue...not in the greatest part of town, but I love how big it is and it has an amazing view of downtown OKC. I wouldn't say that I regret having my wedding there....BUT I kind of wish that I would have shopped around a bit.

I'm not writing this post to put the Farmer's Market on all! But, I want to share with you my wedding planning process, and venue was a major one.

We chose the Farmer's Market for many reasons. One, it was a huge space, and I wanted to get married and have the reception in one place (less decorating, right?). Two, they provided a lot! DJ, alcohol, soda, water, tea, 2 bartenders, security, tables and chairs (that they would set up for us). Three, it was such a cool and unique venue.

All of those provided were great (if you were there and saw any one of my family members, you KNOW the alcohol was working :) )... except that the chairs were super dirty and we had to wipe them off.

Our venue is not specifically just for weddings. It is a farmer's market, antique store, concert hall, roller derby rink and apparently and MMA fighting ring. Through the entire 10 months we were told we could set up the Friday before. That way on Saturday we could somewhat relax. Well...the week before the venue told us there would be an MMA fight held the Friday night before our wedding, til 2am (it was supposed to be the weekend before, but was rescheduled due to weather). (Cue my one, major freak out of the wedding process...sorry, Jake!) So, we gathered my family and friends and worked our asses off Saturday morning getting everything prepped. It was a lot of hard work, but in the end, it came together because we had some ALL STARS helping us out. It sucked, but stuff like that happens, and again....if that was the worst thing to happen during the wedding planning process, no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Another thing that bothered me was one of the staff called my mom a few days after the wedding and "scolded" her because our guests wiped Vaseline on the bottom of some of the chairs. Now....lets take a second and think about this one. Who at a wedding uses Vaseline? No one. Who at an MMA fight uses Vaseline? Everyone. Mystery solved. Maybe if they had cleaned the chairs in the first place, they would have figured that out.

Like I said before: our venue was so cool looking and unique. Here are some of the reasons I chose to get married there:

Giant windows with great light....

Great architecture...

and string lights everywhere that made our night magical...

All photography by the fab Caroline Rentzel Photography

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (no spoilers)

Of all of my 28 While 28, my reading 5 books this year was the one that people most commented on. Whether it was books as birthday presents (thank you Keith & Bethany) or ONLY 5 books (Erin), or tons of book suggestions...I felt the challenge to read more. So, I am officially "upping" my game. Not to a set number, just because once school starts who knows how much I get done. But I will read more than 5 books this year.

So...before I start with my review of Dark Places, let me give a little preface: I struggle with finding the balance of overly critiquing books vs blanket liking everything I read. Which is easy because you invest your time in something, you're bound to like something about it (or at least I do). So my goal in reviewing these books is for those who know me and know what I like to read the reviews and base their opinion off of that. For instance, if we don't have the same sense of humor, I'm not going to take your review of a book, TV show or movie to heart. It will be more of a review/discussion...full of incomplete thoughts. So, here is my first book review of my 28 While 28.... take it as you will.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. If you liked Gone Girl, good chance you'll like Dark Places. Dark Places was a little gory in some parts, and just like I close my eyes watching an open wound on TV, I skipped a paragraph or two here. 

It is definitely not as "pulled together" as Gone Girl, but there were a lot more characters Flynn was trying to balance in this book. What I really like about Flynn's writing is how she bounces between point of views in her books. (That may be why I like Something Borrowed and Something Blue so much, because each book is the same(ish) story but from different point of views). Although how she pulled it off in Gone Girl was more more interesting than in Dark Places. 

The way Flynn wrote Dark Places is throughout the entire book you know that the Day family murders didn't happen the way it started in the beginning of the book. So you are constantly playing out different scenarios in your head while reading. I did predict the ending, but I wouldn't say that I had every detail correct in the end. The ending was a little too coincidental, in my opinion. 

What I didn't like about Dark Places is that Flynn builds you up FOREVER about who the murderer was, and in the end it felt so rushed. I also don't like (in both Gone Girl and Dark Places) how there are no likable characters. None. And they are only truly relatable if you are crazy yourself. Well, I take that back...I liked Diane, although she seemed really pushy (or Patty was that much of a pushover). The latter, definitely.

Ben's relationships with Diondra and Krissy were, for lack of a better word, interesting. You could tell he was trying to make up for his mom's (Patty) lazy and depressing influence with demanding and high strung girlfriends. Again, all unlikable characters. I did however, like Libby (she is the main character, survivor of the book). I didn't relate to her, or agree with really anything she did, but I liked her.

Without knowing any of Gillian Flynn's life story, I would venture to guess that she does not have a great father figure in her life. Both Ben's dad (Gone Girl) and Runner (Dark Places) were absurd male figures. Runner was more frustrating, because he was in the story line more often...but man, if I could punch someone in the face! 
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