Dreams do come true

30 July 2012

Friends, let me tell you a story.

For years (since at least as long ago as middle school), there has been one house that has been “my house.” You know what I mean. It’s my dream house. It’s the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen, with the most thoughtful architecture, the prettiest gardens, the most charming outbuildings, the loveliest porch… All of my friends and family members know which one it is, and can point it out on command.

A few years ago, in addition to vowing that I would one day own said house, I started telling people that I wanted to take my wedding photos there. Of course, the first question my levelheaded companions always asked was, how exactly are you going to make this happen? Why, I’ll write them a letter, of course, said I. It wasn’t like I wanted to pretend that it was my actual house (that would be embarrassing) — I would consider it akin to a more normal person wanting to take photos at a historic property or mansion.

So then I got engaged. And I promptly added “Contact dream house about portraits” to my Martha Stewart generated wedding to-do list (I use the online one – it’s great!). Month: July. And then a few months passed, and it was July. And I had to decide if I was really going to do this thing.

Since I wanted to be able to address my letter personally, I did some Google sleuthing to try and turn up the names of the homeowners. They are probably a variety of ways I could have done this, but luckily, I was able to find an article in my local paper from a few years back about a renovation at the house that mentioned the owners by name. And just like that, I had everything I needed.

So I did it! I drafted a letter, wrote it out in my nicest handwriting on my thickest note cards, said a little prayer, and popped it in the mail. I gave the owners my cell phone number and email, in case they wanted to contact me. And then there was nothing left to do but wait.

Three days later, I had a missed call and voicemail on my phone. The woman on the end identified herself as the owner of the house! She sounded a little confused, but encouraged me to call her back. A few days later, I did just that. We had a lovely conversation, and the upshot is that they’re going to let us use the house’s grounds and porch for portraits!! Y’all, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I know it will be just perfect for the kind of warm, casual, lovely photos I’m envisioning. I think it will be entirely surreal!

You know the coolest part of the whole thing, though? At the end of the conversation, just before we were about to hang up, she said (and I’m paraphrasing), “You know, I just have to tell you, when I got your note in the mail, it was just so strange. I grew up in your town [we went to the same high school!], and I have loved this house for so long. I used to walk by it, and take photos of it, and talk about it as my ‘dream house.'” [Been there, done that, said that, yes.] And now, here we are. Does this mean that in thirty years I’ll own this house, and be able to loan it to a bride-to-be? I hope so!

In the meantime, I’ll be looking for opportunities to pay it forward as soon as I can, and as often as I can.

P.S. I know y’all are probably dying to see the house, but out of respect for the owners, I’ve decided not to show a shot of it at this point. You will see it post-September, though!

Paloma’s Nest Ring Bearer Bowl

27 July 2012

Hi friends! Lately, I’ve been preoccupied with trying to decide what to put on our Paloma’s Nest ring bearer bowl, so I thought I’d turn to you all for some suggestions.

Melissa Schollaert

If you were getting a ring bearer bowl, what would you put on it? (Or, if you actually had a bowl at your wedding, I’d love to hear what it said!) Would you go simple, with just the date (that’s John’s vote)? Would you take a line from your vows, or a ceremony reading, or your first dance song? Let me know what you think – I’d love to hear!

P.S. Wouldn’t it be a brilliant idea for Paloma’s Nest to make a Pinterest board showcasing their custom ring bearer bowls from real weddings? They’ve currently got a board with their product photos pinned from their website, which is a great way to drive customers to their site, but this board I’ve got in mind would be more about inspiring customers like me, who are trying to decide on an inscription. With the hundreds of ring bearer bowls that have been featured online, they could pull amazing examples from all different wedding websites and blogs! And Caroline, if you’re listening, you’re welcome :)

P.P.S. Enjoy the opening ceremony tonight, friends! John and I are kind of Olympics nuts, and are so excited!! Also, be sure to check back in on Monday for the conclusion to a wedding saga that’s been years in the making…

Ann Taylor tops

25 July 2012

I’ve been trying to increase the ratio of “dressed up” (i.e. not cotton) tops in my closet, and when I spotted this one at Ann Taylor this week, I couldn’t resist. The material is so light – great for summer in the South. Luckily I had a $25 gift card, as the current price ($68) is a bit much. (I got it in “violet bloom.”)

AT is running a buy one, get one 50% off promotion right now on full-price tops… and I’m seriously tempted by this one, too.

So pretty!

Seasonal Home of Gales Ferry

23 July 2012

One of the coolest things I did when I was home in Connecticut was stop by a new store in town, Seasonal Home. If you are familiar with where I’m from, you know that that sentence alone is pretty cool. (Like many small, old New England towns, my hometown hardly changes at all. Ever.) Which is why it’s so cool that three local women refurbished an old church-turned-funeral home and opened a shop selling carefully curated new and old home goods. And they did it well. Let’s take a little tour, shall we?

One of the neatest parts about the store is the store itself – it’s been beautifully remodeled, and you can still see vestiges of the old church, like the choir loft and the altar area.

The three women who jointly own the store all source vintage goods to sell, and the vintage goods are mixed in with new pieces, including artwork, from local artisans.

I loved the paintings from this local painter, though I didn’t catch his or her name.

Seasonal Home also sells new upholstered furniture that’s made in America. I thought it was beautiful and classic!

All the goods are mixed in together and curated beautifully, and I found many things I would have been happy to take home with me.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the prices – for someone who’s used to going to flea markets herself, I sometimes find vintage store prices to be a little hard to swallow (though I can certainly understand why they’re so), but I thought Seasonal Home’s prices were very reasonable. The large pot on the right was $15, and I really wanted to take it home, but there was no way I was going to fit it in my suitcase. I did, however, take home the trio of sea stars on the left, and it was $6.

I also took home the pretty green and white dishtowels on the right – 2 for $6.

These pretty blue pieces were quite lovely:

I know not many of you are likely to pass through my corner of Southeastern Connecticut, but if you find yourself there, I’d say a visit to Seasonal Home is well worth your time. And if you do not, then go poke your head into a locally-owned store in your town – you might be pleasantly surprised!

P.S. Another peek into a local home + vintage store

Wedding planning update: 2 months to go

20 July 2012

Austin Warnock

Since my last update…
— John had his individual meeting with our pastor. I have mine on Monday!
— We attended our tasting (yum!) and are in the process of making a few adjustments to our menu
— We had a venue walk-through with our florist and made what I think will be the final adjustments to our order
— We met with our chapel coordinator. She is a little bit scary.
— John’s tux has been tailored and looks awesome!
— Kate and I attempted a trial cake… more about that soon :)
— We collected the final silver pieces, and they all look great!
— We bought part of John’s gift for his groomsmen
— We purchased our wedding bands – going to pick them up this weekend!
— We bought ottomans, coffee tables, and candles at Ikea

Next up on the list?
— I’m sad that our invitations haven’t been sent yet, but they’re arriving this week, so I should have them out the door soon! Envelopes have already arrived.
— My final dress fitting is coming up soon
— We need to finalize the text for our ring bearer bowl
— I want to nail down all of our ceremony music so I can send it to our pianist, string trio, and soloist. I would also like to finalize readings.
— I need to collect the rest of our family wedding photos, to be displayed at the reception
— I’m going to make a few signs to help direct guests from the ceremony to the reception
— I’m going to make a set of drink stirrers for my own wedding! :)