Putting on the bride hat

In less than a week I'll be flying to my hometown to meet with our newly hired wedding planner, look at venues, and truly begin the planning. Time to Girl Out!

Photo credit: Hollywood Reporter


Wedding Planning in the Age of Pinterest

I am drowning in a sea of chiffon, burlap, unity candles, mason jars, and painted wooden signs. Is it just me, or is Pinterest's "Wedding and Events" section actually a guide to a DIY rustic wedding?

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty

            Photo credits: Style Me PrettyStyle Me Pretty

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty

Photo credit: Etsy

Don't get me wrong - PRECIOUS - but also not the only kind my dears! I know, I know, first world problems. But the gosh honest truth is that now more than ever, planning a wedding is like drinking water from a firehose.

Also, what the WHAT is this mess? On Pinterest it's titled "cute s'mores display!" ("s'mores display"?? that's not a thing.)

Photo credit: Wedding Chicks

So, I am doing the only logical thing: hiring a wedding planner. We'll be getting hitched about 1,500 miles from where we live - good reason #1. Every bride friend I have who didn't have a planner says her main regret is not at least having a day-of coordinator - good reason #2. Wedding planning with various family members in charge can be sticky - good reason #3,4,5.  I'm reminded of a great Oscar Martinez quote from The Office

"Look, it doesn't take a genius to know that every organization thrives when it has two leaders. Go ahead, name a country that doesn't have two presidents. A boat that sets sail without two captains. Where would Catholicism be without the popes?"

So, after interviewing five planners, and narrowing it down to three, I am in full decision-making mode.  Here are the factors I'm considering most, including questions I asked, in picking a wedding planner for full (comprehensive) services:

* How long has the planner been in business?

* Does the planner mostly do weddings or other types of events?

* How busy is the planner's schedule between now and my wedding date, especially the month of my wedding?

* Do I like the look of the published weddings by this planner? Are they akin to what we're going for?

* What do the online reviews say? How recent are the reviews?

* What do my friends say (in the case of planners who come recommended)?

* Did we have a good rapport on the phone? Will I feel comfortable being candid with this person and talking to them often for the next 8-10 months?

* Do I feel this person will be kind to my guests and family, while still keeping everything running smoothly?

* Is this planner familiar with the city where we want to marry? Does the planner have standing relationships with vendors and venues?

* Price!

I've spent a lot of time mulling over all this, because the planner will perhaps be the most important single wedding decision. Other than the groom... In the end, I think it's going to be about going with my gut, because aside from my fiancé - this is the person I'm going to talk to most about our wedding. Did you use a planner, any advice?

Whatever planner we land, I can tell you that this patronizing sign will not appear at the wedding:

Photo credit: Rustic Wedding Chic


Cow Appreciation Day

Did you know that today is "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chick-fil-a? This is the sort of thing that I love because it's silly and fun and sweet and it makes me think of simple joys, like an old man buying an ice cream cone for himself.

So dress up like a cow and get a free meal from the Chick. Don't know where to start? They provide a free starter kit to print and use: Cow Starter Kit. Eat Mor Chikin!
Photo credit: Chick-fil-a


The Engagement Chicken works.

Photo credit: Food Network

Well I've taken quite a little hiatus from blogging and for that, lo siento. But I have good news and good excuses, okay?! This week my sweet boyfriend and I overpacked our carry-ons and scooted our little behinds to the BEACH. There was sun. There was sand. There was a surprise proposal.

I was certain that, although the question was imminent, it was not happening during this trip. And I also thought that if there was going to be one - I'd be able to tell within moments of getting on the plane. My boyfriend has a terrible poker face. He can't keep secrets and he's an awful liar. In the long run - this is excellent - but it makes surprises a particular challenge for him. 

On the plane he was totally normal, and by that I mean sort of flustered by the entire process of air travel and already worn out by it on the first flight. But he wasn't checking his bags a lot or fidgeting or any of the other red flags. And in my infinite travel wisdom, I had chosen to wear what effectively turned out to be a sweater dress/muumuu that kept every ounce of heat and sweat packed in and close to my body for the entirety of the 8 hour travel day. And my hair was down and frizzy. And the sassy flight attendant sneered at me for turning off my phone 2 seconds later than I was supposed to. This is the stuff of romance, people.

Two flights, a three hour layover, three free lukewarm glasses of white wine in the Delta lounge, and a 1.5 hour car ride later - we arrived. I announced that I had to go to Walmart (at 10pm on a Sunday) so that we had milk and cereal for the morning. We both knew that meant I wanted to take a 2 hour trip to wander the store and get everything we needed for the week. He begged to just go to a little beach shop closer to the house, and despite my crazy, I knew that was a reasonable request. On the drive back from Waves, the boyfriend asked to go for a walk on the beach. I wanted a shower and pjs and Bravo. But when a boy is adamant that you go for a moonlit walk on the beach with him, you go. Girl, it can only be good.

He "went to the bathroom" for about 7 minutes (read: got the ring) while I tried to wipe the travel dirty off my face. With our glasses of wine, we walked down the beautiful boardwalk to the beach under a perfectly clear night sky. It almost felt like daytime with the full moon reflecting on the water. Almost. What you could not see, was that every bug in the entire Gulf of Mexico had shown up to feast on our weary flesh. Take one step, swat at ankle, spill a little wine, take a sip, swat at leg, step again, scratch arm - and so it went. 

What, you don't do impressions of monkeys while opening Dom on your engagement night? 
Weird. That's weird of you.

We didn't walk far before I realized his glass of wine was almost empty and he asked to stop. A little background should be given here: this is the same beach, and the same routine, where he first told me he loved me. My boyfriend has a streak of romantic cowboy Texan in him and he loves the art of the gesture. He put our glasses in the sand, and we danced a little like the dorkuses malorkusses we are. Then he turned me so my back was to him and the ocean, and paused. 

When he tapped me to turn back around, I saw him on one knee with a little black box in his hand, beautiful water and moon behind him. Girl, it was a Nicholas Sparks movie. He said the sweetest things, kept it short, and then - saying my full name first - ask me to marry him. And the bugs seemed to pause and we were the only people on the whole beach, only people in the whole world. I think I said yes, because he put the ring on me and we hugged and smooched and he had done it - he surprised me. 

As the moment of proposal haze lifted, the bugs grew angry. We had stopped fearing them and they needed to school us. My boyfriend fiancé and I were giddy, but we were also bumping our heads into each other from leaning down to slap bugs off our ankles. Running back in the house, we decided just to call family that night. I know my friends love me and would be excited, but I don't presume to be so important that they wouldn't mind being woken up at 1am on a work night to hear the news. 

So we called my parents, who were just waking up, as they were in France doing a bike tour. Because they are much, much cooler than me. They were sweet and excited and apologized for the poor cell service - because they were in a 700 year-old French castle. Way to one-up me on my engagement night, padres. 

Long story short - cook your boyfriend Ina's Engagement Chicken and he'll propose. Foolproof.

Ina Garten's Engagement Chicken Recipe:

Engagement Roast Chicken

2009, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time:
5 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
1 hr 35 min
3 servings


  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.
Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.
Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.