Sunday, August 30, 2009

V: The Great Cookware Debate

So, time to pick out pots & pans. Do not be afraid! Though the options are endless, a little bit of research and forethought can light a clear path.
Tip #1: F the set. Even though it's such a 'deal', it's not customized to what's best for you; likely a variety of cookware types and sizes. 

Start by checking out this ridiculously thorough guide to the science behind the shapes and materials of cookware.

Then decide if non-stick is important to you. In all honesty, I was a massive fan of non-stick and assumed that was a requirement. But after trying out my bff's premium stuff, it's just not necessary in all cases. However, by all means, do get one non-stick fry pan for scrambled eggs.

But what brand? Serious cooks on Chow's forums make it clear that All-Clad really is way over-priced versus comparable, nay better!, lines like the professional Sitram, Mauviel or Demeyere brands. 

But being European brands, they just don't sell them in stores where people like us shop.

And if you're really after heirloom pans, seriously consider that in 20 years we will all be using induction cooktops. This safer, more efficient cooktop uses magnetic energy to heat your pan, requiring a magnetic metal. This means no anodized aluminum or copper, and only certain kinds of stainless steel. 

The final verdict: All-Clad Stainless [so is Samantha L by coincidence], plus enameled cast iron Dutch over, and an All-Clad non-stick fry pan. [Interestingly, the more expensive All-Clad Copper Core is NOT compatible with induction]

Don't spend a fortune on a stock-pot or roaster. When boiling or slow roasting in the oven, it's simply not necessary to have a high-grade material that responds quickly and evenly to temperature, as it is in saute pans. These can be simple stainless, no name-brand or aluminum/copper core necessary.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pre-wedding reading

Has anyone read "I was told there'd be cake" by Sloane Crosley? If not, this is a must. It's absolutely hilarious, if you enjoy the likes of Sarah Vowell and other witty social observers. The book is a series of essays that discusses her life in New York, growing up, singlehood, friendships, etc. Last night, I read a story so funny that I woke up my housemate from laughing so hysterically. I laughed so hard, I cried. I couldn't help it! There is even one story about being a bridesmaid that is so painfully awful, it's hilarious.

It seems like humor is pretty important at this stage of the game. Things are getting hectic! Less than four weeks to go!

Friday, August 21, 2009

336 days down, 29 to go.

We're less than one month from our wedding date! It's wild, really. We have received official responses or heard from a little over 70% of our people, but are still waiting for 85 people to let us know one way or the other! Let's hope that most of Brad's people can make it!!! Damn military is keeping a lot from coming =(.

Oh yeah, and today is Hawaii Statehood Day, which many people are protesting at Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu. This also means I have the day off from work =). I also gave my two weeks notice about two weeks ago, so my very last day is Monday- smiles all around. On to a life of freelance writing and harp playing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bridal fun?

Aloha y'all. (This is just a small example of how my regional identity is totally whack)

So, any thoughts on silly professional wedding pictures? I do have 11 bridesmaids and was thinking of taking a few photos that sort of poke fun at the wedding brigade concept. Conga line picture? Other thoughts for fun with the bridal party?

V: Some More Rad Registry Items

Sigh, via Uncrate, the ultimate man blog

If you think no household is complete without fancy Reidel wine glasses, then don't miss the fancy glass-maker's take on the beer stein, TUBES Beer Classics. 

Cause we beer snobs simply won't tolerate anything less than a prefect pour of a La Chouffe

Samantha's Bridal Shower Bonanza!!

Ok, ladies. Finally! I'm ready to post about my bridal shower. Oh, what a wonderful bridal shower it was! I woke up early on Saturday morning and went to my first event of the day- a hair trial with the lovely Meg Ford, traveling hair stylist based out of Reston, VA. Laurie, one of my lovely maids, came with me- it was so fun to be pampered while chatting with these two wonderful women.
We returned to the house to begin the festivities for the "English Tea" themed shower, hosted by my lovely sister-in-law Abigail. She was the hostest with the mostest, thinking of every last detail, including gorgeous favors of pretty tea cups, bags of tea and biscotti. The spread was fantastic- tea sandwiches, fruit skewers, pesto crostini, chicken mango skewers and my favorite, lemon curd cupcakes from Lavender Moon cupcakery in Alexandria, VA! Oh, my people know me well.
Various relatives, future in-laws, bridesmaids and neighbors began to arrive as we all chit-chatted and milled around the champagne punch bowl. See this recipe for Orange Sherbert Champagne Punch- my favorite! Then came time for the present opening- who doesn't love presents? I must say though, I've never been the center of attention in that way- by the end of the day, I was exhausted, but ready for the next step!
We left Great Falls for downtown Washington, DC, where we had a fantasmo dinner at Jaleo's spanish tapas bar. We ordered a few glasses of sangria, ate yummy food and caught up with each other while getting excited for the night ahead.
After dinner, we headed to Allison's fantastic apartment, which was decked from ceiling to floor in 80s decor! Again, my people know me so well! So we broke out the champagne, some of the girls tried on their dresses and then it was time to get decked out in 80s gear. There was a lot of spandex.
After the getting ready fest, they all bestowed their lingerie gifts upon me. Oh, what fun! Everything received was very pretty, but I was particularly and especially amused by an interesting gift for Brad, inspired by The Full Monty. Thanks, Heidi's bf!
After the lingerie opening, copious pictures and more celebratory champagne drinking, we were off to DC! That's where I'll end my tale...oh, what a night!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

V: More Rad Registry Items

Combination rice cooker and slow cooker. 'Nuff said. Cause God help me if I ever require both at the same time.

The Sanyo ECJ-HC100S 10-Cup Micro-Computerized Rice Cooker and Slow Cooker, very highly rated on Amazon (don't worry, I've researched this).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

V: Cakes, A Tale of Evolution

A Martha Stewart.

Another famous Martha.

No clue, a Wedding bee?

Get the gist? I quickly went from tiered monstrosity to trendy cake bar, thinking it was the crafty, vintage, cost-effective route. Clearly, avoiding anything with the 'wedding' label would be cheaper, right? Mostly, yes. But I forgot to take into account the fact that seven to eight pretty vintage cake stands really REALLY add up.

So, here she is:

Awesome photo by TM Photography.

Introducing, from left to right: chocolate, my special white chocolate lemon, and red velvet. One for my mom, one for me, and one for Mr. B's mom. All frosted in creamy, smooth cream cheese frosting. Fancied up with a yellow velvet ribbon and real pink rose buds left over from my bouquet making endeavor. 

And instead of tromping off to the fancy bakeries in town selling cake that BEGINS at $5/slice, we hit up the official cake baker of our friend group. Mary Jane Confections is a one-woman local shop, famous for affordable, moist, buttercream-y cake. If you are in Atlanta, we highly recommend her! 

Friday, August 14, 2009

V: Occasional Series on Rad Registry Items

As we draw near to finalizing the fantastic-ness that is our wedding gift registry, I've decided to share some of the crazy items we think will make our house & life a home.

Having lived together for a while now, we're not in need of much. But to give some suggestions for our overly generous guests, we've complied a short list of items with the intent of hosting said guests back in our home at some point.

We've gone with the standby of every engaged couple, Crate & Barrel, for kitchen basics.

And to include some spicier items, we've signed up with Wishpot for a registry to draw from across the interwebs. Honestly, I'm not a fan of the name [it seems greedy, no?], but the interface works really well, and heck, it is a registry of PRESENTS FOR US. Hoo-ray!

First up, we have registered for a Nintendo Wii.

Now, I am certainly no Halo player, but I've seen how this thing can really jazz up a party. Want to go bowling but can't handle the idea of slipping on some 'certified pre-owned' bowling shoes? Play a spot of tennis on a rainy day? This is definitely the way to go.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Samantha's Love of the Day: Awesome Invite

Check out this super cool invitation! LOVE IT!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

V: Bling for the brigade

Whoa, you guys. There is a 'you guys'! I just met a REAL HUMAN who reads this blog! We are employed by the same major university. I guess that means I need to write entries on this blog.

Anyway, the big stuff is largely taken care of. That means it's time to accessorize!

We knew we wanted Mr. B and the guys to wear a narrow tie. And his only other requests included a shade of yellow that doesn't make him look sickly, and a non-shiny material.

Guess how many ties fit that bill? Right, zero.

So the ties are being made by MeAndMatila, from a mustard cotton fabric we purchased 359 yards of.

A real wedding on Brooklyn Bride, featuring MeAndMatila ties

I'm hoping [expecting] there will be plenty of left over fabric to create matching sashes to jazz up the bridal brigade's simple grey H&M dresses.

Perhaps something funky? Like this gorgeous ribbon belt featured in a tutorial found on 100 Layer Cake? Def pos.

Monday, August 10, 2009

SL: Floral bonanza!

Hey friends! Check out these lovely florals! Our centerpieces will be made up of three branches of red mokara orchids with sprouted curly willow and individual orchids in red and white attached to the ends to give sort of an ethereal dreamy look! I think it will be both modern and elegant. You can't tell very well from this picture, but I'm hoping that it looks awesome! Melissa Sylvain of Sylvain's florist in Reston is our flower woman extraordinaire- she is fantastic and has been really flexible with us! We are going to try to tie in the floral arrangement to the menu cards, place cards and favors. Any leads for something that can be used for menu cards that has a floral motif that might match this one? I've been looking at cherry blossom invitations, but they haven't been quite right.

SL: Marriage License

After all of the bridal festivities last week, I went to the DC marriage bureau to get our marriage license! There are a lot of strange things about DC's policies. One: the groom doesn't have to be there! Two: they only ask you two questions besides contact information- "have you been previously married?" and "are you related to each other?" Three: the marriage license never expires. If we were to use the same officiant and our marital status had not changed, we could technically get married in fifty years. Four: Despite the fact that you do not have to use the certificate within a certain amount of days, you still have to turn it in 10 days after the marriage has taken place, otherwise it's not valid. Oh, DC, you are funny!
Anyway, glad it's off my list!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

SL: Crowning Glory!

Before my bridal shower last Saturday August 1st, I had the pleasure of working with Meg Ford, who does wedding hair on-site. She will be able to come to me and my bridesmaids on wedding day to do any kind of style. I asked for half-up, half-down with cascading curls. She was so easy to work with, very professional and I think she did a great job! Will look great with my whole look, I think!

Samantha's Engagement Portraits!

Hey friends,

Well I'm ready to post about our engagement portraits! At 7am on a Saturday three weeks ago, Mr. L and I met up with Corry Frazier, who is a fantastic photographer and also a military spouse! She has taken the pictures of many people we know, so we were confident that she would produce something fabulous. We decided to wear white and blue to sort of go with the ocean and I think it turned out very well! The pictures were taken at Lanikai Beach, which is a few steps from my house. They are very different from Ms. Birdsbee's, but still fab, I think! Enjoy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

SL: Stay tuned for Bridal weekend!

Hey ladies,

I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Washington (say that three times fast) and I have so much news to report! Stay tuned for posts on my bridal shower, bachelorette extravaganza, hair trial, etc.!

I also have received our engagement portraits and they are fantasmo! Will post on that too.

Much love,

Samantha Livalittle

Monday, August 3, 2009

I don't want wedding shoes. Is that wrong?

At this point, I think I'd much rather spend [really, blow] my budget on a sweet pair of brown leather boots to wear on our trek through northern Italy. 

Oh J.Crew. Your shoes continue to taunt me.

I just can't find anything to wear on the wedding day that isn't better than what I already own [aka comfortable and broken in. Without 3.5"+ heels]

Can I pretty please replace 'wedding shoes' in the budget with 'honeymoon boots'?

Awesome, thanks.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Warning: Hotness Ahead

Take a gander at our engagement shoot by the extremely talented Kim of Alea Moore Photography.

Note that approximately three days before this lovely photo shoot I turned all of the clothes we planned to wear pink in the laundry. Oops.

(Click to Enlarge)

Our fav local diner, the Majestic (since 1927).

Inspired by this one.