Wednesday, July 30, 2008

That's strange...

I went to the Crate and Barrel by work over my lunch break to add a coffee table to our registry (gift cards + 10% off after our wedding = getting a bad ass coffee table for a good deal!). Anyways, while adding it, I saw that there was ANOTHER girl by my exact same name, in Texas, who got married last year. SAME NAME. Same spelling, everything. Weird. My name (first or last) is not really all that common. In fact, I've only met 2 other people outside of my family who have the same last name. Combine that with the same first name??

Okay, I know it's not really a big deal, but it's still kind of weird to me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Name Game

When I first signed up for a Blogger account, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to use my real name... so I chose to use my cute puppy's name, Riley. Yes, a dog. But he's cute. And there's more to the story, but I won't go into that.
My real name?? Rachel.
After I started this blog, and started to comment on others' blogs, there was some confusion popping up (sorry!). On Blogger, I was Riley. Everywhere else, I'm Rachel. I also guest blog on Fridays at Elizabeth Anne Designs - as Rachel.
So, for a while I'll be in transition. I'll be Riley (aka Rachel). Soon enough I'll be just Rachel. :-)

The Big Push

I'm going to be pushing for 100! Push-ups, that is.

Over at Kate's Wedding, Kate started this program that trains you to be able to do 100 push-ups in 6 weeks. It's tough! But, I can use all the help I can get. Plus, come November 15th, I should have leaner toned arms!

Initial test: 10 "real" push-ups.

Week 1, Day 1: completed

So, do you think you're up for the challenge??

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's done!

The dresses are ordered!!!


In the end, I decided to go with the two different dress styles, both in navy. My sisters will wear the "new" style with the pleated chiffon skirt, and my future sister-in-law and my friend will wear the original style that's all satin - a strapless A-line with the belt at the waist.

(This is also a good representation of how I feel now that all the dresses are ordered!!)

My friend liked both dresses, and she really liked the color, so that was easy. My future sister-in-law called the store and gave them her measurments and sizing, so that was pretty painless as well. All went smoothly, and now we're on to the next thing - invitations!! Actually, our Save-the-Dates came in on Saturday, so I will be working on addressing and sending those out this week. Even though we should have sent these out last month or earlier, I figure better late than never! This is the part of the wedding planning that isn't quite as exciting or "fun". We pretty much have everything picked out, so now it's just making sure to take care of the details and tie up loose ends. Actually, I kind of take that back! I do have a few projects that I'm going to be working on - our guest book, putting the invitations together, escort cards and table numbers..... some of those projects will be fun too!

I still can't believe that we're getting married in a little over 3 months! The time has gone by really really quickly.

Our weekend went well, in addition to ordering the dresses. Chris was home from last Wednesday night until this morning, so it was really nice to have him around for what seemed like such a long time! We just hung out with friends all day Saturday, and Sunday we went to my parents to help my youngest sister move back in. She's starting the MBA program at TCU (go Frogs!!) this fall, and moved back up from Houston this weekend. Even though it was hard work and hot weather, I know my Dad really appreciated Chris and I coming over to help. There was a time when all he had was 3 girls! Not that we can't help (because we have!), but I know he's grateful for the extra set of "man" hands!! ;-)

Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Real wedding budget inspiration!

Head over to Budget Savvy Bride to see her post on Nole and Andrew's wedding. They break down the budget for their beautiful wedding, which is really helpful to see if you too are on a budget. Of course, there are also many beautiful pictures to look at!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and it's getting ugly....

First, let me do a little advertising... the lovely girls over at Elizabeth Anne Designs have compiled and posted a new feature - a Wedding Library. It has resources like venues, photographers, florists, and pretty much everything else you could need for your wedding planning! It's very easy to navigate, and the links take you straight to the source's site. It's very cool of them to compile all of that in
one place! It will make planning just that much easier!

Saturday morning my Mom, my sister, Chris and I met with our coordinator at the YWCA to talk about decorations, table linens, etc. It was a great meeting! We set up a little rough mock-up of the centerpieces with the old pressed/cut glass and candles and they looked awesome, y'all! Like an idiot, I didn't take any pictures! But they looked so elegant and beautiful, and the candlelight will be beautiful at night. The mantle, which we'll get married in front of, will look great too with the large candelabras and faux garlands we have. We moved a (very heavy) iron candelabra over to the mantle and added the garlands to get an idea, and we all thought they looked really grand! It was a great and productive morning! Afterwards, Chris headed home, and my sister, Mom, and I headed to the bridesmaid dress shop. Alison and my Mom both loved the dress, and so we ordered it for her and my other sister (who also loves it!). Things were looking up! Yay!
So, that was the good.

When I got home, Chris told me that his father's surgery (which has been postponed a few times) was scheduled for Monday (yesterday), so they'd be coming up Sunday. We were going to have them over and cookout. No problem - that sounded nice. His sister was already in town visiting friends, but we hadn't heard from her (big surprise). More than likely, though, she and her husband and friend would come over too. Saturday evening and Sunday morning was spent getting ready to have people over - yard work, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping. Everyone showed up (with Chris' niece and their dog) and we were cooking out by mid-afternoon. It was hot, and it was a little hectic with all the people and animals, but we got it all pulled together and everyone had a good meal.
I won't say that that's "the Bad" per se, but it was a little stressful. Especially with the recent tensions going on over the guest list.

But here's where it got ugly.

Chris' Mother decided to pull him outside to chat, which I have no problems with. But what she wanted to chat about, well, that's another story. Evidently, Chris' sister does not like the new dress at all. She had gone and tried it on the day before (unbeknownst to us; remember, she was in town), and evidently it made her look "pregnant". Now let me just preface this by saying - I don't care how big she is. I'd like her to be in our wedding because she's Chris' sister. And, of course, I'd like to try and find something flattering to her. BUT, she will look "big" in any dress I put her in. I really really like the new dresses. Chris' sister..... she doesn't like them so much. Instead of calling me, or talking to me directly (remember, she's over at my house and we just provided her with dinner), she literally cried to her mother, who then went to Chris, who was then to tell me. What!?!? Aren't we adults here? But it gets uglier. Evidently, the reason she didn't just call me or talk to me?? I'm condescending, I'm unapproachable, and I'm intimidating. Again, what!?!? Excuse me while I scream..... (ARGH!!). Hopefully, if you have ever read anything here, you would be able to figure out that I'm none of those things. I understand that I may be a little intimidating to his sister - I'm older, I have a job and work, and we don't know each other well. But she's 27, married, and has a child herself. It's not been easy calling and speaking to them directly about different problems that have come up, but I've done it with respect for them and because I'm an adult. I just wish she'd give me the same courtesy and just talk to me directly about things - or at least TRY TO. No, most of the communication I get from her is second or third hand, and most recently in the form of nasty emails to Chris telling him he's making a mistake by not following her "suggestions". And that ever since he met me, his family has been coming in second. It gets nastier - much - but basically they are the immature gripes of someone who is used to always getting her way, and who doesn't understand when you have different ideas than she does. Just because you offer an opinion, doesn't mean it must be so!

Now my predicament is this: Am I nice and allow her and another bridesmaid (who totally doesn't care what she wears) to wear the original dress style in navy, while my sisters both wear the new style?? Or am I a villain and tell her no, and that if she doesn't like it, she doesn't have to be in the wedding.

I'm sorry for the long rant. It's just that every time I think we've settled something that has arisen with his family, something else comes up. And it's frustrating. Mostly because neither Chris nor I agree with how they're acting.

It's Tuesday, and my Dad's coming over to take me to dinner tonight (Chris is back in Wisconsin) to cheer me up! Is it 5 o'clock yet??

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oh!?! What's this?

Why, it's a beautiful and lovely Oriental rug.... that's in my colors!!

Actually, Oriental rugs are great for color combinations!! Many designers will first find a rug and then build the room around it.
But really, this rug is beautiful. And it just reinforces my orange/terracotta and navy scheme!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I just got my new Pottery Barn catalogue in the mail (fall, already!). They have this picture of a tablescape that I thought was jut beautiful, so I wanted to share!

And this would be so simple to do! It's just different vases with the different floral elements, but grouped together it looks pretty cool.

I also saw this room, and I love the color:

I love the richness of the eggplant color. As you can see above, it's from Benjamin Moore.

The drama continues with the guest list.... but it seems to be coming to an end, so that's good. Chris is getting back early tomorrow, so that's nice! I'll get to see him for 3 days this weekend - yay! After last weekend's day and a half, this is improvement!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I love "For Better or For Worse"... especially now that Liz is planning her wedding. This sentiment just about sums up my feelings now.

After talking with the future sister-in-law last night, everything's good on the dress front! Yay!! I'm really excited about the new dresses and am ready to get them ordered and done with. So: navy dresses, gold shoes (strappy-like sandals), and orange/terracotta/persimmon flowers.

While that's all fine and dandy now, what's not is the guest list. Or more specifically - his side of the guest list. Mine's done (pat on back). But his.... is another story. And after speaking to the FSIL last night, and then getting an email this morning, I've come to realize that a misunderstanding has taken place. That, and a difference of opinion on who/how many people we should send invitations to. This one's going to be tricky! But I sent a very nice and respectful - albeit firm, clear, and concise - email to them hopefully explaining the situation. That we have budgeted for 150 people, that our venue only holds 175 MAX. And that I do not want to take the chance of sending out invitations to over 250 people, even if "they probably won't come anyways". Yeah, I'm not that much of a risk taker. Besides, who's paying for the wedding anyways??

But hopefully, once we can get over this bump in the road, it will all be smooth sailing from here on out! There's only 4 MONTHS (exactly, from today) to go.... which seems like long time, but as fast as time has been flying, I know that it's not. It would be nice to kind of cruise into the home stretch. That is, after all, what I was planning on doing by starting my planning so early!

Anyone with any tips on mother-in-laws, or sisters-in-law, please feel free to leave advice!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Here I go again...

Okay, so funny thing is, I've changed my mind on the bridesmaid dresses. Style and color. They're going to be completely different. I felt slightly like a nut at first last week (last Thursday night, to be exact), but after really thinking about it, I feel confident in my decision now. It's made other things a little easier too - like the color of the invites (I'm going to go with all gold now - scroll and lettering), flower girl dress, table linens, etc. The problem I was encountering was that since terracotta was my predominant color, I felt like I needed to repeat it in several areas - like the invitations, the table linens or runners, the groomsmen ties (possibly). What I kept running into was trying to find the right shade of orange, so it kind of all flowed. The right color of the paper, the right color of the ink, the right color of the linens..... you get the picture.
Rewind to last Thursday night. I went into the Alfred Angelo store to look at the colors of green they have. To see if an idea in my head would work (because sometimes what I picture in my head really doesn't look that great in reality!!). And I looked at them... but what was really catching my eye was a brand-spankin' new dress design they had featured. It is honestly one of the cutest bridesmaid dresses I had seen, and more importantly, it fell into my budget of what I felt comfortable asking the girls to spend. I gave into my inner nag and tried it on - and here it is:

(Please excuse black necklace and bra straps!)

What I love about this dress is the pleating of the chiffon skirt, the way the skirt "moves" when you walk, and that it's flattering. I wish I looked skinnier in it, but then again - that's my own fault for not working out more diligently!! But it hits at the right place on your legs, it is an empire waist but with enough room for a larger chest, and it's just so pretty!! So here's the plan: Order these dresses in navy. Yes - navy. The girls will be wearing gold shoes. I'll stick with the orange/terracotta for flowers (bouquets, cake, accent arrangements), and MAYBE the table runners (if I do them at all). The guys will wear either navy ties or champagne, probably with a charcoal tux. And the invitations will be all gold - the scroll design as well as the lettering - on ivory. If I get really crafty, I might line the envelopes with a terracotta.

While the orange will not be THE dominant color anymore, it will definitely be there in force!! The ballroom stage has an orange curtain, and the drapes are a floral that incorporates both the navy and orange (and green and violet). And other than the dresses, there will only be the smallest touches of the navy, so while it will be there as an accent, it won't be too much. The reason I chose navy?? Because I think the dress will look really stunning and elegant in the navy. More so than the terracotta color, or a green. Also, it will go well with the orange/terracotta and gold colors that I've already chosen.
Finally, after wavering and not being 100% sure on the bridesmaid dresses, I feel really good about this decision. I love these dresses, and am beginning to really feel confident in the picture I'm getting in my head of my wedding! I have wavered, been indecisive, and changed my mind before, but as the wedding is getting closer, I feel like I'm getting more and more pleased with my decisions and choices. More confident, definitely! And that is a great feeling to have!

Now I just need to convince my future sister-in-law that she wants to wear a shorter cocktail length dress..... See, this is where the confidence comes in..... ;-)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My wedding so far...

In pictures...

**the bouquet above only, not the table arrangement

The above pictures can be found following the links to the right.... except for bouquet, candles, cake, and Michelle Williams.

Well, it doesn't seem like much, but we also have our photographer, our caterer, our DJ, our day-of coordinator..... There's just so much stuff, I'm sure I'm forgetting something! Our colors are a terracotta orange and a champagne-y gold. With some green (mostly coming in the form of greenery). The candle arrangements will be on the tables (please imagine them with table cloths!), and my bouquet will be similar to the one above, but possibly a darker shade. Right now, I'm wavering on the bridesmaid dresses. Should I have them all the terracotta orange (**side note: the color in the picture is darker than in real life), or should I do complementary shades of green?? So many decistions! As the wedding draws closer, and I have more pictures, I will post them.
One thing, though. I have found that like in Interior Design, it is much harder to decide for yourself what you want - to narrow it down! There are so many lovely ideas out there, and forcing yourself to choose and stick to a cohesive-looking scheme is harder than I imagined! It's easy to help others decide or pick which dress/bouquet/arrangement to use, or to tell them which you like best, but when it comes to yourself??? Different story.... And what's insane is that normally I'm not this indecisive of a person! Okay, maybe a little bit, but not nearly this bad!

Hallelujiah - it's Wednesday y'all*! Half the week is over!

(* OMG! I just learned I've been spelling y'all wrong!! "Y'all" acutally makes sense - it's a contraction of "you" and "all", but I was mis-spelling it as "ya'll"! )

Monday, July 7, 2008

I was tricked!!

I could have SWORN that I had a session with my personal trainer tonight!! But I didn't.... and I didn't find that out until AFTER I was already up there! I was tricked! By my bad memory!! (I wish being tricked by my memory would end up this good more often!) Had I known my session was tomorrow, I probably would have stayed at home and been lazy. Well, not totally lazy, but I wouldn't have worked out. But since I was up there and ready to go, I got a good 40 minutes in on the treadmill. It felt good, and like something I should do more often!

I am still missing Chris tonight, but talking to him on the phone helped. And I have my other 4 boys to keep me company. They all gather around the desk when I'm on the computer, like little computer dogs! In fact, right now, JJ (aka Squirmy McLickin') is sitting on my lap.

I'm trying to put some more information on my blog, so if you keep noticing new things popping up here, that's why. I thought I'd add a little more info.

Well, that's all for tonight (I'm trying to get to bed early!!). And by the way, NO - that is NOT ME in the above photo! LOL! You can find it over at Flickr. ;-)
Hope you have a great Tuesday.

A couple of pictures

I just thought I'd share with ya'll some pictures of some of the men in my life....

This is from our first Christmas together in 2006. He normally doesn't have the goatee, but I kind of like it.

This is the eponymous "Riley"... my first of the four. I love this little guy to death. And he's such a ham for the camera! Every picture of him looks like he's posing! I've had him for 10 years now, and he's been with me through everything. And he's a lot like me, independant but loving, and grumpy in the mornings!

Murphy!! This little guys makes me smile. He's the "little General" - the boss of the pack. But he's my little boy, and can be sooooooo funny. He's also JJ's best friend.

Rascal was Chris' dog coming in, but he's now a part of a larger family. He's my big teddy bear, and wishes he could be a small dog too (they can sit next to us on the couch)! He's 14, but there's no grumpy old man here, he's Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky.

And finally, JJ. He's our 2-year old. This is one of the rare times when he's not running around, checking everything out, trying to steal a kiss, or chewing on his toys! And yes, he does like to sleep this way! Can you believe that somebody would leave this little guy at a truck stop outside of Abilene??

Okay, I'm finally tired and headed off to bed now... see ya'll in the morning!

It's hot and just a little bit lonely in Texas, ya'll

Yes, I do say "ya'll" in real life ... it's a Southern thing. And down here, it doesn't make me sound stupid. ;-)

Our holiday weekend was good, but so short. I thought that having a three and a half day weekend would be so wonderous and relaxing, but in reality, it just flew by. We did have friends over both Friday and Saturday for cookouts, which was fun, but I really wish we had another day by ourselves to just be together. This week will be the third week in a row that Chris is up in Wisconsin on business, and it was hard to see him go this afternoon. I miss him already.
It's strange, because when I was single I enjoyed having "my time", and even now, there are nights when he's away that I like being able to do things totally my way. When I was single, I was totally content being alone when I was at home (or when I was living with my sister). But now I miss having him around, I miss him just being here.
After we moved in together, there was a big adjustment period. I had to get used to the fact that it was no longer "my" stuff, but "ours". And that things didn't always get done my way. Even sharing the bed, the one I was so used to sprawling out in, took some getting used to. But now I have, and so when he's gone for these extended periods it's harder than I thought it would be.
There are good things to him being gone: I get to sprawl in bed, I get to eat whatever and whenever I like, I can watch my shows on TV. I know this is part of his job, and doing this well bodes nicely for future considerations for promotion. Plus, we're earning a hell of a lot of airline miles and hotel points! Yay!

He knows that I miss him, but I didn't share with him today that I didn't want him to go. I don't want him to feel badly for me, or guilty about his job. I know that in a couple of days, I'll be in my weekly routine and things will be fine. I'm a big girl and was used to living alone. I can handle all the chores (hey, I even mowed the lawn a couple weeks ago!!). I think that next weekend though, we'll take it more low key. We have a small party we've been invited to, but other than those few hours, I think we'll just spend the time together.

Sorry for the somewhat downer of a post. I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend!! And I hope your Monday goes by quickly!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Part One: Primed

I did a little work on the crosses last night. I primed them, filled in the holes with wood putty, so they're ready to be sanded (wood putty and corners), and painted. But I wanted to post some pictures - sort of a "before". I'm hoping to work on these this weekend and hopefully will have more pictures to post on Monday.

But for now, here we go!

I'm so happy that we have a long weekend! I'm off work in about 30 minutes (yes, I'm being bad!), and plan to run some errands. I'm picking up some paper for our invitations, running by a fabric store to see options for possible table runners (I'm still hoping!), and running by a linen rental place that has orange tablecloths (to see exactly WHAT shade of orange). Then it's home, possibly a work out, and getting ready for Chris to come home tonight at 8. I'm so excited to have the afternoon off - I'm looking forward to my errands!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, fun, and safe Fourth of July!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I guess I tend to title my blog with the day when I don't really have something super interesting to post about!
I didn't get to finish the cross last night. I primed it and readied it for painting, but I just ran out of time and didn't really want to start on it so late. After working out, I stopped by the grocery store. By that time it was around 8, so I fixed and ate dinner..... and then it was around 9. Why do my evenings seem to go by so quickly? I am excited about the project though, I'm hopeful it will turn out as good as what I'm picturing in my mind.

Tomorrow is a half-day of work for me, and then I have Friday off!! Woo-hoo!! I love my long weekends. Chris will be back Thursday night, and our plan is to take it easy over the holiday. His father is having back surgery today in North Dallas (they're from Midland area), so we'll go see them Friday morning probably. But Friday evening we're hoping to host some friends at our place and have a barbeque. Other than that, no definite plans.

Now that it's July, I've got 4 full months left before the wedding. I'm not really counting the last 2 weeks before as most things should be done by then. We'll have to have final counts for the caterers and cake, and everything will be ordered and done. 4 months ago was March. March doesn't seem like that long ago..... yikes! It'll be here before I know it.

Have a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wooden crosses

Since I am trying to not only save money for the wedding, but to pay off/down our bills, and just generally EAT everyday - I've been trying to come up with other ways to generate extra/more income. I'd like to think of myself as a creative person, so I thought that making something on the side and being able to sell it online might be a way to consider. After much thought into 1) what would sell 2) ease of shipping 3) originality, I came up with an idea to make some artwork that is inspired by a piece his mom gave to Chris a couple years ago. I will be making these wooden crosses that are like shadow-boxes, but filled with cement and decorative objects like stones, shells, small metal objects, etc. Another source of inspiration was the limestone cross that Jenna Bush was married in front of. Making one that is filled with chunks of limestone would give a similar look and be a less expensive alternative to the real thing. I know it sounds kind of strange, but it is an unusual and neat idea (I think) and can be hung on a wall or propped up on a shelf or mantel. Plus, it is something that I hadn't really seen before - so I liked that it would be somewhat novel.
I plan on starting with crosses, but want to expand into different shapes and picture/mirror frames. What's really cool about this concept is that anything goes, pretty much. In the frames, I could pour clear epoxy and use poker chips and cards (which would probably not fly within a cross). I could make them more rustic or more modern, depending on the materials used.
My first test will be tonight. I have several of the frames already built, and tonight I want to work on making one with seashells. If it's not disastrous, I will post the pics tomorrow. I just have to lighten up and loosen up my creative juices, so to speak!! I have to get into to creative mindset. I am excited about doing these, and hopefully they will be a good outlet for me creatively as well as bring in a little side cash!

Keep your fingers crossed!

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