Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I shredded this morning

Because of almost all-week meetings that are starting slightly later than my normal start time, I got up at my normal time and did 30 Day Shred.

I haven't done this video much. I know everyone in blog land seems to love this video. I like it, but don't love it - I haven't done it enough. I hate how hard it is, but love how vitalized I feel after finishing.

I did it this morning because I knew I was going to miss my aerobics class tonight in order to join Wade, his father and his brother in taking out his mother for a birthday dinner. Trust me, I was quite happy to miss aerobics for a good meal! Not to mention, I have aerobics on Mondays and Wednesdays, and pilates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so there are normally very few weekday evenings that I have "off" to enjoy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Escort Card Inspirations

This is what I'd like the escort cards to look like:

Later this week, you can find out how they turn out!

... Next Project ...

Sorry, internet was on the fritz last night. Our next project is escort cards! We started folding envelopes last night. I'll share pictures tonight.

Wade's bachelor week-end went well. He came back tired, but not too tired to avoid housework. (Wade does the laundry on Sundays, and does not like it when I do the laundry ... because I don't fold socks "right".)

For your pleasure, here's the Earth Week quiz I promised last week:

2009 Earth Week Quiz

1. What percentage of the world’s total water supply is fresh, accessible water?
a) Less than 1%

b) 5%
c) 15%
d) 25%

2. Ozone in the earth’s upper atmosphere forms a layer, but at ground level it is a primary component of:
a) Car exhaust
b) Dew and fog

c) Smog
d) Ozone doesn’t exist at ground-level

3. What can you do to improve the efficiency of your furnace?
a) Change the filters every two months
b) Replace your furnace if it's old

c) Install a programmable thermostat
d) a, b, and c are all correct

4. Which action has the greatest impact on reducing the threat of global warming?
a) Recycling
b) Reducing your energy use

c) Composting
d) Planting a tree every year

5. Which of the following produces the most oxygen?
a) Algae and archaea –microscopic ocean organisms, which are vulnerable to even tiny changes in the ocean temperature or current
b) Rainforests, which contain 82% of the world’s known biodiversity

c) Coniferous trees, such as pine, spruce and cedar, which continue to produce small amounts of oxygen in the winter
d) Deciduous trees, such as maple and oak, which produce oxygen in the summer

6. Growing trees captures carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. True or False

7. When trees are harvested (cut down or die), carbon stored in the tree is released back to the environment. True or False

8. How much could annual energy costs drop nationally if every Canadian household replaced one 60W incandescent bulb with a 20W compact-fluorescent bulb? (For example, you change your outdoor porch light to a compact-fluorescent bulb.)
a) $53 million
b) $63 million

c) $73 million
d) $73 thousand

(Our population is ~30 million, so multiply these numbers by "10" to get the American estimate - enery costs are similar so it'll be close. Note: you can't really multiply by "2" to get the British equivalent, because your energy costs are generally higher. Maybe multiply by "4" - that's my best guess!)

9. The biggest cause of tropical deforestation worldwide is:
a) Pollution
b) Wildfire

c) Clearing of lands for agricultural use
d) Natural extinction

10. The average NHL (National Hockey League) player generates how much pollution as a result of travelling with his team?
a) Ten tonnes of carbon per person
b) One tonne of carbon per team

c) Half a tonne of carbon per person
d) Ten kilograms of carbon per team

11. What is a carbon footprint?
a) The total volume of garbage created by your household
b) The total set of greenhouse gas emissions you create, both directly and indirectly

c) The total volume of recycling diverted from landfill by recycling
d) The total volume of compost diverted from landfill by your household composting bin

12. Which form of transportation creates the biggest carbon footprint, mile for mile (or km for km)?
a) Planes
b) Trains

c) Automobiles
d) Walking

13. If you merged all the cracks, gaps and unsealed openings in an average home, how big would the resulting "hole" be?
a) 14.3 square feet
b) 2.3 square feet

c) 1.2 square feet
d) 0.5 square feet

14. If a leaky faucet drips one drop per second, how much water will be wasted each year?
a) Just over 1 L (1000 mL or 4 cups)
b) Just over 10 mL (2 tsp)

c) Just over 100 L
d) Just over 1,000 L

15. If you must water your lawn, how should you water it?
a) In the morning, with a rotary sprinkler
b) In the evening, with a garden hose

c) In the afternoon, using a garden hose
d) You should not water your lawn

16. What kind of bake ware is the most energy efficient?
a) Metal
b) Silicone

c) Glass
d) Ceramic

17. What accounts for the most energy consumption in the average home?
a) Hot water
b) Heating and cooling

c) Lighting
d) Appliances

18. Approximately how many plastic bags do consumers worldwide go through in a year?
a) Approximately 1 million
b) Just less than 100 million

c) Approximately 100 billion
d) More than 500 billion

19. The average plastic grocery bag is biodegradable. True or False

If you're brave, put your answers in the comments! :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Is it really close enough to the wedding that parties are starting?

Wade leaves for his bachelor party in a hour and a half. He's going to Ottawa / Gatineau (formerly called Hull). They'll be spending time at the casino and coming back on Sunday.

I was promised they'll bail him out of jail, if the need arises. They wouldn't promise he'd come back with both eyebrows. They would promise he wouldn't have any permanent scars.

(Note: his friends are good guys, so I'm not worried.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One more venue

I forgot to tell you about one more venue I had looked at!

This local cruise line hosts weddings, rehearsal dinners, and private charters, as well as public boat cruises and dinner cruises around the 1000 Islands.

Pros: Beautiful scenery, fun venue, beautiful scenery :)
Cons: everyone gets on and disembarks at the same time ... meaning, older folks can't leave early and younger folks can't dance later!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

At my work, we celebrate Earth Week, so we have lots going on for me to do. And I'm one of the organizers, but I'm finding both the organizing and the participating to be lots of fun.

Things I'm doing for Earth Week:
-I received a free, reusable grocery bag that was made from recycled water bottles (my employer purchased one for every employee in our district)
-I purchased 25 biodegradable, compostable bags for 5 for $2. My employer had purchased a lot of these bags last year, and sold during Earth Week last year and again this year with all the money from these bags being sold is going to a charity called Threads Of Life. This is not the proceeds, but all the money - so it's a loss to my employer. Threads Of Life is a charity to support people who have been severely impacted by workplace injuries and families of those who were killed by workplace injuries. I think it only exists in Canada, but most countries have a similar charity.
-I will be attending a "lunch and learn" on composting and my city's new "Green Bin" program. This program is neat - you put your compost in a green bin that the city picks it up every week to compost.
-At work, I will be distributing a quiz. I wrote the quiz, which is about 15 questions, so I won't be completing it. The questions are all from Earth Day. Maybe I'll post them on here to see how you all do!
-Along with a dozen or so co-workers, I'm going to a local park to clean it up. With safety gloves, of course. And we won't be touching sharps or hazardous materials.

I should clarify that at my workplace, if you participate in Earth Week in any of the above options, or if you come to work in a sustainable manner (bicycle, carpool, telecommute, etc), you are entered in a draw to win a carbon monoxide detector or a fire extinguisher.

Your home should have both. Do you?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tomorrow is Earth Day

Here's what I really want to share with you - tomorrow, I'm getting a free coffee from Starbucks. And you can, too!

This is only their coffee, not their lattes and other yummy things. But still!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Venue Searching

More "Back to Basics"

Wade went with me to a wedding show in Ottawa. We were there from 10am - 3pm, and he didn't complain. He got treated to a yummy lunch as thanks. I went to a wedding show with a good friend of mine in Toronto. (I figured 2 wedding shows in one month was too much for Wade.) At the wedding shows, we looked at photographers and d.j.s, mostly for ideas. Since we live in Kingston, I thought it unpractical to hire a photographer or other vendor from Ottawa or Toronto.

I started searching for venues, mostly on-line at first.

Reception sites I looked at on-line:

Cataraqui Golf & Country Club

-Pros: good view of Lake Ontario, nice decor, convenient location and good food. My dad used to be a member and he has many friends who still are - so I have eaten there many, many times.
-Cons: not sure if a country club was what I was looking for.

Fort Frontenac Officers' Mess

-Pros: amazing food and amazing views. I couldn't find any good pictures of Fort Frontenac on-line, but my friends Jane & Matt had their reception there. This is Jane, demonstrating the lovely views from the grounds. The food was amazing, the site was amazing. Overall - amazing.
-Cons: The trouble is finding a sponsor for the event - this officers' mess is a prestigious mess with select membership. I was also very worried I would associate this location with Jane & Matt too much. They rocked it for their wedding! We didn't look for a sponsor, though the event coordinator was amazing and willing to work with us! But in the course of these conversations with her, our venue fell into our laps.

Fort Henry

-Pros: A popular venue for weddings, somewhat expensive, often having to be held outside. Gorgeous views and very good food in a unique atmosphere.
-Cons: I was worried this venue is a bit of a cliche in Kingston - silly, right? Plus, if it's a cool evening, a tent can only provide so much insulation, and early June is sometimes still cool


-Pros: Good pictures on-line.
-Cons: A new venue, so I would have been booking site unseen. I seriously thought about this venue, but the prices seemed a little high. There were no views (kind of a priority). Plus, it's literally stumbling distance from the "clubbing district" (aka 4 clubs) in Kingston - not exactly a good feature.

Waupoos Winery

-Pros: amazing food, amazing view of the lake, on a winery that looks like it belongs in the caribbean. (Swoon.)
-Cons: A bit of a drive in Prince Edward County, about 40 minutes away from Kingston. Totally worth the drive. However, for the size of our wedding, we'd need to rent porta-potties. And the prices were more expensive than Kingston.

Basically, at this point I had just started looking everywhere for possible venues.

All photographs from each venues' websites, except Fort Frontenac, which is courtesy of Jane's facebook.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


If you have ever needed inspiration that you should never stop believing in your dreams:

Susan Boyle on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exercise Follow-Up

Here is the exercise I had assigned us to complete.

These are the words we wanted to be used to describe our wedding:

  • elegant
  • fun
  • memorable
  • striking

Wade (with some prodding / checklists of words to pick from):
  • friendly
  • fun
  • joyous
  • momentous

Noticed we both picked "fun"? I remember that I picked my words, then Wade wanted to know what I picked. I think he wanted to know what I picked so he'd understand what he was supposed to do. When he learned that I'd picked "fun", he realized that was a word he wanted, too. I think he picked momentous when he wanted memorable, but he didn't want to copy me too much. Plus, I'm sure it will be momentous - for us, at least!

But I digress. The point of this "exercise" was not to create a list, but to consolidate our ideas to find out what we hoped our wedding day would be like.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Second Things Second

Did you think about your wedding before you got engaged? Be honest. Did you imagine yourself in a swath of tulle? Or a sheath dress? Saying your vows at sunset? Or walking down your church's aisle?

Not everyone thinks about his/her wedding before getting engaged. I may have thought about what my wedding might entail from time-to-time - definitely not very often and not with any real seriousness. However, like many women, I already had an idea of what a wedding entails, what flowers I like, or even what a boutonniere is.

This is not always so with some men (and some women, too!). I don't know if my dad knows what a "boutonniere" is - and he's been a groom once, a groomsman and a best man, and attended many, many weddings.

So, maybe the next thing you should do, after the engagement excitement has settled and you're ready to start planning, is to talk to your fiancé about what he wants, so you can formulate a common idea of the wedding.

Things to ask:
-If he has an idea of how many people he'd like present
-Where he wanted to get married
-Where he'd like to party

I find that Wade gets overwhelmed or confused if I ask too many open-ended questions in a row. So I give 3 or 4 options and let him pick from them. I usually make him tell me why he picked the one he picked, what he liked about it, and what he didn't like about the ones he didn't pick.

I actually gave him an assignment: pick 3 words that descibe the mood or emotions of the day. He had a "deadline" and a sample list that he could pick from (or pick his own). That gave me an idea of what he wanted.

I also gave myself the same "assignment".

First things first

First thing we did? We got engaged on Saturday, December 15th, 2007. My parents were hosting an open house style Christmas party that night. So we told them at the party when we arrived. I made sure to call both my parents to the door when we got in, then told them.

Since this party included most of my family and family-friends, that's how they all found out.

I read in an etiquette book that the first priority is to tell your parents. Do you really need to be told that? The same book says that if you have children, you tell them before you tell your parents. Again, did you need to be told that?

We couldn't tell his parents for a few days, but we did in person.

... I know announcing the engagement isn't technically planning, but it is the first thing!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to the Basics

This week, I'm going to talk about first things to get started in wedding planning. Based on my experience, I will tell you what I think should be done first, and what can wait.

Before I get started, I want to know:

  • What things did you start planning first?
  • In retrospect, was it the right place to start? Why or why not?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

... I think I'm going to try ...

... Yoga!

I'd be a lot more motivated if I lived here, of course. But since I don't, I'll have to do the best I can.

Easter Eggs

According to wikipedia (a less than perfect, but very broad, source of information), Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny are cultural elements that are celebrated by Christians and non-Christians.

Wikipedia also indicates that the egg is widely used as a symbol of the start of new life. Eggs were painted in the spring by the ancient Persians (over 2,500 years ago) for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. Eggs were traditionally used during the Jewish Passover Seder, during which a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the festival sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem. The pre-Christian Saxons had a spring goddess called Ēostre, who feast was held on the Spring Equinox. Her animal was the spring hare (Easter Bunny?), and eggs were used to represent the rebirth of the land in spring time. The English name for the festival of Easter derives from the Germanic word Eostre.

In fact, in Germanic languages, the word for the celebration we know as Easter is derived from Eostre. However, most other European languages use a term derived from the Hebrew "pasch", which means Passover. In French, it is Pâques; in Spanish, it is Pascua; in Dutch, Pasen; in Greek, Russian and the languages of most Eastern Orthodox countries: Pascha.

So now that I've cited wikipedia as my source, please note that I will not guarantee accuracy. It is wikipedia, after all.

Of course, the reason Christians observe Easter is to comemmorate and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But it seems as if Easter Eggs are just an ancient celebration of Spring. And a fun tradition! MOH Joce and I decorate Easter Eggs on Good Friday, which was a lot of fun. We should have taken pictures, but we didn't. So here are some other Easter Eggs!

(Most of these Easter Eggs were taken from wikipedia. They include a mixture of the famous Polish Eggs, Czech Eggs, Canadian/American Eggs, and varying other ways of decorating Easter Eggs.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

... or Passover ... or Long Week-end ... and especially enjoy all the chocolate that will be on sale on Monday! Yum!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm having a meltdown ...

Not really. I'm not having any vendor issues, or worried that I forgot to do something. It's that I have zero ability to make a decision.

Okay, that's not true. I'm good at making decisions. And I'm even better at second guessing my decision. I am searching madly for a new wedding gown.

I had similar melt downs twice a year for about 6 years - once in December and once in April. Anyone who took university classes can guess why my melt downs were at those times of year. I decided to change my career every December and April. I fantasized about switching from my major (life science, which is a blend of anatomy, biology, genetics, pharmacology and other related medical/biological studies) to everything from chemical engineering to French studies to sociology.

How many times did I switch? Not once. I entered with an ssp (subject of specialization, which requires more courses than a major) in life science. I graduated with an ssp in life science, and threw in a minor in Spanish. You know, for fun.

I suspect my current meltdown is similar to my former exam meltdown. Will I change my dress? Of course not. But I'm having fun / stressing myself out looking at other dresses. Plus, I am moderately worried I won't be able to dance in my dress. It's not binding, nor is it heavy. But I don't normally dance in a floor length dress, so I'm worried about moving around in it.

Here are some dresses I'm looking at ... just for fun.

Note: I'm not actually having a meltdown. I'm just looking at other things.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wedding Party: non-traditional poses

Let me start by saying how much I dislike the "let's everyone jump" shot. 'Cause really, you don't look like you all spontaneously jumped for joy. You look like you were told, "Hey, I had a great idea. It'd be really awesome if we all jump at once. Yeah, that'd look so sponteanous and fun! Okay on three. 1, 2, ...":

But I do want some relaxed, fun and non traditoinal shots of the wedding party. Something like these:

Note: I have had some of these shots saved for a while. If you are interested in the source, let me know and I'll do my best to find it. If you know the source off-hand, please let me know so I can give credit.

What do you think of group shots? And do you know of any fun shots I can use as inspiration?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hand Cancelling

Wade and I sent out the invitations today. I asked the post-mistress to hand cancel. A brief look crossed her face (that clearly said that hand-cancelling sucks), but the look quickly passed, and she readily agreed to do it. I offered to help if there was any way I could (evidently, there is not).

Thanks, unnamed post-mistress!

Here's Wade & I stamping the invitations:

With Canada Post, it takes 2 days for delivery within the province, 3 - 5 days out of province. They will be picked up tomorrow, which means that guests can see them as early as Thursday ... as late as Thursday next week (I think Good Friday and Easter Monday are both federal holidays).


But you're still not seeing any invitation pictures on this blog until I'm on my honeymoon. Check back after June 6th!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Organizer Giveaway

I received this wedding planner ("Plan the Perfect Wedding" by Gareth Jones) for free at a bridal show this past January. But I was already well under way to planning the wedding at that point, using a planner I had purchased several months prior. I was not sure what to do with it ...

But I've decided to give it away.

Here's what it looks like:

Leave a comment here, and I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner. You have until um ... Wednesday at 6 pm EST. That seems like as good a time as any.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Um ... What do you think of this advice?

I have one comment and two questions about this image (click to enlarge):

Comment: I doubt my parents will be "sad". I just don't see it.

Question 1: Why is remembering to thank my parents (or anyone else who helps out) in this check list? I mean what person needs to be reminded using an automated on-line wedding checklist to thank their parents?

Question 2: Who calls writing thank-you notes "romantic"? I'd call them necessary. I'd call them appreciated. And I'd certainly call them thoughtful (when done right). But romantic?

Have you encountered any weird checklists or advice in your wedding planning process? Share!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bridesmaid Rewind

Did you know that I initially didn't want red bridesmaids' dresses? Very early in my blogging, I posted about a soft gold or dark champagne coloured dress.

Here's what I wrote:

So I really, really wanted the colour theme to be gold. And I still do! But it's really hard to find nice, subtle shades of gold in bridesmaids dresses. So many shades of gold remind me of New Year's Eve! Given the month and year of my wedding (June in the 21st century), I don't think it'll work!

Reasons I may not have gold bridesmaid dresses:
1) Bridesmaid's Skin Colours:
Most of my bridesmaids are relatively pale, making the shade of gold so very important. Too pale (like a champagne), and they'll look washed out!
2) Available Shades of Gold:
Some of the gold dresses belonged in a documentary about Studio 54, or some other equally blindingly bright costume from the '70s. Not exactly flattering for anyone!
3) Availability of Dresses:
I've found a couple potential dresses, but they are either (a) from a designer not based anywhere near here, (b) only available on-line - yeah, like I'd ask my bridesmaids to order such important (to me) dresses on-line, or (c) far too expensive to ask my bridesmaids to pay.
4) My Dress Colour:
My dress is an "ivory" colour, though to be honest, it looks white. The "white" dresses almost had a touch of blue to them! I'm fairly pale, so the blue-white would make me look like I'm ill! So I wanted a shade of gold that would not look dull beside my dress.

For these reasons, and with the gracious consent of my bridesmaids, who are willing to wear whatever I ask (and have all told me as much), we may switch the colour to red.

Advantages of Red:
1) There are so many shades of red (from rust to crimson to burgundy).
2) Many, many dresses come in so many of those shades of red!
3) The colour (and my bridesmaids) will "pop" even more against my dress, creating a striking contrast.

I am disappointed that the dresses may not be available in gold. But, I'm sure my bridesmaids will look lovely regardless! I may be able to decorate with subtle gold accents, to incorporate the gold colour theme, such as in the invitations or programs.

Note: I will have red dresses, but everything else will be ivory/cream and gold/champagne. Since gold/champagne don't occur naturally, the bridesmaids will carry yellow-orange flowers. So I have my punch of colour in the red, but the rest of the decor will (hopefully) be soft.

The original post is here.

How did you choose your colour scheme?