Friday, October 29, 2010

Carnegie Hall, here I come!

You may have notice that posting has been a little light of late. My best excuse is that I'm getting back into the swing of things with all my various and sundry choir rehearsals and performances. I had my first performance week with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus last week, and this morning we're headed up to New York (along with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) to perform at Carnegie Hall. I think this will be my third time there since I joined the chorus in 2005. Here I am smack dab in the middle of the photo the paper ran with a story about our trip in 2006:

I'm famous! Right? At any rate, if you're in New York and want to hear some good music on Saturday night, here are the details. I'll be back next week!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

pro pics of my amateur invitations!

If you've been following this blog all along, you'll certainly remember my thorough account of the invitation-printing process; if you picked up at some point after our invitations went out in late March, please direct your attention to the "invitations" tag for the whole tale. Long story short, I learned how to letterpress and then made our whole invitation suite!

After all the effort I put into the invitations, I completely forgot to set a few aside to be photographed on our wedding day when Jesse came to my parents' house to catch us getting ready. DOH. You always see these beautiful pictures of invitation suites, but no one ever tells you that you need to set them out for the photographer! (Or maybe they do, on those exhaustive shot list blog posts I completely ignored...)

At any rate, Jesse graciously agreed to snap a few shots of our pretty invitations for me after the fact (you can see my own attempt at documentation here). Here are her lovely shots of our totally amazing, excellent invitations!

photos by Jesse at Our Labor of Love

Now, aren't you impressed? You should be! (Kidding. Not entirely.) Thank you, Jesse!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

on the holidays, continued...

I've made an effort to send Christmas cards ever since I graduated college in 2005, but, unfortunately, not in any sort of organized manner. In the past, I've handwritten notes inside store-bought cards or glued them onto the back of Shutterfly-made photo cards, which created a lot (LOT) of work for me. So much that have I set aside cards for VIPs, wanting to be sure to take time to send thoughtful notes, and have never gotten around to writing them. (OOPS. Sorry, very important people!)

Despite my past failings, I'm determined to become a regular sender of holiday cards. This year, I've got up-to-date addresses for family and friends near and far as well as some pretty damn awesome professional photos of me and the mister, so it's gonna happen and it's gonna be good. I resolve to not write long notes (having just sent most of these people wedding thank-yous), which will ensure that I get cards to everyone on my list!

The possibility exists that I will design and letterpress my own greetings and slap on a picture, but in the (very likely) event that I do not have the time for such a project, I've been looking around online for options. I've eliminated offerings from Shutterfly and other generic photo printing sites due to lame designs, and wasn't having a lot of luck elsewhere until earlier today, when this blog directed me to Minted's holiday collection of photo cards. DUH. Why didn't I think to look here?

There are so many hip, festive, uncluttered designs (and some cluttered ones too, if that's your thing) to choose from I don't even know where to begin. Here are some of the ones that caught my eye on the first pass-through:

Pretty cool, huh? I'll let you know what I land on. I'm taking a letterpress holiday card workshop (mostly as a refresher course) next month and obviously some cards will come out of that, but I don't know if they'll be the cards I send out.

Aside from choosing the cards, we have to decide who will be on the list of card recipients. Should it be just those out-of-town folks we don't see often? Our closest friends? My parents send a Christmas card and letter to some family members and old friends, but it's a list of about 30. Some of my friends' parents send a cards to all of their friends. I'm more inclined toward the latter, but I also know how postage (and stationery) can add up. Next year, holiday card costs are gonna be a line item in the budget! (You know, the budget I haven't started making yet... ha.)

Do any of y'all send holiday cards? How do you pick who gets them? Have you found any awesome, reasonably priced purveyors of custom holiday cards? Do tell!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a wedding present that loves us back

Happy half-birthday to the cutest, most high-maintenance wedding present Jon and I received: Otto, our puppy! (Jon's younger brother was the very generous giver of the puppy-present.) He's six months old today. This time next week we'll have had him for four months. As a lifelong cat person, I'm still adjusting, but things are going pretty well.

It's noots how much Otto has changed since he turned up in June. (The first three pics below are from the day we got him). Without further ado, for your viewing pleasure, a much-longer-than-necessary puppy photo retrospective:

Daww, isn't he sweet? The bandage and the shaved spot on his arm in the two most recent photos are from his neutering operation last week (poor buddy). Otto definitely demands a lot more attention (and upkeep costs) than any of the other wedding presents we got, but he's been an excellent addition to the family. Jon is in love with the dog, and I like him pretty well too. As long as Little Man (my kitty) still loves me, I'm good to go! I have to keep all of my fellas happy.

Did anyone else get a live wedding present? Something way more exciting than the norm? Do tell!

Monday, October 18, 2010

home(s) for the holidays

As a newlywed couple, you've just navigated the perilous waters of planning a wedding to the tastes of two families and (hopefully) kept everyone happy. You think you're done with family-related stress and complications for a while once the wedding has come and gone... and then come the holidays.

Fortunately, in our case, there hasn't been much drama around holiday-splitting. Our main obstacle is geography: my family is in Atlanta, where we live, and Jon's is in northern Idaho. Thanksgiving is sort of a non-issue because of the distance. Jon has done Thanksgiving in Chattanooga with my mom's family for two years already, and his younger brother even joined us last year from L.A. since their mom was out of the country on sabbatical.

Jon and Matthew at Uncle Mike's house, Thanksgiving 2009

Christmas is where things get trickier. In years past, Jon has flown out to Idaho (via Spokane) a day or two before Christmas to be with his family while I've stayed in Atlanta to sing and do my family's Christmas thing, making the trek to Idaho on Dec. 26 or so. Now that we're married, Jon's mom has insisted that we stick together for our holiday travel rather than fly on different days (which I think we would have done even without the maternal mandate).

We started talking about it months ago; not just about dates and flight times, but about what parts of our respective traditions are most important to us. Yes, I have a paying job in a church choir that demands my presence at church on Christmas Eve, but singing those services is pretty much essential to my holiday experience. I told Jon that if the day comes that I don't have a church gig and we're out in Idaho (or somewhere else) for Christmas Eve, we're going to have to find me a church so I can sing christmas hymns and light candles and all that jazz.

My sister and I were always singing in the choir and mom was on the church staff for more than 20 years, so most of our family stuff happens on Christmas Day itself: presents, brunch, foodcoma naptime, dinner, holiday movie outing is how it normally goes. In Jon's family, the boys have tended to nag their mom until she gives in and lets them open a few presents on Christmas Eve, and they do the rest on Christmas Day, which is also when they eat their big festive meal.

The approach we're taking this year is to try and split Christmas Day between both families, despite the 1,924 miles (as the crow flies) between them. We've booked a flight out of Atlanta at noon on December 25, which means we'll have to get started a little earlier than usual at my parents' house so we can get through all the presents before Dad takes me and Jon to the airport. No brunch for us! Boo hoo. We have a 40-minute layover in Salt Lake City (yikes! hope the weather's good) and arrive in Spokane around 4 p.m. Idaho time, which will put us at Jon's folks' house around 5:30, just in time for more presents and dinner. At least we'll get one fancy Christmas meal in! We'll stick around out there until New Year's Day, as we did last year, so we can get a good visit in.

My Idaho stocking hanging up with Jon's family's stockings

Logistically, it's all sorted... but, I gotta say, I keep thinking of new ways in which it will be just plain WEIRD. Jon will be sitting out in the church congregation with my family, and he'll come to Waffle House with me and my sister and my best friend Winston (and Abby if she's in town) for late-night Christmas Eve waffles. I'll go home and finish wrapping presents, like usual, and then Jon will sleep with me in my bed at home for the first time. WEIRD. (Emily told me to remind her of this fact so she doesn't try to climb in bed with me half asleep on christmas morning while we wait for our brother to wake up.) It also just occurred to me that we'll have to find a spot for Jon to sit for present-opening, since we all have our usual christmas morning places in the christmas tree room... it never ends! (Not to mention I've totally meant to make Jon a stocking for our house and have yet to do so. Doh!)

Christmas Eve 2009 at Waffle House with Emily and Winston

On the other hand, once we get out to Idaho, it will be nice to not be the only one opening presents for once! I'm looking forward to my mother-in-law's delicious dinner, but I would be lying if I said I wouldn't miss the Swiss steak in my family's dining room that night. Jon probably has some thoughts on what will be weird about me being in the middle of his family's traditions on christmas day, but since I don't know those, I'll spare you any speculation. This post is way too damn long already.

So, readers, now it's your turn to weigh in. How did you decide to split holidays with your family-in-law once you were married? Was it totally bizarre having your spouse suddenly in the middle of your own family traditions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, otherwise)? Or are there some of you out there who avoid the hassle altogether and do something on your own, sans families?

*apologies for the inconsistent "christmas" capitalization throughout... it got late and I stopped caring :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

playing catchup

I have finally dug myself out from under a massive pile of unread (or un-marked-as-read) Google Reader blog items, wedding and otherwise. Hooray! A couple of things really jumped out at me today, so I thought I'd share.

First, this incredible engagement photo shoot by Sarah Rhoads blew my mind. The colors are pretty muted, but the images are so vivid and full of love. I seriously want to be friends with these two. (I totally want to be friends with Sarah too -- did I mention she just turned 26? Way to make me feel like an underachiever...) Here are some of my favorites from the shoot. Picture no. 3 is pure magic!

photos from

The second thing that stood out was this post from Petite Chablis, about how the things you learn in the planning of a wedding amount to actual, useful real-life knowledge. I picked up all sorts of new skills and refined others over the course of my engagement, many of which could (and, hopefully, eventually will) be applied in the service of a fulfilling career. Yet somehow, because it was all part of wedding planning, potential employers (and we ourselves) see this experience as somehow less legitimate. Gotta work on that...

Last but definitely not least (and also not in the realm of weddings but peripherally related through my own engagement story) is this most recent post from Josh Ritter in his series about making a life in music. Now, I'm not even entertaining the notion of becoming a career musician, but I think anyone can find a lot of value in these posts, no matter their professional course. I'm doing a lot of searching and pondering at the moment, so I'm loving his blog. Unsurprisingly, he's an excellent writer!

Alright, that's the best of today in Kathleen's Google Reader. Bedtime for me! I'll try to stay on top of blog things from here on out...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

married to the Braves

Sorry for the disappearance/light posting of late -- I think the last two weeks of my free time went to cheering on the Atlanta Braves! Alas, it was not enough to pull them through. Last night the Braves lost to the San Francisco Giants in an NLDS nail-biter, ending their 2010 season as well as the storied career of retiring manager Bobby Cox:

Bobby Cox photo courtesy

What does all this have to do with weddings? you might be thinking. Quite a bit, actually, in some circles! The weekend before last, the Braves played their last home games of the regular season, which would determine whether or not they'd have a postseason. (If there was no postseason, the games would also have been Bobby Cox's last.) Ami from Elizabeth Anne Designs and her husband Scott drove all the way from Chicago to come watch the Braves -- they're originally from South Carolina, hence the rabid Braves fan-dom. Having just wrapped up a guest-blogging stint on EAD, I was excited when Ami mentioned she might have time to meet up while she was in town. And meet up we did! We had a delicious lunch at South City Kitchen in midtown. Not only is SCK owned by the same restaurant group that provided food for my wedding, it's also where Ami and Scott hosted a brunch the day after their epic vow renewal on New Year's Eve 2008.

Which brings me to my point! Ami and Scott eloped back in 1998, so for their tenth anniversary they went all out in Atlanta. You can look through Ami's recaps at the link above for the ceremony and reception photos, but I'm going to focus on their welcome party here, which they held at the Braves' own Turner Field! It's not uncommon for parties, rehearsal dinners and even weddings to be held at sports stadiums, and Ami and Scott did an excellent job planning what looks to be a killer party at the Ted.

Before the welcome party got underway Ami and Scott, along with photographers Jessica Claire, Mark Brooke and Michael Norwood, ran all around the Braves stadium for a photo session. (All photos by Jessica Claire unless otherwise noted.) Check out this awesomeness!

photo by Mark Brooke

photo by Michael Norwood

How happy is that last photo? (And how sweet are ALL of those photos?) Once Ami and Scott were finished in front of the camera, they met their guests in the 755 Club for the welcome party. They started off with a stadium tour, including the clubhouse and the press box, and returned to the event space to eat ballpark favorites and compete in some festive Braves-related contests Ami and Scott had come up with. I love all the Braves details (Chipper Chardonnay is totally tasty, y'all) and the Smoltz-jersey guest book!

photo by Michael Norwood

This is such an awesome way to incorporate something you love into your wedding festivities. I personally wouldn't go so far as to have my actual wedding in a ballpark, but I think it would be great for a rehearsal dinner or some other sort of party like this one. Here's the whole party gang on the Braves dugout:

Here's a quick recap: Bad blogger --> Bobby Cox retirement --> Braves fans --> parties at ballparks --> most excellent pre-wedding Braves party! It all comes together. Thanks to Ami for letting me share her rad ballpark photos with y'all! GO BRAVES!