Thursday, December 30, 2010

Saving Vases

Mr. Goodlaff and I got engaged, picked colors, and then (cue mystical psychic voice) I had a wedding vision. Cobalt blue vases, green and yellow flowers, white tables, indoor garden, pops of color. Yes!

I just wasn't sure it was going to work.

See, I need visuals.  During the dress hunting process, I photoshopped together a picture of my dream dress, and though it was completely craptastic, it gave me an idea of the hoped-for result. The centerpieces were no different, so Mama Goodlaff and I ventured to our local craft store and came up with this:

Seeing it come together made me feel like a giddy mad scientist.  Vision confirmed, Mama Goodlaff and I got right to work.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Veil Mail

Okay, Wedding Day attire status check.  Dress? Check.  Shoes? Check.  Anything beyond that?  Check-minus.

It's time to start seriously accessorizing.

I've known for a long time that I'll be wearing a birdcage veil: short, cute, incredibly chic, and not at all fussy. I started looking at veils online a few months ago, but the other day, as I was sitting at home--sick--I decided that it didn't look that difficult, and that I could probably make my own.

Copy Cat Crafting: Faux Curled Rosewood Wreath

Every now and then, I have a brilliant, original idea.  Usually, though, I tend to steal ideas gather inspiration from others.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across this project on one of How Joyful's Tutorial Love Fridays.  My first thought was that the Faux Curled Rosewood Wreath looked pretty, but like a pain in the ass. Naturally, I decided to try it.  I started working on it almost the next day, but it's taken me a while to finish it (partly due to the holidays and partly because of my short attention span).

Here's what I've been working on  forever for a while:

The tutorial is available via the link above, so I won't rehash all the gory details.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gentlemen, Mark Your Calendars

It has been a busy week in the Goodlaff household!  I have so many wedding-related goodies to share with you, but first, a huge piece of news: our Save the Dates are out!!  Currently winding their way through the mail system, the Goodlaff Save the Dates are beginning to pop up in mailboxes all around the country (and Australia too!).  So exciting!

Mr. Goodlaff and I decided a while ago that postcards were the best option for Save the Dates--they are simple, effective, and extremely budget-friendly.  I started designing them months ago (hello antiquated version of Photoshop), and true to form, got a bit frustrated with the design and abandoned them for other shiny, non-frustrating projects. Fast forward a few months and suddenly we had to get them out, like, yesterday...Time to buckle down.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Meet My 'Maids!

I know for some girls, choosing a bridal party can be a trying experience.  I was incredibly lucky in that the selection process (if you could even call it that) for my side of the Goodlaff bridal party was easy. Let me introduce you to the Goodlaff Girls:

Sister Goodlaff, my Maid of Honor:

Choosing my MOH wasn't at all hard.  I have one sister whom I've known (and tortured) all her life, and I always knew the job would be hers if she would take it; we are complete polar opposites, and we don't always get along, but I still love her anyway.  She was so thrilled with being asked to be my MOH and immediately jumped right in, and started researching her official duties.  I like to think the wedding planning has brought us a little bit closer (she calls me once every month now, instead of every three or four months!).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tick, Tick, Tick...

I looked at the calendar today and got a bit of a shock: the Goodlaffs have barely more than four months until our wedding. 

*cue mini freak-out*

I know that we have a lot planned out, and that everything will get done, but right now, it feels like there's an overwhelming amount of work to do and not a lot of time to do it.  We have lists.  We have lists of lists.  We have books of ideas and inspiration and game plans. But I know that there are things we need to do that I haven't even thought of yet, that I can't even conceive of yet, and that's a little bit unnerving. 

Sometimes I wish I didn't have to go to work every day. I could easily spend 24/7 planning this wedding, but until we win the lottery (it's gonna happen this time--really!), that's not really possible.  I suppose that's the challenge of planning a wedding on your own without a wedding planner to handle every little detail; it's all about balance, and looking at the calendar has me feeling just a little off-kilter right now.

I'm pretty sure that no amount of planning will prepare us for what's coming these next few months, and though I can't say with any kind of certainty that we are ready for it, I can say that we are going to meet the Goodlaff wedding challenge head-on.

When did your wedding countdown start to give you the jitters?

Friday, December 17, 2010

An Awkward Beginning

The story of how Mr. Goodlaff and I met depends on who you ask to tell it.  Ask Mr. Goodlaff and he will tell you we met at work, plain and simple: we were set up, it was awkward, and that's where all this trouble began.

Ask me, however, and I will tell you a different story.  History is written by the bloggers (I think that's how it goes...), so herein follows my accounting of the beginning of the great Goodlaff love story.

One day I'm sitting at my desk, freaking the hell out because that's the nature of my job, and I get an email from Mr. Goodlaff totally out of the blue saying that one of his coworkers volunteered him for elections work, and though he'd really rather not, he guessed he would help if he really had to.*  Cranky, irritable, and suffering from a lack of sleep, I thought to myself, "Who IS this guy and what the hell is his problem?" and told him something along the lines of "don't worry your pretty little head, you're off the hook."

*Editor's Blogger's Note: Here's where our accounts really differ.  Mr. Goodlaff glosses over this part, and to this day insists that his email was not the passive aggressive missive that I took it to be.  I still maintain he was cranky and that my interpretation had nothing to do with the fact that I hadn't had a single day off in a month...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

Before I began exploring the wonderful world of web-based wedding inspiration, I spent my time (and money) looking through countless bridal magazines.  Helpful for about the first month, they soon got old, as I realized I was reading the same article over and over again. And still, I bought them. 

At first I flagged relevant pages with post-its, afraid to mangle the pages with my scissors.  After I made my own wedding planner, the gloves were off and the scissors were out, gnashing apart the pages of my once-sacred bridal magazine collection.

In one of my discovery sessions, practically crammed into the binding of the magazine to make way for yet another full page ad for bridal gowns, was a riveting report on the newest cake trends (so riveting that it was about an inch and a half wide!).  The trend that caught my eye? One tiered cakes.  AKA, the cake bar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Place for Guests to Park It

Our venue comes with perfectly good, perfectly free chairs.

Sigh. They may be usable and free, but they are completely mis-matched and on the ugly-ish side of the folding chair spectrum. Free chairs: I know, I really shouldn't be complaining. But the reality is that these chairs were messing with my grand wedding vision, and having just managed to even form a vision, I was a little upset at it being so easily (and quickly) disturbed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

You're Getting Married?!?!?!

The most common response when people find out you're getting married?  "So, tell me about the wedding..."

At this point, I turn into a shy middle school-er, bumbling my words and saying "um" more than any other word actually found in a real dictionary. "Um. Well, it's kinda, sorta, um, yeah...I mean, we're going for a...uh, yeah, you know..."  I realize this is not the typical bride's response, and that I should be able to describe, down to the last ribbon placement, the entirety of the wedding, reception, and beyond.

And I do have all of these decisions and plans made! I guess it's that I just don't really know where to start...  Do they want to hear about the dress? The table settings?  The ceremony? The venue?  The flowers?  The cake?  Is it better for people to walk away from me with their eyes glazed due to the sheer amount of details I've shared, or unsatisfied because I can't clearly explain my vision?

I should just carry my inspiration board around with me.  It would make life a lot easier, you know? "Want to know about my wedding? Here, look at this!"

Oh dear, you want sources now, don't you? (Somebody remind me never to do one of these again--tracking these links down took about an hour of my life that I'll never get back...)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The One That (Finally) Was

I've told you all about the ones that weren't, but now it's time for me to show you the one that is!

Two months finally came and went and one Friday night I found myself on a plane bound for Burbank Airport.  It was a dual-purpose trip: first and foremost, it was a celebratory birthday visit in honor of Goodlaff Bridesmaid Sunrise. The second purpose was my much-anticipated trip to Dolly Couture to finally try on the dresses I fell in love with!

Saturday finally came and Bridesmaid Sunrise, Bridesmaid Cosmo, Sister Goodlaff, and I met in front of Dolly Couture's gorgeously-retro storefront:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sticks and Stones

Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but sometimes wedding planning sucks.

I've mentioned before that there's drama in my family.  Suffice it to say that some members of my family used to be in business together and now they're not.  Where there used to be a big, relatively happy family, there is a lot of acrimony, a lot of anger, and a lot of silence.   Though I've tried to stay out of the fray as much as possible, when people you have known and loved all your life are firing grenades at each other, you are bound to get caught in the crossfire. 

One of these "grenades" came in letter form a few years go.  One family member sent a letter (by certified mail to ensure delivery) to another family member proclaiming: "you all are dead to me."  Being a member of the group that was now dead, I can tell you that it's hard not to take something like that personally. Tired of the conflict and the constant barrage of artillery, I gave up standing in the middle of the battlefield and chose to join in on the silence. 

About a year ago, Mr. Goodlaff's paternal grandfather passed away, and seeing him grieve for his loss brought up a lot of feelings for me.  I had family--alive and well--that I didn't speak to, and there he was, never being able to speak to his grandfather again.  After a somewhat tentative reconciliation, I was back to speaking with most of my family members, save the author of the letter.  Although I'm happy to be once again in contact with this side of the family, I'm left with an incredible amount of hurt and confusion over how family members can behave so cruelly and wondering how I should move on and rebuild relationships with these people, knowing what I know now.

Through this whole planning process, I've had this weighing on me.  This situation spills over into many aspects of wedding planning: the guest list, the seating chart, the flowers for family members, the family pictures.

I've recently been asked if I will be inviting the author of that letter to the wedding.  The answer is no.  To me, there's really no going back from "you all are dead to me."  Once those words are out of your mouth, you can't take them back--the reality is that the words hurt more than sticks and stones ever could.

I'm sure the proverbial shit will hit the fan over all of this, and I have no idea how this branch of my family will react.  There's a chance they will boycott the Goodlaff wedding, and I will just have to accept that.  The fact is, I don't want anyone at the wedding who wishes me and any part of my family ill (or dead); a wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion and not a day for the next great Shakespearean tragedy to play out, live.

So, though it's really difficult, I'm going to stand my ground on this one and hope that everything will work out for the best. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Putting My "Wed" Face On

I'm not what you would call a makeup expert.  My morning routine consists of lotion, eyeliner, brow liner, mascara, and a bit of bronzer or blush (depends on my mood) for color; I'm usually done in about three minutes.  No fuss, just the basics.  On my wedding day, though, I want to look better than my best, which means a full face of makeup. 

Lately I've been watching a lot of Wedding Day Makeover on TLC and after seeing all the before and afters, I began kicking around the idea of getting my makeup done for the wedding.  I could just sit back and let someone else do the smoky eye or put on the blush--sounds good to me!  So, I started researching makeup artists in the area.  

Can you say highway robbery?  Holy crap!  I was shocked by the amount of money they want to charge for their services. I just can't see how it's worth $180 for someone to apply my eyeshadow (though, to be fair, this was the highest price I saw). I know that most of what you pay for is their expertise and time, but still...

Thus began the great Makeup Debate:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dreaming of Disaster

It's official: I've had my very first wedding-related nightmare. Honestly, I'm surprised it took this long for me to get there--now the flood gates are wide open.

Here's how it happened:
I'm standing in the middle of a Jamaican hotel room, freaking out because I haven't found a makeup artist for my ceremony the next day.  As luck would have it, one of the hotel staff members happened to be in the room, listening to me.  She left the room and came back a few minutes later, telling me she'd found a celebrity makeup artist willing to do my makeup at $8 an hour.  Sold! 

At that point I decided it would be a good time to pull my wedding dress from the closet and steam it to get the wrinkles out, but what I pulled out of the bag was nothing like the wedding dress I'd picked out.  It was an off-the shoulder, pewter-gray dress made of shiny crinkled fabric, with an empire waist.  It had sleeves that someone had cut off any run-of-the-mill white cotton long sleeved t-shirt. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Writer's Block

I'm not feeling particulaly wordy this evening, so I'm hoping you'll take the following picture and give me credit for writing a thousand words...

Engagement rings and pin cushions do mix!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making a List, Checking it Way More than Twice

Christmas is a little less than a month away, which means that the Goodlaffs are getting late-ish in sending out our Save the Dates.  If we wait any longer, they may mature into actual invitations.

You know what you need before you can mail out Save the Dates?  A guest list.  And addresses. 

It's not like we've been purposefully slacking off on this: Mr. Goodlaff and I have had a (revolving) guest list for about six months.  When we began, the list was smaller than it is now, but then there was the inevitable "Oh, you can't not invite Suzie Lou," and the "we were invited to their son's wedding," or the "they probably won't come, but..."  Suggestions were made and so were changes: additions, deletions, re-additions.  We went so far as to make a back-up list of people we would like to invite if our budget and numbers will allow it.

Like Santa Claus, Mr Goodlaff and I have been checking and re-checking the "nice" list, wondering what exactly allows someone the privilege of a Save the Date and an eventual invite to the wedding. Does the fact that someone is a blood relation guarantee they get an invite? How about friends you haven't spoken to in years? What about your parents' good friends that you've never met? 

I wish I could say that we discovered the secret to guest list success--we didn't.  Maybe the Holy Grail of wedding planning is a formula for guest-inviting etiquette, complete with charts, graphs, and FAQ's. All decisions could be blamed on and complaints referred to this magical formula! 

If only. 

But seriously, deciding who to invite is no picnic. Mr. Goodlaff and I have huge families to begin with, and (lucky us!) with big families comes big family drama on both sides.  Will inviting Guest 1 upset Guest 2?  Will not inviting Guest Z offend Family Y?  Are we going to need to have bouncers at our wedding because there's the possibility that someone may throw a punch? I bet it's easier to get a Visa for North Korea than it is to figure out who to put on the guest list for the wedding,  and if, on the big day, the guests will be able to behave themselves.

I wish we could invite everyone we know, but with the Goodlaffs footing most of the bill for the wedding, it's just not something our budget will allow. Daddy Goodlaff graciously offered to help us save on catering by not attending, but Mama Goodlaff gave him the evil mom stare and told that wasn't an option.

This week we will get those last few addresses plugged in to our spreadsheet and finalize our Save the Date design.  Soon they will go to the printers and hit the mail and then there will be no turning back! 

What challenges did you face in constructing a guest list?  Did you set any limits on who you'd be inviting?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Something Borrowed, er, Rented...

The other night, Mr. Goodlaff and I were getting ready for bed when he asks me: "Does the whole 'Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue' thing apply to me too?" I told him it was only a bride thing, and that as the groom he doesn't need to collect an item in each category like I do. 

If the tradition of something old, new, borrowed, blue was a game of bridal bingo (Find items in each category before you walk down the aisle!  Bonus points if you get a sixpence!), I'd be doing fairly well at this point. I have something new (wedding dress) and something blue (shoes!).  But I'm still working on "borrowed" and "old."

I stumbled across, where I could rent these beauties for the day:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Playing Dress Up: Or, When Dress Help Comes from Unexpected Places

No amount of looking at pictures online was going to push me to finally make the decision to buy a short wedding dress--I had to see how that style would look on my body before I would know for sure.  In the two months between when I made my appointment at Dolly Couture, and when I actually went to see the dresses in person, Mama Goodlaff and our florist (Ingrid) went to see a concert together, and she was telling Ingrid about the neverending hunt for a tea-length wedding dress--Ingrid calls it a "Lucy" dress (as in, Lucille Ball).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Well...Hello, Dolly!

I found Dolly Couture by a happy accident.  Cruising around on Weddingbee one day, I was reading a post by the now-Mrs. Daschund on her wedding invitations, thinking to myself: "this is one ridiculously talented bride--I must see more!" Looking through her archives, I saw her post on  "the one" (her wedding dress), and being in somewhat of a dress quandary myself, I clicked to "read more."

The extended post displayed this picture: 


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Sure the Turkey Will Thaw in the Oven....

Preparations for Thanksgiving have begun in the Goodlaff household!  A few weeks ago, I decided it would be nice to host Turkey Day here as we have 1. Never done it,  and 2. Once we move to Seattle, our apartment will probably be too small for all our family members to fit. Plus, we are adults, and that's what adults do: stress over cooking holiday meals.

Why did I decide this was a good idea?

We have procured more potatoes than will fit in any pot we own; stocked up on onions, herbs, chicken broth, butter, and cranberry jelly; have bought and named a turkey (it's a scientific fact that if you don't name the turkey he won't cook properly); and have begun figuring out how to fit more than four people at our tiny dining room table. Tomorrow I will cook one of the desserts (pumpkin cheesecake), and then we will frantically clean the house (at least the main floor) to make it shine so as not to be embarrassed in front of our mothers.

Mr. Goodlaff and I went to IKEA on Saturday and bought new plates and wineglasses to class up our table; we also bought a platter for the turkey(s) to sit on. I am mentally designing a table scape and setting places, and I have already created home-made wire napkin rings. 

With all of this, I'm sure I should be some form of panicked right now, and I'm sure the full force of what we're about to do will hit tomorrow and I'll be crying into the cheesecake batter because we forgot the ________________ (insert crucial Thanksgiving ingredient here), but right now, I'm pretty zen. 

So, though I've never cooked a turkey (by the way, his name is Jean-Paul Maurice le Dinde), and I've never made sweet potatoes, and this will be my first go at a cheesecake, I'm sure it will all turn out fine, and Thursday will bring nothing but tastiness. 

Here's hoping that you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! 

May your turkeys be moist, your potatoes be perfectly mashed, your family be civil, and your reasons to be thankful many.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Miracles Happen: Beaded Shoe Clips Tutorial

It's rare that my craft projects turn out right on the first try and without excessive swearing, so I'm thrilled to be able to say that the stars aligned, and from this crazy mess of beads and string came the perfect shoe adornments.  Trust me, if I can do this, anyone can. 

First necessary ingredient: patience.  Sewing these suckers made me feel really grateful that my job does not consist of hand-beading wedding dresses all day long.   Once (twice, actually) was enough for me.

Aside from a vast supply of patience, here's what I used for my clips:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good Enough for the Front of the Refrigerator

What happens when you actually do succeed at something on your first try?  You squeal like a little girl who just found her first Barbie Dream House under the Christmas tree!

Remember those shoe clips I ran off and bought supplies for without knowing what I would really need to make them? 

I began with this:

And ended up with this: say hello to my homemade shoe clips!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Putting My Best Shoe Forward

When I was in college, I worked for a well-known low-cost shoe store.  I loved shoes before I started working there, but during and after, they became a bit of an obsession.  Footwear began explode out of my closet, and it didn't matter if I couldn't think of a single outfit that the bubblegum pink mary jane flats would go with, I bought them.

Now here I am, getting married.  Do you think my obsession has extended to my wedding day shoes? Um. Yeah.

The first pair I fell in love with? 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reckless Enthusiasm and a Craft Store: A Love Story

I've never been one of those people that does something halfway.  Never.  Whole hog, I throw myself into whatever the task of the moment is...I can't help it.  It's how I do.

When Mr. Goodlaff and I got engaged, for weeks I did nothing but research and plan and get us organized to tackle the monumental task of planning a wedding.  Post engagement, I was cruising Project Wedding and found this tutorial on how to make hair flowers.  Inspiration! To the craft store I went, sans list of needed supplies, came home with organza instead of chiffon, but made the flowers anyway.   Later, I went back to the store, bought chiffon and made them with the materials suggested (chiffon is ridiculously hard to cut--I prefer the organza for ease of use). Want to see? Chiffon to the left, organza to the right:

And here's what they should look like:

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Starting Bell (Riiiiiing!)

All the planning, all the craziness, the spreadsheets of guest names and timelines and to-do’s, the color palettes, the dress hunting, the shoes(!), the menus and linens and so much more—it all started with a ring.
A few months before we got engaged, Mr. Goodlaff asked me to show him what I liked in the way of engagement rings.  He said that if “sometime way, way, way, way, way in the future" he decided to propose, he wanted it to be a surprise, which meant that he would be ring shopping all on his own and could use a little guidance.  Now, I, like most girls have given this a thought a time or two and I had definite ideas on what the ring should look like.
So, I showed him “the one”:

*sigh* It still makes me go all gooey inside. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

A sad thing happened yesterday.

I was grocery shopping and strayed down the magazine aisle.  The bridal magazine section has this strange, magnetic pull on me.  I can't help it---pretty, shiny pages! I want, I want, I want!

I love Martha Stewart Weddings. I've gotten a lot of inspiration from Martha, but she's dangerous.  Martha makes you believe that you too can be crafty like her and have the same gorgeous results.  I bet that even Martha's 3rd grade macaroni art was stellar.

So, I walk past the rack and say, "Oooh!  A new Martha Stewart Wedding issue," and put it in the basket.  I get home and start reading.  Thing is, as I'm going along, this all looks very familiar to me....maybe I saw it online? 

Then I have a horrible thought--I am almost certain that I already own this issue.  I look in my bridal magazine tote (yes, I do need an entire tote for the magazines, which lately have also begun taking over our magazine/crap basket on the side of the couch).

Oh. My. God.  I do already own this magazine. I have so many bridal magazines that I can't remember when I have already bought one.

Well done, Martha.  Well done...

The Ones that Weren't, Part 4

Still there? Still conscious?  Barely?  Good enough for me! Onward we go....

So, never one to do anything halfway, I booked a dress appointment and found a bridal show to attend the next day (Sunday).  Sister Goodlaff, Mama Goodlaff and I headed back out into the trenches to Bridal Mart in Rancho Cordova, where I hoped to finally find a decent (or any) tea-length dress to try on.

We got there at 10AM on a Sunday, and pretty much had the place to ourselves. I asked feebly about tea-length dresses, and was disappointed again.  C'est la Vie!  I would have to be satisfied with trying on long dresses.
What I had learned the day before was that I loved the look of taffeta, so we browsed the racks, made some picks, and I soon transformed into Bridal Barbie.  I must have tried on ten to twelve dresses that morning, and when you look at the pictures, you will notice that I'm actually smiling in most of them! Big difference!
Here's a sampling:
Love the taffeta, but it appears that somebody had switched the bottom of this dress with a comforter...that just won't do. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Ones That Weren't, Part 3

It’s time to come clean about something: before I went shopping, I actually did have an idea on the kind of dress I wanted. 
The problem: I wasn’t really seeing it anywhere. 
A few years ago on Easter, I was looking at pictures in my cousin’s house (though, technically she’s my grandmother’s cousin, which makes her my cousin three times removed to the seventeenth power).  I was looking at family portraits and pictures of grandchildren when I came across her wedding portrait. There she was, a blushing bride of fifty some-odd years ago, in a short, tea length dress.  It made me stop in my tracks and forever changed my ideas on what a wedding dress should or could be.  It looked something like this:

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Ones That Weren't, Part 2

After a somewhat underwhelming experience at Alfred Angelo, Mama Goodlaff, Sister Goodlaff and I ventured across the parking lot to David’s Bridal.  It being a Saturday, I didn’t really have high hopes for being able to walk in and get an appointment, but we decided to give it a whirl anyway. I was pretty sure we’d be turned away at the door (almost like we were at Alfred Angelo), but it turns out that DB’s motto is something along the lines of "the more the merrier."  They even gave me a bridal gift—a heart shaped candle--just for walking in the door (I like them already!).  I had a consultant within minutes and soon we were walking down aisles and aisles of dresses, using my inspiration pictures to select gowns to try on. 
What a huge difference! Alfred Angelo was a quiet, tidy little place, and at David’s Bridal, it was like they let the dogs out.  It was chaotic and noisy and there were dresses everywhere, but it was kind of nice.  I didn’t get the feeling that my consultant would be pressuring me into buying anything.  In fact, she piled dresses on her arm, tossed them on the hooks in my dressing room and promptly disappeared. Sweet liberty!  Apparently the good folks at David’s Bridal trust me to dress myself…
So, here’s what DB had to offer:

One of My Many Weaknesses

I had a necklace chain break today, so I thought I'd get a replacement chain from our local craft store.

Bad Idea.

Christmas has come to Ben Franklin and I'm a sucker...

The staff there had decorated a tree with candy ornaments, and a lot of these:

 Cupcake christmas awesome is that? There was no way I could resist! 

I started wandering around the store (bad, bad idea!), looking for craft inspiration for my Christmas ornaments, and came across a display of writing journals.  Hmm, I thought to myself, I could use a book to write down my blogging ideas when I'm at work...

The first journal I saw was red with "Keep Calm and Carry On" on the front--it seemed appropriate for containing wedding planning notes.  Then I saw this:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Ones That Weren’t, Part 1

Let’s talk dresses.  After Mr. Goodlaff and I got engaged, I became obsessed with trying on wedding dresses as soon as possible. I went through magazines, marking dresses I liked with post-its, with no regard price.  And I fell in love with Justin (Alexander) and Judd (Waddell), with Priscilla and Vera and Pronovias and Lazaro. But I knew that I don't make enough in one year to afford some of the gowns I was looking at.
I also knew that I didn’t want to buy right away (I wanted to lose weight—ask me how that’s going….), and though my budget meant I’d never be a Kleinfeld bride,  I couldn’t wait to have a “Say Yes to the Dress”-esque experience.  I had to wait for weeks, and let me tell you, it was agonizing!  I almost got so tired of waiting for everyone’s schedules to align that I nearly went by myself to try on some gowns. 

I made my first appointment of the weekend at Alfred Angelo.  I figured the dresses were reasonably priced, the selection would be good, and it would be a great place to start my first gown-shopping experience research trip with Mama and Sister Goodlaff. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Palette Problems

I was never one of those girls that dreamt of every detail of my wedding.  I had a roommate in college who kept a wedding book; she would get bridal magazines and cut out inspiration pictures.  She had a whole binder, and I’m sure that if she still does this, when she gets married, she will have a huge jump on planning.  My freshman year, there were many late nights flipping through Modern Bride, and I briefly entertained the thought of a winter wedding with a fur cape and a bouquet of red poinsettias. I definitely didn’t have every detail set,  just waiting for the right guy to place at the altar (though lately I’m thinking this may have been the easier route…).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Feeling Book-ish

One of the first engagement presents we received was the holy grail of all wedding registries: the Kitchenaid mixer.  Mr. Goodlaff joked that if getting engaged was all it took for people to buy us awesome kitchen gadgets, he would have proposed a lot sooner.  I think he was mostly kidding...
Another early engagement gift that I received from his sister was two bridal books: The Green Bride Guide  by Kate L. Harrison and The Paper Bride by Esther K. Smith.

Personal Photo

The Green Bride Guide is full of information on how to plan and throw a green wedding.  From  Engagement to Reception to Honeymoon, it’s got great tips on green-ifying your wedding and ideas for every bride at every budget. There's also a great collection of links to a ton of green resources.  Very cool!

On This, My Second Marriage...

Would you like to meet my first husband?  Even though he was a firefighter and I was a dinosaur, we still hit it off…
Personal Photo

Confession time:  I was married many years ago at the tender age of five.  It was a beautiful ceremony!  We were in such a hurry to get married that I had to make do with a borrowed dress and a red hat; he wore a suit jacket with rolled up sleeves.  My flowers were picked from the garden on the ceremony site, and we were married next to the pool. His brother,  both ring bearer and groomsman, carried my ring—a beautiful white plastic band with a plastic topaz (I think my groom made me give it back afterwards--such a gentleman!).  

Personal Photo

(Okay, on a sidenote, do you see the date on that picture? May 1, 1989?  I’m getting married for real on May 1st!  Must be destiny!) 

Good thing is, since I was below the age of consent at the time, I’m free to marry Mr. Goodlaff…My next wedding will be a lot different than that first one, which is probably a very good thing.

Are there any illcit underage weddings in your past?

Monday, November 1, 2010


It's Election-eve, and I'm exhausted, but I couldn't help but sharing the awesome pumpkins we carved yesterday.

There are things that I love that don't whip Mr. Goodlaff into a tizzy.  Pumpkins are one of them.  I love pumpkins!  I think of them as a symbol of all the good things that come in the fall: cooler weather, sweaters, beautiful colors, my birthday.   Pumpkins are friendly (and orange, which is my favorite color!), too.

A few weeks ago, we went to Apple Hill in Camino, CA, to get (what else?) Apples!  It's a pretty awesome place where some farms will let you pick your own apples, and you can buy all kinds of fruit directly from the growers.  At Cardanini's Pumpkin Patch, you can go out into the field and pick your own pumpkin, right off the vine.  Some might call this pumpkin picking, but I think of it more as a pumpkin rescue mission.  They let you take a wagon into the field to gather your gourds, so we rolled out of there with six pumpkins.

Here's what we did with three of them:

Lest you think I'm more talented than I actually am, I'll tell you the secret: we used one of those pumpkin carving kits with the book of patterns attached.  That said, I'm still rather impressed with our carving skills. My favorite is the haunted house; it was awful to carve, but I love the way it turned out!

I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween, and don't forget to vote tomorrow! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Penalty: Delay of Planning

Here's the thing about having a job where you work months and months for one day: as the day approaches, you have no life, and all activities, with the exception of sleeping and eating, cease.

I apologize for the lack of wedding details here lately.  It's certainly not because I'm not thinking about it, or because I have a lack of things to write about.  It's just that I have a job that leaves my brain mushy at the end of the day, and I can barely spit out words, let alone craft a carefully detailed and witty blog post.

I work in Elections: not on the campaign side, but on the administration side.  I love my job.  It's very reminiscent of wedding planning in that you plan and panic and wait for one day, and when it's all over, you wonder how it passed you by so quickly.  In a lot of ways, It's how I feel the planning process is going--when we got engaged, we had thirteen months.  As of Monday, we'll have six!  Plenty of time for all the details to sort themselves out, but I can't help but think that it's going by too quickly!

Anyway, I'm going to try to get through the next few days, and I'll be back after all the noise of the election has died down and the sanity is mostly restored.

Tuesday can't get here soon enough!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Approval Ratings

After college, I had two friends get married within about three months of each other.  Here’s what I learned from those weddings:  
1.       We won’t be serving barbecue ribs at my reception (I enjoy ribs as much as the next girl, but it’s just inviting trouble to eat BBQ in a white dress.  Don’t worry, the bride’s dress was fine!).  
2.       We will have a short, but sweet ceremony.
3.       We will definitely be serving alcohol.
4.       We will not have our reception outdoors in July in the middle of farm country (in 116 degree heat).
A few years ago, I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding.  Here’s what I learned from that experience:
1.       I will not be a bridezilla.

I Take This Venue....

So, when we left off,  Mr. Goodlaff and I had three venues we were deciding between: Monte Verde Inn, Empire Mine, and the Miners Foundry. 
Which one did we choose? 

The Miners Foundry!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where Do We Say "I Do"?

Let me just say, at first the decision on the where to get married was not easy.  A few months into dating, Mr. Goodlaff mentioned that he had always pictured himself getting married in a church.  Me?  Yeah, not so much.  He loves the architecture and the sacredness, and while I think them beautiful, I also find them incredibly intimidating.  The last thing I want to be on my wedding day is intimidated.  Neither of us being particularly religious, the idea of getting married in a church was quickly dismissed.

So then what? I’d always loved the idea of getting married outside surrounded by nature. A garden, a vista, a park--now that I could get behind.

Can you imagine getting married with this in the background? 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Something Tasty This Way Comes...

I don't know how many of you watch the TV show "Chopped" on Food Network, but it's a favorite in the Goodlaff household.  The premise is this: four chefs compete to win $10,000, but they have to cook dishes that include the four mystery ingredients inside a basket.  Everyone gets the same ingredients, and sometimes they get crazy things that they have to cook with: Flank steak, chicory, granola bars, and pepino melon; treviso, octopus, lotus root, and guava nectar.  There are three rounds: appetizer, entree, and dessert, and after each round, the person who cooked the worst dish (for whatever reason) gets Chopped. 

Mr. Goodlaff and I are both really into cooking, and I also love to bake.  Early on in our relationship, we decided to cook dinners together once a week, every Thursday night. Once we moved in together, we cooked together more and more often, trying new recipes and techniques and cuisines. It made us better cooks, but I think it also helped make us better partners.  We had to work together to prepare dinner, and trust that the other person knew how to properly cook the chicken, chiffonade the basil, or not brown the butter. We had many great successes, and quite a few misses (cocoa coated pork with sesame seeds—not so much), but learning to cook together has been a great adventure.

Every now and then, we do a Chopped-style challenge, where we try to use random ingredients sitting around the house to make new, exciting dishes. Cooking a new recipe is great, but there's something about the possibility of complete and total food failure that makes experimenting so much fun!  So, even though it's not strictly wedding-related, I present to you the recipe from our latest "Chopped” night: Cauliflower Tacos.

What you need:
Taco Seasoning (we use this recipe, minus some of the chili powder, but you could use a seasoning packet)
1/4 cup of water
1/2 to 3/4 cup of sour cream
Your favorite taco fixin's

What to do:
Cut cauliflower (including some stems) into small, hamburger-esque bits.
Boil or steam the cauliflower until it's soft, but hasn't lost all of its crunch.
Place your taco seasoning in a saucepan over medium low heat, and start streaming in the water. You may not need all of it. Your sauce should be about the consistency of a marinade--not too thick, but not runny either. Once you have a good consistency on your sauce, add about a half to three quarters of a cup of sour cream (whatever your tastes--adding more sour cream will mellow the taco seasoning's heat). Stir in and heat through.
Toss your sauce with the warm, cooked cauliflower and then build your tacos with your fixin's of choice. The cauliflower turns out nice and creamy, and it's an interesting alternative to beef.

We had it for dinner last night, and I couldn't wait to have the leftovers for lunch today!  Tastiness!

Have any of you experimented and come up with great recipes (or cautionary tales)?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let Me Check My Calendar and Get Back to You...

In the beginning there was a boy and a girl.  They were set up on a chaperoned blind date, forced into awkward conversation, and subjected to magic tricks. Somehow they made it to a second date.  Fast forward two years, and that boy and girl (Mr. Goodlaff and I) are planning a wedding that will take place three years and a day since that lunch, and two years, three hundred and sixty four days after what they consider their first date.

First things first: we set a date for the wedding. I’m a planner; I love lists, I love files and organization and get a little thrill from putting all my ducks in a row. Knowing we didn’t want to get married too soon, but didn’t want to wait forever, we (I) immediately started looking at dates in April and May of 2011.  Looking at the calendar, I made a discovery: we could get married three years to the date from the event now known as “The Lunch!”  Plus, it would also only be two days off of our anniversary.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Allow Me to Introduce Myself...

"Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused."-Unknown
Welcome to the Goodlaff Blog—a place for musings on life and wedding planning!
What’s with the name?  Well, aside from being a proponent of a good laugh whenever possible, my blog's name comes courtesy of California’s Name Equality Act.  In 2007 a law was passed allowing people to do almost anything they wanted with their names when they got married.  You can take the name of your future husband as your middle or last name; your husband can take your name; you can take each others' names; or, for the creative, endeavoring few, you can make a new last name for your new family using only the letters in your current last names.  It's a bit like having Scrabble tiles sitting in front of you, rearranging until you can get your tiles to add up to an insane point total and land on the triple-word score;  Smith and Jones can marry and become the Jomiths, the Mones, the Jonsmithes, etc. 

Naturally, being a resident and soon-to-be married citizen of California (and a lover of word games), I took my last name, my fiancee's last name, and came up with what I believe is the winning combination: Goodlaff.  Though I’m not planning to, if I were going to create my own last name, this is what it would be.

There are humorous moments to be found in every day, and though fraught with serious subjects and issues, wedding planning is no different.  So, here I am: the future Mrs. Goodlaff, coming to you with tales of wedding planning highs and lows, wedding woes and oh-no’s, and I promise to tell it like it is—funny or not—all the way to the altar and beyond.