Moving Day + Big News!

BIG NEWS BIG NEWS BIG NEWS!

Today is the big move. Blog move, that is.

I had been pondering switching over to Blogger for quite some time now, but was daunted by all the converting, re-designing, and exporting that the task would entail. The more I have been perusing and making new blog friends, it just seems like Blogger is much better for networking and design. 

But what with my unemployed schedule of eating, drinking wine, reading magazines, and watching episode after episode of Say Yes to the Dress, it was just hard to find time to make such a drastic change.

But. Then I got a job offer yesterday. And I start Monday. 

Eeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!

And all of a sudden, my upcoming days aren’t quite so free anymore. So this morning, I decided once and for all that today was the day! Not to mention I had a good solid afternoon of football watching (aka making lots of good food, sitting in front of the TV, and entertaining myself for the afternoon while the rest of the world is football watching) to spare. 

I’m really, really excited to show you the new look! Right now I’ve got a whole new look, new color scheme, and I’m going back to make sure all my posts look fabulous. And don’t go trying to peek because thefunkyjunkie.blogspot.com was already taken, and it’s not me. You’ll just have to wait until Monday.

Until then….have a fabulous Saturday!

Bren

Wedding Flashback: From His Standpoint

Hello!

For today’s (or tonight’s) post–yes you get two in one day today!–in honor of celebrating two months of being married, I asked Ian to do a little recap of the wedding day from his point of view. Because Ian is the kind of person who gets a job done once he starts it, he spent a good portion of his day off today coming up with what you’re about to read. I hope you have a box of tissues handy…

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I awoke this morning to the deafening silence of a power outage. Our bedroom fan had come to a standstill, which was enough to rouse me from my slumber. I stumbled through our lower level apartment, habitually clicking light switches—forgetting each time that they wouldn’t respond without electricity. There was no doubt in my mind that this was due to the deluge that put us to sleep just hours beforehand. This was simply the next event in a 24-hour series of something we refer to as—meep.

If you listen to Brenda and I have a conversation, you might not understand us. We tend to speak in a language that only we understand, and ‘meep’ is one of those words you might overhear us say. She introduced me to the word around the time we started dating and I am not too sure that it has a clear definition. The best way I can describe it is like this: We haven’t seen blue sky for days. Meep. A river of water was running through our back yard. Meep. Our refrigerator has leaked a brownish water since we moved in and now there is a giant stain in the carpet. Meep. My XBOX 360 overheated and kicked the bucket so I can’t play football video games during football season. Meep. Oh, and my 1996 Chevy Blazer wouldn’t start yesterday after replacing the fuel pump a little more than two months ago for $800. Meep.

As I rubbed my sleepy eyes at 5:45 am, with Brenda still in bed, it felt like I was awakening from the dream that was our wedding, just two months ago to the day. It was a time where meep was absent from our vocabulary and still doesn’t feel real.

Saturday morning the day of the wedding, July 9, 2011, was a beautiful morning. The sky was deep blue and a few fluffy clouds drifted toward the horizon. No one was in my family’s house, so I laid my tuxedo out on the couch and sat back in a reclining chair as if to wait there, motionless until it was time to make our way to the church. 

But my dad flung the front door open, dressed in an old tee-shirt and sweatpants, dripping with paint, and yelled, “Today’s the wedding, are you ready?”

I responded, “I sure am.”

“Great, then can you come help me hang some window screens at the rental property next door?”

My dad owns the house next door and the tenants decided to move out the weekend of our wedding, so he was preparing it for the next couple that would move in. We didn’t talk too much as we hung the screens. It was kind of this quiet recognition that this was the last time my dad would be able to ask his son to help him with a menial task around the house. It was the last time that I would sleep in their home as a child—although I was already an adult. Something about marriage makes people seem more grown up.

 After hanging the screens next door, my family prepared for the wedding. I looked at myself in the mirror with my black tuxedo, purple tie, and blue eyes and could only imagine what Brenda looked like as she also peered into her mirror at the Saylor household.

*All photos by Meagan Jepson Photography*

My family drove to the church together and I sat in the back of the car on the driver’s side. This was the same seat I had occupied all through my childhood. I stared out the window at all the State College landmarks passing my window. The drive was taking a long time and I think my dad was driving slower than he usually does. When we got to the church, I raced to the library to find my groomsmen waiting. It was so great seeing those guys. They had given a lot to be with me that day, including traveling long distances: Paul S. came from Colorado, Paul H. from Vermont, Ben from Michigan, Angad and Steven from Virginia, and Nate, Joe, John, and JJ from good ole’ Pennsylvania. They came from different times and places in my life and it was surreal seeing them all together. 

I anxiously waited in the library for the moment the pastors, Jonathan Weibel and Anne Ard, would call me up to the front of the church. I opened a letter that was handed to me from Brenda and read the greatest messages ever written for me. She wrote the letter during FISH years ago at the Presbyterian church addressed to, “My Future Husband.” She wrote the letter in the very library I was reading it, before she even knew who I was. I would tell you what the letter said, but that’s between her and I.

An eternity later, the pastors pulled us away from the church library and directed us toward the front of the church. As I was getting used to doing, we waited behind the big wooden doors to the sanctuary and You Are My Sunshine played lightly in the background. I peaked through the door and watched our mothers light the candles Brenda and I would use for the Unity Candle. Then it happened.

Ann Ard directed us, “Here we go!”

 The heavy door creaked open and I headed for center stage. My nine groomsmen streamed behind me and stretched from the oaken door to the center aisle. This is where everything gets a little blurry. Waiting was becoming an aversive activity. I just wanted to see my bride. I tapped my foot on the floor in anticipation and kept my gaze focused on the doorway in the back. One by one, the bridesmaids traversed the long stretch of aisle from the back of the sanctuary to the front. Each bridesmaid displayed a different emotional reaction to her good friend’s wedding day. Of course, I gave my sister a high-five. Courtney Kolesar couldn’t even look at me, for I knew the moment she did, she would burst into tears. Hannah was happy, yet all business; She wanted to make sure she got that strut down the aisle just perfect. Lastly, the Maid of Honor, Brenda’s own kid sister Emily, walked elegantly toward me. I knew I would be taking her sister from her, but I smiled back at her as if to say, “But you have two of us now.” 

Finally. Finally. My heart jumped when I heard Here, There, and Everywhere begin to play because I knew that was Brenda’s cue.

To my unanticipated horror, everyone stood up. I knew that was going to happen, but I didn’t realize it was going to block my view of the doorway. I heard sobs and gasps as Brenda entered the sanctuary—the sound of loving friends and family realizing this girl had become a woman—but she remained out of my view. It was as if everyone was stealing the beauty of my Bride for themselves. I was about to take off running down the aisle so that I could see her for myself, when she finally turned the corner with Mr. Saylor’s arm through hers.

Everyone else disappeared in a white fog. Now it was just her. And me. And (barely) the pastors who would marry us. This is the moment that the rest of the day began to fly by. She joined me in the front and we couldn’t stop looking at each other. I can’t even begin to describe how I felt that day. There was a cocktail of emotion, with something like love, excitement, passion, happiness, joy, fulfillment, and so much more. Jonathan and Ann’s words sounded like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons, so much so that I wasn’t sure I would be able to properly repeat back my part of the vows.

The moment I said “I do” felt like a long time coming. Although Brenda and I had only known each other for three and a half years, it seemed like we were lifelong friends. Destiny is not something I ever adhered to, but this moment had to be. God created us for each other. To love and to cherish, til’ death do us part. I can’t imagine a lifetime without Brenda, nor do I want to. She is the most blessed gift to grace my presence and I am fulfilled to know that I will spend a lifetime with her.

Listening to the church bells proclaim our marriage, leaving the church in a vintage car, taking photographs downtown, and partying at the reception was like watching a movie in fast-forward. I am glad to have the pictures that Meagan Jepson took, because the day went by so quickly. Brenda and I kept reminding each other to stop and soak it in. I have vivid memories of certain parts, such as riding in the back of the old Avanti with Andy Colwell chauffeuring. I can still see Brenda’s gorgeous face as we slowly spun during the first dance and her contagious laugh during the bride and groom toast. I remember jumping with excitement as Emily Saylor caught the bouquet, which must have been a nightmare for Mr. Saylor. It’s the little moments like these that help me realize that it was real. From the handmade decorations, to the custom wedding cake, the dream was so vivid that it had to be real.

 As I laid in bed with Brenda last night, in the real world with broken electronics, bad weather, and dysfunctional vehicles, we looked into each other’s eyes. She knew what I was thinking and simply said, “meep.” As per usual, I repeated “meep” back. But I had to continue.

“Brenda, I am so glad that it is you who I get to spend a meep day with. I would not want to spend a meep day with anyone else.”

Meep days are not so bad when I get to spend them with the one I love.

Happy 2-month Anniversary, Love! 

Wedding Flashback: Gettin’ Pretty

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**Warning: Lots of photos today!

Exactly two months ago at this time, I was headed to Bliss Salon in Lemont, PA with the gals to get pretty for the day’s events.

We arrived to receive the princess treatment–champagne, strawberries, coffee, donuts…they really took care of us.

After the hair was in place, we headed back to my house as the other gals and their moms started arriving and breakfast casseroles were coming out of the oven.

It was all so surreal. Here we were, like it could have been any other Saturday morning, eating brunch and talking about our usual things. Except our hair looked really nice. And there were flowers all over the place.

Because not everyone had read the article in that morning’s paper yet, Katy (whose mom wrote it!) read it aloud for everyone as we finished up our food. Pretty soon, everyone was in tears.

And then the photographer arrived! It was time to get busy.

(And the quality of photos from here on out are way, way better– they are all by Meagan Jepson Photography.) 

First, the makeup, done by lovely bridesmaid Shannon.

Everything was almost in place. The living room had turned into a sea of purple-clad babes.

I looked up at all of them and they looked back at me and I think I started crying again, because that’s when it all hit me: I was getting married.

We assembled in the yard for some photos.

And even though he had kind of snuck a peek inside, we recreated my dad seeing me for the first time outside on the deck.

At this point, there were still no butterflies or nervousness–just the most intense excitement I have ever felt to get the church and see Ian already! I knew that the next three hours were going to be the longest of my life…

 

The Rainy Day Routine: Unemployed Style

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Today, I wanted to show you some of the fabulous thrifty finds from this past weekend with the family.

But due to the current state of affairs of the weather and the fact that it’s so dark it looks like it’s 8:00pm (not to mention it’s a terrible hair day), conditions just aren’t right for pretty pictures.

But soon, friends. Soon!

In college, days like today usually meant hightailing my squishing, usually leaking, rainboots up the hill to Otto’s Cafe for an afternoon of grilled cheese and tomato soup, socializing with coworkers and friends, and not getting work done. Unfortunately, since this was typically the case for State College weather, this is more often than not a typical day.

Not to mention it was a fabulous excuse for copious amounts of caffeine.

So naturally, the rain gave me a hankering for some grilled cheese and tomato soup. Show me a dreary day, James Taylor Pandora, grilled cheese, and a stack of new books and magazines and I’ll show you a girl who thinks that maybe unemployment isn’t so bad today.

Never mind that when I’m done dunking my sandwich in my soup, I forget that tomato soup by itself just tastes like warm spaghetti sauce. And that I don’t really like it anymore after five bites.

But ooooh…a grilled cheese on Fiber One Multigrain Bread (on sale at Giant this week! Whoop!) with mozzarella, parmesan, and Italian seasonings dunked in the stuff tastes like pizza.

 I’m sure my husband would be thrilled to eat some leftovers….!

EDIT, ten minutes later: Sorry babe, I ate it all.

Wedding Flashback: A Beautiful Morning

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Much unlike the weather today (at least here in NOVA), I woke up on July 9th, 2011 to a rarity in Central PA: a perfect, sunny, non-humid summer day.

Meagan Jepson Photography

It took me awhile to fall asleep the night before, but that morning I woke up in what I think was the most peaceful way possible–I awoke slowly and gradually with no alarm, and as I opened my eyes and realized that I was getting married today, I laid back in bed for a couple moments and took in my last time waking up as a Saylor. I rolled over and glanced at my phone to find a text from Ian: “Today is our day.”

It sure was.

I made my way downstairs, feeling surprisingly calm as I poured myself some coffee and took it out to the porch, to find my dad already out there, enjoying his newspaper and morning brew. At first glance, it could have been like every other morning–not really talking, mostly due to insufficient amounts of caffeine, leafing through the paper, making comments every now and then–except today’s comments were along the lines of how I was getting married. So I guess that’s what made it different.

So when I opened the newspaper, I was excited to find that particular morning was the day of Anne Ard’s– a family friend, bridesmaid’s mother, and co-officiant for our ceremony–monthly column. Even more exciting was that it happened to hit a personal note that day: “Know What to Look For In ‘The One’”. 

“It has finally happened. One of my daughter’s closest friends is getting married. Not an older, more experienced friend, but a friend only a month older than my daughter. Once again, I am asking myself, along with the mothers of all the other bridesmaids and the mother of the bride herself, “How the heck did this happen?””

That’s when Waterworks #1 began, the first of many for the day. (Read the rest of the article here!)

I headed inside for some food, smelling the breakfast casseroles in the oven for our bridesmaid brunch later, when my mom appeared at the top of the stairs with a little bag in hand–”I’m supposed to give this to you”. I saw the folded paper sticking out of the top and felt the butterflies in my stomach all over again. Several months earlier, I had mentioned something to Ian about exchanging letters on the day of our wedding. I didn’t know if he would remember, but he had! So back out on the porch I went, letter in hand. A lot of the time in the wedding photos I stalk, the bride saves reading this for when she’s surrounded by everyone and the photographer is there to capture the moment. But I wanted to take in every word of Ian’s letter before the hoopla started (and before my face was all made up and would get ruined from Waterworks #2). 

Good heavens. There had already been enough crying to last me all day, and I had only been awake for two hours.

The other part of Ian’s present was a ring to wear on my other hand–a red garnet. Absolutely beautiful. 

Things were starting to pick up inside. Neighbors were stopping by, and the flowers were arriving…

It was go time. 

 

Happy Happy Happy

Happy Friday! Happy September! Happy Weekend!

Did you know it was just about one year ago exactly that Ian asked me to marry him? Wanna read the story here? I’m telling you, it’s a good one.

Today I’ve been running around getting this place looking presentable for the much-anticipated Saylor Family Visit this weekend! Two days of eating, shopping, footballing, and more eating is sure to commence.

And next week, you’ll get to start hearing all about our wedding. I hope you’re excited.

Have a happy weekend!

 

Put a Ring On It: The Bridesmaids Gifts

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When deciding what I wanted to give as a gift to my beautiful bridesmaids, I knew right away that I wanted it to be something that they would wear or use for the wedding.

However, I did not want it to be the lines of:

a. A tacky tote bag

b. A classy reminder of a night you didn’t remember:

c. Some snazzy dog tags 

Can you tell I’m really into lists these days?

Not only did I want the gifts to be nice and something that the girls wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear, but I also wanted them to have something they would able to wear or use it again (because I’m not sure how many times a shiny purple mini-dress will come in handy). 

Meagan Jepson Photography

Almost immediately, I decided I was going to make clutches for each girl, until I remembered there were nine of them and sewing just one would take me a year. And then I remembered that I can’t even sew in the first place.

Scratch that.

One day, after months and months of Googling for the perfect bridesmaid gift that would be cute, functional, and wouldn’t break the bank, I glanced down at the huge cocktail ring I was wearing that I bought for my Halloween pin-up girl costume. Eureka!

This set the wheels a-turning. I pulled out a giant bag of clip-on earrings that I’ve acquired over the years and decided that some of them were too pretty to be sitting in a bag, and that they would look really swell as, say, cocktail rings on my bridesmaids fingers.

I made a quick trip to Michael’s for the rest of the supplies: super glue and ring frames (which were, surprisingly, hard to find). Time to go to town.

First, I picked out the best earrings that had semi-flat backs, and used my pliers to pry the earring back off. A little bit of sanding helped smooth the surface to be glued. Next, glue those suckers on, and resist the urge to try them all on before they’ve finished drying completely.

And voila! Instant bridesmaids gifts.

You would think that picking out which ones to give to who would be the hardest part. Actually, all of the rings were so unique in style, that I was pretty much able to match them to each girl perfectly. 

I had some leftover red boxes from my sister-in-law (and, incidentally, bridesmaid)’s bridal shower, and noticed that they were the perfect size for rings. I got out my scrapbook paper and crazy scissors and made name tags for each one.

I was pretty much the giddyest person ever when I handed them out at the rehearsal dinner. Despite a casualty or two (nothing that couldn’t be fixed with an extra dab of glue), the girls loved them and they looked fabulous.

Meagan Jepson Photography

And look! They’re even making appearances in senior photos!

In other news, my sister is beautiful.

Maybe if a career doesn’t work out, this could be a new business venture. I could be a Bridesmaid Gift Maker. 

I’ll just add it to the list.

My Top Five Dream Jobs (and why I can’t have them.)

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Just in the past seven days, I have missed a rare East Coast earthquake and slept through a rare East Coast hurricane.

What does this tell me? Maybe that I’m incredibly unobservant. Or that maybe a career in breaking news and journalism isn’t for me.

Since the duration of my days has recently consisted of pouring over job opportunities on the interwebs, jobs and careers have been on the forefront of my mind. Sometimes I find a prospect that I think would be perfect. Sometimes I find things that I’m overqualified for but apply for anyway. Some days I think I need to have a dream job that I love, and other days I think, well, even if my job isn’t great I can always have hobbies. Which I really don’t think is the best attitude to have.

The real question is, what career is for me? I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to manage a restaurant, work behind a front desk at a hotel, or plan conventions–i.e. everything my major taught me how to do. Don’t get me wrong–most of the time, I really enjoyed that stuff. I know my situation after college (getting married and moving somewhere because my husband found a job there) wasn’t the same as many recent college graduates, and call me crazy, but I want a job with a schedule where I can get up in the morning, put in a solid day, and come home at night and spend time with Ian. And not have to work on Christmas. Oh, hospitality.

So in between endless job applying, after some brainstorming I have decided on a couple dream careers for me.

1. Recipe Tester
“Imagine being able to earn a living by cooking in your own kitchen? If you have a passion for food, an obsession for accuracy and a curiosity about the way things work, professional recipe testing might be a career for you.”
(from
familytime.com)

Only problem with this–a degree in food science or nutrition is required. I don’t want to know the science of the food, for pete sake–can’t I just cook it and give it a “yay” or “nay”? And then blog about it, maybe?

2. Cereal Tester
“[Pabros] takes a single square of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and places it carefully on one of the molars on the right side of her mouth and bites down carefully, feeling the piece crunch and savoring the cinnamon goodness.”
(From
cerealfix.com)

Again, a career like this requires an actual knowledge of food science and properties and rubbish like that. (Hah, rubbish. Thought I’d throw that word in there) In my humble opinion, I think it would be beneficial to have a lowly regular non-science-y person test products like this, because what little kid is going to crunch on their Cocoa Krispies and analyze the texture and composition? Yeah. I’ll be sure to bring that to the interview.

3. Wedding Consultant
“Have you ever thrown a party? Do you remember all the little things that went into just making your house presentable, the food acceptable, and the liquor adequate? Well, multiply all of these things by 1,000 and you have an idea of what wedding consultants deal with: It is a high-stress profession.”
(From
princetonreview.com)

 Stipulations: No bridezillas, must have vintage styles and tastes almost exact to the consultant, must be interested in hearing about every detail of my own wedding in the process, and dance lessons with Matthew McConaughey are required.

4. Greeting Card Writer
Here were the very helpful tips I found on how to be a Greeting Card Writer from education-portal.com:

1) Get an education. 2) Consider an internship. 3) Consider Freelancing. 4) Get a job.

Well gee. If it were as easy as that, maybe I wouldn’t be making this list.

I could always revive my Etsy business.

5. Luxury Bed Tester
“Roisin Madigan, 22, is earning £1,000 to sleep in designer beds every day for a month. The student is helping with a “sleep survey” carried out by luxury bed specialists Simon Horn Ltd. The company sells luxury Savoir Beds, originally made for the Savoy Hotel. General manager Craig Roylance said Roisin will not only provide an objective view of the beds on sale, but will also be part of a look into what brings a good night’s sleep.”
(From
oddee.com)

Since my experience in San Antonio over Spring Break last year, I haven’t been able to stop raving about the Westin Heavenly Bed I got to sleep in for a week. It’s kind of pathetic–when Ian and I did our Bed Bath & Beyond registry, I picked out our Egyptian Cotton White Damask Bedsheets because they reminded me of a Heavenly Bed. I was thrilled to receive a queen-sized pillow top for our mattress from Aunt Joan. Every morning is a struggle to get out of bed, not because I’m depressed over the current job market, but because our bed is just so damn comfortable. My experience with luxury beds clearly makes me the best candidate.

In conclusion, I’ll just keep searching indeed.com.

Reasons why I am Not Martha Stewart

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I know, I know. It’s really hard to believe. What with all those gourmet meals prepared in fancy cooking wares and the home-y little touches all over our Lower Level Apartment, I know you all probably think my middle name is Martha. Not to mention she/Macy’s furnished half of our kitchen.

Oh you know, just some Hurricane Shepard’s Pie!

Here’s the truth, friends. I would love to channel Martha and make my home look like the photos on the website. An eclectic colonial dining room? Yes please.

marthastewart.com

But as newlyweds on a budget, most of our home decor has come from the following:

1. Craigslist 

2. Leftover Wedding Decor

3. Our Parents

4. Bren’s Craft Projects

Aha! Craft projects? What could be more Martha?

Well, for starters, many of the projects I start go way unfinished. I always start with the best intentions, but soon I get bored, distracted, or so gung-ho about the next project that I leave what I was doing in the dust. For example, several weeks ago I decided I was going to start a greeting card business on Etsy. While I’m just poking around Virginia for jobs, might as well make some extra cash, right?

During a Saturday afternoon with Cheaper by the Dozen on TV, I quickly started to build up my starting inventory. And then stopped at four. They took a lot longer than I thought they would. 

That’s the thing–I don’t have patience. I usually don’t read directions. Instead of investing the time in quality materials, I tend to do whatever is easiest and quickest. It’s a wonder I stayed focused to make 200 wedding invitations (although, I had significant help with that one…). 

So today, I was just perusing on Pintrest and making note of all the fabulous craft projects I will (probably never) make, and I kept stumbling across this idea for earring storage:

kevinandamanda.com

This craft project just spoke to me. I had a wooden frame lying on the shelf that I had been trying to find a use for. I also had tons of string, which is like, the same as wire. Perfect.

In my true fashion, I didn’t bother to click the link to find out how Amanda made that little beauty. I assumed scotch tape and string would suffice as the way to hang my earring collection.

Turns out it didn’t. 

I thought to myself, oh well, and then I gave up for about an hour.

But as the pathetic tape-y frame just sat on the kitchen table, I felt kind of bad. Like all junk, the poor guy deserved a chance to be made into something fabulous. So I caved and read the directions on the website. Apparently in order to build a sound and sturdy earring holding frame, one needs some heavy duty wire and a staple gun. Eep. But then I remembered I had loads of wire in my craft basket from my jewelry making phase. And a couple thumbtacks. Same thing.

No one would see that side anyway.

And now, for the real test. Would it hold up my pounds and pounds of dangly earrings?

Answer: it sure would! And it would look pretty swell doing it:

Craft project: complete and successful! 

Who’s the queen of crafts now?

(Hint: me.)

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