Wow. Lots of rules for an itty-bitty game! :) Seeing as I've already accomplished (b), here goes with (a), (c), and (d):
Seven Random or Weird Things About Myself
1. In the past 4 1/2 years, husband and I have built 3 houses. Its a sickness, really. But this last house (#3) that we move into in January is the LAST one. I swear. Well, maybe not LAST last, but close to the end ....
2. Though I would love to design invitations full-time, currently the big bill-payer is my position as a Special Education teacher. I love it as much as I love making invites. I work with Grade 1 & 2 severe behavioral and emotional children (all boys), and they are my heart.
3. Up 'til I was 5 years old I had a quasi-British/Australian acccent, even though I was born and raised in Canada. This was thanks to my various British/Australian nannies I had from ages 1 - 5. I had no idea I spoke differently then the other kids until a snotty little girl named Kristy made fun of poor little 5-year-old me for the way I said "Mirror". Bitch. I went home and vowed to learn to talk like a regular Canadian. Here I am, eh? :)
4. Husband and I have 3 foster children through various agencies (ie. World Vision) from Ethiopia, India, and Thailand respectively.
5. I am a reading freak. I have in excess of 400 books, and have read them all at least once.
6. I really, really, REALLY wanted to be a criminal profiler for the FBI growing up, so much so that I obtained a bachelors degree in psychology and went to numerous training courses regarding profiling violent crimes. I should have worked on my "investigative" skills a bit more though, because halfway through my 3rd year at university I discovered that you have to be an American citizen to work for the FBI. Crap. The Canadian equivalent, CSIS, is SO not as cool.
7. Husband and I actually won our destination wedding to Mexico through a month-long reality contest in our local paper. We beat out 300 couples AND weren't even "officially" engaged yet (I should give lessons on trapping a man). Due to time restrictions on the prize, we got engaged, planned our wedding and got married in the span of 3 months following winning. We had a huge at-home reception when we got back to accomodate all those people who weren't able to attend our wedding.
There! Thats it. I don't normally fill these things out (they're akin to a chain-letter in my mind), but what the hell. Might as well follow all the rules and pass it along to 7 of my "bloggie buddies". I choose .... Autumn Wedding, Bride of Rochester, A Dash of Diva, These Little Moments, Another Wedding Blog, Love Family Life, Smiles From Lloyd. Tag, you're all it.
Wedding forums are essentially a free place for real brides to get together and discuss ways to achieve their dream wedding, whether this be through do-it-yourself heaven or the recomendation of incredible vendors (NOT paid advertising, but coming straight from the mouths of those that have recently used them). I relied heavily upon wedding forums in the planning of my day, and through them was able to hear about and come up with oodles of marvelous wedding ideas. You don't need to post to be a part of these online communities -- just begin "snooping" every day or so on one or two of them, and I can gurantee that you will stumble across ideas that pique your interest. You may have to register to get initial access, but I have never had the problem of spamming from ANY of the following sites. Here are my absolute favorites:
Canadian Bride Forum
The Knot Forum
Indie Bride Forum
And there you go, ladies. That should keep you busy for a while!
If you're like most brides, after your wedding you'll have a photo album full of pictures, a dvd full of video, and a head full of memories. These are always lovely, imperative, and traditional. But what if you're looking for a unique addition to that box of post-wedding keepsakes?
*all images courtesy of SamanthaSultana Etsy store*
The big question: Is this tacky or not?
I've tried to think about this from both sides, and have yet to make a decision. The coordination-part of me screams "Yes!! Do it!!!", especially if one were using a clean and simple design with perhaps their monogram and some nice background colour only.
The practical side of me says "Are you crazy? People will think you've taken bridezilla to a whole new level if you've coordinated every teeny, tiny little thing, right down to the tissues. Whats next, personalized toilet paper?". The practical side of me also feels that the only people, unfortunately, who this idea will appeal to are the brides & grooms who feel it necessary to have their image on EVERYTHING (don't even get me started). Monograms = fine. Photos of you all over the place = pure tackiness. They're at YOUR wedding .... I'm pretty sure your guests know what you look like.
Truth-be-told, I did personalized water bottle labels for my own wedding, and for the guests that noticed, they were a hit. Again: for the guests that noticed. I slaved over those suckers, and only about 1/3 of my guests even realized that what they were holding in their hand was not a mere water bottle but an Andra Coulter ORIGINAL. I mean, come on people! :)
However, perhaps thats the key to a fully-cooordinated event. If your items are too obvious, then you've done something wrong. Your guest's eye should travel over the span of the reception room and take in the spelendor of it all, not fixate upon that one-garish item sitting on the counter.
Ladies, if you want to go ahead with this one, please keep in mind two words: "clean" and "simple". Though it might be tempting to throw in a bunch of the cool graphics they've got on the Kleenex site (I can't even believe I just wrote that), keep in mind that less is more. Keep repeating that to yourself: "Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.".
And if any of you DO wind up creating one of these, even just for kicks, please let me know! I'm interested to see how they turn out.
*photo courtesy of MyKleenexTissue.com. Unfortunately, this promotion is currently not available to ship to a Canadian address. Yet*
Again, I LOVE our mini-me's. I cannot say enough about them (obviously). Nicole was incredible to work with, and has joyfully created a keepsake that my children & grandchildren will be able to see.
For more information on your own amazing custom cake topper, check out Nicole's website at http://www.nicolewong.com/ .
And while we're on the topic (might as well keep patting myself on the back), I Love Weddings has also found a place on WeddingsinaBox 's extensive "Best Wedding Blogs" list. This list is the preemptive resource for all things wedding, so its nice to have a little mention!
My goodness, I think I'm actually blushing.
Or maybe its just that extra glass of red wine I had.
*image courtesy of The Winning Pitch*
I was recently notified of this fab new nonprofit website called Changing The Present, and after perusing their site have been lovin' their idea. LOVIN' it (when you omit the "g" at the end of words, it really emphasizes your point. Right?).
- Empower a Woman: jobs for 3 refugees ($50)
Seriously ladies. Think of the possibilities. Even if you only register a couple of causes, and even if only one of those causes is given to you by a guest ... what a difference that one alternative to your toaster-oven could make in another person's life!
Regardless, at husband's and my upcoming housewarming party (whenever our damned house is finished being built, that is!), this is the option we will be noting on our invitation. I am in love with this idea, and hope its inspired a few of you, too!
*all images courtesy of changingthepresent.org*
Professional in appearance, sleek and ridiculously stylish, these books can sit non-chalantly out on display for all to see. The one issue many brides & grooms have with them, however -- price. These babies can cost a small fortune, which isn't what one often wants to be doing once they calculate the "actual" cost of their wedding ("We spent HOW much on table linens?")
I am now addicted to creating these little "books by me", and plan on testing out a different company, Blurb, to publish my SouthEast Asia holiday pics. The big appeal I have to this one is the fact that you can not only publish your books through Blurb, but you can also sell them. Yes, SELL them! This little company has its own on-line bookstore where its users can post and sell their creations -- at NO charge to the "author"! Crazy goodness! As a semi-regular blogger (apologies all around, as usual), I am also intrigued by the option of transferring my entire blog into book format -- Blurb offers a program that makes this not only possible, but easy. Of course, having not yet reached my desired level of blogging-superstardom (YET being the key word. YET), I may have to hold off on that one for a bit. :) Once I complete my book creation and receive my order, I'll make sure to post an updated review about Blurb's service, though if all the research I've done stands correct, it should be incredible!
Ladies, keep this post in mind over the next few months as you plan your wedding. While these photobooks are a decidedly divine way to showcase your wedding pics, they can be used in so many other ways, too. How about putting together a small book with photos of the two of you and using it as a guestbook at your reception? Or hunting down old photos of your parents and creating a book to celebrate their upcoming anniversary? I promise, once you make your first book, your mind will begin to swim with the possibilities. Happy creating!
*photo taken by Andra Coulter*
Damn. Lets hope I can keep at least a FEW readers at this blog. :-)
*photo courtesy of The Brides Guide*
Enter Social Couture, a fab company out of the States that sell a multitude of coordinated, mod "theme party" kits. Though I know this kind of thing has been tried by other companies before, Social Couture does such an amazing job at it! I fell in lust with nearly all their designs -- everything is included (and I mean everything ... if moss was used to decorate a vase, it comes with the kit. No searching around for half the items to make it look like it did on the website), and all their items are so, well, hip. The creations look like they stepped off the pages of InStyle magazine. Very oo-la-la. Lisa and Colleen, the two lovely ladies who started the company, are doing a ridiculously incredible job.
*and seriously, HOW fabulous would their Hollywood Glam pack be for an Oscar party?*
I'll get to weddings in the next post, of course, but as promised, here are a few pics of my travels
Grand Palace, BangkokNorthern Thailand
Karen tribe girl (Northern Thailand)
Halong Bay, Vietnam
a common sight in Vietnam
the Mekong River
The Killing Fields, Cambodia
novice monk sketching at Angkor Thom Ankgor Thom facesKoh Samui, Thailand
And a few pics of yours truly, only because if I don't, I'll get a bunch of emails asking why not:
Posing by a waterfall (no explanation necessary, I guess) Getting scammed in Vietnam (loong story) Having fun with children at the Hoi An orphanage (hubs in background, children taking photo) My relaxed pose with a 9 foot python Testing out an M-16 (I think) The classic "tourist in front of Angkor Wat" pic And my all-time favorite, taken at Angkor Wat
*all photos taken by & courtesy of Andra Coulter and/or her husband. Please do not use without their direct permission*