The days are flying, and I had my bridal shower this past Saturday!

My Beautiful Bridesmaids!
From left to right: Brittany, Lori, Kendra, me, Tara, Bree.

It’s all becoming very surreal. I had a party to celebrate that I’m going to be a wife! It also really allowed me to kind of reflect on my friends and family.

Brittany I’ve only known a couple years. We became friends when her (now) husband became friends with Justin. We all work together and get to bitch and complain to one another about our wonderful job. Her’s was one of the weddings I was just in recently.

Lori I’ve known a couple years longer than Brittany. In case you’re just tuning in, she’s Justin’s sister-in-law, married to his older brother. Lori and I hit it off right away long before Justin and I got together, and she helped get us together and get him away from someone that didn’t treat him as well as he deserves.  It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 5 years since I’ve met her!

Kendra and I formally met while we were in 5th grade and we were taking out Iowa Basics tests (standardized testing for grade school-ers here in PA) She and I basically put each other through some hardcore high school hell, but we always found each other again. We expierienced a lot of our “firsts” together. First boyfriend, first kiss, first dance, etc. We’ve really gone down the road together. And then I watched her son be born, that was kind of a life changer, seriously.

Tara is my longest running friendship. We met in third grade and found a common ground in Goosebump books. We practically lived at each others houses as kids. We started to grow apart a little in junior high, then came back together when we found common ground again in show choir and high school musicals (you know, before high school musical. Did I really just go there? Anyway…) She’s one of those friends where you don’t talk for months, then pick up a phone or meet for lunch and pick up right where you left off. It’s pretty awesome.

Finally, Bree!. We first met while I was in third grade, but we didn’t really become friends until high school. Like Kendra and Tara we all went to school together, but Bree is a year older than us. We have a funny history together that involves a boy that we love to laugh about now, but obviously back then it was serious business, haha. We basically hit it off during my freshman year when our school put on the production of Grease. Ever since then we have been friends, and both share a love of cooking and being boring old ladies. She has also been my go-to complainee with wedding related stress. Poor her! haha. She just got married a couple months ago too.

So there you have it, my formal introduction to my oldest and closest friends! One of the best parts about this whole wedding expierience is that they all are in one place at one time! All my friends are pretty laid back, so I think they all clicked very well!

Presents! The whole shower was a stunning success. Lori did a great job organizing the whole thing, although everyone kept telling me how nice it was. I didn’t do a thing besides show up! Lori definitely outdid herself. I’m very lucky to have her!
The shower was a lot like those birthday parties you have when you’re younger. You play some games, eat a lot, and then everyone watches you open presents. The one big difference is that I picked all the gifts ahead of time in the form of a registry, haha. I’m not one for surprises.

August 8th is my bachelorette party. I’m pretty excited to go out with all my friends, I just hope it doesn’t get carried away too much. I’m honestly the type of person who would be happy to go out to dinner with everyone and grab some drinks. I’m not much for the club scene or anything real crazy. We are going to a dueling piano bar, which I am seriously excited about. However, if any of my friends think I’m getting up on stage and getting myself humiliated, I guess they don’t know me that well! I’ll be a stick in the mud about some things, but I’m just not the center of attention type. I hope everyone understands that! no penis crowns for me, thanks. haha.

I do have the most awesome friends though, I’m a lucky girl 🙂

My Girls =)

Heh. Why is the rum always gone?

Anyway, enough Pirates of the Caribbean references. Tara, Lori and I went to do more bridesmaid dress shopping yesterday. Tara bought This one, which looks stunning on her. Lori, my Matron of Honor, chose This one, which suites her really well, it’s a little longer than the other ones and has a bit more design on the bottom, kind of setting her apart since she’s the MOH. Bree ordered hers a few weeks ago, this one, and it’s in already. So now I just need Kendra and Brittany ordered and I’ll be done with the dresses..hopefully. I still need to figure out what the flower girl is going to wear. I found some amazingly cute things at David’s Bridal that I’ll probably actually make myself, most of their dresses are very nicely priced, but their accessories are a bit much.

There are so many little details to a wedding. stuff that when you think about it you have to immediately jot it down somewhere or you’ll forget about it until it’s too late. haha. I’m looking at some music suggestions now. There are a few we’ve decided on, so here we go!

  • My best Friend – Tim McGraw. Our First Dance.
    I don’t know where I’d be
    Without you here with me
    Life with you makes perfect sense
    You’re my best friend
  • After All These Years – Journey. Married Couples Song.
    A faded wedding photograph
    You and me in our first dance
    Our eyes are closed
    We’re lost in one sweet embrace
    Since those days our world has changed
    Our love remains the same
    God knows we’ve had our share of saving grace
  • I’ve Had the Time of My Life – Dirty Dancing. Bridal Party Dance.
    I’ve had the time of my life
    No I never felt this way before
    Yes I swear it’s the truth
    And I owe it all to you
  • Little Miss Magic – Jimmy Buffet Father/Daughter Dance
    I see a little more of me everyday
    I catch a little more moustache turning grey
    Your mother is the only other woman for me
    Little Miss Magic what you gonna be?
  • There are a couple ideas I have here and there for other songs (Adam Sandler!) haha. But you get the general idea. There’s still so much shopping to do! That’s what has me very excited. I can’t wait to go on a massive shopping spree in Pat Catan’s.

    What? I like to shop! This is going to be the biggest party of our lives and I can’t wait!

    now these are a long time coming, considering we got engaged in July, but rather late than never. haha. We actually had our friends Brittany and Brian take them for us, Brittany has an amazing camera and I can photoshop and interesting contrast, like the B&W and faded background. Everything worked out perfectly 🙂
    It was, however, a pretty crappy day out, but luckily we got our pictures taken before the rain came down. These are just the smaller, blog-sized versions of the pictures that I crop especially for this blog, if you want to see the bigger ones (and are a friend/have a myspace) You can click here. We had fun taking them. I really wanted a swing shot, but a girl with blue hair was swinging away the entire time we were there. Little odd. That’s Butler for you, though. at least we didn’t come across anyone shooting up under the little bridge we did pictures on. Haha. Basically my plan for these are to make some wallet copies for family in Christmas cards. I’ll probably blow one of them up for our home to frame and one for my parents and one for his. I’m not sure which one I like the most. I’m kind of leaning towards this first one, but let me know what you think 🙂 This second one I just had fun photoshopping the blurry background. It also gives us a glow-y effect. I kind of like it, but I don’t think it’s my favorite. My profile always looks a little weird :/ haha.
    Speaking of profiles. I went out yesterday with Lori and Tara to try on more dresses. I am officially down to two that I love. The one from last time and another one…ack. I just don’t know. That’s the dress update for now. they are both just amazing looking, I really don’t know which one to go with. Next time we go I’m making a decision! That’s pretty crazy…my wedding gown. I do need to get on that fairly soon, it will take 18 weeks to get it in. That’s a long time, but they need to make my dress especially for me because I’m so tall…boo. At least I found a man who is taller 😉 My hair is doing something funny is this next picture. I might edit that a little more because I love the pose. It’s so romantic 🙂 I really like taking pictures. I can’t wait for the wedding when half of our time will be devoted to pictures. haha.
    We also tried to find some bridesmaid dresses yesterday. That kind of failed. haha. It’s really interesting to see how some stuff just can’t be worn by everyone. These was one dress I loved, but half my friends would probably kill me if I made them wear it. I don’t want them to be uncomfortable, but it’s going to be hard to find something that works for everyone. Another cute one. I really like to have the excuse to be self absorbed, that’s kind of bad, isn’t it?
    I like to reflect on how far we’ve come every once in awhile, I’m sure everyone does at some point. I can’t help but just smile when I remember how things started out. You have that new relationship fire and uncertainty that keeps you awake at night and keeps to wanting more. Eventually that fire goes out and here is where you figure out if it’s going to last: If he fire does out and all you have is smoke, then that’s it. The relationship started with passion and ended with a burnt fuse and that’s it. But if the fire goes out and you have hot coals, that’s a relationship that starts in passion and keeps burning hotter than the flames. You have the base for something lasting, those are the coals. They will continue to burn, and even flare up for those passionate moments again. I don’t think you can have a relationship without the coals. This is probably my second favorite picture, I really love how black and white looks (although I have it in regular color too! haha) But basically I’m sending these out in Christmas cards (the first ones from Justin and I as an almosy-married couple! haha) I can’t believe next Christmas we’ll be married. Will it be different? I really kind of doubt it. We live together now, we know each others quirks, what annoys us, what we love about each other. We were living together for about 8 months before he proposed, so I guess he was still pretty found of me at that point. This is just a cute picture, probably one I’ll just keep for casually around the house or something. I just don’t know which ones to actually give people.  I think it’s going to be a tie between 1, 3, and 5.  And I think I’m going to give our parents all three.  haha.  I’d like to find one of those cute black frames that hold three medium sized pictures to do something with those three, since they are my favorite.  Number two I just might keep by my bed. haha.  I’m not a narcissist at allllll. I did agree with Justin that wedding stuff needs to take a back burner to Christmas this and next month, but seriously, once Christmas is over, I’m going to be so obsessed it won’t even be remotely funny 🙂 heh. At least I have an amazing future sister-in-law who may or may not be more obsessed than myself, I love her 🙂
    Have a great Sunday, time to do my domestic duty and cook a delicious dinner for my future husband 😉 Tomorrow will probably be a showcase of a couple things I’ve been cooking up lately.

    Wedding wedding wedding! I gave you a break for a couple days, now back to complete self-absorption 🙂 so yeah, this post is going to be long and image heavy.
    Anywho, these are these are the candlesticks and vases we’re going to use for the reception. Actually Lori bought them for her wedding years ago, and conveniently still had them for her favorite future sister in law 🙂 I love the spiral twistiness to them. Lori still even has the silk flowers for them, which is everything I would have picked out already. There are two candlesticks to each vase, I’m not real sure what exactly I want to do if I want to do anything else or whatnot. The place where the reception is going to be is a big re-done barn and both sides of it are going to be open, so candles may not work out so well, so I may use these in the vases with the flowers in them to give it the romantic-type feeling without the candlelight. Just a thought for now! Now that the place is booked I feel like I can calm down a little, haha. Now I am very, very proud of these. These are the invitations I found at Ollies for $10 for 100! Ten dollars for 100 invitations, envelopes, and R.S.V.P. cards and envelopes! They aren’t incredibly fancy, but they have a beautiful silver lining with silver double hearts at the top, which is kinda the theme we have going on. The other invitations I’ve liked were going to be around $300. That’s just overkill to me. I like the simple kind of life. haha. I keep bouncing around with the colors. I thought a red/black/white would be nice, but then the dress I fell in love with actually looks better in ivory, so now I’m leaning towards that, and I also like the silver/red, so maybe that instead of black/red…. women really should not be in charge of wedding planning…I change my mind like..a woman!! these are the tri-fold programs I found, also 100 for $10 🙂 It looks gold in the picture, but that’s just the lighting in the room, it’s actually silver like the invitations. I can’t believe what a deal I got, I’m sorry, I just have to brag a little! I can’t wait to get my hands into designing them. Once upon a time I thought going into graphic design would be a cool field, but I never made that jump and just stick to simple graphic design as a hobby. I also am a total font-whore. I love them and I love finding beautiful new ones to try out. This is going to be my most favorite project ever, I just know it 🙂 I’ll probably add some sort of little brush design, I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of experimenting and I’m sure our printer is going to see a lot of action in the next couple months! And these, of course, are the simple little place cards I found, 100 for $5, haha 😉 I’m still not sure if I’ll be doing this or not. I’d like some order and to make sure none of the guests have a hard time figuring out where to sit, especially those who may not know too many people there. But again I don’t know if Justin and I will really want to sit down and figure that out, haha. I’m not sure, do people like being told where to sit? The barn is big and open, so it’s not so much a matter of “front and back” The bar will be set up outside under a big white canopy/tent, the food on one end and the DJ/music on the other end. I think it will probably just come down to who ends up R.S.V.P.ing, and we’ll go from there. I’m not too worried about that, and hopefully will not start worrying until a couple months before the big day. Then I will proceed to be a nervous wreak until my bachelorette party, where I will proceed to just be wreaked 🙂
    I also took a picture of the first of the things I bought my bridesmaids, but I don’t think I’ll post those until after I give them to them to keep the surprise. Some of them read this and I like to have my secrets too! So on to the pictures of where Justin and I will tie the knot!!!
    This is the awesome gazebo they have there. As you can see, they are cleaning up from Halloween, the pumpkin pictures do not come with the wedding package, haha. The ceremony and reception will both take place at a place near where Justin grew up called Cheeseman’s Farm, and more specifically, Betsy’s barn on the Cheeseman Farm. It’s out in the middle of nowhere and very private, we’re even going to have a bonfire! A bonfire at a wedding? Oh yes, this wedding is really going to let Justin’s and my personalities shine! Wine, beer, and a fire. And me in a pretty wedding dress 😉 This is seriously going to be the party of our lives. I cannot wait! I can’t believe I get to marry my best friend. (shuttup, I know it’s cliche!)
    This next picture is just a better view of the inside of the gazebo. It’s not very big, it can fit about 20-30 people inside plus us. This whole affair is going to be very laid back. We’ll have our immediate family in the gazebo and then people outside. We’re really aiming for a short ceremony, 20-30 minutes max. We’re still debating if it would be ok to have people stand outside, not sure if the hill would permit chairs. haha. We are also able to have our rehersal and rehersal dinner here, which we’ll probably do a picnic style out on the picnic tables. The wedding party is fairly small, so with everyone in the party, and out parents we’re really only looking at 15-17 people. We’re still unsure about a flower girl and ring bearer. This is just a picture I took from outside the barn. Like I said eariler, they are still cleaning up from the Halloween festivities they do every year, so it doesn’t look like much now. If you go to the website, however, you can see some pictures in all its wedding glory, it’s great =) One hiccup is that the chairs they provide are the basic metal folding chairs, those would look…um, bad. ha. So we’re looking for chair covers. The ones they can rent to you are $5 a chair, that’s a little on the ridiculous side, so we’re looking into making our own. I guess we’ll just have to see if they’re more trouble than they’re worth! I’m googling like crazy, so I hope I can find something.
    the last picture here isn’t of the barn or anything, but one of three cabins right beside the barn. I think we’re going to rent these for that night and my parents are going to take one, and then the wedding party, whoever wants to stay, will have the other. Justin and I probably will not be staying in the cabins that night. We’ll probably stay at a nearby hotel and then skip off to our mini-moon the next day. We’re going to wait to take a real honeymoon in the wintertime, what sounds better than a Caribbean cruise in the middle of December? Noooot much! They really are decently priced too. I’ll have to keep an eye out and see what I can find. I’m just doing some shopping around for now. We still have a year to work towards that goal. It would probably be best to get the wedding out of the way first since we’re not going on our honeymoon right away.
    I’m glad to feel like I have time now. the big stuff is out of the way, so now we can have fun with the little details. What an exciting couple of months to come!

    I thought I would take a break from typing away about wedding stuff. You know, I don’t want to bore you to death. So here are some pictures of what has been going on lately, as well as some recent cooking adventures I’ve embarked on.
    Here are a bunch of us at Justin’s and my Halloween party 🙂 That naughty nurse there is my future sister-in-law, who insisted on beating on me all night 😉 haha. But seriously, you get some rum in her and she’s abusive! jk, sort of. The hippy is Brittany, another future bride who’s tying the knot in May. She’s one of the people I’m able to obsess with, although we’re constantly battling it out for who gets to talk about who’s wedding now. We like to drive our men crazy….and it doesn’t help that they live right around the corner from each other. 😉 There Brittany and I again, and that devilishly good looking man in the middle there is Justin, of course. It was actually that day that Justin (Justin!) suggested it might be a good idea to move the wedding up…then he proceeded to go immerse himself in Brian’s special “spiced” cider and we weren’t able to talk about it until later the next day…damn him. haha. But all’s good now and I’m happily running around like a chicken with its head cut off making arrangements…while he sits back and watches in amusement. sigh. 🙂 I think I’m being pretty good though, I can avoid talking about weddings if I wa- oh, wait. Maybe I can’t. Ohhhh well. I’m allowed. It’s all around me and starting to creep up rather quickly! Like today for example, I bought the first of the bridesmaid gifts. I’m still on the fence about sharing, as they can read it and I’d like to surprise them…Maybe I will anyway and keep some secrets 😉 haha. I just love all this planning! I should have gone to school for party planning or something…except in this economy it’s probably not the most secure job to have.

    Ok, Ok. I’ll stop. On to cooking!

    Last night I cooked my ass off. Seriously! I got off work at 4 and was just pulling out the dinner I made at around 6:30 when Justin got home…and then I went back and made some more things to stockpile our fridge/freezer with! I went all out last night for dinner. It’s not often we can sit down to a real home made dinner together anymore, literally. We’re always running around on the weekends so we usually go out for wings or something (which I really don’t mind, haha) and we work opposite shifts at work, so that’s out of the question. So when I get to cooking, I really cook! These are crab meat stuffed mushrooms. I mix butter, onion, a little milk, chopped stems from the mushrooms, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, shredded mozzarella cheese, and, of course, crab meat. I mix it all in a saucepan on the stove and spray a baking sheet with pam and then spray the mushrooms with pam. Butter tastes a little better, but I don’t like to add the extra calories. Justin loves mushrooms, and although I didn’t like them much before, I’ve really acquired a taste for them, especially stuffed or fried…I don’t really like them raw, haha. But anywho, this is a great as really easy recipe. You just snap out the stems so it leaves a little hole in the middle. Heat up all the ingredients in a saucepan then scoop a little into each of the mushroom shells. Heat them in the oven on 400 for about 15 minutes until the tops are nice and crispy =) They are delicious and now I’m starving. Damn. The next picture here was my first attempt at stuffed chicken breast, and it was amazing. Not that I’m full of myself or anything 😉 But yeah, first I marinated the chicken in zesty Italian dressing mixed with fire roasted tomato dressing and then I stuffed them with mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, and chicken stuffing. After that I topped the chicken with grated parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning and a tomato to garnish. I should have added a little green in there somewhere for looks, as everything is a reddish color, but it tasted great so whatever. haha. The potatoes are twice baked. I baked the potatoes for about an hour to get them soft enough to scoop out, then I cut each of them in half and scooped out the middle of each to make a shell. I mixed the potato I scooped out with mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan cheese with bacon. I think Justin decided he’s marrying the right woman when he saw all this on the table when he got home last night 😉 I was very proud! One of the things I’m most proud of, though, is that I can up with it all myself. No recipe! The final thing I made that night after dinner is my broccoli soup. This stuff is amazing. Seriously, I could live off of it if you let me. I got the basic recipe here, but I embellish a lot. Take that recipe and I also double the onion, because I love them, and double the broccoli. I also add ham because Justin would eat only ham for the rest of his life if he could, and I also added tiny chopped mushrooms last night because I had them on hand and red potatoes. The original recipe I made the first time, and it was good, but I wanted something a little more meal-worthy for something real quick. The potatoes really give it the meal quality if that’s what you’re looking for. If you want a soup that’s great as a starter, leave out the potatoes and this is definitely your soup. I really think it’s better than any other broccoli soup I’ve ever had, and it’s very versatile. I can’t say I’m a big fan of Velveeta, but this soup really makes it delicious…and it’s less fat than regular cheese! yay! haha. I made a huge batch of this stuff and froze about half of it. I’ll seriously eat it for dinner every night this week at work. Justin may or may not dip into it, but when I’m not around to tell him what he’s eating that night he has burgers. what a man 😉 That’s all for now, I think I’m going to take a trip down memory lane with you and share Justin and Ariel through the years…aren’t you excited?

    My quad was kidnapped yesterday.

    Justin and I were sitting on the couch at home, getting ready to leave for work in half an hour. He got a call from his brother and jumped off the couch and all I really registered was something about his bike, and stolen. At first I thought it was his crotch rocket, then after he hung up he relayed to me that his brother and sister-in-law’s house had been broken into and that some guns and the quads (mine and Lori’s) were missing. he wasn’t sure if his bike or John’s quad was.

    Now I’m sitting on the couch, computer on my lap, looking at my fiance like he grew a second head as he calls off work and changes out of his nice work clothes. It really didn’t register to me. I continue to stare at him and nod every once in awhile as he kisses me and runs out the door to make the half-hour drive to his brother’s house. Lori, his sister in law, was there alone as she was the one to come home first and see the wreak that the people left their home in.

    I had to go to work for a couple hours, but I used the rest of my vacation time to book it out early. I still really hadn’t registered what happened until I got to their house and started talking with Lori.

    The quad was really special to me. Justin and I were riding around on it and his bike when he took me to the place he proposed to me. That kind of hurts the most. Those stupid people, whoever they are, took something that has such little monetary value but such a massive amount of sentimental value it’s just irreplaceable. I never thought I’d say this, but if they catch the people who stole our quads, Lori’s jewelry from her father since she was a little girl, guns passed down through Justin and John’s family…I seriously will sue the hell out of whoever they are.

    My dad is one of those eye for an eye types. Not old fashioned, per say, but the type to defend what is his tooth and nail. He always has had a German Shepard and a gun in the house, ready to smite down anyone who dared try to take what he and my mom worked for. He always said there’s no way in hell anyone would get away with trying to steal for free what they worked for. I will definitely be my father’s daughter when we have a house of our own.

    There is one silver lining in all this. Justin and I always disagreed about keeping a nice big dog in the house. I always grew up with at least one German Shepard in the house at all times, and for years we had two. Justin believes dogs belong outside. argument has always been, what good is a dog when he’s tied up outside? I totally get my inside guard dog now. I’m thinking rottweiler 😉

    I’m dying.

    Not really, but my throat feels like sandpaper and it won’t let up! Seriously. It’s June. The weather has evened out and I should not be feeling like crap. Justin blames it on the humidity outside compared to our air conditioner being cranked up full blast during the night. Well damn. I just cannot win.

    Oh a much brighter note…TADA!:

    That’s right!  That’s my new baby!  We picked her up earlier this week.  I haven’t even had a chance to ride it yet though, I had to go to work =(   This is actually 1 of a pair of quads we bought.  Lori got one that matches this one exactly, so we’re twins! haha.  Justin and I will be heading over to John and Lori’s house Saturday to work on them and ride them, I seriously cannot wait.

    This week has gone on forever,  and I think my to-do list is about a mile long and not getting any shorter.  I’m tankful for Justin, who lights a fire under my ass and gets me moving on the major things, like paying bills. haha.

    Tomorrow I’m actually off from my morning job, I just have night job from 5-11, but I’ll probably stick it out until 12.  I’m so glad it’s almost the weekend.