Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'm Still Alive!

Apologies for the radio silence, you guys! 

Dude and I got one of these as an early Christmas gift to each other and we have been glued to it for the past week!!


I promise I'll get back to posting next week, we are meeting with a florist this weekend so I should have some fun updates and pretty pictures for you!

In the mean time, hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!

I'll leave you with what I'm thankful for this year:
  • I'm thankful for my future mother-in-law who graciously offered to host Thanksgiving dinner and the Black Friday after party this year
  • I'm thankful for my two awesome puppies
  • I'm thankful for my amazing future husband (obvs)
  • I'm thankful I don't have kids so I don't have to share my new awesome Wii U
  • I'm thankful that it's after Thanksgiving and I still haven't heard the worst Christmas song ever.  You guys know which one I'm talking about, the one by the former Beatle...  I'm not even going to think the title or else it'll be stuck in my head till New Years
  • And finally I'm thankful that I'm working on Black Friday and have a valid excuse for not wanting to go Black Friday shopping with the rest of the family!
See ya next week kids!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Photobooth Prop Shopping


I think it was Mrs. Blue Whale’s Photobooth post (you guys read WeddingBee, don't you?) that eventually pushed me over the edge and convinced me we needed a photobooth at our wedding. 

Based on price alone, we ended up choosing The Pittsburgh Photobooth.  Mercedes was extremely accommodating and responsive and their price literally could not be beaten.

One of the benefits of having over a year to plan our wedding is that I have plenty of time to bargain shop for things like bathroom basket goodies and the subject of this post today – photobooth props. 

Here’s what I picked up one afternoon in the Halloween clearance section at Target.

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Photobooth Prop Shopping
Personal Photo.  Clockwise from left:  HAY GIRL HAY Skeleton, two packs of stick-on eyebrows, geisha-style hat, devil horns headband, kitty cat mask.

I just love that skeleton backpack guy!  He looks like he’s having so much fun in that picture, doesn’t he?   Like he’s saying HAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!   


Of course I had to test out HGH Skeleton.

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Testing out Photobooth Props
Personal Photo in my dungeon bathroom
And the geisha hat.  
Doeblerghini Bunch:  Testing out Photobooth Props
Personal Photo also in the dungeon bathroom

And I forced Pepper really wanted to try on the devil horns.

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Pepper and the horny headband
 Personal Photo

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Pepper and the horny headband
 Personal Photo

All these props cost me less than $10 combined!  The skeleton was $2.60, the hat was $3.42, the eyebrows were 25 cents each, the mask was $1-ish and the horny headband (hehehe I'm a child) was about $1. 

Next up is finding some great deals for my bathroom baskets.  I am not ashamed to say I have been hoarding coupons for that exact purpose.

Did you shop the clearance racks for your wedding?  What about photobooth props, did you get them yourselves or did your photobooth company provide them?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Let Us Eat Cake!




I have a problem.  I cannot say no to holiday-themed sprinkles on clearance.  This year alone I have bought 4 different containers of Halloween sprinkles.
 
Last year, I kept coming home with different sprinkles and Dude eventually had to pull me aside and tell me I really, truly did not need the turkey-shaped sprinkles.

I’m still mad I didn’t buy them.  

Anyways, I’m getting off on a tangent here.  I swear this relates to the cake eating I mentioned in the title of this post. 

Soooo a few weeks ago, Dude and I were in the basement, discussing which baked good I should make over the weekend.  Yes, this happens often.  I have (another) problem.  Somehow that conversation evolved into wedding cakes, which then evolved into – 

“How cool would it be if we had a wedding cake with sprinkles!”

Cue Google Image Search.  Apparently we are not the first to have this idea.  Check out these awesome sprinkle cakes!

Doeblerghini Bunch: Sprinkle Wedding Cake

Doeblerghini Bunch: Sprinkle Wedding Cake

Doeblerghini Bunch: Sprinkle Wedding Cake
And then there was this cake.

Doeblerghini Bunch: Sprinkle Wedding Cake
I was instantly in love and hopefully asked Dude if this could be our wedding cake.
HE SAID YES!  


He was totally in for a sprinkle wedding cake!  I did a happy dance and then proceeded to send that picture to all of my bridesmaids and after that pinned it so I would never, ever lose it. 

And after all that, I figured now was as good a time as any to start the part of this wedding planning process that I was most looking forward to – CAKE TASTING!

I may have mentioned that once or twice already.

A little advice to anyone planning a wedding – bakeries book up QUICK.  As in 10 months before the wedding, 3 of the 7 bakeries we wanted to taste with were already booked for our date.  One of them was already booked for all of 2014!  

But don’t worry my friends; we got in our fair share of cake tastings! 

Our first stop was with Linda at Signature Desserts.  I picked this bakery because they have an awesome packaged option that includes enough cake to feed half your guests and then an assortment of cakes, pies and cookies for the rest. 

Here’s what we went home with after the tasting:

Doeblerghini Bunch: Wedding Cake Tasting at Signature Desserts
Personal Photo
The cake was pretty good.  Nothing spectacular, but not inedible either.  The real stand out at this tasting was the fillings.  The woman we met with even said they do not flavor their cakes at all, they let the fillings do the talking.  

Their filling is no joke!  All of the fruit and custard fillings we tried were fantastic, but they had a mango filling that was TO. DIE. FOR.  It was so good, Dude and I still talk about it to this day and I have plans this weekend to try to recreate it in my kitchen. 

Doeblerghini Bunch: Wedding Cake Tasting at Signature Desserts
Personal Photo
Next up, we met with a friend of a friend who bakes cakes out of her home kitchen – Amy Cakes.  Dude works with one of Amy’s close friends, and at some point he was given a pink champagne cupcake of hers; and we knew we had to do a tasting with her.  

She was easily the most personable baker we met with.  We chatted with her for an hour about weddings, cakes, babies, our dogs…  It was a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, I’m an idiot and was so excited to try the cupcakes she gave us to taste that I didn’t take a picture.

Her frosting is out of this world - sweet, not grainy, not oily, exactly what I look for in the perfect icing!

Next up was Creative Cakes.  We met with Gwen and her husband and were totally impressed with their fondant cakes.  They had a killer Super Mario Brothers cake that Dude lusted over.  Unfortunately, with a cake budget of “under $1,000,” a fondant cake for our 250-guest wedding is not in the cards for us.

Gwen was awesome and clearly an artist because she actually drew up a picture of the cake we wanted with some custom orange and grey sprinkles to match our colors! 

I wanted to take a picture of her work for you, but I failed and ended up not doing it.  Sorry guys. ):
Finally, our last cake tasting was with Nancy at Madison Ave Cakes.  First let me show you what we walked out of the bakery with:

Doeblerghini Bunch: Wedding Cake Tasting at Madison Ave Cakes
Personal Photo.  Clockwise from left:  chocolate peanut butter cupcake, Boston Cream cupcake, iced pumpkin cookie, giant chocolate chip cookie and a fruit tart in the middle
Hands down, Madison Ave had the best chocolate cake. 

For real, look at this chocolate cake - it's so dark, it blends right in with the black cupcake wrapper!

Doeblerghini Bunch: Wedding Cake Tasting at Madison Ave Cakes
Personal Photo
She also offered a light almond cake that I really enjoyed.  Dude wasn’t a big fan of her fillings, but she was so accommodating and told us to come back anytime if we wanted to try any other cakes or fillings.  

In the end, based on price, taste, and personality, we chose Amy Cakes.  She offered to create a mango filling just for us since we mentioned during our tasting how much we enjoyed the one at Signature Desserts.

So we’ll be doing a chocolate peanut butter layer on the bottom, iced with plain white buttercream icing.  The middle layer will be the bright spinkle layer and it will be an almond cake with mango filling.  The top layer will be the sanding sugar layer and it will be a dark chocolate cake with mango filling – YUM!! YUMYUMYUM!!  

Depending on our final guest count, we may have an additional sanding sugar layer or an extra sprinkled sheet cake in the back. 

We sent Amy pictures of our inspiration cake and she said she’s really excited to make it this summer.  I absolutely cannot wait!   Do all of the exclamation points in the last three paragraphs properly convey my excitement? 

So, what do you guys think?  Did I have an excessive amount of cake tastings?  What flavor was your wedding cake or what flavor will it be?  What do you think about sprinkle cakes – fun or tacky? 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ring-a-ding-ding

Dude and I went wedding band shopping over the weekend; and I think it's starting to sink in that we're really getting married.  And, if we're being totally honest, every item we check off our ginormous wedding to-do list makes me just a tinge more nervous!

So on Saturday Dude and I visited the guys at Garcia's in downtown Pittsburgh, who also designed my engagement ring.  While designing it, Dude became pretty tight with just about everyone who worked in the shop and this was my first time meeting them all.  I heard all kinds of stories about Paco, Roberto, Miguel, and Pilar so it was awesome to finally put faces to the names.

Going in, I really had no idea what kind of band I wanted.  I knew I liked thin bands and I know from prior experience that I am allergic to metals other than gold.  Yellow gold doesn't really look the best with my pale skin, so white gold is a must.

So I tried on a few.  All photos personal (apologies for the iPhone quality and shaky hands!).

The Doeblerghini Bunch:  Wedding Band Shopping (Hers)

I absolutely love this ring.  Even looking at it now I get a little chill!  So gorgeous, but  know it looks weird with my engagement ring.  So bummed. 

Here's one with a bump out.
The Doeblerghini Bunch:  Wedding Band Shopping (Hers)

And turned around the other way.
The Doeblerghini Bunch:  Wedding Band Shopping (Hers)

And honestly, that was about it.  Those were the only ones I liked enough to even consider.

So, while Dude was trying on rings and catching up with his buddies, I sat with Pilar and she designed a band that would fit perfectly with my engagement ring. 

I'm thinking about getting London Blue Topaz stones instead of diamonds, what do you guys think? 

The Doeblerghini Bunch:  Wedding Band Shopping (Hers)

And here are the ones Dude liked for his wedding band.

The Doeblerghini Bunch:  Wedding Band Shopping (His)

Seriously, the man has gorgeous hands.  Is it weird that I really, really want to paint his nails??

The Doeblerghini Bunch:  Wedding Band Shopping (His)

The Doeblerghini Bunch:  Wedding Band Shopping (His)

To be totally honest, it's tough for me to tell the difference between all these bands; but Dude is VERY particular and he knew exactly what he wanted and these weren't them.

So while I looked at all the other gorgeous jewelery (anniversary band is already picked out!) in the shop, Dude sat with Pilar while she designed a band just for him - a European-style white gold band with a brushed finish on the outside edges and shiny gold in the middle.

Since custom rings take 6-8 weeks to make, we decided to delay purchasing them until we get closer to the wedding date.

Translation:  Dude knows I am impatient and wouldn't be able to let my gorgeous custom band sit in our closet for months and we'd end up getting married at the Courthouse 6 months before the wedding.

So, now, I'm going to obsessively track the price of gold since the cost of our rings is based on whatever gold is selling for when we order them.

What was your wedding band shopping experience like?  Did you know what you wanted going in?  Were you lucky enough to have an engagement ring that was part of a set? 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Engagement Pics Are In!



Yay!  They’re here!  Our engagement pictures are in!!  We got a surprise CD in the mail from our awesome photographer, Michael Will on Friday. 



Personal Photo



How much do you love his stickers?  So clever!



They turned out so freaking awesome I can hardly stand it.  Michael Will and his wife are so darned talented; they can turn even unphotogenic me into a model!  

Ok, that might be a bit much, but I don’t look absolutely horrible like I normally do in pictures, so let’s just go with it.  I am beyond excited to see how they capture our wedding.

We had the pictures taken at a dog park near our house which is really just a wide open field with a lot of cool trails running around and behind it.  I accidentally found the railroad tracks one day when it was just Pepper and me and she ran off chasing something.   



So are you ready to see?  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nailed It


When I started making a list for our photographer for our must have engagement shots (I seriously cannot wait until we get the pictures back so I can show you the awesomeness!), I knew I needed one of my gorgeous engagement ring. I love it and I love the non-traditional ring pictures like this one with a puppy paw.

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Puppy Paws Engagement Ring Picture

Or this one on a railing.
Doeblerghini Bunch: Railing Engagement Ring Picture

Problem with those pictures is that I have ugly nails and old lady hands.  Really short fingers and nail beds coupled with a lifelong chomping habit and the fact that for at least 6 years I didn't even own a pair of nail clippers, means my nails are short, brittle, and for lack of a better word, kind of ugly.
 
Proof:
Doeblerghini Bunch:  Old Lady Hands
 
Doeblerghini Bunch:  Old Lady Hands

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Old Lady Hands

So what's a girl to do?

I know you guys are screaming "ACRYLICS" at your computer screens right now but to be honest I didn't want to ruin my natural nails even more with glue or risk an infection.  So that pretty much left me with no options other than press-ons. 
  
I know even saying the words press on nails brings back memories of 3rd grade and your Mom finding them sticking everywhere but your nails.  Towels, couch cushions, under your pillow... the list goes on...

But can I just say in the past 20 years (holy crap it's been 20 years since I was in 3rd grade) press on nail technology has improved by leaps and bounds. 

Am I the only one imagining a lab somewhere in Switzerland where the scientists are all wearing bright red press on nails?  Because Switzerland is the hub of press on nail adhesive technology. Obviously.

I digress.
 
Here's an "after" picture with my press-ons...pressed on. 

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Nailed It Press-Ons
I always wanted to take a picture like this!

I wore these babies for 6 days before they started getting loose.  And boy, did I put them to the test!  Here’s what I did for those days all in the name of science:
  • Worked out, which includes taking my sports bra on and off 4 times
  • Walked my…let’s just say rambunctious…dogs 6 times
  • Cooked dinner 4 times
  • Baked cupcakes, granola, and sugar cookies
  • Decorated sugar cookies
  • Put on a pair of tights
  • Drummed my fingernails on EVERYTHING – my desk, the kitchen table, my steering wheel, the couch arms, Dude’s arm…everything
  • Typed 2 blog posts
But here are some things these nails suck at:

  • Scratching anything 
  • Picking at a scab 
  • Popping a zit 
  • Getting keys off of a key ring
So clearly if you can refrain from being gross and taking your car to the shop while you're wearing them, you'll be golden.  

These nails were absolutely perfect for what I needed them for – a couple of pictures of my engagement ring that I wouldn’t cringe when I saw them later.  They looked natural and actually lasted way longer than I ever would have thought stick-on nails would!  When they started coming off, the sticky part of the nail didn’t damage my natural nail, and it didn’t hurt to yank them off the rest of the way.



And the best part?  These babies cost me $7, as opposed to $30 or $40 for a real manicure at the salon!  I will definitely be purchasing another set for the wedding!



Has anyone else out there tried stick-on nails?  Was your experience great like mine or did you hate them?  Would you wear stick-on nails for your wedding?