Thursday, July 30, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: July

It's that time again! This month, I tried to buy clothes to fulfill specific gaps in my closet; namely, wedding- and bridal-shower-appropriate dresses. It was another all-Target month (color me surprised), and I did things a little differently. Instead of going to the store, trying everything on and buying a few pieces, I ordered several dresses, tried them on at home, and returned what wasn't working. Ultimately, that left me with two dresses and the cutest pair of moto boots, as my old pair (seen here) finally kicked the proverbial bucket.


1. Melonie T fitted dress. This photo doesn't do the dress justice; it's sophisticated and, despite the pattern-mixing, not overwhelming. Perfect for weddings (I have four coming up this fall) and for more formal bridal showers. | $49.99 {exact}

2. Mossimo shirt dress. This baby will be perfect for showers, work and a more casual wedding. All four of the weddings I'm attending this fall will be Catholic ceremonies, but I'll probably wear this to more than one shower. (I actually already wore it to Ellen's the other weekend.) | $20.99 {exact}

3. Z London Combat/Moto boots. Oh man, these boots. I can't even. They didn't have my size, so I wound up ordering a half-size smaller, but fortunately they're still wearable. I love the lace detail (again, color me surprised) and the fold-down detail is pretty cool, too. I feel like I could stomp the earth in these shoes! | $31.99 {exact}

Total this month: $105.33. Bam! How did you do on your July clothes budget?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Weekending: More bridal things

I bet you thought that you were done seeing wedding-related things around here, right? WRONG! HA!

As it so happens, my little sister is getting married this well as one of my cousins, one of Matt's cousins, and two friends of ours. So yeah, lots of wedding things in the future.

So this past weekend, Ellen had her bridal shower (hosted by our mom and other little sister, Anna) and her bachelorette party (hosted by yours truly). Anna asked me to bring my DSLR to the shower, so I have lots of lovely images from that. The bachelorette pics are all via cell phone of course, but that's okay because — like my own bachelorette — some things just don't need to be shared ;) (Yes, I know that those pictures are still missing. Reuploading them is on my to-do list, I swear.)


Anna's decorations were on point if you ask me. It's crazy, because she's an engineering major and therefore should be logical and STEM-y, not crafty and artistic. But she's both! Not that I'm jealous or anything. (Except I definitely am.)


Mom, Ellen and Anna. Pretty ladies :)


Abby even came up from South Carolina for the weekend! And that lil munchkin in front is our youngest sister, Audrey. She's very camera shy, which is why she did her best to jump in front of the camera every time I held it up. She's a lot like me.

After the shower, Abby and I and some of Ellen's friends headed over to Cleveland to decorate the hotel room for the party. (Funnily enough, the bachelorette party I threw for Abby was in Cleveland too, though fortunately we made it plenty different.) We stayed at the Metropolitan at the 9 this time, which is relatively new and absolutely beautiful. I can't recommend it enough, if you're ever in downtown Cleveland!


The big surprise I had for this party was inspired by this pin: paper masks of Ellen's fiancé, Justin. It cracked me up the second I saw it, so obviously it became A Thing. We surprised Ellen when she walked into the room and she definitely wasn't creeped out at all. We took an elevator ceiling selfie and even convinced Mom to wear it at dinner, where she and Ellen's mother-in-law-to-be and Anna (who isn't 21 yet) met up with us. Actually, Ellen's MILTB wore it too, but I don't know her well enough to put an embarrassing pic of her on the internet. Dinner was at Stonetown, which was delicious, southern comfort food at its finest.


Our first stop of the night was the hotel's rooftop bar, which was lovely but not really the crowd we were looking for. We did manage to get one pic of the whole group — the three sisters and Ellen's friends Katie, Alex and Michelle. And I literally just this second, as I'm typing, noticed all the photobombers behind us. Wow.


I took Abby's scavenger hunt idea from my party and revamped it with some new tasks for Ellen's. One of them was to do the Chris Pratt velociraptor pose with three guys. We practiced with the Justin masks, natch.

The next morning, we headed to The Original Pancake House for brunch. Guys, it's real talk time. If you're ever anywhere near Cleveland, get breakfast/brunch here. It's amazing. Great diner-style food, a million flavors of pancakes, six-egg omelets with a side of three pancakes...this place is magical. The eggs Benedict? To die for. The owner also usually stops by the tables to chat, which I think is just charming.

And then it was back to real life. Abby caught her plane home, Ellen had to go to a birthday party for her fiancé's niece, and I had a bunch of research to do for a freelance story I'm working on. Can we just put all that on pause and take over Cleveland again?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Wedding Post

Welp okay, I finally got over my perfectionism and, with the help of dysfunctional internet at home, managed to finish editing the unedited wedding photos! Huzzah! I had a few hundred photos and a hard time trying to narrow them down, so bear with me on what is gonna be a long, picture-heavy post. Here goes!


Protip for wedding morning: Mimosas. Lots and lots of mimosas. I hate public speaking, and the idea of saying my hand-written vows had my stomach in knots from the second my eyes snapped open way too early that morning. (Though my sister commented that she was surprised I was able to "sleep in" until 5:30 or 6.)



That's my "I can't cry because mascara" face, which I made a lot throughout the course of the day. Not that it stopped me from crying, but I had to at least try, amiright?


Something old (my great-grandmother's bridal belt), something new (earrings), something borrowed (my mother's earrings) and something blue.


The flowers my friends and I slaved over for months. They turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!



Traditionally, the bride gets the groom a gift for their wedding day. Matt had been wanting a dress watch for a while, so I got one engraved for him. I also picked up a box of cigars for him and his groomsmen, 'cause I'm a cool bride ;)



Hayley, my friend and bridesmaid, made this beautiful cake (and all the guests' cupcakes) as our wedding gift. And my sister, Anna, made the cake topper. Aren't they talented?




Matt and I are both so lucky to have parents who are still together. It was on my mind all day, and that fact was a huge source of comfort to me every time I started stressing about the whole public-speaking-in-front-of-everyone-I-know.





Because our ceremony and reception were in the same location, and our cocktail hour was only an hour long, Matt and I decided to do a first look and photos before the ceremony. I'm actually really glad we did; it was such a relief to just see his face in the last hour or two before the ceremony. The first look was so special and wonderful; I couldn't have asked for anything more. We even sent the photographer away for a few minutes and spent some time alone, just the two of us, which might have been my favorite part of the entire day.




Stone-cold foxes, all 18 of us. Yes, it was a huge party, but I wouldn't have changed it for anything. These eight ladies — my three sisters and my five closest friends — mean the world to me, and Matt's been close to his groomsmen for years. He's known one of them since elementary school!






This photo of Matt might be my favorite from the whole day. It was taken just before the bridesmaids started walking down the aisle. Meanwhile, I was overheating out in the hall. May 9 was, I think, the hottest day of the year thus far — temps in the 90s and humidity to match. My ball gown skirt was suffocatingly hot, and when I get overheated and nervous, I tend to pass out. So I was sitting on a bench in the hall, fanning myself and thinking about how embarrassed I'd be in a few minutes when I fainted in front of everyone I know. My parents — they both gave me away — told me it was time to go, the last bridesmaid had just made her entrance. And I panicked and mumbled, "Tell them to wait! I'm fainting! It's so embarrassing!" My hands were tingling and my ears were ringing and I thought there was no way I'd make it down the aisle.

Then my parents, bless them, each picked me up by one arm and carried me to the door. I don't think I was supporting my own weight and I was still mumbling about how mortified I was already. Then the doors opened, someone gave me a gentle push between my shoulder blades, and I stumbled through the entrance.

I wavered a little, and then everything tunneled down to one sight: Matt at the end of the aisle.

I'm not 100% sure what happened after that, because the only person I was aware of in the whole room of 200+ people was Matt. I guess my parents each took and arm, and we started walking, and the whole time I saw no one but him. I don't know if it was adrenaline or something else, but all thoughts of fainting were completely out of my head. I knew I was going to be fine, as long as I was with him. (Strangely enough, that's what my vows were all about. Funny how that happens, isn't it?)



We had a knot ceremony, as an homage to our mutual love for climbing. Matt's sister's husband officiated our ceremony, and he did such a beautiful job. He helped us write a lovely ceremony, though in the moment Matt was pretty much all I was aware of. Someone told me later that the ceremony lasted about 15 or 20 minutes, though if you had asked me I might have told you it was only 15 or 20 seconds.


My sisters are so goofy. I don't know if they were doing this because it was so hot or what, but they laid on that bench giggling for ages after the ceremony while I cried and hugged everyone :)


Have I ever mentioned how big my family is? Matt's family is just the two of us, his sister and her husband, and their parents. My family consists of eight biological children (of which I'm the oldest), plus Matt, my sister's husband and my other sister's husband-to-be. (They're getting married in the fall.) The two families couldn't be more different; the Henterlys are quiet and reserved, and the Frankarts are loud and obnoxious. It's actually awesome; like having the best of both worlds. I couldn't ask for two more wonderful families!


Classic "three generations" photo with my mom and her mom.



My sister/maid of honor, Abby, and Matt's best man, Omri, gave amazing speeches. Abby's was about the first time she met Matt, before we were even dating, and how she could just tell we'd end up together. Omri's was about how Matt and I took his girlfriend out on her birthday when he couldn't make it out till later, and how that reflected us as a couple. (It was a weeknight and we disregarded having to get up early for work the next day to make sure she had a good time.)


A friend choreographed a Matt's and my first dance as a gift to us, and it was wonderful. We danced to "Hard to Concentrate" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I think people really enjoyed it. Everyone was just sitting around when the song began, but when we started busting out spins and dips and lifts, everyone got really into it. By the end, folks were all standing around us and cheering. It was really awesome! We're still waiting on our videography, but when it comes back I'll post a video :)



My first dance with my dad was pretty wonderful, too. He started off complaining that he couldn't possibly follow Matt's and my dance, so I told him I'd lift him — aka, he jumped and I pretended to "lift" him at the waist (hence the laughter in the first picture). Then he got seriosu and said some really sweet, lovely things, and I scolded at him for making me cry again.

My bridesmaid Kate caught the bouquet, which was really cool because about six weeks after the wedding, the Supreme Court made their marriage ruling. Kate and Chasity (another bridesmaid, in fact) have been engaged for a few years, but were waiting until their marriage would be recognized here in Ohio before having their wedding. They're looking at doing it next year :)

My brother, David, caught the garter and ripped his pants in the process (as you can probably see). I told you our family is nuts, haha!




After the reception, we held an afterparty at a nearby bourbon bar. A bunch of our friends and cousins came out and I forced a huge box of leftover cupcakes on the bar staff. We closed the place down before walking back over to the hotel. It was such a perfect cap to a perfect day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Weekending: Climbing at Coopers

Did everybody enjoy their weekend? Many of us here in the States enjoyed a nice long weekend, thanks to the Fourth of July landing on a Saturday. A few friends and I took the opportunity to head down to Coopers Rock, where I was last month, only we had a bit more luck this time around.

We got to the site late Thursday night, threw up our tents and settled down for an early morning. There was a huge chance of rain starting Friday afternoon and running through the weekend, so we wanted to get in ahead of that. After a legit Breakfast of Champions at IHOP (natch), we hit the rocks. I actually was shooting my friend Marcy for a project I'm working on, so I can't share the photos I took on my Nikon. But I did remember to whip out my iPhone for a few snaps here and there.

This was probably one of my favorite routes from the entire weekend. It was on a block called Mushroom Boulder; you can't see it from this shot, but the whole front of the rock looks like a giant mushroom — skinny at the bottom with a overhanging roof. You had to work around a ledge and up through that chimney; I modified a few moves because the actual route was a bit out of my league, but I think with some work I could get it as it was intended to be gotten.

The rain started mid-afternoon on Friday, so we headed back into town for burritos and beers at Black Bear before returning to camp. The rain let up just long enough for us to get a fire started and a tarp hung over our picnic table, so we sat around under the tarp until the fire finally petered out.


Saturday dawned foggy and wet, but not rainy. We knew the rocks would need time to dry, so we slept in and hung out around camp before hitting up some hiking trails. The hike we took was really cool; we went beyond the official, marked trail and followed an unmarked but well-worn path down to this really cool, really enormous boulder on the edge of a cliff.




Naturally we geeked out over the boulder for a bit, then we hiked out. It was short, but kind of brutal — just one long, steep hill. By then, some of the high-sun areas had dried out a bit, so we climbed a bit. Spent most of the afternoon just lying around on the crash pads, though. That's where I found this lil guy:

Finally, we headed into town to get supplies for a campfire feast. It. Was. Glorious.


And since Saturday was the fourth, we did the most American thing we could: Sat around a fire with a few beers and some whiskey!

Sunday slept in a bit again, but managed to get some great climbs in before we left.

I was just so excited to get back on some real rock for more than a few hours; it's been months since I've done any good climbing. And I have to say too, camping is starting to grow on me. I mean, we car-camp, so things are still pretty cushy. I was never outdoorsy as a kid, but something about sleeping in a tent in the woods is strangely calming for me now. Isn't it funny how things like that change sometimes?