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5 wonderful years!

i'm in chilly canada right now, but today is randy's and my anniversary. 5 years! i can't believe it!

thanksgiving 2009

we have been together for 1,825 days! and our wedding is in 42 days!

love you, sweet pea.


oh, canada.. again

tomorrow i travel to toronto, ontario for a work trip. thankfully, i'm much more prepared for the weather than i was last year..


wedding wednesday

the day before my birthday, randy and i had our food tasting with the caterer for our wedding reception. and i will be honest - food tasting is my favorite part of wedding planning so far!

the caterer we booked is dj's california catering. they service ventura, los angeles, and santa barbara counties and, in addition to weddings, can cater pretty much any event that requires food/beverages. when we decided to book our venue, i was immediately scouring yelp, google, and the knot for local caterers. for randy and i, food was something that was on our non-negotiable list. dj's was a recommended vendor from camarillo, but also has ridiculously great yelp reviews, so i immediately asked for a quote.

i sent an email to doug, who is the owner of dj's. doug is super helpful and very quick in responding to emails, which is a quality i find invaluable in a person! we paid the deposit and then anxiously waited until a more appropriate time to have our tasting.

what you see here: mashed potatoes, pasta, tri-tip, chicken, and vegetables (i had already eaten most of the vegetables by the time i took the photo)

the tastings are held in their kitchen, which is basically a big warehouse building. there's a separate section where there are tables set up, so it looks kind of like a mini-restaurant (there's a photo of our table at the end of this post). i have to admit, it's a little bit awkward - imagine being in a restaurant by yourself. luckily, they gave us space to try the food, so it's not like they were watching us eat. everything we had was delicious! we started with a garden salad and some fresh rolls. then we got to try all of our entree selections (pictured above). we are still torn about the beef option, but everything else was spot on!

chicken stuffed with tomato, basil, mozarella, and avocado in a roma pink sauce
tagliatelle pasta with fresh tomato, parmesan, and basil

not only was the food good, but i'm totally excited about the service we will be getting at our reception. for our wedding, dj's is setting up the chairs for the ceremony (and then moving them in for the reception), setting up tables with linens, configuring the layout of our reception space, setting up cocktail hour + snacks, setting up a water station for the ceremony.. i was so much more at ease after i found out everything they would be doing at the wedding. i have to admit, the biggest thing i've learned throughout my wedding planning experience is that people are here to help you. i'm pretty independent and usually a "to get it done right you have to do it yourself" type of person, so asking for help isn't one of my strongest qualities. but between the caterer, our day-of coordinator, the florist, and my parents, i feel so much more comfortable that our wedding will turn out exactly as i imagine it will. when i started the planning, i just imagined myself with my wedding dress hiked up setting up centerpieces!

so what's left for us before the wedding? so many little things! my stepmom and maid of honor threw a very beautiful bridal shower for me (which i'll be posting about soon), and randy's bachelor and my bachelorette parties are coming up in early-february. after that it's venue walk-throughs with the coordinator, confirming the vendors, finishing the favors and escort cards, getting my dress altered, making sure everything is in order.. the list seems endless! but i honestly can't wait for our wedding day to get here already!


it's my birthday! / 24 before 25 list

holy moly! it's my birthday!

today i turn 24 years old. which is crazy because i feel like i just turned 18 like 2 minutes ago, but hey, i'll take it!

some of you will remember i made a 23 before 24 list on my last birthday. click here to see how i did (not very good, i admit, but wedding planning took up most of my free time..)

since i now have one whole year until i'm 25....

1. get married!!
2. read 12 books {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12}
3. cut my hair
4. go to 2 concerts {1, 2}
5. spend more time with family
6. get back into blogging on a regular basis
7. pay off my credit card (failed item from 23 before 24)
8. go on a wonderful & relaxing honeymoon
9. hand-make valentines and give them to all of my friends
10. go to 5 places that i have never been to before {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}
11. go on a hike
12. freshen up our kitchen (paint? refinish cabinets?)
13. go on a camping trip (probably more like glamping)
14. buy a vespa scooter
15. do a good deed for a stranger
16. buy myself a really really really really nice purse (coach, maybe?)
17. volunteer at an animal shelter (taken from my 23 before 24 list)
18. treat myself more often (massages, manicures, etc.)
19. help plan an amazing first birthday party for our godson, noah
20. spend new years 2014 in an exciting city, like new york or vegas!
21. participate in some sort of marathon/walk for a good cause
22. get wedding photo stuff done - albums, prints framed & hung, etc..
23. reorganize/redecorate our guest bedroom (also kind of from my 23 before 24 list)
24. take more pictures, iphone or otherwise

ps. yesterday was the 2-month mark on the wedding countdown, and tomorrow is my bridal shower! what a truly amazing birthday!


envelope budgeting

in the past, i have posted about some tips & tricks that have helped me to become a better saver, but since our engagement, i haven't really talked about envelope budgeting.

when i first started planning our wedding, my good friend carmella told me that envelope budgeting was the way she and matt paid for their wedding (she also talks about it here). the concept is soooo incredibly simple, but because we've become an electronic-focused society, i think people have forgotten about setting cash aside.

i was looking at my pinterest feed, and somebody pinned this post from one good thing by jillee. the thumbnail was of money inside of an envelope, and i thought, 'hey, that looks familiar!'

photo from one good thing by jillee
as i read this post, i thought about how great it was because she explains everything so perfectly, and it's pretty much exactly everything randy and i do to save money for the wedding. like i said, it's not hard - basically figure out how much money you need for something, and put that amount of cash inside the designated envelope.

sure, randy and i could have just as easily put all of the money into our "wedding savings" account, but let me tell you, it's been working out so much better that we've been allocating money to specific things and keeping everything separate. i do keep some money in our wedding savings account for when i need to order wedding items online, but let me tell you, if we had as much money in our savings account as we do in our envelopes, i would be etsy's #1 customer by now. out of sight, out of mind, so i don't think i have all this money to spend when in fact it's already spoken for.

one of the staple new year's resolutions is to "save more money." try this, and see how much farther you'll get with your financial goals!


happy new year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR lovely readers of mine!!!

i honestly cannot believe we're already in 2013! i can remember exactly where i was this time last year, and there have been so many wonderful, crazy, big, sad, terrifying, tear-filled (both good and bad tears) things that have happened since then.

first of all, i hope all of you are being safe this new years (you want to be able to actually enjoy 2013). secondly, i hope all of your wishes and aspirations for 2013 come true, but remember, they will only happen if you make them happen! i have learned so many valuable lessons in 2012, and i can't wait to learn many more things this year.

obviously this year is big because i'm getting married in march, which i am so excited for. but i also can't wait for other fun milestones, like mine and randy's 5 year anniversary (which is kind of related to the wedding, but i'm still looking forward to it!) and our godson's first birthday in june.. spending precious moments with family and friends..

thank you all for being a part of my life through my little blog, and i can't wait to experience 2013 with you all!