.engagement photos: recap, part I.


Our engagement photos were Tuesday! It was quite exciting yet exhausting. We left our house at 8:15 am and returned home at almost 9 pm. It was a full and quite productive day.

Instead of starting the day with an energizing workout, the day started out with me tending to a rather large pimple on my cheek. I knew that it was coming; it made its presence felt way before it ever showed its ugly face. Isn’t that how luck goes? Especially for someone who rarely has any blemishes? Once the sun began to rise, I began to shine. My excitement could not be contained behind tired eyes and I was up at the crack of dawn.

Best part of the morning? Getting up, showering and not having to do my hair or makeup. It made the morning a breeze! We packed up the car and headed out to get my hairs did. The thing that I love most about my stylist, other than her also being a great friend to me, is that I never have to really tell her what I want. This time, I did show a photo and she blew that photo out of the water! I should have known that no images were needed for her amazing skills. In an hour we were out, onto make up. My regular and preferred artist, Craig, had the day off, so he substituted himself with another artist. Make up was done at the MAC Pro Store so I knew that my face was in good hands. It is always a slight challenge to have someone new work their magic on you, but Talia did a great job—so good that I had forgotten she even put on fake eyelashes! Not once did I tug or fidget with them throughout the entire day. It still would have been nice to share the day with my glam man, but there is always the wedding day.

Once we were primped and ready to go, we began the shoot with some portrait/glam shots. Seated, standing, on steps, we looked like we were in a grand mansion somewhere that is not here. We moved into the make shift studio, which is a wedding chapel by typical day, shot some more of the formals, a few solos and then moved onto the comedy shots. With Flo being a local weatherman, we played off of his career by playing Weatherman and Hot Weather Assistant. Those were actually fun and I may, just may use one of those shots for my column.

We took ourselves to the Neon Boneyard, which is what I’ve been waiting for! You pay a fee for one hour, private use of the boneyard. Gosh that hour went quickly! I never changed into the “dressy” outfit that I wanted, but that was by choice, I liked the way our everyday clothes shots were turning out. It took a little while to get into our groove of posing- I had no idea it would be that challenging. It isn’t easy to laugh, smile, pose and joke when put on the spot. Here, we used the cardboard signs with the hopes of using these photos for our STDs. After our hour whizzed by, we took our first break, reviewed some shots and talked about our last set of shots.

When Flo proposed, it was on New Years at Fremont Street. So it was only fitting to take a few shots here. I changed into outfit #4 and off we went. After dinner, wine and a beer, we were warmed up and these shots were effortlessly chic. I’ve always loved the brick wall shots, or where the bride-to-be wears a vibrant outfit and pops from the background. Low and behold we found a brick wall and posed.

But not before we were:
1. Asked to leave by Fremont Security. We kindly told him that we only looked like professional photogs and models. These photos were for personal use- our engagement pics.
2. We were serenaded by two random people who asked if I was a model. My response? “No, I just look like one!” Snap. I’ve always wanted to say that. The serenade song? “It’s So Hard to Say Good Bye to Yesterday” by Boys II men… totally inappropriate? I think so.
3. We were then accosted by a man cradling a Sparks beer in a paper bag. He suggested that Scott put away his camera or he will end of arrested and in jail. Apparently he was rubbed the wrong way by the segway riding security guards who were following him. Can’t say that he is to blame.

It was finally a wrap with some fun, artistic shots that are out of the ordinary. Flo and I are game for anything and are happy to have Scott and Cameron on our team to help us take fabulous, unique, stunning engagement and wedding photos. After yesterday, I am that much more excited for the wedding and all of the amazing ideas that we have for photos! Yippee!!! Now, I have to take my own advice and save the wedding shots that I like.

Up next? My post-shoot advice and things I’ve learned…. In the meantime, enjoy a small preview....

.engagement photo eve.


Finally-tomorrow is our engagement photo session with Scott! Excited is an understatement. Nervous is an accurate statement. Not nervous about the photos themselves, but nervous that l will forget something at home. Or that the wind blows my hair around and I can’t fix it or that one of the selected outfits won’t work, match or fit properly. Yes, I’ve tried everything on. Twice. I have binder clips to help the red dress fit better, double stick tape to de-pouf the sleeves on the blue dress. Skinny underwear, boy short underwear. Strapless bra. Bra with straps. Camisole. Black shoes, nude shoes, green shoes, purple shoes and super high black dress shoes. That ought to do it. Oh! Props. There are some props in the trunk of the car, can’t forget those.

Had The Ring cleaned today while at work. Funny, the lady who discouraged the type of ring that I wanted said, “Oh beautiful setting!” That’s right, lady. And because of your lack of desire to sell anything other than what is in your store, we went elsewhere to buy the ring but thank you for cleaning it. Moving along…. She wouldn’t even let me try on gemstone rings when I saw the setting that I liked. Roo!

Once the photos are taken, Laura and I will begin to collaborate on the Save the Date cards or STDs for short. There is an immature part of me who chuckles each time I write “STD”; I can admit that but only to you.

Flo and I are stoked for these photos and to see how they turn out. This is the first actual organized pre-wedding activity so far! We haven’t had an engagement party because 80% of the bridal party, including our families is from out of town. Maybe down the road? Or how about the “co-ed” shower/engagement celebration?? Upon further research, that may be a viable option. Flo needs love too and needs to be showered with things like towels, video games, shams & bed skirts. Maybe I can register him for some cookware and tie a big hint to it?? Silly, I am.

Time to get rested, at this rate, I can get a full 8 hours of sleep if we try. Hair at 9 am. Makeup at 10:30 am. Photos begin at 11am. Follow my tweets tomorrow for as much play by play as I can give. www.twitter.com/thenearlywed.

.just say ahhhhh.


Today, I treated myself to a little pre- engagement photo pedicure at a fabulous place called Futzpah 118. It is located inside of a podiatrist’s office and is just a-mazing! A little…ok a decent amount more expensive than your neighborhood nail place, but for me, it is worth it. They have a special pedi called “Unsugar my tootsies” and it is for diabetics. Being a Type 1 diabetic, the last, absolute last thing I need is a cut on my foot to lead an infection and thus ending in amputation. You see, everything always ends in the worse possible, dramatic way when I speak, think or write. So to save myself, I treat myself to the pedis on rare occasion. Last occasion was my birthday.

I think about taking my Zillaz here for pedis before the wedding, but they can only seat three people at a time and that means we would have to spend two hours there… hmmmm I will need to think about that. But while I was there, I found great inspiration for my e-pic hair and makeup. So far, I have taken photos of my outfits and will use them to show my hair and makeup gurus what I plan on wearing so that they can beautify as necessary. I’m thinking of starting with my hair up so that we do the formal, glam poses and then pull it down for the casual shots. Although I am not sure that I trust myself enough to do it seamlessly. I was thinking of a smokey grayish eye so that it will potentially match with everything. I can change up the lip color as necessary to match the looks of the photos. While enjoying my pedicure, I slyly ripped out two photos from an old US Weekly magazine! If my scanner was connected to my laptop, a photo would be posted here.

Back to feet-this, by the way, is the one thing that I hate most in this world. I have an awful anti-foot thing. I digress… I found some flip flops in the dollar section of Target last weekend. It is spring time, so time to throw in all of the spring bridal items and bachelorette party items. Most items were cheesy but they had these super cute flip flops, so I bought two pair.
One for pre-wedding and then the pair that says “Just Married.” And then I got to thinking… I want to have a “flip flop bin” at the wedding where the ladies can grab a pair, kick off their heels and dance/lounge in comfort. Who doesn’t cry barking dogs after hours of dancing? Oddly, Flo isn’t into this idea. My guess would be that he has never crunched his feet into a non conforming pair of ladies heels for more than 1 minute, yet alone four hours. I had an idea of buying out all of the pairs of flip flops from my local Target stores. Well our visit today turned up two pairs. Yes, count them folks, two pairs. Seemed rather pointless to buy them so we left and I now will search the wonderful world of Google, eBay and anywhere else that may sell bulk flops. As I get further into posting inspirational ideas and photos, more of this flip flop bin will be revealed.

.engagement photos: four days away.


Seriously, that is an understatement. For the past week, I’ve been shopping and buying, shopping in stores and shopping on line in search of the perfect outfits for our engagement photos which are on Tuesday. This may not be right and it may not be ok, but I am over-buying with the intent of returning whatever isn’t worn.
When I first brought up photos with our photographer, he had some novelty shot ideas, some things a little but out of the ordinary. Flo and I are game for anything that is unique, original and can capture our true selves via the lens. In thinking about our Save the Date cards, we had some ideas for props and shot ideas. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we are having our photos taken at the Neon Boneyard and the novelty shots will be captured at Caesars Palace.

We met our photographer for nachos and beer earlier this week and discussed locations, outfit changes, props, etc. I am a little OCD and like to map things out, so I drew a chart with our photo locations, scene ideas and potential looks. There are very few images out there of engagement photos that were taken at the Neon Boneyard. Although we’ve been there before, choosing the proper outfits is daunting. Most of the signs are red, yellow, and blue. I know that black and white aren’t favorable in photos, so I have chosen some purple, some polka dots and stripes for the Neon Boneyard. For the formal shots, I have a few dressy gowns and a few dresses hanging up in my closet waiting to be dusted off.

To say that I’ve put a lot of time and research into this photo session is an understatement. I played “runway” with Flo the other day—putting on the outfits that I have put together. He seems rather pleased with my selections all we need to do it get him his looks. As a reader of this blog, you are probably wondering why on earth am I being so OCD?? Well… I work in retail/fashion and I’ve created an imaginary pressure to make these photos stellar. Maybe the pressure is real and deep down the viewers of my photos will be waiting eagerly to see what we wore. I’m not sure what it is, but its presence is felt like an unwanted neighbor looking over your shoulder.

In searching for Neon Boneyard photos, I’ve found a few where I like the poses…. Don’t be surprised if I post something similar in the near future:
{first three photos by heidi ryder photography}

{photo by jessica claire photography}

Sigh. I can't wait for Tuesday. Supposedly the weather is looking pretty good too... Wait- where did that wind come from??? Yikes.... windy weather in Vegas is no match for anyone.

{photo from Channel 8}

.three sixty five.

April 24, 2009

Three hundred and sixty five days. That is how many days remain until our wedding! Up until now, my standard reply to the question of, “How’s the wedding planning coming along?” has been, “Eh…we are still over a year away…” Well, now that is no longer a valid retort. Starting tomorrow, we are under one year to go. While the fire still isn’t under our culi, we are within grasp of the date rolling around. I have been decisively challenged over the past 3 months to make any wedding decisions. Now I feel like I can make decisions and they are relevant and valid. It is time to start scheduling appointments and picking a dress. When people ask use when the wedding date is, I can now reply with, “April 24th.” I don’t have to add the year of “2010” since we will already be past April 24th.

There is no doubt in mind that the next year is going whiz by us just as the last year did. Although I can’t recall what occurred on this date in 2008, I do recall other events around this time where they feel like yesterday or last week.

To the next 365 days, may you bring us joy and not sorrow, allow us to be decisive rather than indecisive and don’t you move at a pace that is more rapid than I am ready. Let’s the countdown officially begin and let the good times roll on in!

.three six six.


April 23, 2009

Today marks 366 days until our wedding. On this nite, in one year from now, I anticipate that I will be going to sleep in a hotel room with my five bridesmaids, maybe my mom and Mil. I anticipate that my heart will be a flutter and that we will be a roomful of giggling girlies who are waiting for the boy they are crushing on to finally give her a call. We will be a roomful of reminiscent girls who can share stories about me from the day I was born, a teenager, from my first “real” job to finding the man who will become my husband. All of the Zillaz have known me for several years and have seen me through many stages of life – I can’t wait for this nite to arrive and to spend it with people who I love and cherish and am proud to have in my life.

I anticipate the guy’s nite will be much more different than the girls. They will probably sit in a lounge somewhere, drink beers and talk about all of the trouble they got into as kids, teens and college friends. They will have at least one story per person of how they narrowly escaped death or a prison sentence. They will talk about the things they did and the things that they hope their kids never do.

Falling asleep tonite may be a bit of challenge as all that I can think about right now is what it will feel like in 365 days. Tomorrow, we have “Mystery Date” and our “Minus One” celebration. If you refer back a
few blogs ago, I shared how exciting it is to actually spend your future wedding day together, something that most couples don’t get to do. One of the perks to a longer engagement.

I bid you adieu April 23, 2009 and look forward to waking up, rolling over and planting a smooch on Flo and wishing him a happy anniversary to be…. And I look forward to the blog entitled “365”.

The countdown clock slowly begins


Today, I received my first alert that we have “TWELVE MONTHS TO GO”, it was like a bullhorn shouting through my Crackberry. Seriously. This is what it looked like:

Jennifer, your wedding date is: 4/24/2010

While I’m still in procrastination mode, it is slowly becoming more real. The May/June timeframe is incredibly busy for Flo and I—we are becoming an Aunt and Uncle for the first time and I am also a Bridesmaid for the first time!! May 27 is target date for Aunt and Uncle-hood, June 6 is the date for Bridesmaid duties. Since both the mother-to-be and the June bride-to-be are in my wedding, I feel like it is unfair to them if I start bogging anyone down with my wedding details when we are over twelve months out! Right? They have bigger fish to fry right now. Once we get back from that East Coast trip, we are ten months out and are going to hit the ground running.

At that point, I pinky promise to post more photos of my inspirations, ideas, experiences of planning (dress shopping, cake tasting, even trying to get in shape- ugh!). As of now, this blog has been more about my thoughts than planning, but it is better than having each and every detail worked out before I ever even said, “YES!” Right?? I wasn’t a “just-add-groom” type of bride before getting engaged.

In reviewing my “things to write about” list, there are several items that have yet to be posted. Shame on me, but stay tuned… they are coming! Matter of fact, they will be written and posted this week.

--The Entourage, The Players. Who is in our wedding and why??
--Las Vegas Bride: if you haven’t picked up a copy you should or
visit them on line for invaluable wedding planning information
--The Nearlywed Report: What on earth is that, you ask?
Stay tuned folks and I will personally introduce you to this columnist

Being engaged is fun, if I can do it all the time, to the same man, I would be happy!

The Staycation


Ahhhh…. Ok, so I’ve been slacking on the blogging in a serious manner. It is unacceptable, I concur. However, I took the weekend off for a “staycation” and have yet to recover. On this staycation, I had high hopes of sitting by a pool, sipping wine and writing like a fiend. I sat by the pool (in sweats) and sipped wine (from a paper cup) and wrote nothing.

{my foot. at the pool}

Even though I failed my personal goals, the staycation was fabulous! Rarely do Flo and I get one day off together, yet alone two days in a row. So we did what we do really well and that is drive out to Lake Las Vegas and spend the weekend at Loew’s Resort. Since July of ’08 it has become our haven. Our getaway. Our home tropical vacation right in our own backyard. It is one of the two places in Las Vegas where you can go and truly feel like you are not in Vegas anymore. Friday after work, I fought afternoon commuter traffic and headed out to our haven. We have a favorite floor on which we like to stay; we now have a favorite room on that floor. Open air patio. Room service. I could get used to that. Being away without being too far away was relaxing, detoxing and just plain old good time fun!

{the view from loew's}

On Easter Sunday, Flo and I volunteered for the JDRF’s Easter egg hunt! It was insanity at it’s finest, but a complaint would only devalue the importance of the event. Entry was $3 per child aged 0-10, the JDRF was able to keep $1.50 of each entry fee. The JDRF earned about $2,800 from this four hour event! Thanks to everyone who turned out on that beautiful day and thank you for getting us $2,800 closer to a cure.

Ok, yes, this is a wedding blog, not a “this is what I did this past weekend” blog…” Loew’s has amazing wedding facilities and if you are in the market for a venue to knock the dancing shows off of your guests, you may just want to check it out. For how much we adore the place, it is a shame we aren’t getting married there! Not that my current venues won’t or don’t work… but I can’t help but still fantasize about it. Is it awful to change your venues? Or want to change your venues? When guests come to Las Vegas, do they want to be on The Strip? Close to the action? Is it awful to have your wedding on the outskirts of Vegas? Kind of like the itch on your back that you just can’t reach? Almost. Got. It. Right. There. D’oh. I feel like this location is perfect marriage between Vegas and Heaven. Flo and I need to research this a little more in depth since it is a place that actually means something to us. Caesars means something to me, not us, but it is gorgeous also. Conundrum #1.

If you need any information on Loew’s or Lake Las Vegas, reach out to me and I will be happy to pass it along!

Back to planning… here is my conundrum #2: Is it too early to plan anything?? We are 53 weeks + 1 day away from the “BIG DAY” and for some reason, I just can’t get into planning. I am doing more than my share of researching, browsing, right clicking and saving images, but I can’t bring myself to meet a vendor or make a decision. Matter of fact, I still look at paint swatches and wonder if my color palette is settled yet. I know that time flies- believe me, as I just woke up one day and poof! I was 31 and engaged! I digress… In six short weeks, my next “vacation” is here and by the time I return from that we will be about 10 months out from the wedding. That feels like the perfect time to actually begin planning.

Lately, I’ve noticed that most engagements are ranging from 6-11 months. Flo and I are going to hit almost 17. Sounds like an eternity these days but enjoying the engagement has actually been quite memorable. No rush, no stress, enough time to save money and wow, look, we are already 53 weeks + 1 day away from our anniversary to be. Our “Minus One”, is what I am calling it. When your engagement is less than one year away, you don’t get to celebrate and enjoy the day that will one day be your wedding anniversary. So this year, on April 24th, we are going to clink glasses and says cheers to the Mr. & Mrs. Flo-To-Be. It’s actually my Mystery Date month… what shall I plan for us…..

Friday edition of Pretties....


Unfortunately, I am slacking and there is no Friday pretties! Shame on me... but stay tuned, I have some great works of writing coming up!

Have a wonderful weekend and happy whatever holiday you celebrate!

A few words from two of the Zillaz


Once I had confirmed the members of The Dream Team, I told the other two bloggers to feel free to write on their respective blogs or to be a guest blogger on my blog. They are both fantastically funny and wonderful writers. I told you that I had The Dream Team. Anyway, they both posted their blogs and I am floored, again, by my emotions in reading what they had written.

Everyday when I wake up next to Flo, I realize and feel how lucky and blessed my life truly is. When I hear from my friends, cousin and sister, whether it is a text, email, facebook message or letter, I realize how lucky and blessed my life is. After reading their blogs, I wonder what I did to deserve such wonderful people in my life!! On with the blog...

Just to give you insight: One of my Bridesmaids says that she will be a Bridesmaidzilla and if anyone trys to not make this wedding how we/I want it, she is going to go zilla on them. So the bridesmaids are my Zillaz. For life. It provides humor. Trust me, though... we aren't Zillaz....

Visit here to read her blog about my asking her to be in the wedding.
Here is a photo of her reading her card.

For the blog of my other Zillaz, please click here and be sure to the blog entitled "Bridal Wave".
Here is a picture of her opening her card:

The Dream Team


This is just too exciting to NOT blog right now, because I may soon forget what this feeling feels like and I don’t want to not capture it. My Dream Team has officially been assembled, as of yesterday. I call them a Dream Team because that is what they are, to me. A formal intro to the Dream Teams (this includes Flo’s) will follow…but it includes family and friends, near and far, new and old. It was challenging because I had to remind myself that the wedding is about Me and Flo. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about who is asked or what they think if they aren’t asked. There were some times I wanted to ask people I have known longer or may see more often, but I received some great advice—Ask those who are responsible, who will be there for you and have your best interest at heart. With that advice, I quickly assembled my bridesmaid asking gifts (bribery, as I called it) and wrote out their cards with messages from the heart. Everyone in my party has seen me through many stages of my life and it gives me great joy to know that it continues into my marriage. The person who gave that advice, well, she was asked to be in my party.

Now that the party is complete, it is a huge sigh of relief and I really do, for some reason, feel complete. It’s uncanny, I wasn’t expecting to feel this way. What I also wasn’t expecting was the feelings I got before, during and after the asking. Nerves took over before each asking…even with my sister! Then while they were reading their cards, it was nerves/excitement/anticipation! Are they going to say yes?? Then seeing them smile, cry, laugh and sigh was the monogram on top of the cake! It was awesome, even today, I am still flying high.

I have pictures of everyone opening their gifts, except one, who I was not able to ask in person. It was really meaningful to me to be able to ask in person, which is why it took so long for me to reach everyone. But the gifts are given, the responses are yes and we now can let the fun and games begin!!!

A previous post showed you my thought process on the gifts- allow me to introduce you to the gifts:

They were custom made at Sugar&Spice Signature Cards and Gifts Dallisa, who is truly amazing, put together a decorative box with our initials on them, inside was a retro/pin up looking mug with one of three sayings on them, a variety pack of her handmade signature cards, a ring pop, Hershey’s kisses and a candle from the S&S line of gifts.

Bribery, as I called it, for the girls. My bridesmaidzillaz. It's only cool if we use a "z" at the end.

So to S, F, A, K, M this is gonna be one heckuva party! Thank you.

Pretties, Vol II


Welcome to this week’s edition of “Pretties”! I wish that there were product sponsors to send me products to sample… ahem….wishful thinking!!

Today, I move onto hair where there are two products I’d love to review today:
1. Frederic Fakkai Glossing Serum
2. Enjoy Hair Mask

{product number one}

I was first introduced to this heavenly crème by my friend, Sephora.com, Seph (as I call her for short) sent this to me and I tried it out. Wow! The packaging is correct; a “pea sized” dollop is all you need. I apply to damp hair before drying and sometimes a tiny bit after drying. Surely, if you had the glossing spritz it would work perfect right here. This product keeps my hair soft and fairly shiny considering the water we use out here. I had forgotten how awful washing with Vegas water is, until I went back to PA a few weeks ago. My hair was super soft and super shiny, even more so thanks for Mr. Fekkai. You can find this product in more beauty supply shops (Ulta, Sephora) and a few mall stores (Nordstrom, Bath & Body Works). Well worth the $20 that you will pay for a tube of it, but I see this tube lasting me at least a year—remember, no need to wash your hair EVERY day.

{product number two}

This product was introduced to me by one of the models at work. He, yes, HE, is a hairdresser-cum-Chippendale-cum- runway model and told me about the Enjoy Hair Mask.

Quite pricey…. Flo picked it up at his hair place for $24.95 for an 8 oz tube. Directions say leave on 2-5 minutes. I was instructed to leave on for 30 minutes under a shower cap. I can NOT wait to try this. The product has given me amazing results after leaving it on in the shower long enough to wash my body and shave my legs. This will undoubtedly make me happy. Combine with product number one and I anticipate soft, shiny hair that will make it through the work week on one washing….. Have not tried any other products out of this line but would like to.

Picture It: Vegas. 2009.


Remember how Sophia Petrillo would always say, “Picture it. Sicily. 1963…” and then launch into some odd ball of a Sicilian story?? Well, my friends, picture Vegas 2009. Engagement photos. They are coming. Picture it: April 28. Imagine Photo Studios. Shot on various sites.

Flo and I are finally having engagement photos taken. I say finally as if we have been engaged for ions… We are ready to get Save The Date cards together and send them off. Our current guest list is out of control, so we can not possible send STDs to everyone. Does that not look hilarious? We are sending STDs? You know that it means Save The Date, right? Of course you do. Moving on…

I have two great ideas for out STDs. However, I would like to combine them both. We will be doing non-traditional engagement photos (go figure) at the Neon Boneyard and some creative surprise shots. Stay tuned for the posts…I, myself, am still not certain what will be produced by am completely stoked for the photo shoot. Here are my ideas.

{photos found here without photo credit}

Thoughts? I like the 3-shot…we can make posters that say Save The Date with our info and then put a little story. I like the idea of the “story” because most of the people receiving the STD haven’t met either Tedd or myself…We will also put our wedding website on there and maybe my blog if I can get away with being even vainer. More vain??

In preparations for the STD shots… I have a hair appt, a make up appt, a dermatologist appt. Yes. Me. Dermatologist. Stop it. If I were smart, there would be several gym appointments in there also.

My advice for engagement photos will come after our shots. I am not putting a whole bunch of hefty thought into the pictures. That is where the professionals come in. Imagine Studios is super creative and Flo and I are more than confident that these photos are going to be amazing.

Then I need to get Super-Design-Woman on board to help create the STDs.... she will read this and pass along her thoughts. Don't let this sway you, Suburban Sock Folder, but Flo and I really lurve these designs. What were you thinking? They may not be matchy-matchy with the invites, but who are we fooling?? No one will save these date cards yet alone remember what the STD look like. With my luck, they will take it to their family doctor and ask for penicillin.

Wordle of the Week


I won't be adding a Wordle each week, but it is cool to randomly run them and see what turns up!

Wordle: Sheshie