/* */

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"When In Doubt, Go To The Library."

Title: Quote from Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets

At the age of 25, one of my most favorite past times is reading.  I love to read books and get wrapped up in a different world.

Younger me? She would scoff at me now. I grew up not being a big reader.  I would rather play.  Barbie and Ken needed to head off to work.  And I needed to perform my next big concert to my stuffed animal audience.  Don't forget the multiple viewings of Shirley Temple movies.  I wanted to use my imagination and I didn't see how sitting still with a paperback book was going to let me use my sense of imagination that I had loved.  My mother? Now that woman reads and I never understood then.  She could (and still does!) devour an entire book in one sitting. 

As I grew older, I still didn't understand.  I was a teenager who was wrapped up in friends and boys and invariably spending the time I wasn't with said friends or boys, on the phone with said friends or said boys.  8 hours in school with these people was not enough time.  We needed to come home and spend the evening on the phone.  I still remember how excited I was when I was able to talk on the phone AND be on the internet, chatting on AIM.  It was revolutionary. (25 year old me laughs that my niece will never know a time where you had to dial up to the internet.)  Being wrapped up in this social world left no time for reading.  Hell, I couldn't sit down long enough to do readings for school.  I'd read a few books here and there.  I did enjoy them. But there were things I'd rather do. 

Things changed after I graduated high school.  
I had a boy that I loved who went away for school 1000 miles away.  
And my heart hurt.  
And I was lonely.
Long distance sucks.  

When I was home one day, I noticed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was playing on TV.  Up until this point, I had avoided it.  I remember in middle school when they banned the 4th grade teacher from reading the book to her class.  If it was banned, it must not be good right? So I watched the movie.  
And I was entranced in this other world.  
And I wanted to watch it again.  
And I needed more.

So I bought the first book.  
And I tore through it.
And the next,
And the next. 
And I had gotten lost in a world that was beautiful and magical.
It was exactly what my lonely heart needed.
A place to escape and forget.

And then the unthinkable happened.  
HP7 was released on my niece's 4th birthday.  So after celebrations, I ran straight to the book store to pick up my reserved copy. I went home, plopped on the couch and I did not move until I was finished.  I tore through that entire book. 
In. One. Sitting.  
This was the first time, but I promise it was not the last.

 And I understood my mom a little more.  Reading could be so much more than I thought it would.  My imagination, which I once thought would be dulled by books, would actually make books that much more incredible.   

I may have been late to the fandom but Harry Potter changed my life.  
It filled the void I had in my life while Vito was away for nearly 10 months.  
And it made me realize that reading is, in fact, one of the greatest joys in life.  

So tell me your thoughts on reading.
Have you always loved it or did it take you awhile, like me, to realize what you were missing out on?
Also, unrelated but I redid my blog look. Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

{Wedding Talk} Finding The Perfect Venue - Check!

So far in the wedding venue world, I've told y'all about things we didn't want in a venue.
And venues we fell for but didn't work out for us.
So now? 
Let's get to the good part!

We set up a meeting to tour the beautiful barn venue that Sunday.

Now one thing you should probably know about me:  I am a worrier. And I get all kinds of nervous. Over everything. I mean, everything.  (My boss has suggested I get anxiety meds for the wedding week.) So something as big as touring a venue? I couldn't even eat lunch before hand, I had myself so anxious.  But don't worry, we stopped after church so Vito could chow down on some food.  Man has a stomach of steel.  I just kept having nervous thoughts.  What if the lady is mean? What if I don't ask the right questions? What if it isn't perfect? What if we never find a venue that we can afford? What if... What if...  Ridiculous right? I had spoken with the owner and she was very sweet on the phone.  I brought my wedding binder with a whole list of questions to ask. And if it didn't work, what could I do to fix that? Nothing.  (I can rationally point these things out now).

So we made it there on time.
And we met the owner.
And we toured the place.
She answered all the right questions.
And basically, the meeting went great.
All those worries for nothing.

A beautiful barn for a perfect reception.

A built in area for a faux-to-booth.

Fields around a beautiful lake.

Pretty places for pictures.

And many places to choose from for a ceremony site.

(Please excuse the poor quality pictures.  It is hard to take multiple pictures while paying attention and ooohing and aahhhhing.)

We get in the car and Vito looks at me and says "I think it is perfect, let's do it!"
Me: "Uhmm. Well it is perfect but let's think about it."

Another things you should know about me? 
I am indecisive.  Probably the most indecisive person you will find.  I was the girl who would find the perfect homecoming dress in store 1. But go to every single other store, JUST IN CASE there was a better dress.  There never was.  But I always feel like I need to see all my options before making a big decision.  And since a wedding venue is a pretty big decision, I thought I should think about it more.  JUST IN CASE.  (welcome to my ridiculous side, y'all.)

I had 3 reservations with the venue.
1. We really wanted a September wedding.  
And this venue was completely booked for September and the first weekend in October already.  Most than 15 months out y'all.  Wedding vendors are crazy.  So the second & third weekend in October were open.  
2. The barn does not have heating or AC.  
Though I feel, after talking to about 20 different people for their opinions, this shouldn't be a problem.  The average temp is low 70s.  By the time it starts dropping, we'll be drinking in the barn and dancing the night away.  There are 2 big doors that can be open or closed.  So it should be fine.
3.  The owner will be out of state the weekend of our wedding.
This had me worried. I would be working with her and yet she wouldn't be there.  She assured me another lady, who lives on the property would be there if we had questions or had any issues.

Things we loved?
1. The venue was exactly what we pictured.  And by we, I mean me and Vito thinks it works.
2. It was in our budget.
3. We get the venue from Thursday evening to Sunday.
4. We can bring in whatever vendors we want.
5. We can decorate and set up however we want.
6. It is close by.
7. It is just beautiful.
8. The owner was so sweet.  And she was very encouraging about coming to visit every weekend if I wanted.  Bringing whoever I want to show it off.  And encouraged coming on Saturday morning so I could see how other brides decide to decorate the place.

So as you can see the pros totally outweigh the cons.
But I was still thinking.
And then I received an email from the owner letting me know that there were 2 other brides, who toured the venue the same day as us, who wanted the second weekend in October.  She said she does it by whoever gives her a deposit first.  But she wanted to give me a heads up since we were the first to tour it (by a few hours).  I received this at work and, well, cue freak out.  

We had to decide and we had to decide now.  Vito was sold on it.  And after really thinking it over, I was too.  We had dinner plans with a group of friends that night but we wanted to get everything booked as soon as possible, just in case.  So in order to secure our date, Vito headed over after work to sign the contract while I went to my yearly spread 'em appt.  (Is it just me or do these appts really make it seem like a year flies by waaaaay too fast?)

So, after this incredibly long post, Vito & I have a date and a venue!
We are getting married!
12 October 2013

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

{Wedding Talk} Picking a Perfect Venue

Last month, I told y'all all about the things I didn't want in our wedding venue.  
Then became the fun times of looking at things we liked.

If you know us, you would know we like our wine.
We visit wineries often, attend wine festivals, and take part in the local wine trails.
You will never come to our house and find it wine-less.
So naturally the first places we started looking into were wineries.
Lots of extensive research on winery websites within a 1-1.5 hour radius of where we live.
We even did a tour of our favorite winery.
Which everyone in my family and our friends was convinced it was the perfect place.
Unfortunately, wineries are expensive.  I'm talking WAY expensive.
This was no exception for our favorite one.  
For about half of our budget, we could have the winery for 5 hours.
And just the grounds.  
No chairs, no tables. No tent. 
All would need rented.
Sadly, this seemed to be the norm for wineries around here.
So on to more research.

Then came the ideas of barns.  
If you've been on Pinterest, you know all the barn-inspired pictures that show up.
And they are stunning.
One day while google searching, I stumbled onto a blog mentioning she where was getting married.
And it sounded perfect.
It had a large barn for the reception.  
And lots of weeping willows around a lake.
Weeping Willows are our FAVORITE tree.
I tried to find a website or facebook page and there was nothing.
Only a few pictures on a photographer's blog.
Apparently from reading on the forums, the owners do not advertise and only go by word of mouth.
This sounds good right? 
Insert Vanessa getting her hopes up.
So I call and the lady was super nice and helpful.
The price? As much as the winery.
Insert Vanessa's hopes being crushed here.
So we sat down and tried to work it into the budget.
And we couldn't.  We tried and tried but it just wouldn't fit.

So I went back to researching more and more and still sticking with the barn idea. 
And I found one that is 30 mins from our house.
Another one where they don't advertise and I only found 10 pictures on The Knot, with no reviews.
Too good to be true? Was I going to have my hopes crushed again?
So I sucked it up and called the owner and she was wonderful.
AND it was only a smidge over our budget.
Naturally, we set up an appointment immediately to tour the venue that weekend.
But more on that in the next post. ;)

How many venues did you fall in love with but had to pass on them?