Archive for February, 2009

My Brazilian adventure

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: reality |

I know, I know, y’all think I’m a horrible slacker for not updating you on my trip to Brazil.  Have faith!  I was waiting until I’d eased back into normal life so that I could give you the low down on whether it was worth it.

{Stop reading now if you’re related to me… or to the mister.  Really.}

Let’s start with the appointment: it was no walk in the park.  I’m not gonna lie.  It hurt.  Sometimes badly.  And I never guessed that the most painful regions of the country would be the ones up north, not the less public ones farther south.  {Boy, this analogy is getting murky.}  Yowza.  My aesthetician was fabulous, keeping the chitchat going but still making appropriate grimaces when they were warranted.  Evidently many (most) women cuss up a storm, so she was surprised by my rather-low-key intake of breath.  I was totally cussing inside my head.   I left feeling… tender.

Some friendly hints: Do take the painkiller ahead of time.  I took mine too late, but when it kicked in everything got better.  Do consider moisturizing for a few days prior to minimize the impact to your skin.  Do buy the recommended exfoliating glove before your appointment; you won’t want to make an extra trip afterward, I promise.  Do wear comfy clothes.

Okay, so that’s the bad stuff.  The good stuff: wow, you really can’t think about anything other than Brazil for a while.  The first day I didn’t want any visitors, if you know what I mean, and I was a little red and splotchy.  The second day, though, hellooooo, was I a friendly tourist!   And my mister was a happy companion, let me tell you. *wiggling eyebrows*

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I wish I’d been diligent with the exfoliating because it would have helped when the grass started sprouting again.  Let’s just say that the terrain in Brazil can get a little bumpy if you don’t {temporary pause in the analogy} exfoliate.  And you’ll have to moisturize the less-traveled regions.

As much as I don’t really look forward to doing it again, the whole appointment took less than 20 minutes.  That’s not a huge price to pay for six weeks of not mowing the lawn… or so I tell myself.  Plus, I get I-love-you-so-much-I-go-through-PAIN-for-you points from the mister.

{Um, I want to address one last thing here.  I was asked by a friend if it seemed strange that men seem to prefer Brazil to a more natural location, thinking that Brazilian women look… young.  After taking a brief poll of men willing to answer, I was informed that it’s less about age and more about fantasies created by the adult visual industry.  Thanks, Hef, sheesh.  However, I can attest to the fact that playing twister is more fun when played in Brazil, so it’s all good.}

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This is called a bleg

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: contest |

Bleg = i.e., using your blog to beg for something.

Here’s the thing: I am DREADING designing our invitations.  And when I say “designing,” I literally mean typing out the information in two fonts that go together, not actually designing by any means. My expectations are low and I still can’t manage to reach them myself.  I get stuck on wording, can’t manage to combine fonts in a way that’s not ugly, and am now thiscloseImeanit from handwriting a message and photocopying it.  Swear.

So, I’m here to ask for your help.  Will you design my invites, pretty please? In exchange, I’ll hook you up with my own personal copy of “The Wedding Book” by Mindy Weiss, shipping compliments of yours truly.  I’ll even promise not to autograph it.  Contest ends Friday, March 6th.


I have white 5.5 x 8.5 invitations with a green floral thingamabob in the top center (save 2 inches at the top for it) and 5.7 x 4.25 response cards with an apple green border.  You can find Word templates for both at the bottom of this post.

In terms of style, I like classic, simple, and bold. We both dig typewriter fonts. I’m a girl on a budget using a Canon printer, and I don’t want anyone to think that I think that I’m trying to fake letterpress, if you know what I mean.

Here are pics I’ve saved in my “ideas-invites” folder:

Bumblebee Press via Style Me Pretty

I so love the r (heart) k.  In fact, I even like the way I just typed that with the “heart” spelled out.

ABCD Designs via Style Me Pretty

I realize that I said simple and bold, but the swoopiness of the words, “Celebrate the Newlyweds” appeals to me, what can I say?

Modern Girl Invitations

Modern Girl Invitations

Betsy White Stationary Boutique

And, because no inspiration post is complete without a nod to my peeps here at Weddingbee, I-so-wish-I-could-be-just-like-her Mrs. Lovebug’s invites:


Now that we have the style situation out of the way (um, yea, those links are all I have to offer**), let’s talk about details.

  • I need three different invites: one for our May 24th ceremony and reception, one for our reception only, and one for our July 4th hometown reception.
  • I’m a casual gal, so casual wording is preferable.
  • The Cheeses are hosting in Knoxville but we’ll need to include two sets of parents on the hometown invite – my mom and stepdad and dad and stepmom.
  • The RSVP will need to allow for three options: join us in Knoxville, join us in New Mexico, or join us at both!  I’d like space for people to send us a note.
  • I’m not comfortable posting our full names on here (Big Brother, ya know*) so we’ll go with pseudonyms for typography reasons: Melissa Nance Tollis and Jonny L. Minton, Jr.  Bonus points for incorporating a monogram that I can reuse later.
  • Feel free to make up the rest of the details.

Whew.  Ask questions in the comments…!

To sweeten the deal, Indiana Jones Jr. (the dog) will give you the sweetest puppy smoochies for helping me out – will that convince you to submit an entry?  Email me with your entry — including the fonts you used — at by Friday, March 6th and I’ll post my favorites and the winner the following week!

Puppy smoochies and kitty kisses,

The Cheesiest

Invitation Word template

Response Card Word template

*I’m totally kidding.  Mr. Cheese is not.

**I’m reminded of “Days of Thunder,” when still-a-cutie Tom Cruise could drive the car but not “speak car.”  I don’t “speak design.”

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Plan B (not the contraceptive)

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: inspiration | Tags: |

I’m a girl who’s gotta have a backup plan under the best of circumstances, and leaving the details of my bouquet to the whims of our rose garden (I say “our” with a bit of irony, since our only contribution is likely to be that we manage to kill them weeks before our wedding) makes that doubly true.

Plan B was always to beg our neighbors to let us have our way with their flower bushes, but I think I’ve found a better backup plan, and they deliver.


Yea, baby, I’m sending myself flowers!  I love Proflowers.  Unlike many online florists, they don’t pawn your order off on a local flower shop, instead delivering your flowers via FedEx/ UPS (I can’t remember which)… right to your door!

They come in a spiffy little box like this:


I’ve used them quite a few times for gifts and each time the recipient has raved about the quality of the flowers.  And their customer service is FANTASTIC.  I made the mistake of sending my mom flowers without making sure she’d be home, and just my luck, they were headed out of town for a long weekend.  When I called ProFlowers to beg them to hold the shipment, I was too late — but they sent her another bouquet a few days later for free.  Seriously.  I didn’t lie, fib, or bat my eyelashes, either.  They’re just that cool.  {Note: I’m not getting anything from them for saying this.  Swear.}

I’m leaning toward a hot pink bouquet, but I’m not sure yet. If I do, I’ll order these happy carnations to make mini-bouquets and bouts.


Check these out!






Total cost with shipping is about $70 which is a steal for a bridal bouquet. The flowers are already “designed,” they deliver to your door, they’re relatively inexpensive… just my style.  Call it almost-DIY, but I think it’s a great idea (even if I do say so myself).

Anybody else being creative about your florals?

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You make me so/ Very happy/ I’m so glad you/

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: emotional |

… came into my life (recognize the song?)

Dear Mr. Cheese –

I can’t count the number of times that you’ve said to me, “I just want to make you happy,” or asked me, “Does it make you happy?” You’re a very sweet man.

And me, I’m often hard to understand and I know this.  So, while this list may seem rather arrogant at first blush, it’s intended to be helpful and give you some insight into how I work.  Think of it as insider information.

I love you,
Your Cheesy chick

Twenty things you can do that make me happy

  1. Write me a note.  I love it when you write me a note.  I can keep it, reread it, and when I’m feeling lonely or unloved, prove myself wrong.
  2. Give me a hug.  I love your hugs.  When you hug me, I feel warm and safe and protected, and your body fits with mine just perfectly.
  3. Tell me your opinion. I like to hear the thoughts in your head.  Bonus points for offering opinions on things that matter more to me than to you (ya know, not cars or engines or ponds).
  4. Share your plan.  I always want to know what the plan is, and I love, love, love to be able to sit back and follow your lead… which I really am capable of doing if you tell me what’s next.
  5. Smile at me.  When you’re being mischievous or silly, you smile a certain way, and I can’t help but smile with you.
  6. Sing and dance.  You know what I’m talking about.
  7. Be enthusiastic.  One of my favorite memories involves you bringing the vehicle to a full stop to get out and give me a kiss because I offered my opinion.  Respond to something I say or suggest with enthusiasm, and I’m in heaven.
  8. Give me a smoochie.  And look at me while you do it!
  9. Ask me for a smoochie.
  10. Hold my hand.  Bonus points for reaching for it while we’re walking.
  11. Rest your hand on my back when we’re standing still for some reason.  Bonus points for rubbing.
  12. Touch my face… but not my mouth.  Sorry, but your fingers on my mouth will always make me flinch, but I love it when you rub my face.
  13. Look into my eyes.  And don’t make fun of me or be silly.  Just move on.
  14. Tell me you love me out of the blue.  *swoon*
  15. Dance with me.  I remember the first time we slow danced… in the shower!
  16. Get mushy with a cat.  I love that you love my cats.
  17. Hug a dog.  I’m a sucker for a man who climbs into the crate just to hug a dog!
  18. Write me a note.  Oh, did I mention that already?  I love notes.
  19. Say “we” to other people.  Yes, I know you do this, but you should know that I love it every time.
  20. Ask for my opinion.  Then respond with yours.  Then listen to my response… all without getting annoyed.  I like discussion.
  21. Bonus: Talk about the future… with me in it, or better yet, say “we” while you do it.  I first realized I was in love with you when you talked about an island and I could see myself there with you.
  22. Bonus 2: When I’m angry or sad and hurt or disappointed, rub my hair and give me a hug and ask me to tell you all about it.  Talking helps.
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My first wedding-related nightmare

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I woke up Saturday morning in a panic, not knowing what day it was, what I needed to be doing, or why I was in pajamas… because at that point in my dream, I should have been wearing an ill-fitting dress trudging down a muddy aisle in front of no guests to a groom in jeans. Huh?

Yea. I dreamt I was getting married now, today, este minuto… so nobody was there because invites hadn’t gone out, we had no tent, tables or chairs because I haven’t signed the contract, the trail was muddy and ugly because it’s February, and my guy wasn’t wearing a suit because he hasn’t bought one. Ah, yes, and the dress was falling off because I haven’t yet found a seamstress (anyone wanna pass along a good Knoxville recommendation?).

I’m relieved, though. I’ve had wedding nightmares before, but never with this guy, my favorite guy. When I was dating my ex-boyfriend, I had these dreams about marrying him and discovering that he was married to someone else — and my family were all crying. Now THAT’S a nightmare.  This bad dream was all about the details (even if bras are more necessity than detail, if ya know what I’m sayin’).

I think this bad dream is telling me to stop procrastinating and get some wedding stuff done.

Even if the vision of me in a wedding dress running to the grocery store to get flowers for the non-existent tables and freaking out because I can’t find black socks for the groom (who’s wearing old running shoes?) is kinda funny.

Are you having wedding nightmares?

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Makeup Trail, part dos

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: the goods |

So after the last makeup trial, I decided to go back to MAC again, this time requesting eyeshadows with not a chance of red pigment in them.  According to the woman at Aveda, many women have reactions to red pigments, so staying away from purple or reddish browns might help my itchy ‘lids situation.

Again, no before pictures.  Trust me, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to gasp and point and laugh when you see these.  Note: when you go in for a makeup trial, WEAR WHITE!  I know, duh, right?  First I wore hot pink, then I wore blue… as Meatball would say, “No bueno.”


Meh.  Not bad, not great.  Cheeks are a little, “Hi, how are ya?”  Eyes are slightly, “Helloooo there.”  Oh, yea, and that pimple on my chin says, “AREN’T YOU OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW NOT TO PICK AT YOUR FACE?” (The answer is obvious, no?)


Then there’s this angle.  Um, no.  Aside from the fact that I smile crookedly when I’m faking it, it’s just… no.  Gray eyeshadow reads blue on my skin and it’s a little too 80’s for me.

So, dear friends, we went from not dramatic enough to overly done.  Bummer.

Funny story: we had a crazy day on Sunday night when our older dog ingested a horrible and unknown substance that almost killed him. (This’ll get funny in a second, hold tight.)  He stayed overnight at the wonderful University of Tennessee teaching hospital’s intensive care unit.  By Monday morning I knew that he’d recovered completely (yay!) so I was killing time before I could pick him up and decided to keep my MAC appointment.  Anyhoo, things were nutty around our house after work that day.  I was running around getting Beau reintegrated (for some reason every animal who leaves has to deal with being sniffed up and down by every other animal upon their return, cats included) and the mister was doing everything else.

My guy suddenly remembers that he hasn’t kissed me hello, and moves toward me all puckered up, then stops.  “Whoa!” he exclaims, all concerned and worried.  “What happened to your eye?”  Note: not eyeS, eye.  He thought it was a bruise!  I explain that I’ve had my makeup done and that this is a “classic smoky eye look,” expecting him to reconsider his reaction.

“I don’t like it,” he says. “You look bruised. Can you just look like you do every day?”

HAHAHAHA.  Um, no.  Sorry, buddy.  It’s a sweet idea, but it ain’t happening!  I work from home, remember, so it’s a special day if I bother to comb my hair, much less wear real makeup.  Most days I use moisturizer, a bit of concealer and some blush.  Let’s just say it’s not exactly camera-friendly.

So, it looks like I’ll be doing my own eye makeup; back to Aveda to purchase eye shadow.  I will, however, be using the MAC foundation and setting it with a little powder.  I bought the newest hydrating full coverage foundation and I really like it.

Will you be doing your own makeup?  How have your trials (and tribulations?) gone?

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Life is good…

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: life is good |


Do you know the “Life is Good” line of products?  They’re quite popular here in my part of the country and early in my relationship with the mister, I thought of them all the time.  I’d come out of a nasty breakup (with a coworker *knocking myself upside the head*), was living in a city where I didn’t know anyone, and was in the middle of negotiations for a new role at work (awesome, but nerve-wracking).

I met my guy, and I thought, “Man, life is good” way more often than I deserved.

Then we started renovating a house, bought another house, moved, talked about marriage, got engaged, got a puppy, dealt with job tension, tried to plan a wedding… in short, we were living life in super speed without many relationship skills yet developed.  I didn’t think “life is good” very often at all anymore.

As of today, we are approximately 90 days from our wedding day, and I’m thrilled to report that I’m thinking that life is good, really good, once again.  What changed?  I don’t know.  It certainly didn’t happen all at once, I’ll tell you that much.  I learned not to yell, he got better at offering help without being asked, we both grew up a bit more.  I remembered that I’m here by choice and finally let go of any resentment I had at the choices I made to stay with my guy and build a family.  I’m closer to forgiving myself for mistakes made in my past.  I’m remembering to hold my tongue and not lash out when I’m hurt.  He’s apologizing better and checking in with me more often.

This engagement period was very important for me.  Not easy, and not really fun, but definitely necessary.  When we first got engaged, I didn’t “get” the point of engagement (something I’ve blogged about more than once), thinking it a byproduct of the need to plan and pay for an event rather than what it is: a rite of passage giving you time to accept and heal as you close one chapter and prepare for the next.  I had a lot of healing and accepting to do!

With 90-ish days to go, I’m over the hump, on the home stretch, rarin’ and ready to go.  Rather than feeling frustration, tension, and pressure, I feel excited – the kind of excited that balls up in your throat and makes you giggle.  When I think, “wedding,” I see my husband holding my hands and pledging himself to our newly formed family, I see the smiles of our people as they offer their support, I see candlelight and hear laughter and smell warm summer air on my guy’s skin.

A, ha!  This is what being engaged is supposed to feel like!

So, take heart, dear friends.  If you’re not feeling giddy and excited, or if that feeling left you soon after the question was popped (probably around the first time you were asked about your wedding colors!), hang tight.  Don’t try to fight the panic, the worry, the nervousness or the sorrow; if it’s there, it’s necessary.  You will get through it, but there aren’t any shortcuts.

And then we can giggle like fools together!

How are the late May/ early summer brides feeling right now?

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Learning lessons everywhere

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: life is good |

We have a puppy.

And he’s a boy. 🙂

Well, to be accurate, we had a puppy who is now a rather handsome adolescent dog (I’m a proud mama).

Indiana Jones Jr. (What? It was the first movie we ever saw together!) has been incredibly helpful in teaching me skills for life, as I hear dogs are wont to do.

I struggle with the idea of being a team, my guy and I. In what I’m willing to call a flare of arrogance, I want to be perfect all by myself, so I tend to look at him as an aspirational example rather than a partner. Said another way, if what I love about him is that he’s funny, I try to be funnier rather than appreciate that he balances my seriousness.

Back to the dog. I’m the dog trainer, strategy researcher, curriculum creator, put-the-foot-and-lay-the-law-DOWN one. My guy is the resident playmate, puppy chaser, dog wrestler, rile-him-all-up one. Today it whacked me over the head that we’re the perfect pair. {My epiphanies often take the form of a rather violent smack upside the head.}

Without me, Indy Poopyhead Jones would have no manners. We’d be covered in muddy pawprints, stinky dog drool, and cat-poop dog breath. We’d be nipped and licked and sniffed in all sorts of uncomfortable ways. And we’d be unceremoniously stuffing a quickly growing dog into a crate on a regular basis, or using our bodies to try to prevent him from forcing his way out of the quickly closed door. Because of me, he happily trots into his crate at a softly spoken request.

But without my guy, Indy Stinkybutt would be a very well-mannered but slightly boring (and bored) dog. He’d never get to run around the yard maniacally chasing a sprinting and juking owner until they both collapsed in a heap. He wouldn’t get to lick a human’s face up one side and down the other without getting scolded. He’d miss out on the unique experience of a sudden full body hug from a full-grown man. And de’d never have gotten a sibling. Yup, our pup was gifted with another dog of his very own.

Meet Beau.

He likes full body hugs, too. And someday, he might even have manners.

I’m think I’m beginning to understand this team thing.  Have you learned about your relationship in unexpected ways?

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Ceremony bookmarks

Posted on February 18, 2009. Filed under: emotional, inspiration | Tags: |

With less than three months to go until we get married, I’ve decided it’s time to start working on the part of the whole thing that I look forward to the most: the ceremony.

I was a bit uncomfortable about writing it; if I know every word, every passage, every sentiment, will I feel as engaged (no pun intended) during our ceremony?

But after much web surfing and some shower time (don’t you do your best thinking in the shower?), I’m very excited.  I figure it’s much like live music: I may know every word and every note, but there’s just something special about hearing a song sung live.

So, as I get started (Wheeee! I’m excited!), I thought I’d share all of my ceremony links from Weddingbee.  You can recreate my search by reading through every post tagged “ceremony” — or you can just use the list below.

Mrs. Ant’s “The Purpose of Marriage”

Mrs. Emerald’s first draft of vows

Mrs. Tomato’s Love and Joy quotes

Mrs. Corn’s unusual and very touching reading

Mrs. Penguin’s ceremony script

Mrs. Lovebug’s group blessing (Have I mentioned my crush on Mrs. Lovebug?)

Mrs. Cookie’s readings

And a couple of posts by yours truly with quotes that I love

I can’t leave out the fabulous DIY Bride’s very comprehensive ceremony download section, even though it’s not from WB (and I’m working from a theme here, people).  You have to register to download files, but it’s really worth it.

I may have missed a few, so as I continue in this (exciting!) process, I’ll update you.  Also, while we’re on the subject of marriage, have you seen the Simple Marriage blog?  Happy reading.

What inspiration sources are you using to craft your ceremony?  Have I mentioned how excited I am?

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Progress is made

Posted on February 17, 2009. Filed under: deciding |

I promised to tell you more about the tent in the street, didn’t I?  After the Bridal Fair, I finally got around to dealing with the “where shall we seat people” quandary.  See, while we have almost two acres of land around and behind our house, much of it is wooded, and none of it is level.  Okay, some of it is level, but it’s only 10 feet wide… and 60 feet long.  No, thanks.

In a not-so-mature moment, I lost my sh*t and cried all over my loving fiance, who flexed his problem-solving muscles (you know, the ones that get bigger when girls cry) and suggested that we put a tent in the street.  Um, what?  Hey, that just might work!  Because of the odd configuration of our street, the fact that we live just at the apex of the hilly street, and the fabulousness of our neighbors,  it actually seemed like a viable option.

After a quick call to the city’s Special Events department — a quick laugh at our plan and some delighted voices made me feel better about it — we were just about set.

The fabulous Jeff at All Occasions Party Rentals was kind enough to come out to our house to take a look, and after gamely holding back his shock at our plan, helped me figure out how to put an 80 ft by 20 ft tent in the street.

And thus it was settled.img_0584

If there was a tent set up, where I’m standing to take this picture would be right smack in the middle.  Oh, and in the spring, not fall.  Whateva.  You get the picture (wocka, wocka!).

I dropped by their showroom the other day to confirm that our plates and flowers worked well with the linens he recommended (in this wacky color called poppy that is surprisingly versatile).  See for yourself:



Check, check, and check (tent, tables and chairs, linens).

For those keeping score, we’ll be renting one 80×20 ft tent, 3 four light globe chandeliers, 12  six foot tables for seating, 3 six foot tables for food and “other,” one round table for cakes, and 72 chairs.  Give or take.  We’ll use our own furniture for the bar and gift table, and provide our own twinkly lights and luminarias.  Ballpark rentals estimate: $1800.  Add in $200 for tableware, $200 for my dress on eBay, plus an extra $100 for random things I bought and probably won’t use, and we’re somewhere around $2300 so far.  I’m not counting the extra wedding dress because I’m hoping to sell it.

Not bad.  Not bad at all. In fact, I’m feeling pretty good!  Next up: a food plan is created (yup, still planning to do it ourselves), and invites are purchased (at a great deal).

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« Previous Entries


    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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