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Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 here we come!


I can't believe its nearly 2010. It seems like this year has just flown by.

In this past year I've planned a wedding, reconnected with friends, tried new foods, planned a wedding, seen new places, celebrated being 1 year out from breast cancer treatment, planned a wedding, started this blog, planned a wedding, folded cranes, ventured to Sacramento and San Francisco, met all of you here in blogland and planned a wedding. I turned 30 years old. I baked and ate and baked some more. I purchased my camera. (it may have been a life changing experience) Did I mentioned I also planned a wedding? It really did seem to be the focus of the year. An entire year of preparations.

Then I got married. I married the perfect man for me. Oh we had such a wonderful wedding. Is it all just a dream?

I want to always remember where I am right now. I think I may be one of the luckiest people in the world. I also want to thank you for letting me share all of it. Thank you for letting me show you 984 pictures of my dinner. Thank you for listening to 2978 stories of my wedding planning (and its not over my friends). Thank you for letting me burst into spontaneous applause.

I realize that not all of you had the best year on record. I realize that this time of year isn't easy for everyone.

Whatever 2009 brought you, lets all look towards 2010 with hope and happiness. From the bottom of my heart I am wishing you all a very lovely (and safe) New Years.

P.S. I'm taking special requests for wishes to be made in the magical place called New Zealand. There isn't anything that feels more sacred to me than untouched nature. There is something about standing in the open and letting the breeze carry your thoughts and wishes and prayers away. Its invigorating, its sweet, its magical. You can always email me your thoughts and I'll take them with me as we travel...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Its like play money...only more expensive.

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Woo hoo! We are gearing up for New Zealand and I cannot wait. I really can't even believe its here!

How on Earth do people get organized enough to leave on their honeymoon the day after their wedding?

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Not that I've done anything for the honeymoon since the wedding. We haven't even packed yet.

I wish I were joking. The holidays and the wedding just swept right thru and here we are...2 days away.

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I did manage to get us a bit of New Zealand cash though.

Did you notice that the bills themselves are actually different sizes?

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New Zealand money is also called the dollar and they come in the same denominations as US.

I understand the change comes in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 cents and $1 and $2.

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The texture is different than ours.. its more plastic-y. They also have those cool little clear plastic parts that say the dollar amount.

The $5 is orange and features a yellow-eyed tropical penguin on the back. I really hope I get to see a real one. Penguin that is.

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The $10 is blue and features Kate Sheppard who was a key historical figurre in New Zealand women's suffrage movement.

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Did you know that Zew Zealand was the first country to grant women the right to vote?

Women have been voting there since 1893.

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The $20 bill is green and features Queen Elizabeth II.

All of the bills feature the Silver Fern on the side. It is also made from a translucent plastic and is a symbol widely used by Kiwis.

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It does seem a little odd doing an entire post about money but I've always found the different kinds of money to be so interesting.

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Why don't we get pretty colors? Our money is rather boring now that I think about it.

The $50 and features Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata a Maori politician. Are you taking notes, there may be a quiz later.

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The problem is that this just feels like play money.

Excuse me sir, that will cost two purple pieces of paper. Thank you very much.

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On the bright side, the US$ is strong so we get more bang for our buck over there.

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But I still don't think B will appreciate me throwing it around because its pretty and it doesn't look like real money.

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I think tonight I better get packin'. We'll be gone for 2 weeks, in and out of different hotel and hauling our luggage. I don't need to pack the whole closet.

That will be my mantra.

When was the last time you took a vacation? Where did you go?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Re-cap

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I'm going to back track a bit here. I didn't really get to post about how wonderful Christmas was because I was too busy praying to the porcelain gods. TMI?

My apologies. I can't even think about it. I'm not that recovered yet.

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Christmas Eve is always spent at my grandma's house. Meet baby Bruce. He is 5 months old and absolutely adorable.

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Oh baby Santa! Oh the things people do to their children. Dress them up in little outfits and take a bazillion pictures. It can't be helped though. How could you not?

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After church and grandma's and friends houses B and I went back home, popped open a bottle of bubbly and watched A Christmas Story. Its the only Christmas movie B realy likes and I think we must have watched all 24 hours of it.

I really wanted to soak in this first Christmas together. A Christmas with just the two of us. Who knows, maybe next year we'll have our own baby santa.

What? Did someone say something?

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~snort~ The next morning we got up and opened our presents. This is B being a big dork. I suggested that he might make that face when he actually opens the present next time.

I'm sure he loves that I share these things with you.

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In all fairness this is me first thing in the morning. I haven't even brushed my teeth yet. And I still have on some make-up from the night before.

I had just opened my present and the look on my face was... Did you really just give me lotion?

B is really notorious for dropping the ball on special days. He is incredibly romantic and sweet on a day to day basis but on special occasions it all flies out the window. Its another post all together. But he didn't let me down.

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No I did not get this dog for Christmas but I might steal her if I get the chance.

This is Voodoo. She is adorable and I love her and she is my nieces.

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Oh Voodoo. Don't you want to come live with me?!

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Last year it was decided that everyone was going to wear pajamas on Christmas. This year we did the same. Everyone spent the day in pajama's and it was quite fun. Next year I want some footed pajamas. Seriously. Don't they have those for adults? Or big kids?

I've been missing your blogs but I'm hoping to catch up soon...what are you plans for New Years?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rehearsal Dinner at Ruby Palace

Did everyone have a wonderful Christmas?

I did, it was completely fantastical. Unfortunately I seem to have the flu. I hope it doesn't last long because I have approximately 243 things to do before New Zealand. But B made me some chicken noodle soup and I had this post already in the works so I had a bit of rest! I'm sure I'll feel better in no time.

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I'm going to share a few pictures from the rehearsal. I totally forgot to hand my camera off to someone and so it sat there sad and lonely for majority of the rehearsal.

But someone did pick it up and snap a few pictures, so thank you!

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The ringbearers and flower girls. This was the first time they met and they were instantly connected. The two on the ends are B's nieces and nephews, the two in the middle are mine.

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It didn't take long for the 2 boys to separate and very quietly wiggle their way around the altar.

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Things on the girls side are looking more mellow... and boring. Or is it depressing? Sad? Is there something on the floor?

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With all the hustling around and direction giving B gravitated to the place he felt most comfortable.

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My favorite part was when the wedding coordinator (a very serious, stern woman) was doing a role call of sorts and looked around and said "Where is the groom?!"

Then we all giggled because he was sitting behind her in the designated kids area. The look on his face is the general look of anyone being spoken to by the coordinator.

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Here is my mom and Cassidy. I know you see her all the time but you see, she is the only child that will let me take her picture. The other ones are too busy moving around all the time. So its not that I have favorites, I just take control of the ones too little to run away.

Besides, she goes to absolutely everyone so she gets passed around constantly and everyone wants a picture with her.

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Oh but here is the part of the post I couldn't wait to share.

This is the rehearsal dinner that B planned all by himself. He knew exactly what he wanted.

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We went to Ruby Palace in Huntington Beach and had a 8 course Chinese Banquet. Its traditional for this type of event

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Here you see most of what was on the Cold Appetizer Plate. Starting clock-wise with the scary greenish looking blob in the back: 1,000 year egg (surprisingly it tastes like egg only soft and creamy in the middle and jelly-ish on the outside. A lot of people tried this and it got rave reviews. I had to close my eyes. I'm a visual eater), honey walnuts, roast beef, shrimp, chicken and jellyfish.

Funny story, I went over to my mom and sister and asked them if they liked the jelly fish. They said they hadn't tried it yet. They thought it was the bright red thing in the middle of the plate (in the previous picture) which is actually a mushroom. They did tell me they liked the noodles.

Of course, there weren't noodles on they plate... they were eating jelly fish.

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Shark's Fin Soup with white asparagus and crab. Its quite a delicacy.

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This was really, really good. The shark's fin is actually similar to a noodle in texture. If I had served this and told everyone it was chicken noodle soup (with crab) they totally would have gone for it.

The dinner got less intimidating, I swear.

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House Special Lobster in the most delectable sauce evah!

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Sheesh, how did this get in here?

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Can we just get another look at this lobster. The plate was covered in these pieces and you just lifted out big chunks of lobster.

At this point I tried to remind everyone that we had like a bazillion courses to go. No one listened.

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The heads were quite entertaining. Poor little Ruby left the table because she thought the Crab Monster was going to get her.

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Beef with Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) or Gai Lon. Lovely.

I love the way its presented. Keep in mind that these huge plates or platters were presented to every table of 10.

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Pork Fried Rice. Chinese multi-course meals differ from many other multi-course meals in that the serving portions don't seem to get any smaller. If you went to an American restaurant that was serving 8 courses we would be getting dishes 1/10 of this size :)

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Salt and Pepper Pork, simple, breaded and seasoned with salt and pepper. Delicious.

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My bridesmaid Chrissy's boyfriend Matt. Did that make sense?

I think he might have taken Cassidy home if he had the chance.

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This dish cracks me up because it has such a typical name. Its called Sweet and Romantic Shrimp! I love English names that they come up with for these dishes.

Its basically a sort of sweet and sour shrimp on one side and honey walnut shrimp on the other side.

Our table had a lot of leftovers because we only had 4 adults. Nothing got wasted though.. we took it all with us!

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I almost forgot the black mushroom and bok choy!

I want to take this time to remind you that we all have dresses to put on the next day. Some of us ate 8 full courses the night before wearing a wedding dress. Actually all of us ate 8 courses.

About half way thru the dinner my fingers were swelling and my rings felt tight. But I was not about to miss out. I drank 3 bottles of water before I went to bed.

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CSC! That stands for Cute Shoe Crop... didn't you know? Have I ever told you how much I love peep toe pumps?

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Me and my girls. Two foxy ladies if you ask me.

Did you have a rehearsal dinner? What did you eat?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Welcome Bags

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When we decided to have our wedding December 5th we knew it would be a bit inconvenient for some. Just after Thanksgiving and in the midst of the holiday season people schedules are just packed.

We were so grateful for so many friends and family to make the trek down to Huntington Beach for the weekend we just wanted a little something waiting for them when they arrived.

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So we decided to make them little welcome bags! Its was mainly B's idea, I must say.

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B has the greatest group of friends. These 2 had come in early and stayed with us on Thursday and were very helpful.

In the picture above they are actually putting cookies in bags and curling ribbon.

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Can I tell you how cute it is to see a bunch of guys standing around curling ribbons?

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Also in the bags I included directions to every single place we were going during the weekend.

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B brewed some beer especially for the wedding. Do you recognize the picture?

Its his own recipe and I thought it was really good.

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I included a handwritten thank you note. We have the best friends and family ever.

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We also included snacks like peanut butter crackers, chips, granola bars and jerky.

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It wasn't anything fancy. We just wanted to get the point across that we were thinking of them.

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Then the guys dropped them off at the hotel to be given to guests as they checked in.

We received quite a few compliments on them. Its such a simple gesture with a big impact... and if you were more organized than I was you could make them really personal or appropriate to your wedding celebration.

Plus, I love giving gifts. Isn't it just the best?!
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