Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And now for something completely different

Grad schools!

Up to this point, all I've really discussed is the wedding, but:
1) this is my blog, I can write about anything
2) a wedding is important, yes, but far more important is what comes after it
and 3) I want record of all of this

Yesterday because I had a slow day of classes (AKA 1, and it was a kinesiology), I went ahead and made a rough draft of all of the schools I'm applying to. These had the fit the following parameters:
  • Be in an area that held aero industry for Matt
  • Offered a PhD in Criminology or Deviance
  • Wasn't too sketchy (non-accredited) 
So I came up with 7 schools, one of which is a Masters program in case the industry thing doesn't work out, and Matt could go to TAMU while I go to SHSU, but, I'm getting ahead of myself. K, here's the list, along with the location:
  • Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX (Masters)
  • University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX (PhD)
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (PhD)
  • University of New Haven, West Haven, CT (PhD)
  • University of Miami, Miami, FL (PhD)
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN (PhD)
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA (PhD)
There you have it. Of course some may be added, though I sincerely hope not. Each of these apps is very intense. Some require 3-pg personal statements, others are just 1 pg. Some want you to send them your official transcript yourself, others want it directly from the school. They are all so different with their requirements, it just seems so silly. Oh well, gotta get through it I guess. 

Obviously our preference is to stay in Texas, but we'll go where the job and grad school and money dictate. It's an adventure!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Adventures in Registry-ing

As I said in my last post, Matt and I registered at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (BBB from here on out). We finished that registry Saturday when we went to The Woodlands for my brother's birthday dinner at Brennan's (Best. Food. Ever.). Anyway, we wanted a bigger selection of items to choose from, and that BBB definitely offered that! 

It was quite interesting, walking through the store with Matt, and also with my mom on Saturday. 
Me: "Oooh, look, a temperpedic pillow! Let's scan this!" 
Matt: "Jessica, it's $99. For a pillow." 
Mom: "But if you get it, then that would be great. If not, oh well, get another one with the giftcards."
Me: "I like this reasoning..."

And thus started what was a ridiculous experience, much to Matt's chagrin. (Him and his being practical. Where's the fun in that? :P) But I may or may not have used that reasoning to register for 2 of the aforementioned $99 pillows, an $80 picture frame, a $60 trashcan, a $40 atomic clock (Matt's pick, by the way), and a $70 Beatles wall art. 

Don't think we're that ridiculous. Blame my mother, she gave me her expensive taste. And don't worry, there are more reasonably priced items on both this registry and the one on Amazon.

Oh yes, we registered at Amazon, too, instead of another physical store. Why? Because you can get EVERYTHING at Amazon. Pots and pans. Kindles. Wiis and Beatles Rock Band. Fun board games:

Yeah... we registered for board games. And why not??? We like them more than china. Ok, Matt really likes them more than china. For me, they take up less space and space might be crucial for wherever we're living.

Speaking of space, the one item Matt talked me out of was my beloved KitchenAid Stand Mixer:
instead of going with this beauty, we went for a KitchenAid hand-held mixer. It will take up less space, it's cheaper, and since I do not really bake all that much, it is more practical anyway.

What we did that was really helpful was develop a list before we went to the store. We registered on Amazon first, and made sure to check the prices of items at BBB online to make sure Amazon had the best price. If it were items that we wanted to touch and see physically (i.e. everyday plates), then we automatically knew those would be a BBB item. Anyway, we created the list and then just walked up and down the aisles, scanning and checking things off. Occasionally there were times when we added an item to the list to be researched later because we hadn't thought of it yet, but both Amazon and BBB make it SO easy to edit your registry online, that it is not a problem.

K, gotta get to work now. First day of classes! Can't believe we're seniors already!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Registry + 2 days, 5 vendors- Part 2

Before I continue with this, in somewhat exciting news, Matt and I got to register at Bed, Bath, and Beyond yesterday. Some of the pickins' were pretty slim, especially being the one located in a large college town, so we'll be finishing it up tomorrow in Houston. But, we did get a lot of items and random cool, things. Here are some pictures to prove that we, too, can work a scan-gun thing.

Don't worry, we did NOT register for pink towels. That would be cruel.
And moving on...

Where were we? Oh yes, we had just finished our first tasting at Kiss the Cook Cakes and admired there amazing pastry skills. OK, so then we went to lunch, numero uno mistake. So not hungry. I think I ate a third of my salad at McAlisters, though my family and Matt somehow ate most of their lunch. Not sure why or how, because shortly thereafter, we had tasting two at Bakery B, mistake numero dos, which I'll explain later.

So we arrive at this bakery, are seated at a table, and then taste a chocolate, almond, vanilla, and amaretto flavors. They were definitely good, though not as good as the first one in all of our opinions. Also, her estimate was a decent bit cheaper than our Bakery A, and the quality of her gallery showed it. In addition, when I wanted suggestions as to the design of the cake, she said that we didn't need to decide on that today, though I had LOVED that Bakery A had taken the time to do that. However, I really liked her, though, as a person. She was very sweet and I was not looking forward to sending her the rejection email, but I guess that's part of the deal.

Following being stuffed with excessive sugar [we couldn't even finish all the samples!], we left and went to meet with Florist B, LZ Floral. Florist B was unfamiliar with the church we're getting married at, so we met her at the church. AND I was able to take sanctuary pictures for y'all:

Ahh, the beautiful windows that look out into the trees. So pretty...

I really liked Florist B. We actually sat down and talked about the flowers we wanted, and she had a lot of examples of her previous work. Florist A had already 'decided' on flowers, though I'm sure we could have changed it. I just did not know what Florist A's flowers would look like all put together, so it was a lot harder for me to imagine than with Florist B. Also, Florist B really got along well with my family, especially when my brother and Matt started brainstorming crazy ideas for the wedding, such as kilts and zip-off skirts. What's better is that Florist B was able to get us a quote a couple of hours after we left, so yay for quick service! In addition, her quote was competitive with Florist A, which is something we were worried about.

And so that finishes the meeting with 5 vendors. I think you could guess, but the choices we went with were Florist B, LZ Floral, and then Bakery A, Kiss the Cook. I'm so excited to see what they do with the flowers and cake, respectively. It makes it so much more real, being able to envision all of those components of the wedding, in addition to really liking the photographer.

But here are some suggestions from me to any prospective bride that's reading this:
1) Do NOT schedule cake tasting back to back. I would suggest giving yourself SEVERAL hours between each, if you have to do them on the same day. Otherwise you're still full from the last one, and you cannot really enjoy the cake fully.

2) I really liked only having 2 bakeries to choose from. I could not imagine having more than that to pick from, because I would think the tastings would run together. "Wait, chocolate A, B, C, or D?" It just would get mixed up...

3) Come with ideas for both. I brought some swatches of my bridesmaids' dresses, along with pictures of bouquets, centerpieces, and cakes that I/we had liked. But also be open to going a different direction, in case your flower of choice is not available in the month of the wedding, for instance.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2 days, 5 vendors- Part 1

So this past Monday, Matt and I drove from College Station down to Houston to, along with my parents, meet with the photographer, Kasey.

Back story: way back in June, right after we got engaged, and I was in my rush to book everything possible because I'm type-A and wanted to get things done, as well as not be left with poor choices, I booked another photographer. However, as time went on, and I stalked more wedding photogs' sites as well as other brides' blogs, I was really uncomfortable with the photographer we had booked. I just didn't feel excited about the pictures in their gallery. And besides the marriage, what's left after the wedding? Pictures! So for me, it was a very important aspect.

Being on a budget of course made it difficult to find one I really liked but could afford, until a friend of mine that is getting married in the same area suggested Kasey. I checked her website out, and really got excited about it. I contacted her, canceled the booked photog, booked her, and the rest is history.

Ok, so we met with her Monday. Then all day Tuesday, we had 4 appointments- 2 florists, 2 bakeries. First we went to Florist A, who my parents had already contacted and received a quote from. After a consultation, we were able to get our price down (yay!) and were pretty happy with her. Moving on...

After a brief stop at Starbucks and Men's Wearhouse (my brother needed to pick up a suit)...

Side note- I failed to mention that along with us on this wedding planning extravaganza, we had: Matt and me, my brother, and both my parents. Quite a packed Rav-4, and I hope we didn't overwhelm the vendors, but we had fun.

So, as I was saying, after the brief stops where we might have annoyed the employees and Men's Wearhouse, we headed off to Bakery A, Kiss the Cook Cakes.

We checked out the beautiful cakes on display...

All credit goes to Kiss the Cook cakes

And then the fun part, the tasting!!!!!

Wow, was that cake good! We tasted chocolate with chocolate ganache, butter cream, lemon, and butter cream with raspberry filling. And of course, while we're eating this delicious cake, I'm being asked about the cake, what I wanted, etc. What I really liked about this baker is she took the time to listen to you and really offered a lot of input to the design. While some brides may not like that, since I had quite an amorphous view in my head, I was wanting some guidance, and we created a gorgeous cake that I think will look so beautiful!!!!

And now I gotsta go, but I will hopefully post the subsequent parts later today or tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And more progress!

I think the last few days I'll split into several posts because several things happened:
-Met with the photographer and signed a contract
-Met with two florists
-Met with two bakeries and did two tastings (so... much... cake... too... much...sugar!)

So, as to not overwhelm you guys with one looooong post, they'll be in installments, plus pictures!

But, to leave you in some suspense, I will leave you with these topics: kilts, zip-off wedding gowns, and a commandeered ambulance

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Someday somebody's gonna ask you..."

"A question you outta say yes to, just once in your life. Baby tonight, I've got a question for you." By the Old 97's, if you haven't heard it- go listen. I like it, and now it's stuck in my head. Oh well. 

But the topic for today- the proposal. I realized that I started right in on the wedding planning without telling you about how we get to do all this lovely stuff in the first place.
So- a little background:
Matt and I started dating freshmen year after we met cleaning Reed Arena (AKA A&M's basketball arena) for a dorm fundraiser. Romantic, I know. He claims that we met during the first week we moved in way in first semester, but since my infallible memory cannot recall that, clearly it didn't happen! (Ha!) Anyway, so our first date was in February of 2008, and we've been together ever since. 
Since we both lived on campus, we would make it a routine to take walks together and just chat, get to know each other. Plus it was an awesome study break. It was a tradition of ours that on the last day of the semester, once all of our finals were over, we would take a longer walk than normal and just sit at all our various benches on campus. 'Our' place is this spot:

Though not shown, there are a couple of benches over to the right of the statue that are nice and overall the area has a good view of the grassy knoll on campus.

Background's done. Since Matt and I had been dating for so long, we had previously talked about getting married and all that. We knew we would have to wait to graduate college and everything, and I asked to have the summer before senior year to plan the wedding so I wouldn't have to worry about it during senior year. Thus, I knew the proposal would be at some point during junior year, most likely during the second semester. I had always felt it would be the last night just because that area we always go to is 'us', and we wouldn't have school to worry about, etc. 

So as the semester progresses, there had still not been a proposal. And then, a couple of days before our last finals I started to get sick. Just a cold, but not fun when I was dealing with finals, packing for a trip to Europe with my brother two days after finals were over, and plus, who wants to be sick when they have epic last-night plans?? So, we both take our last final and then we know we will not be able to do a long last walk, and I get all depressed because I'm ruining the engagement plans.

First, we watched "The Sound of Music," because we're that kind of exciting couple. No, as a part of my European adventure, we were going to Salzburg, Austria (AKA where they filmed a lot of the movie) and I wanted to see it before I went. So, we watched it, and after chilling there, I felt a lot better, though not 100%. Then instead of going to a nicer restaurant per tradition, we went to Blue Baker because I really wanted soup. Following dinner, I see him looking at his phone...

-OK- more background. I told Mary, my amazing friend who is going to be the MOH, that I suspected that this specific night was going to be THE night. So she asked me if I didn't mind if she contacted Matt to help somehow with the engagement. I, of course, said no, so she got in touch with him, and boom*bada*bing, that was done. Now back to the story...

We drive to campus in an awkward silence because we BOTH know what's going to happen. Once we get there, he looks at his phone again, texts, and we take a meandering stroll through campus, indirectly leading to our area. But, we were thwarted as another couple was there! How dare they?!? Didn't they know that was OUR spot and we needed it? The nerve! Anyway, so once they leave, we go sit down, and again, awkward silence. So I ask Matt what he's thinking, and he says, "Well, I might as well tell you."
That's when he gets up, gets down on one knee, says all sorts of sweet things, and pulls the ring out of his pocket, and proposes. 

Obviously, I said yes (I think, Mary said she think I said, "Really?" though Matt and I do not recall that), and after a bit, I ask if we should call our parents. Matt said that there was someone we should tell first, and I ask him if Mary was there. She comes out from behind her hiding place (she had gone to stake out the area the day before just to make sure she could find a good place! What a great friend!), and we take some posed pictures, such as these gems:

Please ignore my ugly hair. I blame being sick. So then we (Mary and I) freak out over the gorgeous ring, hug, etc. Then she leaves and we call our respective families, who of course knew, and then close friends. And then the mass text messages. 

So yeah, that was that. Expected, but sweet and totally us. And now a picture of the ring. I love it, it is just me, as my roommate Kara put it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

THE Dress

{ETA- if you want to see the actual dress plus others I tried on that day, go here}

So a couple of months ago, my parents, my aunt/godmother, and my MOH Mary went with me to The Princess Bridal to find my wedding gown. To all prospective brides in the Houston area- go there! It's located in Old Town Spring and the owners are so nice and also very knowledgeable.


Interestingly enough, originally it was just going to be my parents and I, so we would have received a small dressing room. Instead, since I had a 'large' party, we got the big room. And basically, if we weren't in that big room, I never would have found my dress. So yay for changes! And sorry, no pictures of the dress until after the wedding. But I think you understand. :)

Anyway, the experience was so much fun, pretty much a girl's dream. Well, a girl that likes to wear gorgeous dresses. First, you pick out some dresses you like. Then, a woman comes and gets them on you. Once you emerge into the room with the large mirror, the pedestal, and your family/friends, everyone tells you how gorgeous you look, etc etc. After you narrow it down to 2-3, then the owner starts accessorizing the dresses, with veils and jewelry. And then it hits you, the fact that you're getting married. And to your best friend, too. Who could be luckier?

Anyway, it was fun stuff! I so wish I could relive that experience, but I love my dress, so no such luck!

But we do have pictures that I will post later (AKA after the end of May, 2011) of the dress and others, including the infamous tissue dress.

Until next time (which will probably be tomorrow), have a good one!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wedding basics...

So because I'm a Type-A, advanced planner kind of gal, we have a lot of the wedding figured out. So here is a run down of the basics.
Ceremony- at The Woodlands Community P
resbyterian Church. Though it hasn't been my church for very long, on account of we moved to the area 3 years ago, I am in love with the sanctuary and the grounds.


So I'm having a hard time finding pictures of the sanctuary. Weird, but I'll try to get pictures for you later! Take my word for it- beautiful! Huge windows that will let in plenty of light (because the wedding is at like, 1 PM), surrounded by trees... *sigh!*

Reception- Amerigo's Grille (yes, with an 'e', we're apparently dignified here in The Woodlands!).
You see, a nice benefit of having a (cheaper) daytime wedding is we get the entire restaurant to ourselves, both floors. They do not open til 5 PM or so, thus as long as we're out by a designated time, we're good. We're not having a formal, sit-down dinner or anything. Instead, heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served, along with a pasta and salad bar. Along with the cake. And the food here-- AMAZING!
And the obligatory pictures:


So there ya go! Amerigo's also has a dance floor, albeit small, but I think it will work for what we have in mind. As much as I love to dance, since: a) we're on a limited budget, b) we won't be having a 'party-all-night' reception, c) the groom isn't big on dancing, we all thought this was the perfect compromise.

That's all for today, but have a good one!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So hi! Or howdy, as we like to say in Aggieland. I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while now, if not just for the benefit of having a central location to keep my thoughts/comments/plans on:
-Grad school
-Wedding planning
-Honeymoon planning
-Life in general

So a little bit about me:
Name- Jessica
Status- Senior at Texas A&M, double major in sociology and psychology
Status2- engaged to an amazing guy named Matt
Status3- a Christian who is realizing everyday how much she needs Jesus
Plans- graduate college in May of 2011, get married, and then move off and attend graduate school (PhD in Criminology) for destination unknown.

Ok, so I should probably start working now, but more later :)
Have a good day!