Monday, December 21, 2009

Herbert the Christmas Tree

Has a name, and that name is Herbert. Yes, we name our Christmas trees and our trash can (Seymour) and our alarm clocks (the late Norman and Deborah) and our pink glitter reindeer (Jermaine). We've named every Christmas tree we've had, but I have a really hard time remembering their names from year to year (heartless, I know). My firs inclination is always to name each one Frederick. Unfortunately we've already had a Frederick and a Franklin and maybe a Hans? After that it gets foggy. Poor Herbert, the latest in a line of noble firs whose names I have forgotten.

Herbert came to us from a tree farm out in Maryland one snowy day a few weeks back. Although we were soaked by the time we got him in the car - it was an appropriately Christmasy outing.

Once home we decorated the rather plump Herbert to an appropriate soundtrack of Amy Grant, Bela Fleck and our new favorite, Sufjan Steven's Songs for Christmas.

When we head out to Washington this week we won't be taking Herbert down - I know the words "fire hazard" and "crispy critter" have been tossed around, but dismantling him in all of his glory would be a shame. So we'll fill his tank to the brim, unplug the lights and brace ourselves for several hours of vacuuming when we return.

Feast Your Eyes


On this spectacular Colorado winter wedding (my friend Paige's from last year) - It feels appropriate given the record-breaking snow we received in here in the District this weekend. 

16" is a fair amount of snow and by DC standards, is as close to armageddon as we're likely to get. I fondly refer to the event as snowpocalypse, the district crippling storm that I enjoyed watching from my cozy couch with the exception of a trek to the Capitol to revel in the snowy loveliness.

  Before the 16" fell, we squeezed in our holiday party which was a wonderful time with great friends, plenty of eggnog, cider and cookies and laughter all around until well into the night. I've spent the last few weeks baking, magically transforming pounds of butter and sugar into more attractive (or less) pounds of butter and sugar. From gingerbread to shortbread, chocolate espresso snowcaps to white trash, there's no shortage of saccharine around these parts. In fact, even post-party D. and I had a large assortment to graze on, our snowpocalypse provisions.

 In addition to the baking frenzy, D. and I also went on a decorating frenzy partially inspired by a viewing of our holiday favorite, Elf. So cue paper snowflakes and paper chains.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Things we should be doing for the wedding...

  1. Save the Dates - Our goal of getting these out by December is rapidly slipping, and by rapidly slipping, I mean we haven't even started them.
  2. Crazy Bridesmaid Thing - to be described in a later post, at least this one is close to completion.
  3. Photographer
  4. Officiant
  5. Caterer - Well, we know which one we won't be using...
  6. Band
7. Engagement photos - seem like a good idea, right? Especially if they're super cute like the following. Not so sure about the more stiff homecoming varietal with cheesy poses transplanted from in front of a scenic "laser" photo drop to the great outdoors. On the other hand, losing the poses but keeping the laser drop might be the best plan.

These balloons = pure love. Sarah Yates, SoCal photographer, borrowed from Ruffled


and a beautiful purple wall - borrowed from green wedding shoes

 unfortunately, I think we'll pass on this Twilight themed session
- despite D.'s Cullenesque hair.

and why, oh why does anyone think this is necessary?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's here - the best part of the year, the one that starts on Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas with the time in between filled with trees and parties and lights and shopping and baking and Christmas music overload. In short, the best part of the year. 

Our turkey day on the Outer Banks was the fantastic, relaxing and tasty. Our house was right on the beach with windows on three sides of the dining room, where we sat and watched dolphins and pelicans. The weather was surprisingly mild, enough for walks on the beach and wading in the *refreshing* waves.

We enjoyed a pre-thanksgiving seafood feast of shrimp and crab followed by a roast sticky chicken thanksgiving with all the trimmings including this amazing green bean casserole that D.'s mum, Val introduced me to last year. Homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie and Dad's clam dip rounded out the cooking. Let's just say my jeans are fitting a little tighter this week.

Now it's time for the full-fledged holiday ramp up, our weekend plans include a Christmas tree, and I'm already blasting Vince Guaraldi on my commute. (can you blast Vince Guaraldi?) Either way, the spirit is here, even if the snow isn't and that's going to take some getting used to.

In addition to the aforementioned Charlie Brown Christmas, my soundtrack shuffled in some Amy Grant tonight and I was reminded of a favorite childhood holiday memory. Putting up the tree and blasting Amy Grant (you can blast Amy Grant), my sister and I would dance - crazy dance, with red metallic pom poms. We would run through the halls, Christmas dancing shaking our pom poms to "Emmanuel" until we were out of breath. I remember that there were lots of leaps involved and jumping and running. What about Amy Grant evoked such Christmas dancing frenzy, I'm not sure, but I totally wish I had my pom poms tonight.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brag Blog

It's a busy time in the district - getting everything done before D. and I head south to NC to meet up with the family for Turkey Week. After a weekend of research paper writing, and busy times at work, vegging out in our rental beach house sounds divine. A few things to do tomorrow morning and then we're throwing Rock Band and the Kitchenaid Mixer before making the five hour drive.

Maybe the time off will result in some new blog posts - maybe it will just result in naps.

Before I go, I couldn't resist bragging about some great work stuff. I'm having such a great time working at SCC, and I'm very proud of the projects we've had the opportunity to work on.

It's been a busy fall for us with a huge variety of clients keeping us busy, but recently we've had the opportunity to do some PR for ourselves - thank you to everyone who's become a fan of our Facebook page, you can also follow us on Twitter @scottcircle where I regularly tweet PR tips and tricks passing along any interesting

news I pick up along the way. With that lead in - here comes the brag - although I've been in my position at SCC for a few months, we recently sent out a press release announcing my existence and was I ever excited to see my name here and today, here.

Everybody likes to see their name in the paper, right? Well, unless it's a criminal report or even worse, an obit.

I'll leave you with a fun project that we loved working on. You may have already seen it on tv - we at SCC still do a happy dance every time it comes on.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I came late to the Oprah love - almost too late after watching her tearful announcement today that next season, her 25th, will be her last.

I will be watching.

Thanks to LG for bringing Opes into my life and with her "The O List" which features this, which I cannot live without.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Catering to no one (well at least not us)

When television shows capitalize on the dramatic irrationality surrounding weddings and the resulting violent outbursts, they typically focus on the bride a la my beloved Bridezillas. Vendors are not featured antagonists in this narrative as the bride is typically responsible for her own undoing when she punches her cake or shreds her bouquet.

I think I may have found a new plot line.

In an effort to mobilize wedding efforts, I put in calls and requests for proposals to a variety of caterers in the Denver area. Having worked closely with the majority of these companies for events at Walker when I was working there, I had a pretty good idea of what they had to offer. Last night my commute home contained a series of follow-up calls with reps (a great way to capitalize on the two hour time difference) in which they all sounded fairly enthusiastic about our wedding plans and like they'd be ready to work with us to make it happen.

I guess I should mention that D. and I have something slightly different than the norm in mind for wedding food, as we'd like to opt for neither plated dinners nor the buffet.  Our selection, family style, isn't readily offered by most Denver caterers although it seems pretty prevalent on this coast. Family style for anyone drawing a blank is the equivalent of a holiday meal, food comes on trays and your neighbor has to pass the peas. In my mind, it looks a little something like this...

Or this...

Where you pass the green beans like this...

I think you get the drift. Not too crazy right? In fact a pretty simple model where the caterer essentially carries food similar to that of a buffet to the table (sans chafing dish). Okay I'll get to the point.

After a great conversation last night with a catering rep from Tony Rosacci's catering, I received a call from the manager/owner, Avie Rosacci this afternoon. The exchange went a little something like this:
Avie: "Abbey, this is Avie Rosacci of Tony Rosacci's. I understand you spoke with 'x' last night regarding your wedding reception and wanting to do it family style. I want you to understand the enormous costs of doing a wedding reception that way"
Negative - in fact most of the catering reps I spoke with thought this was a great budget compromise between plated and buffet.
Avie: "You have to understand that you would need to rent china and tables because I have never seen family style off of paper."
 Correct - but we were planning to use china, and we didn't expect our guests to eat off the floor regardless of the dining style we chose - although I guess we could add that in as an additional option.
Avie: "Before I waste two hours on this proposal I want to be sure you are ready to pay at least $100 per guest."
Whoa. Just whoa. This is when I pointed out again that the other caterers I had spoken with had indicated this as a fairly budget friendly option. $100 x 150 guests= not budget friendly.
Avie: "I want to remind you that we consider ourselves a high-end caterer and this would be a waste of our time"
Again with the whoa. Explained to Avie that our other proposals were not in fact coming from Taco Bell, but instead from some pretty recognizable "high end" caterers. To which she responded:
Avie: "Well you have the right to choose your caterer and we have the right to choose our clients and we are declining."
Flabbergasted, I mean really, was any of this necessary? I mean it wasn't like I had just called this chick up and offered to pay her thousands of dollars to do her job, right?

I only wish I had scratched her off my list first.

The story doesn't end there, however. About an hour after my Avie encounter, the catering rep from Rosacci's who I spoke with last night called me. She apologized. Profusely. 

She also told me she refers to her boss as "The Devil Wears Wranglers," and that she had to wait for her to leave the office before calling me. As to what inspired the rage, who knows? Family style can be threatening?

Too bad their food is delicious, and now you'll never get to taste it as I am demanding a full boycott of all things angry Avie Rosacci.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday kind of Love

No wedding business today - aside from a few inquiries to caterers that I need to follow up on this week. Glorious day in the district, over 70, sunny and mild. After a week where the rain fell with the leaves and I thought my shoes would never not be soggy again, the sunshine was a welcome surprise. D. and I enjoyed some time out with friends including a trip to take in the MJ epic, "This is It." That and the weekend laundry/cleaning/groceries/homework regime de riguer. I'm gearing up for my term paper due a week from tomorrow, D. is preparing for the actual launch of the web site he has dedicated the last two months + to building.

Rain and leaves from earlier this week

Dinner tonight is definitely worth sharing - lamb chops with tzatziki, pita bread, curried carrots and this delicious chickpea vinaigrette from Tyler Florence. I know it doesn't sound super appealing, canned chickpeas and all, but it was so good, and so easy and the perfect accompaniment to something rich like lamb chops (he also suggests serving it with salmon).

Chickpea Vinaigrette - From Tyler's Ultimate by Tyler Florence
1 can chickpeas - not drained
Juice of one lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
salt & pepper

 Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir - remove roughly one cup of mixture and puree in blender (or mash up in a smaller bowl as we did) Then stir back into the rest to thicken.
So delicious so so easy. I think I could have drank the whole bowl.

Getting excited to start planning our Thanksgiving feast (to be consumed at our beach front house in Duck, NC). What do you have planned? I'm seriously thinking it's time to abandon the turkey. Call it unpatriotic, but I've got no love for that bird. I feel like I've tried the whole host of turkey tricks that Bon Appetit offers on a yearly basis. Their approaches have varied from brining to basting, dry rubs to butter injections. Regardless of the effort ahead of time, the end result is, well, turkey. I'm thinking that roasted sticky chicken might be this season's centerpiece, rounded out with some local seasonal seafood and all the favorite side dishes (because that's what it's really all about).

Tell me what's on your menu....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

You Be the Judge


Minted, which I brought up in an earlier post is having a design competition for wedding invitations. I know this is getting ahead of myself, but I love flipping through the designs and voting on my favorites. You can join in being judgmental here.

There are some mediocre designs, there are some good designs and there are some great designs. My favorites aren't probably anything like what I'll pick when the time comes (decisions! agh!), but I love them for their out of the box approach.

Like these little mushrooms - or this tandem bike

What about a science lab wedding?

All totally fun, right? In reality, I'm probably headed towards something more like this - when I do decide, which I will do, eventually. This is my favorite of the ones I've flipped through, but there are tons of designs with new ones added daily. What fun - go vote, or tell me which ones you liked the best!

Just spotted this one as well... too many options and I've only flipped through the first 100 of almost 400 entries! The winning designs will be available for purchase through Minted after the first of the year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keeping up with the Kardashians

Last night I dedicated two hours to the television wedding "you never saw coming" or I guess, more appropriately "you didn't care about coming." Yes, the Khloe Kardashian wedding ceremony, conceptualized and executed in nine days flat. A wedding in nine days? Think of the opportunities for drama, stress - scrambling over china choices and officiant options. The scramble was lacking. Maybe that's because E Television financed and produced the whole thing, or that Khloe was too busy sucking face to care about pesky wedding details, but I expect more from my wedding shows. 

With such quality programming as Bridezillas, Wedded to Perfection and Say Yes to the Dress out there, the Kardashian wedding was facing an uphill battle to begin with. How can you compete with a show where brides- to-be scream, buy guns, punch cakes and impose weekly weigh-ins for bridesmaids demanding that their big-day weight tips the scales at over 200 lbs? Or what about brides from all over the country flocking to the wedding couture capital, Kleinfeld's with aggressive entourages in tow and budgets bursting. That's entertainment. Just to think of the episodes I've missed prior to being engaged, the tears, the tantrums and the fantastic reassuring feeling of sanity and rationality by comparison.

It doesn't get much better than that, right? Oh, Bridezillas, the best guilty pleasure to come my way since "My Super Sweet 16." 

I'll leave it at that for tonight - who knows, maybe you don't feel the immediate connection to Bridezillas, maybe it isn't your new favorite show.  I understand, not all of us embrace the appeal of cake-smashing and incessant screaming, but just think of what you're missing.

More save the dates tomorrow, I promise.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Best Save the Date Ever

Alright - this might take the cake - featured here in the NY times last summer, this clever couple didn't take any shortcuts on what is usually a lower priority paper item. No three word postcard here, instead a day by day prediction of the events leading up to the wedding. Hilarious.


I love these save the dates from Brooklyn Bride, posted by Candice

And another idea from Martha

What Better Place Than Here, What Better Time Than Now?

Remember when I used to keep a blog? I wrote about our touristy activities in the district, chronicled week-night dinners and regularly complained about not having enough time to do any of these things.

This is still that blog. Well, mostly.. you see, those impending nuptials are impending more and more everyday. Instead of simply obsessing over other wedding blogs I love privately, I thought it was time to make it public and share little bits of inspiration and intimidation the wedding industry confronts me with on a daily basis.

Why the venue change? I wanted more scrolling and less clicking. I didn't want to feel guilty for making you click through for one picture or five sentences. Of course, it's not all about you. It's also about me, being lazy, wanting to spend less time designing posts and more time hitting publish. I can also email in posts, so that means you can hear about my metro mishaps while they are happening. Think of the excitement.

Well, let's kick this off right. The next item  D. and I need to lock-down for the wedding are save the dates. As I've mentioned before, the church and reception sites are booked, the date confirmed and the dress in the closet in Denver. This weekend D. made the official asks of the groomsmen, and I have something special (read: ridiculous) in the works for the girls.

From my wedding R&D these puppies typically hit the mail about six months before the wedding date, but with the large percentage of our wedding party that will be traveling, we need to give some advance notice.

I love this sticker idea from Martha - maybe just because I want to stick these stickers all over my calendar.

Another great sticker idea from 100 Layer Cake

I would love to DIY these - just like everything else, but with the clock ticking who knows what I'll actually get around to without losing my mind. One of my favorite sites for stationary, wedding or otherwise is They have tons of really cute stuff.

These two are just a small sampling of what they have on the site. There are too many options, as with all wedding stuff - overwhelming!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

They Say it's my birthday

Yes indeed, tomorrow, September 23rd, I will be 24. Not really a “big one”, but another birthday and another year. I’m notorious for not handling birthdays very well, I tend to become overly nostalgic, crying and panicking about where all the time has gone. Even as a young child, I would habitually destroy my own birthday party throwing tantrums as only a simultaneously attention hungry and self-conscious aging toddler can do. There will hopefully be none of that tomorrow. Mostly because there can’t be, I have work and school and I don’t think tantrums are tolerated in proposal meetings or marketing lectures.

Although 24 isn’t what I previously labeled as a “big one”, I did put special weight on 23 as it was my golden year. It seems like this concept of “golden year” isn’t as widespread as I initially believed. In fact, I’m not totally sure where I got it in the first place, but since I was little, I looked forward to my 23rd birthday as my golden year. For anyone who still isn’t following, what makes the year golden is the correlation between birthday and age. September 23rd + 23 = Magic. Right? Well, at least significantish?

A year ago I pondered the weight of the year ahead of me. What would this “golden year” have in store? There was plenty of room for improvement, I was unemployed, D. was away working for the campaign and my lease in Denver was rapidly running out. I was definitely lacking purpose and my options seemed a little slim. That’s not to say that I was itching to leave Denver - or that I was even aware that I would ultimately do so, but my life was ripe for change. AND CHANGE IT DID! (okay - all caps was way too overdramatic for that statement) And change, it did. I am employed and have been consistently since moving to D.C., D. is not only here with me, but we are getting married and we have a new house in a new city in a new state. My purpose might still be a little undefined, but I’m working on it with school added back into the mix. I would call these developments major and this year, pivotal. Yes, rah rah me, but in a time of reflection I am so happy looking back on all this year has brought.

There you have it. Now, 24, another year - not “golden” but certainly one that won’t disappoint. Next year I will be married, I will be half way through my masters program and far more familiar with my new home - which won’t be so new! I’m looking forward to every moment.

Yep, sappy, nostalgic, dramatic, definitely a birthday appropriate post.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And We're Back

The long commercial break of travel and family is over and we’re back. We’ve been back, back to work and back to school for two weeks now, and we’re settled into the old routine.
Work is wonderful, wonderfully busy, but at least a constant routine. No more late nights ordering Chinese food into
the office, now my only late nights are school nights. School on the other hand is still school. It has yet to be scintillating or stimulating, but as I am often reminded compliments a full-time job nicely.
I have class Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-8pm and make it home before 9. It works well with work and hopefully I will have further news on that front in the future.
The time in North Carolina, Denver and Washington was fantastic. For the most part it felt unrushed, like a real summer vacation. Of course it wasn’t all relaxing poolside (although we did get some of that in), there was plenty of wedding planning to do.

With two weeks in town I managed to hit roughly a dozen ceremony and reception sites. Mom, M. and I did some heavy R&D at Barnes and Noble, sifting through piles of bargain bridal and complete wedding compendiums. I bought a dress. Ok, have to write that again, I bought a dress. I didn’t mean to really. I was just getting my feet wet in the dress trying on and then, oops, there it was. I started in the bridal equivalent of the kiddie pool - David’s Bridal - and was left with the impression that finding the right dress was going to take a long time and a lot of money. Then the next day, one store later, there it was. It was nothing I thought I wanted (strapless, god forbid) but it is perfect. You know, we had the whole moment, the dress went on, everyone loved it and then they added the veil (that’s where they really get you); waterworks. Bundle up the dress and send it home, I was sold.

So dress, date, church, site... looks like we’ve got a weddin
g. I’d tell you the plan, but then that would ruin the save the date cards that we need to get started on. We’ll stick to formalities, and you can wait for the details. More to come as we move into the world of caterers, bouquets and bridesmaids’ dresses.

Well, there’s plenty more to tell: new restaurant discoveries, tourist time at museums, pictures of our travels, but for now this will have to be my “back in the swing of things blog”. More to come... I’ll leave you with this pic of the fam at M.’s summer digs in Flat Rock, NC and a piece of bark that I think looks like a heart. D. thought I should specify since he didn’t know what it was a photo of.