Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Decorating the Dartmouth Skiway

The day before our wedding, on Friday, October 20, the Dartmouth Skiway let us start setting up the reception area at 8:00am sharp. My parents, sister, Courtney, Molly, and I arrived as soon as they opened with plenty of decorations in hand, while Roger went to pick up our beer order and handle last minute things at the house.

With all the candles, books, photos, and other ephemera, we had a very full truck:

Our plan was to put together two long tables on either side of the dance floor, along with a scattering of high top tables. All of our rentals came on time, and the caterer and bartender also came that morning to check in.

We didn't quite follow the above plan, but it was close, and we were so pleased with the set up. As you can see below, we moved the high tops to be around the dance floor, and put the cake table front and center.

Things actually went a lot quicker than I expected (many hands make light work), and we were finished with decorating by 11am. I'm so thankful to have had my family and Molly there. They are all much better at decor than I am, and also much better at staying calm under pressure, so they basically did everything while I kind of puttered around giving direction. The best decorating crew a gal could ever ask for!

The best part of the day, though, was when Roger came to drop off the beer, and we saw two moose making their way across the parking lot and up the ski slope! I've wanted to see a moose for ages (since there was one wandering around Mahopac when I was in college), and I finally got my wish. A good omen for our marriage, I think!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

Image Source:

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This year, I have so much to be thankful for: our marriage, our new home, my incredible family and friends. 2017 has been a year of change and excitement, and I feel such gratitude for the generosity of spirit that so many people around me have shown. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because it's centered around gratitude, and food, and family, and feels in that way a bit apart from capitalism and commercialism.

Today is only the second Thanksgiving I've spent away from my parents (the other was while I was studying abroad), and although I miss them, I'm so thrilled with the new traditions I'm starting and the ones I'm maintaining. I hope today is filled with all good things for you!

(And, if you're looking for a poem or prayer to read at your Thanksgiving table tonight, I'm rather partial to the words of this hymn.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Modcloth, David's Bridal, Designer Loft: How to Pick a Wedding Dress

Although I won't say I was one of those people who had their whole wedding planned out by the time they were five years old, I definitely had an idea of how it would look, and what I would look like at it. I knew I would wear a ballet-length a-line dress, likely made out of lace with a v-neck and three-quarter sleeves. I also, somewhat offhandedly, had pinned a lot of art deco style gowns over the years. But I knew I was going to go more the length that my grandmother and Kate Middleton had taken and have lace and sleeves.

Spoiler alert, it didn't happen—here's what I wore:

Almost immediately after Roger and I got engaged, my mother, Liz, and I took a secret trip to David's bridal to try on dresses right after Thanksgiving weekend. Coming up short (I don't even think I have any photos from that trip!) I took to the place I am most comfortable in the world: the internet.

During their pre-holiday sales, I ordered a ton of dresses from Modcloth, and genuinely liked most of them quite a lot. Of all the ones I tried on that round, I was most excited about this Pisarro Nights white dress, which surprised me, because it wasn't anything like what I'd been thinking I would want.

This one from Chi Chi fit the bill, though it didn't have a v-neck. It's a perennial favorite on Modcloth, so it's still up if you're looking for a wedding dress. I liked it well enough, but thought I looked a little squat in it, so back it went!

There were also some clear losers, like this beige sausage casing:

This dowdy number off the set of Downton Abby:

And this longer version of the one I thought I'd wear, which made me feel like I was on a 1970s photo album cover:

None of these were quite the right fit, but one that I'd seen online, the All Aisles On You, seemed like it could be a perfect fit. It was the same silhouette as the white dress, but looked a little more glamorous. It was also, unfortunately, sold out. I ended up refreshing the page a couple times a day for literally a month until it came back into stock and snapped it up, a wedding miracle.

This was my very favorite, and of course it's the one I don't have a real photo of. I loved it so much that I actually kept it, and can't wait to wear it to a Gatsby-themed New Years Eve party one of these days.  For a very long time, I was pretty sure it was going to be The Dress.

My mother had other plans. (And, she may have been right. Even just from trying it on, many of the sequins and beads have come off, and I need to have a tailor go over the whole thing to secure them. But I love it so much that I'm planning on doing just that!)

So, in February, she came up from Florida and dress shopping we went, with Shelby, Liz, and Sue in tow! Our first stop was David's Bridal in Manhattan, which had a few of the Jenny Packham dresses I liked but hadn't seen in the Connecticut one. The service there left a little bit to be desired; they yelled at Liz for trying to sit down in a chair outside my dressing room, and then yelled at Shelby for trying to bring over a dress for me, and then generally didn't offer me any guidance or help as I was explaining what I wanted. This was a little frustrating to me, because things are so overpriced in wedding world and I was looking at spending more money on an article of clothing than I ever had in my life, and it felt a little like I was at a sample sale looking for bargain bin pieces.

None the less, I tried on a few dresses and didn't just walk straight out. This one was my favorite, with art-deco beading and a v-neck. I especially loved how it draped in the back.

I was also quite fond of this bridesmaid's dress, which had pockets and a lovely neckline. It was vetoed by my mother for not being white.

And this Jenny Packham one just wasn't working on my frame (which is strange because, as you'll see, at the next place, I tried on a dress that was very similar and which worked much better):

None of them bested the dress I already had at home, though, so onward we went.

Our next stop was Designer Loft, where we finally got the wonderful wedding treatment I'd been dreaming of! Their price point started out only a little higher than what we were looking at at David's Bridal, but the service was 10 times as good, easily. They worked with me to pick out dresses that actually looked like what I wanted, helped me into the dresses, and clipped me up so that I could get an idea of what the dress would actually look like after it was tailored (all things that David's Bridal couldn't be bothered with.) I would highly recommend stopping by there if you're in the market for a dress!

Every dress I tried on there was beautiful in its own way. I was surprised by how much I loved the clean lines of these two dresses, which made me feel like Jackie O., especially the long-sleeved one:

And the sales associate also had me try on dresses that felt more art-deco and beaded like the pieces I'd tried on before. I loved the flutter sleeves and the intricate beadwork on the first one:


This Grecian style gown came out of left field, but it felt like wearing a nightgown and I really liked it:

I was just so impressed by my associate's ability to find dresses that matched what I wanted, and also dresses I would never have considered that just looked really beautiful on my body. She has a real talent and it was so hard to pick because all of the dresses felt stunning, for different reasons.

In the end, though, it came down to two.

This first dress was stunning, and reminded me of my prom dress from 2006 (the most beautiful dress of all time). When I had thought, many many years ago, of what type of dress I would wear, this was exactly it.

But, there was also this one, which I dubbed "the seaweed dress" because the asymmetrical beading pattern reminded me of the seaweed we used to have to swim through when I lifeguarded at a lake. I'd wanted to get married on a beach, so having a little nautical touch felt good to me! It didn't have any of the elements I'd wanted, but everyone's reactions were priceless. They loved it. 

It was clear to me that both of these dresses would beat out the little ditty I had at home, but surrounded by so many opinions, I just couldn't make a decision. I felt beautiful in both! We headed home empty-handed, and I came back myself a couple weeks later to make the final choice.

Trying the dresses on again, it was clear that the seaweed dress was far and away the winner. It was so comfortable that I could see myself dancing all night in it. The bustling example the tailor held up was even more beautiful than the train. And when she placed a new belt over the bow and mentioned she could make a matching headpiece, I knew that everyone was right, and this was the dress!

Now that the wedding is over, I can say unequivocally I made the right choice. It was hard to realize that I couldn't wear all the dresses I loved, but I think marriage is often about making a choice to stop making choices, and like our marriage, this one just felt right.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Wedding Week

The week leading up to the wedding was hectic but fun!

On Sunday, October 15, we raked leaves all morning (oh, so many leaves! Poor Roger worked on them for days leading up to the wedding!), and then took a break by heading to our favorite used bookstore in the area, The Country Bookshop, to buy some books for our tables capes. We also met up with Emily and James for some must-needed Positive Pie!

On the evening of Monday, October 16, we enjoyed one last evening of "relaxation" before full-tilt wedding preparations, and dropped off the welcome bags we'd made for everyone at the hotels. I know these are kind of silly and superfluous, but I was really, really excited by them, and it constitutes the only craft I actually worked on myself. I bought the white bags and the blue tissue paper from Amazon, and stamped them myself with blue ink and a rubber stamp. We then filled each with water bottles, a map of the area and suggestions for fun things to do the morning of the wedding, and two of our favorite regional treats, Cloud Nine kettle corn and Big Picture Farm goat milk caramels

My parents, sister, and Courtney flew up from Florida on Tuesday, October 17 to help with wedding preparations, which mostly translated to some shopping for items for the weekend and cleaning up our house and property. Oh my god, they were such good sports, especially considering that the guest room, which needed a coat of paint on the ceiling and some cleaning up, looked like this when they arrived:

But they were absolutely vital to helping us out and making sure the whole space was in tip-top shape for Roger's bridal party, who spent the weekend in our house, and for everyone who was coming to visit for the welcome dinner and day-after brunch. 

On Tuesday night Jill, Courtney, my mother and I went to Nefertiti Nails to get manicures and pedicures for the big day. I'm a total convert to gel manicures and I'm going to be so sad not to have an excuse to keep splurging on them now that the bridal shower and wedding is over! I choose Essie's "Mademoiselle" color for my nails, which is very close to my natural color but made them look just a bit fancy, and "Really Red" for my toes, as an homage to the classic glamour I tried to cultivate in our wedding outfits. My mother and sister went with colors that matched their dresses (a lovely plum color for mom and a royal blue with gold party nail for Jill), while Courtney also did a natural beige.

essie mademoiselle bridal gel manicure

On Wednesday, October 18, we surprised my parents with a cooking class at King Arthur Flour. They've been getting into making their own bread and pizza dough, so we thought they'd like the Baguettes 101 class. We had such fun at the whoopie pie class we took last winter that even then, I thought, We should really get this for my parents as a thank you for the wedding. I think they had a blast! We were hoping that Jill and Courtney could also spend some time exploring the Upper Valley, but they ended up running more errands for us, like picking up Roger's pants from the tailor and getting last minute groceries. I honestly can't thank them enough for their help during the week. I don't know how we would have done it without this amazing crew.

On Thursday, October 19, I took a half day at work, and met up with Molly, who took the Dartmouth Coach up from Philadelphia (by way of New York). Once we got back to the house, we did a little more cleaning (Molly helped us rake up a ton more leaves), and then the whole group went for dinner at the Norwich Inn, where my mother and I realized we'd dressed like twins:

Then it was back to the house for one more sleep before our decorating extravaganza began!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

We're Married!

On October 21, 2017, Roger and I said, "I do!" (Or, more accurately, "I will.") I've always thought that people who say their wedding day was the happiest day of their lives were exaggerating, but I couldn't imagine a more perfect day. On a beautiful sunny autumnal day in New England, we were surrounded by friends and family who had all traveled many miles to celebrate our partnership and my heart was filled with joy.

I'll post more about the wedding in the coming weeks, but I wanted to share a few of Amanda Summerlin's spectacular photos, since she just posted them on her website. I can't wait to see the full set, and start sharing some of the details of our day with you!

In the meantime, to everyone who took time out of their lives to help make this day so perfect, thank you! We love you so much!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Laura Beers

Laura Beers spent most of her childhood with a nose stuck in a book, dreaming of becoming an author. She attended Brigham Young University, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. 

Many years later, and with loving encouragement from her family, Laura decided to start writing again. She is the author of Saving Shadow, a romantic thriller that takes place in the Regency era. Besides being a full-time homemaker to her three kids, she loves waterskiing, hiking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. Currently, Laura Beers resides in South Carolina.

Laura Beers, Author of Saving Shadow

Who are you? Hi! I am Laura Beers, a thirty-something California native living in South Carolina. I am an author, wife, stay at home mom, friend, and a Dr. Pepper connoisseur.

Where can you be found online? How would you describe your author sites to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? You can find me online at: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. My author sites are meant to fun, light-hearted and informative. I want my friends to enjoy my posts and in doing so, they might be inspired to buy my amazing book, Saving Shadow.

What inspired you to start writing? When did it happen? I have always been a daydreamer and I love making up stories in my head. A few years ago, the same story kept popping up. It was about a daughter of a duke who was also a notorious spy. I kept dwelling on the story and eventually I decided to write it down on paper.

Why do you write? I write because it is fun. I enjoy creating a story and sharing it with other people. My debut novel, Saving Shadow, is a Regency Spy Romance. It is set in 1813 and features spies, intrigue, a swoony love story and a despicable villain. In addition, it tackles issues such as human trafficking, PTSD and living conditions in the slums. Sounds intense, right? Even though it sounds dark, it is meant to be a fun, clean read that will entertain even the pickiest reader!

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? I love Jennifer Moore, Heather Moore, Sarah Eden, Rebecca Connolly … the list could go on. I have been an avid reader most of my life and if I am not writing, then I am reading.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all- expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would love to go to England, Scotland and Ireland. I would love to tour the old estate homes and touch buildings that were built centuries ago.

What is your favorite place on earth? This summer my family went to Northshore on Oahu and it was dang close to perfection. We rented a small house close enough to the beach that we could hear the waves crashing onto the shore at night. During the day, we could walk to numerous beaches with warm water, beautiful trees, and idyllic views.

Anything else you'd like us to know? Saving Shadow is the first book of The Beckett Files series. The second book, A Peculiar Courtship, will be out in December. Check it out!