Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Wedding Just for Metal Heads!

My husband just found this amazing news at The Onion's AV Club and I just had to share.

Any metal heads out there? Planning to get married soon? Hoping to combine your love of music with your Big Day?Then this could be the answer to your dreams.

You can get married at next month's Ozzfest!

The package being offered, called "Unholy Matrimony," features
an Ozzfest wedding ceremony performed on stage by Big Dave. I have no idea who Big Dave is, but apparently he can officiate your rockin' ceremony. Go, Big Dave!

But wait, there's more! It also includes
10 general admission pit tickets (for the happy couple and 8 of their closest friends), an Ozzfest wedding cake, access to the Ozzfest VIP Lounge, and other goodies. Did I mention that your officiant, Big Dave, will also be your guide for an official pre-show Backstage Tour?

Seriously, I do think this is kinda cool. Hey, I may have been more into New Order and Depeche Mode than Metallica, but I did listen to Ozzy back in my youth. And I admit to having had a crush on Randy Rhoads. There - I said it.

Actually, I think it would be fun to be the officiant for this ceremony, But, unfortunately, Big Dave beat me to it.

Just know that, if you're not into the whole getting-married-on-stage thing, but still want a metal wedding, I think it would be fun! All aboard on the crazy train!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

Let me begin by telling you that this post has nothing to do with wedding ceremonies. Or cupcakes. Or any other baked goods for that matter.

Let's just call it, "Getting to Know Your Friendly, Neighborhood Celebrant."

You see, I have had a month off of officiating wedding ceremonies. I don't know how this happened, but I've had a little "vacation" right in the middle of the summer. And I'm not complaining!
While I have been working on writing and researching, I've also had time to pursue other interests on the weekends.

Since we have become such good friends, I am
now prepared to reveal some of my secrets desires to you. But only to you.

Secret #1 - I really want some chickens

I don't mean for dinner. I mean, as pets. And for eggs. I even have a name picked out for one of them: Henrietta. I also like Penelope, but I gave that name to my GPS. (It seemed to go with her accent.)
I want to have a little coop in the yard for up to four hens. That way, there would be one for each of us. (But we all know they'll really all be mine.)
The problem is that, where I live, backyard chickens are not allowed. They're permitted in all the surroun
ding suburbs, as well as the city of Chicago, but not here. Have the people around here not heard of urban farming!?!? Go figure.
I'm planning on working to change this, but haven't had the time to formulate the battle plan. Yet.

City Council members be warned - I will be taking up the good fight some day soon. And if you try to thwart me, I will not share any eggs with you. So there.

Secret #2 - I love watching the Demolition Derby
I developed this taste back in college when my friend Julie took me with her family. I always cheered for the car that had "Faith No More" emblazoned on the
back. Okay, it was roughly painted, but it was still a tribute to a band I liked, so it worked for me. My other favorite had a huge barbie doll in a wedding dress attached to the back.

In any case, I love watching cars smash into each other. I also want to be the driver that's smashing into the other cars. Enough said.

The highlight of this month was going to the DuPage County Fair, where I was able to revel in my secret pleasures!

I have no reasonable explanation as to why a city girl like me has these interests. But I do.
And now, you know a little bit more about me than you ever needed (or wanted) to know.

I swear to you - that chicken in the picture above really was talking to me! Really.

Friday, July 23, 2010

17 Years and Counting!

Today, my husband and I are celebrating our 17th Anniversary! Yay for us!!

We rang in the occasion last night by staying up past midnight watching the fabulously bad movie,
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, starring none other than Debbie Gibson (oh sorry, it's Deborah Gibson now) and Lorenzo Lamas. It was as bad as it sounds - and we enjoyed it imme

Today, we're dropping the kids off at their grandparents' house and spending the day hanging out together, trolling garage sales and going out for lunch. A perfect day with my hubby!

And to share the love with you, here are some pix from the big day back in 1993.

First, there's me, walking down the aisle at Unity Temple in Oak Park. Notice the guy standing to the left (the only one standing, for some reason)? T
his photo was taken right after he high-fived me as I was coming down the aisle. Classy.

The next photo is the ring exchange. Look how cute my hubby is! He was pretty nervous that day, an
d I doubt that my cracking jokes helped much. Such as when I said, "You better." after he said, "I do."

I know. I make no excuses for myself, I can only hang my head in shame.

But, I'd also
like to point out the dress. It was beautiful and a labor of love - my mom designed it and sewed it all on her own. We spent lots of time discussing (arguing) the style of the dress. She won.

It did have a nice detachable train, which went over the long, narrow skirt. But what's with those puffy shoulder
s? And that poof of netting attached to the cap?!?! What was I thinking?

Mind you, the dress I had been dreaming about was a long, flowy, hippie-chick style. Imagine a long-haired girl in this dress standing in a field of daisies. That was my vision. As you can see, not even close to what I wound up in.

Oh well. It was all well worth it.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful Hubby, who continues to be the best thing that ever happened to me. XOXO

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Create Your Own Holiday

So, who remembers the Seinfeld episode where George's dad comes up with Festivus?
Yup, "Festivus for the rest of us." So, maybe the Seinfeld holiday got a little carried away with The Pole (tinsel is too distracting) and the Airing of Grievances.....

But who says you can't create your own holiday? We did!

It began with having a son whose birthday is right before Christmas. Not only was he inundated with birthday presents, a few days later he was bombarded with Christmas presents. Then my daughter came along and her aunts got carried away with buying cute girlie stuff. It just got to be way too much.

I tried to get everyone to cut back on the gift-giving, and they did respect our wishes (for the most part - we're dealing with some serious shoppers). My husband and I found we still weren't comfortable with all the "stuff" the kids were accumulating.

Thus, Vaughan Day was born. We discussed our idea with the kids: they wouldn't get any Christmas gifts from us, but instead we'd have a holiday in the summer where they'd get gifts. They were all for it. They called it Christmas in July.

The first year that we were going to skip Christmas gifts, I was a little worried that we'd have two unhappy kids on our hands. I kept reminding them about our arrangement. When Christmas rolled around, they barely even noticed.

This past weekend, we celebrated our 2nd annual Vaughan Day. We brought the tree up from the basement and decorated with "summery" ornaments. The kids and I made our own decorations the day before. My favorites were my son's light saber ornament (nothing says family holiday like a Star Wars) and my daughter's lemonade ornament (notice the long spoon for stirring?). Instead of garland, I used pink crepe paper around the tree. I'm all about multi-purposing stuff that's laying around.

On Sunday morning, we had Big Breakfast, as it's called in our house - bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls, the works! Then the kids opened their presents. They each got one present and were thrilled.They even made us cards with a piece of candy from their prized stash of candy. We spent the whole day together - no pressure, no stress. We went to the
movies and then ordered our favorite pizza. It couldn't have been a better day!

So, I highly recommend coming up with your own holiday. Be creative!

Do you like bagels? Try one day where all your meals include bagels (bagel dog anyone?) and it's your own official Bagel Day!

Love books? Why not Reading Day, when you spend the whole day in pajamas and curl up with a good book and a nice mug of tea.... and scones. (Hey, I think I may do this one!)

Celebrate your family, your friends - and yourself! And do it any way that makes you happy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cantigny Gardens: Tanks for the Memories

(Sorry for the bad pun - I couldn't resist!)

So, the other day my sister and I loaded up the kids in her car and headed out to Cantigny Gardens in Wheaton.

I had never visit before and it's a place I've been meaning to check out for ages. I was especially curious to see the gardens, since I have a wedding scheduled at Cantigny for next June.
My interest was piqued when I saw the wedding pictures of one of my couples who had stopped there for their photo shoot.

Well, it certainly didn't disappoint! I'm so glad that this was one of the few times I actually remembered to bring along my camera. As you can see, I snapped lots of pictures!

The kids had a ball, climbing on the tanks surrounding the First Division Museum. We also wandered around the museum, which was fascinating. Whether you're a history buff or not, the exhibit was awe-inspiring.

I had no idea this co
llection even existed! There are exhibits that range from World War I to Desert Storm, with another instillation about Iraq.

It was very informative and definitely emotional. H
aving several good friends and family members who've served in the military, it certainly touched my heart. It was also a great learning experience for the kids.

After the museum, we had a chance to wander around outside a bit, but not as much as I would have liked.
So, we'll definitely have to go back again.

I'm really excited about officiating a wedding here. It's the perfect place for an outdoor ceremony. The
ns are breathtaking!

If you've already found your
wedding venue, Cantigny would be an ideal spot for photos.

And who says you can't sit on a tank in your wedding dress?!?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wedding Beads for You!

I know I've written a post about BeadforLife before, but I was motivated to do so again when the most recent newsletter popped up in my email.

This edition of The Bead included an article called "Shopping Is Giving: Add Beads to Your Wedding!"

Well, you know that had my name all over it.

The article shared the story of a customer who proposed to his wife by presenting her with - not a diamond ring - but a bracelet from BeadforLife.

The woman (who is now his wife) said, “The fact that Ugandan women made these beads added a tremendous amount of value to the engagement! This symbol of our commitment to each other also represents something real and valuable to those Ugandan women and their families.” How cool is that?!

If your p
roposal has already happened, BeadforLife can still play a role in your wedding. For example, brides can give a jewelry set to bridesmaids - complete with necklace, earrings and bracelet - for as little as $25! Not only are the pieces very affordable, the jewelry really is gorgeous. Trust me, I know.

I have
hosted Bead Parties for the past five years and own more BeadforLife bracelets than any one person really should. Just ask my husband, who puts up with my bead habit. Actually, as I sit here writing, I realize that right now, at this very moment, I'm wearing a BeadforLife necklace, a band bracelet, and two bangle bracelets. I love them all! And there's lots more in my jewelry box.... and the bathroom cabinet.... and the table next to my bed..... you get the idea.

Besides being attractive, inexpensive, and durable - your purchase makes a huge difference in the lives of the beaders in Uganda.

So, if you're still thinking about bridesmaids gifts, or shower favors, or even jewelry for yourself, consider shopping at BeadforLife's online shop. Just take a peek.

C'mon. You know you want to!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Holly & Henry's 4th of July Backyard Ceremony

About two weeks ago, I was contacted by a bride who was looking for an officiant for the first weekend in July. I talked to her on the phone for a bit and she explained that her fiancee was graduating from Great Lakes Navy Boot Camp on July 2nd. She would be in town for his graduation and would be doing some apartment hunting for a few days.

The couple, Holly and Henry, were hoping to get married that weekend, since she would be in town. It would only be the two of them - no guests. They were looking for an intimate ceremony to begin their life together.

We talked for a bit and I liked Holly immediately - I knew I wanted to marry this couple!

Holly mentioned that they had a few obstacles. They didn't have a specific date because they had to work around Henry's schedule. She knew that he would have watch duty after his graduation, but didn't know when. They actual date would have to be set on relatively short notice. Their other obstacle was that they didn't have a venue yet. Not being from the area, Holly was at a bit of a loss in terms of scouting out locations, but was considering a park for an outside ceremony.

Well, after we talked, I got to thinking. Every year we host a breakfast in our yard for friends and then we all walk down our block to watch the 4th of July parade. Wouldn't a wedding ceremony (especially for a serviceman!) be a great addition to our 4th of July celebration? We could have the ceremony out on the deck, right before our brunch. Then we could all head over to the parade.

I tracked down my husband, to share my brainstorm. He was supportive of my idea and started getting excited about the planning. Yes, he really is w
onderful. I am one lucky gal.

I called Holly back to tell her my idea, a little worried that she might think I was some weirdo. But, she was enthusiastic and the wheels were set in motion.

So, on the 4th, we festooned our deck in red, white, and blue decorations. My good friend even brought over several bouq
uets of white flowers from her yard to adorn the tables. It looked pretty good!

Henry & Holly came over and, after we chatted a bit, we began their ceremony outside. They had opted to write their own vows, which were so lovely. The way they looked into one another's eyes during the ceremony really touched my heart.

When they exchanged rings and had the "official" kiss, we congratulated them with bubbles -and their favorite Coldplay song.

We all gobbled
up the breakfast - veggie and sausage egg bakes, fruit salad & other goodies. And, since you can't have a wedding without wedding cake (well, you can - but you really shouldn't), we had banana cake with strawberries. (Okay, I really can't take much credit. My son picked it out.) I didn't bake it, but I put the flowers on it. Sorry, Martha Stewart - don't be too jealous!

What a great 4th of July! This was really a wonderful experience for me. I was fortunate to meet such a sweet couple and share in their special day.

They are so obviously devoted to one another and I know they'll have a happy life together.

Congratulations Holly & Henry! I wish you all the very best!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shoes for You = Shoes for a Child

Check out these fun shoes from TOMS. They're cute and reportedly very comfortable - and what makes them even better is that, for every pair purchased, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. Cool, huh?

They have boots as well as a variety of shoes, including silver and gold glitter shoes. Very cute!

There is a gallery of photos on the website, showing how different people wear their TOMS. The photos here are from weddings.

How cute are these shoes?!?

You may want to consider TOMS for your wedding - your bridal party will love being comfy and
you'll love that your wedding helped children in need.