Saturday, December 15, 2012

There is Light Shining Through the Cracks

"There is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen

The events of the past day have left a huge crack in our world. Our hearts ache for the families in Newton, Connecticut who are suffering. I have shed tears and felt the sadness shared by so many of us. I hugged my children and held them a little closer last night.

In the wake of the news coverage, I have heard so many people express their pain with questions."What is the world coming to?" "What has happened to our humanity?" "Why are people so horrible?"

While I share the anger,disbelief, and sadness, I refuse to believe that this horrible tragedy is a sign of the future. I can't accept that this awful, heart-breaking event is an example of what our society has become.

There is still good in the world. There is still light shining through the cracks. 

Here's one of my favorites: #19 - The famous rugby player who visited his biggest fan in the hospital
So, as we remember and grieve with those who are suffering, keep your loved ones close to you, and remember the good in the world.  And don't ever give up on HOPE. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Addicted to Love Letters

I have been enjoying the 12 Days of Love Letter Writing so much! 

This past weekend (days 6 and 7) were dedicated to writing to people living in the Rockaways area of New York, which was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy. 

This writing project has even inspired me to write a few love letters to be left at random spots around town here at home. Now I wish I would have taken one with me when I went to a doctor's appointment today. Who couldn't use a love letter while waiting in a doctor's office?

In any case, it's so wonderful to spread a little love and cheer! It's becoming addicting. But in a good way. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Know That Voice!

I don't brag about many things, but I am very (unashamedly) proud of one unique skill I possess. I have the ability to identify voices.

You know, you're in the car and you hear a commercial and you think, 'I know that voice.' Well, I almost always DO know it! Okay, so maybe everyone could tell that Morgan Freeman was the velvety voice behind the summer Olympics. But did you recognize Julia Roberts for the AOL ad and Nationwide Insurance??? Hmmmm..... did you? 

Sorry, I told ya I would brag.

So, now that you know this about me (and that I may or may not be a little cocky about it) imagine my delight at this news: I am going to be doing voice-over work! 

No, it's not a commercial or a feature animated film. My gig will entail the narration of an educational film for doctors. (I saw you just roll your eyes.) 

I'm pretty darn excited about it! I've been practicing my "mad scientist" accent for days. I hope they like it.

Just kidding. Really.

I'm just hoping they give me a pronunciation key for all those medical terms.  Wish me luck!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Amy & Anthony's Summer Wedding at the Shedd

This summer I had the joy of marrying two lovely people, Amy and Anthony. We met when they were checking out the Shedd Aquarium as a potential venue and I was getting ready to officiate a ceremony

Anthony and Amy were so great to work with - sweet, thoughtful, and really fun! 

The photos of their wedding are featured on the Angel Eyes Photography blog, so be sure to check them out HERE. Hilda knows how to get people to relax and have fun and you can see it in her beautiful pictures.

Here are a few that you just have to see:

And did you notice the gorgeous flowers? Can you believe they were silk?? Neither could I - as you can see by my reaction. 

Congratulations, Amy & Anthony. I wish you a lifetime of love and laughter!

Hope to run into you at Panera some time! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

12 Days of Love Letters

So, the holiday season is upon us. Even if it is supposed to reach 60 degrees tomorrow, I promise that it really is December. And most of us have begun holiday shopping. 

Okay, I haven't started shopping, but I have started thinking about it. 

But, maybe you're looking for a more meaningful way to usher in the holidays. If so, you may want to consider The 12 Days of Love Letter Writing. This letter writing campaign is an effort to make the holiday season brighter for some folks who need a little kindness and love right now.                                              
It's pretty simple. For 12 days in a row- starting this Monday, Dec. 3rd - you are emailed with a letter request from someone who needs some holiday cheer. You write a letter or a card and send it to the lovely people at The World Needs More Love Letters. They bundle up all the warm wishes and send them to their merry way.

What a wonderful way to spread some love and joy.... and to make a real difference in someone's life.

Ready to write? Click HERE to join the effort. And don't forget to pick up some nice stationery when you're out running errands this weekend. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hot Chocolate in the City!

Now that cold weather is around the corner, doesn't a big mug of hot chocolate sound good?

Which, of course, got me to thinking about winter weddings. Wouldn't it be fun to include a drink sharing ritual in your winter wedding? 

And if this concept appeals to you, you need to check out some of my favorite businesses who create a divine cup of cocoa. They are TipsyCake and Katherine Anne Confections, both of which are a part of the Chicago Hot Chocolate Tour

A cup of deliciousness from Katherine Anne Confections
They were recently featured on WGN News. Check it out here: Chicago Hot Chocolate Tour: Sample some of the city's finest drinking cocoa

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Babies are Coming!

It looks like 2013 will be the Year of the Baby! A few of my past brides are expecting, as well as a friend of mine. I'm just dying to hold and snuggle these new little ones. I'm SO excited, I can't even stand it! 

I'm so thrilled to have been asked to create ceremonies to welcome some of these new little friends into the world. Have I mentioned lately how much I love being a Life-Cycle Celebrant? Best. Job. EVER!

And now that I'm in baby mode, I wanted to share some really cool ideas for any new mamas in your life.

I know a lovely woman by the name of Amy, who is not only a very cool mom, but also a Childbirth Educator and the creator of some very cool products & services for parents and babies, available through her website, Nakita Baby.

One of my favorites is henna for your belly! If you know anything about me, you know I LOVE henna! Why didn't I know about this when I was pregnant???

This beautiful artwork could also be incorporated into a wonderful mother blessing ritual. 

And if you do the henna belly, why not get a matching onesie for the baby?

Another fabulous offering is the belly cast, which can also include a henna design. What a wonderful keepsake for an expectant mother!

In addition to these great items, there are also other goodies, including custom-made baby slings. Be sure to check out all of the fantastic products from Nakita Baby by clicking HERE. A great opportunity to do some LOCAL holiday shopping.

And to all those babies coming soon - I can't wait to meet you! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fun, Flower-less Bouquets

As much as I enjoy flowers, not everyone is into the idea of carrying a bouquet on their wedding day. So, I always love seeing ideas for alternatives to the traditional flower bouquet. 

I just came across this article from Equally Wed, which has some great suggestions! 

Here's my favorite...... the lollipop bouquet!

Be sure to check out all the great ideas HERE. And for you DIY folks, this should be right up your alley.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Eleven Eleven Giveaway - Connie and Jessie's Big Day!

Woo hoo!! Connie and Jessie are married!!

 I think I was just as excited as they were about their big day! I am happy to report that we made it through the ceremony without any crying or other disasters (see, Jessie, I told you so!) and had a great time. 

Here we are right after the ceremony at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. They were absolutely gorgeous in their custom-made dresses by Mignonette Bridal

They walked down the aisle to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."

See more of the gorgeous pix by Amanda Hein Photography on the Eleven Eleven Wedding Giveaway's page by clicking HERE.

Congratulations, Connie and Jessie. So glad to have been a part of your day - and to have you both in my life. I wish you a lifetime of joy, laughter and being right. And I will be around to make sure you're BOTH right sometimes. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Wedding Force

On September 1st, I finally got to officiate a wedding I'd been waiting for all year. 

I knew right away that I would have fun with Karrie and Matt when we first met. We bonded over Legos and sci fi, so I was especially excited about their wedding. Not to mention that it would take place at Starved Rock Lodge.

And they didn't let me down! The details of the wedding were fantastic - everything from the Legos in the bridesmaids' bouquets to the tables decorated for different Star Wars planets. I was even able to use a Doctor Who reference in the ceremony! How could you not love this couple?

Check out this great photo of Karrie and Matt. I'm happy to report that no one was injured in any light saber accidents.

See more on TrueLee Photography's Facebook page

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ron & Jason's Wedding at Pazzo's

Yesterday I had the honor of officiating the wedding of Ron & Jason, one of the couples from the Under a New Moon Wedding Giveaway from last year. 

As one of six winning couples, they were limited to a few guests. Ron and Jason really wanted to share a wedding with their family and friends, so they planned a fantastic wedding at the wonderful Pazzo's in downtown Chicago. 

ceremony at the fountain
Their ceremony took place in front of the impressive fountain in the atrium, which is just gorgeous.  Really, everything was fantastic - from the delicious dinner, tasty signature cocktail, great music played by David from MDM Entertainment and the delicious cupcakes by Luscious Layers

Ron and Jason included so many personal touches and details. They channeled their love of trivia games into creating a fun trivia challenge with questions about the two of them. Our table (Team Cilantro) didn't know many answers, so we just made them up. Wait till they find out they have a fish named Rocco. 

I also loved that they named each table for a different herb and used seed packets as place cards. However, I confess to initially (at first glance) thinking that they had a guest named "Rosemary Seeds." 

I had so much fun working on Ron and Jason's ceremony and it was wonderful to be a part of their special day. I danced, ate cupcakes, danced some more, talked with great people, laughed until I cried - and did I mention the tasty cupcakes? 

Thank you, Jason and Ron, for fabulous evening. And thank you for letting me be a part of it all. I wish you both all the best in the world.

The impressive atrium at Pazzo's


At the cilantro table with the Under a New Moon gang!
Cupcakes by Luscious Layers Bakery

Sunday, October 7, 2012

We have a WINNER!!

And the winner of the Lego Zombie couple is......!

 Yay! Congratulations! 

And in the meantime, I am counting down the days....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Luis & Dan's Wedding: Laughs and Tears - and an 80's Band!

Last night I had the most amazing experience of officiating the wedding ceremony of an old friend. Luis and I have known each other since the 6th grade! So, while it was a little surreal - I mean, I still remember us running around in the school playground! - it was also one of the most wonderful moments I've ever had.

Luis and Dan are two of the greatest guys you could ever hope to meet, and the process of creating their ceremony made me fall in love with them both. It's no wonder they want to spend their lives together!
Handfasting cord

 Their wedding took place at Uncommon Ground on the north side of Chicago. The atmosphere was perfect, the food was great - and there was an 80's band. They even had a singer/guitarist who played Crowded House and Eddie Veder during the cocktail hour. What could be better??

The ceremony was so much fun - and wound up being "interactive" with lots of jokes & commentary from the peanut gallery..... I mean, the guests. Not to mention that the grooms kept cracking jokes!

Dan and Luis opted to include a handfasting ritual, so I made their cord as a wedding gift. It included charms representing each of them and their lives together. The red ribbon symbolized the story of the Red Thread of Destiny. Their good friend, Irwin, came forward to offer a blessing during the handfasting.

They also included a blessing stone ritual, where all the guests received a rose quartz on which to place their blessings and wishes. The stones were collected and placed in a vase. Dan and Luis each had a stone in the the shape an their chosen animal totem, which they placed on top of the rose quartz.

And of course, there were tears and laughs - and it was a night I'll never forget! Especially since my feet are still sore from dancing so much!

Angel Eyes Photography was on hand to document the evening, so I'll share a link to those pixs when they're available. In the meantime, here are shots of the ceremony taken by my hubby!

Luis enters with Best Man, Polo

The tears started pretty quickly. Luckily, I came prepared!
Irwin offers a blessing during the handfasting.
Lots of laughs during the ceremony!

Exchanging vows.   Denise, Dan's Maid of Honor, approves

Luis & Dan face their loved ones for the guests' vow of support.

Congratulations, Luis & Dan. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have been a part of your wedding day. I wish you lots of love and happiness. And I expect you to make me dinner (hint: MEATLOAF!!) some time. Love you!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

AnitaWeds Giveaway - Lego Zombie Couple!

It's time for a giveaway, folks!

As most of you probably know, I am a big fan of zombies. Waiting for The Walking Dead to come back is killing me!! So, as I wait impatiently, I've decided to offer a zombie giveaway! 

I have a lovely Lego zombie couple for one lucky winner. This is a brand new Lego wedding couple, but has been "turned" by Lego artist Customized Bricks (who just happens to be my son). 

The unhappy undead couple show the typical wear and tear of the zombie lifestyle, including blood splatters - and even bullet holes on the groom! 

The set also includes a veil and extra hair for the bride (blonde and brunette).

And..... you can opt to receive two brides or two grooms instead of the bride/groom combo. Just let me know what you choose if you win.

So, how can you win this amazing prize? Just leave a comment to this post telling me why you'd like to win. Please include your first name and wedding date! 

The deadline to enter is October 5th. Winner will be announced here on Saturday, Oct. 6th. Good luck, fellow zombie lovers!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Adding a Little Spice to a Ceremony!

The shady courtyard 

Yesterday was hot. Nasty, humid HOT. While I was looking forward to Sandra and Pete's wedding, I was a little worried about an outdoor ceremony. I am no friend of the heat. But, luckily, the Hyatt Deerfield has a lovely, and more importantly, shady courtyard. It created a perfectly intimate atmosphere for the ceremony. And it was surprisingly comfortable! Whew.

I also had the honor of having the ceremony be observed by a prospective Life-Cycle Celebrant student (who was nice enough to snap the picture to the left). I'm glad she got to see this particular ceremony because, not only was I marrying a great couple, they picked a unique ritual for the ceremony!

Sandra and Pete opted to include a planting ritual, using a pot of oregano. I love this idea! (You can see it on the table in the photo below by Angel Eyes Photography)

Oregano represents love and honor. It is also said that the goddess Aphrodite gave oregano as a gift to mortals to keep them happy. It was a the perfect symbol for a ritual illustrating the significance of joining two lives in marriage. And, they can make use of the herb when they cook at home!

Congratulations, Sandra & Pete! I wish you a lifetime of love, laughter.... and delicious dinners!

A view of the ceremony by Angel Eyes Photography
I can't wait to see all the beautiful photos by Angel Eyes Photography

Friday, August 24, 2012

Love my couples!

This appeared in my mailbox today. Thank YOU, Kerry & Amy - you made my day!

I love my couples!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Poetry for Sci-Fi Lovers

I love this poem for a wedding ceremony! 

Scientific Romance Redux by science fiction writer Tim Pratt. He wrote it for his wife.

Zombie Love - me & my hubby on Halloween
An excerpt:

"If we were the sole survivors
of a zombie apocalypse
and you were bitten and transformed
into a walking corpse
I wouldn’t even pick up my
assault shotgun,
I’d just let you take a bite
out of me, because I’d rather be
undead forever
with you
than alive alone
without you."

It also mentions time travel, alien invaders and virtual fajitas. What's not to love?!

Thank you to my colleague, Dr. Robera Koepfer for suggesting it to our Life-Cycle Celebrant group!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kerry & Amy's Colorful Celebration at Catalyst Ranch

I had the pleasure of creating a ceremony for two wonderful women, Kerry and Amy. They celebrated their union at Catalyst Ranch this month with a sweet ceremony and a great party!

Their ceremony included a family ritual where Amy's daughters and Kerry made vows to one another. They stood in a circle holding hands for their vows - and it was one of the sweetest, most touching moments I have ever seen. It's clear that this is a happy family - there was a whole bunch of love in that room!

As you can see from the photos below, they had a fun and colorful celebration. The guests were asked to wear black and/or white (giving me a good excuse to run out and buy a new black and white scarf) to accentuate the vibrant atmosphere. 

Congratulations, Amy & Kerry! Thank you so much for including me in your special day. I wish you both a lifetime of love and laughter.

Cupcakes by Phoebe's Cupcakes
Love this!

Light boxes!

A family moment

After the ceremony

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Our Wedding Anniversary! Looking Back 19 Years.......

Mom's creation
Today, my husband and I are celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. Tonight we'll go through our wedding album and reminisce. 
In honor of our celebration, I thought I'd share a few pages from our album - and some wedding day memories
  1. My mom made my wedding gown. This led to many debates (okay, arguments). I wanted a flowy, hippie-style dress. I wound up with a straight skirt and a detachable train. It was beautiful - but completely different than what I planned. And what was with that cap/veil thingie?
  2. When the flowers were delivered to my house, we realized that we forgot to order corsages for the moms and grandma. I wound up ordering them from Jewel & Dad went to pick them up. 
  3. I went to a friend's house to have her do my make-up before the wedding. I looked like a circus clown when she finished. ("But you need to have more color for the pictures.") I rubbed off most of it off on the way home. 
  4. My brother drove me to the ceremony with my sister and his date. We were early, so we went to Winberie Cafe, a restaurant with a bar. People kept buying us drinks! (Brides, use that wedding dress to your advantage!) 
  5. When I was walking down the aisle, a friend of my husband's stepped forward and high-fived me. Classy.
  6. My nephew (age 2 at the time) was the ring bearer. My sister bribed him with candy to "walk nicely" down the aisle. When he got to the front he yelled out, "Can I have my Tootsie Roll now?!" 
  7. During the vows, after my husband said "I do," I whispered, "You better." I didn't think everyone would be able to hear me. Of course they did.
  8. We did a receiving line at the reception venue. By the time we finished, all the appetizers (that WE picked!) were gone.  And I was hungry. Really hungry.
  9. My parents wanted a German band, I wanted a deejay, so we had both. All my friends danced to the German band. The Deejay played everything EXCEPT the songs on my playlist.
  10. We had a really hard time cutting the cake. No one mentioned that there would be cardboard between the layers. I know that now.
  11. Another thing about the cake. I wanted fresh flowers on top. The bakery said that wasn't possible. What?!
  12. The server that waited on the head table was really mean. She rolled her eyes when we asked for more butter. Nice.
  13. Despite some mishaps, it was one of the best days of my life. 
Other couples make cake cutting look so easy!

If I could do it over again I would: 
  1. Hire a real deejay & play great dance music.
  2. Get a good photographer
  3. Serve cupcakes!
  4. Wear a different dress
  5. Marry the same wonderful man.
So..... I guess next year we may need to have a 20th anniversary party. This time we'll get those details right. 

Happy anniversary, sweetheart!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Save the Date for Your Geeky Day!

Oooh!! Look what I found!! Geekvites has some awesome save the date cards for you, my geeky friends! 

Of course, this Nemo design made me swoon. 

Check out all the cool options HERE...... But, be warned - you'll find that the descriptions are as creative and brilliant as the designs. I spent a good chunk of my morning reading and chuckling to myself.

And don't forget to visit the blog

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Alex & Sam's Wedding: The Building Blocks of Marriage - Legos!

Lego Tower for Unity Ritual
Alex and Sam's wedding last weekend at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort was a true reflection of their love for one another - and for Legos! The ceremony centered around the theme of "building" a relationship on a foundation of love and friendship. So, of course, it had to include a ritual involving Legos. 

Before the wedding, they built a tower out of Legos, with the red bricks representing Alex and the yellow representing Sam.  During the ceremony, they completed the tower with a bridge of orange bricks, symbolizing the life they share. 

And, they capped off the festivities with a Lego-shaped cake from Lovin Oven!

Lego Wedding Cake
Congratulations, Alex & Sam!

Congratulations, Samantha & Alexander. I wish you all the best! 
It was such a pleasure to be a part of your "Happily Ever After."

Monday, July 16, 2012

My New Octopus Tattoo!

Okay, so I admit that I've thought of getting a tattoo since I was in college. But I also admit that I'm a chicken.'s too much of a commitment for me. The perfect solution? HENNA! 

This morning, my daughter and I went to MahRose, a salon in Des Plaines, where I've gone several times for henna designs. Shaheen, one of the owners, is absolutely brilliant! I said I had a weird request - an octopus. She graciously complied and this was the result.

I just LOVE my octo-henna!

And while I adore my new design, by next week it will be gone. And then I can go do it all over again!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You Light Up My Life

The kids and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry today. While walking through exhibits, I came across the Galaxy Dress, a gown made up of  LED lights.

So, anyone out there considering a light-up wedding dress?