Saturday, July 30, 2011

Engaged a Week...

..and wow, the wedding-planning-fatigue has set in.

I now fully understand why brides turn into Bridezilla. Or at least why they are perceived to be Bridezilla. It's because everyone has an opinion about what YOU should do for YOUR wedding. And they share it. And then they don't like it when you tell them "thank you, but that isn't what I had in mind."

Ok, I may have said it more like "the only thing I have to do is get a marriage license and visit the JP." (Thanks to Cris @ Kiss My Tulle for that bit of wisdom!!)

And ok - maybe they didn't receive that so well. But seriously people. It is my wedding. I love you, and I want you there, but I'm not going to change what I want to accommodate you.

We've tentatively decided to have a destination wedding in Mexico, in October/November 2012. Because while I haven't always envisioned what I'd wear on my wedding day, I've always thought I'd get married on a beach at some gorgeous resort. That's what I want y'all.

And we're thinking (today) about going to Riviera Maya (aka Cancun/Playa del Carmen). Oh, and we're paying for it ourselves. These two points are key.

Here's what I've heard so far:
1. From my father, when my fiance called to get his blessing (BEFORE HE PROPOSED): We give our blessing, but traveling to Mexico is just too difficult for us.

Yeah, thanks Dad. Impeccable timing as usual.

For what it's worth (and apparently that isn't much), Cancun is a 2 hour flight from Orlando (where my parents are). That's the same flight time as them flying to DFW to see me. EXACTLY. WTF?

Oh, and by the way? We haven't even made final decisions on location, timing, etc.

Yes, I later talked to my family (but not my Dad - because there's no talking to my Dad about his feelings...), and they translated what he said to be "we give our blessing, even if we aren't able to attend the wedding." I'm not sure I'm 100% ok with that, but we'll do what our family always does - put it behind us and move on. We just aren't a talky-feely family y'all.

Moving on... the next thing I've been told:
2. You HAVE to have a white/ivory wedding dress. You'll regret it! (this from a well meaning dear friend who got married in a black dress..).

So here's my dark little secret - I've never wished for the big white dress. Mostly because I'm a big girl, and I'd prefer not to look like a big white cupcake on my wedding day. This is all about my own insecurity and how much I hate trying on clothes of any type. I just don't think my body is all dress-friendly. I've done the bridesmaid dress before and wow - yeah. Those fittings were just painful.

Plus - I'm having trouble imagining spending a gob of money - as in the MOST amount I've ever paid for a single garment - on a dress I'm going to wear for a few hours. Why?! I'm uber-practical, I admit it.

While I appreciate my friend's enthusiasm for the idea of the dress, and an offer to go dress shopping with me, I'm still having trouble with the whole idea of it.

I'm pretending to be on board with the dress idea. I'm pinning dresses on Pinterest (what? you aren't on Pinterest yet?!), I'm googling "plus-sized wedding dresses" like a mad woman. I'm researching dress shops here in the area to see if they carry plus-sized samples (because let's face it - if I'm going to drop some coin on a dress, I want to see how it looks on me). I'm talking myself into the whole idea.

But really? I don't know how I'm going to feel standing in front of the three-way mirror in some expensive dress that may or may not be flattering on me. And I'm still not even sure I want to go through that whole experience. Will I do it? Probably. but damn, I'm not comfortable with the whole idea yet.

3. Then there's my sister, whom I love dearly, but can't help but insert her opinions. I will mention that she's already had her wedding. Big church wedding, country club reception in our hometown. She tells me that she wants to be a part of the wedding planning, and wants to be the little sister through it all. Which is wonderful, and great.

Except that she's already decided that she will not be going to Mexico with her three children. I respect her decision. I really do. She isn't the type that has traveled a lot with the kids.

So I made the effort and invited her out to go dress shopping with me (per the above, still not high on my list of things I want to do, but I figure it's inevitable). She says she'd have to bring her youngest kiddo with her. At which point I reminded her she'd have to bring all the kid paraphernalia as well. It's not like I have a spare playpen or car seat, or bottles or ANYTHING for a 1 year old.

And I really, really want to see my little niece again. So that's not the issue. Promise. Bring her, we'll make it work was my response.

Then my sister says "are you SURE you don't want to come to FL to go dress shopping?!".

Yes. I'm sure.

My wedding. Revolves around me. For once.


I love my family. Dearly. We are all very close. And my friends. I need my friends. I appreciate that they care so much about me and want my day to be perfect.

My point is, I see how stressful wedding planning can be. And we've barely begun.

That is some scary shit right there.


We now resume our travel blogging.

Enjoy your new day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our Proposal Story

We interrupt this travel blog to bring you this very special announcement:

Mr. NYC has asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes.

Here's the story:
We had reservations at our favorite restaurant here in town on Friday night. Long story short - I thought we were making them for restaurant week, but I had the dates screwed up. I offered to cancel them so we could go somewhere less expensive, but he wouldn't hear of it. This should have been clue #1 that something was up. 

During the day on Friday he texted me a couple of times to find out when I was getting off work, and heading home. Then he said he was going to leave a little early too. This should have been clue #2. 

I got home, and he was already there. I told him I just wanted to freshen up and then we could head to the restaurant, since they have a GREAT happy hour. So I changed out of my work clothes, freshened my make up, and exchanged my work jewelry for more flashy evening jewelry. I did notice that the ring box was still there, so thought to myself "tonight isn't the night, no big deal. he's planning some surprise later." 

We went to dinner, enjoyed some drinks at the bar before hand. He said a couple of times that we were celebrating my new job, he was thanking me for all I'd done for him, etc. So I should just enjoy myself, and get what I wanted. I thought to myself that was odd - we'd already been out to celebrate the new job, and he usually isn't that effusive about things. Should have been clue #3. 

We finished our meal, and came on home. I settled in on the couch to relax and watch some TV. That's when he came out with the ring, got down on one knee and said "now I can ask you to be mine. will you marry me?" 

I said yes, hell yes I will. And then promptly teared up. 

He then went into the guest room and came out with 5 dozen roses. Yes - 5 dozen!! 

He said he knew how much I loved them, so he got them all for me. 

Here's the quickie cell phone pic of my ring - bling bling! 

And a couple of the ring with my roses:

I absolutely LOVE it. It's classic and timeless, just beautiful. We got the matching band too (for a heck of a deal!). I'm getting married!!!!! 

Enjoy your new day! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bonjourno! Pisa, Italy

As if Barcelona and Provence weren't enough, our 2nd port day finally found us in Italy. And I knew the day was going to be beyond amazing. These two  Italian Stallions were our tour guides:

(Gian - L, Walter - R)

Uh huh. It's ok to take a few minutes to drool.

As we made our way from the port in Livorno into our first stop, we passed Camp Darby - an American Army base. They were setting up for the annual community day where they invite the locals in for big BBQs, games and socializing. You know, so the Italians don't feel threatened by the big, bad, American army? Apparently it's quite a shindig, and very popular event.

Another interesting tidbit found in this picture: the taller trees are the umbrella pine trees. Like the pine trees you & I are used to seeing in the US, the umbrella pines also have pine cones. And seeds in those pine cones. The umbrella pines are called "pinoli" in Italy, and yes, those seeds are "pine nuts". Mmm I can taste the pesto now!

Our first stop for the day was Pisa. As in the "Leaning Tower of" fame.

Which means - you guessed it - the obligatory "hold up the tower" picture:

Whew. that is just hard work right there.

We were informed that the tower had been under renovation, and the scaffolding had been removed just a day or two before our visit. How lucky is that?!?

Seriously, I wasn't that excited to see the Tower - figured it was just another "check that item off the list" thing. I was wrong.

The tower - indeed the whole square - was beautiful.

Here's a view of the Basilica, with the tower in the background:

The square in Pisa is actually quite large, and includes the Basilica & Tower (Bell Tower), as well as the Baptistry. There are other building (now museums) surrounding the square). Here's a shot looking from the baptistry towards the exit of the square. For reference, the tower is just out of the left of the frame:

The little white line there, with hordes of people wandering in front? Knock off & junk shops. I kid you not.

But the Tower is of course the main attraction. Let me attempt to show you how much it leans:

The right side of the base, notice it's only about 2 tiles high:

and here's the other side - about 5 tiles down.

It really was amazing. Here's another view of the "lean", with my mother there at the base (she was game for ALL of my pictures!)

Here are the old city gates, along with a gorgeous lion who guards the entrance:

Here's the front of the Basilica

The detail of the inlaid marble is unreal.

Oh! I almost forgot this one - the UNESCO World Heritage Site Plaque

Sheesh. McD's is everywhere, even 100 meters from the tower. And in case that's too far for you to walk...they will TAKE YOU THERE.

See - here it is!

It's ok, I totally rolled my eyes too. And no, I didn't go in.

Instead I took in this scene, on a side street just off the square

The bicycle, the glorious door, the orange building, the market - just beautiful!

After our brief (hour) stop in Pisa, it was time to meet at the designated spot. I was delighted to find that a) it was a bar, and b) it offered a wonderful picture opportunity! the "bar" is actually more of a cafe (at least at 9:45 in the morning!), so a great chance for pastries, coffee and water.

We boarded our buses and headed off to Firenze (Florence).

The drive there offered beautiful vistas of Tuscany. I even found my future home:

Or even this one:

Under the Tuscan Sun, anyone?


Hello? is this thing on?


next up: Firenze (Florence). As glorious as Pisa was, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bonjour! Cassis, France

If you missed the first two posts of France, you can find them here:

Oui Mademoiselle
Wine & Olives in the Bandol Region

After the wine and olives, we set off for the resort town of Cassis on the Mediterranean Sea. That's Cassis there in the distance - in the center of this photo.

Absolutely breathtaking, right??

And here's Cassis' waterfront

All those awnings are restaurants.

This old fortress sits on the hill about Cassis. It's now a resort for the rich and famous owned by the Michelin family. Yes. the tire people.

And a closer zoom:

My mother declared that she needed to dip her toes into the Med, and I had to take a picture.
So she did.
And I did. (I'm a good daughter like that!)

I was content to simply stand on the beach.

And no, my mother & I never "planned" any of the color coordination.

Here's another view of the waterfront:

We had our lunch at the cafe with the blue awning in the center. I declared that our lunch was 'magnificent', and our waiter replied "why, that's my middle name!". Ah, French boys. so full of themselves.

Cassis is also a fishing area, as you can tell from the fishing boats in the marina. I loved how colorful they are! And how calm the water was in the marina.

Then we spied this place.

And really, who can resist having crepes while in France?? We certainly couldn't!!!

Mom had a Nutella crepe, and I stuck with chocolate. (hers was better, but they were both incredible!)

After our sugar fix, we wandered around Cassis to take in the ambience.

The bright red name of the hotel against the blue sky and the wrought iron balconies caught my eye

More iron work

We had to be dragged away from Cassis, as we had one more stop to make before returning to the ship. Our guide took us up to the top of the cliffs, to look back on Cassis.

Way, way up.

And because the French are either very trusting, or very uncaring, there are no railings, etc. Which makes for beautiful pictures (and even MORE beautiful when you add in my mother)

Let me give you a better idea of where she's standing. I walked up another trail and looked back at our group: 

Watch that first's a LONG way down! 

Another amazing view: 

Then it was time to head back to Sansary su Mer. We reboarded the ship, and headed to our balcony to relax. (and take more pics, go figure!)

This is looking across at Toulon, home of the French Navy. 

Stop it. 

Stop laughing.

There IS a French Navy. 

Sadly, many of the ships looked more like this:

Oh, I crack myself up!!! 

they actually looked more like this: 

Still not very threatening when compared to our aircraft carriers and battleships, right?? 

As we sailed away, we were blessed with a lovely full moon, and a beautiful sunset:

And that my friends was our day in France. Up next: Florence & Pisa, Italy! 

Enjoy your new day!!