30 July 2009

chugging the crazy juice...

I saw this earlier, and thought WOW


Maybe it just looks like a bunch of yarn to you, but to me, that looks like soft, supple, delectably cozy wedding-wear to me! So I did what any bride drunk off the crazy juice does. I spent time thinking about it.

Bad idea. I like it. It's pretty. Here, this might help you visualize -

Yup. Still cute. Still like it. Crap. Well... I'm going to be cold on the September evening, aren't I? I'll need some sort of... SHRUG or WRAP, won't I? Of course I will. Don't be silly, little Bear Cub.

I couldn't stop with just one pattern. Oh NOOO... I had to check out my usual free-pattern fix - Knitty. And OF COURSE there are some pretties on there I started drooling over...

and then I fell into the rabbit hole of lace. Ohhh I love lace. Lace so prettyyyy.... (remember, I'm still boozed up on the crazy juice.)

I have the yarn. I guess you know by now I'm a knitter. I used to knit a lot. With knitting, comes yarn hoarding. I have a LOT of yarn. So much beautiful yarn, begging to be donned as a wedding day arm-warmer.

In particular, I have about 7 shades of this yarn:

No joke. I have 7 shades, and 10 skeins (balls) of each color. 70% merino wool & 30% silk? Yes, please! It feels so good, I just want to rub it on my cheeks. Mmm... yarn..

RIGHT. WEDDINGS. Gotta sober up here a bit.

This looks wedding-y to me.

I started knitting this particular pattern a few years ago, but that's a lot of lace, and I ended up not having the time.

Hmm... this is sounding like a wacko idea. Knit a lace shawl/scarf/shrug, with less than 2 months before the wedding? Am I crazy?

Knitters in the hive - how much effort/time do you think it would be to knit a lace wrap thing? Is it worth it?
All you lovely buzzing members of the hive - are these shrugs/wraps really beautiful, or am I off my rocker? Should I save my time, or invest in a beautiful hand-knit wrap?

From Chile, With Love

What do a baby bear...
... and a cutie-patootie poodle have in common?
se hablan español, they love weddings, and they want to spend Saturday evening with YOU!

Miss Poodle is coming to visit me this weekend, and we'd love to meet you on BeeTV this Saturday evening and talk about all things wedding! We'll be celebrating in true Chilean fashion with Pisco Sours - cachai??

Don't forget to stop by and visit us on BeeTV this Saturday evening at 6:00pm EST.


26 July 2009


Sometimes I think I'm crazy. What was I thinking when I decided it'd be "great" to sign up for a marathon? While planning a wedding??

Oh right. I wanted to look like this.

Last weekend our long run was 14 miles. Let me tell you, that's a lot of running. So. Much. Running. Every day - running. Get home from work - running. Plan some wedding on Saturday? Running. It really feels like I'm planning two marathons. Or running two weddings. I can't remember.

The good news, though, is that we're still chugging away! The 14 miles didn't kill me, and Mr. Bear Cub is the sweetest coach ever. I wouldn't be able to run like this if it weren't for him. He keeps me motivated and he's always positive when we run. No sour sports here! I know it's corny, but I love how my running partner is such a fantastic life partner. :)

We've got a little over 2 months before the "big day" (after our Big Day), and it's time to start thinking about what we'll wear on that other big day! Since we're running the marathon (together! no personal records this time) right after we get back from our honeymoon, I thought it only appropriate we dress the part of the newlyweds.

As dorky as it may sound, we thought it would be ridiculously cute to dress up like a bride & groom for the marathon! We have to be smart about this, though. You can't wear cotton when you run. You will chafe, and your nipples might bleed (seriously). For long runs, it's best to wear sweat-wicking fabric. I personally love wool, but polyester (Nike's "dry-fit", for example) works perfectly fine. The problem is, they don't really make much in the way of "bridal" running clothes. ;)

After a little searching, I found a cycling jersey (above) that's a tuxedo! Perfect! A little buy-it-now action, ebay style, & Mr. Bear Cub is in like Flynn. Our bib "names" are a check - we'll officially be MR & MSBRCUB by then. We've even been practicing a kiss at the "finish line" of every run! I don't really know what I should wear, though! Should I wear a little mini-veil on top of my ponytail? Should I don some crazy tutu-esque white dress? Or should I be SANE and realistic about my first marathon, and wear what will be most comfortable? Sometimes the safest option for long runs is to wear something you know you'll be comfortable in.

What do you think would be a good "bridal" running outfit? We'd love for the crowds at the race to know we're recently married! :)

16 July 2009

Warm Tummy Makes Bear Cubs Happy

There's one picture I left out of the virtual venue visit the other day. Although I won't experience it until the wedding weekend, I'm 100% confident the food at Westwind will be delicious.

Mmmmm.... Three types of heirloom tomatoes with fresh (buffalo, I hope?) mozzarella make quite the delectable Caprese Salad!

The best part (which I've mentioned before) is that everyone I've spoken to says the food is incredibly good! A year ago we tossed around the idea of having Wildwood cater (they're orgasm-in-your-mouth good), but the logistics and the cost would have been a nightmare. All the former brides & guests at Westwind I've talked with were self-described "foodies" (gourmet food is kind of a thing in Portland), so I feel completely secure in our decision to have the camp cater our wedding.

The thing that's perhaps the most unique about having the camp do the catering is that they will make (almost) anything we ask them, provided we give them recipes and general instructions. We have the power to create all the menus - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - for all three days that we'll be staying there.

I just so happen to love food - and I'm a little neurotic about food parings - so I'll fill you in on parts of our weekend, and wedding, menus as things get finalized.

The first menu item I wanted to play with was soup. I love soup. It's all warm and cozy in your mouth, and then hugs your tummy like a favorite old teddy bear! Soup always makes me smile - I could eat it for dinner every single night.

For the wedding dinner, I wanted a soup that would start the meal by reminding our guests of the changing of the seasons (in keeping with our "equinox" theme). Originally I thought of using my personal recipe for butternut squash soup, but a friend suggested a Pear and Zucchini soup recipe by Mark Bittman.

Photo by me

Luckily, it's delicious! It couldn't be more fitting, too - the article Bittman wrote to accompany this soup is titled "A Marriage Made at the End of Summer". You can read the whole article, but the most important part is when he says,
I love it for a number of reasons: the confluence of definitive end of summer and fall in full swing; the combination of two subtle but recognizable flavors; the creamy texture that comes without cream; and the ease with which you can throw together something that you’ve probably never thought of before.
We made this for dinner the other night, and we decided it's exactly what we want - simple, substantial, and warm in my happy belly.

How much liberty did you have in deciding on your wedding menu? What's your favorite soup?

15 July 2009

Virtual Venue Visits

As I touched on the other day, a large majority of my wedding plans feel to be theoretical right now. Ninety percent of my planning gets done via emails, and I won't see the final product until a week (!!!) before the wedding day.

Immediately after moving to Chile in October 2008, I started to get withdrawal anxiety over my beautiful wedding venue. How would I know if I still loved it just as much a year from booking it? Would I forget what it looked like when I was there?

Like a good little bridal blogger, I set out to find pictures of Westwind. Specifically, I wanted to find pictures of past weddings at Westwind. Technically I'm supposed to do a visit with our venue at about 2 months before the wedding, but that's not realistic. I'll do an in-person visit as soon as I get in town - a week before the wedding.

Till then, I've been lucky to find several different weddings that have taken place at Westwind. Thanks to the power of pictures, I'm just as enamored with our venue as ever. It feels like a little bite of reality to see my venue all dolled up for weddings.

Would you like the virtual tour of Westwind, on a wedding day?


The visit begins with short trip across the salmon river estuary on a barge.

Then after a short walk into the forest, you reach your little ewok cabin, and settle in.

The cabins have full heating and lights, but they are camp cabins. This isn't luxury camping, but look out your cabin window, and it will be worth roughing it a bit. Looking at these pictures has made me realize it's a little silly to think I'll be able to rent twin-sized sheets and blankets for 80-100 beds. It's not practical to be worrying myself with things like that. Our guests (most of them) are adults, and they can tuck themselves in at night, especially if we give them fore-warning to bring a blanket/sleeping bag.

See what I mean? Sleeping bags are really the way to go. (Unless some guests want to sleep on the beach - we're a-okay with that!)


If you can get past the rough exterior, you'll see the natural beauty to this place. Wildflowers (and lavender!) in milkjugs, dining outside at twilight, the crisp, fresh autumn air - it's all here.


Several couples have gotten married on the beach at Westwind. Driftwood makes a beautiful "altar" for a laid-back, sincere ceremony like this.

The main lodge is like the heart of the camp. There's a spacious balcony -


- and a grand hall on the inside (complete with river rock fireplace, just out of the picture on the left). Pictures like this one help me to visualize how things can actually be set up for the reception. We won't be using foldable chairs for seating - my personal taste is to use the wood benches. Also, I can get a better idea of how everything can look together, all set up. Maybe floor-length linens would look better? I definitely have plans (thanks to this picture) to arrange the tables in long rows.

Not everyone has decorated Westwind the same way. I contacted one of the former brides of Westwind to ask her about her planning experience with them. She told me that a few years ago they didn't have any plates, bowl, stemware, or silverware to offer with their catering. So, she and her (now) husband bought a whole bunch of mismatched dinnerware, and donated it to Westwind, with the intent that future couples could use them for their wedding. Thanks, Valerie! :)


It's easy to understand why many couples decided to have their ceremony on the beach. It's an easy walk from the main lodge (less than 5 minutes), and the view is still gorgeous. See how happy they look? Even without down comforters and fancy hotel rooms. (I have to keep telling myself this - I'm a people pleaser to the point that I become unhappy. I need to let go of some things, and trust that our guests will be happy, regardless of how luxurious the sleeping arrangements are.)


This picture has me hoping we can visit Westwind with our families for many years to come. When we visited our venue last September, preparations for a wedding were well under way! This is the photo of where they held their ceremony. Everyone in attendance that day seemed overwhelmingly calm and happy - honestly, I think that's what sold me on this venue.

Even though it would be enormously easier to have our ceremony on the beach or near the main lodge, I can't let go of the view from High Meadow. The one childhood dream for my wedding that I'm holding on to firmly is a ceremony on a meadow cliff on the ocean.

And Westwind has that. And it's so beautiful.

Looking at these pictures really helps me to keep the faith that our wedding day is going to come to fruition (really!), and even though I am stressing about the lack of tactile progress, we booked this venue because just being there makes me happy.

Did you look for pictures of past weddings at your venue? What has helped you to build a practical vision of your wedding day?

14 July 2009

Spinning my wheels

This is not the easiest post for me to write. It means I need to be honest to you about myself - honest about my faults.

With less than two months before Mr. Bear Cub and I are back in Portland, I feel like I don't know what to do. Oh yes, I know there are tasks that need to be taken care of - check up on the finalization of the invites, write our ceremony, learn our dance, pick some more key songs, do something substantial about the tables, pin down the menu... It just doesn't feel like I'm getting anywhere with anything. As much as I try to fight it, I have one incredibly awful quality to my character. I crumble under stress.

It's worse when the list of to-dos is longer. I physically can't function with the thought of an insurmountable task list. And if I don't know how to do some of the things on the list? (um, hello, white vs ivory??) My motor skills begin to shut down. The only way I've found to "reboot" from this mess is to take a nap. Everything's always better when you have a new day to attack things, right? I'm well aware that this is not a productive way to deal with my stress. It's just a band-aid, and it's not helping me take care of wedding tasks.

The killer in this vicious cycle is I don't actually know what I can cross off the list at this point. The upshot to my counter-productive stress management is that when I break inertia - when I force myself to finish things on my to-do list - I turn into a steamroller of productivity.

So, believe me, I would love to screw inertia right now. Unfortunately, it feels like all my wedding plans are still theoretical. Even if I "decide" on something for the wedding, it's just an email drop in the bucket. All my "plans" feel like a nebulous cloud of dancing wedding-plum fairies. Mean wedding-plum fairies that are spitting stale fondant turds at me. Maybe this is a result of planning (what actually is) a destination wedding?

All of this theoretical planning is making the wedding planning process very tedious, and very unfun. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels here! Ninety percent of my wedding tasks involve sending emails, so I never see the fruit of my labor. And without actually seeing any progress, without the wedding plans being real and tactile, it feels like items on our to-do list are never going to disappear. That's my largest source of stress right now, and I don't like it. My afternoon "reboot" nap is a daily temptation.

Am I crazy to plan my US wedding from South America? Sometimes I daydream about putting the wedding off for a few years, and hosting it at our future home in Oregon. (A wedding at home! How wonderful! :) )

How are you dealing with the stress of planning your wedding? Was the planning process still fun a few months before the wedding? Destination brides, what's your technique for finishing your wedding tasks? What should I be doing at 2 months??

09 July 2009


Hi Hive!

Tomorrow night at 7:30pm EST, I'll be broadcasting on BeeTV! With a glass of Chilean wine in hand, and maybe an empanada in my belly, I'll be ready to chat the night away! :) Mr. Bear Cub will be gone on his adventurous bachelor "party" - keep me company! :)

Spend your Friday night with me on BeeTV at 7:30pm EST! :)

08 July 2009

I want to be Somebody Loved

Mr. Bear Cub and I have been busying ourselves with quite a lot of wedding tasks recently - one of which is dance lessons! We're making some head-way on our fancy footwork, but I'll save the details for another post. Right now, our lovely dance instructor is helping us choreograph our first dance. You need a song to be able to choreograph, so we've been pondering the "first dance" song pretty heavily!

Last weekend when while Mr. Cubbie and I were on a 10-mile run (marathon training full steam ahead!), one of my favorite songs played in my ipod.

The song, Somebody Loved, is by The Weepies. Even though their name is a bit of a downer, they play some of the happiest, up-beat music ever! Great running music! This song is one of their slower ones, but I think it's so beautiful. If you have a minute, you should read the lyrics along with the song (linked here).

The thing we're grappling with however, is how do you dance to a song like this? It's beautiful, the lyrics describe us, but the tune is a little hard to actually choreograph. Our dance instructor started us with a whole bunch of lyrical moves, but that is not us. We don't really feel comfortable dancing for show, but we definitely want to do a much more technical dance than the 8th-grade sway.

Maybe we need to change our song to a more up-tempo one.

Take It From Me is very sweet, and a little more up-tempo...

and Jolene sounds like it could be very fun to dance to! I don't know if the lyrics are very fitting for a "first dance" though.

The other end of the stick is that we have our band! I'm really excited to have them play our wedding - they're a local oregon folk/bluegrass band, with a bit of an irish sentiment to their style. We've asked them to play our first song, but this raises another issue - they don't have a female singer. Normally not a biggie (I like guys singing voices all the same), but "Somebody Loved" is sung by a girl. Seeing as how the major melody for the song is in her voice, I don't know how well it will translate into a cover by 3 guys, a mandolin, bass, and violin. Their style is a bit more "Jolene", if you know what I mean.

Should we keep looking for a first dance song? Mr. Bear Cub and I both love folk music - Hem, Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, Mark Kozelek, Laura Veirs, Josh Ritter, Joan Baez, Iron & Wine, Dick Gaughan, Damien Rice, Charlie Cutten, Billie Bragg, Beth Orton, The Be Good Tanyas, ... Actually, we like a lot of music.

Or should we stay with our song, and try to learn some dance moves that won't leave us feeling like awkward 13-yr-olds? Do you know of a good dance style that would go with our song? Do you have an even better suggestion for a song?

02 July 2009

Mason Jars: The Hidden Killer!

While my plans for dressing up the dinner tables are slowly coming together (thanks to you guys! :) ), I have a solid idea of how I want to decorate the top of the tables. Like a lot of you, I swoon over aqua-blue mason jars.

Since my venue doesn't allow open flames, I plan on filling my mason jars with pretty vegetables and flowers. I'd love to have that glow-y effect of the flickering candlelight behind aqua glass, but it's just not in the cards. I need the aqua jars, though. Need them.

Seeing as how I'm a whole hemisphere away from my venue (and my family), I can't exactly troll through antique stores and goodwill at my leisure. (and collecting 40+ quart size mason jars locally and bringing them with me on the plane is rather impractical.) So, I did what any tech-savvy bride (on a budget) did - I started looking on my favorite site, eBay, I scowered the classifieds here on the 'bee, and I looked in the Portland craigslist (my super awesome future step-MIL (FSMIL) has been the best with helping me locally!).

The result? Aqua mason jars are expensive. Like, really expensive. Unless you find them wholesale somewhere, you should expect to pay around $5 - $8 each, after shipping. I don't buy that, though. I'm of the mindset that the value of an object is set by the buyer. I think these things should cost around $1.50 - $2 each, after shipping. Call me stingy, but it's just old glass.

I must have been right, because I found my preciouses for $1.50 each on craigslist, and in Portland. The seller has a lot of canning equipment. I told him I wanted to buy around 50 quart-sized aqua mason jars, and he said he had more than enough!

source via Bliss'd

This was great! Fantastic! I'd get my deal, and it'd be local!

But then the seller "educated" me on a few legalities of mason jars. He asked me if I was planning on using these for a wedding (let's call it a "family reunion", shall we?). He told me that if I planned on putting candles in the jars, he absolutely wouldn't sell them to me. And if I was planning on drinking from the jars (I wanted to also buy around 80 normal jars to use as glasses), he also wouldn't sell them to me. Um. WEIRD.

They don't make mason jars like they used to. Apparently there's a high probability that your beautiful antique blue mason jar will EXPLODE if you put a candle in it! The guy selling the jars said he was sued recently because a jar exploded at a wedding, injuring a guest! Also, he informed me that it's illegal (at least in the state of Oregon) to sell canning jars for the purpose of drinking beverages. He recommended I buy these "drinking" mason jars from a supermarket - these organizations are too large to prosecute feasibly.

As much as I'd love to have beautiful mood setters like this:

...I don't want my guests to risk injury! If you're planning on using mason jars for candle holders, be careful! I recommend using newer jars (but don't quote me on this - I'm not the expert!).

This seller also helpfully informed me that certain types of flower food can dissolve the old aqua glass. I told him I was planning on using the jars for flower vases (this, apparently, was acceptable to him).

I thought I had all my ducks in a row (no candles! no drinking from the jars! no flower food!), so I asked my awesome FSMIL to coordinate locally with the seller. Turns out, he's a complete kook. He yelled at her on the phone, proclaiming about how these aqua-blue mason jars are special, antique... they weren't meant to be used at weddings! And he wasn't going to sell them! And how dare she suggest that! Did she know that they could EXPLODE at any minute?? (aqua-blue floral grenades!)

So- whatever. We washed our hands of this potential bargain; the red flags were definitely going off. But I'm still looking for aqua-blue quart sized mason jars. :(

I really don't know where to look now. Do you know of someone who wants to sell their aqua-blue quart-sized mason jars to me? :) Or do you know of someplace to find them for relatively cheap?