Friday, January 27, 2012

Wedding Journey - Jessica's Venue 2

Okay, off to our second venue... without the bride... 


Jessica has a new job.  In fact, this is her second week of her new job.  Plus, she's newly engaged... (Talk about stress!)  She has no time off, but needs to find a venue.  


"Super Mom" to the rescue!  

My responsibility is the financial aspect of the venue.  For that, I really do not need Jessica.  So, my new sister-in-law and I went to see a venue without the bride.  Our thoughts were that if we liked the place, Jessica and Scott could go look at it on a weekend even though the business office would be closed.  So, we headed off to Atlanta to look at The Piedmont Room.   It is located at the Park Tavern restaurant right off of Piedmont Park.  In fact, the 12 foot windows offer a spectacular view of Piedmont Park and the midtown skyline as the backdrop.  It was something else.  

The room is very large.  The white tents outside would not be there during the wedding.  They house an ice skating rink during the winter.  Also, the park is in it's "winter sleep", so hopefully during the wedding, everything would be blooming.  The "alter" would be here near these windows.

The room would be our canvas to decorate.   I LOVE that.   All of these things would NOT be in the room.  There's a dance floor with plenty of room for dining.  

The bar is in the back of the room.  Over to the right, is where cocktails would take place after the ceremony while pictures were being taken.  

 This is the cocktail area.  It's actually the front of the venue.  
 It's got a rustic feel.  

 This is the front of the venue looking outside from the inside.  It's got beautiful iron gates and a stone entrance.  I wish I had taken a picture of the entrance from the outside.   You can see it on the webpage.

The bride's waiting room... 

 Looking out at the park and beyond...

 It even has a space for an intimate rehearsal dinner...  


The hunt is still on... Venue 3 has been scheduled for a visit....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wedding Journey - Michael's Venue 1

The difference between a son getting married and a daughter getting married is astounding.  Well, in my case anyway...  As stated in this post, Michael and Casey live in Albuquerque.  They are moving to Missouri to Casey's home town.  However, they've decided to get married in Georgia along the way.  Pretty exciting for me. 

Casey is doing all of the planning and she seems on the ball.  All she needs from me up until this point is "legs on the ground and a pair of eyes."  I can do that!  So, she asked if I would take a look at a venue that she has picked out.  What Casey and Michael like about this place is that it has a sense of history (it was built in 1906); it's in our hometown; and it cost $675 to rent!  Michael and Casey are paying for most of their wedding, so anything that does not break the bank makes them happy.  

So hubby and I went to take a look.  It's on the back side of the town square in Fayetteville, GA.  It's called The Hollingsworth House.  It seems they do not have their own webpage, but you can check the site out here.  As I said earlier, it was built in 1906.  Michael is a history major in college, so that's important to him.  There is a room that is large enough to have a beautiful ceremony in front of a fireplace,

or a stained glass window;

a dance room;

a gorgeous back entry;

  and a room that will hold all of the food.  

LOOK  at those chandeliers!  

It has a wonderful feel to it.  So warm.  It will be beautiful for their December 15th wedding.   A Christmas tree will sit in the corner along with some beautiful wreaths adorning the windows.  I cannot wait to see it.

They haven't made their final decision, but I think it's perfect for them!

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Do the right thing!"

I found this article and was immediately drawn to it...  It is "28 ways to stop complicating your life..."  I read it because I'll take any help I can to uncomplicate my life!  Have you read my last few posts?  I've got two weddings in the next 14 months, 3 months apart!  

I digress...

One of the suggestions stood out for me and I felt like blogging about it.  It's a simple suggestion, really...  And one that I believe all people can abide by if we so choose.  It says:

"Stop doing immoral things simply because you can. – Start being honest with yourself and everyone else.  Don’t cheat.  Be faithful.  Be kind.  Do the right thing!  It is a less complicated way to live.  Integrity is the essence of everything successful.  When you break the rules of integrity you invite serious complications into your life.  Keep life simple and enjoyable by doing what you know in your heart is right."

Do the right thing....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wedding Journey - Jessica's Venue 1

This past Saturday, my daughter, Jessica, her fiance', Scott, and I went to the Biltmore Ballrooms in Atlanta for our first look at venue 1.  When I ask Jessica what "type" of wedding she would like to have, Jessica states "elegant..."  That's all she says...  "Elegant".  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot (WTF)?  How is a mom to work with that?!   I guess that will be my challenge, huh? 

Jessica is indecisive.  I believe I'm not saying anything that she wouldn't say about herself.  So, her wedding will probably have to be me thinking up some ideas, and then presenting them to her for her to choose between a few instead of many.   She gets overwhelmed easily.  Luckily,  I have some girlfriends that can help me in this endeavor, but more on that later!!!

As stated, we visited the Biltmore Ballrooms in midtown Atlanta.  This is an historic hotel that has been restored in the last decade.  It is a beautiful venue and when Jessica saw it, she said "This is it..."  

No kidding... look at those pictures!  OF COURSE this is it!  

To have a wedding here on a Saturday, it costs $4500 to rent the room.  Plus, you must spend at least $4500 on food.  The ceremony is an additional $1000, but if you use the Biltmore's caterer, they will give you the ceremony for free.  Oh, I see... if I spend $9000, they will give me a ceremony that I have to have my own minister for, and they do not have to do anything extra but let me have the room for 1 hour for the rehearsal, for free..   What a bonus!

Sorry, sarcastic Tracy came out... 

If we are smart, we will have the wedding on a Friday evening.  It cost $3500 to rent the room on a Friday with NO minimum cost on food.  We would still get the ceremony for free if we used the Biltmore's caterer.  So, by having the wedding on Friday night, we would be saving thousands of dollars...  I can dig it... Can Jessica?

Stay tuned... 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


My daughter and my son have both decided to get married 3 months apart.  My son lives in New Mexico but is moving to Missouri this May.  However, he and his fiance' have decided to get married in Georgia which is where we are from even though they are moving to Missouri.  Kinda like a "we aren't going to move home so we will throw you a bone and get married in Georgia" kinda thing.  Therefore, some wedding preparations for their wedding will be on my shoulders just by being their "local contact".    So, I have two weddings to work through this year that are three months apart from each other.  It should be a fun and exciting year!  I'm going to be blogging about my experiences so I hope you come along for the ride. 

 Wish me luck!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tablescape Thursday at BNOTP

I know, I know... It's FRIDAY!   However, if you read my blog regularly, you know how much I LOVE Between Naps on the Porch's blog.  I try to read her blog daily (it's my indulgence in this year of DISCIPLINE!).  I was lucky enough to meet Susan this past Fall and she's as lovely as her blog.  I hope we can continue to visit with each other since we've become fast friends.  

Susan's blog showcases so many beautiful suggestions on how to add beauty to our homes through rearranging a room, adding an element to take a room to the next level, or setting up a tablescape for our tables.  When I saw her post yesterday regarding a New Year's Eve table created by her friend, I just had to share!  HOW GORGEOUS IS THIS TABLE? (I've only included one photo... You need to go to Susan's blog to see the rest.  Believe me, it's well worth it!)   With our lives so busy, most of us do not take the time to go to this much effort.  

But really, how much effort does this take?  And what a statement!  In my opinion, the woman who created this table really knows how to pay attention to details.  A bow tie or mask is used as a napkin holder.  Ingenious!  I love the clock salad plates!  Love, LOVE!  Unfortunately, Susan tried to find them online, to no avail.  So, she shared a link to this blog from Sharlotte on how to make your own clock plate.  Do you see why I love blogging?  There are so many gifted ladies and gents out there in Blogland!  

Take the small amount of time it takes to add some beauty and whimsy to your life today.  It's so well worth it.

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Discipline 2012

I'm sure you are aware, most of us make New Year's resolutions that fall by the wayside about a week into the new year.  Read this to see how to make them work for you.  This article shows statistics on how many of us do not keep our resolutions.  So, I "resolved" to not make any resolutions this year.  (Tee Hee)

A few months ago, my friend Sandy and I were talking and she said that she does her chores in the mornings, and then is able to "play" all afternoon. (We are stamping buddies...)   I said "Well that's a novel idea!"  And she said "Oh yes, I'm very disciplined.  I work first and then I play."   That conversation got me to thinking.

The word DISCIPLINE really resonated with me.  I was struggling with the boredom of doing the same thing day in and day out at my house.  It seems that I'm always cleaning a bathroom, or that I'm always complaining that I do not have time for my crafts.  As a woman who worked for 20 + years and then found myself with all of this free time, I was having trouble disciplining myself.  I had taken on the mantra of "I can do that tomorrow....  I can exercise TOMORROW.  I can clean the floors TOMORROW.  I can write my blog TOMORROW."  Do you see a pattern here?  Have you ever had this issue?

So, I began to analyze my methodologies.  I wake up, get my caffeine and then sit down at the computer.  I spend all morning checking out what other people are doing by reading my social media sites online.  By the time I'm finished, it's lunch time!  Are you kidding me?  Then, hubby has to go to work and I find myself alone and unmotivated.  Things have to change.  

That's when it came to me.   While I wouldn't make any resolutions, DISCIPLINE would be my word for 2012.  Each day, I would reflect on that word and try to find ways to incorporate it in my life.  Already, I've created a steady (sometimes daily) stream of blog posts.  (Are you all excited????)  I'm trying to make those blog posts something that you would find entertaining and would also be able to get valuable information from.  Also,  I've walked two miles each day since before the first of the year.  (Thank you to my hubby and baby sis for walking with me!)  I'm playing less games online and I'm actually reading my book instead of watching TV.  With hubby off the last two days, organization in the basement has been our focus.  So, discipline, so far, as been front and center for me this year.    

What is your word for 2012?  What do you hope to get accomplished this year?

If you read my blog often, you know that one of my favorite ways to create cards is to use a napkin as my focal point, wax it onto my background and then embellish it.  Here is a card I created from a napkin.  I thought these would be pretty to show since we are all looking forward to Spring.  Simple, simple...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Traditions are good.  They remind us of what is important.  Important things such as the tradition of having the entire family over for "roast beast" dinner for Christmas.  Or playing "I doubt it" card game with your extended family AFTER stuffing our faces full of delicious food.  My children LOVE our traditions.  In fact, they do not want me to change a thing.  Their Christmas Eve is all about spending time with all the extended family, watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas",  eating bad-for-us food (known as "Fat Fest"!), and opening presents from Nana and GDaddy!  This article talks about the importance of traditions.  I wholeheartedly believe in their importance.  

But sometimes, traditions breed complacency and boredom.    People start to think "I don't want to go this year... it's the same 'ole, same 'ole."  Or communication starts to lag and plans do not get ironed out because we think "We do the same thing every year so it will get taken care of..."  The next thing you know, there isn't enough food to feed everyone because the dinner is a routine that we forgot to discuss.  How do we combat complacency?  How do we keep things fresh when everyone wants to keep the traditions?  

Some traditions are forced to change due to the death of a loved one.  My sister's mother-in-law died this past year and she had loved Christmas.  She was the one that helped get my sister in the spirit.  It was very difficult for my sister this year because those are the times that we DON'T want our traditions to change.  I found this blog that talks about how one mother deals with her traditions and the death of her child.  She asks those questions that haunt anyone who has lost a loved one and how to deal with it during Christmas time. 

 However, even if you do not experience a life altering change, there are times that traditions need to be tweaked.  Children have aged, economic times have changed, or a Christmas Eve service beckons us.  The NY Times wrote this article which I found insightful.  Whatever the reason, changing the "status quo" can do one of two things.  It can make us appreciate what we had, making us anxious to get back to it.  Or... it can open up new experiences that we can then incorporate into our traditions.  

Next year, I believe I will be changing up our traditions.  I do not know what I'm going to do yet, but I'm ready for a change.  Maybe a Christmas in Colorado?  Maybe a Christmas at the beach?  Keep reading to see how things change.  

I hope you have a wonderful 2012!

Here are some photos of our children on Christmas Eve...  We always love being with each other.

My son and future son-in-law...

My youngest and her boyfriend...

My daughters...

 Cousins acting goofy...

My niece and her boyfriend...

It's been a long night...

The boys tormenting us women by drinking "Dr. Pepper 10" (with a creeping niece in the background!)...

 My daughter and her fiance'...

 Just the grandkids and our two future additions...

My son and his fiance'....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Proposal...

I kept a very big secret.  Let me explain... We celebrated our family Thanksgiving on November 12, 2011.  As our family grows, we have to come up with creative ways to allow everyone to attend, therefore we had it early.  The entire extended family was there.

As the night wore on, my husband came upstairs and told me he wanted to show me something on eBay on the computer downstairs.  I was loading the dishwasher and told him he would have to wait.  Suspiciously, he stood there and waited for me.  I should have known something then.  As we were headed downstairs, my husband turned and said "What you are about to see needs to be kept a secret.   Don't you tell anybody."  I indignantly thought "Pfft... Who are you talking to Mister?!  I always keep secrets!  AND, you cannot boss me around!"  As I entered the room, waiting for me downstairs was my super wonderful, "future" son-in-law, Scott.  He was standing in the room, rubbing his hands nervously together.  He had tears in his eyes and he could barely speak.  The first words out of my mouth, when I saw him was "Ut oh..."  (Strange how we automatically react sometimes....)  As he got closer he said "I was wondering if it was okay with you if I asked Jessica to marry me?"  

As my breath caught in my throat and tears filled my own eyes, I reached out and hugged him tight and said "Awww, of course it is honey!!!" 

Ironically, that very night, Jessica and I had been talking about how some women seem to notoriously pick the wrong type of man.  She said to me "I'm so glad you taught me how to make wise decisions because I know that Scott is a good guy and will always be there for me. "  (I am not writing this as a pat-on-my-back statement.  I thought it was such perfect timing for her to say this on this night...  She had no idea.) 

Scott told us that he wanted to propose during our vacation at Disney World the following month.  I had to wait a MONTH before I could tell anyone?  Oy vey!  During that month, he sent me pictures of rings that he was thinking of giving her...  We deleted all of our text messages and even our phone logs in the event she looked at our phones.  Scott's sister Amanda even started texting me pictures of rings.  We wanted Jessica to be surprised.  I called Disney to find out ways to propose and shared those with Scott.   I kept Jessica off of the "scent" by confusing her with "Will he do it soon?" type of questions.   I kept stressing that "he better ask for permission first!"....

On the way down to Florida, Scott complained about gas prices.  Jessica whispered to her baby sister "If he's worried about gas prices, I won't be getting engaged any time soon!"  He had already decided he wanted to do it in front of Cinderella's castle with the Christmas lights lit up.  There are always photographers there, so the photographer would catch everything while it was happening.  He would do it on our first day to the parks to get it over with.  He was SO nervous!  My part was to get Jessica to dress up if I could.  I told everyone that I wanted family pictures in front of the castle and that I wanted everyone to look nice.  So Jessica fixed her hair and wore the only "nice clothes" she brought with her.  In general conversation while getting ready, she mentioned "No one can ever surprise me... "  Little did she know.  Scott was grumpy that whole day and did very little talking.  

As we were walking through "Main Street", we noticed the massive amounts of people milling about.  They were waiting for the parade.  Scott was going to have an audience that he did not expect.  Jessica was in an exceptional mood and linked her arm in Scott's and said "What's wrong?"  He said "I have a belly ache."  She said in her playful way "Do you have to poop?"  We got into the line for the photographer, and I turned to the people behind us and said "There is about to be a proposal, so please give us some extra time..."  The woman squealed and Jessica turned about to look, but didn't catch on.  I implored the woman with my eyes not to say anything.  She kept her silence, thank goodness.  My hubby whispered to the photographer that there was going to be a proposal and to stick with us.  I had my mother-in-law and hubby take the first picture together.  We were throwing her off the scent.  Then, I had everyone get together for a family photo.  After that photo, I said "Now it's Scott and Jessica's turn".  The whole time she was unsuspecting.  As she began to move away, Scott grabbed her by the shirt and said "You know I love you, right?"  She shook her head "Yes" with a "what are you doing?" stare.  Then he said "You know I love you very much?".  The pictures say everything....

She looked over at me in this photo and I just shook my head "Yes...."

There was clapping for them....

She kept saying "It's so pretty..." as she looked at her ring....

She said this was her new "thinking pose..."  Then she asked "Are you guys sick of me yet?" 

Scott is going to be an awesome addition to our family.   I could not have asked for anyone better for Jessica.  

I'm so excited for what 2012 holds as I will be helping Jessica plan her wedding and I also have my son's wedding to attend and help with...  It's going to be a great year!

Happy New Year!