February 26, 2012

Getting Inn the Spirit

_DSC7371wI sat in the great room of the Lakeside Inn a few Saturdays ago, making to do lists and jotting down various reminders and decor ideas. My head was full of ideas and questions and getting them put on paper seemed to be the only way I'd be able to sort it all out.


This chair sat across from me as I wrote. I kept looking at it and thinking about who'd sit there. Who'd sit around the fireplaces, who'd play the games of checkers and chess and Monopoly lying about the Inn. I kept smiling though because I knew whoever it was, it would be someone I love very much. In 8 months time, that room, this inn, would be filled with people attending my wedding.


I can't say I'm the type of girl that has dreamed about her wedding day since she was little. It's something I have thought about, but it's never anything I had pre-planned. And once I did get engaged, Mike and I didn't rush into picking a location. Ours will be a 20 month engagement, with 8 of those months wondering where we should get married. I agonized and drove myself crazy trying to figure out which venue would be perfect for us. I considered locations everywhere. And I do mean everywhere - from Key West to New Orleans to California to Mexico to St. John to Chicago and back again. In the end, we settled on this historic 30 room inn on the shores of Lake Michigan just across the border from Indiana in Michigan.


I tried for months and months and months to figure out which location would be perfect, and in the end, I realized, like all things, that perfection eluded me. There was no option that did not have its downside. And every location had its upside too. So in the end, we went with the place that most seemed right. We didn't actually visit many venues in person, but I can tell you that when I walked into this Inn, I felt it. It seemed to make sense. I pictured our family and friends congregating around the fireplaces. I saw them sitting in the rocking chairs on the expansive front porch. I imagined Mike and his boys playing football on the back lawn. And I imagined myself walking down the aisle on that lawn with my husband for the first time.


Mike and I are deep into the planning process now, and the details at times can be overwhelming. The imperfections of this particular location are starting to show. And when they do, I try to take myself back to that moment when I was sitting and jotting notes in the great room. The moment where I imagined it all coming together. It is an amazing feeling to sit in a room and know that in 8 months time it will be filled only with people I love. And when that day comes, I remind myself that it will not be the details, but the memories that will matter. This place is just waiting for some great memories. And so am I.

February 12, 2012

Eight Months and Counting

Just because, in less than 8 months this will be the backdrop of where my wedding ceremony will take place.
Mike and I spent the weekend here, and it was down right delightful. More to come.

February 4, 2012

Stuff I Found While Looking Around NYC

When I last left you, I was headed to New York City for the weekend. Well I made it back all in one piece. However, I will say barely. There was a time in my life when I could stay out until 3 a.m. with some lovely gay gentlemen, close down a piano bar with said gentlemen and been able to get up and function perfectly normal the next day. Those days have passed, yet I acted as if they had not on Friday night. So most of my Saturday - my one free full day in NYC - was spent on my friend's couch.

I went to NYC to see my dear friend Sean (who for the record was my high school prom date - I will spare you the photographic evidence) perform at The Metropolitan Opera. Opening night, at The Met. And my friend was singing in the chorus. I would not have missed it for the world.

Me and Sean. Looking better than we did in high school.

Going to the Met was not anything I had ever dreamed of doing, but it's totally on my bucket list now, and crossed off thank you very much. The Met is beautiful. Just beautiful. I only carried a little purse, so my camera didn't accompany me to the opera. All I snapped was this shot with my cell phone.

It doesn't do that space justice. It feels amazing to be standing in Lincoln Center on a Friday night for an opening night performance. If I could have bottled up that feeling, I would have taken it home with me in a 3 ounce or less container.

I even rented a dress for the occasion. Yes rented. If you have not been there yet, please visit Rent The Runway and rent yourself a fancy dress for your next big event

This was my first time ever going to any opera and what I saw was the marathon of operas. It was a Wagner opera and for those of you who do not know, Wagner is serious opera. I saw Götterdämmerung, which is a 6 hour opera with two intermissions. We left during the second because Sean sang in the second act and only one person in our group had the stamina to last the final 2.5 hours.  Personally, my knees were killing me. So after 4 hours of opera, our group (we were a big group) headed out for dinner, and then a smaller subset of our group, which included me, headed to a piano bar where we stayed until 3 a.m.

I did manage to get out and take some photos during the remainder of my weekend, but not nearly as many as I planned.  And when I got home to Chicago, I wasn't in love with any of them. I blame Friday. I decided I'd use these photos as an opportunity to play around with a new editing program I recently acquired. A lot of these photos are very processed, something I normally shy away from. I am finding that with this new program I am editing photos a little differently, so with this set I really went out there with some of them. What I am saying is that the editing of these photos is the equivalent of my Friday night - wild and crazy.

And all of this is a very long-winded way of saying here are a bunch of photos I took on my vacation.


Please note that this headstone is dated 1733 as the year of his death.
Please note, these pigeons were totally making out, and right by a church no less.
These birds were not making out. They just wanted my bagel.
This the famous Wall Street bull, and it was swarmed by Asian tourists on all sides each time I went by. This was the best picture I could get. Yet, somehow I think it's the best picture I could have gotten.
St. Paul's Chapel is Manhattan's oldest public building in continuous use. 
It also sits right across the street from ground zero.
Because it just feels right to end with a shot of Times Square...