Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wedding Week!

Ok people, at this point I'm realistic. I am NOT going to catch up on these posts before the wedding! But that's ok, I'll post all about the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties and of course the WEDDING when we get back. :)

Here I am, a day before we leave to Sarasota, and still trying to finish up a million things. But it's definitely getting there! People ask if Gary and I are nervous/stressed about the big day, and the answer is YES. We are not stressed or worried at all about actually getting married, we're super excited about that! I think it's more having everything done on time, seeing everything come together that we worked so hard on, and making sure everything falls in line correctly. I'm sure there will be some bumps along the way, and we'll just have to let things go and enjoy. Cause in the end, this is going to be the happiest day of our lives and we will be M~A~R~R~I~E~D!!!! :-)

Since we were engaged, Gary and I came up with inside nicknames for each other...."FUHU" and "FUWI." Can you guess what it means?? Yep, "Future Husband" and "Future Wife." I guess that won't be relevant after the wedding, so wanted to inject that here.

Dont' worry, it's fake. After too many cocktails, I took the henna pen from a henna man in Mexico. I was there on a work retreat and did a fancy "FuWi" on my wrist to surprise Gary. Classy! He didn't buy it being "real."
Because the next time you hear from me, I'll happily be Mrs. Smith!!!



Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Bridal Shower!

Gary and I went up to Pensacola for the 4th of July, and the following weekend I was excited for my shower. July 9th was my fantastically fabulous bridal shower hosted by my Maids of Honor (and sisters) Lauren and Danielle! It was absolutely perfect!

My family has this unique little place we go to for special occasions like Mother's Day, and I always said when I get married that I'd want my shower there. Well, my sisters made it happen! The place is the cutest, girliest, frilliest little tea room with AMAZING food and tea. It's called The Garden Gate Tea Room, and is located in quaint downtown Mt. Dora!

The adorable invitations!
It was amazing to have friends and family gather for little ole me! I was even lucky enough to have people travel in for the event like my Future Mother-In-Law from Pensacola, my bridesmaid Nicole and MOH Lauren from Ft. Lauderdale, my long-time family friend Denise all the way from Indiana, and my Aunt Patti all the way from Kentucky! I was so pleasantly surprised!

As soon as people started filing in, Katie and Nicole greeted everyone and had them participate in several bridal games/activities. Once the food started coming in (which again - amazzzzing), we started playing even more games! This ranged from trivia questions Gary had pre-answered that I had to guess (tricky!), the "what's in your purse" game, and even a spin on Bingo for the gift-opening portion. Nicole was also doing a terrific job as a photographer and captured all of the details. Here's some pics (not the ones Nicole took, but I'll have those up soon)!

I snuck a peak at the room as they were setting up!

Such pretty decor! Love the shabby chic look.

These mini teacups were shower favors for everyone in addition to candy in a mini glass slipper!

Danielle, Lauren, my Mom, Me, my future Mother-In-Law Cindy, and my Auntie Patti!

Open a few gifts, eat dessert, open a few gifts, eat dessert. Best pattern ever! LOL.

The girls with adorable tea room hats!

Krissy's Crew (minus Tiff and Broda - missed you girls!).
I always feel humbled yet thankful when people shower me with gifts, which I found is something that happens at a shower! Thanks to everyone, I'm now so prepared and ready to cook, clean, decorate, and even more prepared for the Big Day! I won't get into too many details and I absolutely love everything, but I HAD to give a special shout out to my Aunt Patti and show you what she put together....this was just one of her thoughtful gifts, a hand-made Barnhart generation recipe book!

So there you have it! It's definitely times like these I realize how blessed I am to have these wonderful people in my life. Thank you to my wonderful sisters for making this day happen! I love you!



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our Snazzy Invitations

I had to do a post on our beautiful invitations because they came our AWESOME! I really am pleased with how they came out; pretty snazzy if I do say so myself!

(Yeah that's right, I brought that word back....snazzzzzzzzzzzzzzy)

When researching, we debated working with a local company or finding someone online. In the end, I found a style that we both LOVED online, so we started there. The style was perfect for our event. Unique, dramatic, artsy, and described an outdoor, night, garden wedding perfectly. We found the design at the same place we ordered our Save the Dates,
The only problem, or so I thought, was that I definitely wanted to incorporate our heart monogram logo, and also certain items like a matching envelope liner that they didn't have online. I also wanted people's names printed in purple because I was not about to hand address all of those myself, and I knew it would look much better. That also didn't seem to be an option. Additionally, I wanted to use a pocket type of invite so I needed something to "hold it together." After some digging and discussions with the company, I found that they could indeed fulfill all of my requests! YESSSS!!!!

It was confusing at first trying to do the customization online since this is something they don't promote, but once I had someone on the phone it was a much easier process. I was able to tell them exactly what I wanted, and I worked with their graphic designer a bit and finalized the proofs. They even graciously put a rush on my order as I was again working against the clock.

While I was waiting for that order to come in, I knew I wanted to use a custom stamp to give the outer envelope a little pizazz. After all, the inner envelope would have the liner, so the outer one needed something, right? I found a great sale at a company I've known about for awhile,, and those stamps came in extremely quick to my surprise!

I love the HUGE, glossy, custom logo stamps we got from Zazzle!

When my invitation order came in, Gary and I had THAT night to put them together, stuff them, and get them out the mail the next day. We were leaving for a trip, and needed to get them in the mail asap. We both got to stuffing! I printed out a guest list and numbered it, then put the same corresponding number on each RSVP cards in light pencil, realllllly small in the corner. I read that this would come in handy if someone sent the card back forgetting to fill in their name, and boy did it! Also armed with double-sided sticky tape to secure the band around the pocket invite/the envelope liner, we got to working like an assembly line.

The invitation spread.

Here's a bunch of pics so you can see the finished product!

Front of pocket invite.

Back of pocket invite.

Don't worry Lauren, I blocked out your address! LOL
Ready to be mailed! Broda, you don't live there anymore so your address isn't blocked out.
So there you have it! Thank you everyone for the nice comments and texts about them. Also, if you haven't mailed back your RSVP card yet (they are a postcard and already have a stamp, just place them in the mail directly), please do so asap. I'm working on getting the final count for food orders. If you lost your RSVP card, then please email me your food choice NOW to

Choices are:

Baby Shrimp & Grits

Thank you! Love you all!!!



Monday, July 18, 2011

Month of May, Memorial Day Weekend & Floral Frenzy!

May was going by like a whirlwind, and we had a lot on our plate for Memorial Day weekend. To begin, we were excited to be in town this year for one of my besties' birthday (and bridesmaid), Katie O'Shea. We had a great time at her fav Cuban restaurant, followed by a night on the town. The next day, we had plans to drive to Sarasota bright and early for vendor appointments, then finish the weekend off with a side job to help with the wedding fund.

Happy Bday to Katie!

Around Memorial Day weekend, we started picking up the pace and knew we needed to begin exploring florists. We kept hearing the name "Flowers by Fudgie" (isn't that a cute name?) from all of our other vendors as a recommendation. They were also on the list of popular choices from Ringling, and as we mentioned in an earlier post, this was the florist we saw setting up another wedding on our last visit to the venue. Definitely someone we wanted to explore. We actually had a chance to briefly chat with them and felt they would do a great job, but we wanted to setup a formal appointment. With my annoying tendencies, I also felt it necessary to make a few other appointments with different florists to explore know, confuse the situation of course. :) That put us for a loooong weekend of appointments.

When we go to Sarasota, we always try to book as many appointments as possible to maximize our time there. Exhausting? Yes. This trip was no exception with three back-to-back florist appointments, meeting with our caterer Mattison's, our coordinator at our venue, and the plan to explore hotels and rehearsal dinner locations...all in about 1 1/2 days including traveling there and back.

I won't bore you with details of our trip, but I will say that although we liked all of the florists, we decided to go with our gut choice of Flowers by Fudgie! Our contact Becki was very helpful, and we scheduled a followup trip so we could make final decision on design direction. Things were really starting to come together!


As I mentioned earlier, we had a gig to get to the next evening. There is a gigantic annual party in Orlando called the Crawfish Party which is comprised of beer, crawfish, music, and a TON of people running around outside in the heat. It's awesome. Anyways, a group of our friends founded/works the event every year, and Gary and I luckily got to join in for our first time. Besides being fun, it was a great way to earn extra cash for the wedding!

We had the job of selling t-shirts to intoxicated people by the port-a-potties, and we were setup on prime people watching real estate. At one point, there was even a guy who climbed up the port-a-potties and proceeded to run across the top of every one, jumping off at the end with his "tail between his legs" and hands extended for the cops waiting. Just one of the interesting things that evening!

Although I don't have any visuals of us at the event, I found a random video on YouTube which captures the vibe of what you'll find at the Crawfish Party. Check it out!

Anyways, that's my story. We'll be cranking out a few more posts soon in an attempt to catch up to real-time. :)



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Setting Up Our Registries!

I've always seen people in movies take those fun gun scanners and run around the store scanning everything under the sun. Unfortunately, the gun is just a movie thing, because both places we went had a square hand held scanner. The worse part is that you're not able to spin those scanners like a gun around your finger. But I digress.

The first place Kristen and I went to register for presents was good old Bed, Bath and Beyond. BB&B is an essential to most wedding registries. Kristen and I already have a lot of random stuff for laying around the apartment, so we really thought there wouldn't be too much that we needed. Well going into the store, I soon realized we wanted everything in the place. We went to the front, got set up with our non-gun scanner and headed onto the floor.

I'm clearly filled with a frenzy of excitement here.....

who knew pots and pans were so fun!

Not wasting any time, Kristen immediately ran to one of the most important things she could find....

A dinosaur cake mold. or jello mold if you want to get real frisky

 After we tore our way through Bed Bath, it was off to Macy's.  We were basically going to fill the gaps and also see if there were better versions of things from Bed Bath that we could switch out.  We didn't spend quite as much time in Macy's, but we did end up registering for more than I thought we would.  We liked some of their kitchen items more and decided to swap them out. 

This was definitely one of the fun highlights for us.  I don't think we'll ever just walk into stores like that and buy that many house related items at once.  Unless I hit the lottery;  which I estimate will happen within the next 3-4 years.

Buying this stuff also started to give us a little bit of house fever. Knowing we're going to have all these home goods, the urge to get a bigger place is starting to increase. 

Lastly, in addition to the 2 store registries, we put together an online Honeymoon registry through Sandals. We debated between having the honeymoon as our main registry, or deciding on china, but in the end thought the honeymoon was more fitting for us. With the honeymoon registry, we're looking forward to a great trip, excursions, and unforgetable memories. Stay tuned to hear all about the honeymoon in the next post, and here are the links to get to all three:

Honeymoon -- Sandals at Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Bed, Bath and Beyond


- Smitty

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tastings, Stomach Aches, Music and other Weddings!

The first week of April we had a ton of plans in the SRQ;  for those of you unfamilar with this term, it's how the natives and all the cool people refer to Sarasota. 

On the agenda we had meetings/tastings at Fete, Simply Gourmet and Mattison's.  In addition we had a brief meeting set with a potential DJ.  On top of all of that, we also had one of my old college friends' wedding to attend in Venice (this is just south of Sarasota).

We got to the area early Saturday morning and headed straight to Fete for the first tasting -- or so we thought.  They are an upscale-ish restaurant located in the Lakewood Ranch area.  We were impressed by their restaurant and our contact Erin.  She was helpful and really sweet, one major problem -- these guys have a stance of getting a commitment out of us before letting us taste the various options.  They were nice enough to comp a lunch, but I would have preferred small samples of various things from their menu.  That made it really hard for us to go with them, so we looked to the next 2 options as higher possibilities knowing that they would go further out of their way to earn our business.

Our next stop was more of a "Mom and Pop" operation called Simply Gourmet.  Simply Gourmet was really good.  They had a table set up for us and a whole tasting prepared.  Kristen and I were both super impressed with their salad.  I mean, look at this salad!

The appetizers were also fresh and well prepared.  Lastly, the shrimp and grits were really tasty.  Kristen was hesitant about a few things like presentation on some dishes;  I'm a bit more simple and was extremely caught up in the taste.  They honestly could have served it to me in a coffee mug and I would have been equally impressed -- it was good!

We liked Simply Gourmet, but there were a few other issues beyond food presentation that were potential set backs.  Doing 99% of this wedding on our own, we needed our vendors to be as full service as possible.  There were a few things they could not roll into their services that would have been a big help (i.e. additional lighting).  Our contact Jamie was super helpful and seemed extremely knowledgable, but we still had one more caterer to visit...

In between the tastings we had a chance to go look at the venue again.  We had not seen it in months and going back out there and taking pictures was refreshing. Much to our surprise, the next caterer we were meeting with and potential florist were setting up a wedding for that evening! It was great to get a sneak peak of the setup and what our event could look like. We also had the chance to head over to the Ritz Carlton and check out the grounds as we had been considering renting a suite for the wedding night.  Once the day concluded and our stomachs were on the verge of literally exploding, we headed back to our hotel for some much needed rest.

The following morning before our tasting with Mattison's, we squeezed in a quick meeting with Craig at Black Tie DJs.  In all honesty, the thing I was most concerned about was personality and pricing.  We thought about a band, but with being limited on hearing specific songs and of course being higher cost, we thought the DJ would be the best route. 

I am also so into music and have such a strong opinion about what will (and more importantly will not) be played at the wedding, that hiring a DJ was more for the MC function and to bring life to the party.   Any fans of the Village People and Nickelback will not enjoy our playlist.  There is certain music I hear at weddings and bars that makes my skin crawl.  I made it clear that if any of these songs were played during our wedding, I would be throwing him in the moat....well I didn't say that, but I've thought it several times.

We met with Craig for about half an hour and that's pretty much all we needed.  He was a cool guy, seemed to have a good personality and his pricing is really in line with competition.  In addition to that, they have a great local reputation and were on the preferred vendors list with the venue.

After that it was on to Mattison's.  We went to one of their 4 local restaurants to meet with the owner and executive Chef, Paul Mattison.  To say the least we were blown away.  The presentation and the food this place makes is nothing short of phenomenal.  I'm not even a big Salmon eater, and the Salmon they prepared was one of the best pieces of fish I've ever tasted (hint hint -- I recommend it!). 

In addition to the food being awesome, Paul was a super nice guy and completely made us feel at ease.  I usually have a "good people" detector and it's usually accurate for the most part.  He just seemed like a laid back, intelligent, down to earth person and we both felt comfortable from the very beginning.  He was also able to leverage things that really helped us such as additional lighting, better pricing on rentals and a potential rehearsal dinner spot.

Looking back on it, we didn't make the decision that weekend, but I think we did subconsciously.  It took a few weeks but we eventually caved. After we had a couple of conversations with Paul where he really moved the needle and threw in a couple more fun surprises for us (you will see these at the reception!), we could no longer resist booking.  It was difficult because we did really like Simply Gourmet;  but in the end, we made the right decision for us by going with Mattison's. Here's a sneak peak at their awesome bruschetta which you'll see during cocktail hour.

To wrap up the weekend, we headed to the mall to buy me a new shirt (because I forgot the clothes I packed) and head to Julie's wedding.  My friend Julie was getting married to her long-time boyfriend Josh that very same weekend and it was a fun get away from all of our own wedding related tasks.

The ceremony/reception was at a very nice country club in Venice .  We stayed for most of the reception, but unfortunately had to head back early to Orlando to be at work the next day.   It was nice seeing another wedding because it gave us a little glimpse into what we had in-store. Their wedding was wonderful, and again congrats to Julie and Josh!

Right about here, the fun was really starting to begin.  I thought we were ahead of the game at that point.  I had no idea :-)

- Smitty

Sunday, July 10, 2011

E-Session and Save the Dates!

With the engagement session creeping up on us, Gary and I were busy prepping. This included working out and eating healthier (I was seriously counting calories on my phone app, and it worked!), a bit of primping, and completed with a small shopping trip to gather props. Once prepared, we were excited to meet up with our photographer, "D" of Elegant Imagery for our e-session in downtown Cocoa Beach. My mom even came along to help out, plus watch over our puppy Milo so we could get a few shots with him!

March 9th was a beautiful day, and we started at our first location on a dock overlooking the bay. We wanted to incorporate a few fishing inspired shots since that's how Gary proposed. Out of nowhere, as we're walking to the dock it became SOOO extremely windy that I couldn't even walk without holding my dress down, otherwise I'd pull a Marilyn Monroe! That meant my hair (which I spent hours curling to perfection) was swirling around like crazy in this pseudo tornado. Well, D was still able to pull off some great shots, but we had to improvise with the fishing pole since the wind didn't work with our prop plans. Here's some of my fav shots from this location...

From there, we went to a few spots around the downtown Coca beach area. Of course, once we left the dock there wasn't a lick of wind, but the damage had already been done to my poor curls. I guess everything happens for a reason though, because we also took some shots on the beach after, and the "beachy hair" look worked out! lol! We even rented these sweet beach cruisers for the beach shots which were soooo fun because Gary and I love riding bikes. Here's a few of my fav shots from the session...

Gary spliced together a few of our fav similar shots to create this mini collage.

Our little family, look how Milo is posing! <3

D got this on the first shot!

Getting those letters to stay on the umbrella was not easy!

The frame motif goes along with our art museum venue!

Our logo in the sand.
The dress I'm wearing was my Mother's in high school!
I could post a million more of my fav pics, but why don't you check out the rest of our e-session here.

With the pics complete, we were rushing against the clock to get our Save-The-Dates out. We were debating between two pics, but decided that one of the beach ones would be best. The beach kind of defines us, plus we're getting married in a beachy area (although not on the beach). We also knew we wanted to do a magnet so people could easily put it on their fridge. After much research, we found a company called Magnet Street that had awesome layouts! Here's the final product!

Hope you like them!



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bridesmaid Beauties!

Time was ticking, and bridesmaid dresses needed to be decided on ASAP in order to allow shipping and alteration time. With that, Danielle, Katie, and I set out to search for a dress that we could present to the out-of-town bridesmaids. I also hoped this would help give me a clearer idea of what the "wedding colors" would be.

Who would have thought that picking out the bridesmaid dresses would be waaaaay more stressful than my wedding gown? Well it was. The thought of picking something out for six other girls, while trying to stay sensitive to everyone's thoughts made it hard. I wanted them to be comfortable, have something they can wear again, be within a price range, and of course compliment my dress! I had a few criteria such as fabric sheen and color vicinity that I wanted to stay in.

We set out to a few stores, but found the best bridesmaid dress selection at Priscilla of Boston! Here's a few pics of the girls shopping....
Picking out a variety of dresses to try on!

Although this isn't the dress we picked out, they still look so pretty!
After trying a few more stores and texting pics of the best dresses to the other bridesmaid beauties, I made a decision. I was even able to use some sweet negotiating skills to get "Krissy's Crew" a better deal!

Only, as I mentioned before (and I see is an increasing pattern), when I get close to making that absolute final decision I start to rethink it. Soooo after some more back and forth confusing, stressful days, looking at a few other stores I hadn't checked out yet, and revisiting Priscilla of Boston, I REALLY made my final decision about a week later.

The dress we picked out is fun, and I could immediatley see that as they started dancing around the room, twirling each other in the dress when trying on. You'll also notice a variety, as again I can't pick one uniform thing as any other normal person! Ah, I'm weird! But I think it will look good and be a cool way to still have the variety I want in a cohesive manner, and differentiate the maid of honors a bit. :)

And although I won't post a pic of the exact dress (hey, there's no fun in giving everything away!), I will show you the AWESOME bridesmaid shoes Danielle, Lauren and I found a few months later.


Phew, glad that one is checked off the list!



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

March Madness

Having the venue booked at the beginning of the month and heading fresh into the month of March we really started to ramp up our vendor search.  This month [along with the venue] we managed to knock out two major components of the wedding -- our officiant and the photographer.

It's kind of funny; with the officiant we really did not have a clear vision in previous months of how that would end up playing out.  We toyed with the notion of having someone close to us get ordained and do the ceremony.  The more we thought about that route, the only people we would want to do it were people who we really wanted to enjoy the day and not be tasked with performing the ceremony. 

On the other hand, we're not members of any specific church or group and I personally was having a hard time wrapping my mind around just randomly selecting a person.  Kristen was doing her research and came across a company called "Sensational Ceremonies" and they are headed up by Reverend Glenn Ferguson.  We wanted to get to know them a little before making the decision so we met him one day after work at the Starbucks in College Park.  We probably sat and talked to him for like 2 hours and quickly realized we had the right guy.  He seemed very professional, tons of knowledge/experience within the wedding industry and it also didn't hurt that he has roots in the Panhandle. 

This was a huge relief because it was something that was plaguing me for awhile but once we found Glenn, there was a sense of relief that our ceremony was going to be in good hands. 

Another big task we tackled in March was booking our photographer.  As you've probably read in previous posts, we had attended a few wedding shows as well as signed ourselves up into every wedding related email database we could find.  Throughout our shows and many emails we kept hearing about a company called "Elegant Imagery."  We went to their website and checked out samples of their work and we were impressed with their portfolios and overall presentation.

Eventually, they offered a specific package at the right time that included an engagement shoot and at that point we had to bite.  Usually when you're looking to spend a large chunk of change on something like a photographer, you normally have an initial conversation, mull it over then possibly pull the trigger.  With this specific booking we did no such thing.  We scheduled a call with our contact [Victoria] and pretty much knocked it out in about an hour. 

It was funny because as soon as we hung up the phone and I had given Victoria my credit card number, Kristen and I just looked at each other and both admitted that we didn't expect that to be as easy as it was.  I expected to go through several proposals from different photographers, but that was not the case.  We just felt their offer was great and we were confident that they understood our vision; we figured, why put it off when we have a million other things to knock off the list.

In that same call we also managed to schedule the engagement shoot for a few weeks down the road which meant one thing -- the dieting must begin!  Kristen and I set out to both lose a little bit of weight so we could look our best for the pictures.  This would mean no late night Taco Bell for me as well as trimming down the amount of beers I normally put down on a Friday night.  This, was no easy task!

In our next post you'll see the results as well as how the pictures turned out.  STAY TUNED!

- Smitty

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Venue and Fun Stuff!

I mentioned in a previous post that we had been weighing a few possible venues and different locations in Florida, but that there was one we kept comparing everything to. Well, we finally pulled the trigger.

Tah Dah!

Behold, the beautiful John & Mable Ringling Musuem of Art in Sarasota, FL!

We had our hearts set on this for a few reasons:

1.) We wanted to do the wedding in a semi-destination location, and Sarasota is GORGEOUS with beautiful beaches guests could enjoy. Plus, it's a fairly short drive (about 2 hours) for anyone traveling from Orlando...not too bad!

2.) There is no other venue like this in Florida. When I was in Europe with my sisters last Summer, I remember saying to them, "Wow, the architecture is so beautiful, I want to get married somewhere here!" Well I definitely get that same feeling at this museum with the Greek statues, loggias, stone, and other intricate details.

3.) This was the first place Gary and I could "picture" getting married at. It kind of spoke to both of us, seeing as we're both creative and were looking for something a little different. Plus, we both love things with history, and exploring areas like museums has been something we've enjoyed throughout our relationship.

4.) They had our date available---Sept. 4th! We wanted this because it's over Labor Day weekend which would allow more time for traveling guests, and it's also exactly one year from the day Gary proposed!

Feel free to read about the history of the museum and John & Mable Ringling (yes, as in the Ringling Brothers Circus) here.

We will be doing both the ceremony and reception in the outdoor courtyard space, and there will definitely be fun surprises to look forward to! On that topic of being pretty much completely outdoors, please help me pray that we have good weather. Please, please, PLEASE God let there be good hurricanes, rain, or unbearable heat/humidity. Thank you. :)

With the venue being booked, we needed to decide on a creative direction. Without giving too much away, being that I'm an artist (examples of my artwork) and Gary being an avid music lover, our union has a theme of "Art and Music Collide." You'll notice classically subtle elements of both throughout our day!

On another fun note, I sketched/designed a monogram logo you'll also see.

You'll notice the KSG (classic monogram), with the G almost mimicking a backwards music clef symbol, encased in a heart for a romantic touch. All kind of woven together as one.

Throughout the wedding, we'll bring in vintage/romantic, untraditional/eclectic, and some modern styles. That probably stems from me not being able to pick one direction. LOL.

Ok, getting sleepy so time for bed. Goodnight!



Saturday, June 4, 2011

February: A Month for Love & Gary's Bday!

Ah, February....the month of love.

Obviously there's things like Valentine's Day to look forward to, but for Gary and I, this is the month of "Krismitty!" If you haven't figured out what the heck that means yet, it's our nicknames "Krissy" and "Smitty" combined. This was proclaimed years ago by our friend Jen DeCicco, right around the "Brangelina" days. :)

This past year, we were celebrating our 4 year anniversary (Feb. 5th) of officially being a couple. We wanted to keep things low key since all efforts were being focused on our big day, so we decided to combine Valentine's Day and our "anniversary" celebration in one nice dinner.

Being the thoughtful romantic he is, Gary surprised me with a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers delivered to my work! In his note with the flowers, he mentioned he wanted this Valentine's to be especially memorable as it will be the only one we spend engaged. He made me feel so special! I surprised him with concert tickets to a show he'd been really wanting to see, The Getup Kids.

We later went to this really awesome steakhouse called Ruth Chris, where we wine and dined on some scrumptious food. Of course, I had to get my chocolate dessert too.
Being classy as we're waiting for our table at Ruth Chris
We also celebrated Vday by attending the "Valentine Rendezvous" benefit for the American Red Cross. The event was held at a Disney resort, and had great food, drinks, and dancing, plus we got to get all fancified which is always fun!

After fast forwarding a week later to Feb. 20th, Gary's birthday was here before we knew it! We got a group of people together and instead of going downtown like we normally do, decided to hit up the Winter Park area. It was definitely an ...ahem...interesting night for sure. :)

First off, we explored this new seafood restaurant we'd been wanting to try. The shrimp and grits had some gross red stuff on top that I hated, but besides that I guess it was okay (I wouldn't go back though). Then we hung out at a vintage-inspired bar, migrated to an Irish bar to drink and play darts, and finally ended up at a sake bar across the street. The sake bar was having open-mic rap night, and Gary was dancing up a storm. I guess you can say the night was eclectic! Here's a video of Gary being serenaded by the band at the Irish bar....

I also surprised Gary with the other set of concert tickets he'd been eying, Bright Eyes. Aside from that, on his actual birthday, the day after we partied, I took him to a nice brunch and got us tickets to go on the relaxing Winter Park boat tour...something we always wanted to do. This was a great way to unwind from the weekend birthday festivities.

Relaxing and enjoying nature (and each other) on the Winter Park boat tour

Yep, February was definitely a fun-filled month! Although, next year we'll be celebrating our official anniversary as a newly married couple in September! Can't wait!



We are Warriors

Okay, so I'm not going to make this post long, but I wanted to let you guys know about the most fun race EVER. It's called the Warrior Dash, and it's an annual 5k in the boonies where people dress up in ridiculous costumes, run in the mud, jump over fire, race over obstacles, and pretty much be awesome. :-)

This was the first year we had actually heard of the Warrior Dash, and Gary was determined to get a group of friends together and participate. I was all for it, but a little nervous as well....I've never been a "runner," but I've always wanted to try a 5k.

I'm happy to say we came, we saw, we conquered.

Check. It. Out. ....

Part of the Warrior Crew! Gary, Me, Johnny, Katie, and Laura.

Chest Bump!

Warriors are rewarded with beer....

....and turkey legs. Nom nom!

I guess Katie didn't get the memo...warriors don't smile.

If you feel like checking it out, you can watch a video of us jumping in the mud HERE. I have to say, after almost losing a shoe in the mud, getting caught on barbed wire, and walking an elevated plank, I will definitely be back next year! Warrior Dash is held all over the nation, so make sure to check out their 2011 locations. I highly recommend it!



Friday, May 6, 2011

Wedding Shows-Anxiety Sets In!

I want to briefly jump back for a moment to mention that after our initial engagement in Sept, planning started to move along nicely! We had explored a few possible venues in Florida, and even attended a wedding show with my Mom.

Our first wedding show we went to (way back in Sept) was a lot of fun because we had plenty of planning time and were just starting wedding exploration. I loved that Gary fully embraced these type of events with me, from buying me my pink "BRIDE" tee to participating on stage in a "groom" contest in front of the entire crowd! Besides that, there were so many fun things to try and choose from, including these awesome flip books.  Checkout the one we made, complete with a fishing pole prop (quite appropriate to our "engagement story").

And the caricature we had done....

But as you can see, we sort of took a hiatus from wedding planning during the holidays. After the New Year, reality set in that we were still venueless and hadn't set our date. Eek. We had an initial idea of the date we wanted, which would possibly be over an upcoming holiday weekend. This put more pressure on to BOOK as quickly as possible because we'd been told holidays fill up quickly and guests need as much time as possible to plan. Still, we knew our venue would determine if our tentative date was available, so we had to decide on that first. Anxiety was definitely setting in!

As I mentioned earlier, we had explored a few possible venues right after the engagement. The locations varied from Orlando to Sarasota to St. Augustine. The venue is definitely one of the hardest decisions to make because it sets the tone/direction for the entire event, and can also be a good portion of the budget. We had one place in the back of our head that we first visited and had kept comparing other possible venues to, but we weren't sure if it was "the one." We didn't really give Orlando a thorough exploration, and at this point there were some other places we wanted to checkout before committing...and we needed to do so asap before I had a major stress meltdown!

We heard of a "Bridal Crawl" going on in Orlando, which was basically another bridal show but held at several different locations you could bounce around to, all possible venues also containing a variety of vendors (florists, caterers, DJs, etc). This was a perfect way for us to explore our hometown, so Danielle, Gary, and I embarked on the crawl. We all left with a sugar high from too many cake samples but a lot of great information.

Our crawl badges- "I Asked" (his), "I Said Yes" (mine)

The crawl was successful in the sense of helping us narrow locations down (plus acquire more vendor contacts), but we decided to make one last weekend trip to St. Augustine before picking our winner. We had been there already and really liked one specific location, but there were a few others we wanted to checkout too. Plus there was still one other possible location we were weighing everything against, each with different pros/cons making things more difficult.

All I'm going to say at this point is with less than 9 months away from our tentative wedding date, this is what we actually had:

1.) My dress (go figure)
2.) The bridal party selected

As you can imagine, the pressure was (and still is) on! Stay tuned for the outcome of our venue selection! :)



Monday, May 2, 2011

Our First Round of Holidays as an Engaged Couple

Going into late November through the new year is like a blur.  We travel a lot and basically spend each weekend immersed in some big activity whether it's partying or traveling or shopping.  The wedding planning preparations pretty much took a backseat during this moment (aside from researching small details online in our spare time).

One thing that I was 100% focused on doing at some point over the holidays was taking Kristen to the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord Palms.  This is something I know she has always wanted to see, and each year we procrastinated and ended up not going.  That was not going to happen this year!  One random Friday after work, I arranged some tickets and told Kristen that I planned "something," but wouldn't tell her what.  I like to keep her on her toes, so I turned it into a fun little surprise. 

The exhibit was at least 500 times colder than I actually imagined.  About 5 minutes in, the tips of my fingers and my ears were going numb.  The sculptures were definitely everything advertised and more.  Here's a shot of us as we exited the attraction...

Our faces were actually frozen this way for a good hour or so
 In addition to the fun holiday attractions, we had friends throw annual parties that we look forward to every year.  We have annual "White Trash Christmas Bash" and the Dillon's famous pizza party.  These parties are generally right around the same weekend or on back to back weekends, so that's always a part of the year I look forward to (I like to party if you haven't noticed yet). 

The pizza party was awesome this year, especially seeing as I did not have wisdom tooth surgery 2 days before the party this time (last year I couldn't eat pizza and stayed hopped up on pain medication the entire time).  This party is always fun for me personally, because I feel especially proud of how creative my future wife is;  she always makes the most creative pizza each year.  After seeing her construct an exact replica of Rudolph the red nose reindeer, I basically decided there was not much I could do to top this so I just rolled my whole batch of dough into one giant slice of pizza...

She won on creativity, I won in the weight division.  This slice gave me issues after I ate half of it.
In addition to our friends yearly get-togethers, we also had the annual company Christmas parties.  Kristen's company [IZEA] had a pretty fun theme and did a masquerade party on Wall Street.

Here are a few more shots of the festivities....

White Trash xmas bash!  Nothin' better than some natty light and a bon fire!

The IZEA Masquerade Christmas party at the Globe. 

Figuring out our Christmas situation each year has proven to be a bit of a challenge.  We both want to spend as much of the Holiday's with our families as possible, so we've had to come up with some kind of middle ground.  For the past 2 years, we've woken up on Christmas morning and went to Kristen's parents, opened gifts, spent a few hours together and then driven to Pensacola to arrive for dinner time.

This has worked out well for us for the past few years and it's pretty cool getting to see our family's on opposite sides of the state in the same day.  We spent Christmas day and the 4 days after in Pensacola just utterly relaxing.  Whenever we're back there, we find that it's a huge escape for us.  We usually sleep in each day, go out at night, play board games, fish and just hang with my family. 

The other great part about being there is Milo absolutely loves it.  He thrives off of terrorizing my parent's boxer Achillies and having a back yard to run freely for those few days.  When we come back to Orlando, he usually mopes and barely looks at us for days.

This past holiday season was another success in the books and I look forward to many more as we approach married life!

Christmas Morning at the Barnhart's -- 2010

- Smitty