Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

This year, we are spending the holiday in South Padre with Lauren's parents. The temperature is in the 70s, so I guess that means we won't be having another white Christmas like last year! But despite how amazing that was, the warm temperatures are admittedly great.

Yesterday, Phil and Larry hit the golf course and Lauren and Jeanette hit the mall and downtown Brownsville... sounds like a perfect day, doesn't it!?! Although, I do have to admit that the malls were VERY crowded, just as to be expected on December 23rd... but we braved the crowds!

Another exciting bit of news in our life is the house we put an offer in on this week. The seller couter-offered, then we counter-offerred their counter-offer, and they counter-offered our counter-counter-offer. Confused yet? We are calling our realtor today to accept their final offer and once we get back to San Antonio, we will sign the necessary paperwork to begin the 10 day option period. We can't get our hopes up too much, after what happened on the last house we went through this process with, but it's still pretty exciting. Check out our photo album to see pictures of the house. It's 2 bedroom/1 bath and we plan to build on a master suite about a year after we purchase the home, where the rear deck is located presently. This house is our Christmas present to each other this year, so even though we don't have something under the tree to unwrap, I think this means we are both getting a big gift this year!

Anyway, we want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and we hope that Santa is good to you!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Last weekend, Phil & I traveled to Houston/Boling to visit his family for the holidays. We arrived Friday evening after leaving early from work, and got to see his mom's house all lit up like a Gingerbread house. She won the decorations contest last year and definitely gets my vote again this year!

On Saturday, the three of us drove in to Houston and had lunch with Felicity and her boyfriend Karthak at Molina's. Yummy Mexican food and it was great to see them and hear about their new puppy, Sam (who we can't wait to meet!). We then drove to Crate and Barrel where we planned to spend our gift certificate that we haven't used since LAST Christmas, but after driving through the parking lot 3 times, we decided against shopping. We headed to Amity & Randy's house where we hung out with Drew until Amity and Randy got home from the play they had been watching. Amity called after the play was over, and I was very vague on the phone so that she didn't know we had invaded her home, so they were surprised to find us already there when they arrived. We hung out and Phil and Randy (and Drew!) got to play sports in the backyard until dinnertime.

Around 5:00, we went to Collina's Italian Cafe for gourmet pizza. It was great food, but I have to rave about the desserts! We ordered an apple crisp, brownie sundae, and tiramisu. That was the BEST BROWNIE dessert I have probably ever in my life had. And that says a lot, because brownies are pretty much a separate food group in my diet. We took a long enough break from eating to let Amity take this photo of us, but I think by this time the brownie was gone (or else I would not have let them pull my focus away). There were 7 of us at the table, but I definitely had over 1/2 of the brownie dessert (sorry about that!).

After dinner, we drove by Blake's school, St. Thomas Episcopal, and a nearby neighborhood with Amity & Randy's dream home in it. We said our goodbyes and headed back to Boling, where Philip promptly fell asleep and Robin and I stayed up and baked fun-shaped cookies with sprinkles and all! They were very fun to make and even more fun to eat! Overall, it was a very fun weekend and we can't wait to see everyone again in January!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Lauren & Phil spend their last Thanksgiving apart... next year, we start splitting holidays. Thanksgiving with her family and Christmas with his! Hope everyone had a great holiday! Check out our photo album for more photos from both of our Thanksgiving vacations.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Last weekend, I traveled to Dallas on Thursday for a business trip and stayed for the weekend to hang out with Dana. We had lots of fun, and I got to meet her precious 2 lb. Maltese puppy, Bella, who is absolutely adorable! On Saturday night, Dana and two of her friends hosted a party for friends to meet each other's friends from work, college, and high school (in my case!). It was a great party and the old game Simon from our childhood ended up being the hit of the night. I think this might be what I get Dana for Christmas since she was the most intense player ever . (I can say this because I know she NEVER reads the blog and therefore will not find this out prior to receiving the gift.)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Check out my rad costume, it won 3rd place in the office costume contest! Jennifer (purple witch costume) and Tony (pirate costume) won 1st and 2nd place, respectively. Check out our Photo Album in the links section of the blog for more photos.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Today Phil golfed at the 12th Annual Comfort Golf Boosters Tournament with his friend Chuck, Chuck's brother Chris, and friend J. Buck. Together they whipped up on the other golfers, and won 1st place!! Phil says they "pencil-whipped the competition"... I'm so proud of my golfer!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

We're Registered!

Yesterday we completed one more wedding task, but this time a super fun one... registering! We decided to register at only 2 places: Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Pottery Barn. We started at 10am at Bed, Bath, & Beyond where we registered for everything from kitchen to bathroom to bedroom & living room items, but mostly kitchen. We're going for the stainless steel appliance look in our new place so everything will be cute and coordinated. We had lots of fun going all around the store scanning anything we might use when we are married, and probably some things we might not. :)

We took a break for a yummy lunch at Chris Madrid's where we re-fueled with greasy burgers and fries, then headed to the Pottery Barn at the Shops at La Cantera, our brand new open-air mall. At Pottery Barn we registered for lots of accessories including bedding, dishes, and vases, and even added the bedroom furniture we hope to have in our master bedroom some day. Maybe we will and maybe we won't get our bed, dresser, and nightstands, but we figure it doesn't hurt to add them to our "wish list"!

Both websites have the capability for guests to view our registeries online, so feel free to take a look!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

If you missed it, you missed the best baseball game ever... at least the longest.... all 18 (eighteen) innings in 6 hours. You've gotta be a REAL fan to watch that much baseball... but that's what we are! Okay, that's what Phil is. I got hungry and left in the 16th.
Now that the Astros have such a monumental win behind them, it's time to gear up for 2 big games in St. Louis. If only we had someone in the family with the hook-ups to get us some tickets... anyone?
The Astros games will be all we think or talk about Wednesday, Thursday, Friday... as long as this series lasts... so you might want to check out before calling us anytime soon. And don't even THINK about calling during the game... or if they (gasp!) lose. Leave at least a day or two for mourning/recovery. But of course that won't happen... we are ready to ride this all the way to the World Series!
And Brad, we're dissappointed in you for not watching last Sunday's game. Sorry, but you were an Astro's fan WAY before Logan was born.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This weekend was Jennelle & Greg's wedding in Houston. It was absolutely spectacular and Jennelle was a beautiful bride. Here is a photo of the bride with her bridesmaids from the rehearsal dinner at Brenner's Steakhouse on Friday night. The food was great and Greg and Jennelle's families are so adorable! We know this couple will be happy together forever... congratulations, Jennelle & Greg! We hope you have an amazing time in Italy on your honeymoon!

Disregard the scary red eyes... aren't we cute?

Look how happy the bride is, as the new Mrs. Berger!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Destination Wedding, here we come!

Phil and I made a huge decision this weekend about our wedding... that we are going to have a destination wedding! We are going to fly somewhere in the Caribbean and get married on the beach... we're checking on locations this week so that we can secure all of our travel plans so I'm super excited!!

We had already booked our photographer and location here in San Antonio but it just didn't feel "right" and we are still far enough out to get all our deposits back. Anyway we'll have a big celebration party when we get back so everyone can celebrate with us!

Just wanted to share the news with everyone. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Happy Birthday to Robin & Drew!

We are so sorry we can't be in Houston this weekend to celebrate with everyone, but hope you both have fabulous birthdays. We'll see y'all in 2 weeks! Love you!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

On Saturday evening, I hosted a bridal shower for Jennelle at Patti's beautiful home. It was a luau theme and to give myself a bit of credit, the invitations were so darn cute I wanted them to be for me. ;) But the theme turned out very well except for the fact nobody ended up wanting to hang out poolside since it was almost 100 degrees out there. But we had plenty of great food, drinks, and leis of course. We were able to head outdoors after eating so Jennelle could open her presents since it had cooled down a bit. But then we went back indoors afterwards because we enjoyed the climate controlled environment much more. :) Anyway Jennelle got some great things from her registry and all in all was a successful event! Pictured above, L to R: Ginger (Sigma big sis), Shifi (sorority sister), Susan (soririty sister), Rosalee (sorority sister), Jennelle (bride), and Janet (mother of bride). Not pictured are Patti, Shannon, Kaye, Jennifer, and me (all co-workers of bride), and Liana (had to leave early, sorority sister). See more pictures in photo album, and more to follow soon!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I won at Settlers of Catan!

Jennelle and Greg introduced us to Settlers of Catan, one of those board games that if you try to explain the concept to other people, sounds extremely dorky and boring. However, it is also one of those games you could become obsessed with playing, and is actually quite fun. The past two times we've played, Phil won (even his first time!) so Jennelle and Greg thought he was cheating (surprise) because he was "the bank". Tonight, however, Jennelle was the bank. And while Phil did not win, he told me he was proud of me for "keeping it in the family". Jennelle & Greg were not so excited, but at least I am enthusiastic about playing again since I actually have a chance of winning again.

Thanks, Jennelle & Greg, for hosting a fun evening. We look forward to playing with the Sea Farers expansion pack when it arrives!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Happy Birthday, Stacy!

We hope you have a fabulous day filled with all sorts of fun birthday surprises. (Sorry we didn't send you a card; Phil has promised for weeks to get your new address from Brad but to date I don't have it...) Hope that all your birthday wishes come true, and we hope to see you soon to celebrate with you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

We Booked a Photographer!

Today we met with Matt & Elizabeth Deserly of Deserly Photography. They impressed us so much that tonight we mailed off our deposit and signed the agreement to have them photograph our wedding!

They have been in photography for 14 years, and met in college (sat next to each other in class!). They started out doing commercial/ad agency photography but found their clients never were happy with the product and did not enjoy shooting photos of table settings all day. They begun photographing weddings as favors to friends and ended up finding it to be so enjoyable that they made it their profession. Their style is very photojournalistic and they like to capture all of the little things that brides have spent months planning and years dreaming about. They just seemed to be the right fit, plus they are young (she is 28) and family-oriented so we liked that as well.

They guarantee that you will have one of them at your wedding plus an assistant. If they don't have 2 weddings on that day, you might have both of them there, but that's not guaranteed (but can be... for a fee, of course). We can purchase the rights to our photos and obtain them on a high-res CD immediately after the wedding, whereas most places make you wait at least 1 year before you can buy the rights to your own photos.

We are super excited and are working to plan our engagement portrait session already!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

April 29, 2006

We are excited to announce that we have made our first wedding plan! The ceremony and reception will be held at River Rock Cafe in Fair Oaks Ranch, TX (about 10-15 minutes north of SA) on April 29, 2006! We are very excited to begin planning all the other details of the wedding, now that we have the most important part behind us.

We have decided to also reserve both of the Fair Oaks Guest Houses, which are on the grounds of the River Rock Cafe, for both Friday and Saturday night, so that we have a potential place for the rehearsal dinner, bridal & groom party dressing, etc.

Our next step is to book a photographer. We met with 3 a while back and now would like to meet with just a few more before making our decision. Hopefully we will book one in the next week or so. Wish us luck!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Happy Birthday, Amity!! We hope you have a great day, and that all your birthday wishes come true! Love, Phil & Lil

Friday, July 08, 2005

On the 4th of July, we went to the SA Missions minor league baseball game, followed by a good concert by Robert Earl Keen and lovely fireworks. Phil's friends John and Debbie from STMU water polo invited us and Jennelle and Greg came as well, so it was lots of fun!

Friday, June 17, 2005

I figured I'd post a few more Vegas photos for your viewing pleasure... this is us at VooDoo bar, on the roof of the Rio hotel... so amazing.

No comment necessary?

Just after getting our frozen beverages at Fat Tuesday's. And yes, I use my mug at work (to drink WATER) every day!

Monday, May 30, 2005

VEGAS WAS SO MUCH FUN! We made sure Jennelle celebrated to the fullest, and had some wonderful girly bonding time. I did not take my camera with me on Saturday night, and it seems I did not get any good group shots all weekend with me in them, but as soon as I get photos from all the other girls, I will be sure to post some cute ones. Here is a great photo from Sunday night on our way to the Bellagio (on a moving walkway... one great thing about Vegas is all the escalators!). It was ridiculously windy Sunday night-- they even cancelled the famous water show at the Bellagio-- hence, the windblown look. But don't they still look cute?!! L to R -- Ashley (maid of honor), Amanda (college roommate of bride), Jennelle (BRIDE), and Linda (sister of bride)

Friday, May 27, 2005

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...

I'm off to Vegas for the weekend for Jennelle's bachelorette party!! Photos and stories to follow, I'm sure! (Phil will be in Corpus Christi visiting his friend Kohle, so he will have his "boys" weekend right alongside my "girls" weekend... although I have to say, my destination wins the coolness contest.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Amity & Randy!

Hope you have a fabulous day and here's to many more years of happiness (and more babies?)! ;)

Love, Phil & Lil

Saturday, May 21, 2005


This morning Phil and I visited two photographers! At 9:30, we met with Photoworks by Zachary. We loved his style, and he seems to have a great passion for his work. He is actually a doctor and does this as another source of income because he has such a passion for it. He seems to really capture the important moments and joy of a wedding... we were quite impressed. Then at 11:15 we met with Alexis Armstrong Photography. She is very laid back and so easy to get along with, and her style is very candid and non-obtrusive, which really appeals to us. You can see their work on both of their websites if interested.

On Monday we have an appointment with Marcus Revilla Photography, then on Tuesday we have an appointment with Elizabeth of Deserly Photography. More appointments to follow once I make a few more phone calls, as well. We'll keep you posted as we make decisions!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

On Saturday, Phil, Aunt Carol, and I visited River Rock Cafe for the second time for lunch and to scope it out as a wedding venue. The food, once again, was great, and we are liking this one more and more. You can see more photos in the photo album. It has ample indoor and outdoor space, which would do for a wedding in any month/weather conditions. We hope to decide upon a date and venue in the next week or so, but Lauren will be out of town Monday - Friday (in Dallas for work training on a new computer system), so next weekend will probably be when lots of decisions are made. I'm trying to make a few photographer appointments for next Saturday morning, as well. We'll keep you posted... and don't expect many udpates this week; Phil claims he doesn't know how.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

My Dad's new truck that he flew out to Arizona to pick up! He stopped in SA on the way back last Thursday and we got to check it out! Isn't it pretty!!?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Do you think his ears could get any bigger? Cooper poses for a quick photo with Mom.

Mom with her Mother's Day purse/Cooper carrier. :) So cute!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Wedding Ideas
When browsing websites, I've been saving photos of ideas that I like for our wedding, and now I've uploaded them to this Webshots album. Check it out and let me know what you think! :)

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Yesterday we visitied Comfort Cloisters ( as another option for wedding locations. This site is in Comfort, TX and includes a rock chapel, adjacent reception hall, and cottage (for bride to get ready!) all on the property. Be sure to see our photo album for more photos of the facility. We really like it and our only concern would be the size; the reception hall is not large enough for all of our guests, however we can always use the outdoor patio and lawn area for more tables or the dance floor, etc. This one is currently in our top 4 list.

Next we visited Red Berry Mansion, which is located off of SBC Center Parkway in San Antonio. The property is gated and is a pretty big, with live antelope and peacocks roaming the grounds. As you can see, the lake is picturesque. The photos are taken from the balcony of the mansion, overlooking the wedding and reception site. We are unsure about having a wedding poolside, but it sure is pretty. The grounds also have a fountain with live (huge) fish inside, as you can see from one of the other photos in our album However, I did not take any photos of the inside of the mansion because it has a hunting theme and is not our style at all. Such a shame, because the grounds and house are perfect, save the poor decorating.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Congratulations, Mom!

Congratulations for hitting your two year non-smoking anniversary this past Tuesday, April 19th. Just think of how much money you've saved... not to mention the more important part, your health. We're really proud of you! Love, Phil & Lauren

Monday, April 18, 2005

Friday night, we were whisked away in a limo for a lovely night out with Phil's family (you can almost see the limo's wheel and brake light in the photo behind us). Left to right: Blake, Randy, Amity, Jack, Robin, Phil, Lauren, Stacy, Brad, Felicity, Raj. We had a lovely dinner at Molina's and then hung out at the Nelson's afterward. Thanks to Amity and Randy for putting together such a great evening!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Look at those baby blues! She is absolutely adorable!

Logan with her Mee-Maw... they both look so happy!

Ten treats later... here's Mr. Cooper!

At Amity's house on Saturday before we rode the light rail to the Astros game. Such a great game, the Astros won in the bottom of the 9th and we all had great seats! Amity, Randy, Brad, & Stacy had box seats with catered food and posh seats, and Phil, Felicity, and I had 4th row field seats right behind 1st base! So much fun! (Last week I wasn't a baseball fan, but now I am... and it didn't even take a hotdog to push me over the line!)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA! We hope that you had a wonderful day and are feeling better soon! We missed you this weekend in Houston. Lots of love!!

Monday, April 04, 2005

April 29, 2006

Does anyone have a conflict with this date?
  • It's pre-finals
  • Pre-graduation (5/13?)
  • Post-Easter (4/16)

The date is during Fiesta in San Antonio (4/21-4/30). We want to know honestly if this will effect attendance; should we pick another weekend? If the schedule stays same as this year's, it would be the second to last night, which is the Fiesta Flambeau Night Parade.

The Saturday before that 4/22 is Oyster Bake, but I don't think that would have much effect on attendance... please comment/let us know what you think.

Photo of the happy couple taken by our maid of honor at the Oasis at Medina Lake 4/2/05

After Race for the Cure on Saturday, Phil, Dana, and I got ready for our appointment at the Oasis at Medina Lake. We arrived at the property after about a 30-45 minute drive, and met the site's "wedding planner". She showed us to the wedding/reception area on the lake. As you can see, they were setting up for a 100-person wedding later that day. The view and setup is obvoiously GORGEOUS! I love the idea of water behind the ceremony as a backdrop, and this location has just that. Please visit our photo album for more photos of the banquet room, bridal dressing room, and other views of the grounds. The Oasis is a restaurant, so they would provide all catering and alcohol for the reception. The wedding would take place on the bank of the lake (see photo above) and then the reception is on the deck and indoor room above. However, after your ceremony, the bottom area becomes open to all of the restaurant patrons, so you do not get exclusive access to this area, even though you are paying for it. This was the major downfall of this location which makes it lower than our top choice. Another downfall is the "Tarpon Blue" color paint they have painted everything.. and I mean everything. Every piece of wood and every wall are painted this color. We saw photos of how it previously was - this beautiful natural wood color - and so much more beautiful than the tacky look they are going for now. Apparently the owner calls it his signature color, but I just think it clashes with basically everything. Finally, the area does not have any accommodations nearby so the guests would have do drive back up a windy road back in to San Antonio or find a house to rent on the lake, so that aspect isn't great either. So needless to say, although the view is beatiful, it doesn't beat Providence Hills...

My beautiful bridesmaids (minus one) accompanied me to the Bridal Expo on Sunday afternoon. We got all sorts of brochures and freebies from caterers, photographers, florists, reception sites, cake shops, etc. It was incredibly informative and so much fun and I can't wait for the next one in June. Meanwhile, Phil did the manly thing: golfed with Jennelle's fiancee.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

This morning, Dana and I met some ladies from work for Race for the Cure! We walked 5k + the distance to and from our car (probably another 1k), and all for a great cause. SO MANY people turned out and it was great to be a part of it!

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Does anyone have a conflict with May 13, 2006? Is this Trinity's graduation? I can't find anything on the website but we won't have it this day, if so. Second choice is May 6, 2006 if necessary. Please post a comment and let us know!!

Wedding & Reception Site Visits

Yesterday, Phil and I went to four potential wedding/reception locations in the San Antonio area: Tapatio Springs, Providence Hills, Granberry Hills, & The Vineyards. See below for descriptions of each.

Be sure to visit our photo album (link to the right) for many more photos of each site (our blog only lets you post one photo at a time so I picked one for each).

We still need to visit the following sites: La Escondida Ranch Retreat Center, San Antonio Museum of Art, Nolte Farms, Guadalupe River Ranch & Oasis at Medina Lake. And any other locations you might know of and think we should check out, please let us know before we make our decision!

Tapatio Springs ( was one of the sites my mom & aunt Carol visited last week, so even though the catering department was closed, I figured since I already had the information I just needed to take a look for myself. We left the house around 9:20 and drove up to Boerne to visit the site. They were holding a collegiate golf tournament on that day so Phil stopped to watch the golf for a few minutes, though I could not care less about that part. We walked up to the indoor reception area first, and were not at all impressed. The view overlooked the greens but was not enough to compensate for the unimpressive ballroom. This site would be good in the fact that it has accommodations on site for guests, plus greens and other activities, but still none of this was enough to convince me to have my wedding here. I think we'll cross this one off the list.

Our FAVORITE site was Providence Hills (, located in Helotes off of Scenic Loop Rd. The drive to the location is beatiful through the hill country and is quite scenic. You enter through the gate and guests would park along the hillside driving up towards the house, and would be picked up by the valet parking staff and shuttled to the circle drive facing the outdoor wedding location. The photo you see above is the bridal exit to the wedding location. I would walk through this arch (you would all gasp at my beauty, of course) and I walk down the rock patio, down two sets of stairs, down my aisle between the folding chairs and to the twinkling archway along the rock wall you see in the distance (can you picture it?). You can get a better idea of the archway in photo #13. It wasn't the sunniest of days and it was early in the morning so the arch tends to blend in with the surrounding foliage, but check out the website for a better idea. Typically I am not impressed with reception sites since they are just an indoor room, but I would not even mind if it rained on my wedding day here, as the interior of the house is so beautiful and the stained glass window would make a beautiful backdrop for a wedding ceremony if necessary. The house was originally built in the 1930s by a Texas oil man and held for 7 years, then sold to become a convent, which it was until only a few years ago. It's very cool because in the dining room you can open the closet door and see how it used to be a confessional! We would have access to the whole bottom floor of the house, which includes a lovely living/sitting room which would be filled with tables for the reception (photo #1), the entry way (photo #2), another area to be filled with tables, and the cake (photo #3), a room set off of the previous room where we would set up the serving tables (photo #4), another room set off of the sitting room to be filled with tables for the reception (photo #7), and a kitchen (photo #8). There is also an upstairs bridal dressing room and an outdoor 750 sq. ft. cabin for the groom and groomsmen to get ready in. We would have the dance floor be on the rock patio (photo #9) with more tables set up on the grassy area below it (photo #11). Everything about the site is absolutely what we are looking for - the perfect combination of elegance and laid-back. The only potential downfall could be the catering situation. They only allow us to use one caterer, so we need to meet with the caterer to sample the menu and discuss options for alcohol (can we bring our own or must the caterer provide?). We are required to have a TABC bartender and security during the reception. I hope to make an appointment next Saturday evening while Dana is in town if they do not have a wedding planned, so that I can see the place at dusk and meet the caterer all at once. More photos to come after that meeting, but this site is definitely at the top of our list. Susie, the daughter of the owner, was extremely helpful, even offering items from her own daughter's wedding such as lanterns, linens, & vases for ours.

Our third appointment was at 12:30 at Granberry Hills ( Driving up to the location was the worst part about it, as it's located off I-35 & Weidner Rd. and you have to drive through some not-so-nice areas to get to the location. This was the biggest downfall about this place and weighs heavily in our decision. However, once you drive up the hill and arrive at the facilities, you would never know that you weren't in the middle of the beautiful Texas hill country. They are currently building a larger facility that will be more fancy and will be ready next year, but the existing "Gardens" area seems more laid back and more of our cup of tea. The wedding would take place in the arbor (see photo from website above - it was pouring down rain while we toured, so I didn't get any photos here... the website photos are pretty accurate though). After your wedding, your guests would proceed to the pavillion area where the buffet would be, and the bathrooms are located (see photo #3). The actual tables, dance floor, and reception area would take place in the area shown in photo #4. The staff is very willing to do whatever it takes to releive any stress from the bride, such as setting up your centerpieces, having a manager on site during your wedding in case of any surprises, having the set-up for the reception complete early in the day, and a beautiful bride's dressing room - see photo #5 (groom would come ready). They have a list of approved caterers you must select from, and you can select the china package to have your guests eat on china instead of plastic for $3 extra per guest. They provide white folding chairs for the wedding and reception included in the price. Their caterers are required to stay the entire ceremony to further releive bridal stress. This site seems very much like what we are looking for, but just can't beat Providence Hills when it comes to the beauty factor.

At 2:00 we had our final appointment at The Vineyard ( It's located off of Natural Bridge Caverns road, less than a mile from the caverns. They actually make their own wine but do serve wines on site that they do not make as well. As you can see, the vineyards are picturesque right behind the wedding location. The view in this photo is what you'd see as a guest, with the wedding taking place right at the edge of the covered area. Since the Vineyards is a restaurant, you are required to use their food/beverage for the reception. The restaurant would close that evening if the wedding party is large enough, so for our size, we would have the place to ourselves. The arbor the bride walks down under is to be covered with white and red roses in a month or so, and the vines will start to bloom. So for a ceremony/reception in April or May, everything should be blooming beautifully. The reception area would be indoors for a sit-down dinner on three levels of the restaurant. This kind of breaks up your party but since the dance floor would likely be outdoors under the covered wedding area, most of the guests would likely not be indoors much of the time. They suggested we could come on the evening of an upcoming wedding of our size to see how everything was set up and looked, so that could be an option, but Phil was not that impressed with the location... just wasn't "the one" so we probably won't pursue it.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Here's the link. For some reason it didn't upload?

After I sent the girls at work the following link
requesting this cake for my birthday at work, they provided me their version (see photo). Isn't it fabulous??? It was a huge surprise... I'm a lucky girl. :)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Last night, Lexi, Amanda, Ropes & Jennelle met Dana and I at Cheesecake Factory for a wonderful birthday dinner. It was so great to see everyone and for Dana to meet them all, too! Thanks!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wedding/Weekend Update

Today... I BOUGHT MY WEDDING DRESS. It is hanging in the clost not more than 10 ft. away from me as I type this post.

So here's the story. I started shopping for dresses yesterday with my mom and three of my four bridesmaids, Dana, Lena, and Amanda. We had breakfast at Le Peep and then headed to our 11:00am appointment at Bridal Galleria. I had seen a Pronovias dress there that I liked and wanted to check it out, along with the bridesmaid dresses they carried. We arrived right on time at this swanky new location (they just moved) and were taken back into a back room behind closed doors with maybe 50-75 designer dresses to look through. We were the only group there and had the place all to ourselves. We looked through the dresses and ended up with about 6 gowns for me to try on. We were subtly reminded that I was only allowed one hour since Saturday is a busy day so we got started. The Pronovias dress I came for was my favorite of the bunch so I tried it on first, and it was a huge hit. Every dress after was compared to this dress because it was everyone's favorite. The only downside was the price : $1,395.00. Our budget only allows for $1,000.00 including alterations (which are typically about $200 from what I understand)... so that posed a problem. I had to think about whether a dress I'll wear for one night is worth it. I also tried on another dress there that I loved, by Essence. The Essense dress was $999.00 and I thought Phil would like this one much more since it was more simple, but still above our price range once you factor in alterations. Now I absolutely LOVE trying on bridal dresses (soooo fun!) so this was a great start, finding two dresses I loved!

Then Dana & Lena tried on a bunch of bridesmaid dresses. We ended up only really liking one Bill Levkoff dress on everyone. The one shown in that photo is not the right length or color but gives an idea of style. The dress I would choose would be tea length and pink. I am looking at light pink dresses with a darker pink flower maybe, to match a darker pink ribbon on the dress.

When we left there, we went to Bridal Connection, across town, to see a dress I would not be able to try on but could take a look at. I had called looking for a specific dress and they told me another bride had purchased it but I could come take a look, just not try it on. But the bride picked it up that morning before I arrived so that was the end of that!

From there we killed some time shopping at DSW Shoe Warehouse before our 2:00pm appointment at Brides Mart. I had seen an Alfred Angelo dress there that I wanted to try on but did not bring my paperwork so just decided to look through the racks for what looked good. Since they are cutting down to only carrying Alfred Angelo dresses, they are having great sales on all other lines, plus some discontinued dresses. I picked out about 4 dresses to try on and they brought one from back as well that was my size and what I was looking for. I tried on a Maggie Sotterro dress first that was really nice with a corset-lace up back, gathered front, and very nice beadwork. It fit well and looked great. Then I tried on a second dress very simple and elegant with a very unique aspect that made it extremely classy/sophisticated (the dress I bought, sorry for lack of detail here). This dress was originally $699 on sale for $399 if bought off the rack. Fit me perfectly in the top and just needed to be hemmed for length. I liked it but was not sure it was "the one" at this point. The next dress was very "princess"-y and quite beautiful, and I really was taken by it. This dress was originally $999 and was 50% off. The other dresses I tried were not really "me" so I was deciding between two dresses (eliminated the Maggie dress after seeing the other two).

I was stressed that I had to make this decision quickly but our lovely sales rep was nice enough to hold the dresses while I deliberated over a now much-needed lunch. We went to Jason's Deli and discussed all the pros and cons of buying a dress on the first day I looked, a year before the wedding. Would I still love the dress a year from now? Where would I store it? Did I fell I had a good idea of all that was out there? Could I find just as nice of a dress at just as good of a price if I keep looking? Was I buying just because of price?

We went back to Brides Mart after lunch and I was sure I liked the "princess" dress more, so I wanted to try the other dress on first so that the "princess" dress would be the last I ever tried on. But when I put this other dress on, I completely changed my mind. So did my mom and bridesmaids. They checked the dress out carefully to be sure everything would hang properly when I walk down the aisle, stand with my back to the guests, and throughout the reception. I then tried on the "princess" dress and just knew the other one was "the one" for me. I put back on "the one" and everyone said how they loved the dress more and more each time I put it on. I met with a seamstress to discuss all my ideas and she reassured me that everything I wanted could be easily done, and that if the price of doing alterations through Brides Mart was too high, I could go to her house and have her do it cheaper.

By this time it was almost 6:00 and Brides Mart was closing, so I decided to come back first thing when they opened the next day (12:00) so I could sleep on it and look at the digital photos we had taken.

I thought about it all through a lovely dinner at Piatti with my family and friends, and was dead set on getting this dress. Then I came home and looked at the photos of the dress. I then became concerned that the dress would not photograph well because the veil covered some of the dress' detail. I slept on it and decided I would make my decision today no matter what.

Dana and I met Lena at BridesMart at 12:30ish and I put on both dresses. We were able to determine that the veil would not be getting in the way since it would be behind me at the wedding and reception, and I just had been wearing it weird the day before. By this point, I was trying to find reasons to get the dress, and reasons not to like the other. At this point I knew I would regret if I didn't get the dress, but I wanted my other bridesmaid's opinion before making my purchase. Jennelle was driving back from Houston and would not arrive until 4:00 so I had them hold the dress one more time. We shopped and had lunch then returned with Jennelle a bit before 4:00 to try on the dresses again. I did not tell her which one I loved and tried on both for her. Maybe she could tell by the way I spoke and looked in the dress, or maybe she just liked it better, but she chose the dress as well. Great minds think alike, I think. :)

So I decided to buy this dress! Since it was a buy-off-the-rack dress, I had to bring it home with me, unless I decide to pay to have it stored or ask someone to store it for me. I decided I'd just bring it home where I could keep an eye on it... I had them place it in a white garment bag and made Phil swear that he will not peek. He assured me he won't and he really doesn't feel tempted, so I believe him. It will be his loss if he does; he won't get the "gasp" feeling seeing me in it the first time on my wedding day!

I will update more later-- that was a pretty detailed entry and it's late! But I had to share the news with you all; this was a huge step for me! I am really excited about the dress and my only regret is not being able to play dress-up any more, trying on more dresses. But I get to watch my bridesmaids do it so that will be something fun to look forward to... as if there isn't SO much fun ahead!

Friday, March 18, 2005

I don't like Cats.

Phil and I went to dinner last night at a fancy-schmancy restaurant called Citrus in the Hotel Valencia. Very moden and cool decor, and pretty good, but also fancy food. We met my aunt Carol and my mom and some friends Harry and Joe, and had a nice time visiting.

We then walked a block to the Majestic Theatre to see Cats. We had great seats in aisle F - left center, so we were very close to the stage! We were all very excited to see another Broadway musical and knew Cats has been a long-running show on Broadway, though none of us had any idea what the show was about.

By intermission, we still had no idea what the show was about! Although the customes were impressive, we could not understand the words much of the time and of the four of us sitting togehter, nobody knew what was going on. Carol mentioned she could leave right now and be fine, and we all basically agreed. The only thing keeping us would be the fact that we paid lots for these great seats, and we realized that was not a good enough reason to stay when none of us were interested in seeing the remainder of the show. So we left during intermission, parted ways, and went home. Such a dissapointment -- I cannot believe a show like that has had such a long run on Broadway... it really did not have much of a plot!?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Broadway Show

Tonight Phil and I are meeting my mom and aunt Carol to go see the Broadway musical CATS! We have had tickets for quite a while and the day is finally here! I forgot to bring my camera, though, so if you were hoping for some lovely shots of Phil, me, & some cats, you're out of luck.

Speaking of luck, Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am wearing a very green sweater and accompanying with my cute bag w/ green stripes (see photo below). Plus I organized a luncheon at the office where everyone brought a green dish! I can't wait to have green cake & lots of guacamole!

Phil, on the other hand, feels that his green eyes will suffice as "wearing green", and has decided not to wear any green garment. We'll just see how many times he gets pinched...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Wedding Dresses!

So I have been looking around for wedding & bridesmaid's dresses already, and plan to go try on dresses next Saturday when my mom is in town. I'm really excited-- I think this will be my favorite part of the whole planning process!

So here are some wedding dresses I like so far (of course I have not tried them on yet):

And here are some of the bridesmaids dresses I like:

Of course I don't know which I'll pick yet so that's why it's okay for me to post these and Phil see them. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I got the cutest purse today! The sister of a friend at work has started making cute purses of all sizes and I'm probably her biggest fan! Visit her website... she is constantly getting new fabrics too. I can't wait to plan my outfit tomorrow around my new bag! :)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Weren't they cute?
Posted by Lauren&Phil

Posted by Lauren

The ring and the beach... both are so gorgeous! This pretty much sums up our trip. :)
Posted by Lauren

Dinner @ Margaritavilla the evening Phil proposed. Notice how I'm making sure the ring makes it in the photo. :)
Posted by Lauren&Phil

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Here we are on the beach in Cabo right before he proposed... can you see the ring box in his pocket? I didn't!
Posted by Lauren

We're Engaged

As you may know by now, Phil proposed to Lauren on a surprise vacation to Cabo San Lucas, MX on March 5th, 2005. More photos and info to follow after we've rested a bit...