Friday, December 31, 2010

Hanging out with Annette

Yesterday we finally got a chance to get together with Annette. She came over to my parent's house in Maple Grove (making her the second friend to see my parent's new house). We exchanged Christmas gifts, as we have every year since sixth grade.

Dr. Horriblr Evil League of Evil Official T-Shirt (Medium)Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sunnydale High School Juniors' T-shirt (X-Large)Jeff and I got her a couple of T-Shirts from Thinkgeek. One is for the Evil League of Evil (from Dr. Horrible) and the other was a Sunnydale High School T-Shirt (a Buffy reference). I introduced Annette to Dr. Horrible earlier this year, and we both love it, and she convinced me to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer (every episode, from the beginning), and I've been making my way through it (halfway through season six now!).

Mr. Bean - The Whole Bean (Complete Set)Annette bought me the complete collection of Mr. Bean episodes. We both used to really love that show, and actually one Christmas, we both gave each other Mr. Bean's Christmas Special for Christmas - which we completely didn't realize until we opened our gifts that year. Great minds...

Community: The Complete First SeasonAnnette got Jeff the first season on Community, which is a show that Annette really likes and that we've been meaning to watch.

The three of us went to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, because Annette had never been there - the thai pizza there is great!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1After a quick dinner, we went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, because Annette had just finished the book. Jeff hadn't seen it yet, and I had, but I was happy to see it again.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Sixth Season (Slim Set)Then we headed back to my house and watched a few episodes of Buffy (that much closer to completing the full series...) and joking about which characters we like and dislike. We both like Anya a lot, and Spike. I can't stand Dawn (so whiny!) and Tara gets on my nerves sometimes, too. Jeff (who was reading a book while watching...) says that he likes "Lily" - the character is actually named "Willow," but the actress plays Lily in "How I Met Your Mother," which I guess Jeff likes more than Buffy.

After a couple episodes, we started watching Community from the beginning. I've actually seen the first few episodes of Community before, but it was a lot funnier than I remembered! I'm excited to watch the rest of it.

Basically, we stayed up late watching lots of TV - classic Mariel and Annette. :)

Visiting the Library

A couple days ago, we stopped by the Minneapolis Central Library with friends. It's one of the first times we've been back since we decided that it would be our wedding reception venue. I snapped a couple of pictures!

Hanging out with Carey, Rachel, and Paul

With all the wedding stuff going on, it's been hard to have a lot of time to visit with friends, but on Wednesday and Thursday we finally managed to get together with Carey, Rachel, and Paul. The four of us used to hang out all the time when we were in High School. Now Rachel has a baby, Carey lives in NYC, and I live in DC, so it's hard to get together. But we always try to meet up at least once over the holidays.

On Wednesday night Rachel, Rachel's husband Drew & baby Ari, Carey, and Jeff and I (Paul was still at work) met at a restaurant called Apertif in Woodbury. The food was really good - Jeff, Carey, and I shared oysters, green bean and onion salad, lamb shank, and shish kabob. They also had amazing rosemary bread that they served with Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. It's always fun to chat and catch-up - they're the kind of friends where even if you haven't talked in months, it feels as if you saw them yesterday.

After dinner, we stopped at Cub Foods for some snacks (cheese and crackers and icecream sandwiches), and then went to Rachel's house. We hung out and talked for a while, and Paul showed up around 10pm after he finished work. We ended up watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which Paul and Carey had never seen, and then a few episodes of 30 Rock, which we've all seen, but we all love. We stayed at Rachel's until after 1am.

We actually ended up getting together less than twelve hours later for lunch. We went to Pho Quan, which is one of Rachel's favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities. It's a tiny Vietnamese restaurant (probably less than 20 ft. by 20 ft.), with a handwritten sign on the door, and it serves mostly just Pho. The food was really good - and Jeff and I had some tea that we liked, also.

After lunch, Paul went to work and the rest of us went to the Minneapolis Central Library, which is on the same street (Nicollet Ave.), though it's about a mile away. Carey and Rachel had never been there, and we thought it'd be fun to see it and tell them how the wedding would be laid out there. After that, Carey gave us a ride back to Maple Grove and became the first friend to see my parent's new house!

Wedding Invitation Search: Watermark Stationary & Epitome Papers

In between cake-tasting appointments, Jeff and I stopped in at a few wedding invitation stores. The first one was Watermark Stationary in Wayzata. It was a cute little store, and they had a good collection of invitation sample books. We looked through and found a few we liked. The people working there were really nice and helpful. Unfortunately, we didn't have a whole lot of time.

The second visit was to Epitome Papers in Edina. The store was cute. We looked through books again, though we didn't have a ton of luck.

Jeff and I have splurged on a few things at the wedding (band, photographer, videographer), so it other areas, we'll have to be a bit more thrifty. One of those areas is likely to be invitations. Jeff and I just don't feel that strongly about having all the extras - the fancy paper, the letterpress style, the ribbons and pockets. But I get the sense that when the stores hear that we're interested more in the lower end, they're a bit reluctant to show us things in the lowest price range. I think our plan, after having stopped in at a number of invite stores, is to start searching online, where you can find some much cheaper options. We'll order some samples to make sure we like them, but hopefully that will work out well.

Wedding Cake Tasting - Buttercream & Queen of Cakes

Last Wednesday, Jeff and I had our first two (of three) wedding cake tastings. My mom, my dad, and my brother all came along to help out.

Our first stop was Buttercream, which is one of the best-rated cake places in Minnesota. Tasting the cake, you could see why. They gave us a small piece of about eight different kinds of cake (so we each got about one bite of each flavor), including - almond praline, bailey's chocolate, chocolate truffle, connecticut carrot, lemon rasberry, rasberry chocolate diva, and rasberry royale, and neopolitan (this had a strawberry cream cheese filling). They were all really good, but we especially liked the rasberry royale (a white cake with fresh raspberry filling), the rasberry chocolate diva (chocolate cake with fresh raspberry filling), and the almond praline. My dad also really liked the neopolitan cake. We'll probably choose two flavors for the actual cake. The buttercream cakes were all really moist, and none of them were too sweet. I don't usually like desserts all that much, but I thought all of these were really good.

The taste of the cake is definitely important, but I'm actually really excited about the way the cake will look. We took pictures of a bunch of cakes that we really liked. We could do the ones with the ribbon in a yellow that matched our colors, and if we end up doing an invitation that has curlicues, we could send them a copy of the design, and they could match that style on the cake - pretty cool. In general, Jeff and I liked the more sleek looking cakes.

The second tasting was at Queen of Cakes - another top-rated cake place. The people helping us at Queen of Cakes were really nice. They gave each of us a small platter, so we each got our own piece of each of about eight cakes. It was a ton of cake!

The cakes were all really good, though I don't think they were quite as moist as the ones at Buttercream, and they also seemed to be a bit more sweet, which is less my style. But we did have a good time trying everything - we especially liked the lemon cake and the German chocolate cake. The triple berry mousse filling was really good, and so was the chocolate mousse. At Queen of Cakes, they said they could do a different flavor for each tier of the cake. Also, Queen of Cakes generally makes a smaller main cake and then has sheet cake for the additional servings, while Buttercream doesn't do sheet cake at all.

There were a few really cute cakes we liked - especially one we saw that had things written out in frosting - very cute!

Doctor Who Christmas Special

Dr Who: A Christmas CarolEvery year on Christmas, there is a Doctor Who Christmas Special. Usually it's pretty hard to get it in the US, but this year, they played it on BBC America on Christmas Day. We were at Grandma John's while it was on, but we DVR-ed it and finally found time to watch it a couple days later.

Jeff, my mom, and I opened the bottle of wine and chocolates I got from David and Natalie and brought out some cheese and crackers, and then we relaxed and watched the show. It was a Doctor Who version of A Christmas Carol, and it was sooooo good! I won't give any more of the plot away, but you should definitely watch it!

Our Old House

Ever since I was about five years old, my family has lived in the same house in Maplewood. But then, this past summer, my parents decided to move. They are now in a beautiful new house in Maple Grove. I really like the new house, and in general I haven't felt too sad about missing the old house. But today, my mom showed me a video that they made to advertise our old house, which definitely brings back memories. It was an awesome house.

The Perfect Palette

When we were at Flutter Boutique looking at dresses, they also told me about a website that's really great for getting color palette ideas for weddings. It's called The Perfect Palette. You can search by your main color to look for good color schemes and sample pictures.

Here are some that Jeff and I like: