Friday, January 30, 2009

My Name is Amore and I Can Never Eat Just 1 Cookie

Like my friend Love, I have some serious food addictions. I've mentioned before that Carter and I will have a dessert buffet for our reception. While this is certainly a cost-cutting measure, the real truth of the matter is, I couldn't bear to have only cake at the reception. I want it all. Key Lime Pie, Apple Pie, Banana Pudding, various cookies, brownies, cakes. YUM.

I was lucky in high school. I was super-petite, skinny even! I was maybe a size 4 when I gradated in 2004. My friends always told me they were jealous of my body. Then I went to college. Land of the buffet. Land of "all that really looks remotely edible on this line is the pizza and french fries. So I'll eat that and dip everything in ranch dressing." Land of "if there's one thing this cafeteria does right it's cookies. So today I'll eat 14 of them." College was also land of the "child-bearing hips" as Love mentioned earlier. I packed on the pounds in college. I'm not happy with the way that I look. I want my thin face and flat-ish belly back. I don't want to have to wear that corset-thingy when I put on THAT shirt.

So, as any good bride on the eve of the year of her wedding would do, I joined a gym. Operation Bridal Body began as I joined the YMCA of Metropolitan Knoxville. And I love it. I was a member at the Y for a short time at the end of high school, and then for one summer in college. I love the Y because the people there are real people. They are not all in perfect shape (though certainly some of them are!) The staff is friendly, and it's a welcoming environment. I started going to the Y thinking I'd do my own thing--a little cardio, some weight training on the machines...then I remembered why I'd never been able to stick to a workout regimine before.

I hate it. I have no personal motivation. When I get tired, I stop. And I never see results.

The solution? The YMCA has the best exercise classes! I never thought I'd be one of those women jumping and stepping and shaking in unison. Until I decided to suck it up and try once. Now I'm hooked. So, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I take a step class. Complete with 80s music on the same beat and teal steps:

On Tuesdays I take a Total Body class. In this class, we use balance balls (the big, giant balls that you sit on), hand weights and a mat. I love this class because I can already tell the toning and definition I'm gaining. And it KICKS MY BUTT.

On Thursdays and Sundays, I take my veryfavorite class, Zumba (pronounced ZOOM-BAH)...

Here's the description from

"Zumba® fuses hypnotic latin rhythms and easy to follow moves to create a dynamic fitness program that will blow you away. Our goal is simple: We want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. Zumba® Fanatics achieve long term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exhilarating hour of caloric-burning, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate for life!"

I wasn't planning on taking this class, because it starts at 7 pm, and I thought that was a little late. But one day after doing my own, feeble workout, I decided to stay and give it a try. I'm officially addicted. Literally, my body craves Zumba! It is so much fun, and it doesn't feel like a work out, until it's over and I'm sore! is the official Zumba website, and you can look up places near you to try it out. From what I've heard from others in my class, my instructor is the best in the Knoxville area. I believe it!

I try to only weigh on Mondays (as I don't want to become obsessed with a number, I'd rather just look and feel good in my clothes), and I have had other plans for the past two Mondays, so I sadly can't give you pounds-lost update since I joined the Y a month ago. However, my clothes are fitting better (some are even looser!) and I'm down to the smallest notch on my belt.

That, my friends, is what I call progress.

What's your Operation Bridal Body?


Thursday, January 29, 2009

My name is Love and I'm addicted to french fries. . . and dessert!

There! It's out in the open. French fries, dessert, and bridal body aren't the best of friends. After being engaged for two months I've finally decided to get serious about my bridal fitness.

My goal: Tone. Lose 15 pounds.
Lofty goal: Lose 20-25 pounds.

I'd like to say I'm a "healthy" sized girl. In other words, I could stand to lose a little and I have "child bearing hips," as us Southern girls like to call it. I think that my goal is totally do-able in the 163 days until the wedding (but who's counting).

First, I admit that I have awful eating habits. As a recent college graduate, I took full advantage of the everyday cafeteria buffet (but I always walked all around my campus filled with hills). I also hate salad and most things that are deemed "good for you." The first step to bridal fitness for me is recognizing how I can improve my diet.

As a small town girl I have no easy access to a gym so I'm confined to home workouts. At the recommendation of many other brides-to-be I've started doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, which I purchased from for less than $10! This workout is perfect for a girl like me who hates to work out and has never really done it before. The workout is only 20 minutes, but I promise it will kick your butt! It's great because I don't get bored and all parts of your body get a workout: strength, cardio, and abs. I need to do this more faithfully, but I can tell it's already begun to whip me into shape.

Finally, in order to watch what I eat more I started Weight Watchers. Okay, so my mom did the program a couple of years ago and still has all her materials. I'm using her books to keep track of my points, but avoiding going to meetings because I know there's no one in my generation attending the local ones. Something about going into a room of middle aged women to weigh myself doesn't get me excited. For now I'm simply keeping track of my daily points. Next week I may try the free online trial to see what resources it offers.

More than anything I want to take control of my diet and feel great about how I look on my wedding day--this matters far more to me than any number on the scale.

How are you getting bridal fit? Any suggestions?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

I'm a professional bridesmaid.

Most of my friends from home are already married and I have participated in their weddings in one way or another. From helping coordinate rehearsal, attend to the guestbook, run errands, read during the ceremony, gather address, or stand beside them on the big day I've participated in numerous weddings.

I've never received a "Will You Be My Bridesmaid?" card. In fact, if not for my obsession with wedding planning and blogs I would have never heard of the idea. It's always been understood or a simply phone call.

So on the night B proposed I called all my girls and asked them as part of the wedding excitement, but it didn't come a surprise to any of them. In my first BM email I wrote: "Thank you for agreeing, or being peer pressured, to be my bridesmaids."

I plan on writing them personal notes and maybe trying to do something crafty with those before the wedding letting them each know how special they are to me and how grateful I am that they will stand beside me.

B simply called his groomsmen the day after the proposal (because I had the phone line tied up all night) and asked them to be part of the wedding party.
Despite the fact that it's too late to send "Will you be my bridesmaid?" cards, it's still fun to search. I'm a craft tard so these would have been perfect for me: Edible cards from Red Riding Hood Edibles for $9.95 (they also come personalized for nearly every participant in the wedding).

Did you send "Will you be my bridesmaid?" cards?

Next up: Meet Love's Maids


Monday, January 26, 2009

Love's Flower Girl Dresses

(Promise an introduction to the wedding party is coming, but I was too excited to not share this now.)

Friday was the most spectacular wedding planning day! For the next few days I'll share my fabulous Friday finds!

Two of my younger cousins will serve as my flower girls. They're so excited and I wanted to make them feel like princesses. . . on a budget. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to find flower girl dresses!

First, one of my cousins is pale. I mean pale! She has light blonde hair and pale skin so a white flower girl dress wasn't a great idea. Also, my cousins are eight and nine, which means they do not wear a 6x like many of the flower girl dresses I found online. It was difficult to find dresses in their size.

I was hesitant to put little girls in black dresses for fear that it would make them look too old until I found these! Love's Flower Girl Dresses

Perfection: Sizes. Price (and additional 15% off coupon code). Washable. Colors. And the girls fell in love with them (and the added bling).
The dresses are on back order and won't be here until March, but that's still in plenty of time for the wedding and to see what sizes these growing girls are.
Are you having a flower girl/s? Did you have trouble finding dresses?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do you Duggar?

Ok, I admit that I'm a casual fan of TLC's reality show 17 Kids and Counting, which features the Duggar family, who currently have 18 children (on purpose)! B hates it and I consider it one of my casual guilty pleasures.

On Christmas day I was nearly late to my mamaw's Christmas gathering because I was caught up in a marathon. The last episode featured the oldest Duggar, Josh, proposing to his girlfriend. Now if you've never seen the show you must know that the Duggar's are very conservative. In fact, after Josh proposed he held his new fiance, Anna's, hand for the first time. The first kiss they will share will also be their first kiss as a married couple.

Can you imagine dealing with 20 immediate family members for the wedding, rehearsal, and planning!?

Although their values are certainly different than mine, you can still tell that these two excited to begin their life together. You can catch a different, Duggar kind of wedding Sunday on TLC beginning with the proposal episode at 8:00 p.m. (eastern) and the wedding at 9:00 p.m. (eastern).

Do you Duggar?


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let it Snow!

(picture of our ceremony venue in the weekend snow)

Sorry I've been MIA lately. I was snowed in for the long weekend at our summer home without Internet with B. Now, I'm not complaining we got lots of R & R. We were able to be "real young people" and get out of our small town for the weekend so that was one of the best parts. I admit I took advantage and had a Starbucks run!

In addition to getting out of town for the weekend we also planned to meet with a potential photographer. I had contacted the photographer right after we got engaged to see if she was available for our date. She was and we agreed to schedule a meeting in January. So, earlier this month I began contacting her. . . okay close to online harassment because I hadn't heard back from her. She is an acquaintance who used to work our college and is now a professional photographer so I thought she would be a great choice.

Wrong! After over a week of trying to get in touch and set up a meeting. . . on her home turf. . . she emailed me back and told me Sunday would be great to meet, she was still available for our date, and I just need to pick a time and place for the meeting. I instantly returned her message and waited. . . and waited. . . and waited for a response. Finally on Sunday morning she responded and told me her message to me had gotten saved in her drafts and never sent and now she had the flu and could not meet.

I understand sickness and even the email mistake, but after trying to get a response from her for over a week and those strikes I've decided she's not the one for us. Photography is so important to B and I that I can't have someone who's not professional from the start.

Have you had trouble with potential vendors? What did you do?


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Must Haves

B and I agree most of the time. Certainly there are times when he thinks I'm ridiculous and I think he's irrational, but for the most part we can come to an agreement.

Even before he proposed we both knew our wedding ran the risk of getting out of control. I love weddings and that could be dangerous! As a professional bridesmaid, I've seen up close lots of weddings and I've also learned a lot.

In order to control our wedding (and our budget) we made a list of our "must haves," or the things that mattered the most to us for our wedding:

* Personal ceremony that included communion: We both have a strong faith and it was important to us that our ceremony be focused on our faith. It was also important to us both to share in communion with our guests and for us, it doesn't get much more personal than that. (I promise to post about our communion ceremony after we finalize the details.) His father, an ordained minister, will marry us, which will add the ultimate personal touch!

* Good food, drink, and dancing: We know we're going to have a great time because we're getting married, but we also want our guests to enjoy themselves. The best weddings I have ever been to are those where everyone celebrates! We know we wanted our guests to share in a good meal, drinks, and then dance the night away.

* Great photography: We completely agree that great photography is important to us. After the flowers are gone and the white dress put away we will use our pictures to look back on the day. We're still searching for that great photographer. . .

Sitting down and talking about our priorities really helped me focus on what mattered most. So we're going to take care of our priorities before we focus on our details.

What are your "must haves?"


Friday, January 9, 2009



1) Tender Loving Care

2) The Learning Channel

3) T-Boz, Left Eye, Chilli

4) My future initials


Warning: embarrassing story.

For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be TLC (yes, even long before I met B). My freshman year in college, my roommate and I scoured the college directory searching for men whose last name began with a "C" so they could be my dating prospects. Ok, I didn't end up dating anyone from that list, but I always jokingly thought it would be cool to have TLC as my initials (I go by my middle name, which begins with an "L" hence Love as my blogging name).

I'm a proud woman. I'm proud of my family and our name. My family is the third generation to own local grocery stores and the name of those stores includes our last name. My father is an elected official in our county and I am proud to share in my family name. I'm proud of what I've accomplished under my name.

Do I want to give all that up? I admit I have questioned what it means to take your husband's name and if that is something I'm willing to do. B has been very up front that it is important to him that I take his name since the beginning. I agreed, but as taking his name becomes a reality I admit I'm nervous.

In one of the most interesting responses to the name question, Carly Tennis said, "Nonetheless, to take your husband's name is also among your freedoms. You are absolutely free to make your own choice, and you cannot really make a bad choice because, either way, the important thing is that it is a free, conscious choice."

So I get to decide. After an insightful conversation with my boss (a pretty fab lady) and some soul searching of my own, I've decided I want to be TLC not only for my fiance, the cool monogram, or my future family, but for me. I decided that I want our marriage to symbolize a change in our relationship and our lives and taking his name is part of that for me.

It's not going to be easy. I had to realize that taking his name does not make me less a part of my family or associate me only with his, but it gives us a name to share. . . to make ours. It will be an adjustment not only to learn to write and answer to my new name, but to learn to live with all the changes. Even so, I've decided to be TLC for me.

Have you struggled with the "name question?" What helped you decide?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Love's Engagement Pictures (Amoré's Perspective)

What Love failed to mention in her post about her e-pics is that I begged--BEGGED--to take them! Since I took my sister and brother-in-law's e-pics back in 2005, I have had the fever. I love to take engagement pictures. There is something so special about this time in a relationship, and I consider it such a privilege to be a part of it.

I'll admit, I was nervous going into this shoot. The other couples I've shot for (Lisa & Josh, Laura & Matt, Erin & Matt, and non-e-pics for Lisa & Josh pre-ring, and for my former roommate Natalie & her boyfriend Hunter) were fun, and actually relatively easy. But Love & B? I know that Love reads the same blogs I do. She sees the gorgeousness that's out there. And I knew she would want something just as beautiful to tell her own "Love Story" (sorry for the pun!). So, the pressure was on! But, the nervousness was for nothing, because Love & B are so natural and so beautiful together. All I had to do was push the button! (Plus, as they were "thinking May" and freezing their behinds off, I was toasty warm in my coat and gloves! B cursed my warmth a few times... :-) ) On to the good stuff!

The icon of Knoxville--The Sunsphere. We parked at the Knoxville Museum of Art, and as we were headed to World's Fair Park, the sun was reflecting off the top of the 'Sphere in this gorgeous way. We had to stop! What's a Knoxville engagement shoot without this big gold ball?

I'm a huge sucker for "him-kissing-her-on-the-forehead" I love the smile on Love's face in this one.

Yet another Knoxville icon--The Tennessee Theatre. This one makes me particularly happy as I am a Tennessee girl, and Love's from Virginia. I consider it a small victory to get my state name in her e-pics :-)

Love had only a few requests for the day, one being shoe pictures. She had on fab red stilettos, who wouldn't want it documented?!

The week before we took these pictures, my office had our Christmas party at the Crown & Goose in the Old City. They had this great back patio that I thought would be perfect for a few shots. They were nice enough to let us crash just before closing to get a few cute café shots.

One of my favorites of the day! I know it's goofy, but deep down, I think every couple has this goofy side, and it's so fun to document it! This was the only shot the whole day I let them see on-camera during the shoot. We're on the top of the parking garage at Market Square, which turned out to be a fun place to shoot!

All.Time.Fave. This is why B is perfect for Love. He can put that look on her face. This is in front of one of the most beautiful churches in Knoxville--Church Street United Methodist.

Another fun thing Love & I share: future last initial. Her ring.

Love & B, thank you for trusting me with your engagement pictures. I had a blast! Now, back to editing so you can get your cd :-)


Love's Engagement Pictures

One of the best things about having a close friend who's also planning a wedding is sharing stories, advice, and the best of all--services! Amore and I are able to not only share in our wedding woes and joys, but we can also help a sister out. I admit she's getting the short end of the stick because the services I've given her don't even begin to compare to the talents she's shared with me. Example one: engagement photographer!

While B and I were visiting his family in the Knoxville area over Christmas we met up with Amore on a windy Sunday afternoon in downtown Knoxville for our engagement picture shoot. The forecast had given 70% chance of rain so I had been stressed out all week, but we were lucky and it was a beautiful sunny day. Well, at least it looks that way from the pictures. The truth is it was windy and about 30 degrees, which made B and I frozen since we chose not to wear jackets for the shoot.

I fought the urge to create a shot list because I wanted to let Amore's "creative juices flow." The only direction she gave us: "Look in love." No problem I thought! There certainly were times when I didn't know what to do, but soon remembered that looking in love with B is quite an easy task.

Not long into the shoot we were standing on the stairs and Amore told us to kiss. As soon as we kissed some passersby below started to howl at us, which made us both laugh hysterically! It actually turned out to be one of my favorite shots:

The rest of the day was spent walking around downtown finding interesting shots and, well, looking in love! It was actually lots of fun to have a friend shoot our pictures because not only did it save, but we were instantly comfortable with our photographer. No awkward getting to know one another conversations just catching up and clicking!

I'm not gonna lie I felt a little spoiled getting to spend the whole day walking around with my fiance and having our own personal paparazzi! Amore's not done editing our pictures yet, and I can't wait to see all the fabulous shots she got. We'll use these pictures for our save the date's, which will go out within the next few weeks.

Did you and a friend trade services for your weddings?


Monday, January 5, 2009

I found her!

Saturday I went shopping with my entourage (MOB, MOH, 2 BMs, reader, and aunt) to search for "the one," the dress of all dresses--my wedding dress! As I said before I was determined to fall in love and I admit I was nervous that it wasn't going to happen. I had hyped myself up and invited my favorite women to join the search--what if I didn't find her? There was serious pressure!

After a close call with drama when nearly all the bridal dressing rooms were taken (I had an appointment, but another bride didn't), I took a deep breath and was ready to begin the search. The first dress I tried on was okay, but I stood in the mirror in awe because I was finally trying on wedding dresses! Wow!

As a "busty bride" I know that most dresses don't just easily zip on me and my body claims multiple sizes. The first two dresses I tried on didn't even come close to zipping over "my girls," but then I met her.

The third dress I tried on changed everything. Not only did she zip, but she fit near perfectly and was so me! I didn't want to take her off and I swear my eyes started to sparkle. The attendant brought me a veil to try on with her (I swear they only do this when they think you've found "the dress"). I instantly named her Elizabeth because she was so perfect, classy, and timeless.

But wait, I'd waited my whole life to try on dresses so I kept going. Every dress I tried on paled in comparison to Elizabeth. There was a first runner up that was also beautiful, but my entourage (filled with women with many different opinions) all agreed that Elizabeth was the one for me.

I put her back on and teared up. I just knew. This was the dress I will marry B in. This is the dress that called to me. This was my wedding dress!! It was a pretty powerful moment.

For now all I'll share is that it's an Allure dress. We purchased her that day because she was in near perfect condition (which relieves some waiting for the dress to come stress) and the store even offered to let us bring her home. We left her until my alterations are done, but she is mine.

Did you know that your dress was "the one?"