Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another Year Older

It is time for another birthday, my first as a wife! This year I decided to keep things mellow, after all, I just had the party of a lifetime... a WEDDING!

On my birthday I'm always reminded of all of the wonderful people that I am lucky enough to have in my life. I wouldn't want it any other way...



Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year... New Last Name!

It's 2015!

So much has happened this year! Now, I'm not the type that subscribes to the idea that a new year has to mean "new beginnings" or a "new you". I think new beginnings can happen whenever you want them to! But... it is still nice to reflect on all that has happened over the lat 365 days.

The year started with my fiancé (now husband) moving in the first of the year. He joined me and my roommate Stefana for a very "Three's Company"-esque living situation. It was a good way for all of us to save a little money (splitting bill three ways is a lot better than splitting them two ways). And it was a good way to make sure Sam and I could stand living with each other. Haha.

Also in January I noticed my dog acting funny. He had been putting on a lot of weight quickly and just seemed lethargic. I took him to the vet and they didn't seem to be too concerned. Then, one morning a couple weeks later I went to give him his usual "bye bye treat" that I give to him when I go to work and it was like he couldn't see the treat right in front of his face, he just sniffed around for it. Something was definitely wrong. I took him back into the vet and they confirmed what I had suspected. He was blind. Not just a little blind, completely blind. Basically overnight. The research that I did all pointed to SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration). Beamer fell right into most of the categories of the classic SARDS cases. We took him to a specialist and they told me there was really nothing I can do. The truth is that I took him going blind a lot harder than he did. He's a resilient little guy and it really didn't' seem to affect him too much. After noticing a few other changes in his behavior we decided to also get him tested for Cushing's Disease which shares a lot of the same characteristics of SARDS. Turns out, he also has Cushing's Disease which is an increase in cortisone due to a benign tumor in the pituitary gland and has to be on lifelong medication to combat it. Along with the medication, he has to have constant testing and monitoring of his levels to make sure he is being properly medicated so, that has been a struggle but it has become our "normal".
I turned another (undisclosed) year old and had a little shin-dig to celebrate, complete with a DIY photobooth of course. 
 I also spent the weekend at the Riot LA comedy festival with some girl friends for my birthday. 
In February my mom and I had our first ever girls trip and we went up to Seattle for a cousins wedding. It was such a fun weekend. 
In March Sam and I relived our youth and saw The Used along with Taking Back Sunday at the Palladium. 
 I also found my wedding dress :)
In April we celebrated Sams birthday by spending a weekend in a cabin in Idyllwild (where we also took our engagement photos). 
We also spent another year at Stagecoach (and his mom and her best friend joined us!)
I attended the wedding of one of my oldest friends, Andy. 
 Watched my little cousin graduate high school and helped her move into her college dorm!
My mom and I had another mother daughter trip, this time to Denver for my aunts wedding!
Had a wonderful bachelorette party. 
Attended yet another wedding (thats four if you're keeping track) for our friends Ashley and Andrew. 
My wonderful Mother in Law threw me the most perfect bridal shower. 
Followed by an equally perfect shower thrown by my best friend and maid of honor Danica
And in the midst of wedding planning, Danica and I also planned our 10 year high school reunion. I know what you're thinking, we aren't nearly old enough to have graduated high school ten years ago, and you would be right ;) (Or so I'd like to think.)
And then... the event of the year (at least for me)... I got married!
And then I finished the year by celebrating the holidays with the ones I care about most. 

All in all it was a wonderful year, full of crazy highs and some lows but I feel that it's the lows that really make you appreciate the highs. Looking forward to a new year with a new last name and a husband! :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Be Brave

For whatever reason I watched this video today and it really touched me (literally tears at my desk) so I thought I'd share.

"Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave"



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Vendors Vendors Vendors! (Part Seven:Florist)

It's no secret, I'm not a big flower girl.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good "just because" bouquet as much as the next girl. The idea of flowers, itself, is nice, but after a few days, when they just start to wilt and die, it just makes me sad.

Finding a florist for my wedding (I mean OUR wedding, I have GOT to stop doing that ;) ) was a lot easier than expected. My wedding coordinator actually recommended her and, even though my coordinator is based out of Seattle/Palm Springs, the florist she recommended was from Long Beach! Like me! I figured it was a good sign, and I was definitely right.

My first meeting with LeeLina was in a conference room at her apartment complex and I, of course, took my Maid of Honor along with me. From the moment I met LeeLina, I adored her. Everything about her. Her demeanor, her style, her heartfelt smile. And not only that, she got me, like really got me. She was throwing out suggestions I hadn't thought of, and yet, adored. Adding spray painted gold succulents to the bridesmaids bouquets, genius, and so me! (If you are unaware, throughout my wedding planning process I literally spray painted EVERYTHING gold.) Danica and I walked out of that meeting and said "Well... that was easy".

Throughout our florist/client relationship I feel like we actually became friends. I would text her random thoughts and even vent to her about some of my other wedding mishaps. Any time I would talk about her or be asked about her, it was always the same three words... I adore her. And it couldn't be more true. I even talked with my mom and friends about seeing if, after my wedding, she would maybe want me to start helping her. I always thought I'd want to be a Wedding Coordinator but, after seeing how much my incredible Coordinator had to do and was responsible for, I was like count me out. But, florals and styling... that's the fun stuff! That's the stuff that makes everything beautiful! Who wouldn't want to be a part of that!? The day of my wedding LeeLina actually jokingly asked me when I was going to start working for her and I told her that I had actually already toyed around with the idea. She seemed surprised but excited and said we should definitely work on some collaborating, so we'll see where that leads. In the meantime, if you are looking for a florist, I couldn't recommend LeeLina any higher. An amazing florist, and above all, a wonderful person.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Vendors Vendors Vendors! (Part Six:Coordinator!!)

Honestly, I'd say at the beginning of this wedding planning process I was pretty clueless of all of the inter-workings of planning a wedding. I really didn't think I even needed a wedding coordinator. Boy, was I wrong. Because of the intricacies of my venue, a coordinator is not only suggested, it's required.

I started by contacted a friend of mine who coordinates and styles weddings locally, Wilma Rose of Lovely Jubilee. She has a wonderful eye for turning drab to fab. To exhaust all options I also went through the list of preferred vendors provided to me by my venue. Some seemed wonderful, while others I had to make an appointment just to get a phone call in with them.

Then I spoke with Tamara Bolton of Sensorium Event Productions. Not only had she done previous events at my venue, she had crazy connections all over the Coachella Valley. I was in a pickle. I adored Wilma and her work and, not to mention, that she is local and I could get a quick meeting in with her whenever. I went back and fourth on this with my mom for awhile, but with the intricacies of my venue, it sure would be amazing to have someone who knows the ins and outs. That being said, I ended up going with Tamara but couldn't recommend Wilma any higher. She is incredible at what she does.

With that big decision behind me, I began full steam ahead with Tamara and she was like a gift from God. She knew every little nuance of my venue down to where we needed power supplies and extension cords, things I never would have thought of. Her connections were incredible and it was through her that I found my florist, who I absolutely adore, but I'll save that for my next vendor post.

Technically Tamara was considered a "Day Of" Coordinator but she didn't hesitate to help me in every way imaginable, down to getting Certificates of Insurance from all of my vendors (another requirement of my venue). She was always quick to respond to e-mails and didn't hesitate to let me know where there were holes in my grand wedding plan (and boy were there a lot haha).

I feel honored to have worked with her and if you are planning an event in the Coachella Valley (or in Seattle, which is her second home), do yourself a favor and give her a call. You won't regret it. (And no, she didn't ask me to give her a plug, I genuinely feel that way.)

Also... Be sure to check out her facebook page for some of her previous work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Knot has been Tied!

After MONTHS (13 to be exact) of planning, crafting, spray painting, and stressing Sam and I are finally married!

On the most perfect day in beautiful Palm Springs, California I said "I do" to the man that stole my heart over ten years ago with his his puka shell necklace, his bleached tips and the real deal-sealer... the baseball uniform. We couldn't have asked for a more special day and more important than how gorgeous everything turned out (and don't get me wrong it was gorgeous), was getting to share it with all the ones we love.



This gorgeous photo was a sneak peak from our incredible photographer Roger with EPlove
 I look forward to sharing more but for now, I'm just going to enjoy being a wife :)




(O'Quinn)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Saying "Yes" to the Dress!

Like most girls, I spent a good chunk of my childhood dreaming about being a bride, one year I even was one for Halloween! (Still trying to dig up that photo.) There is so much pressure to find "THE DRESS", there are even shows completely dedicated to it!

Speaking of wedding dress shows, I actually applied to be on one before my dress hunt began. If you know me or have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that a little less than a year and a half ago, I lost my grandmother. She was such an integral part of my life and I never imagined I'd be planning a wedding without her. In fact, my engagement itself had its bittersweet moments realizing I wouldn't be able to call her and tell her the good news. One of my first thoughts in the wedding planning process was, that I needed to try on her wedding gown. Not only did my grandmother wear it, my mother wore it as well! (Talk about a Throwback Thursday!)
My Beautiful Grandmother in the dress in 1954
And my Mother in the dress in 1985!
After trying it on, I realized that, it needed a lot of work. While it looked stunning on both of them, it was definitely not my style and needed an update. So, that's when I contacted Something Borrowed, Something New. I figured, if there was anyone who could turn this dress into something absolutely perfect, it would be them, so I applied.

I thought that maybe they could put a modern take on the gorgeous lace gown, perhaps something like this dress that I found while looking at all the lovely wedding dresses on Lover.ly.
Much to my surprise, shortly after applying, they scheduled me an on camera interview! Before we had even left the building after our interview, we were already told we made it to the next round of casting! This might actually be happening! The next step was to make an at home video with your whole "entourage". My mom, Sam's mom and Danica were all there. We filmed a great video and then, it disappeared. Half way through the video, it just cuts out. We had to re-do it. Unfortunately the second one was nowhere near as good as the first and, to this day, I still am fairly certain that is why we weren't cast for the show. After what felt like an eternity of waiting to hear back I received this e-mail:

"Hi Shea, we finally have our cast set and unfortunately you didn't end up making the final cut.  I know this generally doesn't make anyone feel much better, but you ended up just outside our final group and were in the conversation up til the very end.  We wish you all the best with your wedding and hope you're able to find your dream wedding dress!  It was a pleasure working with you, thank you for being on top of it!

Sincerely,
SBSN Casting"

To be honest, I was somewhat relieved. I had a terrible fear that maybe they would turn the dress into something I didn't love and a family heirloom would be destroyed for nothing. However, not gunna lie, the rejection e-mail did sting a little, but, it was the first step in my dress finding journey! After not making it on the show, I took that as a sign to leave well enough alone and to find a dress of my own, despite my feelings of sentiment towards my grandmothers gown. Although I'm sure my grandma would have loved for me to be in her dress, I think she also knows how much of an individual I am (after all, I get that from her) and she would have also adored the idea of me being in something that was uniquely me.

The days leading up to my first (and only!) bridal salon appointment were nerve wracking. There is so much pressure to find THE dress. And years of watching TV shows puts in your mind that it is going to be impossible to please everybody. I chose a core group of women to come along to my appointment, my mom, my grandma, my best friend (and Maid of Honor) Danica, my cousin and Sams mom.

As I perused the racks I got more and more nervous. Was I going to find one? I started picking out a handful of ones I'd like to try, figuring out what I liked and didn't like. And then... as if out of a movie, (though we didn't realize it at the time) something amazing happened... The hanger of one of the dresses we were looking at broke and completely fell into our arms. Danica held onto it while I continued looking. We decided it would go in the "try on" group. When I got in the fitting room, the only dress that I could remember was the one that fell off the hanger, even though it was nothing like what I had imagined getting. So I tried it on first. Everyone thought it was beautiful but were quick to send me back to the dressing room, it was the first dress after all. I tried on dress after dress and none really compared to the first one. I ended up finding a couple others that I liked but just kept wanting to put that first one back on. Once I did, I think that a unanimous decision had been made. We all loved the dress, its uniqueness, but most of all, the way that it made me feel. Once I got home and was reliving the day I realized, I didn't chose that dress, that dress chose me! Of all the dresses in the store, it jumped right off it's hanger and said "Choose me!". I can't help but think that my grandma played a role in that. It still gets me emotional just thinking about it.

With the wedding just over a month away, I can't share photos of the dress just yet but I can't wait to have my guests and most of all, Sam, see it knowing that it is the most special dress I could have ever imagined.