me, rachel

This week, the yearbook came out. It was awesome. It was full of bright colors, crazy monsters, and even had a pop-up. It was the colors of kindergarten and held the attention of college students, whose attention span is shorter than that of a kindergartner. It was basically awesome.

And I got to work on it.

Opportunities like this don't happen very often. Yes, freshmen work on their school yearbooks everyday, everywhere. That's totally normal. Freshmen can take pictures, or insert text, or do the busy work of figuring out names for captions. Freshmen can totally do those things.

Freshmen can't edit it. They absolutely cannot have a position of leadership. They can't design things. There is no way a freshman can be a layout editor of the University yearbook. Never in a million years.

Except me.

They hired me on as the layout editor the beginning of last year, and it was the best opportunity ever. They didn't want to retrain people every year, so a freshman seemed like a great choice! I did my best, but had never worked on a yearbook before. Basically I didn't really know what I was doing. I had no training and no experience. I didn't try my hardest because I was afraid of doing something wrong. Instead I did everything wrong by not trying.

Because of my lack of training and my fear of failure, I lost that job at the end of the year. I'm ok with it now, but it was really hard then. I can see now that it was not entirely my fault, neither was it entirely theirs. I'm cool with it.

This semester, when the yearbook came out, I was super excited to see it! I helped design it, after all! This was my baby!

Until it was announced I was almost giddy. Then I wanted to cry. I realized I had worked on this book, I may not have been the best editor ever, but I worked hard. And now I had nothing to do with it. I couldn't be at the dedication luncheon. I didn't have any influence over the book anymore. My hard work had turned into frustration and bitterness, and eventually faded into mild discomfort.

Now I have this beautiful book with my name engraved on the cover, and I can't decide if I want to pour over it and see the most beautiful publication I've ever been apart of, or if I want to leave it at home and not look at it for a long, long time.
me, rachel
So, I'm 20, right? And I'm engaged. Apparently a lot of people think that's awfully young to be getting married. Maybe for some people it is, but for us, it's just right. And I don't appreciate being looked down on because I'm young. I know tons of people who got married young and made it work wonderfully!

Rant over.

Anyway, I've been looking for wedding dresses, and I'm having this problem (besides being the most indecisive bride of all time, that is): I don't want to look too young. I am drawn to the more "princessy" ball gowns...partly because that's what I've always envisioned and partly because they're just plain pretty. But because I'm so young, I'm afraid it looks like I'm just trying to play dress up. Then I'm also drawn to the sleeker, more fitted ones...the ones that show that I am grown up, and maybe even make me look older; at least more sophisticated.

What do you think? Does it look like dress up? I think all the dresses are equally "bridal."

Here's some examples.

me, rachel
Sometimes when I'm frustrated, or upset, or just plain stressed, it helps to go for a walk with my camera. Sometimes meaning this weekend, because I didn't own a nice camera until recently. Frustrated, upset, or stressed meaning all of the above, and for illogical reasons. What can I say...I'm female. But that had nothing to do with it. At all. I refuse to blame negative mood-swings on my gender, that simply encourages stereotyping.

But seriously. I felt much better. There's just something about fresh fall air and run down chicken coops.

This is my wonderful daddy...who did his very best to make his irrational daughter feel better. Love you daddy!

See? The magical combination of fall air, focusing on something outside myself, and the smiling face of my father helped melt the stress and frustration away!

(all images have been photoshoped...unfortunately they were green SOOC (straight out of camera). i am sorry. i will try to do better next time.)
me, rachel

Today begins a long weekend. I love long weekends. They are weekends, and they are long. Which is basically self-explanitory, isn't it? You'll have to forgive me. I've been feverish.

This long weekend is extra fun, because it's a school holiday (for me) but it's also a work holiday for Dave! This means that we can go home to my family and actually enjoy a full-blown Labor Day long weekend! I love going home to see my family; there is very little in this world that will make a girl feel more special than going home to her parents and sibling who actually miss her :-)

They spoil me when I come home, too!! For example, in emailing with my mom about this weekend, she asked if there was anything special I wanted from the kitchen! Yay homemade food! So I'll get real beef and warm casserole and maybe even soft, warm, homemade bread!! And I'll bet my buttons that there will be homemade cookies; and lots of 'em!! I love homemade cookies. They are my kryptonite. Except that would imply that they are a bad thing, and they're not. They are a very, very good thing. I would live off cookies if I could. And I do, sorta. Except not at all. Which is sad.

But getting back to something somewhat interesting, I am super excited to go home! I love seeing my family. I'll get to tell my dad all about my awesome Old Testament class and how even in an OT class I have "Jesus" written on every page of notes! And I'll tell my mom that I was sick this week and she'll say "oh honey" and give me sprite and saltines. And Hannah will pretend that she didn't miss me and will make faces at Dave. And Sarah will be super glad to see me because she's going insane being stuck in the house all day every day (she and Hannah haven't even started school yet! Ridiculous!) And Jacob will show me all his new favorite calendar quotes and tell Dave all his best new jokes.

Yes, I very much like going home!
me, rachel
I have blue lips. And blue teeth. And a tongue the vibrant cerulean of a highlighter. Yay snow cones!!

I just came from the first of a long series of remotes that our student radio station, Resound, is doing to help kick off the school year. It is called "Destination Dorm." I think it's pretty sweet...basically the idea behind the promotion is that the station got a wicked awesome new truck this year, and they wanted to be able to drive it on the sidewalk.

Or maybe that's not the idea behind it. But its a fun idea anyway. Maybe the actual reason was the best way to reach the students is to go to them instead of asking them to come out for something else. So they take their wicked awesome new sweet truck and drive it right up on the sidewalk in front of one of the dorms, then blast music and play games and draw on the sidewalks and give away free food and gift cards and stuff.

Radio rocks!
me, rachel
I like to think that I am a rather organized person. Take my word for it. Don’t, for example, ask my mother, because if you asked her she would say that I am not organized…that my life is much closer to chaos than order. By life she means bedroom. I think that’s a big difference, because I happen to think I can have a chaotic bedroom and an organized life, but that is perhaps a different story for a different time.

The kind of organizing I am good at is not separating T-shirts from socks, but making lists. I like to find details, write them down, and then check them off when they get done. I like knowing what exactly needs to be done. This is my approach to wedding planning. So far.

The first thing I did when I got engaged was visit sites like The Knot and for ideas of things I would like to see at my wedding. I looked at gowns, bridesmaid dresses, flowers, decoration ideas, and so much more! Then, I created this handy-dandy desktop folder to save my favorites.

I also poured through magazines looking for inspiration, helpful articles, color schemes, etc.

I also frequent the library, checking out the wedding planning books, budget-saver books, list books, and anything else they have that looks helpful!

Dave enjoys spoiling me (which is pretty awesome, because I enjoy being spoiled!), and when I told him that I was going to go out and buy a wedding planning notebook, he came along and offered to buy it for me! I ended up not getting a notebook, after all, because I realized that paying $30 for a bunch of information I had access to free of charge via the internet and the library was silly. So, I settled on this expanding file, and some pretty paper to print important information on.

Here’s the pretty paper, with at month-by-month checklist of approximately what needs to be done by when. Checklists are very exciting, because I always feel like I’ve accomplished something when I can check it off.

My “wedding radar” is always on the alert for information that I should save for later. I have vendor brochures, stationary sketches, hair and nail tips, DIY decoration ideas, and who knows what all else in that all-inclusive folder. At least everything has a place, or I’d never find anything in that huge pile of papers.

Now I’m just hoping that “organized” equals “low stress.”

me, rachel

Traditions are wonderful things. They give us something to look forward to, and help us know what to expect. They give us guidelines as to how to behave in specific situations. But traditions are just that: guidelines.

Don't get me wrong...I love traditions! Every year I look forward to doing the same things for Christmas. I love traditions for holidays, Sunday afternoons, and Saturday mornings. But my favorites are the traditions we make ourselves. As such, I am not largely tied to traditions that are there just because "it's always been that way." Especially for my wedding.

I'm excited about traditions like wearing white, the veil, even "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue!" But there are other traditions that I don't know how I feel about them.

For example, the various traditions surrounding the ever-present wedding cake. These include the cutting (and the subsequent smashing) of the cake, the freezing of the top layer (because newlyweds like freezer-burned cake?), and the staleness that is necessitated by how long it takes to frost the intricate buggers. I don't even like cake, and have never once had a wedding cake that tasted good. I have heard they do exist, and I'll believe you. But I have yet to experience it. We will have a cake at our wedding, but neither of us are devoted to cake, so it will be a small one, big enough to serve to those for whom it is not a wedding without cake.

Another wedding tradition I am on the fence about is the garter toss. I thought it was a fun compliment for the bouquet toss, until I found out where this tradition originated. Apparently, in Medieval Europe after the wedding ceremony all of the guests would attend the consummation of the marriage so as to watch and ensure the bride was a virgin. The garter toss came in when they became so eager to help the new couple along in this process that they removed her underclothes for her! I am very glad I'm getting married in 2010!

Anyway, there is one tradition that I have been dealing with rather thickly this past week, and that is the tradition of not letting the groom see the bride before the wedding. This tradition dates back to arranged marriages, where the groom was kept from seeing the bride, for if she was unattractive and he found out before the ceremony, he could back out.

Now days, many brides don't allow their grooms to see them before the ceremony the day of because it builds anticipation. This often extends to the dress beforehand, as well. While I very much respect this tradition, I don't know that it is practical for me. You see, for me, the most important opinion about my dress is that of my fiance, and if he can't see what I'm looking at, how will I know that I've picked one he will like?

While Dave has reassured me over and over that he will like anything I choose, and that I will be gorgeous no matter what, I still covet his opinion. So, I have no problem sharing with him the pictures of my shopping trips. This way, he can point out what he likes, and doesn't like.

Also, I am planning on listening to Dave's opinions, but not telling him which dress I settle on in the end. This much, at least, I will do my best to keep a surprise.

So it's not that I don't respect traditions. I do! And I'm ready to embrace many of them. But I'm most eager to make a wedding that is truly "us," and in the future to create traditions that we love. This is far more important to me than Medieval superstitions!
me, rachel
I hated coffee. Despised it. It was bitter and nasty and made out of grounds which is where dirt comes from which made sense because coffee was basically watered-down mud. Unfortunately, the older I got, the more my friends began to enjoy the stuff, and the more often "talking" meant "Starbucks" not "sleep over." As you can imagine, I was devastated.

After several of these coffee chats, however, I started wanting something to sip, so I asked my wonderful boyfriend Dave to order me something that I might like (read: no coffee). So, he ordered us one of these to share:

A white chocolate mocha. The first time around, I didn't really like it...but I didn't hate it either. So, the next time we ended up getting coffee, Dave ordered it again. It was slowly growing on me.

Before too long, I really liked them! The chocolate was my favorite...I still often said that there was too much coffee and not enough chocolate...but what can a girl do? Then, we all went to college and Starbucks was a once-a-year treat because we had no extra money.

When I got to Cedarville, I started drinking the mochas at our coffee shop, Vecinos.

They were really yummy! I liked the way some baristas made it better than others...especially the one guy who made it taste mostly like chocolate, with the espresso (since that's actually what it is, not coffee) seemingly thrown in as an afterthought.

Now, I'm at home again without Vecinos (which, actually recently changed names to something that I can't recall right now so I'll just continue to call it Vecinos) and without cash to hit up Starbucks. Luckily for me, McDonnalds has decided to cut in on this who specialty-coffee trend, and came out with a small line of specialty coffees, and at college student prices no less!

Yum. Of course, I still have no cash. So, I still only treat myself to a "real" (read: someone else made it) mocha every once in a while. Now I make my own. I'm still trying to find the perfect best one involves melting chocolate chips, but it always leaves solid chocolate in the bottom of my mug that is very hard to clean up. Oh well...I'll keep looking! Any suggestions from the peanut gallery? Do you have an amazing mocha recipe that is hiding from me? I would love it if you did! I mean I would love it if you shared it. If you kept it hiding it doesn't do me much good...but I bet you're happy! But yes, I should go to bed before this makes even less sense :-)
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me, rachel

I really enjoy sewing. I don’t like to make quilts (they are strongly favored by my mother), instead I prefer to try my hand at stylish clothes and purses. There is nothing quite as fulfilling as a wonderful little focal piece that people look at and say “No way, you actually made that?!?”

(I’d like to point out that this is very, very different that someone looking at your handiwork and saying, “Oh, you made that, didn’t you?” This is something to be avoided at all costs, but unfortunately I have my fair share of these pieces. Oh well, live and learn!)

Unfortunately, good fabric is very, very hard to find. All the shops around here seem to cater mostly toward quilting, offering beautiful boutiques, colorful cottons, and tasteful threads. Unfortunately, these fabrics do not transfer well to wearables, at all. Really, to get good clothing fabric I should go to a $$$$ specialty shop in Chicago or somewhere. But some of these fabrics translate beautifully into purses.

Here, let me show you some of my treasures:

Ooo...the Treasure Chest! I'm so excited! What could be inside? Maybe some...

...gorgeous pink brocade! (The folded edge is the "wrong" side of the fabric, not wrong at all in this case! Brocade is beautiful on the front and the back!)

Also, there's some fun pink and black polka dot fabric...tons of it! Enough here for at least one more purse, maybe two if they're small!

Oh and I love this one! All the colors are hand-dyed pieces done by my mom, and then patched together into this heart that was then appliqued onto this black background. I really need to get around to making this will look awesome!

I love this piece...I used it for the lining on a clutch...and really want to use it in something else again!

This is gorgeous...and was the outside to the abovementioned clutch purse.

These are some other goodies in my treasure chest...I actually used the chopsticks as handles in one purse...A totally fun idea but unfortunately I completely botched the purse. So maybe I'll try again.

And these are my latest/next projects...the pink one is for me and the black one for Emily. Unfortunately, I can't find my binding fabric to finish it off! Oh well...I'll figure it out eventually!

So, what are your hobbies? Do you collect anything pretty, or are you utility driven? I love how fabric can be both, but tell me about yours!

me, rachel
Today, I went shopping! I love shopping...especially when I have money to spend AND actually find something. Today was both. Yay me! (Oh Disney channel...what have you done to my life?) Anyway, today I hit up my favorite store, Plato's Closet and dug through all the shirts and dresses looking for cute summer deals...and I found one!

It's darling! Well, ok so it looks better on me than on the hanger...but still. It's adorable. Except it had one big problem...
(This is a dramatization. Do not try this at home.)

It had a black spot on the bodice! Seeing as how once I put this dress on I fell in love with it, I decided to take a chance on it. I asked the girl at the sales counter if I could have a discount on it as it was damaged, and she said yes and that when the dress came in a day or so ago it had no spot.

This means 1, it's a fresh spot and 2, most likely makeup. Now, I know nothing about stain removal. At all. Usually I have a little funeral for whatever I'm wearing when I eat Italian food. But, I do know about makeup removal! And I knew that the best way to get eye makeup off (which is very stubborn stuff!!) is to use special eye makeup remover.

So, when I got home, I got out the little pads we have to use for this very purpose. And guess what... worked like a charm :-)
me, rachel
Yesterday, Dave and I received our first wedding present from his parents. Now, I know it's crazy early to be getting "showered," but this is a special case. You see, Dave's parents are missionaries to Zimbabwe, a country in southern Africa. His dad's a surgeon. And an obstetrician. And an optometrist. And an electrician. And basically anything else he needs to be. His mom is a school teacher, a hostess, a graphic designer, and basically an all-around awesome, strong woman.

But because they live in Africa for most of the year (coming home for 1 month a year to keep up Dad's surgical license, and 1 year every 4 for furlough), they will sadly miss all of our wedding showers coming up in the next year. And they have this traditional gift that they've given to all their boys as wedding presents (Dave has 3 older brothers).

Its a hand painted tea set from a pottery shop in Zimbabwe! Isn't it adorable?? The other brothers have zebra print sets, or giraffe print sets, or something else perhaps that I can't remember...but ours is so cute! I love the elephants marching around each piece! And that deep blue is gorgeous. Here, let me give you a closer look at a few of the pieces.

A huge tea pot, big enough to make tea for everyone!

A cookie plate.

Sugar bowl, milk pitcher (yes, I take my tea with milk and sugar. It's very British, or Zimbabwean, or something. Whatever it is, I'm hooked.).

Tea cups. Well, actually they're cocoa mugs I think, but they're way awesomer than tea cups because tea cups don't hold enough tea! Yes, awesomer is a word. Oh, and there are 6 of these, not just 2. But since they all look the same, I figured you'd get the idea.

The best tea in the world! Yummy. And while this "goes with" the tea set, I'm not waiting 'till I'm married to brew up this wonderfulness! Haha we'll just get more later anyway.

This little goody is just for me. It's a hand painted bowl for holding earings or rings. So cute!