the real world + the realization of Mrs.

{Michael Fisk Photography}

Well, I’m back in the saddle.  In all it’s haste and glamour, my wedding day came and went – just like the beautiful blur that everyone claimed it would be.  We honeymooned in Maui, came back to an overly eager pup and quite the messy abode.  Since then I’ve cleaned, recycled tons of cardboard, gift bags and tissue paper, sent heaps to Value Village, celebrated the hubby’s #31, trip’d it down to Portland to visit cousins and (thank god for this one) got a computer back. And in order. Oh yeah, and my music.  Computers are my life anymore.

Anyway, as I slowly delve into my ridiculously large and BS-of-a-conglom, laundry pile (a neglected pre-nuptial heap + 6 day Yak stack  + a 10 day Maui sand pile = you do the math) I find it difficult to adjust to the real world again.  Takes me back to that good old Matchbox 20 song from the 90s-something really {I wish the real world, would just stop hassling me}.  It was imminent anyway.  Sure, there a ton of things on my big to-do that I’ve been anxiously waiting to bite into since the wedding countdown set in, but . . . where to even begin?  Beginning . . . beginning any new project is hard.  Figuring out what I really want to do with my life, that’s hard too.  I was engaged straight out of the U and between that and the two years that I was a fiancée, I realized there was a little more education I was interested in and a little more prep I wanted to put into my career.  Were these values something I could get out of what I thought was my dream job just eight months ago? I need to figure it out.  I’m naked without the wedding. Nothing to hide behind anymore.  This freedom, to not be confined by being a bride, was something I was ready for so I could move on with life.   I’m adjusting though.  I’ve felt a sense of life in just this last week alone.

{Memory Montage Productions}

Another thing that’s taking it’s time is the realization of being Mrs. Gray.  As I said, the wedding was a blur and I was so jacked up on anxiety throughout the day that I never fully took the moment to let the meaning of marriage set in – I never let it be just me and him. And unlike the lovely Zsa Zsa, I only plan to do this once and so that, that I do regret. I don’t know if it would’ve been any different had I tried though. I guess everyone experiences things differently.

Becoming the Mrs., that slowly sinks in.  Every time I see my ring on his finger, it sinks in a bit.  It comes with practicing my new signature like a love-struck teen with her crush’s last name.  Or being called sis by the new in-laws. The little things make it real. It is real and I’m a wife. – a term I thought once only belonged to mom’s and teachers. It’s weird to say it . . . but I have a feeling I’ll get used to it :).

Real posts and pictures coming very, very soon. Thank you all for hanging in there with me.

Moving on,



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writing the words

In an effort to pull some personal touches into my wedding ceremony sermon, I ran across this absolutely adorable version of  vows. Dr. Seuss inspired, it’s sure to keep you smiling all the way through (last part is my favorite) :).

Pastor: Will you answer me right now
These questions, as your wedding vow?

Groom: Yes, I will answer right now
Your questions as my wedding vow.

Pastor: Will you take her as your wife?
Will you love her all your life?

Groom: Yes, I take her as my wife,
Yes, I’ll love her all my life.

Pastor: Will you have, and also hold
Just as you have at this time told?

Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold,
Just as I have at this time told,
Yes, I will love her all my life
As I now take her as my wife.

Pastor: Will you love through good and bad?
Whether you’re happy or sad?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love through good and bad,
Whether we’re happy or sad,
Yes, I will have and I will hold
Just as I have already told,
Yes, I will love her all my life,
Yes, I will take her as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love her if you’re rich?
Or if you’re poor, and in a ditch?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her if we’re rich,
And I will love her in a ditch,
I’ll love her through good times and bad,
Whether we are happy or sad,
Yes, I will have, and I will hold
(I could have sworn this has been told!)
I promise to love all my life
This woman, as my lawful wife!

Pastor: Will you love her when you’re fit,
And also when you’re feeling sick?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her when we’re fit,
And when we’re hurt, and when we’re sick,
And I will love her when we’re rich
And I will love her in a ditch
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold
Ten years from now a thousandfold,
Yes, I will love for my whole life
This lovely woman as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love with all your heart?
Will you love till death you part?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love with all my heart
From now until death do us part,
And I will love her when we’re rich,
And when we’re broke and in a ditch,
And when we’re fit, and when we’re sick,
(Oh, CAN’T we get this finished quick?)
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold,
And if I might now be so bold,
I’ll love her my entire life,
Yes, I WILL take her as my wife!

Pastor: Then if you’ll take her as your wife,
And if you’ll love her all your life,
And if you’ll have, and if you’ll hold,
From now until the stars grow cold,
And if you’ll love through good and bad,
And whether you’re happy or sad,
And love in sickness, and in health,
And when you’re poor, and when in wealth,
And if you’ll love with all your heart,
From now until death do you part,
Yes, if you’ll love her through and through,
Please answer with these words:

Pastor and Groom: I DO!

Pastor: You’re married now! So kiss the bride,
But please, do keep it dignified.

Not quite ready to Seuss it up?

Here are a few of my favorite places with non-traditional readings.

Romantic, light and beautiful, you’re sure to find something you like.

The First Dance (thank you Micah!)

My Wedding Vows

About Weddings

Non-traditional wedding readings via Elegala

. . . and my favorite vows

Make it meaningful,

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{falsies for me} + an interview with esthetician, Cayla Williams

Well, falsies don’t do them quite the justice they deserve (it just sounded good in the title).

And by falsies, I actually mean mink eyelash extensions. Yes, mink.

Luxurious. Beautiful. Eye-catching {pun intended}. 

I’m totally using this wedding as an opportunity to pamper myself and I’ve had my eye on these lashes since I got engaged. In fact, they were first thing I had planned. No joke. I need ‘um.

I also recently learned that the esthetician that introduced me to these beauties, is the only one  in the Yakima Valley that offers the mink version.  Her name is Cayla Williams of the Hair Cafe Studios (Tieton). 

I couldn’t resist the interview. 🙂

Mink eyelash extensions | eyelash extensions...before and after | Cayla Williams, Esthetician at Hair Cafe Studios

First, a little about Cayla:

I graduated from the Euro Institute of Skin Care in Renton, WA in July 2008. I have been a working at Hair Cafe Studios since October 2008. I have always had a passion for skin care, beauty, and making people feel good. I love going to work everyday and enjoy making women feel good about themselves.

Can you tell us a little about this mink eyelash extension process?

The mink eyelash extensions are applied individually to each individual eyelash. The process for a full-set takes about 2 hours during which you are laying down with your eyes closed listening to relaxing music, or if you’d like you can being headphones to listen to. The process is painless and relaxing, in fact most people fall asleep. They are available in a variety of different lengths and thicknesses – from natural to dramatic. They eliminate the need to wear mascara and eliminate the need to use an eyelash curler.

Can they get wet?

They are waterproof, sweat-proof, and tear-proof.  They are great for brides because they stand out in photos and are great if you’re going on a honeymoon because they’ll last all the way through.

How long do they last?

They fall out naturally with your own eyelashes, so depending on your natural lash cycle, you come in for a fill about every 2 – 4 weeks. The procedure of the fill is to replace extensions that have fallen off with a new eyelash extension on your new lash growth. The process for a fill is about 1 hour.

What if you don’t want a fill and only prefer them as a one-time-thing?

If you choose to just wear the lashes for your wedding and not keep them up they would last up to 6 weeks. If you did choose not to keep them up you have 2 options; either let them all fall off naturally or I have a solution I can put on the lashes to remove them in a short, painless visit.

When is the best time for a bride to get the last extensions?

I recommend coming in about a month and a half before your wedding to get the lashes. That way you can play around with different lengths and looks to see what you like best and what look you want for your big day. The lashes also get thicker with each fill. Although it’s not necessary to come in a month and a half before the wedding, I recommend at least making your appointment even if it’s only a couple of days before the wedding in advance because I do get booked out a few weeks in advance.

What are some other procedures you do for brides?

I also do European facials, facial and body waxing (including Brazilian), eyelash/eyebrow tinting, peels, and body treatments.

What would you recommend for a bride to get her face glowing for the big day?

I recommend a series of glycolic acid peels about 2 months before the wedding to remove that top layer of dull, dead skin to reveal radiant skin. Peels are also good for acne scarring, reducing pore size, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and pigmentation issues.

Do facials help?

A European facial is not only a great way to un-wind and relax, but is a great deep cleansing, massage, hydrating mask, and extraction of impurities if necessary.

How can we book an appointment with you?

I offer appointments evenings and weekends to accommodate to all of your skin care and beauty needs. You can look at actual client before and after pictures of eyelash extensions on my Myspace page. To schedule an appointment, or if you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 509-961-1699.

Cayla was also sweet enough to offer 20% off of the last extensions for the bride, bridal party, mother of the bride, and sisters of bride!

Thank you, Cayla!

Get booking,



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the rehearsal dinner invites

The invitations never end it seems.

But, I didn’t struggle with my rehearsal dinner invitations the way I seemed to have with everything else. These were much quicker. Aside from the glittering process anyway. Which I have to admit I secretly loved. Who doesn’t like a little extra glitter on the surface? 🙂 

Materials for these babies consisted of:

orange cardstock

red envelopes

a free Fiesta font from

a white Gelly Roll pen



my Adobe Photoshop program and home printer

oh yeah, and stamps. Never enough stamps.


{the glitter was much brighter + way prettier in person}

The main piece went out to all the invitees and for the the wedding party, I included a small insert with the actual rehearsal information. Attached with a very kitschy paper clip – not shown.

Still needing to brush up on your rehearsal dinner etiquette?

Here are a few tips from the Chicago Wedding Blog:

When Is It

The rehearsal dinner usually occurs right after the rehearsal, which is almost always the afternoon or evening before the wedding.

Who Hosts

The groom’s parents traditionally host and pay for the rehearsal dinner.  Nowadays, however, planning and hosting weddings – and all the events surrounding them – is often a group effort.  During your initial wedding budget talks with all contributing parties – you’ll need to discuss and determine plans for hosting the rehearsal dinner.

Who’s Invited

The guest list typically includes the wedding party, immediate family, and the officiant.  Some couples choose to invite out-of-town guests as well, but if you have a far flung guest list, inviting them all may be impractical.

Where Is It

For convenience reasons, the rehearsal dinner should take place close to the wedding location; however, the choice of venue type is pretty open.  Restaurants are always a popular option, yet more and more couples are starting to get just as creative with their rehearsal dinner venues as they are their wedding venues.  Mansions, museums, parks, gardens, backyards – you name it – it can host a rehearsal dinner.

What Happens

Rehearsal dinners are well-suited for toasting (and roasting), since speakers may feel more comfortable in a more intimate environment.  As the traditional host, the father of the groom usually speaks to welcome guests.  The best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, or really anyone else may offer a toast.  The bride and groom can also use this opportunity to distribute their attendant gifts and thank their families and guests.

Ideas and Trends

More and more couples are opting for casual rehearsal dinners, especially when the wedding is particularly elegant.  Brides and grooms who want to relax and enjoy themselves before the main event find an unbuttoned affair particularly enticing, causing clambakes, crawfish boils and barbeques to become popular.  Other couples are centering the dinner around a fun activity such as a boat cruise, wine tasting, casino night, mini golf – even bowling.

More Resources:

fiesta DIY rehearsal dinner invitations

rehearsal dinners by color and theme

dressing for the rehearsal dinner

And some more fiesta inspiration, for me 🙂

from Junebug Weddings

stylish mexican inspired real wedding rehearsal dinner, images by Beaux Arts Photographie

{love the flowers for your hair}





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my {silver} shower and the registry check-in

To be honest, I was nervous about my silver shower.  I was unsure about being the center of attention in a group of women I had only met once or twice in my life.  Also, to have these ladies put so much effort into something for me made me a bit uneasy.  You see I call my Seattle shower my silver shower (new friends), and while this wonderful group of women – the Ballard moms they call themselves – had played such a huge role in my to-be family’s life, they were still new to me. After the shower, though, I felt so differently.

Sue, Karri and my MIL Paula put this whole thing together without asking anything from me other than my preferences and a guest list.  In fact, the first time I saw Sue for the shin dig I gave her a hug. I don’t know why I did, it just felt natural for all she was doing for me. Walking in, I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot either.  I thought there would be a few gifts and recipes (the theme for the night was “kitchen”) and friendly chatter.  Nope.

There were a ton of gifts. A fantastically planned and yummy meal. Chi-chi’s (as Karri called the alcohol version of the Pina Colada). Wine. And more wine.

*Sidenote: I did a horrible  job photographing the details of the night. No pictures of the food. No pictures of the gifts. One picture of the group and a few of me unwrapping the gifts. My video camera never left my purse the entire night, and it doesn’t do much good in there. For Sue having called me the “family historian” (a term I smiled proudly at), I did not live up to it that night. I am now kicking myself for being so lazy.

Anyway, so how did the shower go? Amazing.

I learned I was related to a close family friend of one of the women. I learned what another wore the day of her wedding shower.  And I learned the delicious dumpling recipe of Granny Lovana. Pure bliss.

My favorite part? Almost all of the words these women wrote in their cards to me, expressed the same thing – “welcome to our Ballard family.” Family – Seattle had never felt like home so much. 

Now – in the wedding planning world – back to business.
Shower guests rely on your registry for gift ideas. Some get the ideas and buy elsewhere, which is perfectly fine, but  can mess up your registry a bit. By doing a registry check-in when the gifts start coming, you can ensure that you are still getting what you need and are cutting down on the potential of having to return too many items.
Here, a few tips from Project Wedding:

When You Have Received a Favorite

Typically, most brides will receive a set that they instantly fall in love with – or they will receive a set that they fell in love with at the store and were really hoping for. If this happens, you may want to do a registry check in and look for other items that match the set. For instance, you may want a particular set of placemats and napkin rings that go very well with the china you have received. Or, you would love to have the bathroom rugs that match the towels you’ve gotten.

Just slip into your registry account and add those items to it. Also, this is a great time to remove items you’re getting too much of.

Receiving Too Much of One Thing

At some point, pretty much every bride discovers that she’s gotten too much stemware or way too many towels. While you would never mention this to your friends, family and guests – most typically include return information just incase. When you discover that you are getting too much of one thing, you need to remove that item from your registry list to ensure that those still checking the registry don’t see it. A registry check in from time to time will help you learn what items are being purchased and what you may need to remove.

Broken and Unwanted Items

It happens to most brides and it’s likely to happen to you as well – you’ve received something you didn’t really want or it was broken in the box. Since most stores provide bridal receipts for return purposes, it will probably be quite easy to return or exchange your broken and unwanted items. It may be a good idea, however, to wait until the ceremony is over if possible so you don’t exchange it for something another person has already purchased you.

By performing a wedding registry check in, you can manage the items you’re receiving and ensure that you get exactly the right amount of everything – and just what you wanted.

Make new friends,

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fathers and daughters

Dad helping me with my first steps, circa 1986.

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

-Clarence Budington Kelland

Dad would always take me out to the court in our backyard to play HORSE or to have me practice my free throws.  As I got older, our time on the court would consist more of one vs. one.  Each of us always willing to sweeten the deal, we would play for money. You know, the kind of money a 14- or 15-year-old can bet.  Anyway, we would play one vs. one for a win and then best out of 10 free throws, for a win. If we each won one, it was a wash.

I still believe to this day that dad never “let” me win and that’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to earn it. I hated to lose but I didn’t want a cheated win.  I remember getting so heated about bumming a lay up, missing a free throw or just plain sucking for the afternoon. I know I was not a pleasure to be around. Dad always stayed calm though. I don’t know how he did it and I don’t know how he could handle me. My attitude, though poor at times, never swayed him to give up, walk off the court or stop asking me to play.  He never told me to “check it” – he just kept coming back. A new day, a new game.  What my dad did was simple, and silent. True to form.

My dad and I had a special language when I was growing up. Mom never understood it, but we did.  I may be stubborn like my mother but, a lot of me is my father. I guess I don’t know how to explain it to anyone in a way that makes sense, but I’m okay with that.  He knows what I’m talking about.

Though a lot of it was silence back then, it’s did a 180 in my years through college.  I remember sitting on the floor of the living room during my Husky days and talking with dad for nearly an hour. It was so easy.  For a long time, mom was our channel of information. It was never done on purpose, it’s just how it was.  To get me on the phone is like pulling teeth, but that time was different.  It wasn’t our first conversation, or the most important for that matter, but it was the first time in my 20 years that I realized how much I enjoyed talking to him, as an adult, with my life to share.

Our adult relationship, our chats, they’ve only grown since that day on the floor, and by leaps and bounds.   I whole-heartedly believe that realizing you have a friend in your parent is one of the most exciting things to discover about adulthood. I can only hope that others are as lucky.   

Dad – a few of my favorite quirks and memories:

* The “Sunday-drive” way you have of getting from point A to point B. We all know where I got the lead foot from.

*Your famous pancakes.

*Your young-man ‘stache.

*Scaring the sh*t out of me and T in one of those ugly left-over, Halloween masks.

*Your temper – oh how an easy-going man could lose it when the Hawks dropped a pass (or two, or three).

*Learning your favorite number is 4, and being completly shocked. I had no clue people liked #4.

*For completing my chores when asked the simple question of , “Now, how do you do that again?”

*Sharing my taste in music and introducing me to The Beatles. I’m pretty sure I still have that CD. Somewhere. Oh, and it’s John, Paul, Ringo and George . . . in case you wanted to quiz me again 🙂

*Teaching me how to shoot the basketball. Properly.

*oh yeah, and the MJ fade away . . .

*Answering every single question I can think to ask about your childhood and all the black and whites in grandpa’s closet. Like me, you never seem to get bored with it.

*The steering wheel motion you made with your hands, just for me, during high school basketball games. Reminding me to drive.

*The flight back from Arizona – thank you for deflecting the lady’s glare in the seat in front of me when I kicked her. The entire flight.

*Letting us ride on the back of the lawn mower.

*For me being able to say my future husband reminds me of the man you are.

*For wholly loving, the way you know how to love.

So here’s to you dad, one of the most loyal, hard-working and dedicated people I know.

This, everyone, is why that man will be walking me down the aisle on July 24.

I love you dad, happy father’s day.

I’m gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you’ll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
That loved his daughter more than I love you

Paul Simon


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Peterson-Gray = engaged

And finally, our Yakima-Herald Republic engagement announcement!

Etiquette says (if you’re a sticker for it – which I’m usually not, but happened to be in this case) to run the announcement two to three months prior to the wedding. That’s not for everyone though, I’ve seen plenty of times that couples announce it via the old black and white as soon as the ring is on the finger. And you know what, I think that’s just fine. Nobody needs to know when or where you plan to get married, just that you are.

Announcing it to the entire city may not be everyone’s cup of tea either, but I have to say that whenever I’m home for the weekend, this tends to be the first page I turn to. I’m finding a lot of people I encountered in my childhood and through my high schools years have graced this section and it’s really cool to see what people are up to.

Again, and I will say it a hundred more times, to each his own.

Haven’t announced your engagement yet? Or your wedding? The Yakima Herald-Republic makes it easy with their online form.

be proud,


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