Sunday, June 26, 2011

Father's day/The cats get shaved/and Rachel's wedding

So here's a three-in-one entry since I haven't posted in 10 days.  I think it was nearly Father's Day when I last stopped by.  This year, we split the weekend and spent Sunday morning at brunch with my mother's family and all the respective dads and Saturday evening at our house with Ron's family.  I literally did not do a THING for the dinner (except frantically clean the entire house), but in regards to cooking: zilch.


Ron basically did the whole meal on the grill: vegetables and big thick steaks.  He made Israeli couscous ahead of time, and I bought some desserts at the farmers market. (*Just a note: I googled "farmers market" and I see that all of the results include farmers/farmer's/farmers' ... all of them could be right depending on how it's used in a sentence.  I am officially declaring that I no longer care about the apostrophe placement in this word*)

I decided to go all white for the table.



Of course, I immediately dripped tomato bruschetta on it when we served appetizers.  Anyway, Ron's dinner was perfect (as usual) and I think his dad was beyond pleased.  That's all that matters ; )

So in other news--in the days prior to Father's Day--the Fluffs got hair cuts ... or fur cuts I suppose.  There's really not much to be said about this.  The pictures say it all.

Before:

Penny (L) and Pearl

Pearl
After:

Penny--look at those little lamby legs!

Pearl

How HILARIOUS is that??  You should see them walking around: they look like little lambs prancing around the house. I just can't get over it. This is the third time I've had their coats removed (or "unzipped" as we say around here), and I think it's funnier every time.  The actual five minutes it takes to get shaved is pretty traumatizing for them--I hate it as much as they do.  But if they could talk, I'm confident that they would tell me that they'll take five minutes of extreme displeasure to have a summer without wearing a winter coat.  The only rule that I give the groomer is: "Leave the fluff collars and the tails: I don't want them defluffed."  And he usually gives me some kind of amused look and goes, "You don't want them what?" or "What kind of collar?"  So the trauma is over for another year, and already the coats are slightly grown in ...

Finally, I can feature the second of three summer weddings today: Rachel and Clint were married this weekend at Clint's family's house.  Rachel and her sister Lauren go waaay back with me and Leslie.  Leslie and I spent countless summer days with Rachel and Lauren growing up. My mom worked part-time, and their mother Linda would watch the four of us on those afternoons.  On the days that my mom was home, usually all of us were at the pool together.  We saw each other nearly everyday during those summers.  I count Rachel and Lauren as the first best friends I ever had. Even though we didn't go to school together, we've lived close enough that we've kept in touch over the years.

Meanwhile, Clint used to go to high school with me and Ron before switching to another school in the area.  In a random coincidence, Rachel and Clint met each other while they were each out with their friends one night and have been together ever since. Last year they decided that 2011 would be the year to tie the knot.  Over the past year, Rachel had been filling us in on the wedding plans. She and Clint decided to split the event into two parts: Friday night would be the ceremony and immediate family would attend. Saturday afternoon and evening would be the reception for family and friends.  They also decided to do everything at Clint's parents' house. Rachel had mentioned that their property included an old chapel that would house the ceremony.  She described that they were already in the midst of renovating it and that there would be plenty of room surrounding it for a big outdoor summer party.  I couldn't really picture her description of everything.  Well, I saw it all for myself yesterday and all I can say is WOW. I should add in advance that none of the photos really capture the impressiveness of the surroundings or the magic of the day. I wish they did, but they just don't.

When you arrived at the party, you could see the family's house at the top of the driveway, but the party itself was secluded behind it.  When you walked to the top of the driveway past the house to the center of the estate, a year's worth of party planning became clear:

 
 The building that housed the entire event used to be a school. Over the past year, everything inside was sandblasted, painted, and restored for the wedding.  It was beyond gorgeous.

Thought I was being discreet, but I guess that guy caught me ...
  
When you walked in through the massive front doors, you walked into the main room of the reception.  Everyone picked up their drinks and hors d'oeuvres here. From there, you could wander to one side of the building ...


 ... past the supercute bathrooms with the big farmhouse sink ... down the hall ...


... to the renovated chapel!  Apparently, this used to be a parochial school and all of the elements of the chapel still remain intact.

The confessionals are still there ...

Apparently, the Mary statue had no hands--they had broken off--so they just gave her some flowers to carry.



I would love to know if the windows had always been there or if they had been selected to replace the originals. They were the eyecatching centerpiece of the whole room (that and the cardboard cut-out of the bride and groom!).  When I look at these pictures, I'm just so disappointed by how lame they are--really, the chapel was so pretty and historic.  What a cool place to get married ... and it belongs to the family!  Isn't that great? It's exclusively theirs.

On the other side of the ground floor was another huge, huge room filled with enormous dining tables.  Outside, guests could visit grill and pasta stations and bring their plates indoors to eat. Or, you could sit at on the tables outside on the front porch.  In the far corner of this room, a classic car stood next to one of the many (many!) big trays of cupcakes.

The cupcakes were incredible.  I tried the coconut cupcakes and the red velvet (with the cherries on top).  I believe the chocolate chips were vanilla-vanilla.


On the second floor above the party, you could take in the view of the entire property. If you look closely, you can see train tracks at the baseline of the trees. The West Chester Railroad uses the tracks and cuts right through the estate.  Every time the train would go buy, everyone out front on the lawn would cheer and wave to the train, and all the families with their little kids on the train would wave back.


The wedding had a vintage-50s theme.  (If you go back and look at pictures, you'll see elements of this everywhere except perhaps the chapel.  The decor was black, white, and red with polka dots, iconic American cherries iced on the desserts, and 50s Marilyn Monroe-esque pin-ups on the walls.)  Rachel wore her ceremony gown for the first half of the party and switched to a black party dress for the second half.  Of course, it had a pre-Mad Men silhouette: strapless, full skirt, wide red belt, with killer open-toe red heels. But, I didn't get a picture of her in it--trust me though, she looked fabulous!


 
I'm so glad the weather held out for them--after a dreary, steamy week, the humidity lifted and the sun came out for them.  Yay for Rachel and Clint! They had a beautiful party on a beautiful--it was so much fun to be a part of it.

I'm wrapping up my one summer course tomorrow ... I don't anticipate it being another 10 days before I post again ...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Graduation Gift Part II

I forgot to mention that I found THIS while writing my last post about the graduation china:

Image via here

I love love LOVE it ... but. It's not Christmasy.  I wouldn't even have to buy new dinner plates, just the accent plates.  But they're more "winter" than Christmas.  Then again, there's a freakin Christmas tree on this set.  Still, it's not CHRISTMASY.  I think I'm still sticking with the red at this point.


Plus, Lenox is offering free shipping on orders of $99+ through this coming Wednesday. Maybe that's a sign.