Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gold Glitter All the Things.

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One of the biggest compliments that I received about my wedding was from my friend Kate in the days following the wedding. She said that it was the first wedding that she had been to in a long time that wasn't over-the-top Pinterest-y. If you took a look at all my secret pinning boards, you wouldn't find many details that ended up on our wedding day. I started the process thinking the wedding would be mostly white and ivory, but I ended up with lots of special gold details that just fell into place. I'm obsessed with how well all the photos turned out too!
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All the paper products I designed myself. I found a printer in the northland who was willing to work with me on gold foil. This was a stretch - most people just laughed at me when I asked. It is a little bit expensive to have the die made to make the stamp, but I used it on many many items. The printer did all the printing and cutting, and then a separate little shop does the gold foil. Rachel and I chose the gold foil from a swatch book. It was so cool to learn more about the process! And now the whole world is obsessed with gold foil. Seriously, check out all the Christmas card options at Shutterfly. I don't think our printer wants to be in the wedding business, but she is absolutely lovely. We see her at church most Sunday mornings now too!
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In the week before the wedding, I started posted photo sneak peaks of the details. The #kiptoriawedding hash tag caught on quickly, and people seemed to love the previews. It was nice to share some of the photos in advance because at the wedding many of the details can be lost on guests.
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Our welcome bags were simple white bags from JoAnn Fabric with a gold vinyl L on the outside. I love my Silhouette machine, and it did a great job cutting out the intricate L for the bag. The "We love KC" list had some of our very favorite things about KC from Rainy Day Books to the Plaza Lights and great local restaurants. I designed water bottle labels to match with gold glitter details.
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Inside the bag we also made sure to include golden caramel popcorn from Topsy's and Haribo gold-bears, plus local favorite Russell Stover chocolates wrapped in gold wrappers. You've already heard the story about the coffee coat delivery, but here's another picture for good measure. They are so pretty, especially on the red cups!
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My mom sewed the beautiful shoe bags above for each of the bridesmaids. The fabric coordinated with the coffee coats, and they are large lined bags big enough for a pair of sneakers. Mine already went on a honeymoon. Because we feared the worst for a November day, we ordered each of the bridesmaids an ivory cashmere wrap from Nordstrom. No one needed their wraps on our gorgeous day, but they are a lovely reminder for my friends. I wear mine tucked around my neck to ward off the cold pretty often.

My something old was pin that my aunt Kathi brought me from her extensive costume jewelry collection in Delaware. Something new was my dress and my shoes. For something blue, I had the florist weave a little bit of the blue ribbon that was wrapped around my bouquet when I was Jennie's maid of honor two years ago. Finally, I borrowed Lauren's gold pearl earrings from her BOTAR year to top off my collection.

The gold glitter purse was a Kate Spade rental from Rent the Runway! It arrived on Friday and was perfect for Saturday. We found these great Kate Spade bracelets on sale at the website once and had to get them for the bridesmaids as well. All of theirs were black with gold dots and mine was ivory with gold dots. I always planned to wear flats and these gold flats were super comfortable. I wore them to BOTAR too! Earlier this fall I found this great Kansas City bag from local designers Ampersand Studio. It was roomy and had the necessary gold foil. I love my hometown and buying local.
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Speaking of hometown gold foil surprises, we purchased these gold foil Boulevard brewing glasses for the groomsmen. They had a beer while they were getting ready at our house in their new glasses - after Erica reminded them about the glasses. They were just drinking out of the bottle first. Good thing Erica had seen the sneak peak on Instagram. We found them at the Boulevard pop up holiday store on the Plaza!
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I ordered these gold glitter deer early this summer. I saw a similar photo on Erica May's photography blog and knew we needed them too. Not just gold deer but gold GLITTER deer. The tree trunk is walnut and had been drying in Kip's garage for years. It fit the bottom of our cake perfectly, and Amber from Sweet Arts Creation did a lovely job with our super simple cake. I think some people might have tried to talk me into a more elaborate design, but Amber kept it really simple and added the L to the front. We went to high school together, and she makes delicious cake. The gold ribbon is from Paper Source, and it is exactly the same as the ribbon wrapping the bridesmaids' bouquets.
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We took the phrase "gold glitter all the things" very seriously. Kip spray painted all of these letters that we found at JoAnn with gold paint I ordered special from the internet. Thankfully I had a lot of gold glitter paper to use to cover the fronts because I wasn't crazy about the color of spray paint. It could be that the cardboard soaks up so much of the paint, but the gold glitter paper on the front (attached with spray adhesive) saved the day. Maybe it was obvious to put "CAKE" right next to our cake, but it was a wedding detail I saw someone else use on 100-Layer-Cake and couldn't let go.
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My baking whiz friend Allison made ALL the favors. About 180 bags of three little perfect chocolate chip cookies. I refuse to make chocolate chip cookies because hers are the very best, and I think our guests loved them. I ordered stamps online and hand stamped the bags. I still have the L stamp and plan to reuse it somehow someday! I ordered the white bags online after some testing - they are glassine lined which helped hold up the cookies well.

I made the gold glitter numbers on my Silhouette machine (it seriously is amazing), and Kip spray painted little easels I found on the internet for less than $1 a piece. I'm probably going to list the cardboard letters, table numbers and easels in our etsy shop in case someone else can use them for their gold glitter wedding. I have the photos to remember them, and that's probably all I will need. They were easy to read and matched perfectly.

The flower boxes in the background were all hand built, sanded, stained by Kip. He did it because he loves me, and they were amazing. There were square and rectangle arrangements on the tables. So many guests got to take home the gorgeous flowers and keep the boxes for their house. Ours is filled with Christmas cards. My friend Kate has trains in hers for her two boys. Our florist, Clara's Flowers, was amazing and overflowed the boxes with goodness.
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Erica shot a wedding recently with the saying "You can find your seat here, but your place is on the dance floor!" I had to use it. I opted for a large table chart instead of individual cards, and I know a few guests found it helpful for finding where someone else sitting at the reception. Obviously I added a gold vinyl L in the middle of the large gold frame that we purchased in the West Bottoms. A friend of my mom's owns one of the West Bottom shops and found it for us - I think we might have searched a long time before finding a nice frame like this for only $20!
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Everyone's favorite "The Best is Yet to Come" sign made an appearance at the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. And also at the reception. It's back where it belongs in our front hallway and makes me happy every time I see it!
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Finally, gold letters for the DONUTS because they deserve their own sparkle. Yes, we served donuts, cookies and cake at our wedding. We love sugar.

Monday, December 29, 2014


People were really awesome about using the wedding hashtag. There were definitely more photos than this but anyone with a private feed doesn't appear in this collection. That's one drawback to the hashtag - I may have missed some that other guests posted that I don't follow on instagram. I put this collection together using Picsho, and it helps convey a lot of the fun people were having with the hashtag. We were just all having a lot of fun in general.

Getting Ready for the Wedding.

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We always planned to get ready at my mom's house, at first because it was closer in location to where we thought we would get married. But then we moved the wedding to our church and still chose to get ready there because it's comfortable, and we've all spent hours together there growing up. Andrea and Jennie slept over countless times, and Rachel and her boys stayed there several times when they would visit. We had Erica's wedding and baby shower in that kitchen.

Mom and I planned food that we knew would be easy to eat, and I carried my new Vitamix over to make smoothies for everyone in the morning. She made my favorite banana muffins with chocolate chips and whole wheat flour. By 8:30, the kitchen was filled with my sister, one of my mom's best friends Sherri Sue, and four of my best friends and bridesmaids. I was relaxed and glad to have everyone there. Sherri made sure that I didn't do any cleaning up and helped Mom stay organized. Later in the morning, another sorority sister of my mom's made a delivery of huge Spin salads
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Months in advance I began planning a special delivery that Kip would make in the morning. I gathered everyone's coffee orders from Starbucks, and at about 10:00 Kip arrived with coffee for everyone. I wrote that he should get "tall" coffees on the order, but I think he missed it and instead showed up with the largest size of coffees instead of the smallest. Everyone was surprised when he ran the doorbell, even though I was pretty sure Rachel knew because I accidentally sent her the schedule that the photographer had too!
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Kip unwrapped his present while he was there, a print of the National Parks that I found online. Kip and I have both been to many National Parks, but I was excited we would be able to start going together. We went to our first National Park, Joshua Tree, on our honeymoon. Rachel is laughing in this photo because she's pretending that the present Kip is opening is a puppy. No way. We're a one dog family. He did really like it, and we're in the process of getting it fit for the gold frame that held the seating chart later that day. Kip gave me my present after the wedding, and it was a perfect pair of earrings that he meant to be for special occasions. I love them so much that I put them on regularly. His timing was well thought out because I was borrowing earrings from Lauren that I was super excited to wear, and it was a sweet ending to the day.
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I ordered the coffee coats months in advance from Knitty Bitties. I love the idea of a coffee coat and always keep one in my purse to save the cardboard ones. I picked the fabric and of course wanted metallic gold hearts on all of them. Andrea from Knitty Bitties had posted a photo of the coffee coats on instagram after she sewed them all, and I remembered instantly that Rachel also followed her. She described how a bride planned to give them to her bridesmaids, and Rachel even left a comment, "Is this you, Victoria?" I lied and said it wasn't. Rachel also totally forgot about this detail and was surprised when Kip arrived with the coffee coats.
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Debbie, my loyal and awesome hairdresser in Kansas City, came on location with her friend Devin to do everyone's hair. They set up all their stuff in Mom's big bathroom, and they worked on us all a little bit at a time. Debbie started by curling my hair into big curls that I wore around the house all morning - big hair don't care - and also did my make-up. She knows me so well that as she started she assured me that I would look still very much like myself.
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Every bridesmaid got to pick their own style, and they were all perfect. Andrea had these super fun braids that round around her updo. Erica also goes to Debbie, and Debbie played up her natural curls in the style she did. Lauren's side swoop was dramatic and lovely. The bathroom was filled with stories and laughter. Andrea played music in the background, and Rachel popped in to tell me that her husband bought himself a new wedding band after years without one. Our photographer friend Jenn pointed out that she loves these photos because you can see my freckles as I'm getting ready!
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Erica from Anecdotally Yours worked hard that morning capturing the story. There are countless photos of us all smiling and laughing. Some even with my big laugh that is Kip's favorite - he wrote about it in his love letter. It's fun to see the photos that she took of the details of my mom's house and all the wedding preparation. I'm saving all the gold details from the wedding for a separate post, so you can wait with excitement. My dress is hanging above in Lauren's old room. The little pink pillow you see up front was on my mom's bed when she was growing up. 
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It was calm at our house until the last 15 minutes as we gathered up all the items (including my dress) that needed to get to the church. Kip had a leisurely morning too, even with the coffee delivery. He picked up sandwiches for the groomsmen and waited at our house for their arrival. Erica May stopped by after hanging out with us all morning to get some photos of him in our house, and she captured a couple other little sweet things around the house too including a calendar marking the 29th as the "best day ever." I can tell that most of the photos of Kip include him telling a story about something by his hand gestures. I didn't want you to think I'm the only story teller in this marriage.
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We arrived downtown at our church and hid away in the children's area which amazingly doesn't look like Kids COR in any of the photos. I delayed putting on my dress for as long as possible. It was beautiful, but not super comfortable for sitting down. And even though the last fitting was a mere week before, I was super nervous about how it would fit. It totally fit fine once Mom and Lauren got the long row of buttons together down the back. Getting ready to put it on was maybe the closest I got to freaking out. I made everyone wash their hands.
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Then we just waited. I'm sure it was less than an hour, but it felt like four hours. Our pastor Todd came up to pray with us, and my mom and dad joined us in the circle as we prayed. Did I tell you that I really love our pastor? He wore purple for our wedding underneath his robe.
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At this point, almost exactly two o'clock, I was really ready to see Kip. I loved hearing his voice as he made the coffee delivery in the morning, but I was ready to walk down the aisle and hold his hand. Luckily, Bailey (our wedding coordinator at the church and a sorority sister) came and told us it was time to start lining up. Dad and I rode the elevator down to the first floor and waited our turn.

(You can read about the ceremony here.)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Ceremony.

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I figured if I didn't write down some of the parts of our wedding day right away they would slip away, and my descriptions of what happened would be more like "Oh, hey it was awesome!" then the details I want to record. The day after our wedding was extremely surreal because the temperatures dropped back to the winter range, and it made Saturday seem even more magical. We were married, with the new rings on our left hands to prove it. One month later, here's a post about the ceremony.
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The wedding was at The Church of the Resurrection Downtown at 2 o'clock. Rez DT, as we call it, is our church home. One of my mom's cousins told me later in the day that you can totally tell when a couple gets married in their church. All night long people told us that it was one of the nicest weddings they had been too - people laughed and cried during our ceremony. We met several times with our pastor as part of our pre-marital counseling, but Pastor Todd is also the pastor we call when there is a family emergency. He sat next to me in the courtroom when Allison's Rue and Trace became officially hers. It's a nice feeling knowing that the pastor who supported us before we were married is also the one that will support us as married church members too.
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The church was beautiful. It was already decorated for Christmas, and we didn't add any additional flowers. All the flowers that Clara did for us were stunning and really stood out. The bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres were all great. And I really loved the flowers at the reception most of all, but we'll get to that part later. Our pastor found a sunset photo from our engagement photos and projected it behind us on the stage, and it was a beautiful surprise.
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All the little parts of the ceremony went perfectly as far as I know. It's weird being the bride because you miss all the people processing before you, but I think all of that part went well. My dad and I waited outside the doors until Cooper and Mitch got the signal and let us in. My dad said to me as we started down the aisle, how slow do you want to walk? And I said, pretty slow! I was definitely soaking it all in. Kip was crying at this point, but he'll probably tell you that his eyes were just sweating. After my parents stood with me at the end of the row, they passed me to Kip, and I was right where I belonged. All morning I had been telling my bridesmaids that I was looking forward to 2 o'clock because after that I got to do the rest of the day with Kip. That's my favorite way to do anything.
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The hymns we chose were all classic and performed excellently by two musicians we see almost every Sunday at church. Our worship leader Justin recommended classic, beautiful hymns including Be Thou My Vision and Holy Holy Holy. The congregation joined us in singing, "Come Thou Fount," the only song I felt really strongly should be included in our ceremony. Gabby read a passage from Philippians. Rachel read two scriptures - 1 Samuel 7:12 and Jeremiah 29:11 - mostly without crying. The Samuel scripture describes Ebenezer and how far the Lord has brought us which is also my favorite line of "Come Thou Fount" - Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I'm come. Singing that after Rachel read the verse was one of the times I came the closest to dissolving in a puddle of tears up on the stage.
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Todd had us both write love letters to each other with three distinct parts about why we love the other person, how our partner makes us a better person, and all the things we are looking forward to in the years to come. We wrote them separately at home, Kip covering up his letter any time I came in the room. Nothing Kip wrote about in the letter was a surprise to me because he is generous and kind with his affirmations of me in general. But it was still the sweetest part of the wedding that I know our wedding guests enjoyed as well. We read the whole letters on our honeymoon, and they are absolutely perfect. They are also really similar!
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The lights were hot on the stage, and I was definitely feeling the weight of my dress and the flowers. Kip told me a couple times to "breathe, breathe," and I passed my flowers off to Lauren earlier than I needed to because I wanted a little break. There was also so much to take in! Pastor Todd had us turn around and look at everyone in the crowd so that we could soak it all in. We had planned for our first meal as husband and wife to be the Lord's supper, and it was perfect. Our vows were traditional, and Kip thinks everyone could probably hear us all the way to the last row.
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At the end of the ceremony, we remembered to kiss when prompted (and a second bonus kiss), and Todd was delighted to introduce us as Mr. and Mrs. Lynch. Our final song choice was not a traditional hymn, and I don't really even know if people noticed. From a Jack to a King, is one of our absolute favorite classic country songs. I think I had it stuck in my head almost every day leading up to the wedding, and I loved that our musicians were willing to learn it for our recessional. It starts right into the chorus...

From a Jack to a King.
From loneliness to a wedding ring.
I played a Ace and I won a Queen,
An' walked away with your heart. 

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We walked upstairs and Kevin and Lauren signed the marriage license. Is it weird the bride and groom don't sign it? But then we were married, and it was official. We rode around the block in a limo so that the final guests would know it was time to leave, and then we returned to take a lot of photos. As a married couple! Cue all the cheering and happiness. We received so many compliments on the wedding itself, and that was nice because we thought it was good and special too. "We got married!" I kept saying because it was just so terribly awesome!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Rehearsal and Dinner.

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I've written a lot about the wedding and saved the posts as drafts so that I can post them with 900 photos later this month when I receive them from Erica May. Rachel was the photographer at the rehearsal, so this post with photos was ready to go!

Our rehearsal was scheduled for Friday night at 5 o'clock at our church, the site of our wedding. Rachel and Sol arrived at our house in Overland Park around 3 o'clock, and we finished getting ready for the night and loaded ALL the things we needed into their minivan. Perks of friends with kids I suppose. It was nice that they showed up when they did because I was starting to get a bit anxious about getting everything done and the party started. I was so much more nervous about Friday than I was on Saturday!
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We set up at Jack Stack in the Freight House district before the rehearsal. Kip's mom, Karen, found these awesome really long burlap runners at Walmart. They were so long that they had to be cut off for each of our six tables. The flowers in the center of the table were from Hy-Vee, and to add some variety and set them apart from our Saturday flowers I had them use red carnations in the arrangements. The woman at the counter said, "What about burgundy carnations?" and I refused. The red carnation of Alpha Chi is certainly RED not burgundy. I think she thought it might have been tacky, but I persisted because I know where my heart belongs.
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I also ordered these prints from Lindsay Letters because I thought the message was too perfect and you know, gold foil. We used gold easels from our large stash of easels, and the table centers were simple and done. On one of the side tables, we set out a ton of photos from our childhood. Front in center is a one that Kip loves - "my favorite shirt!" - and his mom thinks is too cheesy. The groomsmen wondered if I was a tomboy during dinner, and Rachel and Lauren could barely stop laughing to respond that they thought it was the bowl haircut. Humble beginnings, happy wedding, I say. We both grew up nicely. The gifts for our parents and the wedding party were obviously accented with gold, so they added nicely to the table. Of course the best is yet to come sign appeared as well.
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After the quick setup, we drove over to the church for the rehearsal. Tons of introductions ensued as members of our family and friends met or were reacquainted. As our pastor Todd started the rehearsal, he asked if we wanted to do introductions. It was almost a challenge, and Victoria the extrovert seized the opportunity to introduce everyone in the room as quickly as possible with details appropriate for the event. I was pretty impressed with myself. Todd gave a brief history of our church to everyone, including a new detail that I didn't previously know about the building - at one time it was a car dealership! The wedding coordinator at the church is a sorority sister of mine, and she does an excellent job getting everyone into their position, and we practiced everything enough that I was pretty comfortable with how the next day would go. It took about 45 minutes to run through everything, and then we went back to Jack Stack for dinner and more celebration.
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Dinner was definitely delicious, from the little I ate. (Nerves!) The party room at Jack Stack is definitely a nice option compared to our favorite barbeque restaurant located in a gas station, and they did an excellent job with all the food they served that Friday night. As everyone was finishing up, Jennie, Andrea, Rachel and Erica gave the sweetest set of toasts about why I would make an excellent wife for Kip. They included funny stories from our years and years of friendship and set the stage for what was a weekend that really celebrated the two of us. The girls were so kind in their toast that Kip teared up, which of course brought tears to my eyes too. Tony and Boone, two of Kip's groomsmen, followed with a couple of stories about Kip including one I love about how he read one of the notes I packed in his lunch to the whole crew at the shop. Boone also pegged me perfectly, describing how Kip used to always be a guy you could count on at the last minute but instead now is a "plan 6 weeks out and check with Victoria kind of a guy." Guilty as charged.
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We thanked our families and just like that everyone else began to stand, mingle and talk some more. We passed out our gifts to the bridesmaids, groomsmen and our parents, and began to clean up the decorations we had brought along. Everyone laughed at our photos some more, and we celebrated that all the out of town guests had made it safely to the rehearsal and dinner. Mom and I took Lauren home, and then we journeyed south so that I could try to sleep at my mom's. I was pretty excited, nervous and ready for the big day to get underway!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Two Books of November.

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I seriously put off writing this post for a couple of weeks because I couldn't believe there were just two books to report. It felt like more! But then I finally remembered that I read parts of some other books that I didn't finish and that was part of the problem. Our book club book was "Not That Kind of Girl," and I think a lot of people in the blogosphere really like it. However, it was quite possibly the worst pick ever for my first couple weeks of life with Kip. A lot of unhealthy relationships in the first 30% of the book, and I also have no attachment to Lena Dunham. I've never seen Girls, her tv show, and I don't know if that would have helped either. I hate quitting the book club book part way through, but I'm also 31, and it wasn't the book for me. It's the same advice I tell our middle schoolers, "If the book feels inappropriate for you, you are the best judge of that!"

I pre-ordered Yes, Please! from Amy Poehler because her character on Parks & Recreation is my favorite character of all time. Leslie Knope for president. I actually ordered the audio book so Amy P. could keep me company on my commute back and forth to school. It is impossible to not compare this book to Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling's books, and I think they are all worthy of read. Without a doubt, my absolute favorite part was the whole section about the Parks and Recreation characters. I totally cried a couple times. I also loved that Seth Meyers read the chapter he wrote in the book, and her parents jump in the audiobook a few times too. The reflections on SNL, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and hosting/winning a Golden Globe are all super awesome. Tina and Amy are hosting again in January! Woo-hoo! Should you read it too? Yes, please. (You'll understand her great title choice after you read it.) Side note: Unlike Jim Gaffigan's "Dad is Fat," this book is less appropriate for listening with children in the car. There's some cussing and some graphic language a couple places.

When we got engaged, my friend Leah recommended the book Getting to 50/50. She pointed out that even though it is about working parents, it's the best book that she has read about marriage. I downloaded it before our trip to Manhattan at the end of October, and I read parts of it aloud to Kip both that weekend and on our trip to Oklahoma. We had some great conversations about our various responsibilities at work and at home, and I loved all the parts about reducing personal guilt. It's research based, and the two authors have fabulous studies and anecdotes that they share. A couple of other friends have read it recently, and we have really enjoyed discussing it together. Highly recommend - it's an easy read!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The One Book of October.

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I read one book, Night Film, amidst the planning and packing filled weeks of October. It was the book club book selection, and Kate managed to pick a book that was a good blend of spooky and mystery. The chapters were short, neat little five minute packages that meant I could easily read a few each night before bed. However, the climax of the story is a long, scary and often confusing chapter, and it kept me up really late one night. I had to make sure everyone stayed alive. I don't really watch thrillers (or read them), so it was a good change of pace. The NPR review gives even more stuff for you to ponder before you pick it up to read yourself. It's a commitment coming in at just over 500 pages.

If you've missed my Junior League blog posts, be sure to click over and read about Korky the kitten and Homeless and Hunger Awareness week. Both make me extremely proud of the work that the Junior League does and painfully aware of the great need in our community.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Some Other Stuff.

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Since my last blog post, here's some important stuff:

Kip had a birthday. He turned 33. I think it's okay for me to tell you that. It was a lovely celebration that included homemade fried chicken. We've been practicing with this double soak recipe, and it really takes fried chicken to a whole new level. I managed to pull off a couple of surprises with a cake I baked (and frosted) while he sat in another room and a new miter saw. I did my research, and he was so surprised. We have already put the miter saw to use in our house!

The Royals played in seven games in the World Series. It was amazing, even though we didn't win. Lauren went to game six and had an incredible time. I watched most of the games from the couch or while packing stuff up. I pretty much have been packing stuff up since late September, but now I'm in the unpacking stage!

The Luhrs Ladies went to two football games and saw K-State beat Texas and Oklahoma State. We were really hot and got sunburned and then the next week we were really cold and ate ribs. Kip sat in a deer stand during both of the games, and he shot a deer the second weekend he went out.

I saw Jim Gaffigan talk about his new book Food: A Love Story with my sister. I let her keep the copy because Kip and I are about half way done with his audio book. We listened to it while we drove to Oklahoma for his grandmother's funeral, and we also listen to the CDs as we drive to church. It's so funny - just like you would expect from Jim Gaffigan. It also makes me very hungry. Besides listening to Jim G. on the drive to Lawton, Oklahoma, we also stopped at Braum's for ice cream and Guy & Mae's for delicious ribs.

I moved. Slowly, I took load after load in the Pilot to Kip's house. While I worked at Battle of the Books, Kip and some guys from work moved the big stuff to the house Kip already owned. My mom dropped me off at the old house, and Kip, Belle and I drove the final load to our home together. It was a little tiny bit sad leaving my little rental because it was very good to me (and my friends). Kip and I fell in love in that house. But oh my goodness, the new house is quickly becoming our home. Things are unpacked. The office is almost set-up exactly perfect. But the time with Kip is the very best part. I really wish you could have seen how excited he was that first weekend to have me there, even though it meant he had to pick up his socks and share his coffee. I regularly feel loved by that guy, and we're enjoying the final couple weeks until the wedding.

There are still plenty of to-do lists around here for the wedding as we collect final RSVPs, prepare all our DIY projects to take to the rehearsal dinner and wedding, and prepare to celebrate with family and friends. But we have our marriage license, so this thing is real. #kiptoriawedding

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Chicago Marathon in 2006.

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In October of 2006, I took a quick weekend trip to Chicago. It was my first full year teaching (and learning!) in KCK, and Jennie had just started grad school at Northwestern. She moved from California to Chicago and purchased a whole new wardrobe for life on Lake Michigan. Rachel and Sol flew in from Boston so that they could run the Chicago Marathon.

Because I couldn't take time off from my eighth graders, I traveled with everything I needed in a backpack. That's my reasoning for why I look so exceptionally awesome in the photo above. Jennie and I worked hard to track Rachel all over town and never saw her once during the marathon. The crowds are kind of ridiculous in Chicago, but they are also inspiring. I'm sure I cried and cheered and loved every minute of the marathon watching.
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We did manage to find Rachel at the end of the race, and apparently the sun came out enough for these very large and ridiculous sunglasses. Rachel wanted a burrito after the race, and even though we were in a city known for deep dish pizza and fancy hot dogs, we obliged. Trump card: 26 miles. Then we took some obnoxious photos and all went back to our homes - the Scotts to Boston, Jennie to grad school and me to Overland Park.
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These photos jumped out at me as a tremendous flashback to how much life changes in 8 years. The three of us probably didn't ever imagine where life would go between now and then. Jennie still lives in Chicago with her husband, Joe, and Rachel has moved three more times to three different states. And Rachel and I were housemates for two years - something not even on our radar in 2006. We are waiting any.day.now for Jennie's baby #1 (c'mon already!), and I've cuddled and loved all three of Rachel's sweet baby boys.  Rachel is getting ready to run another marathon (in New York City), and I'm getting ready to move for another time. But this time I get to move in with my soon-to-be husband.

Is there any question that the plans God has for us are far greater than what we can ever imagine? And I'm a big dreamer and doer. Loved this trip to Chicago in 2006 and love that Jennie and Rachel will be there with me as bridesmaids when I get to marry Kip in 36 days.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BOTAR Ball 2014.

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Saturday night the family cleaned up and headed to the Muehlebach for the 65th Annual BOTAR Ball. I swear we didn't intend for our outfits to coordinate, but they totally worked well together! Mom found a new top to wear, Lauren jazzed up a bridesmaid's dress with a new belt from Nordstrom, and I rented the runway.

It was my first time trying the rental service and a total home run. Two sizes of this black sequin dresses arrived on Thursday night, and I was so excited to wear it on Saturday! I was able to chose from a wide variety of dresses that they have in extra length, so it hit the floor when I was wearing flats Saturday night.
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My friend Amy, corresponding secretary, had the perfect dress for Saturday night. Seriously, we all loved how much it matched the style of the ball and her personality. Her boyfriend Matt came in from Houston, and we had a great time getting to know him better while dressed to the nines. The presenters wear tuxes with tails and GLOVES. As Lauren says, this is good practice for next month when Kip and I walk down the aisle again!
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My favorite exec dress belonged to the VP Ball, Kristin. The red bow was just so perfect! Kip and I have both enjoyed our time with all the exec members and their plus ones. On Sunday morning, all of exec gathers for a brunch and to recap the night, and I think that was one of my most favorite parts. Maybe for Kip too because there was bacon and sausage.
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Kip has really mastered the art of the Luhrs Ladies group photo. So proud.
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The inside of the ballroom was amazing. It looked like we were up on the twentieth floor of a high rise looking out at a city with huge city scenes hung on all the walls. I bet you are imagining something worthy of a high school prom. Stop, erase that mental image and replace it with FLOOR TO CEILING wall hangings. I have never seen anything like it. The president surprised everyone also with a gorgeous white dance floor which fit the theme perfectly. I don't have a picture of the BOTARs dress, but it was extremely flattering on everyone with a black top and full ivory skirt.

The tables were lit with these amazing boxes of gladiolas and calla lilas or hydrangeas. Even the tables were different this year with big rectangles instead of traditional ovals, and they were covered with beautiful long white and black tablecloths. The president had the brilliant idea to move a bar inside the ballroom for better access and set up a very hip lounge in the back of the room. These cool high back sofas and low tables with stools were a brilliant and purposeful addition. 
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Kip really didn't mind anything too much (except the gloves - that's where "it almost went too far!"), and I even talked him into dancing a few songs with me. Lauren was very busy the week of the ball as she worked as reservations assistant to be sure that over 700 people were in the right spots at tables. She's got a math and numbers head that made her extremely helpful to the reservations chair.
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After dinner there was a big flash mob on the dance floor to the song "Happy." I had been secretly practicing by myself because I thought Kip would be so surprised. He will always catch me in the house dancing to a song on the TV! I don't know that he was that shocked because I didn't manage to pull off the "casual" walk to the dance floor. As Amy put it, I basically sprinted to the dance floor because I didn't want to miss a beat. Kip just also thought it was just "something we do at meetings!" I think we probably looked amazing on the dance floor, but I haven't seen video yet. I DO know it was so fun, and if you want to perform it at my wedding, I will send you the link.
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Here we are enjoying the lounge area at the end of the night! Mom and Lu headed home around midnight, and Kip and I made it to the after party with other exec members and all the BOTAR class. We are certainly not 22 anymore, so we mostly enjoyed the after party because of the chips and guacamole and a chance to sit down.

We had a fabulous time. I mostly kept saying, "Oh, on November 29th I need to remember this..." It's crazy that in less than six weeks, Kip and I will be getting dressed up again for our wedding! He'll wear a tux without tails and no gloves, and I think my dress will definitely be not black. Unless it never arrives, and then I might rent this one again. Just kidding. I love my dress, and it should be here any day now.