Author Archives: Anne

Wedding Recap: Rehearsal

I was late to my own wedding . . . rehearsal.  Yup.  I said it.  My Matron of Honor, Amy, and I had appointments to get our nails done at 3:30pm.  The rehearsal wasn’t until 5:30pm.  Plenty of time right?  Apparently not.  I rushed into the church at 5:25 still needing to put on my rehearsal dress and makeup.  My hair had been curled, but we all know how well fine, straight hair does in the heat and humidity.  At least I got to say hi to my mom, cousin, and aunt while I was in the bathroom.  Plus, it’s odd changing in the bathroom of the church that you’ve attended since you were born, where you’ve changed hundreds of times for various reasons.

So without much ado, it was time to start the rehearsal.  Late.

As usual, first you start in your positions by the altar. I had my girls stand in order of how long I had known them.  I figured it was the most fair thing to do.

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Then we got to practice recessing.

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After a few minutes of strategizing on our game plane,


we got to practice processing.

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The readers got to practice their readings.


Our on-lookers were amazed at our ability to rehearse so quietly and efficiently (sarcasm).


Our ring bearers (Owen and Colin) and my nephew, Henry, were sitting quietly and definitely NOT drawing on Bibles or Hymnals.


There were hugs to go around.


Matt got to hang out with his best man.

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And was excited by the bow bouquet.

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YAY FOR OUR REHEARSAL BEING OVER! (It took way too long).  Time for some barbeque!

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Wedding Recap: OOT Bags

So I think I alluded to it here, but the week before the wedding was absolutely insane.  I thought that I would have all of this time, but I seriously didn’t even have time to eat.

Monday: final meeting with reception venue (Paul Brown Stadium), visit with my brothers and 4 week old nephew, shopping with my mom, and dinner with my maid of honor, Kathleen, who was also hosting me for the week.

Tuesday: removal of excess hair, 1.5 hours with my stepmom’s brother (an Allstate agent) regarding insurance for the wedding, visiting my dad at school, hair trial with my mom (who was battling a stomach issue and went home), KROGER (!) shopping trip, wrote my personal evaluation for work, made 4 batches of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, Kathleen and I put together the wedding programs

Wednesday: redid the seating chart, made another batch of cookies, put together the out-of-town (OOT) bags with my mom, FINALLY MADE IT TO THE GYM, saw Bridesmaids with Sarah,  Beckey, and Kathleen.  MATT CAME TO TOWN!!

Thursday: got Matt’s tux, picked up our Marriage License, went to the Reds game (they lost!), picked up Matt’s college roommate (Matt) from the airport, put together our table numbers and table cards along with Matt’s sisters, all while having a BBQ with Kathleen, Mellissa, Matt, Matt, Diana, and Amber

Friday: final marriage counseling session, picked up wrapping things for the wedding party presents, packed the car and moved into the hotel, wrapped presents, manicures with Matron of Honor, Amy, and finally REHEARSAL!

AHHH!  If you read that, good for you!  Seriously it was absolutely insane!! I think that I lost a good 4 pounds that week, since I basically just didn’t eat.  I’d get to dinner time and realize the only that I’d eaten was a banana and two cookies.

So now for what you REALLY care about:  THE OOT BAGS!

The out-of-town goodie bags are new thing.  They are given to your friends and family when they check into your hotel as a WELCOME! goody bag.

For the boxes, I used the 9x6x6 white gable boxes from Box and Wrap.  Inside the boxes were some combination of the following:

  • Grippos potato chips
  • Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Granola bar
  • Hershey’s miniatures and Reese’s cups (blue and pink from the Easter collection!)
  • Cincinnati Brochures
  • A welcome brochure
  • Mini bottles of water


Our brochure included the schedule for the weekend, directions to the church from the hotel, directions to the reception, parking information, suggestions of things to do in Cincinnati, and some great restaurant recommendations.  I created the trifold brochure using Publisher.



The water bottles had these cute labels that I made using a few inspirations that I found online.

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I printed them onto 8 x 2 Rectangle ULTRA Water-Resistant White Vinyl Inkjet Label Sheet purchased from and put onto 8 oz waterbottles.

It took my mom and I a good two hours to put these OOT boxes together.  I can’t remember any more how many there were, but I think it was about 60.



We used ribbon and circle labels with the A+M circle shown above printed on them.  (YAY VISTAPRINT!).  After the first set refused to stay together very well, we also used some leftover gluestrips to make a better bond.

After we finished, we called the front desk of the Hilton Netherland (this was all done in my mom’s room at the Netherland, why transport them already assembled?), and they sent up a bell hop to take them down to the front desk for distribution.  I hope that our guests enjoyed them!  I sure enjoyed a cookie or two the morning of the wedding.

Honeymoon Recap: Meals on Maui

Well, we must have worn ourselves out on Oahu, (Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Cultural Center, Diamond Head) because we didn’t do nearly as much on Maui.  Truth be told, we lazed about a bit, watched a bunch of ESPN (come on Tressel resigned while we were on our Honeymoon, how could we not watch?).  So here are the highlights of some of our meals on Maui.

Since we were on our honeymoon, the Fairmont gifted us a bottle of wine for dinner at their restaurant, Ko, which is known for its “plantation cuisine.”  We made our dinner reservations for 7:00pm, since that’s right around sunset.

Hi Matt!


For our complimentary wine, we chose a sparkling wine.  It was rather celebratory.  The meal started with some rice cakes and some sort of bean dip.  Matt was leery of the bean dip.


I chose the daily catch (some local white fish) with a Macadamia Nut Crust (everything in Hawaii was Macadamia nuts, and I ain’t complaining!).  On the side was some mashed taro (purple sweet potatoes).


Matt opted to branch out from the fish and enjoyed the Korean Spicy Chicken.  I think he was lusting after my fish though.


During dinner, a little lizard decided to join us.  Unfortunately I wasn’t quite quick enough with the camera.  Do you see him there?  LOOK HARDER!


For dessert we had a chocolate mousse cake and a chocolate baked custard with macadamia nut crust and strawberry sorbet.  Both were absolutely delicious!  The final touch was some crystallized ginger.  It was surprisingly spicy!


Matt wasn’t so sure.

We also visited the other restaurant at the Fairmont, Nick’s Fish House. We started with some fruity drinks.


I got some sort of mango pineapple frozen daquiri, while Matt stuck with a Pina Colda.  Both were yummy!  Then for dinner a ordered a scallop in cream sauce pasta.  So stuffed after that!


The funniest part of this dinner was the family next to us.  They were British.  When the son (about 8 years old?) was asked by the waitress how he had liked his fish, he replied “It was lovely.”  SERIOUSLY!  Imagine that coming out of a small 8 year old boy in a British accent.  You’d better be laughing now!  Matt and I were trying not to laugh out loud.  Other funny parts were the fact that we were eating at around 9:00pm, and the kids were getting were getting tired.  So the staff brought over two resort chairs for each kid, and made them a little  bed out of them.  So funny!

After our Helicopter Tour of Maui, we drove to Old Lahaina.  We stopped for some dinner/lunch (lupper?) at Kimo’s, which is an institution.  It sits right on the ocean.  While the food wasn’t the greatest ever, the drinks and view made up for it.  I had forgotten the camera, so all you get is a video.  Matt really doesn’t look pleased in this video.

And with that.  Our honeymoon recaps are over.  I hope that you enjoyed them!  Guess I need to start working on those wedding recaps. 

Honeymoon Recap: A Helicopter Tour of Maui

On our final day in Hawaii, we decided to take a Helicopter tour of Maui.  It was kind of scary, since it’s only 6 people in a small aircraft.  But we thoroughly enjoyed it.

We decided to book through Blue Hawaiian.  First we watched a safety video, then we took our seats on the helicopter.  We were arranged by weight.  In the front was Matt, the pilot, and I.  In the back was a couple from Australia with their two sons (4 and 2 years old).  They had great accents!  And the mom was 5 months pregnant with their third boy!

Oh  before I talk to too much, here’s a picture of Maui.


While Maui is one island, it’s actually two volcanoes, that rose out of the ocean and made a singular island.  It’s also kind of shaped like a head and shoulders.  We started in south -western Maui, where we could see our hotel, the Fairmont in Wailea.  Then we went around Haleakala (remember our sunrise at the volcano?) Afterward we saw southern Maui and the seven sacred pools.  Essentially the parts of Maui that we didn’t see during our drive to Hana.  Finally we took a brief visit to Western Maui near Old Lahaina.  Matt had the camera.  So any time the pilot said “Waterfall”, Matt took a picture.  I also enjoyed the pilot’s music selection.  He went from “Jurassic Park Theme” to “Over the Rainbow” at very appropriate times.  We also learned things about the island.









Above are the mountains of western Maui.  It just looked so amazing!

I took a few videos, too. (Obviously, I was in charge of the video camera)

Western Maui, look to the right to see Wailea, the location of our hotel.
A bunch of waterfalls and rainbows
Western Maui
Kihei and the Maui Airport

While the helicopter ride was a bit expensive, it was so cool.  Definitely something that was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We both enjoyed it.  And whenever people ask me what my favorite part of Hawaii was, I always say “The Geography”.  Isn’t it just amazing?  I mean if it weren’t for these volcanoes coming out of the ocean, Hawaii wouldn’t exist.  The landscape is just amazing.

Hooray for riding helicopters!


Crazy Stories

Seriously, some crazy shiz has been happening to me in the last few months.

First, when we went to go get our joint checking account, I was informed that the debit card in my possession wasn’t valid.  (I’d figured it out earlier that morning, when it wouldn’t work at the CVS next door to the bank.)  Why would it work?  Because I had requested a new card on June 6th.  Ummm no I didn’t.

Then I get this letter in the mail from a collections agency.  Due to my nonpayment of a parking ticket in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, I now owed them $75.  Guess who hadn’t been in Rhode Island in like a year?  And definitely not at 3:04pm on Monday, June 6, which was my first day back from the wedding/honeymoon.  I called and was informed that the description and license plate matched my car.  If I wanted to dispute it, I’d have to go down to Providence and fight it in front of a judge.  After gathering some phone records from work (trying to prove that myself and my car were in Massachusetts at the time of the ticket), Matt and I headed down there last week to fight it.  It took us about 3.5 hours, $5 to park, and 1/3 of a tank of gas, but by gosh I got it dismissed.  It’s the principle of the thing, ya know!

Anyway, my latest crazy story is wedding related.  Specifically, wedding picture related.  A week or so ago, my dad received a phone call from a woman in a different neighborhood of Cincinnati.  She told him that her father had found these wedding pictures on the side of the road, and she believed that they belonged to someone related to my dad.  My dad met the woman and confirmed that yes, this was in fact my wedding album.  You know, the really nice expensive one from the photographer.  We think that maybe someone stole the package off of a porch and after realizing that our wedding pictures had no monetary value, discarded it.  My dad said that aside from some scuffs on the cover, the album was in pretty good condition.  I immediately made a phone call to my photographer asking “WHAT THE HECK!?!”  He then informed me that he had received our album the day before and it was sitting in his office in perfect condition.  Perhaps, the album company didn’t receive a delivery confirmation and decided to send another one.  What does this mean?  We now have TWO super-duper fancy-schmancy albums!  What a good Samaritan that lady was!  She had used a picture of our wedding program from the album to track down my dad.  Thank goodness my maiden name is rather unique!

So our super duper, fancy schmancy NON-SCUFFED album arrived today from Nathan Peel in perfect condition.


I guess now I really need to get on the ball with these recaps!  I hope that you enjoyed my crazy stories!

Honeymoon Recap: Sunrise on Haleakala


One big “touristy” thing to do on Maui, is to drive up to the top to the technically active volcano, Haleakala, and watch the sun rise over the clouds.  Haleakala (“House of the Sun”) is 10,023 ft high and has a crater the size of Manhattan.  To watch the sunrise, you have to get up pretty early.  We were awake at 2:45 am and left by 3:30 am.  Yes, I realize that 3:30am in Hawaii is 9:30am on the East Coast, but we had definitely adjusted to the time change by then.

The drive up to the Haleakala takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.  Below you can see our route from our hotel in Wailea to where Highway 378 (Haleakala Crater Road) begins.


Then you drive up a road with over 33 switchbacks.


Can you see my wonderful red highlighting job?

That my friends is how you climb 10,000 feet (from sea level to the top of Haleakala) in 37 miles.  Thank goodness Matt drove up the volcano.  There were no guardrails, and I was kind of freaking out that we were going to fall down the side of the mountain.

At the top, it was about 42 degrees.  I was smart and wore jeans and a fleece.  Matt was a bit chilly in his shorts.


There were tons of other people up there, too, all vying for a “good spot”. 


We weren’t supposed to go past the railings (for our own safety) and some people were doing it to get some good pictures.  They got into trouble and yelling was involved.

People at the Visitor Center of Haleakala, getting in trouble.

We decided to go up to the summit where there were considerably less people.

The summit of Haleakala.

The sunset views were pretty spectacular.



And the parking lot below us.


Did I mention how early it was?


The inside of the crater looked like the surface of Mars.


Above you can see all of the antennae at the National Lab.  I wonder if my company worked on them?

On our way back down the mountain, we decided to stop at the Kalahaku Overlook.  And we found a silversword!  This plant grows ONLY on the side of Haleakala.  As in this is the only place on the entire planet where you can find it!


We also took a few more pictures.


What a cool experience.  Of course, Matt (my driver) may have a differing opinion, since I slept on the way home!

Honeymoon Recap: Road to Hana, Part 2

If you missed Part 1, click here.

After the arboretum, we drove down to the small village of Keanae.  The town is on an old lava flow, and the waves came crashing onto the lava rocks in spectacular fashion!


I even have some video of it.


Waves Crashing!

More waves crashing!

Back on the Road to Hana, we tried to stop at a few waterfalls, but of course there were people EVERY WHERE!  And the road ain’t exactly built for lots of stopped cars and pedestrians.  So we did a drive by.


We finally made it to Hana.  I kind of expected it to be bigger. 

Anyway, we had some lunch, and then decided to find the Red Sand Beach.  To get to the beach, we felt as if we were trespassing by these private cottages.  We went through a field with a small cemetery.


Next we went to our right and down some rather treacherous paths.  I would not recommend this to the elderly.

At first we came to a spot, that rather reminded me of the Northwest U.S.  It’s all very green and rocky.


(Can you see the tiny people climbing up the side of the hill?  That’s what we had just come down.)

Finally some people come from the way behind us in that picture.  They told us that we should follow the path that they just came from and we would find the Red Sand Beach.  Again, more slippery slopes for climbing. 

And then we found it.


It was so cool and out-of-the way.  Although other people had found it, too.  We decided not to further risk our necks and climb down to the actual beach. 

Another site at Hana is Fagan’s Cross.  It’s a three mile hike up to the cross, which was erected in memory of Paul Fagan, the founder of the Hana ranch and Hotel Hana-Maui.  Since it was almost 5pm and we still had to drive back to the Hotel (at least 2 hours), we decided to admire the cross from afar.


After that, it was time to head home.  I let Matt drive, while I took a nap (and a few more pictures from the road).



The town down there is Keanae (where the crazy waves were).  I thought it looked so picturesque from the Road.  I feel as if that picture could have been taken up here in New England.

On our drive back, Matt and I decided that we were both glad that we did the Road to Hana.  Although we don’t know if we need to do it again any time soon.  I’m so happy that we had our Frommer’s guide book.  Some of the stops along the way are literally just dirt paths off the side of the road.

Honeymoon Recap: Maui and the Road to Hana

I realized that there are so many pictures, the Road to Hana will be split into two parts!

Well, we arrived io Maui Friday evening.  We stayed at the Fairmont Inn in Wailea.  The rooms are suites with a bedroom, living room, and huge bathroom.





It was gorgeous and spacious.  After travelling and doing stuff for the past five days, we ended up just chilling on Saturday.  Truth be told, we may have watched a movie or two on Comedy Central before heading to the beach by 4pm.  Yeah, we’re lame.

The Road to Hana

One thing that we wanted to do on Maui was the road to Hana.  A windy road full of stops along the way.  Below is the route from our hotel to Hana.  It’s 64 miles and 2.5 hours!


We followed the route suggested in our Frommer’s Guide.  First up was Hookipa Beach Park, a popular surfing destination.  See the surfers down there?


Following the Frommer’s guide, we found a hidden drive down to Malika Bay.  We even saw a mongoose run across the steep dirt road. 


What do you think about our awesome ride in Hawaii.  We decided to get a convertible, and when Matt saw the choice of a Mustang, he jumped on it!!

Then began the curving, winding, sometimes one-lane road.  We found the hidden little town called Huelo, which is hope to the Kaulanapueo Church, built in 1853.



On our drive out, we drove past a few small houses.  A lady was standing by the road and approached us as we drove by.  Being a cynical person, I assumed that she was trying to sell us the flowers in her hands, but she actually was just saying “Aloha” and gave us this beautiful bunch of gardenias.


They smelled amazingly!  Such an amazing Aloha spirit!

The next stop was Waikamoi Ridge Trail.  We took a quick 20 minute (0.75 mile) hike in a loop.  It offered some amazing views of the Eastern Side (AKA Windward) of Maui.  It is suggested as a great family hike, and I totally agree.  Although watch out for the sides of the trail.  There aren’t exactly hand rails.


Because it had been a few hours since our last pit stop, we decided to stop and go to the bathroom.  (Notice how the sign above points out that the next rest stop is in 3 miles?)

Unfortunately, the facilities at the Kaumahina State Wayside Park were lacking in a few necessities (e.g. toilet paper), but there were plenty of cats and chickens.


And there were plenty of gorgeous views (where are there NOT gorgeous views in Maui?)DSC03513DSC03514DSC03515

Another hidden dirt road led us down to the Honomanu Bay county Beach Park, which gave some views of a gorgeous valley.


WHOA!! It’s like Lost and Jurassic Park!

The Keanae Arboretum was the next stop, and we saw some very interesting trees from all over the world.




You can see that the names of the trees were fitting.  Above is the “Painted Gum” (see those neon colors?  Those are totally natural!).  And below is the “Blue Marble Tree”’s fruit. 


And why is there a random iron gear in the middle of the jungle?


Look a lizard!


And an old, rusted car!


Okay, this is getting to be too long.  We’re about half way through the drive to Hana.  Come back for Part Deux!

Honeymoon Recap: Diamond Head

On our final day in Oahu, we decided to hike Diamond Head before our plane left at 3:30pm. I put on my pineapple ankle socks!  We were in Hawaii after all!


We woke up bright and early for a final breakfast buffet.



We sure were going to miss this view at breakfast!

After fueling up with an omelet and macadamia nut muffin, DSC03458DSC03460

We drove to Diamond Head.  It was actually really busy, and we had to wait about 10 minutes until a parking space opened up.


The trail is only 0.8 miles long, but it does get a bit steep.  And there are points where there are lots of stairs.  Since we were worried about checking out and making our plane, we hauled butt up and back down.  It was 25 minutes each way!

The view from the top was just gorgeous.


Can you see the parking lot down there?


The view of Waikiki.


The gorgeous ocean views.


Looking Eastward, you can almost see the Kahala, our hotel.



Then it was time to go pack up at the hotel (and finish the last glass of wine left in the bottle.  It was after noon!)


Why are you taking my picture?


Oh I was going to miss that view.


Farewell Oahu and the Kahala!

Honeymoon Recap: Waikiki & Expensive Dinner

When we decided to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon, my best friend from middle school (who I hadn’t seen since 9th grade and recently moved to Hawaii) asked if we could meet up.  We met down at Tiki’s Bar and Grill.  We ate outside and caught up on our lives in the last 14 years.  It was great.



While we were eating lunch, Matt was doing his laundry at a laundromat.  Oh yeah!

Since we were already on Waikiki, we decided to take a walk along the Waikiki beach walk.


There are a bunch of bronze statues and we learned all about Hawaii’s past.DSC03432DSC03433


We found interesting trees.


And Hawaiian ice!!


We then walked up to the Hilton Hawaiian village to check out the wildlife!


Flamingos (or Penguins if you’re Kathleen), Penguins, and Turtles!!  OH MY!

After walking around, we got cleaned up for a fancy dinner at the restaurant at the Kahala, Hoku’s.  First up an amuse buche of tuna with roe on top. (I actually really like how crunch roe is!)


Matt wasn’t so sure about it


What is this and why is it in a funny shaped plate?

We then ordered the Wok Fried whole fish special, which is Red Hawaiian Snapper.  Yup, we got the WHOLE FISH!


We were ready to dig in! It came with rice, vegetables, and three different sauces!




Of course we had to get dessert!  They gave us a tasty pudding cake, since we were celebrating our honeymoon.  And we also got a chocolate brownie sundae.


This was seriously one of the most expensive dinners I’ve ever had.  At least, we “pre-gamed” upstairs in our room.  It’s crazy when up in your room you have the same bottle of wine that they are offering at the restaurant by the glass (for the same price as the entire bottle.,  Anyway, it was an absolutely fabulous dinner and a great final day in Oahu!



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